12/1/2015 Brief Thoughts: Thoughts v. Emotions

 “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking. In evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.”        (1 Cor 14:20-21)

 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what the will of God is: that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom 12:2)

Jesus does not care what our emotions lead us to feel about what we see. He cares about how our minds perceive what we see. Emotions can mislead us and feelings can deceive us, because they are ours and are oft times spiritually un-discerning. Before all that stimulus surrounding us makes it to our hearts where it can be erroneously accepted, it is filtered through our minds where it must be properly discerned. Our conscious mind that considers all things from an objective viewpoint, stands as the gatekeeper over our subconscious mind that just accepts whatever has been filtered through to it. From there the input goes to our hearts, and becomes what we feel.

As with all things, this can be both blessing and curse. The conscious mind that is renewed, transformed, and mature in Christ, so perception aligns itself with truth, processes information to allow for both the sharpened steel of discernment and the mercy and tenderness of love. It allows us to be “as shrewd as serpents yet as innocent as doves.” The immature, un-transformed conscious mind allows all manners of conflicting thoughts and perceptions to sway the emotions in to believing distortions and lies. The disciple of Christ walks a fine line between being discerning and wise, yet not allowing that to keep him from the tender mercies love demands. This all takes wisdom, and wisdom has been defined as the mind and the heart functioning in a unity that glorifies God.

11/20/2015 Mike’s Blog: Two Beautiful Men

 “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are.” (1 Cor 1:27-29)

In my 35 years of ministry I have been privileged to meet two truly beautiful Christian men. My encounter with the first one inspired me to write a song. My encounter with the most recent one inspired me to write this blog. I met Charlie [names fictitious] many years ago while I was singing one night at a Christian coffee house. That night the Lord continually directed my gaze to Charlie, a slight and unimpressive man in the audience. Regardless of his non-descript appearance, I had never seen the glow of the Spirit in a man like this man before.  After my first set, I knew I had to sit with him and talk.

With eyes sparkling, Charlie told me he had been the owner of a camera shop in Seattle. Then the Lord had told him to make his own Jesus video, sell all he had, and go. He now went from town to town on a financial shoestring, showing his video and preaching the Gospel. He had nothing, but he had everything. I, the successful real estate broker, with my brand new Audi parked out in the parking lot and my brand new Guild 12 string perched proudly up on stage, sat there in awe of something that made all of it seem somehow irrelevant.

Charlie’s parting words to me as he was leaving and I was about to start my next set were, “Mike, I’m where God wants me to be all the time.” Later, as I took my fancy guitar and put it in my fancy car to go home, I felt ashamed at all I had. I knew I would have traded it all in a moment for what Charlie had. I went home and wrote the first words of the chorus of that song the very next day: “Charlie, you’re still a part of me. A part God won’t let go. Charlie, you’re still the heart of me, a heart I pray God will grow.”

Fast forward 25 years to a recent Celebrate Recovery meeting I attend every Saturday morning, where I met Bobby. After all those years [including considerable financial “pruning”], and what I hoped was considerable growth in my spiritual life, I was confronted by my next Charlie. Bobby was Autistic, and by his own account had the “mind of an 8-12 year old.” A newcomer to our meeting and to the program, he sat there for most of the time quietly listening.

When Bobby finally opened his mouth my world was rocked. Bobby’s speech and demeanor defined the word, “childlike”. The description, “the least of these” didn’t even begin to do justice to the perceptions he projected. But as he spoke the verse that opened this blog [one of my all time favorites] came to a life and a power I had never before imagined.

He stuttered, “Just two days ago I was living in my car, and now I have a bed so I’m very thankful for that. The only blanket I had was an old sheet, and when I got here one of the guys gave me a blanket so I’m very thankful for that. Two days ago the only pillow I had was my Hoodie, and one of the guys here gave me a pillow so I’m very thankful for that. And my meals used to consist of crackers in the morning and a can of Tuna fish at night, so when I came here and got an hot meal I called the director of the house and said, ‘Thank you for my hot meal, and I actually was able to go back for seconds, so I couldn’t believe I could do that! One plate was more than enough.’ With that childlike smile on his face he concluded, “So I’m very thankful for all of you, because two days ago I didn’t have any of this.”

Words cannot do justice to that moment. As with my Charlie moment I once again felt like Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7) in the presence of the woman who wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair. Once again I found myself ashamed of all I thought I had become, and all I thought I had. Fighting back the tears I looked around the room at the other guys gathered. Most were in the same completely undone state. I found myself ushered into the very presence of God. I was entertaining angels, and unlike before when I missed them this time I was keenly aware. This was a visitation through which Jesus proclaimed, “This is what matters. This is one of the least of these I commanded you to love. Look on and see what a child of Mine truly looks like.”

If that moment rocked my world, the next week at the same meeting changed my world. I went hoping only that Bobby would be there so I could be in his presence once more, when to my complete astonishment he handed me a folded piece of paper. Struggling to read the backwards letters and misspelled words I made out, “Brother, I need an accountable friend to pray with me. The angel said you will so I can be a good man too.” My heart swelled to bursting as Bobby said something about wanting to be like me. I replied, “Brother, it would be my absolute pleasure and honor to be your friend, and it is I who needs to be more like you.”

Those of you who have had children know what a game changer that first one is. All of a sudden things that seemed to matter so much seem somehow irrelevant. Everything gets put in a new place of priority and perspective, and nothing remains as it was. That is the feeling I experienced anew when I read Bobby’s note. I am now involved in some of the “biggest” ministry circumstances I’ve ever been a part of, and I believe it no coincidence Jesus brought Bobby into my life now to remind me of what truly counts. Bobby will keep me humbled, remind me every time I see him of the beatitudes, and never let me forget “my first love” and Jesus’ command to touch the least of these in real and tangible ways. Whatever “bigness” happens, Bobby will help keep me on track because he just moved to the head of the class.

Sometimes when you find yourself in moments where you watch God work in miraculous ways, words fail as mine have utterly failed here. You realize there is nothing—absolutely nothing—this world has to offer worthy to untie their sandals. Thank you, Jesus, for two beautiful men You sent to remind me there’s always the next level to reach for as we walk with You. No matter how far we think we have come, thank You for serving notice to us just how far we have to go. Thank you, Lord, for allowing me just to be a part of it all—understanding for a brief moment what it really means to understand what love truly looks like. And thank You for whatever lays ahead for Bobby and me, for whatever I do unto him I know I will have done unto You.

11/13/2015 Mike’s Blog: The Nature of our Weapons

THE NATURE OF OUR WEAPONS

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”       (2 Cor 10:3)

“If anyone has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes. If anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.” (Rev 13:9-10)

If, as many believe, we are entering in to earth’s final days we must face the fact there are promises of destruction and chaos. God will be exalted, and all the world’s economies and societies men perceived as great will be abased. There will be catastrophe in the natural realm through earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, and destructive weather patterns. There will likewise be destruction from flesh in the form of wars, terrorist attacks, and infrastructure and financial collapse that will pale any in previous history. On local levels this will result in anarchy, looting, and all manners of chaos as those who have lost their comforts and basic provisions seek out man’s ways to survive. Complete lawlessness will reign, as overwhelmed government agencies will not be able to control the fears and actions of the masses.

In the face of such dire foreknowledge, God’s people are trying to figure out how to endure the fallout. I hear many talk of bearing arms in an attempt to protect themselves and their families. “If someone is breaking in to my house to loot my pantry and rape and kill my wife and family, I’ll be damned if I’ll just sit back, pray for them, and tell them Jesus loves them!” they exclaim. At the same time they affirm their trust in God to provide for and protect His own, they’re going to keep the 44 Magnum close by just in case. At the same time they affirm their belief in God in the spirit, they’ll keep the M-16 locked and loaded to protect their flesh just in case.

What are we to think of all of this? If the time is near, how are we to wisely prepare and respond for the coming birth pangs of Christ’s eminent return? Let me begin by stating that if a man is thinking the above thoughts as to what he will need for protection, he has lost the battle of the faith already. If he is considering the possibility that God will allow his family to be tortured and possibly killed by agents of the flesh, he has already surrendered the battle for his spirit. At that point he becomes like most of the spies Moses sent into the Promised Land, who came back crying, “There are giants out there, in great walled cities! Our flesh has beheld their flesh, and their flesh is greater than ours! Let us turn back from this course God has us on. It matters not we recently witnessed Him part the seas and destroy the greatest army on earth to free us. Forget He made bread and meat fall from heaven to sustain us, and gave us the pillar of fire by night and of cloud by day to guide us, there are giants in the land!” This resulted in all but the two who cried out, “Trust in God! Look what He has done for us already, and know He will do it again and again as long as we stay the course” dying off before they ever reached the Promised Land.

Those who say they will take up arms for protection inevitably go to the Old Testament [since the New Testament gives them no footing] to defend their position. Then let’s go there. Please forgive if the following carries with it a tone of sarcasm, but I can’t think of better analogies. Would it have been wise for the people of Israel to bring a few really big sump pumps to the Red Sea just in case God couldn’t manage parting it? Would it have been wise for Joshua to have rented a few D-9 Caterpillars just in case God couldn’t manage knocking the walls of Jericho down? Shouldn’t Gideon have kept all those men God told him to send home, and had the National Guard on speed dial just in case He failed to defeat the Midianite army with just the 300 He was told to keep? How many weapons would Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego needed to protect themselves from the evil king? How many chariots and swords would the children of Israel have needed to keep Pharaoh and his army from driving them in to the sea? How many guns will we need to fend off marauding bands of desperate men who will probably outnumber us 10 to 1?

Sure God can do it. We believe that. But what’s wrong with a little worldly back up? What’s wrong is that sort of thinking says to God we don’t believe—not really. Keeping backup always means you don’t trust in your A-team. If Jesus’ warnings in the Revelation 13 verse above [“those who killed with the sword must be killed by the sword”] were not enough, and if Paul’s admonitions to fight with spiritual weapons instead of fleshly weapons were not enough [and I don’t find “sidearm of protection” amongst the spiritual armaments we are given in Ephesians 6], then think about Jesus’ response to Peter when he arose to cut off the ear of one of the men who came to arrest Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. He said, “Put your sword back into its place, for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword [repeating the warning in Revelation 13]. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way” (Matt 26:52-54)? Had Jesus taken the ill-advised path of those today who want to take up arms to protect themselves and their families there would be no cross, no salvation, and no eternal life. Like those who perished in the desert for fear of giants, we would all come up short of the Promised Land.

What Jesus was saying to Peter in the garden is what I believe he would say to all who want to take up weapons of the flesh to fight weapons of the flesh—they have little understanding of the kingdom of heaven He came to establish on earth. When Jesus stood before Pilate and was asked if He realized he had the power to release or crucify Him, Jesus said, “You would have no authority over me unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11). He was saying the kingdom of flesh and of man has no authority whatsoever over those who are part of Jesus’ kingdom on earth unless He grants it. If He grants it, then it is a part of His divine will and, like the Cross, it will be used both for His glory and the edification of His church.

In that same conversation Jesus told Pilate plainly His kingdom was not of this world, and if it was His people would be fighting for Him. But as it was, it was not His kingdom and so they were not fighting. People who understand the kingdom of heaven on earth, like their Lord, simply do not take up worldly weapons to fight worldly battles. They entrust their protection, fully and completely, into God’s hands and seek to fight and win spiritual battles against the forces of darkness, for those are the only ones worthy of their time and effort. In Psalms 91, a Psalm dedicated to describing the Lord’s protection in dangerous days, we find the basis of this mindset: “You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day—of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.”

Some will receive this sort of protection and, no doubt, some will be called to suffer. That’s not the point. The point is how we come to see it, and the faith by which we face it. Suffering in the kingdom of heaven on earth is not what suffering in the kingdom of man is. It was at the moment of Jesus’ defeat in the flesh He gained the greatest victory that will ever be in the Spirit, and He will certainly call many of His saints in the coming days to suffer similar fates. At that point, as the verse from Revelation 13 says, to captivity they shall willingly go realizing, as Jesus did, it is God’s will for them.

But in doing so they will have displayed the “perseverance and faith of the saints” He desires, rather than warring according to the flesh. His kingdom saints will have spied out the land and gone boldly ahead, believing that what God had promised He was also able to complete (2 Tim. 1:12). They will not have feared anything man could do to them, and thus sought no opportunity to save their flesh through wielding weapons of flesh. Moreover they would not have even opened the door to faithlessness and doubt, the powers of darkness, and certain death by even contemplating the need for fleshly weapons. They would have displayed the faith in God to have gone to captivity if called to captivity, to death if called to death, and then to glory when they heard, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

11/7/2015 Brief Thoughts: Born for Adversity!

BORN FOR ADVERSITY!

 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Prov 17:17)

 “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8-9)

“For now we really live, when you stand firm in the Lord!” (1 Thess 3:8)

Proverbs 17 reveals two important truths: first, that if we follow Jesus there will be adversity, for if there was no adversity there would be no need for brothers “born for it.” Furthermore it reveals a true brother isn’t just someone to meet with, or to hold us accountable, or to instruct or pray with us. When a true brother sees another brother struggling with the trials and temptations inevitable while living in this world, something arises enflamed within him! He girds his sword on his thigh and comes charging in to the fray, his spirit crying out within him, “I was born for this—born for fulfilling the law of Christ by bearing my brother’s burden!” And as David did to Goliath he cries to the enemy, “I come against you in the name of the Lord Jesus whom you have mocked, on behalf of my brother whom you have afflicted. This day the Lord will deliver my brother from your hands, that he may know the battle is the Lord’s!”

As always, we need look only to our ever living example of all the Bible teaches to see this fleshed out. Was Jesus not born into this world for our adversity? Did He not see us “dead in our trespasses and sins,” and while yet sinners come running, sword drawn with passion and focus, to deliver us? Did He not “love us at all times” as He laid down His life for us? Did He not say, “Greater love hath no man than this: that he lay down his life for his neighbor” and then do it? Will He not come again with fire in His eyes and a sword emanating from His mouth, when again He finds us in great adversity at the hands of the evil trinity to save us? Oh yes, our brother Jesus was born for our adversity that we might in turn be born for the adversity of our brother. Jesus, like Paul, truly lived to see others stand firm. The disciple of Christ follows in His footsteps, and oft times those steps are found running to the adversity of their brothers.

10/30/2015 – Brief Thoughts: Led in to Suffering

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days being tempted by the devil.” (Luke 4:1-2)

 “The Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job?’” (Job 1:8)

Immediately upon coming up out of the waters of His baptism and hearing the words, “This is My Son in whom I am well pleased,” Jesus was directed—led, propelled, driven and thrust by the Spirit into the darkness and the fire that was to kiln Him for all that would come after. He did not choose this battle any more than He chose His crucifixion. It was chosen for Him. Thousands of years prior to that Job suffered the same seemingly unfair and cruel fate, and neither did He choose it. The battle was brought to Job’s doorstep by God Himself. Satan knew not of Job before the Lord drew a huge red target on Job’s chest, and turned the enemy loose to bring chaos and suffering into his life. In both these cases it wasn’t “the Devil who did it.” Neither was it the folly of the flesh of Jesus or Job that brought about their assaults. It was God who set up, instigated, and presided over the trials of His servants.

Do you want to know if you are in Christ, and He in you? One question you can ask is have you been led out by the Spirit in to deserts that seemed never ending and darkness that seemed impenetrable to test and prune you? Have you been mercilessly attacked by the Devil as you feel alone and helpless? Have you cried out to God, “Why, O Lord? O Lord my God, if I have done this, if there is injustice in my hands, if I have rewarded evil to my friend or have plundered him who without cause was my adversary, let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it” (Ps 7:3-5), knowing the fault is not yours? Jesus simply cannot abide in the spirit and soul of a man who has not been fully stripped, fully broken, fully pruned, and fully tested, for there simply is not enough room for Him in such a man. He will settle for nothing less than all of us. The disciple has learned through deep wounds already inflicted his Lord will do whatever it takes to completely prepare him. He bears, though often not gladly, his destiny because he is looking to the glory that will be brought to God and the benefits that will be brought to others through the process. “Nevertheless, not My will be done but Thine.”

10/15/2015 Mike’s Blog: Are we not all Josephs?

The story of Joseph suffering unjust punishments the Lord used afterwards to save many others is one of the most famous in the Old Testament. But is it just an “old story?” Shouldn’t we all be Josephs? When we receive a true revelation of Jesus Christ it always sets us apart from not only the world, but the religious and the merely converted as well. We receive a vision of who and what God wants us to truly be and do, and suddenly all of our temple activities are just going through the motions. When we begin to abide in Christ and our eyes are opened to the kingdom of heaven on earth it typically results in alienation from traditional religion, which comes in the form of both rejection by it of us, and of us by it.

We are then “cast in to the pit” of God’s pruning to see if we, being faithful in little, will be found faithful to inherit much (Luke 16:10). I have never known a true kingdom saint who was not led out in to seemingly endless deserts that lasted for years full of dark and unsettling nights, to be mercifully broken and tested, and this so his Master could hear, “Let the bones which Thou hast broken rejoice!” from him. The flesh must be shed, all we were must die at the cross, and the price of enduring patience must be paid before being found worthy of God’s higher callings. There is no way under, over, or around this, and it is only through running this gauntlet Joseph’s emerge.

For the sake of others the disciple is made a spectacle, and condemned to death in this world. He is made a fool—the scum of the world—so others can be made prudent. He is made weak that others might be made strong, and he is found without honor that others might be distinguished. He is treated roughly as he works to help others. Yet because of the pruning he has endured, and the abiding relationship with his Lord that has accomplished, he blesses when reviled, endures when persecuted, and reconciles when slandered (1 Cor. 4:9-13). The disciple then often winds up in a world that has little resemblance to the one he came from, for he has indeed become an entirely new creature in Christ Jesus. He has a new family, speaks a new language, and has a new mission in life the world cannot comprehend. Sound like Joseph?

Ah, but the end-game of all his sufferings and all of his labor is to go before those God loves through him, preparing the way of their salvation and provision during the years of famine the world forces upon them. When others he helps have paid the price of discipleship, and come to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, even those who used to mock him see the light in him and some even come to understand his original vision. More than that, they now obtain a vision of their own through the preparation God made for them through him.

Are you going through a Joseph experience? Has God given you a vision that has alienated you from “the church,” your family, and your friends? Have you become an outcast because they no longer understand where God is taking you? Has the Spirit sent you out into a wilderness, the end of which seems dark and endless? Then rejoice, for you have been found worthy to endure sufferings for His glory and the salvation of others! You are not the outcast, you are the chosen one. You are not unloved, you are most cherished. Those deserts will never be there to kill you, but to kiln you. Keep pressing on, keep enduring, keep fighting the good fight of the faith and God will lead you to the fulfillment of the vision He gave you! It won’t be about you, for that is not the way of love. It will be about others for love is always, tirelessly, relentlessly, and unswervingly about others.

All who truly want to follow Jesus into this world will be Josephs. Those who do not wish to walk the path of discipleship will never make it through the mocking, the estrangements, the pits and the deserts required. They will take their hands from the plow and turn back (Luke 9:62) the moment the journey requires a cost. Though they may find great success and wealth in this world, they will not be found worthy for riches in the kingdom of heaven on earth.

Will you be a Joseph? Will you endure temporary sufferings in this life for the provision and eternal life of others? Seek the way that is beyond even the greater gifts of God (1 Cor. 12:31), forget all that lies behind you and determine to press on to His upward calling (Phil. 3:13-14), count all you have in this life as unworthy so that you may gain Christ (Phil. 3:8), and get ready for a journey Joseph and you will one day rejoice over!

10/1/2015 – Brief Thoughts: Total Re-creation

“Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.” (Gen 2:7-8)

“And when [Jesus] had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”  (John 20:22)

When God created man from the dust and breathed life in to him, the man became literally a living soul. He was not created a spiritual being, but a soulful being. This, in the end, would both prove to be the downfall of the Old Covenant and reveal the need for the new. The soul is the part of man that carries the mind, will, and emotions, but it is the spirit of man that alone can contain the Spirit of God within him. Man directs his own soul, as is seen in the Psalms where David commands his soul about. Within the confines of his soul, a man can either accept or reject the command of God. However, when the spirit of man engages the Spirit of God it is the Lord who directs his paths. As Paul observed, “It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.” (Gal 2:20)

Jesus came for total re-creation of us as spiritual beings capable of containing the Holy Spirit, and paid the price for sin so the Spirit could come. The former things, all of them, truly did pass away and new things came as we became entirely new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17) bearing little resemblance to what we were before. Therefore, it was necessary for the Son to perform the same, but fulfilled, “breathing” in to us the Father did upon the lump of dirt when He created Adam. In this, as in many other ways, Jesus truly did “fulfill the law” (Matt. 5:17). The disciple both understands and fully engages in this new re-creation of man in to a spiritual being, and disciplines his soul as David did to allow God to direct him, Spirit to spirit, to His glory.

 

9/27/2015 – Brief Thoughts: Grow!

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:6-7)

 “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children.” (Eph 4:13-14)

Being a Christian is all about growth: moving from wherever you are now to the next level of maturity and power God has destined us for. Being a follower of Jesus cannot, by definition, mean stagnancy. To be in a place of no-growth while saying you are saved, or a Christian, or a follower, or a disciple is simply an oxymoron, and reveals a complete misunderstanding of everything Scripture is trying to teach us. For one to proclaim, “I am God’s!” and yet remain stationary in this life means that one is deceived.

Everything taught, displayed, and revealed in the Scriptures screams, “GROW AND MATURE—MOVE ONWARD AND UPWARD!” The calling of God is forever upward (Phil. 3:13). The way of God is forever more excellent (1 Cor. 12:31), and the goal of our faith, through the same Spirit that is in God, is perfection (Matt. 5:48). Our salvation is to be worked out in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), and run after as a race to be won (1 Cor. 9:24) so that when we come to the end of the journey we can proclaim with complete confidence, “The time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, and I have kept the faith. In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day” (2 Tim 4:6-8)! The disciple is not deceived by the watered down gospels of men’s religions. This is the salvation he desires—not a salvation that merely endures this earth while awaiting heaven above, but a salvation that is to be fully experienced every day as we grow, mature, and move onward and upward right here, right now in the kingdom of heaven on earth.

9/12/2015 – Brief Thoughts: A line we dare not cross

“Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” (Luke 10:20)

“An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet, for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matt 12:39-40)

I believe in healing. I do not believe, as some do, that signs and wonders no longer exist. I do not believe God wrote a best-seller and then went fishing. I believe in those “new things” He is always about, and in new revelation. I believe there is still more he has to say to us. I believe there is still much more he has to say to me. But there is a fine line when it comes to revelations and miracles we dare not cross, and we will be increasingly tempted to do just that as signs and wonders from both heaven and hell increase in the coming days.

In both of the verses above, Jesus compares the merely miraculous to the truly miraculous—the former being signs and wonders, and the latter being the price He paid for us and the redemption that bought. The true miracle of God is, and has been since the incarnation of the Savior, salvation of the soul and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit that purchased. To put anything above this as the finished evidence of God’s power or our faith is, as He made clear to the Pharisees, “spiritual adultery.” Go ahead and believe God still has miracles to perform. Go ahead and believe God still has Rhema knowledge to share with us, but beware crossing the line in to coveting signs and wonders as evidence of God’s power or our faith or blessing. The greatest gift has already been given, and the powers of darkness will soon send two to deceive those who minimalize that by demanding more of God than that.

9/3/2015 – Mike’s Blog: Sounding the Trumpet!

 “While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness that the day would overtake you like a thief, for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night, nor of darkness. So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.” (1 Thess 5:3-7)

“Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?” (Matt 16:3-4)

We are to discern the signs of the times. There is a prophet God has raised up for these times who is seeing them more clearly than anyone else I’ve found. I would urge you to go to Youtube and look in to the teachings of Rabi Jonathan Cahn, a Messianic Jew who wrote the best-seller, The Harbinger. Study not only that information, but also his teachings on the ramifications of the Shemitah and the year of Jubilee. This is why I feel it critical to offer this article now. The Shemitah 7 year period ends on the 13th of this month, and the year of Jubilee [the year marking the 7th of the 7 year Shemitah periods that comes along every 50 years] begins. What has happened in just the last two Shemitah years [9/11 and the collapse of Wallstreet in 2008] should be eye-opening enough, but in the videos you will see these are just the tip of the iceberg. I also find it interesting that on 9/21 the world will be celebrating “The International Day of Peace.” “When all are saying peace and safety…” Considered together, from mid September 2015 to mid September 2016 these historic Jewish calendar events could promise very interesting times indeed for this nation, and perhaps the world. I urge you to check out Rabi Cahn’s teachings now [see links below]. They will be a real eye-opener if you haven’t already heard of them.

The Harbinger: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXei0Zb3dxM

The Shemitah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bc72DIT_ar0

Why do I believe judgment is coming, and we are beyond the point of repentance? With the rapid slide of America into increasingly evil practices—most notably the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize homosexual unions [thereby striking down God’s foundational building block of society called marriage] and growing alienation from Israel, we have stepped over a line from which there is no turning back. We have taken a paradigm leap from mere disobedience to open rebellion against God, thereby crossing the line from blessing to judgment and from God’s prior favor to His impending wrath. The reason, I believe, can be found in a word in the Bible likened unto sin but with a much deeper meaning: lawlessness. The Greek word for sin is “hamartano”, meaning to err or to miss the mark with God. Sin can be forgiven, for many times we miss the mark with God in ignorance. Therefore, once we find the truth we can turn from our ignorance to the truth, find forgiveness, and be redeemed.

Such is not the case with lawlessness. I have spent many years studying this term since the Lord gave me a revelation of it back in the early 80’s. While I will not go in to most of it here, there are certain aspects to be keenly aware of as “the mystery of lawlessness,” in operation from the early days of the church, becomes fully manifest and defined in these latter days.

The Greek term for lawlessness is “anomias”, and its meaning holds several keys to the times we now live in—times when the Bible tells us this mystery will be revealed. Lawlessness is indeed sin (1 John 3:4), but goes far beyond the innocence of ignorance, to wit:

  • There is an element of the “practice” of sin involved in lawlessness (1 John 3:4). A study of the word “practice” in the New Testament reveals it is the difference between life and death—salvation and damnation. It is what we practice on a regular basis that reveals what we truly believe, and whether or not we have the Spirit of God abiding in us. It is not what we say we believe, but what we practice that will determine our final judgment. A verse that deals with both lawlessness and practice (Matt. 7:21-23) reveals this to be true. Practicing sin is dangerous because it numbs us to the felt need to repent. The more we practice something the more we rationalize it—the more we get “used to it.” With that comes a subsequent numbness to it, until we eventually reach the point where repentance is impossible due to a lack of the acknowledgment we are sinning at all. America has been immersed in sinful practices for so long now repentance as a nation has become impossible, and judgment is all that is left to God as a remedy. He has warned us through the events of the past two Shemitahs to repent, and our defiance and evil practices have only increased on a scale never before seen.
  • There is also an element of overt contempt for the law in this word. Those who are lawless are not ignorant of the law, but know it and willingly transgress thereby showing open contempt for God. Recently pictures of the White House adorned in the rainbow colors of the homosexual community and the Hindu Goddess of darkness and destruction Kali projected hundreds of feet tall on the Empire State Building in New York [placed there to protect “mother earth” from destruction at the hands of its inhabitants], have shown just how we feel about God and all things holy. There is a man coming who will display the ultimate contempt for God. He is called “the Abomination of Desolation,” who will stand in the temple proclaiming himself to be God, thereby bringing about God’s final wrath upon the earth (Matt. 24:15). His name? “The man of anomias: the son of destruction” (2 Thess. 2:3). He is not called the man of sin, but the man of lawlessness for a good reason.

When you combine the practice of sin with open contempt for God, you get what America is now becoming known for and defined as by anyone with any inkling of the Spirit abiding within: the country that “calls evil good and good evil, and substitutes darkness for light and light for darkness” (Isa. 5:20). There is only one solution for such a nation, and Isaiah says it well: “Woe to those!” Wrath. Judgment. There will be no mercy, as has been the case for so many years while America enjoyed God’s blessings. They are withdrawn, and only the fallout of judgment is left.

So what do we do?

  • First, we tighten it up. No more sitting on the fence. No more Sunday go to meetin’ Christianity. No more living with one foot in the world and one in the kingdom of heaven on earth. No more living for our possessions, our pensions, and a comfortable retirement more than we live to follow Jesus. Time to draw near to God that He may draw near to us. Time to stop playing Christian and start being Christian. Time to remain alert and sober to the signs of the times that can no longer be ignored. Time for prayer, immersion in His Word and community in the fellowship of other believers. Time to find others who are serious about their faith and gather with them as regularly as possible. Time to find shepherds to guide us—not the ones who appear behind pulpits on Sunday mornings to wow us with their latest bit of Bible knowledge and then abandon us just as quickly as they came, but the ones who are living examples of what they speak like Jesus was. Time to fear and love God, and cling to Him above all else—forsaking the ways and riches of America and its politicians, and pledging our utter fealty to the government built upon His shoulders (Isa. 9:6).
  • We prepare, not for our own sakes but for the sakes of those God will lead to us. I am not talking about being “Preppers” here: taking up arms and hiding away in mountain bunkers. Furthermore, the financial advice herein is not given so we may “store up our treasures on earth.” The wrath the world is about to face is coming primarily because of this “root of all sorts of evil” Christians have been just as guilty of as the humanists. We are to be a light on a hill, ready to minister to both body and soul when the time comes. When this “shaking” comes [I believe it will start with a world financial collapse that will be no mere recession], there will be many homeless and confused wandering the streets desperate for help and answers. God will lead them to those who are prepared: both spiritually to guide them and physically to care for them. Gather a stock of food, water, and basic medical supplies. Get a gas powered generator [of at least 5,500-6,000 watts which will cost around $500.] and a few 5 gallon gas cans to keep filled for it and emergency car trips. Read up on aquaponic gardening and consider setting up one in your home, or even building a greenhouse. Get your money out of the stock market NOW, including any funds you hold that are invested in it. Any fund can move you into “cash”, or money markets. If God tarries, you can move back in to stocks again within 30 days. Also, get some serious cash out and keep it at your home. Do not worry about it being there, for if you are His He will protect and provide for you. Many are advising to buy gold. If you do get pre 1933 minted coins so the government cannot recall them.
  • Do not take up arms as the Preppers do. Do not fight flesh with flesh, or fire with fire. Jesus promises that all who take up swords in these days must be killed with them, and we have a choice between that and “the faith and perseverance of the saints” (Rev. 13:10). Trust in God’s total protection and provision (Psalm 91), and do not fear the arrows that will be flying everywhere.
  • Lastly, rejoice! These are going to be frightening times for the flesh, but they are going to represent incredible opportunities for the Spirit! People we have had to chase down to share the Gospel with will be seeking us out! Life now lived for self will be filled with opportunities for life lived for God and neighbor. Life now lived in seclusion and segregation will be filled with opportunities for life lived in community. These will be exciting times indeed for those who have prepared themselves and been found worthy in the little things, to be counted worthy of great things. Will some be called to suffer? Yes. Will some be martyred. Yes. Will some go in to captivity? Yes. But regardless, those who hold fast to Jesus will know His peace and joy throughout, and wherever they land will have ample opportunities to testify to the glory of God!

In closing, I do not wish to appear a wild-eyed radical, but the time for worldly foolishness among God’s people must end. I do not know when God will visit His wrath upon us, but I do know it is a matter of when and not if any more. I cannot sit back in silence and not tell the people I love of the impending shaking, because I am to be a watchman on the wall for them (Ezek. 33:1-6). I do not want anyone’s blood on my hands because I did not sound the alarm. But now it’s up to you. Will you prepare? Will you get serious? Will you rejoice in the trials about to come upon us, or recoil in fear? Will you become a blessing to others? Will you show yourself worthy to be called God’s elect? The trumpet has sounded and the warning has been shouted from the rooftops. What shall your—our—response be? I pray we all chose wisely.

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