The end of the age

Living at the end of the age

I always wondered what it would be like to live during the last decade or so before Christ’s millennial reign begins. Why do I place that time limit on this age? Because, I don’t believe our world and its system has much more time than that. This is just my opinion, so don’t get the idea that there is some time-table for this because only God knows when the day and the hour is.

For some in the world, whether they are Christians or not, life at this time is not a very enjoyable prospect. There are wars and uprisings and hatred toward those who believe in Jesus, even if they aren’t actively telling people about their Savior. Just the knowledge that there is a “Christ-follower” or a “Jesus follower” in a village is enough to bring persecution to their families. In America, the hatred and resentment toward those who believe in Jesus as their Savior is building and it is getting worse. It hasn’t gotten to the point of our government locking up people or stopping us from worshiping but the threat is implied. It is very likely that before the next six years or so is past, there will be some limits placed on religious freedom, especially of the Christian faith.

Why the persecution of the Christian faith? Because of the truth which is God’s Word, the Bible, which is our guidebook for life. God gave it to us through those apostles and prophets which His Spirit moved to write His wisdom and His words down for everyone to learn from and live by. It is not a book of “man-made” wisdom and knowledge because there is a complete story and purpose which each book points to from the beginning in Genesis all the way through the book of Revelation. This fact alone proves that it is an Holy Spirit inspired book because it was written over a period of 1500 years by over forty different writers. Without the Holy Spirit’s involvement, the story would’ve been lost, the outcome and the prophecies would not make sense.

Abraham, one of the main characters in the Genesis book of the Bible, is the father of two different people and two different faiths as well. Judaism and Islam. Christianity is also the outcome of the prophesied Messiah of the Jewish faith Who came to “take away the sins of the world”, but the entire Bible points toward His coming and His message and His crucifixion and His resurrection. There is no possible way that forty different writers over 1500 years could’ve made up stories which were perfectly synchronized in order to prophesy His coming and His crucifixion even before it was a form of execution. God could see all of these things from His point of view outside of time and He knew when and where and even who to use at certain points in time so His purposes would be done in the way that He wanted them done.

God is Sovereign and rules the universe and it is His purposes which will prevail regardless of what mankind wants or doesn’t want to believe. One day soon, the whole world will see that He is the Savior and King because He is coming back. When that happens there will be no doubt about Who Jesus is or that He is real but there will be many in the world who don’t know Him because they chose to reject Him as their Savior. Then it will be too late to change your mind, especially if you have taken the mark of the Beast during those last seven years when God’s wrath has been poured out on those who would not believe.

Make sure of your salvation while there is still time to do so. Seek Jesus through reading the Bible, specifically the books of John and Romans because they both give good examples of His life, His death and His resurrection and also His love toward mankind so that you can know Him and He will know you too.

Are we supposed to be holy?

The Bible says that we are supposed to be holy because God is holy. So what is the definition of the word “holy”? It is this: dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred. In another way of saying this, we are supposed to be set apart from the world and its ways but we should try to teach those around us about His ways. If not by our words then by our life and our actions. Being a Christian is supposed to be exactly that…holy and set apart to do the work of God while we can. So why aren’t many who profess to be Christians acting like Christ?

It is a good question to ask but I’m afraid the answer would be too laborious and it would require too many specifics. Why do I say this? Because there are many who profess Christ but they don’t possess Christ. Their Christianity is only genuine to them because they believe in Christ and they attend church occasionally but He hasn’t made a change in their lives because He was never invited in. They are a believer just as well as Satan is. He knows Who Jesus is and he knows that He exists but he chooses not to serve God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit in any way.

Knowledge of Jesus and God is a good thing but if you haven’t given your life and your heart to them so that you are changed by them, then your knowledge does your eternal life no good at all.

If you belong to Christ and He belongs to you, then your life will reflect Him and His character far more than it will reflect your ideas and your ways. If others can’t see Jesus in what you do and say, then it is possible that He doesn’t live in your heart just in your mind.

Are any of us really OK?

There are so many things wrong with our world today. The stock market is up and down, the debts which our country owes are coming down but not fast enough, the debt which many of us owe to credit companies is out of this world. Are we really doing OK? In many ways, we really aren’t doing very well at all! The debts that we owe on money we don’t really have are only the beginning of our trouble. Then there are the sin debts which many of us still carry around with us, even though they have been forgiven or at least paid for through the blood of Jesus. Whether you or I have accepted His gift of forgiveness or not is up to us and many people still refuse it.

We go through life as if we are guaranteed a certain number of years and even though the Bible does say that we are allotted three score and ten (70 years) or possibly four score (80 years, by our strength), these are not guaranteed! We come within two feet of dying every time we get on the highway, regardless of which city or state you live in! We pass each other going at least seventy-five miles per hour and we are usually as close as 24 inches when we do pass each other. That doesn’t even count for early morning and late day rush hours! At those times, we are usually so close to each other until we could hand a cup of coffee off to one person and it wouldn’t hit the ground for two miles or more. We are truly blessed just to get home without any scrapes or paint missing from our cars or trucks!

Most of the time we don’t even think about these close calls we have that we somehow survived. We just look at it as if it were ordained that we would get home each and every time we go out on the road. The only real guarantees in this world are death and taxes. So why do we live as if nothing can ever or will ever go wrong? We do it when we are young, in our teens and twenties, and we continue to do it until we finally wise up and look around and some of your friends are dying before you. Some of them because of cancer or a heart attack, some of them because of a car wreck or even being robbed or shot while being robbed for something that someone else wants that you have. Are we OK?

It is a good question which really doesn’t have a great answer. Some of us are cruising along and doing pretty well, some of us are dealing with pains and other ailments and some of us are just waiting to die. Then there are some who just don’t care one way or the other, as long as they are doing pretty well they don’t really care what is happening to the rest of the world. There are even a few who can’t forget wrongs which were done, intentionally or not, many years ago. So, how do we get to a point of seeking the One Who can bring us out of this place where we find ourselves?

First, by listening to your conscience and the leading that you get from the Holy Spirit, whether we call it that or not. When you feel led to seek out God and truly find the answer to the problems which plagues mankind, then you will find His Peace through Jesus the Christ, your Savior. There are many times when we feel Him leading us toward a better idea or to search for Something or Someone that we don’t know or don’t have a relationship with but until we find that One, there is an empty place which can’t be filled with anything that we try on our own. That is the place where Jesus belongs and that is why anything other than Him just doesn’t satisfy and it doesn’t feel right until we surrender to His calling and ask Him to come in and fill that space.

Being just “OK” is not what we were made for and God never intended for us to be satisfied with that. God calls to your heart through the Holy Spirit and it is up to you to answer His call for your life. It is your decision to give your heart to Jesus and allow Him to change your life into the life which you were meant to live! If you feel that pull, that call on your life and you ignore it and keep ignoring it then one day you may never feel that pull on your life again. You will wonder what happened for a little while but you will continue on with your life as if nothing happened and in fact, that is what happened. Nothing. Don’t live your life for nothing, live it for Jesus and tell others what He has done and is doing in your life because nothing is scary when it is all that there is for eternity.

Who is this Jesus?

Jesus is everywhere in the Bible, if you will look for Him.

In Genesis he’s the Seed of the Woman. In Exodus he’s the Passover Lamb.

In Leviticus he’s the Scapegoat. In Numbers he’s the Serpent lifted up in the Wilderness.

In Deuteronomy he’s the Cities of Refuge.

In Joshua he’s the Scarlet thread on Rahab’s house. In Judges he’s the Perfect Judge.

In Ruth he’s the Kinsman Redeemer. In I Samuel he’s the Trusted Prophet.

In 2 Samuel he’s the True Son of David. In 1 Kings he’s the Promise Keeper.

In 2 Kings he’s the Jealous God. In 1 Chronicles he’s our Reigning King.

In 2 Chronicles he’s our Deliverer. In Ezra he’s the Faithful Scribe.

In Nehemiah he’s the Rebuilder of Broken Walls. In Esther he’s Mordecai at the Gate.

In Job he’s My Redeemer Who Lives Today. In Psalms he’s the Lord who is my Shepherd.

In Proverbs he’s our Wisdom. In Ecclesiastes he’s our True Satisfaction.

In Song of Solomon he’s the Beautiful Bridegroom. In Isaiah he’s the Suffering Servant.

In Jeremiah he’s the Righteous Branch. In Lamentations he’s the Weeping Prophet.

In Ezekiel he’s the Son of Man. In Daniel he’s the Fourth Man in the Furnace.

In Hosea he’s the Faithful Husband. In Joel he’s the One Who Restores.

In Amos he’s the Burden Bearer. In Obadiah he’s the Mighty Judge.

In Jonah he’s the Foreign Missionary. In Micah he’s our Peace.

In Nahum he’s the Avenger. In Habakkuk he’s the Lord in His Holy Temple.

In Zephaniah he’s the Lord Mighty to Save. In Haggai he’s the Lord of Hosts.

In Zechariah he’s the Fountain of Cleansing. In Malachi he’s the Sun of Righteousness.

In Matthew he’s the Promised Messiah. In Mark he’s the Faithful Servant.

In Luke he’s Friend of Sinners. In John he’s the Son of God.

In Acts he’s the Ascended Lord. In Romans he’s the Justifier.

In 1 Corinthians he’s our Righteousness. In 2 Corinthians he’s the God of All Comfort.

In Galatians he’s the Redeemer from the Curse of the Law. In Ephesians he’s the Head of the Church.

In Philippians he’s the All-Sufficient Christ. In Colossians he’s the Fullness of God.

In 1 Thessalonians he’s the Lord Coming Down from Heaven. In 2 Thessalonians he’s the Judge coming with Blazing Fire.

In 1 Timothy he’s our Mediator. In 2 Timothy he’s our Master.

In Titus he’s the Blessed Hope. In Philemon he’s the One Who Paid Our Debt.

In Hebrews he’s Our Great High Priest. In James he’s the Judge Standing at the Door.

In 1 Peter he’s the Chief Shepherd. In 2 Peter he’s the Morning Star.

In 1 John he’s the Word of Life. In 2 John he’s the Son of the Father. In 3 John he’s the Truth.

In Jude he’s the Lord Coming with countless thousands of his saints.

In Revelation he’s the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Are you afraid?

It seems that we, as Christians, live in fear. Fear of offending someone, fear of telling others about our faith because they might reject us or the message and report it to someone, fear of being apostles like we are supposed to be. Why? Well, in the society which has come into America in the past twenty or thirty years, there seems to be more hostility toward people who profess to have faith in Jesus. Most don’t care if you believe in God because “everyone believes in God”, but if you bring the name of Jesus into the conversation things get a bit tricky. Because they don’t want to hear what He said or believe in Him. Why?

Mostly, because He taught that the hatred of someone is equivalent to murder. He taught that the thought of adultery was the same thing as the sin of adultery. Just the consideration of a sin, whatever it may be but specifically those two, is the same as committing them. That is why, in my opinion, people are so polarized against Jesus and His message. God is okay because His laws begin with the Ten Commandments and nobody could keep those perfectly, right? While this statement is true, they are still commandments, especially the ones about how to treat your mother and father and those which tell us how to behave toward one another.

So, why are we afraid to speak about our faith? Is it because it is our faith which scares others or is it because of the reaction we may get because of our faith if we tell someone about Jesus? Truthfully we shouldn’t be afraid of those around us because we have God on our side. He is in control of the situation regardless of where we may be as long as we have faith in Him to “have our backs” as we walk through this world. Psalm 23 tells us that He is with us through the “valley of the shadow of Death“, so why should we be afraid or live in fear of others? They can hurt us physically but if they kill you, then it was your time to go and you will be in His Presence. Does this give me chills? If I were foolish enough to walk on the streets of a big city after dark, yes I would be afraid, but I would be praying so hard that people would think I was loony anyway so, who cares?

As Christians, born into the family of God, we have His Spirit with us at all times, so why be afraid of talking to someone? One of the Trinity is there with us every step of the way and He gives us the words to speak at the time that we need them. God loves each of us with a love that we cannot understand or imagine and it will be His Presence working through us, protecting us from those of Satan’s army who would try to hurt us wherever we go. So, don’t be afraid of things which go bump in the night because your God is your Protector and your Guide it is He Who will protect you and lead you to the places where there is cool water and rest for your soul.

Who is God?

The names and attributes of God the Father are numerous and are described in detail in His Word. So…who is God? First of all, He is the Creator of everything. He is God and there is no other. Creation was thought of by God long before the Light shone through the darkness of the cosmos. Why did I call it cosmos when there was nothing there? Because it was a place where there was nothing yet it was as huge and as large as all of the universe is now or maybe more! God looked at it, even though there was no light in it at the time and He knew that there would be people of many nations and many languages and He loved them, even though they did not exist…yet! They were in His mind, we were in His mind before there was a planet or a moon or an Earth for us to live on. He loved us before the beginning of everything! Isn’t that wonderful?

I cannot go into all of the attributes of God and His awesomeness in this small article but one of those attributes was Jesus the Son. God existed as a triune being as God the Father, Jesus the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Each of these is God but each of them does different things in creation and in our world. Jesus is the Living Word of God and He was part of the Creator because the Word of God brought all of creation into existence just by His Word. The only part of creation which was not brought about by His spoken Word was mankind. God formed mankind from the clay, the dust of the Earth and later He formed woman from the rib of the man. Formed suggests that God has a personal part in creating us. Isn’t that wonderful?

When you read God’s Word you are studying His speech, His thoughts, His feelings, even if men wrote them down. The Holy Spirit inspired those men and taught them those words and His thoughts and commands that He intended for them to write down for a purpose. To teach us how to live, how to love, how to deal with problems in life. God’s Word is the best textbook in the world because it did not come from the mind of man, but from God Himself! The wisdom contained in it surpasses all of mankind’s wisdom, not because it is better but because it is truthful and it is the absolute Truth.

God’s Word teaches us how to be more like Him. Are there some aspects of God that we can’t be like or live out in our life? Yes, because He is God. We can’t create life from nothing. We are His creation and we will never be “God”. Let no one tell you that you will be and if they do, run! Your life is not just this existence, which is about seventy years or maybe up to one hundred years. That is but a moment in time when you think about eternity. God’s Living Word, Jesus Christ, said that we will either accept Him as our Savior or we will reject Him. There are only two choices. One of them will bring you into God’s Presence in Heaven and rejecting Jesus will send you into hell because you chose to reject Him. It is your choice…so choose wisely because after your last breath comes the judgment and your choice determines your destination.

Remember, God so loved the world (every person in the world), that He gave His only begotten Son. That whosoever believes in Him (for salvation) will have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 Whoever believes and has decided to trust in Him [as personal Savior and Lord] is not judged[for this one, there is no judgment, no rejection, no condemnation]; but the one who does not believe [and has decided to reject Him as personal Savior and Lord] is judged already [that one has been convicted and sentenced], because [b]he has not believed and trusted in the name of the [One and] only begotten Son of God [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, the One who alone can save him]. John 3:16-18 AMP.

Does Jesus know you?

Knowing Jesus as your friend and your Savior is the most fulfilling relationship that you can have. So, why do we seek Him for salvation and then walk away from the relationship? Many people today do exactly that. They know they need Him and they know that they are sinful in their lives. They will seek Him out and feel His call and conviction in their lives and maybe even accept Him as their Savior but when things don’t work out the way they want them to, they walk away from Him.

Knowing Who He is and having Him as your Savior is the best relationship that you can have. But if you only want to know Him as a Savior and Lord and not as your Savior and Lord there is nothing gained for you except knowledge of Him. Knowledge doesn’t bring salvation. Satan and the demons know Who Jesus is but that doesn’t help them because they won’t serve Him. 

There are times that I think it is that word which turns people away. They don’t want to be a disciple or a Christian because they don’t want to serve Jesus. He gave His life and His blood for your soul to have a chance at salvation so I believe that we do owe Him our service and our life. God has given us all of the best, even though we don’t see it that way. He has provided us with a sun that isn’t too hot and a planet to live on that isn’t too hot or cold. He prepared it with lots of water and air to breathe and land that we could cultivate for our food and things that we need.

So many things that we have been blessed with, whether you live in America or anywhere else in the world because God loves us so deeply. I know there are diseases and wars going on and famines and earthquakes and hurricanes that happen from time to time, but God is still in control of it all. If He weren’t we wouldn’t be here. There are so many problems which we could have that He has prevented and then there are others which we have caused. Not “global warming”, but so many other problems in our societies just because we have refused to worship the One True God. 

Seek Him out while there is yet time to do so because there will be one day in the near future when He takes the church and all of those who have given their lives to Him to Heaven. When that happens, there will be hell on Earth until He says that it is enough. Think about it.

We are ambassadors for Christ

Many people who claim to be Christians are not pastors or teachers or serving overseas as missionaries. They are just members of their respective churches. But…we are called to be ambassadors for Jesus Christ wherever we may be. At work, at home, at school, at the mall or at a restaurant eating out, if someone sees you blessing your food or any other action which might identify you as a Christian, then you should represent Christ in whatever capacity you can.

When we are called by God’s Holy Spirit to repent of our old ways and follow Jesus, we are also called into His ministry. This is not optional, it’s just part of being a follower of Jesus. The disciples knew it and everyone who knew them also knew that they were His followers. It is a ministry which doesn’t have a retirement date until you meet Him upon your death.

Does Jesus require us to do this for our salvation? No, it is not a requirement because He did all that was needed for you to be saved. It is up to you to accept the gift of salvation and atonement from Him when you feel the need for giving your life to Him. The Holy Spirit convicts you of your need but it is your responsibility to accept it and ask Him to come into your heart and change you into the person that He knows you can be. His ambassador wherever you go or whatever you do. That is your calling after you have accepted Him and truly given your life over to Him.

Salvation is not a sometimes thing and it isn’t something that you can choose to use when you need a blessing from God and then turn it off. True salvation is a change in your heart and soul because you KNOW that you need Him to change you into that person that He already knew about but you didn’t want to until the Holy Spirit convicted your Spirit of it through faith and by your accepting His Grace for your new life in Him. We are not born into the family of God, we are invited to join by God’s Spirit which convicts us of our need for Him.

Eternity is waiting for each of us and there are two different places where we will spend it. Heaven for those who give their lives and their hearts to Jesus and live a life of service and grace through faith in Him. The hell of separation from God’s Presence with the demons and Satan because you refused His grace and the salvation that only He can bring into your life. When we hear a message about salvation at church or a revival meeting and we don’t know Jesus yet, it is our responsibility to either accept it as the wonderful gift that it is or to reject it and go about our life as if we have all the time in the world. But nobody has that luxury.

Don’t notice the outside, look within

Shoes in Church
I showered and shaved……………. I adjusted my tie.
I got there and sat……………. In a pew just in time.
Bowing my head in prayer………… As I closed my eyes.
I saw the shoe of the man next to me……. Touching my own. I sighed.
With plenty of room on either side……… I thought, ‘Why must our soles touch?’
It bothered me, his shoe touching mine. But it didn’t bother him much.
A prayer began: ‘Our Father’…………. I thought,

‘This man with these shoes has no pride. They’re dusty, worn, and scratched.

Even worse, there are holes on the side!’
‘Thank You for blessings,’ the prayer went on.
The shoe man said…………….. A quiet ‘Amen.’
I tried to focus on the prayer……. But my thoughts were on his shoes again..
Aren’t we supposed to look our best? When walking through that door?
‘Well, this certainly isn’t it,’ I thought, glancing toward the floor.
Then the prayer was ended………… And the songs of praise began.
The shoe man was certainly loud….. Sounding proud as he sang.
His voice lifted the rafters…….. His hands were raised high.
The Lord could surely hear… The shoe man’s voice from the sky.
It was time for the offering…….. And what I threw in was steep.
I watched as the shoe man reached… Into his pockets so deep.
I saw what was pulled out………. What the shoe man put in.
Then I heard a soft ‘clink’ as when silver hits the tin.
The sermon really bored me………. To tears, and that’s no lie.
It was the same for the shoe man… For tears fell from his eyes.
At the end of the service…….. As is the custom here.
We must greet new visitors, And show them all good cheer.
But I felt moved somehow……….. And wanted to meet the shoe man.

So after the closing prayer…….. I reached over and shook his hand.
He was old and his skin was dark….. And his hair was truly a mess…..
But I thanked him for coming………. For being our guest…
He said, ‘My name’s Charlie………… I’m glad to meet you, my friend.’
There were tears in his eyes……… But he had a large, wide grin…
‘Let me explain,’ he said…………. Wiping tears from his eyes.
‘I’ve been coming here for months…… And you’re the first to say ‘Hi.”
‘I know that my appearance………..Is not like all the rest.
‘But I really do try………………..To always look my best.’
‘I always clean and polish my shoes…Before my very long walk.’
‘But by the time I get here……..They’re dirty and dusty, like chalk.’
My heart filled with pain………… And I swallowed to hide my tears.
As he continued to apologize………. For daring to sit so near
He said, ‘When I get here………… I know I must look a sight.’
‘But I thought if I could touch you…Then maybe our souls might unite.’
I was silent for a moment…………. Knowing whatever was said
Would pale in comparison…I spoke from my heart, not my head.
‘Oh, you’ve touched me,’ I said…….’ And taught me, in part’
‘That the best of any man…………..Is what is found in his heart.’
The rest, I thought,…………… This shoe man will never know.
Like just how thankful I really am…That his dirty old shoe touched my soul.
Live each day as your last, for we never know our time here on earth. Love and Peace My Friends and remember that it is not how we look on the outside but how we look within.

The little things do count

When you read the gospels and the accounts of all of the different ways that Jesus interacted with people and healed some and raised some from the dead or freed them from demonic possession it makes you wonder what else He might’ve done in between all of these. When you read about everything that He did in the few years that His disciples walked with Him and then read at the end of John’s gospel that “if everything that Jesus did were written down the world couldn’t hold all of the books“.

Jesus payed attention to all of the little things. The children that were around Him, the women who were supporting His ministry and were disciples too. He looked at the small lunch which fed over five thousand people and knew it was possible. He noticed so many things around Him in His ministry which aren’t recorded in the gospels. So, how do I know that He noticed these small details around Him? Because He was and is the Creator! An artist notices the color of clouds and birds and flowers and trees so how much more would our Creator notice everything and everyone around Him?

Even if the writers of the gospels didn’t notice it and He didn’t bring it to their attention, He would’ve noticed. Every flower and bird and tree and cloud and the stars at night. He was there during creation so why not take in your creation and truly notice all of the beauty in everything around you? I know I would have and you would too.

Jesus is our Savior and He paid that price for our salvation willingly. His humanity was afraid of the pain and suffering but He knew it had to be done. He is the Author of Life and the Creator and He did all of this for us. So when you feel His call in your heart and you know it is Him, please don’t turn away from that call because that call may be the only one you will hear or maybe the last time you may hear from Him. I pray that all of you who read this will give your heart and life to Jesus and follow Him for the rest of your life.