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In this blog, I share what the Lord shares with me. I reference scripture a lot in support of what is being said. I realize that what is in each entry is NOT a complete 'word' (discussion) on what is being said, but is rather enough information to stimulate our spirits to dig deeper (remember the Bereans Acts 17:10-11) thereby gaining a fuller understanding for ourselves.

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Friday, May 26, 2017

5-15-2017        COMPLACENCY, Our Biggest Enemy

Revelation 3:15-17      I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish that you were cold or hot.
But because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth.
Because you say I am rich, increased with goods and don’t need anything and don’t realize that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.

Exactly what is complacency?  Webster’s says: self-satisfaction being totally unaware of any dangers or deficiencies.

I think that sums it up pretty good.  We have become happy, wherever we are at in our lives and don’t care to move forward any farther than where we currently are.  I’ve got a great spouse, a couple of good kids, a job that pays my bills, puts food on the table, provides transportation!  Heck! I can even take a two-week vacation every year!  What more could I want?  That IS the American dream, right?
Only problem is, because we think have ‘arrived’, we take less and less interest in what’s actually going on around us until it has an impact on our lives.  We drift more and more into our own little world, that circle of friends in our own little world and the rest of the world can take care of itself.  After all, we did.  Didn’t we?

It makes no difference whether we are living in the world or if we are church going, bible believing Christians, once we become ‘comfortable’ where we are, not caring about what’s going on around us, complacent, we become ineffective – especially for the kingdom of God!

There have been times in my life where I’ve become complacent.  I wouldn’t have admitted it at the time, but looking back I can see more than one time (ugh!).

When we are hungry, we can’t be complacent because we need to eat to survive so we do what we have to do to eat, feed our hunger.  We need something to eat, we find food or a place to stay or live so we search for that place so we can have shelter from the elements.  When we need to get somewhere and have no car, what do we do?  Find a car we can afford or take a bus or walk!  If we have a dream, we work like crazy (at least until) to reach it.  Nonetheless, we are not being complacent.  We aren’t just sitting back and saying “Oh, well.”  We recognize our need to get somewhere so we do something about it.  We are not complacent.  We don’t just sit around waiting for the ravens or an angel to bring us what we need or take us to where we want to be.  Think about it.  People look up into the sky and say “What is that?”  And someone says “Oh, it’s just Buck.  He had to wait for some birds to come by, pick him up and bring him here.”  I think not!

My wife and I struggled much of our life together, largely due to poor decision I had made in my youth.  By the grace of God, I started making some right decisions and the latter years of our time together in this world went a whole lot better than those earlier times.  Our needs were met and our financial budget came into balance (PTL!).  Unfortunately (for me) her health started to decline, the last few years we had together, until Father took her home to be with Him.  And yet, I thank Father for the time I did have with her.

Yet, with her departure, I was devastated!  I had lost the love of my life (in this world) but then I was in ‘perfect’ health so I had to continue on with my life.  Father has given me the ability to accept whatever happens to me, deal with it, then press on in life.  I haven’t yet figured out if this is bad or good because the danger is that ‘just accepting something’ it could lead to complacency. 

Father had already been working with me for years (my relationship with Him), so I wasn’t about to ‘give up the ship’ and sink.  Besides, I couldn’t!  HE wouldn’t let me for that’s when He started putting my life into second gear.  It’s like a car, each time you shift gears, you go a little faster.  I haven’t yet figured out how many gears this transmission has because every time I go into the next gear, there seems to always be one more waiting to be shifted up into.

I’ve just recently shifted gears again with two book Father has prompted me to purchase and as of this time am currently reading, “A Time to Advance” co-authored by Chuck Pierce and Robert & Linda Heidler and “Discovering the Supernatural” by Doug Addison.  So I’m anticipating what Father has to show me in these. 

However, I have to admit, I have been in and out of the valley of complacency.  Things would be rough and I’d work like a dog to press forward, but things would settle down – and so would I. 
The enemy (Satan) would try to discourage me and I might even start to “buy into it”, but then, the Holy Ghost comes to the rescue and reminds me of what Father has already brought me through.  And He wouldn’t have done that if he wanted me to just up and quit.  I may get confused and discouraged sometimes, but quitting is not an option (amen?)

All my life, I’ve wrestled with self-confidence, even though I’ve frequently had the encouragement “You’re a child of God!  Hang in there!”  I’ve always appreciated that encouragement, but I’ve always wondered why Father might use the likes of me.  We did a blog entry, 3/18/2017, based on a song by Elvis Presley, ‘The Wonder of You’.  Father has shown me that even secular songs can have significant spiritual implications, such as this one.  And yes, sometimes, I still wonder why He plans on using the likes of me, in spite of all my faults.  Especially as I am in a growth period and it seems like I ‘mess up’ more than I advance.  Got more growin’ to do before He can turn me loose and even though I see some of ‘what’ He has in store, I still don’t fully understand ‘how’ I’m going to get there.  The more He shows me, the more it seems I need to grow in order to be effective.  Yet, the more, then, I realize, He is growing me.

Yes, I’ve been discouraged in recent years, even after Father gave me (What He called) the ‘Watchman prophecy’ (9/2014).  Things didn’t look like they were headed in the direction that I thought they should, leading me to wonder if I had even actually heard from Father.  That may not have been complacency, but it was leading me into it, quickly.  I wasn’t getting confirmation from the sources I thought I should and I was getting ready to shut down.  That would have been complacency because even though I wouldn’t have walked away from my Lord, I would have stopped pursuing that to which I ‘knew’ He had called me.  An “Oh, well” attitude.  Know what I mean?

We get comfortable in our walk with the Lord, or maybe even discouraged, at whatever level that may be.  In the 9/16/2016 entry into the blog (Herod’s Temple, Our Walk with the Lord), I talked about how we enter into God’s kingdom (His church in this world), we enter into the “Women’s Courtyard”.  New Christians, not knowing much but ready and willing to learn about our relationship with our Creator (hopefully) and ready to move forward.  I say ‘hopefully’ under my breath because for many souls, once they’ve confessed Jesus and been baptized with water, they think they’ve arrived.  That’s all they need to receive and/or do.  They settle in and attend church (at least for a while), becoming content with their current status.  But, there is no desire to move forward with life.  Unfortunately, in this state, people become bored, disenchanted, even doubtful (of their own faith).
Now understand, Paul was ‘content’ with whatever stage of life he was in (Phil. 4:11-13).  He accepted his current conditions and didn’t complain.  BUT, that didn’t mean he never tried to change those current conditions.  Or should I say he was always hungry for more of Jesus (Phil. 1:21-23).  Paul did not live, stay, in that condition.  Staying is saying “this is what life has dealt me, oh well.”  Or “I’ve got all that I need, I’m a happy camper from now on!”  Paul was always looking and striving for a better relationship with Jesus.

Back to Herod’s temple.  Too many Christians, as I said, think that once saved, they have arrived.  There’s nothing more for them to do but to sit back and enjoy.  The five foolish virgins became complacent (Matt. 25:1-13) and letting their ‘oil’ run out, they missed out on being with the ‘Bridegroom’ (making that plainer – ‘salvation’).  Letting their oil run out meant that they were not doing what was necessary to keep their relationship (with God) alive and well.  Not continuing to pursue that relationship, they slacked off from moving forward and became complacent.  Not JUST content with their current situation, they became comfortable (and lazy) right where they were at – and it cost them, dearly (eternal life).  They knew where the bridegroom lived and when they came knockin’ on His door, Jesus said “I don’t know you.”  For them, the door was NOT opened!
Paul was content with any situation he found himself, but his eyes were always focused on a closer walk with the Lord.  The five foolish virgins were not only content with their current situation, but cared less about taking care of the relationship they had.  Had they cared, they would have bought oil long before it ran out.  But take note that in that passage, they hadn’t even realized that their lamps had gone out until the call came that the bridegroom was coming.  We don’t know the ‘hour’ of our departure from this world (Mat. 24:36), whether by trump (1 Thess. 4:16-18) or by ‘natural death.
Complacency results in death because in its midst, we don’t cultivate our relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ.  And we have no real excuse because Father and Son give us the Holy Ghost to help us.  He resides in us (John 16:13), guiding and directing us.  All we have to do is hear His voice and yield ourselves to the Father (Luke 11:28).

God is calling us to “always” be prepared, ready (Matt. 24:42) because we don’t know when the Lord will require our eternal presence.

Complacency is falling into a ‘comfort zone’ where we have convinced ourselves that we are “OK” and need nothing more.  The Lord tells us to seek first the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33).  Seeking God’s kingdom, His relationship with us, is not a “one time” event.  It becomes like a past progressive continuum, once done, its impact is ongoing.  Like the blood of Jesus on the cross.  Jesus shed His blood on the cross once to cleanse us from our sins but the impact of that act is ongoing.  If it were a one-time event, only those who witnessed the crucifixion and physically walked with Jesus could be ‘saved’, but the impact of His shed blood has reached all the way to today and will continue on until He calls us home so that anyone and everyone who believes on the name of Jesus can enter in to His kingdom (Romans 10:9).  So, our relationship with the Father, through Jesus Christ our lord and by the power of the Holy Ghost He has given to and dwells within us, is an ongoing situation.  Not a once done deal, thank you very much, but an ongoing relationship which grows forever.  I say forever because I suspect that even though we may have ‘arrived’ when we’re with Jesus in eternity, there is still more growing experience.  Do you really think that just standing before Jesus for a moment, all of our lifelong questions will be answered?  I suspect that may take a day or five (LOL).
We also have to remember that Jesus tells us “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).  Again, this is an ongoing activity.  And Jesus reminds us that He is one with the Father and He desires us to be one with Him and the Father (John 17:21).  Again this is not just a one-time event but an ongoing reality.  We overcome complacency by living for Jesus, by the power of the Holy Ghost within us, day by day, drawing closer and closer in our relationship with Him.  And as I said, I don’t think it will stop with this life.

  How does the song go?         Just a closer walk with Thee
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea
Daily walking close to Thee
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be

Let’s not fall into complacency, but be overcomers through the blood of Jesus (Rev. 12:11), growing closer to our Lord, day by day!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

5/13/2017 THE REAPING

                                  Revelation 14:13-20

Laying in my bed early one morning a little over a week ago, Father started running ‘reaping’ past me.  Now, anyone who’s been around long enough discovers the concept of reaping and sowing – if we would like the Lord to bless us we know that we need to sow into other lives or do unto others as we would have them do unto us. 

Seeking the kingdom of God first (Mat. 6:33) is learning how to care about others, do those things to help them (Rom. 14:19).  In so doing, we do it unto God (Matt. 25:40).  BUT, that’s not what we talking about today.

Today, we’re going to talk a bit about ‘final’ spiritual reaping, the eternal destination type.
I’m going to paraphrase the following verses from Revelation chapter fourteen a tad:

Revelation 20:11-12    I saw a great white throne and him that sat on it, from whose face earth and heaven fled away and there was no place for them to hide.

I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God and the books were opened.  And another book was opened which is of life.  And the dead were judged according those things, their works, written in the books.

This sets the stage for the next seven verses.  We ARE and WILL BE held accountable for what we say and do in this life.  Notice the ‘books’, plural and the book which is of life, singular.  There’s a lot written about the unsaved, every act, every deed, every word.  Thank God we who are in Christ don’t have to worry about everything that we’ve ever done or said beings brought back up for us to see.  We are cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ!

Revelations 14:13-16  I heard a voice from heaven say to me write blessed are they who die in the Lord from now on.  And the Spirit says that they may have rest from their labors and their works will follow them.

I looked and saw a white cloud and He who sat upon it was like the Son of man and wore a golden crown and held a sharp sickle.

Another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud saying thrust in you sickle and reap for the harvest of the earth is ripe and ready.

And He who sat upon the cloud, thrust in His sickle and the earth was reaped.      

When we are with Jesus Christ in heaven, we all shall have a crown of life (James 1:12), but this precedes that event, so ask yourself ‘who is wearing the golden crown?’  I can think only of One.  How about you (Matt. 25:31-33)?  And so Jesus reaps the earth and we ask ‘who or what is He reaping?’

Matt. 25:34-40 gives us a hint – the sheep.  And the sheep are those who served Jesus/God in this life.  As we have done for the least in the kingdom of God, we have done it unto Jesus (v40).  And what is the end of these sheep?  But the righteous (enter) into eternal life (v46)
We know, as Christians, Jesus encourages us follow Him and keep our eyes focused on heaven for the gate into heaven is narrow (Matt. 7:13-14), so we should keep Jesus’ commandments as He kept the Father’s (John 15:10). 

We should run the race expecting to win it – give our utmost effort (1 Corinth. 9:24-27) through yielding ourselves to Jesus.

We show our faith BY our works, not the other way around (James 2:14-20).  Remember that the devils also believe and they know (Matt. 8:29) who Jesus is.  They also know who operates in the power of the Lord (Acts 19:13-16).

Yet we need to keep alert for Satan can show himself to be something good (2 Corinth. 11:14) so we need to be aware of deceivers (Matt. 7:15-20) who try to turn us astray from the original gospel of God (Jude v4 – only one chapter), even people who have done things in Jesus’ name (Matt. 7:21-23) may have a problem that without repentance (Acts 3:19), they will not enter in.  All that glitters is not gold.

 But we need to endure to the end (Matt. 24:13) so that we may be reaped into the kingdom of God.  When we are founded in Jesus Christ, we are like gold, silver and precious stones, receiving an appropriate reward.  Even when we are weak in our works but our faith remains steady, we ourselves enter in, our rewards just aren’t as good (1 Corinth. 3:11-15).  And we enter into the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and the new earth (Rev. 21:1-4).  Read the last two chapters in Revelation and see what God has in store for His children in eternity.

This angel wearing the crown (Jesus) is reaping souls into everlasting life.  He is gathering the saved!  Those who endured until the end for Jesus!  Eternal fellowship with the Father through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Now, let’s look at the flip side of this coin.

Rev. 14:17-20  And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven and he had a sharp sickle.

And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire, and he cried to him who had the sharp sickle “Thrust in you sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth for her grapes are fully ripe.”

And the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

And the winepress was trodden outside the city and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horses bridles (as deep as) for a distance of 1600 furlongs (@200 mi.)

The first angel with a sickle reaped those who are in Christ Jesus, but look at what happens with this second reaping.  The fruit (souls) of this reaping are crushed like grapes and life is utterly crushed out of them.

We can compare this to the “great white throne judgement” where those who were not found written in the book of life but were rather judged on their ‘works’ were cast into the lake of fire and brimstone.  This is the second (v14), eternal death.

Let’s take a look at some who will face this final destination:

 The goats (Matt. 25:41-46) stand before the Son of man (Jesus, Matt.25: 31) and are held accountable for what they didn’t do.  They didn’t feed, give drink, house strangers,  clothe or visit the sick or incarcerated.  Again Jesus attests that because they didn’t do it to the least of the kingdom, they didn’t do it unto Him.  And He tells them “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (v41)  And even though the goats thought they were headed to heaven, they just didn’t care enough about anybody else to assure their eternity.   They were too concerned only about themselves.  I’m OK, therefore I’m ‘in’.  N-O-O-O-OT!

Also, the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1-13).  Ten virgins were all waiting for the bridegroom.  They all knew that they had ‘salvation’ wrapped up.  The five wise virgins trimmed their lamps and took extra oil so they would always be prepared for the bridegroom.  The five foolish virgins trimmed their lamps but did not take extra oil, figuring they had plenty.  But the bridegroom lingered in coming and their lamps went out.  They tried to borrow from the five wise virgins, but no go and while they were out trying to buy more oil the bridegroom came, leaving them ‘out’.  Note those five foolish virgins knew where the bridegroom lived and knocked on His door but what did He tell them “Truly, I say to you, I don’t know you.”(v12).  And they weren’t allowed in.  They didn’t care enough continue living in Jesus and became slack along the way and didn’t do what was necessary to stay focused for eternity.  We don’t know when Jesus is returning, so we have to be ready at all times.

We know when our names are written in the book of life, our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus and we won’t be judged at the great white throne (that is only for those who died in their sin). 

But we do stand a judgment.  We are not judged for our salvation, but having accepted Jesus into our hearts and ‘hangin’ in there with Him, our names are written in the book of life, but we do stand what is referred to as the ‘judgment seat of Christ”.  Not a salvation judgment, but, if you will, a rewards banquet.  We are judged for the works we did for Christ.  If we did no works for Jesus, or what we did wasn’t worth much because of doubt or whatever, yet because we continued to believe on Him, we enter in to the kingdom of God.  We just miss out on what blessings Father may have had in store for us.  Those who did works for Jesus (like the sheep), will be rewarded accordingly with whatever God has decided to bless us with. (1 Corinth. 3:11-16)

So we see two reapings in Revelation chapter fourteen.  One for the saved and one for the unsaved.  We’ve seen a contrast on the fate of each and we should have a reasonable idea of what qualifies for each.  It hasn’t happened yet, so why are we concerned?

Today, we are dealing with two seasons.  One has already started (Jan. 2015) and the next is yet to come.  Both are for seven years.  Seven years represents resurrection, spiritual completeness or Father’s perfection.  This season is preparing a host for the resurrection of the dead and the lost.  The next season is for ‘bringing in the sheaves’, that Spiritual explosion we’re starting t hear about.
This current seven years, Father is preparing His children for a Spiritual explosion such as the world has never seen before.  The prophet Haggai speaks of the latter house being greater than the former (Hag. 2:9).  Theologians have translated this as in reference to the outpouring of the Holy Ghost.  We read in the book of Acts how the Holy Ghost worked through the apostles and the early church.  And we must admit that the church hasn’t acted like that in a long time.  But this Spiritual explosion (Ezek. 36:27) will make those days look like child’s play in comparison.  Much of the church will come to know, beyond any doubt, that God is THE God, Creator, Savior, Eternal Father (Jer. 24:7) and that we are His children and we will know this so deeply in our hearts that it can’t be shaken.  AND we will live and act like we know it (John 15:12-14)!  And Father is using blessings, restoration of things lost and restitution of things stolen to encourage all of us (believers) to come into an active role in this event so we can move boldly and effectively in the next season.

Man is man and because of pride, or whatever, the apostate church (those who function like the Pharisees of 2000 years ago, the goats, the foolish virgins) and much of the unsaved will remain so.  Nonetheless, God will work His work and those whose lives He touches, will know it and live it abiding in God’s power becoming effective soldiers in the next season.

Father is preparing His church, His children to serve, to prepare new believers and to reconstitute the current church back into His principles of life (Ezek. 37:1-14 – dry bones).

For six seasons He has been preparing us and we are now in the seventh season (for this, a season = @100 years, beginning with Wycliffe’s 1st English translation of the bible so the common man would have something to read – not in Latin).  As the prophet Ezekiel said that the bones gathered together, attached by sinew, covered with muscle and the skin, the church as gone through growth from getting a bible the common man can read to the Protestant Reformation, the Holiness Movement, the Pentecostal Movement and through the Charismatic movement so the church can look something like what Father intended His church to look like!  And now?  Now He has been, and continues to infuse His Holy Ghost into our lives, bringing us up out of our graves, bringing us into our own land, our proper place in His scheme (Ezek. 37:1-14) so that we can know that He IS our God and we are His people (Jer. 32:38).

It’s not our job to ‘just know what’s comin’ down’, but to be ready when it does happen for we don’t know exactly when He’s returning (Matt. 25:13).  Think about it, Paul, Peter, John, Matthew and the rest looked for Jesus to come back in their lifetime and today, we are still waiting.  So we need to be and help others be ready! (Matt. 28:18-20, Acts 1:8).    Will all of us become worldwide evangelists?  No.  But Father does give us own sphere, no matter how small or how great, to be a testimony for His love.

 There will be a reaping
When the Lord calls us all home (1 Thess. 4:16-17 – the Lord shall shout with the voice of an arch-angel, the trump of God and the dead shall rise first, then those who are alive on the earth shall be caught up in the clouds with them)
Or when He takes us (personally) out of this world (Luke 23:43 – today, you will be with Me in paradise)

To where will people be reaped
            The lake of fire and brimstone?
            The New Jerusalem, the new heaven and new earth?

We don’t know when the reaping shall occur.  We just need to always be ready for His call.