Thursday, May 13, 2021

A Message for the End Times Remnant: The Last Great Awakening

Return of Jesus, cc 2.0

Welcome to the wilderness. Temptations on one side, false teachers on the other. The true message is Jesus Christ as revealed in the gospels, repent and believe! Join our ranks, the ranks of the holy remnant in a post-Christian world.

The United States, Europe, the western world has slipped into moral chaos: Relativism, atheism, post-modernism, the sexual revolution, and today, the curtailing of free speech. The two towers of propaganda and censorship rise above the cities of the Earth. Christianity is under assault. Yet the message continues to go out everyday. Keep spreading it far and wide!

All must repent and believe in Jesus Christ before it's too late! The return of Christ is so near! Heaven and hell stand before us in the valley of decision! Who will answer? Who will decide?

This may not be the message you wanted. But it is the truth. This is your message, the vital message, and if you won't carry it, who will?

We will carry it. We the few, the remnant, the believing church of Philadelphia in the time of the lukewarm church of Laodicea. We must repent of double-mindedness now, so when the last great awakening comes, we are able to take the message to all for the billion soul harvest! Will you be ready? Are you becoming rapidly who you were always meant to be?

This is what we must be: The Holy church in the wilderness. The undefiled remnant. We're the new counter-culture revolutionaries. We're the ones willing to live the true Christian message. And we're going to live it boldly.

Just like John the Baptist in the wilderness making the way for the coming messiah...

Just like the Acts church missionaries blazing inroads and trails into the depths of the ancient Roman empire.

Just like the Apostle Paul who endured whips, floggings, shipwrecks, and constantly threats for the name of Christ.

Just like the disciples of Jesus who each gave their life for the savior, and John who saw the end in the Revelation of Christ.

Today our world is a wilderness of sin, and we're on the outskirts, fighting for the true message, teaching the radical gospel by the words of the Bible.

On one side stands the sinful society who casts the God of the Bible aside, and on the other side the self righteous lukewarm sin-filled churches of the world. We are the remnant gathered in the wilderness to call out the true message, the vital cross of Jesus Christ received by grace through faith, and lived out through tireless love, holiness, discipleship, and evangelism.

Escape the matrix of this world! Join the resistance!

If you're reading this message: You are the resistance.

You are the evangelist, the prophet, the teacher; you are the messenger! No one else will do it for you Christian. You must be the soldier of Christ, wherever and whenever you go. Time is running short. Christ's return is imminent. The souls of countless billions hang in the balances. You can do this. You will do this. For all things can be done in the power of Christ for his glory. Believe it can be done. Believe it will be done. Believe it is already accomplished. Pray hard, work hard, and remember: What you do today, will echo forever in eternity.

The Planet Earth cc 2.0 via Flickr

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Night Train

I was walking one night, down a dark dark road. 

Imagining what my life might be like if I lived in a dream,

I came upon a crossroads, stopped in my tracks,

Down the road more murky I traveled

But soon the path had grown tiresome to me,

So I disappeared down on a misty ravine

Through the night, rushing water,

Humming in the brush,

Something beckons me forward,

A glowing mist caught my eye,

Came into the clearing, transfixed,

Can this be real? My mind accepted it,

A train stood tall and mighty, 

It called me onto it,

Lured me with it's mystery,

So I climbed aboard, and the train took off,

I climbed to the  top, and sat upon the roof

The winds whipped through my hair,

Where are you taking me, I wondered

A place far away

Anywhere but here,

Was the train in my mind

Was the train an illusion?

It was a steady thing,

Breaking through the twilight

I delight in it,

It played music for me,

Some sort of mystery,

It explained itself to me,

Little by little revealing,

Stars over my head,

Moon lush and stolen glory,

Wonder takes me away,

I'm captured, stolen from the past days,

Where are you taking me?

The beauty, the intrigue,

These are things I'd never seen,

This urge controls me,

I never want to leave,

The night ride, a window,

To a sublime new reality,

Night train, never take me home,

You've stolen me away,

From all I thought I knew,

You reveal something new,

A reality I never had perceived,

I'm addicted to your railways,

I'm hooked to your wandering paths,

Never let me go,

Take me where you would will me to go,

So you bring me at dawn,

To a lush valley,

Light trickles in from the sky,

Dare you show me the mysterious,

You welcome me into a mysterious valley,

I climb down, depart the train,

Break through the foliage,

The valley beckons me,

The valley is bright, the night breaks

It threatens to awake me,

But I'm still dreaming,

A corridor appears, a hallway into the mountain side

Down, down, down through the rocks

They cut me, tear at me,

Will I ever make it back?

Something here wants to destroy me,

Will I survive this path?

Yet a presence beckons me,

Calls me home deeper, deeper still

Into the depths below, downward, downward,

Into the watery depths below,

The rocky cavern breaks,

To a wide opening,

A giant room opens before me,

What is this place? 

Something has brought me here,

An image appears on the cavern walls

It lights up for me to see,

I am devoured by the image,

Of a shining glorious mystery,

It has come into me,

It has taken over me,

The mystery has discovered me,

The train serves the master,

The conductor of the train, appears before me,

And I am awe-struck,

The terror fills me,

The horror overwhelms me,

The realization cripples me,

I am broken, crushed, devastated,

But at the moment of complete collapse,

I realize, a candle has been lit in me,

It shines within me, 

The conductor points down ahead,

Toward an opening in the rock face,

The cleft is dark, and cold,

I can't see my way,

Still the conductor beckons me,

'Go between the rocks, go all the way'

So I follow the light, 

It's lit within me,

It burns ever so softly,

I began my blind journey,

Clinging to the walls,

Climbing my way out anxiously,

The rocks break

The sunlit valley before me,

I'm not who I used to be,

The day before me awakens,

Disappointed at first,

But fire within keeps burning,

So my journey begins,

An exile in a lost land,

The train and the conductor,

Have changed everything,

The journey begins today,

A new wondrous adventure,

In the depths of the valleys. 

Monday, May 10, 2021

How Do I Become a Christian?

Used under CC 3.0 license. Star Forming in region S106, from the Hubble Telescope. Attribution: NASA & ESA

So you've looked at the arguments for God, the Bible, and Jesus. You've decided there is enough evidence to take a reasonable leap of faith. Or you just know in your heart there is a God, something bigger than you. What's next?

What does it mean to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ? Can one simply say a prayer, and be saved? It's hard to say. I'm sure for some, that is their experience with stepping into a relationship with Jesus Christ.

For me, it happened in a series of spiritual awakenings. Over a period of time, years actually, I slowly came to realization after realization about the world around me. I pursued that journey. I thought and studied, and learned, and talked about it with people. I journaled about the things I was learning.

I really began at a place of little concern for spiritual matters. Eventually I had an awakening in 2011, that God does exist. From there I adopted a sort of pantheistic view. I had opened myself up to all religious views. In 2012 I called out in particular to Jesus Christ, and the reality came to me that Christ was the exclusive way to God. From there it's like my worldview began an extended, slow and steady transformation from materialistic/spiritual views, to theologically deep and philosophically coherent views about the world around me. My depth of gratitude toward Christ went from little, to deeper and deeper.

The journey goes from far before meeting Christ, to long after, in my experience. In any case, I will try to explain the basics, and describe a possible prayer that might be a helpful starting point. But as a reminder, simply be open to pursuing the journey, and pursuing the knowledge of the Holy, and be open to having a series of awakenings regarding Christ and the truth of the Bible. Engage in the journey and relationship.

Christianity is about a personal relationship with God. It's about a reconciliation between one person, you, and God, through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It's like a romance, or a close friendship, or a father-son/father-daughter relationship. It's not about ritual or superstition. It's about turning from sin, and the lies we've believed about reality, and turning to Jesus Christ in faith.

Repentance is key to salvation in Jesus Christ. The word of God the Bible says to "Repent and believe the good news!" -Mark 1:15. What does it mean to repent? The concept of repenting is that we turn away from sin and turn to Jesus. To repent, means to "put to death" the works of our fleshly desires. A few of the sins that I had to put aside included: Drugs (I was a drug addict), alcohol (I drank constantly), cigarettes (destructive to the body), masturbation, having sex outside of marriage, pornography, lying, stealing (even pirated movies and music), sexual fantasizing, movies/tv series full of gore and sex, and many other sinful practices. Trust in the Holy Spirit, who will lead you to areas in your life that need to change. Be focused and concentrate on this process of repentance, because Christ expects us to be holy as He is holy.

Christianity is also about serving God. We renounce our plans for life and we embrace what God's will is for our lives. Like for me, I wanted to be a journalist or a novelist. But when I became a Christian, I realized through prayer, fasting, and Bible reading that God was calling me to be a minister. He doesn't call everyone to be ministers, often he calls us to a certain job or vocation. Once again, the Holy Spirit will lead you if you're yielded to His influence.

The three most important parts of our relationship with God are prayer, fellowship, and Bible reading. As a Christian I try to pray twice a day. Sometimes I'll say the "Our Father" but most often I'll just get on my knees and talk to God. It's about communication and love. And remember, if we love someone we'll spend real time with them. Not just ten or twenty minutes a day. But real time. So in your prayer life, don't just spent a few minutes praying, build it more and more until you're praying for an hour or hours a day. Prayer is how we talk to God, but how does God talk back? That's where Bible reading comes in. As I read the various books of the Bible, God will communicate through them to me. Isn't that cool? Of course being a Christian is not simply communicating with God, it's also fellowship and brotherhood between fellow believers.

Joining a church is an absolute necessity. We can't do it alone. We will die with nothing if we try to do it alone. A gazelle wandering away from the herd will be picked off and eaten by lions. There are no solo Christians. We must join a weekly fellowship and a must is also a weekly Bible study/small group. I repeat, this is not optional!
I would encourage you to find a Bible, a good understandable translation like the New International Version, the English Standard Version, New Living Translation, or even something very contemporary like The Message Translation. Read through the Gospel of John. That is my favorite Gospel. Luke, Mark, and Matthew are great too though! The Psalms are great to read through, they are poetry about out wonderful God. If you have trouble understanding exactly what's being talked about, consider purchasing a quality Study Bible. A Study Bible will include commentary and notes on the scriptures in front of you, to provide for better understanding of the Bible.

If you prefer to read on the computer, check out Bible Gateway. You can go through the Bible in any translation you like. There are even Bible commentaries, studies, and Audio Bibles. Bible hub is a good study website as well. For topical listings of Bible verses check out Open Bible. There are Bible apps as well, like YouVersion for all phones. Check out the Bible Project on YouTube, it's a great way to learn the big story of scripture.

Once you've read through the Bible, ask yourself, do I understand that I need a Savior to remove my sins? Do I realize I've fallen short of the perfect requirement of God, just like the rest of humanity? Do I understand that God is sovereign over my life, and I want him to be my personal God?

Then it's time to cry out to Jesus Christ. Call out to the name of Jesus Christ, with belief in your heart that Jesus can help you. Cry out with all your might. Scream out to Jesus for hope, for forgiveness, for freedom, and for salvation. I remember when I cried out to Jesus. I cried out in horror and misery, and it was like that cry echoed up into the heavens above, level by level reaching the very throne of God, and on that day the way was opened to salvation. Praise the Lord!

I could recommend many books for understanding the basics of Christian faith. The Pilgrim's Progress is a vital read for any Christian, available free online (updated language) PDF. Also available on Librivox as an audiobook. Peace with God by Billy Graham is excellent. Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray is available free in audio book format online at Librivox. "Know What You Believe" and "Know Why You Believe" by Paul Little are both very good books to read. They are fun reads too, which is nice. Additionally, "Knowing God" by J.I. Packer and "The Cross of Jesus Christ" by John R.W. Stott is amazing as well.

If you've come to understand your need for Jesus Christ, go on your knees before God, and say a prayer similar to this:

Father God of the Bible, I realize now that you're real, your Bible is real, and your son Jesus Christ is real. I admit to you Father that I've sinned against you, I confess my sins to you now (confess them one by one). I repent of my sins, please Lord set me free from every sin. And I admit that I need a Savior. You have provided that Savior. I accept him Father, today I accept your son Jesus Christ, and his work on the cross as the necessary payment for all my sins, past, present, and future. I recognize that Jesus resurrected from the dead to give me eternal life. Please Father, cloth me in His righteousness. Father God I acknowledge you as the sovereign Lord of my life, please grant me your Holy Spirit to guide me in my new life as a Christian. Thank you so much Father, it's in Jesus Christ name I pray this prayer, Amen.

Then pursue that new life. Find a good Bible believing church in your area. Join a weekly Bible study. Read books on the Christian life. Pray and pray a lot (15 minutes to 2 hours a day.) Get involved in discipleship (training Christians in deeper practices) and evangelism (telling non-believers about Jesus) as well.

Remember that as Christians we are all waiting for a culminating event at the end of the age: The return of Jesus Christ. Jesus will return, and we should be expectantly waiting for Him. Everyone will either go to heaven because they faithfully followed Jesus, or they will go to hell, if they rejected Christ, or failed to live a pure Christian life.

Learn and grow as a Christian. Establish a network of relationships with Christians in your area. And live it my friend, live it.

It will do us no good at all my friends, if we live as a Christian for many years, but then fall way later. We will be worse off than if we'd never known Jesus at all. Do not fall away! Stay strong and continue with Jesus Christ to the very end. Run your race well! Finish the journey strong, and live forever with your family of believers in the next phase of existence, after this life comes to an end. May God bless you and keep you until then!

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Great Mother's from the Bible and Christian History

Moms are the best aren’t they? I have a great mom, she's awesome. She read books with me every night before bed when I was a kid. By 6th grade I had read about 10,000 books. We would often read the same books over and over, and I began to learn the styles and patterns for writing, and later on I would become a writer and blogger. Pretty cool.

So today I’d like to draw your attention to some awesome mother’s from the Bible and Christian history. Think of first of all Mary the mother of Jesus, and Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist.

Mary and Elizabeth don’t know it at that time, but God is literally going to change the world through the two children growing in their bellies. Isn’t that an amazing honor that women have, to raise up such great people of faith?

I think of Susanna Wesley the mother of Methodism. She trained up John and Charles, just as a mother, but she was utterly dedicated to her calling to be a great mother. She meticulously raised John and Charles to be men of God. And through her ministry to them, and their ministry to the world, millions of souls came into contact with Jesus Christ.

In the same way Elizabeth would give birth to John the Baptist. Does anyone here think John the Baptist is awesome? Very early on in my Christian life I thought John the Baptist was really, really cool. He lives in the wilderness, he’s an outcast, eating wild honey, crazy hair, eating bugs, preaching the word, rallying the people, the grassroots, to be prepared to welcome and embrace the coming of Jesus. And then we have Jesus, God come to Earth. He’s the savior, the king, our God, the maker of the universe, and the designer of the human soul. He’s goodness, love, holiness, purity, tenderness, friendship, and mystery before our very eyes. And it all started with Mary, and Elizabeth. Two mothers.

When I think of a great mother I also think of Abraham’s wife Sarah from the old testament. She had to wait a long time before she was able to conceive a child. In fact Sarah was considered barren. Yet she always longed to have a baby. And eventually God fulfilled her dream. And her son Isaac would be a great hero of the Bible.

I think of Naomi from the Bible. Her husband died and she was alone. Then her sons died as well. But her son’s wife Ruth stayed with Naomi. And Naomi guided Ruth as if Ruth were her own daughter. Maybe your own mother wasn’t much of a blessing. Maybe she wasn’t really there for you. But maybe you had another motherly figure in your life, someone who wasn’t your mom, but was more of a mother to you than anyone else in your life. That’s who Naomi was. She was a mother to Ruth, guiding her to make right choices and do God’s will. Here’s a word for you, if you didn’t have a great mother, maybe you can be a great mother to your own children, or be a great mother to someone who else who you care about? Pray about it.

Another motherly hero from the Bible was Samson's mother. We don’t even know her name from the Bible. But she honored God so well, by raising up Samson in the Lord. And even when Samson went astray and made bad choices, she continued to pray for him and hope for him and try to guide him to do the right things. Samson sinned greatly, but in the end he turned back to the Lord and the Lord granted him a great victory before he died.

Many, many of us here are only still breathing because we had a praying mother or a praying grandmother. Otherwise we’d be long dead. Mother, if you have a wayward son or daughter, whose causing trouble, keep praying and keep being that voice of loving accountability in their life! Never give up! Samson’s mom never did, and Samson won the day.

I think of another mother from Christian history, the famous Mother Teresa. This woman was a mother to so many who needed her. She served lost and homeless children on the streets of Calcutta, India. She was a mother to the world. Many mothers out there may not even have children, but they are mothering a whole bunch of people, friends, family members, neighbors and coworkers. It’s a great thing. Maybe God is calling you today to be a mother to a whole community of people. Maybe God is calling you to adopt children and change their stories forever. Pray about it.

I also think of Abigail Adams, a great mother from history. She was wife to the 2nd president of the united states John Adams. While John was often away on business, serving in the political sphere Abigail single-handedly raised their children, was in charge of the farm, and loved her husband dearly as well. In fact one of Abigail’s children John Quincy Adams wrote: "My mother was an angel upon earth. She was a minister of blessing to all human beings within her sphere of action. Her heart was the abode of heavenly purity… She was the real personification of female virtue, of piety, of charity, of ever active and never intermitting benevolence."

Being a mom is hard. It isn’t easy. It’s hard work. But women who raise their children up right, in the Lord, teaching them the Bible, end up being blessed, because their children will often go on to do great things for the Lord.

Our culture often diminishes motherhood as something that’s not of much value. Nothing could be further from the truth. Children need great mothers and fathers to prosper. Motherhood is huge for children and our society. If you can be a great mother out their leading your children to worship Jesus, you can change the world. That’s what it’s all about when we consider loving people as Christ loves us.

In conclusion, happy mothers day to all the moms out there, even if you aren’t a biological mother, maybe you’re a mother in a different way, to people you know and friends. Reflect on the great mothers of the Bible and Christian history. Be a heroic mother who raises up her children in the Lord. Raising your children in the Lord may be the single great accomplishment of your life, that in the future means millions will come to know Christ because of them. Amen.

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