I have a lot on my heart today. It is all very positive and happy. I feel the Lord’s sweet encouragement. It is exciting.
It is the encouragement to press on.
God is so gracious.
There are times in my life when I find out that the people I have been close to, who I have thought were so sweet, who I thought would be my true friend–have let me down. I have found out that they were really critical or judgmental. That they were performance oriented. And I didn’t measure up. They saw something in me that they didn’t care for, and consequently, they hurt me. It happens to all of us.
But the Lord, He is not like that. He sees our faults and our weaknesses and because He LOVES us with perfect LOVE, He commits Himself to work in our lives on our behalf to bring conviction and change. He doesn’t give up on His children.
I am so thankful for that kind of love, because I am a child in great need of a God who gives grace. I am a child who needs help. Encouragement keeps us going. Discouragement makes us give up. We all need encouragement. And God LOVES to give it.
“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have laid hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
It is time to press on.
We need to let go of the past–the failures, the rejection, the pain, the apathy, the SIN, and the fear. We need to stop living in the past–our achievements, our victories, our pride, our memories.
My yesterdays do not define my todays.
I need to keep going. Keep fighting, keep seeking, keep serving, keep loving, keep trying, keep praying, keep sharing the gospel, and not look to the past to define who I am today. Turn to Christ. Press on.
We are witnessing some insane world events right now. And we NEED to be close to God.
I just want to encourage you that if you are not taking your walk seriously right now, it is time to get serious. I know that when you have been walking with Christ for a long time, there are times when you are totally charging toward the Lord with all your heart, and there are times when you feel like you need to slow down to catch your breath. I have been there. But this isn’t a sprint, it is a long distance marathon. We need to be steady, consistent, and we need to train to endure.
You need to be in the Word. You need it. You need to not just read it passively, but you need to grab onto the word and dive into as if your life depended on it. You need to lay hold of Christ and seek Him diligently. Recently the Lord convicted me of being passive. I was still doing my reading, but I wasn’t waking up early to meet with Him expecting Him to speak to me in His word. I was just reading, and walking away from the word, my mind on a million other things.
But the Lord is coming back! I need to be watching. I need to be expecting. I need to be preparing. We don’t know when He will come, but we do see the signs of it getting clearer and clearer.
- Our President has mandated that all schools open up their bathrooms and locker rooms to students of the opposite sex, if they are transgender. (NY Times)
- Our President appointed a transgender female named Barbara Satin to the Advisory Faith Council. (article by Allen B. West)
- Target (and other stores) have opened up the bathrooms and dressing rooms not to just trans-gendered individuals (who already had been using them) but to sex offenders and perverts. (LifeSite)
- Buzzfeed just featured a video/article about a man getting a microchip in his hand so that he could buy things– It is called “Satan’s Credit Card–What The Mark of the Beast Taught Me About the Future of Money“
- The Pope met to unite in peace with the highest Sunni Cleric, in an effort to “apologize” for Pope Benedict’s comments that implied that Islam was a violent religion. (BBC News)
- The (radical Sunni group) Islamic State is still massacring people in the Middle East and took credit for the recent plane that crashed on its way from France to Egypt.
- Islamic State is encouraging attacks in Europe and the United States, by lone wolf sympathizers in the upcoming month of Ramadan. (Associated Press)
- Senior Iranian Military Commander boasts that they could destroy Israel in less than 8 minutes. (The Times of Israel)
- Chinese and Russian warplanes have been increasingly aggressive intercepting U.S. military aircraft and patrolling near America’s West Coast and California (USA Today)
- China will have nuclear submarines terrorizing the sea, this year (The Daily Beast)
We live in scary times.
I don’t think we yet understand the extent of persecution that will come to Christians as the trans-gendered movement continues to alter our society. Our daughters will have male roommates in their college dorm. Our church youth groups will get sued if we don’t let the trans-gendered youth sleep in their preferred cabins. Persecution is coming. We will face legal consequences for our faith.
With all this, and Zika, and earthquakes, and extreme weather, and false teachers, and famines, and continued genocide–we are seeing so much of what the Bible says will happen before He comes to pour out His wrath on the world.
“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:28
Let us be encouraged then, that we need to forget about our past–the good we did and the bad we did. And we need to press on towards Christ. We need to focus our eyes on Him and ask the Lord to help us to be obedient. We need to LOVE, and SERVE, and PREACH the GOSPEL, and be found FAITHFUL.
And boy do we need His help to do it!!!! Jesus says, “Without Me you can do nothing” John 15
Please don’t confuse these activities with “earning” your salvation–you can’t.
These are the activities that we should be doing THROUGH His strength and enabling, because we love Him.
This is our time.
We are all in a spiritual battle.
Do not fall asleep!
Let us wake each other up, and encourage each other to love and good works.
“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Matthew 24:44
“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:14-16
“For you have spent enough time in the past carrying out the same desires as the pagans: living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and detestable idolatry.” 1 Peter 4:3
“As for you, you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you used to walk when you conformed to the ways of this world and of the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit who is now at work in the sons of disobedience. among whom we all also once lived in the desires of our flesh, doing the things willed of the flesh and of its thoughts; and we were by nature children of wrath even as the rest. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even we being dead in trespasses–by grace you are saved–” Ephesians 2:1-5
Our Lord is coming, and the whole world will see Him. They do all these wicked and abominable things now, but one day they will see that they truly are accountable to the Lord. They will one day kneel trembling before Him as Judge. But today there is still time for anyone to meet Him as Father. This is such a solemn truth, that should shape the way we consider whether or no to risk “offending” a friend with the gospel today.
Messiah Jesus came the first time to die for our sins. He comes the second time to judge the world. We are standing on the edge of that coming.
His first coming brought the promise and hope of a second chance, this coming will not have that same promise.
The time for a second chance is now.
The Lord is longing for us. He loves us. He pursues us. He finds us just as we are and tenderly, like a Father, helps us with our weaknesses. He isn’t harsh and looking to scold us. He is kind and merciful. He created us just the way we are, and He delights in us.
Come to Christ today. With all your baggage and pain. With all your pride and self sufficiency. With all your fear and guilt. Let Him take your burdens, and replace it with a yoke that binds you to Him. His yoke is EASY. His burden is LIGHT. He can carry your load. And you can walk next to Him- TOGETHER. It is easy to do. Just sit down and cry out to Him in prayer, ask for mercy, ask for intimacy, then open the Bible, and He will meet you. He is waiting for you.
“Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18
“Brethren, all of us who have come back to God by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ have found, as did the prodigal that the Father in heaven has not changed at all!” A. W. Tozer