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How nice of you to drop in and visit my page. It's actually not really about myself, but about the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a place you can come, should you find time, and find encouragement and free resources for spiritual growth. I pray you will be blessed and provoked to follow on to know the Lord intimately yourself. Seek HIM and HIS Face for HE alone is WORTHY!! He alone is lovely! Most of what is written on this blog is written by myself, during my study time with the Lord unless otherwise stated. If it's otherwise, the author's name will be included.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Offended and Growing Cold

In Matthew 24, Jesus has been at the temple with His disciples, who are boasting in the glory of and showing Him this building and the buildings attached to it. You might wonder why they felt the need to defend the temple. That word 'shew' here comes from a root word that means to prove, demonstrate, to put on display something that belongs to one's self. That's indicative of pride and confidence in that thing. But Jesus turns to look at them and says all these things you see will be torn down. There won't be anything left of them. What a shock His declaration must have been to these disciples. Immediately they get alone with Him and want to know when this will happen and what will be the signs, or indications that these events are near, especially His return, His Presence, and the completion of the age? When will be the end be? What are the indicators that it is close?

First, He warns them about being deceived. Take heed that no one leads you astray, or seduces you from following the straight and narrow way. Many shall come in His name, (in His position, place, professing to be the voice of God, the man of God, claiming they have the anointing of God). Christ means 'anointed One'. There are many things that would lead us astray. There is the tempter, who tries to seduce us, and our own human reasoning which the devil can exploit and manipulate if we are not careful. There is the pull of the world, and again, our own human, carnal desires. And then you have so much corrupted teaching of the Word of God. There are so many religious celebrities out there-which is clearly not Scriptural but they have a disturbingly large following. They make merchandise out of simple people who take it for granted they speak truth and do not take the time to search these things out for themselves.

He said there would be warfare, and I believe that means both in the natural and the spiritual. The spiritual warfare raging against God's children right now is hard, and wearing many out. You are going to hear reports of wars, but don't be frightened for all these things must come to pass. There is going to be nations rise against nations, (racism will be rampant), kingdom against kingdom. People will be hungry and destitute because food will be scarce. Again, I believe this applies spiritually as well as physically. There is a great lack of shepherds in the pulpits actually feeding the sheep. There are those who are, but for the most part, it's a dead letter being ministered by a carnal preacher who is not filled with or led by the Holy Spirit or one who has let the oil leak out of his vessel. There truly is a famine for the Word of God but He promised to feed His children in such times. The key is looking to HIM, depending on HIM not man. And for those who are hungry, He knows how to lead you to green pastures. He knows if you want truth and will lead you to it.

He said there would plagues, disease, pestilence, earthquakes (a great shaking in many places), and there have been literal earthquakes that have been devastating. But there is also a shaking in our lives, too, or will be, in which He will shake those who are His loose from anything they are holding on to that is not Him. The famine, the pestilence, the warfare, the racism, the earthquakes, these He said are just the beginning of sorrows, like the birth pangs of a woman who is about to give birth. He warned them His people would be betrayed, surrendered or given up to prison, to be pressured, persecuted, unfairly burdened, and that great tribulation and trouble, and great anguish. Many would be put to death, and those who are His will be hated, persecuted for being like Christ, for Christ is the One who is hated. Remember He said they have hated me and they will hate you.

It will be a time of rampant racism, with deceivers on every corner, warfare raging all around, famine and hunger which leaves people weak and vulnerable, and everything that can be shaken is being shaken. It's a time when God's people are being terribly burdened, persecuted, accused, hated, with many being slaughtered simply for being like Jesus, belonging to Him, and standing up for what is right. What is the result of such an environment?

Mat 24:10-13 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

There are a lot of things happening right now in the news that are stirring up a very unholy wrath in people. I have seen such a vicious hatred and malice directed at this young lady in Florida who was acquitted on charges she murdered her daughter that is is every bit as evil as the crime she was accused of committing. To partake of such will make you unclean. This is something that as terrible as it was, will pull at you, manipulate human emotions and seduce one into speaking evil and thinking evil.

Our government is doing things, saying things and behaving in such a way that makes you wonder if they haven't lost their minds, while they make this country the laughingstock of the world. This also can manipulate human emotions into wanting to get in the flesh and do something, fight against these things with carnal weapons. Flesh always wants to do something, amen? But it will distract you and seduce you away from your primary post and mission which is the kingdom of God and His purpose is to seek and save the lost. Remember, saints, Jesus testified that if His kingdom were of this world, then would His servants fight. Our warfare is not carnal, but spiritual. Don't be drawn away from Him and His life, His purpose by being seduced into getting entangled in this world's affairs. It's not your home if you belong to Him. Don't be moved away from that hope, and from His mission.

At the same time, there are as Jesus warned, false prophets and teachers that are leading people into error. When you think of the great falling away that Paul warned about, look to the pulpit first, not those who have quit coming to church. For the most part, preachers have fallen away from preaching the cross, the new covenant, the necessity of the Holy Spirit having the leadership in our lives. It's all about being open minded and understanding or being so legalistic their holiness is all wrapped up in rules their flesh can be made to keep. I talk to believers and ask them do you know what the cross means in the Christian life? Have you ever heard or understand what the new covenant means? And I'm met with blank stares or admissions that they have never studied it in their Bibles. I can see they've never thought to study these things. Why? These truths are key to an overcoming life in these last days. I believe the enemy has so clouded or distracted people's minds with the lie that these truths are too hard to understand, and aren't relevant that people just don't seek understanding of these things. However, if you have heard BH Clendennen from Beaumont, TX preach, or David Wilkerson preach, as well as the other ministers at Times Square Church in NYC, then you likely have heard these truths. They are so vital.

Jesus said in the last days many would be offended. Why? What's going to be happening that will cause this? What does it mean to be offended? Remember, we aren't to lean to our own understanding, folks. Don't pick up the Webster's Dictionary to look up that word. Pick up a Strong's Concordance and look up the Greek meaning of the word. Remember, it's HIS truth not ours that leads to life. His way, His life, not ours.

That word offended (G4624 skandalizo) is to scandalize, entrap, trip up, cause to sin or stumble into apostasy, because of displeasure. Not pleased with the way things are, or upset about something that is going on and people are manipulated into sin because human emotion is being exploited and provoked by what is happening. It is a stumbling block that put is in someone's way that can or will make them fall into sin or apostasy. What about the great number of people who spent weeks watching this trial unfold in Florida and neglected their Bibles and prayer during that time? Vulnerable to manipulation, to being offended. It can cause them to begin to lose faith in the one they should trust and obey-i.e. God. It can cause you to unfavorably or unjustly judge another. This can also make you indignant, angry with displeasure at something, or someone, and provoke you to act inappropriately. As the remainder of Mat_24:10 says "many shall be offended and shall betray and hate one another."

So let's look at what He's saying will be the result of being offended. It leads to betrayal. That word means also to surrender or give up, to put in prison, or into someone else's hands as Jesus was at Gethsemane thrust into the hands of the Jewish council. To deliver up treacherously to be judged, condemned, punished, tormented, scourged and put to death. That is what the word 'betrayal' here means. Now, you say you are a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, who came to seek and save the lost-including sinners whose behavior offends you, but you because you are offended by what they've done or got by with, you'd rather call down the fire of God on them? Think about that. It's unlike Christ. It's doing to them what was done to Him by HIS OWN PEOPLE. It's basically turning your back on them and by default handing them over to the devil to be destroyed without a fight or care for their souls. How wicked is that when you see it in the light of truth? Religious people get offended and they disagree over what Scripture means and instead of humbling themselves before the Lord seeking truth, they in pride assume they are right and distance themselves, often with contempt and utter disregard from the offending individual.

THANK GOD He did not treat us this way. They will hate one another-they won't love each other like HE said to. This word means also to persecute, or pursue one who is detested. Now, is this not what ill words do when spoken by someone offended by another? Instead of praying for that person for God to help them, teach them better or deliver them from their sin, they just write them off, judge them, condemn them and pronounce they are worthy of judgment (while meaning wrath) of God and go on unconcerned. I believe this is why Jesus warned about being careful how we judge others. That kind of selfish judgment is done because that person doesn't have the heart of God to suffer being hurt or let down, and would rather continue on their way being offended, telling everyone they know, every time they talk to somebody how this person did them wrong and how they didn't deserve to be so mistreated. I almost want to say "grow up crybaby!" here.

And then others may handle it differently. They may withdraw in bitterness and isolate themselves from those they feel have let them down or offended them. Both reactions are wrong and neither reflect the heart of God. Both are rooted in the selfish human nature which makes them evil. So what happened to the meek and quiet spirit God considers so valuable? How we need this operating in our lives! How many times I've vented my frustration about something or someone to another and later had to repent because who I vented to didn't see or hear Christ but a misrepresented something full of itself, concerned with its own needs and hurt feelings. Corrupt! Oh, Lord help me. Give me grace to face this. Please.

Iniquity is the condition of being without the law, ignorant of it or not, or to behave how one wants with contempt for the law, deliberately violating the law with contempt and utter disregard. Wickedness. Because we see this rampant in our society, it's going to have devastating results. Consider a pole with a concrete ball shaped object secured to the top of it. Now if every day someone with strong arms and determination stood there from daylight to dark pounding that concrete ball with a steel rod, how long do you think it would take to reduce the ball to powder? Now, consider the mind or heart of a true believer being pummeled daily by ungodly events and pressure from powers of darkness. All these terrible things we see happening around us are like that steel rod wielded in the hands of any angry devil. They are things he uses to constantly assault the love and faith of God's people. People get battered and bruised in this warfare, and he is speaking great swelling words to wear out the saints, as prophesied in Dan_7:25. All those disappointments, hurts, let downs, pain; he always reminds us and beats up on us about them and then we, filled with frustration take it out on others if we aren't very careful. For the most part, we are on the defensive instead of offensive. We are licking our wounds instead of fighting back the devil and his lies. And all the time he is whispering, if God's so good why would He let this happen? And that person who is tired, weary, hurting, can easily be influenced if they don't run to the Lord for shelter. But Jesus warned in Mat_24:12 'Because iniquity shall increase, abound, multiply, the love of many shall grow cold.'

This constant assault of a flood of evil will sweep them away if they are standing on a foundation of flesh, of human reasoning, human strength and human effort; they will not be able to hold on. Only those in Christ will be secure. Only those standing in the power of the Holy Spirit will be able to hold on because HE is their strength and He is able to secure them and keep them from falling. The enemy wears God's people out by wars, crusades, massacres, lies, constant attempts to deceive and lead astray, temptations, afflictions, troubles, trials, a constant stream of negative things shot at their minds, their eyes, to discourage and overwhelm them. This word for 'wear out' means to harass constantly, to wear away or wear out, to afflict.

Head to 2Th_2:4 and you not only have the behavior of the person who is called anti Christ but you have the definition of the human self will in every one of us. "Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God and that is worshiped so the he as God sits in the temple of God (which we are) showing himself that he is (his own) God. He's the opposite, the adversary of all that is revealed as being like or of God. That which provokes a worship of God. He has to rule, he has to have the adoration, the attention, the praise, the glory drawn to himself and away from anything like or of God. Which leaves the beast, his nature, his ways will be worshiped and that is death, destruction and darkness. You have reality TV shows celebrating and glorifying it, you have lawmakers protecting it, and that which is good and right and Godly being vilified as hate speech, as politically incorrect. Calling evil good and good evil. This is where we are. And oh, why aren't we heading with burdened hearts to our prayer closets instead of the streets with inflammatory signs that are only going to stir up flesh and produce more evil? That is not how Jesus did it, folks.

Consider the recent passage of laws allowing same sex marriage in places like NY most recently and the people who supported this law were nearly partying in the streets up there, while many misguided (offended) Christians and religious people were up there holding signs up with vile things on them and inflammatory statements on them, screaming at these homosexuals and lesbians that they were demon possessed, that God hates this, and probably worse, I don't know I wasn't there. But I saw some of the pictures of the signs on the news, some of the people holding them. And I found this too, very offensive. I found the behavior of these people more offensive than those celebrating the passage of this law. They were misrepresenting Christ. And I find that very offensive-even when I have misrepresented Him in any way and I have had to repent for attitudes, feelings, thoughts, words, deeds that were unlike Him.

Sometimes things originate out of our human hearts and minds rather than His Spirit and His life. That is always a bad thing. But unlike many I wasn't enraged by these things, just deeply saddened and grieved. I recognized that sinners who have never known God, never had His light of truth shine into their darkness, they don't even know they are in chains in darkness. I say that because I know what that is like. I remember being bound by drugs, by hate, by fear, shame, and one day at the foot of my bed under heavy conviction, just hitting my knees with a desperate cry for help in my heart that couldn't get past the word "please!" I remember closing my eyes and seeing a vision of a door opening and seeing myself chained up like an animal in a dark corner. I saw this silhouette of HIM standing there, keys in hand, surrounded by this beautiful light I hadn't even known existed. Until that door opened I hadn't even known I was in chains or in darkness. But without a word, He let me know I was free and I heard those chains break and pop and felt them fall off me and I followed Him out of that place and I never want to go back. I guess that is why my heart hurts so much for even the worst of sinners-as He said 'they know not what they do.'

Church people, religious people are very quick to holler for judgment, for punishment, the "God will get you" stuff. Oh, how awful that misrepresents Him. How that trivializes the suffering He went through on the cross for their souls. I pray the Lord help us see this. I look around at the church, and so often what I find is a critical attitude coming from the pulpit, a total lack of understanding of sin and the human heart, an eager willingness to blame people for being sinners, and an inability to grasp why they wouldn't want to serve Jesus. Show them an accurate witness of Him and they will either run to Him or from Him but let them see TRUTH so they can make the choice based on truth not a lie!!!!

What I don't find is the manifestation of Christ or the life changing power of His Presence in our midst to deal with the many things plaguing society and the church in these last of the last days of time. And I grieve and I fret. I know I shouldn't fret and I try not to, I repent every time but I long for Him to show up in His might and power and deliver us from ourselves and from religion and its offended pride.

These are just three things that have been plaguing my mind lately. I have warned people about this dark hatred being directed toward Casey Anthony and her family and how they needed to realize God was willing to forgive those who crucified His only begotten Son and He's willing to forgive her. This dark, malevolent hate being directed toward her will make people unclean. I found myself getting angry when she was found not guilty and wondering but by the grace of God was not swept up this flood of rage and hate being directed at her.

1-Many would be offended, 2-because iniquity would abound the love of many would grow cold. 3-But he that shall endure to the end will be saved.

There is much to be endured, as we consider things that are happening and coming against the church of the living God in these last days. That word endure means to stay under, to remain, to bear the trials, persevere, to abide, patiently suffer these things. He goes right on and says but the Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world. That is so the lost can be sought and rescued, folks. That is our purpose to reflect and be an accurate witness of Christ so those in darkness can see His life in us that is the light of men. The only way we can endure these things is to abide in Him. To lean heavily on His Holy Spirit for our strength. To stand on His promises that He is able to keep us secure and not let us fall. There is a remedy, there are safeguards against this:

"Great peace have they love thy law and nothing shall by any means offend them" Psa_119:165
His law is His Word and His Word was made flesh and dwelled among us. He left us His Word, and His Holy Spirit to make it alive in us and to us and through us. You cannot love what and who you do not know. The only place we can get the love needed to keep us from abandoning The Way, The Truth and The Life is from above as well. The human heart is not capable of this kind of real and enduring love that will be necessary to stand in these dark days. Rom_5:5 tells us where this comes from and 1Co_13:1 tells us what kind of love this is. We can have nothing that is not given to us. But it all depends on what we are feeding on. What are we feeding on? His life, His truth, which will strengthen and guard our minds and hearts from evil? Or are we feeding our minds on something that provokes our hearts and minds to wrath? We feel we just have to know what's happening? That kind of morbid curiosity is of the flesh and should be denied. It feeds the wrong nature. Even though we might call our response righteous indignation and begin to think and talk like the sons of thunder, like James and John in Luk_9:54? They got so offended over how people rejected Jesus and would not receive Him, they were ready to call the fiery judgment of God down on these people. Jesus quickly called them on that, did He not folks? Is not offended religious pride deadly?

Luk 9:55-56 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, You know not what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

The wrath of man never works the righteousness of God, does it? If you follow the letter of the Word in the wrong spirit you are still wrong. Slow to anger, slow to speak, that's what the Word says. God gave us 2 ears, 2 eyes, but only one mouth, folks. What does that tell you? His people, His own disciples were willing to write these people off, cut them off and judge them and execute them right there on the spot. They were His disciples but they did not reflect His heart at that point, nor His purpose. They could have quoted the Scriptures and said Elijah did it. But that was a different situation and that was not the purpose of this precious Christ who came into our world.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter took a sword, not understanding the Word of the Lord and or the heart of the Lord and cut a man's ear off trying to defend GOD. Consider that. As if this Almighty, Omnipotent GOD needed a puny man's weapon or strength to defend Him? Laughable. You know, flesh always wants to do something, to strike out. That's religious or personal pride that has been offended. That's a desire to inflict pain for pain. Payback. It's also ungodly and carnal. If we truly love Him, and remember where that love comes from-not ourselves but HIM, if we truly love Him, then should we not spend time with Him, in His Word, letting Him reveal Himself to us so we know HIM?

If the people who were in New York holding up hateful signs, giving the devil and the world opportunity and reason to mock His holy Name, His holy Word, had instead been obedient to the Word and brought that offended religious pride to the cross, and hit their knees acknowledging this is a spiritual battle that can't be won with carnal weapons, and began to fast and pray what might God have done? When He comes down by His Spirit He can melt the hardest of hearts and send fear into hearts that will be pricked and brought to repentance. Only the Holy Spirit can convince people of sin, folks. We can preach the truth from every street corner, but if our hearts aren't right, if our motives aren't pure, and in union with His own, He will not anoint that. If He didn't send us to do what we are doing it won't accomplish no matter how man Scriptures we quote. The Word of God preached by someone operating in their own strength, in their own wisdom and understanding will just bring people into bondage and death. It's when that Word is spoken through a surrendered, obedient vessel infused with the life and power of the Holy Spirit, letting the Spirit do the talking that the yoke is broken and captives are set free and blind eyes are open.

He said bless those who persecute you, don't curse them! Don't threaten them with His judgment! You are out of your calling and your place. That's like trying to describe the color blue to a man born blind-it can't be done. They can't see it because they are in darkness. It makes no sense to them. The natural man will not, cannot receive or understand the truths of God or the ways of God. They want nothing to do with Him. Remember Jesus said the Father had to draw them before they could even come? Oh, Father help us see people through YOUR eyes!

He said give place to wrath. That is a poor translation in the KJV. Examine it carefully, in context. In the Hebrew those words mean to give up, bring forth, to deliver up, strike or smite the condition, the location or spot where this wrath is (Rom_12:19). That thing in you that rises up in anger, take that thing bring it into captivity just like an evil imagination and lay it at the cross. It will not, cannot work the righteousness of God for it's rooted in a corrupt human nature.

Oh, Lord we don't understand except You show us and open our understanding to Your truth. Please forgive us for allowing ourselves to get drawn so far out of the way by the sight of our eyes, the pride of our life and the lust of our flesh. Please wash and cleanse us, as Your goodness draws us to repentance in ashes and mourning for our foolishness, for time wasted, for being such a misrepresentation of You while we thought we did You service. Please fix us, Lord, make us like You, and help us be willing to pay the price. Grant that Your love, Your wisdom, Your life which You died to give us be able to flow freely through us to a lost and dying world. Help us remember and understand where we were when You found us, and help us have compassion on those who don't know You. Holy Spirit, please come and take back control of Your church from the hands of man. We repent for our wickedness, we are sorry we presumed to try to run things ourselves.

2Ch 7:14 If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

The land we need healing is our churches, folks. The world is going down and America with it. Our only reason for being here is to be a vessel Christ can live and work in to seek and save the lost.

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