Subtle Mercies

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Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

A question, that it is often posed, and used as an accusation of lack from God, is the question of mercy. Believers and nonbelievers alike often question if God is a merciful God. It is easy to live the blessed life when the big paycheck comes in or the loved one we have been praying for is suddenly healed and no longer at death’s door. The point is that we believe and receive the blessings and mercies of God when things are seemingly going well for us. But, what do we do when it is our season to suffer and bear our crosses? Are we able to still see the mercies of God, His justice, and unending love for us? Are we willing to even see His love and mercy in our times of trial? Many of us are not! As soon as trial comes or our season of suffering has arrived, our faith becomes shipwrecked and our belief that God is merciful and loves us is cast wayside. Why me Lord? What have I done to deserve this? Sound familiar? It should, we have all said it at one time or another! But, even still, God remains merciful and His love for us never changes!

The title of this article, “Subtle Mercies”, was chosen with purpose. It rightly suggests that at times we have to intently and with purpose look for the mercies of God. They are not hidden from us; we only have to dig for these nuggets of truth and love. Their subtlety suggests that we are required to pursue God and seek His mercy and love to find them. In our quest we do find mercy and love and a new closeness to our God. If it is worth possessing then it is worth searching for. Personally, I believe God planned it this way. Sometimes His mercies are as obvious as the smile on our face and at other times we must search for them with deliberate determination.

Allow me to share with you one occasion of these subtle mercies I refer to. It is documented in the Old Testament of our Bibles. I’m sure we all remember the story of Moses and how God used him to deliver the Israelites from the hands of slavery under the captivity of Pharaoh. But, do we see the whole story, the “big picture”, and beyond the obvious miracles, blessings, and mercies?

God began His call upon Moses by laying on his heart an unexplained love for his own people and distaste for Pharaoh and the Egyptians. In a sense, God was bringing Moses back to his “roots”. Ultimately, Moses was used of God to deliver His people Israel from the captivity of Pharaoh. These were a stiff-necked people with constant complaints and serious disbelief that Moses or God had their best interest at heart. Let us not forget that God had responded to their cries in the first place. Their prayers for deliverance were being heard and granted. Nevertheless, they remained an infantile bunch and wondered the desert for forty years with Moses in tow as God’s called leader.

During these forty years Moses faced many trials in leading his people for God. Sometimes He was pleasing to God and other times displeasing. Sounds a lot like us too don’t it? Nevertheless, God always remained faithful and merciful to Moses. Several times Moses did quite the opposite of what God had commanded him and furthermore in an angry burst, intentionally broke the tablets of stone that had God’s law inscribed by His own finger! Again, this sounds like us, huh? Foolishness in the wrath of our anger! God was still faithful to extend love and mercy to Moses and He does us too. How many times in our lives have we deserved the wrath of God? Equally, how many times has He extended the hand of grace and mercy to us even though we did not deserve it? Countless, concerning both!

Although there are many, let us note some of the mercies extended to Moses. He (Moses) asked to see God’s glory. God allowed him to see His back as He passed by from the cleft of a rock. Mercy! God allowed Moses to make two new tablets of stone like the previous ones and rewrote His commandments on them for Moses to deliver to the people of Israel. A second chance! Mercy! Although God had told Moses He could not enter the Promised Land because of his disobedience concerning the water and the rock, God did allow him (Moses) to look upon the land of promise in all its beauty. Moses saw with his own eyes what he had suffered and fought for in bringing Israel to the land flowing with milk and honey. Some say this was a cruel act of God and went along with the punishment of Moses. No, I believe it was an act of mercy by allowing Moses to see the fruit of his work and reasons for leadership, although not perfect, were not in vain. Mercy! God had taken Moses atop a mountain to see the land and when Moses had beheld it, he died. God Himself buried Moses and the location of his grave was never revealed. Mercy! Moses is the only person in history that has ever been buried at the hand of God. Burial is an act of honor and respect. Mercy!

Let us not be disillusioned or misinformed. Although God is a merciful God, there are still consequences for our actions. But, we must always remember that the punishment and chastisement of God is in itself merciful. God is many things, but above all He is loving and merciful!

The next time we tend to doubt the mercies of God, let us look upon the life of Moses and view fresh that our doubt simply isn’t true. God is not looking for perfect people, He is looking for those who will believe and receive His love and mercy. All honor, glory, and thanksgiving are to our God, for His love and mercies endure forever! Amen!

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Sympathy in Our Weaknesses: Surviving Temptation

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“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

(Hebrews 4:15)

Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

Greetings and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! I pray all is going well with you and that you continue to experience the abundant blessings of God.

In this article, I will share on a subject that I believe is often overlooked in the basic teachings of Christianity. Because of this oversight, Christian’s are often left to “fend” for themselves, thus the flock scattered and seemingly left without hope or answers. This is tragic because the end result is often discouragement heaped with a healthy dose of condemnation.

The subject I refer to is “temptation” and believe it or not, it is not a dirty word. Every child of God faces, and will face, temptation numerous times while upon this earth. It is of utmost importance that believers understand that temptation in and of itself is not sin! What we do with the temptation we face determines it becoming sin or not. All temptation, regardless of form or how it is received, comes from the enemy! God never tempts anyone with evil!

Our enemy knows well the weaknesses of humankind! He is not referred to as the “most subtle” without good reason. Like any good shoulder going into battle, knowledge of the strategies of your enemy gives great advantage. Through the scriptures the Lord has prepared the Christian soldier for warfare.

First of all, the enemy always cheats, and will attack by appealing to the desires of human nature! These desires include appealing to our love of beautiful things, pride, and hunger. We can call these areas of attack, “the lust of the flesh”, “the lust of the eyes,” and “the pride of life”. (I John 2:16) Every temptation that comes at us will appeal to one or all three! In the Garden of Eden, Eve was tempted with all three and so was Jesus during His period of temptation in the wilderness! This brings me to the main point, the temptation of Jesus and how that relates to us.

Our enemy holds no punches and will attack from all directions. Sometimes multiple directions in one assault! He tempted Jesus from multiple directions! We find the account concerning the three ways Jesus was tempted in Matthew chapter four (4). The serpent of old hurled three vicious temptations at Jesus: “command these stones to turn to bread”, appealed to His hunger; “throw yourself down”, appealed to His pride, and “all these things I will give you if you will fall down and worship me”, appealed to His like of beautiful things, all three fall under the desires of human nature, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

Now, we have learned the strategy employed by our enemy in assaulting us, but what about our counterattack and weapons of war? Let us go back to Matthew chapter four (4) and see how Jesus handled the situation. In corresponding order, let’s listen to Jesus’ reply to each assault: “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”; You shall not tempt the Lord your God,” and “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve”. Alas! Jesus used His Sword, the Word of God, to counterattack the enemy! What was the end result? “Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him”.

Temptation is a serious matter and can bring great distress to the believer. The attacks are often very intense and always strike at our most venerable weaknesses. That said; we are not left orphaned without the care of our Shepherd. It brings us great comfort to know that “we have a High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses, was in all points tempted as we are, yet remained without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

Of equal comfort are the words of the Lord in I Corinthians 10:12-13: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” This scripture does not indicate that God is the tempter, satan is, and God will not allow him to go beyond what we are able to withstand.

Beloved, God, in His mercies, has taught us the strategy of attack employed by our enemy, as well as, the weapon we use to overcome him. Remember, temptation of itself is not sin; it is how we respond that births sin. I pray that in our time of temptations, we use them as a means to strengthen our Lord’s overcoming power in us, and not allow them to merely be the exposure of our weaknesses. We are engaged in the battle, but the enemy has already lost the war! Beloved, “fight the good fight of faith”!

From Weeping to Joy: There is Hope

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For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

 Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

Greetings and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! My most recent articles were centered on confession, repentance, apostasy, and the general degrading of our world. Although these things are true, and we are living in evil and turbulent times, it is not my desire to leave you orphaned without a shepherd, or hope for a brighter tomorrow.

It is true that Jesus warned us that perilous times would come. There would be wars and rumors of wars, nation will rise against nation, and lawlessness will abound. But, He also told us not to be troubled, that these things had to come to pass! He did not predict uncertain times and leave us hopeless. No, He promised that He would send the comforter, His Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth and lead us home. He promised to never leave nor forsake us and that He would always be with us.

As each day passes across the globe, it is easy to become discouraged, distraught, and loose the joy of our salvation. Another innocent life taken, another bomb detonated another massacre, and another bad governmental decision. We all face these things in our daily life and some people and countries more than others. Oh, but beloved, we have an eternal hope! An eternal promise of a life without sadness, pain, suffering, disease, war, and one of constant and eternal peace! The Lord Himself says, “Fear not for I am with you”, and “Be still and know that I am God”! What promises! In these promises He reminds us that He is control and never caught off guard!

Beloved we must keep our eyes on heaven and our focus on Jesus. He commands us to “be of good cheer as He has overcome the world”! We have nothing to overcome beloved, only to remain “in” Him! He asks us to persevere, “hang in there, I have everything under control”, as we patiently await His return. We are promised to pass from suffering into glory! Let the words of the Apostle Paul become ours: “For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us”. Notice the word choice, “shall” be revealed, not might, maybe, or possibly, but “shall”, a single word with a firm promise! Although we may endure weeping for a night, we are promised that joy will come in the morning!

We cannot find comfort and encouragement in the things of this world. Money, possessions, relationships, addictions, and status simply will not do. If any comfort and security is found in these at all, it is only temporary, as God alone gives eternal comfort, security, and joy. The relentless pursuit of these things only leads to a broken heart and shattered dreams. We find what we lack in the giver of the gifts and not the gifts themselves! Happiness is an earmark of Christianity, but this happiness cannot be found in the world. It is only obtained through Christ Jesus! If you find your life in turmoil and happiness has far escaped you, then maybe it is time to acknowledge your Creator and Savior.

I have found that in times of dryness and discouragement, I am brought back to peace and serenity through the hope and encouragement offered in the scriptures. The Word of God is living, needing no qualifications and speaks for itself. I am going to yield to the Holy Spirit and use the remainder of this article to share with you some scriptures of promise, hope, and encouragement. I pray that you will read each one slowly and carefully, thoroughly chewing and digesting every precious morsel. We can’t claim the promises we don’t know, and we can’t know them unless we read! Sit back, relax, and allow the Spirit of God to speak through the power and love of His Word.

Father, I pray that as every person reads these scriptures, you will speak to their heart. I ask you to reveal peace, comfort, encouragement, and reassurance as we read and meditate on Your Word. Hope can only be found in You, and we come now seeking Your face and voice. Thank You for loving us, securing our future, and delivering us from evil. With thankful hearts we pray, in Jesus’ name, ~Amen

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

(Jeremiah 29:11-13)

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;

Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!

There is no want to those who fear Him.

The young lions lack and suffer hunger;

But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.”

(Psalm 34:8-10)

 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower;

The righteous run to it and are safe”

(Proverbs 18:10)

 “But those who wait on the Lord

Shall renew their strength;

They shall mount up with wings like eagles,

They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint.”

(Isaiah 40:31)

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends”

(John 15:13)

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

(Romans 8:28)

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

(Romans 8:31)

 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

(Romans 8:38-39)

 “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

(I Corinthians 13:12-13)

 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

(II Corinthians 4:16-18)

 “…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

(Ephesians 3:17-19)

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing”

(James 1:2-4)

 “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,

And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,

But the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

(Psalm 34:18-19)

“In the multitude of my anxieties within me,

Your comforts delight my soul”

(Psalm 94:19)

 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.

When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,

Nor shall the flame scorch you.”

(Isaiah 43:2)

 “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,

Because His compassions fail not.

They are new every morning;

Great is Your faithfulness.

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,

” Therefore I hope in Him!”

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,

To the soul who seeks Him.

It is good that one should hope and wait quietly

For the salvation of the Lord”

(Lamentations 3:22-26)

 “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope”

(Romans 15:4)

 “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

(Romans 15:13)

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:13-14)

 “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.”

(II Thessalonians 2:16-17)

 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”

(I Peter 1:3)

 “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away”

(Revelation 21:4)

        Beloved I pray for your continued blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ! No matter where you find yourself in this world, He knows where you are, and all His promises are for you. I hope you read the above scriptures. I promise that they contain life and are a sure cure for what ails you. ~Amen

A Call to Repentance, Church!

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Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

Today, as I was reading over my past articles, I had another “epiphany” from the Lord. I read my own writings occasionally, so that I too may learn something from them. I have found in the course of my spiritual walk with Jesus that He often will teach me through the words I speak and the things I write. This is certainly a lovely experience, as I am assured that the words I speak or write are Holy Spirit inspired!

As I reread my latest post, “The Love Trigger: God or Emotionalism”, I had the “church” come into spiritual view. I here refer to the church of Jesus corporately and not individual denominations. After all, if you have accepted the blood of Jesus as the payment for your sins, then we are one big family sharing the same blood line and Father! Therefore the only division needed is the “believers” and the “nonbelievers”, right? “The Love Trigger” article dealt with humanity seemingly only able to come together in times of tragedy.  If you are curious, please read that article, as here I am going to apply the same observations to the “church”.

I will call this writing a “holy spanking”, or at least a little “church correction”. When the “church” was birthed in the Book of Acts, love, unity, and caring for the brothers and sisters was at the very core of its inception. Church in those days was certainly different than the churches of today! Those of yesteryear promoted equal and fair treatment among the brethren, none went without, and unity and love were the virtues of the day. The church creed was clear and understood by all. In those days they truly lived for each other.

Now, let us look at the churches of our day and see the vast differences. We are not unified, our love has waxed cold, and at best some are only “lukewarm”. Our first love (Jesus) has been replaced with works, programs, activities, love of money, coffee shops, bookstores, concerts, bake sales, bible colleges, and I could go on for a while, but I think you get my point! Jesus told us to occupy until He comes, but I’m sure He had different ideas about what we are to be doing!

Our churches have been turned into New Age country clubs and self-help programs. I assure you that you do not need “The Twelve Steps to a Better You”, you only need one step, choose Jesus Christ if you want a better you! Our churches have become banks and our Pastor’s bank presidents. More time is spent on preaching the tithe and offering message than on the meat of the gospel. Some of our churches are producing selfish and gluttonous Christians with the teaching of “sowing your seed for a large return.”  Of course the seed referred to is money. I have read and reread that scripture numerous times. I’ll let you in on some gospel meat; the seed is the word of God! Are we going to take our money and possessions with us when we leave this earth? Certainly not! Therefore, why strive so hard for the things that hold no spiritual or heavenly value? The Old Testament tithe consisted of fruits and vegetables. Take a bushel basket of these offerings to church next Sunday and watch the response. Green is what is desired, but not cabbage and beans! I’m not suggesting not giving monetarily at all, as I am well aware that it costs to keep the lights on. I do have issue with million dollar ministries not producing Godly fruit!

The house of God is not Wall Street and the only investments we should be making are in the lives of others. We have a hateful and evil world going to hell while our churches get rich and fat. What shameless nonsense! Is this the way Jesus wanted His church? The King of Kings and Lord of Lords came to this earth to serve and save dying humanity! He is the example we should be following, serving others! The very word “minister” means “servant”! The church looks just like the world! Sometimes uglier!

Our churches have become institutions of shameless wounding, and we wonder why people don’t want to go to church. Personally, I don’t blame them at all, but there are those that throw around the “do not forsake the assembling of yourselves” scripture to add salt to the wounds. Has it ever occurred to any of us leaders that these Christian non churchgoers have seen some light that we have failed to see? Have they realized that they are safer and freer to worship God in their own homes? I think this deserves some attention before we pass “judgment” on them! Furthermore, Jesus said that where two or more are gathered in His name, there He is also (or in the midst whatever your preference). Would not this be “church”? Jesus is the object of worship and edification is the goal!

We teach Christians not to entertain the “evils” and “pleasures” of the world, but truthfully, these same things have infiltrated our churches! Could it be that those who choose not to go to church are doing as they are taught, forsaking the pleasures of this world? So why do I point all this out? Plain and simple, the church is supposed to be influencing the “world” not the world influencing the church! Because of our wrong teaching, religious hypocrisy, loss of first love, being lukewarm or just plain dead, and our selfish desires, we are producing the wrong kinds of Christians! Remember church, sheep beget sheep! Our “babies” are replicas of us and their behavior is what we have taught!

If your spirit has not been quickened and thoughts of repentance are not in sight, as you read the things I write, and only anger and disagreement has rose to the occasion, then read Revelation, chapters 2 and 3. The seven churches listed there by our Lord represent the history of the church, past, present, and future, and I assure you that every church in every place all over this world falls under either, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, or Laodicea.

Why does the spiritual condition of the church cause me to reflect on humanity seemingly only able to love and come together during times of tragedy? Because presently, the world, outshines the church, in its love toward humanity, even if it is short lived in times of crisis. The church should be leading the charge in love, unity, peace, and selflessness, but has fallen short of its calling! Why do I write so brash and blunt? Because, I love the church, and those that are my brothers and sisters that make it a church, a family unified with the common will to serve and worship Jesus. It is a call to reflection and repentance before Almighty God! It has been prophesied in the Bible that the church will be in deterioration before the Lord’s return. It has been written that there will be a “great falling away”.

We can’t alter or dismiss what God has decreed, but I do ask, do you have to go down with it? Can you not repent and ask the Lord to steer you upon proper course? What say ye Christian, Pastor, Minister, Evangelist, Elder, Deacon, Prophet, and all of God’s people? It starts individually one heart at a time, and as sheep begat sheep, so one clean heart produces another. All is not lost; God is the God of second chances! I pray for our repentance and that God has mercy on His church. Help us Lord to be that salt and light you have called us to be. Help us Lord clean our own house before we clean another’s. Help us Jesus! Help us!  ~ Amen

Defending the Faith and Promoting Christian Love

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Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

It is amazing how much Satan hates the Book of Revelation! Since posting the first articles, I have been confronted with attack and resistance from several directions. Yes, as does the Lord, so does “ole sleuth foot”, by working through people. I suppose like the “Hatfield’s” and “McCoy’s”, some feuds just never end. One of the strongest arguments concerning this book is the subject of the “Rapture”! Why this subject?

Not very many people take serious issue concerning the tribulation period or The Battle of Armageddon. Have we become so numb by mass consumption of reality television, Hollywood’s latest gossip, and media filled violence that we have lost focus and view these as the “norm”?  Why not attack the rebukes of the Lord and the symbolism that unites our churches of today with those of Asia Minor. Our churches today have only added to the already serious problems brought to light in the seven churches of Asia Minor. Our church leaders, who remain blind to the infiltration of Satan, have accepted genuine false doctrine and turned the Lords houses of prayer into the dens of thieves. They have become the spiritual version of Wall Street! Invest now for a “Big” return! The throne of God has been turned into a virtual ATM and drive through service! Children are being harmed and abused in our churches and we dispute over the “rapture”?

I personally know more Christians right now that do not go to church than ones that do. To be bluntly honest, I don’t blame them one bit. Many of them have received more serious wounds in the “houses of God”, than what the devil or the world could have shot them with on their best day. Pastors and ministers have shipwrecked the faith of many! Why? Why do we not take up these arguments? Why the “Rapture”?

Beloved, please just let me continue a little longer. It is past time that these things are pointed out. Why the “Rapture” when there are so many other things that deserve our attention and firm rejection? You know, this is “the bottom line”; there are two “basic” opposing sides of the rapture argument. One side believes in a pre-tribulation “catching up” of the church and the other does not believe this, but believes that the church will have to endure the hardships and trials of the tribulation period. I happen to be one on the pre-tribulation “catching up” side. No, not because I fear the mark of the beast, the wrath to be poured upon the earth, or the final Battle of Armageddon, or shall we say World War III, but because of my study, deep relationship with the Lord, and the witness of His Spirit.

Now, consider this, if the believers that believe in the rapture are wrong, all we have to do is rely on the supernatural strength of God to see us through for a short seven years and then forever be in the presence of God, but if those that don’t believe in the rapture are “raptured” before the tribulation period, then praise God we all missed the seven years of hell on earth and will remain forever in the presence of the Lord! In either case I imagine while we all stand in the presence of God, it won’t much matter which was right or wrong, and I seriously doubt that the “right” side will be able to gloat very much. Do you see my point? Either way it is a “win, win” situation! We will all still experience and receive the promises God has given us!

I think we would fare better, if we could agree that the only way to get “home” is through the blood of Jesus Christ and His Atoning work on Calvary’s cross, and not dispute about taking the “high” road or the “low” road, as long as we all meet in the “family room” once we get there. It is also beneficial for us to check our motives and position before we bring correction. Correction is not a bad thing if done biblically.

As I have stated several times before, I teach what I believe and I believe what I teach. I teach what I do as a result of my study and the instruction of God through His Holy Spirit. I only share my beliefs and understanding of the scriptures and each one has the liberty to accept or reject what I teach. No one person, denomination, or group has all the answers. We have to at least agree on the basics of Christianity as the Apostle Paul pointed out. God has the power and resources to give us anything we ask for. My greatest request of God has been and remains, His Wisdom and understanding of the scriptures. Armed with these nothing is impossible within the will of God!

Let us as a church, the church of Jesus, period, give ourselves a spiritual checkup and find out where we register on the “pleasing to God scale”. Let us defend our faith righteously and choose our battles wisely. The only common denominator will always be Jesus.

Beloved of God, thank you for listening and please know that what I shared, I shared in Christian love. I love my brothers and sisters, the church of Jesus, and God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit very passionately. I will resume my teaching on the Book of Revelation very soon as I reject defeat. I will finish my course and win my race and would be honored to have you on my team! Blessings to all, and I pray that the clay remains in the hands of the potter. I have provided a couple of scriptures for us to consider:

“But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.”

(II Timothy 2:23) NKJV

 “But foolish and ignorant questionings refuse, knowing that they gender strife’s.”

(ASV)

 “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.”

(ESV)

 “But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.”

(NASB)

 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

(I Peter 3:15-17) NKJV

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (The Seven Year Tribulation Period)

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Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

Before pressing into a chapter by chapter teaching, I believe it necessary and highly beneficial to discuss the “Tribulation Period”.  This subject by far, has been one of the most controversial concerning the Book of Revelation, especially the “rapture” of the church. Personally, I don’t see the reasons for argument and contention other than Satan wanting to stir strife, and willing people letting him come on in, to steal, kill, and destroy! But, that certainly is his ways and it has caused many people to be “off track” concerning what this period is and how it came to be.

In my opinion, understanding this event is foundational to the understanding of Revelation as a whole. Remember, I mentioned that Revelation was a book of the past, present, and future, meaning the history within is completely harmonized and supported by other scripture. The “Tribulation Period” is a prophesized future event as is the “rapture” of the church. I will teach more about the “rapture” later in our study.

I would also like to bring to remembrance, that I stated that this study is not an exhaustive work, and the subject at hand is no exception. There is much more scripture to support the biblical facts of the tribulation than what I will point out here. I only wish to lay a basic foundation here, and if you study with an open heart and mind, allowing the Holy Spirit to bear witness, you will be supplied with enough information to carry you through eternity!

“The Tribulation Period”

What is it and how did it come to be?

        A quick and simple answer to this question is that it is the seven year period of time remaining before the return of Jesus Christ, to rule and reign in His unending kingdom on the earth. This is a great answer, but it does not answer the second part of our question, how did it come to be?

In Leviticus 25, God commanded Israel to set aside the seventh year of each agricultural cycle to allow the land a “Sabbath Rest”. Leviticus 26 warns Israel of punishments if they did not obey the commandment. Israel lacked proper spiritual response to God’s command and as a result, for 490 consecutive years, Israel never let the land have a “Sabbath Year’s” rest. This totaled 70 missed Sabbath Year’s rest for the land. As a result of Israel’s disobedience, God allowed them to be taken into Babylonian captivity for 490 years.

“Therefore He brought against them the king of the Chaldeans, who killed their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on young man or virgin, on the aged or the weak; He gave them all into his hand. And all the articles from the house of God, great and small, the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king and of his leaders, all these he took to Babylon. Then they burned the house of God, broke down the wall of Jerusalem, burned all its palaces with fire, and destroyed all its precious possessions.  And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.

(2 Chronicles 36:17-21) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

        The Babylonian captivity was prophesied by the Prophet Jeremiah. I know that 2 Chronicles comes before the Book of Jeremiah, but allow me to point out that 1 and 2 Chronicles is more or less a summary of 1 and 2 Kings. Therefore, Chronicles contains “chronological” events of the Kings of Israel although they may not have come to pass yet. Remember that the Bible is not necessarily in chronological order from cover to cover. Now let us look at Jeremiah’s prophecy:

“And as the bad figs which cannot be eaten, they are so bad ‘—surely thus says the Lord —’so will I give up Zedekiah the king of Judah, his princes, the residue of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who dwell in the land of Egypt. I will deliver them to trouble into all the kingdoms of the earth, for their harm, to be a reproach and a byword, a taunt and a curse, in all places where I shall drive them. And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence among them, till they are consumed from the land that I gave to them and their fathers.”

(Jeremiah 24:8-10) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

“I will take from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

(Jeremiah 25:10-11) (Emphasis mine)

        In the above scripture, “the bad figs” represent Israel, and all of the above scriptures show that God allowed Israel to fall victim to Babylonian captivity for a “490 year period”.  The Prophet Jeremiah is again used to prophesy concerning the “Tribulation Period” during which Israel will severely be under attack, but this time also speaks of its eventual restoration.

This particular prophecy is known as “Jacob’s Trouble”. Remember that “Jacob”, was the son of Isaac, twin brother of Esau, and the grandson of Abraham. His name was changed by God to “Israel” and out of his loins came “the twelve tribes of Israel”. I point this out because “Jacob’s Troubles” actually mean “Israel’s Troubles” symbolically.

Now, we shall introduce the Prophet Daniel into the equation. It is of utmost importance to give a definition of a prophetic term before we continue. In the Daniel prophecy we read the word “week or weeks”. As used in prophecy, one “week” equals seven years, so seventy “weeks” equals 490 years. Also, remember that God operates on a lunar calendar, and has from the beginning of Genesis. His calculation of “time” only allows each month 30 days, where our civil calendar allows for a 28 and 31 day month.

Toward the end of the 490 years of captivity, the Prophet Daniel realizes that the time is almost complete and prays to God. This is known as “Daniel’s Prayer”, one in which he confesses Israel’s sin, failure of obedience to God’s commands, and failure to follow the messages that God’s prophets spoke. It also recognizes Israel’s captivity as being a direct result of God’s righteousness. God heard his prayer and sent the Angel Gabriel with an answer. Gabriel delivers to the world through Daniel, the “70 Prophetic Weeks” prophecy, or “Daniels Seventy Weeks”. Daniel’s prophecy was to run concurrent with that of Jeremiah, but with a slight difference as decreed by God.

God does not violate His Word nor repent of His promises and the 490 year price charged against Israel will be paid! With Daniel’s prayer and God’s prophetic answer, Israel was credited for their “time served”, but the “full” price would still be paid. As a nation they will go through the tribulation period and suffer the attacks from around the world, but they shall be delivered, restored, and saved. I will bring this prophetic picture into clearer focus with the following scripture and accompanying explanation:

Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty- two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. “And after the sixty- two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”

(Daniel 9:24-27) NKJV

        Now, I will explain the symbolic, as well as the literal meaning of the above scripture. I will be explaining it from beginning to end as if told as a short story.

The “seventy weeks” are the 490 years that run concurrent with the prophecy of Jeremiah. From this point until the “end”, God will accomplish for all, finishing the transgression, make an end of sins, make reconciliation for iniquity, bring in everlasting righteousness, seal up vision and prophecy, and anoint the Most Holy. He will accomplish these through His Son, Jesus Christ!

The command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem including the wall was given in Nehemiah 2:1-8 and was accomplished “Until” Messiah the Prince, meaning the first coming of Jesus. “Seven weeks” equals 49 years, the time that was needed to rebuild Jerusalem and its walls. The “sixty-two weeks” or 434 years, is the time from the completion of rebuilding to the coming of the Messiah. “After” “sixty-two weeks” (the 434 year period), Messiah will be “cut off”. This represents the literal time of Jesus’s birth, ministry, and dying on the cross for the sins of all humanity. It is also the beginning of the dispensation of the Grace of God, or the “church age”.

From the beginning of verse 24 to verse 26 we have accounted for 483 years of the determined 490 years decreed by God, therefore, we have a remaining balance of one “week”, or 7 years.

The “prince who is to come to destroy the city and the sanctuary (Temple)” is Satan through the powers of the Roman Empire. The Temple and city was again destroyed in 70 AD. Remember, Jesus spoke to His disciples about its destruction!

He (the Antichrist) will “confirm a covenant with many for one week” The covenant is a false “peace treaty” between Israel and unknowing to them, the Antichrist. The “one week”   represents the remaining 7 years of the determined 490 years, or “The Tribulation Period”.

This period begins upon the signing of the “peace treaty” with Israel. “In the middle of the week” is the halfway mark or first 3 ½ years into the tribulation period. This is the point where the Antichrist shows his true colors to Israel and revokes the “peace treaty.” The only “exact” time frame we are not given here is the amount of time between the crucifixion of Jesus and the “rapture” of the church. It is an “unknown period of time” that God reserved only for Him to know. This is shown in “until the consummation (wedding of the Bridegroom to His bride) which is “determined”.

The “church age” occurs between the 69th and 70th weeks. It began with the ministry of Jesus and ends with the rapture of the church. Since the “church age” is the same as “the kingdom of God on earth, we know its beginning. We also know that it ends (church age) with the rapture, which precedes God’s last seven years of work with Israel. We are presently living in “this time of the end”, Daniel’s term for the closing of the church age, which does not imply “doom”. At the end of the church age the tribulation period begins.

I pray you will continue to join me in this study. God wants us to know and understand His Word and the Book of Revelation is the beautiful climax of His creation! Until we come together again, I pray you are filled with the peace of God that surpasses all understanding! ~Amen

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (Introduction)

Rev

Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

I pray that you have developed a curiosity about this teaching! We will begin here with an introduction to the Book of Revelation. From this point forward, I will be feeding you “strong meat and not milk”, as similar to the words of the Apostle Paul.

I would like to also point out that this study is certainly not an “exhaustive” work and will not be presented from a “religiously theological” viewpoint. No one person can claim credit for what the Holy Spirit is doing. As I have already mentioned, I will take a practical approach in presentation. It is my desire to present to you the often overlooked view of the book as pertains to the Christian.

This book is in fact the climax of God’s beautiful history in creating humankind! He is not “out to get us” as some would teach and have you believe! He loves us deeply and only wants what is best for each one of us. He has given us certain promises throughout His Word as a whole, and He intends to keep them.

We all will someday soon come face to face with our God, and if you are a “born again” Christian, there is absolutely nothing to fear! I assure you that meeting Him and forever living in His presence will be the climax of our lives! Praise God! Thank you Jesus! I’m excited right now!

Father, I come to you asking for your Wisdom and guidance as I present this teaching. Help me rightly divide Your Word of Truth. By the authority You have given me through Your Son Jesus, I bind Satan and his imps from an attack on this work and anyone who reads and studies it. I ask that You open our spiritual eyes and ears, prepare our hearts, and lead us into understanding. Father You alone holds the key to Your Holy Word. I thank You for hearing and answering our prayer and allowing us to boldly approach Your throne of grace with such requests. In the beautiful and mighty name of Jesus we pray ~Amen

Introduction to the Book of Revelation:

The Book of Revelation was written by the Apostle John whose name means “Jehovah is a gracious giver.” The prophecy was given to John in approximately 95 AD, twenty-five years after the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Through one of His angels, the Lord Jesus Himself gave The Revelation to the Apostle John. After John received the Revelation, he was instructed to send it to the seven churches in Asia. 

“Reasons to study Revelation:”

There are many reasons to study The Book of Revelation. Most importantly it is an intricate part of God’s complete Word, plans, and purposes, and He desires that we read and understand it. I will provide you with a couple of reasons for its study. Why would God give us a portion of His Word that was to only be understood by a select few? He wouldn’t! We can and will understand the prophecy. Those who refer to The Revelation as “a book of mystery and hidden meanings” violate the title that God Himself chose. The word revelation means “that which is revealed or made clearly visible.” Consider these other reasons for its study:

“The Time Is At Hand” The Revelation was important to the early church and it is just as important for the “church” today. Revelation 1:3 ends with “for the time is near [at hand KJV]” I can’t answer for you, but I want to understand all I can of God’s Word, before I meet Him face to face. We are not promised “all the time in the world” so it benefits us to make good use of the time God has given us, including the study of Revelation. After all, it speaks to us about our glorious future!

“A Book of Blessings” God promises blessings to those who read Revelation! “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy.” What “right minded” person would want to pass on the blessings of God?

“Five Keys to Help Unlock the Meaning of Revelation”

Within the book there are five keys to help unlock its meaning. It also contains the “master key” needed to unlock other “obscure” passages of the Bible.

“The Revelation of Jesus”- Many have taught only a part of Revelation. They communicate the period of plagues and tragedies, the Antichrist system of government, the mark of the beast, and the battle of Armageddon. These things are not what should dominate the book; it is The Revelation of Jesus Christ that dominates! The unveiling of Jesus! Since Jesus is the central theme, the book should bring you blessings. “Three Views of Jesus”-The New Testament records three views of Jesus. From the gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we visualize Christ the man who came to save the lost.  From the Epistles (letters, mostly written by the Apostle Paul) we visualize Jesus as the Head of the Church. We see Him as He relates daily with His followers. The Revelation gives us our third view. We visualize Jesus as the triumphant Lord! We learn that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords will rule and reign over His unending Kingdom on earth. 

“The Believer’s Right to Understand Revelation”- “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants– things which must shortly take place…” (Rev. 1:1) Notice the words that I intentionally italicized. “Servants” are plural! Some translations omit the second “s”, and servant in the singular shows that John was blessed above all men, as he received the prophecy. The second key is this: Jesus has given us, His servants the biblical right to understand and enjoy the Book of Revelation. In 2 Timothy 2:15, we are instructed to study the Word. Furthermore, we are told that the Holy Spirit will guide us in all truth. (John 16:13) God does not confuse His Word! With the help of Satan man does! 

“Parallel Accounts of Heaven and Earth”-The chapter divisions of Revelation separate two stories which parallel one another. One occurs in heaven while the other occurs on earth. Both take place during a seven year period. This period is known as the “Tribulation.” I will offer more information on this and how the seven year period was determined by God later in the study. The story of heaven is described in chapters 4, 5, 19, and 20. The story of earth in chapters 6, 8, 9, 16, 19, and 20. Chapters 4 and 5 show the activities of angels and people around God’s throne. There is a transition from the heavenly story in chapter 5 to the earthly story in chapter 6. The activities on earth are described in chapter 6 and originate here as well. There is a lapse of continuity in chapter 6, and chapters 8 and 9 continue the earthly story from chapter 6. Chapter 16 again picks up the earthly story. Chapter 19 begins with the heavenly story and transitions to the earthly one. Chapter 20 continues with the earthly story and concludes with the heavenly one. I’m sorry! That sounds a lot more difficult than it really is! 

“Informational Chapters”- The remaining chapters do not necessarily aid in the continuity of the two unfolding stories. They enlarge upon details concerning a person, group of people, or a particular event occurring in one of the stories. The “informational chapters are 7, 10-15, 17, and 18. Chapters 20, 21, and 22 describe the events after the seven-year period: the thousand year reign of Christ, the new heavens, the new earth, and the New Jerusalem.  

“Past, Present, and Future Events”-“Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.” Again, Notice the italics, “have seen” equals the past, “which are” equals the present, and “which will” equals the future. The Book of Revelation describes the past, present, and future! In the theological world there are two schools of thought here: historian and futurist. In a “nut shell”, the historian attempts to show that events in history have already fulfilled the prophecy of Revelation and the futurist teaches that the events in chapters 4-22 are unfulfilled. Both have overlooked the reference to past, present, and, future in Revelation 1:19, so neither view is exactly correct. God moves in patterns, and in His steadfastness He doesn’t break His patterns.

This will conclude our study for now. In the next section, I will discuss what the seven-year Tribulation period is, and how this time frame was determined by God. I pray for your continued desire to study with me, and that all of the pieces of the “puzzle” will be brought to your understanding! As this study advances, I encourage you to go back and re-read the previous articles to help maintain the flow of information and how it is interrelated. I pray the continued abundance of blessings be poured upon you to overflowing! ~Amen