Are We There, Yet?

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Timothy 3:1).

Paul’s warning to Timothy lists the things we would be able to see (and have seen) announcing the last days.  THIS IS NOT AN ANNOUNCEMENT BUT CONTINUED WARNING! In several verses, he told Timothy what would happen. Men (mankind) would become:

Lovers of themselves (forgetting about God and the natural love towards others)

Covetous (allow their envy to always keep them seeking ways to “take” what others have-by force or deception)

Boasters (always bragging about themselves and what they have done)

Proud (arrogant–thinking they know everything)

Blasphemers (Deny the power of Holy Spirit or lie on what He has said or done)

Disobedient to parents (children thinking they should tell parents what to do and attempt to run their parents’ homes, never respecting authority).

Unthankful (never able to show gratitude to anyone)

Unholy (seeking to appease flesh without regard to right-living)

Without natural affection (seeking to do those things with others that should not be done with–children, members of the same-sex, incest, etc.)

Truce-breakers (cannot keep their word or will not keep their word)

False accusers (will lie to save their own behinds, without regard to how their lie will affect the lives of others)

Incontinent (lack of self-control–emotionally and physically)

Fierce (always ready to mow down anyone who gets in their way)

Despisers of those who do good (hate seeing people do what is right)

Traitors (will turn on people and country in a heartbeat)

Heady/Highminded (never consider themselves wrong and they more than anyone else)

Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God (always seeking ways to please themselves and flesh more than they seek God’s direction)

Having a “form of godliness” but denying the power thereof (religious without relationship with God and denounce the Power of God’s Word as if it doesn’t exist).

With the list of things that we will see when the last days are upon us, Paul tells us that we should “turn away” from these types of people when we see them doing these things. Basically, we are to have no fellowship with people who refuse to live as God as designed or reject God.

Of course, many people understand we have seen the hallmarks of everything Paul has said, generation after generation–the time simply gets closer. When will people begin to understand that civilizations have ceased to exist because of disobedience to God? When will true Christians, those in relationship with God (not just readers of The Word), understand that it is our job to be a “watchman on the wall” and warn people about their behavior and the impending dangers if the behaviors do not change?

We can praise God for His goodness and His abundant blessings and know that His desire for us is to have abundant life, but we cannot have what he has promised if we do not fulfill our role–all of it. It’s not just about praying.  It’s not just about preaching.  It’s not just about teaching.  It’s not just about praising and singing and worshiping. It also includes “warning the people” when they stray from God’s Word. Are we doing it? Are these indeed the last days?


What I Have Learned!

“He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you” (John 16:14 NIV).

When Jesus was speaking to His disciples, just before He returned to His Father, He was reminding them of the role of the Holy Spirit (His Spirit) who would remain in the earth realm to guide, reveal, remind, and instruct.

The Holy Spirit will guide us through tumultuous times–economic downturns, chaos and confusion across the land, and in the midst of a disturbance of our peace, He reminds us that God’s peace surpasses all understanding. I’ve learned that if I rest in His peace, what is happening all around me, won’t disturb me, but gives me purpose in prayer.

By His spirit, we will receive insight to things to come and when we are totally submitted and committed, He will create in us the spirit of “a watchman”, warning the people.  If we warn them and they do not heed the warning, their blood is on their own hands.  If we do not warn them of impending danger, their blood when disaster strikes will be on our hands.  I’ve learned some people will never listen because they think they know everything.

Perhaps, more importantly, the role of the Holy Spirit is to remind us of The Word when we need it in a moment, and to instruct us in our behavior towards others–exercising discernment and wisdom. I’ve learned that no matter what I do or say, I’ll never please everyone, so I concentrate on pleasing God.  If I please Him and others are pleased as a by-product–amen.  If they are not pleased as I please Him–oh well!

I’ve learned how to live holy, maintaining my relationship with God, seeking always to please Him and expecting to see fulfillment of His promises towards me. Some may think I’m being arrogant in my faith in God’s promises, but I am simply being confident in Him, who cannot lie and will bring to pass every promise, and complete everything He ignites in us to do. I’ve learned to love–even those who appear to not care at all, but I love any way.  Again, their disdain gives my prayer purpose.  In fact, everything that I know I cannot control, gives my prayer purpose.

And when I pray, my communication with God is a two-way conversation.  While I talk, He listens and when He speaks, I listen. I pray with confidence, knowing He will respond. I always thank God for the desired result and because I pray in alignment with His Word, He will respond favorably.

Looking back over my life, I realize I have learned a great deal and still have much more to learn. What have you learned?

Father, in the name of Jesus, I thank You for keeping my heart and spirit tuned-in to You so I may know how to proceed on a daily basis and for loving me enough to keep teaching me! Amen!

A New Heart

When God spoke to His people through Ezekiel, He told them that He would “give them a new heart and a new spirit and replace the heart of stone with a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26 paraphrased).  To get a better understanding of the conditions that existed when Ezekiel was talking, read how the prophet tried repeatedly to warn the people and how God used him.  My favorite passage in Ezekiel is when God admonishes him to do his job as a watchman.  “When you see danger approaching, warn the people.  If they do not heed your warning, their blood is on their own hands.  If you do not warn them, their blood I will require at your hands” (33:6).

You see part of the problem with the people of the land is that they wanted to live any way they wanted to live, with no one guiding them in righteous living.  Most of the prophets of God were detested by the people because they kept reminding them of their ungodly ways. But those who knew and understood God, kept warning and kept dealing with the disrespect of the people.  Through all of that, Ezekiel still spoke what God gave him, reminding the people that obedience to God would put them into a better position to “receive” from God.

Think about this for a moment.  A promise of a new heart and a new spirit, replacement of a heart of stone for a heart of flesh, has to mean that the hearts within man were corrupted and hard-hearted and their spirit too easily influenced with evil. Are we in the same place today? Have our hearts become so hardened that we cannot see the needs of others?  Are we so afraid of what people will think about us we will not warn them when we see danger approaching?  Are our spirits so weak that we allow evil to control what we do and how we think?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, we are in need of a heart transplant–a total replacement in order to do what God has designed for us to do. Consider this:  We should all be “watchmen on the walls” if we say we are Christians. Anytime there is danger lurking to destroy hope and faith in God, we should be able to loudly proclaim God’s truths.  If we are more concerned with political correctness than Godly righteousness, we are in need of a new heart–a heart that is molded and shaped by God to hear Him.

Create in us O God, a new heart, a heart willing to hear You and a spirit strengthened by Your Word to defeat the evil that attempts to influence.  Grant us courage to speak as You speak to us and through Your Word that we might snatch some from the fires of hell. Thank You for giving us a heart of flesh, molded and shaped by You.  We will give You praise for all things as we continue this journey with You and our new heart.