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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Perseverance of the saints, true and deep conversion.

My heart is rejoicing in the theme of ultimate conversion, what I like to call a true and deep conversion.  Along side of that is the theme of the necessary perseverance of the saints.  This will be a long post a “last post of 2012“
It was the best of times, It was the worst of times.

Art Katz  “Whether by death or by deliverance, whatever gives the most glory to You God.”
This is an ultimate understanding of our lives in light of the glory of God.  We do not hold God captive, proclaiming that He must deliver us.  The three Hebrew children faced death with this attitude, and so will the end time church.  Revelation 12:11.
Revelation 13:8 “It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.”  This verse will not make sense if you think that this life is ultimate.  The glory of God is ultimate.

From Charles Spurgeon

"Can the rush grow up without mire?" / Job 8:11

The rush is spongy and hollow, and even so is a hypocrite; there is no
substance or stability in him. It is shaken to and fro in every wind just as
formalists yield to every influence; for this reason the rush is not broken by
the tempest, neither are hypocrites troubled with persecution. I would not
willingly be a deceiver or be deceived; perhaps the text for this day may help
me to try myself whether I be a hypocrite or no. The rush by nature lives in
water, and owes its very existence to the mire and moisture wherein it has
taken root; let the mire become dry, and the rush withers very quickly. Its
greenness is absolutely dependent upon circumstances, a present abundance of
water makes it flourish, and a drought destroys it at once. Is this my case?
Do I only serve God when I am in good company, or when religion is profitable
and respectable? Do I love the Lord only when temporal comforts are received
from his hands? If so I am a base hypocrite, and like the withering rush, I
shall perish when death deprives me of outward joys. But can I honestly assert
that when bodily comforts have been few, and my surroundings have been rather
adverse to grace than at all helpful to it, I have still held fast my
integrity? Then have I hope that there is genuine vital godliness in me. The
rush cannot grow without mire, but plants of the Lord's right hand planting
can and do flourish even in the year of drought. A godly man often grows best
when his worldly circumstances decay. He who follows Christ for his bag is a
Judas; they who follow for loaves and fishes are children of the devil; but
they who attend him out of love to himself are his own beloved ones. Lord, let
me find my life in thee, and not in the mire of this world's favor or gain.

Every single act of faith in God during times that seem unfair-is sending a message that rings loudly through out the universe!  “My Broken Palace” web-site

“God has not changed tactics. He still uses silences and Bible difficulties and offensive situations as challenges for us to rise to the occasion and prove that we believe that no matter what, the answer is found in Jesus and in him alone, and that if we cling to him for long enough, all that we need will be revealed.

We again see this in Jesus’ interaction with the Canaanite (Syrophenician) woman. She needed him. He gave her the silent treatment. Instead of giving up, she hounded him all the more. When she finally wrung a response from him it was worse than nothing. He insulted her and said he wouldn’t give her a thing. Still she hounded him and ended up receiving not only her request but Jesus’ high praise (Matthew 15:21-28). It turned out that despite not revealing a hint of it until it was all over, her persistence thrilled him. And when you receive the silent treatment, your determination to keep badgering him because you believe he cares and will not remain silent forever, will likewise thrill him, gain you high praise and you’ll hear from him as well.”

Grantley Morris

Hosea 6:1  “Come, let us return to the Lord.
For He has torn us, but He will heal us;
He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.
2 “He will revive us after two days;
He will raise us up on the third day,
That we may live before Him.
3 “So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.
His going forth is as certain as the dawn;
And He will come to us like the rain,
Like the spring rain watering the earth.”
4 What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
What shall I do with you, O Judah?
For your loyalty is like a morning cloud
And like the dew which goes away early.
5 Therefore I have hewn them in pieces by the prophets;
I have slain them by the words of My mouth;
And the judgments on you are like the light that goes forth.
6 For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice,
And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
7 But like Adam they have transgressed the covenant;
There they have dealt treacherously against Me.
8 Gilead is a city of wrongdoers,
Tracked with bloody footprints.
9 And as raiders wait for a man,
So a band of priests murder on the way to Shechem;
Surely they have committed crime.
10 In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing;
Ephraim’s harlotry is there, Israel has defiled itself.
11 Also, O Judah, there is a harvest appointed for you,
When I restore the fortunes of My people.

The Syrophonecian woman Reggie Kelly style.

Only as the veil of human will and moral sufficiency is shattered by the ‘No’ of divine justice can the ‘Yes’ of God in Christ be heard. A kind of hearing is required that is only possible where there is first a death to any residue of confidence in one’s own righteousness. Such hearing comes only through ‘the Word of division’. For this, there must be first a “dividing asunder of soul and spirit” (Heb.4:12) that is only accomplished as the Word is quickened by the Spirit. It is the quickened Word that kills in order to regenerate, that cuts in order to heal. It is the principle of resurrection out of death. Therefore ‘in the place’ where the stern sentence of justice is clearest, ‘there’ the word and work of grace is dearest. The revelation of this grace comes with the revelation of death to all that the apostle Paul calls “confidence in the flesh.”
The word of grace and resurrection is always preceded by the word of judgment, and sanctified by an unfeigned acknowledgement of its awful righteousness, however severe (Lev.26:40-42). The righteousness of the Lord’s severity alone prepares the way for the glory of grace and mercy. “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God” (Ro 11:22 ). To refuse to acknowledge the righteousness of God’s severity is to downgrade the cost, the sovereignty, and the glory of His goodness on the vessels of mercy. This wisdom is observed in the order of the dispensations: “For the law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (Jn.1:17).
Since the word of grace can not be more precious than the preceding word of judgement is clear and dreadful, the second (the word of grace) is only heard ‘in the place’ of the first (the word of judgement). Unless ‘the first’ is profoundly ‘heard’ and justified as utterly righteous and inexorable in its requirement, ‘the second’ can not come in a depth and power that endures (“because they had no depth of earth…no root in themselves,” Mt. 13:5, 6, 21).
We see this pattern demonstrated in the episode of Jesus’ encounter with the Syrophenecian woman (Mt 15:21-28; Mk. 7:25-30). To prepare the way of mercy, Jesus enforces recognition that the provisions of the covenant are restricted to Israel by right of unconditional election. The woman’s humble submission to the sovereignty that justly excludes her constitutes a study in true spiritual poverty. Far from an attitude of insult and offence towards the sovereignty of God’s discriminating choice, she justifies the righteousness of divine denial with the exclamation “truth Lord!”
Natural and moral disqualification becomes the basis of gift and grace.
Observe the method of grace in the tact that the Lord takes with this desperate woman. Through the wisdom of an initial denial, the woman is brought to a humility that now becomes the place of God’s boundless Yes! Natural and moral disqualification becomes the basis of gift and grace. Jesus must take before he can give, that is to say he must remove natural hope in order that she might receive God’s gift on the basis of grace that is only accessible to faith. After such a proving, grace is much more amazing and God is much more glorified. Here once more we see an example of that great axiom of redemptive wisdom: “He takes away the first that He may establish the second.” The woman’s imploring words “Truth Lord!” embodies the starting point for any appeal to the ‘throne of grace’.
Covenant exclusion, thus understood, becomes the necessary setting for grace, not only to Gentiles of this dispensation, but to all the saints of the older dispensation who despaired of perfecting righteousness under the first covenant. In order for grace to be free, sovereign, and unconditional, it is not only lawlessness that is rejected, but even the presumption of religious man who imagines a righteousness that requires something less than death and resurrection. The design of all is to empty the heart of this it’s most naturally resilient tendency.
However impressive it’s natural nobility and virtue, the ‘righteousness’ that issues out of the first creation is rejected as inadequate to fulfill the covenant. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit” (Zech 4:6). Not only is man spiritually inert through original sin, he is further distanced from the life of God through the inclination of a fallen nature of enmity towards God. The principal character of this enmity is an irrepressible proclivity towards the autonomy of self will. It is the strength of this inborn presumption that stands between fallen humanity and the meekness of the divine nature.
The last obstacle to grace is not so much those things that men count vile, but the irrepressible presumption that righteousness stands even partly in human ability. At the end of power is the confession that no longer justifies self but God, “if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they accept of the punishment (that it was neither unjust nor incommensurate) of their iniquity” (Lev.26:40-42).
The old is crucified to its own initiative so that the power to believe and live might appear
Nothing more effectively bars the door of grace than the delusive presumption of self-determinism. Hence, coming to terms with the justice of God’s sovereignty, whether in judgment or in distinguishing grace is necessary if we will be brought to ‘the place’ (the dust of helplessness) where the ‘Yes’ of grace and resurrection can be ‘heard’ in transforming power. In this way the old is crucified to its own initiative so that the power to believe and live might appear as removed from human initiative as a corpse promoting its own resurrection. This since Christ is only revealed as our righteousness at the end of strength, and therefore ‘the end of the law’ (Ro. 10:4). “How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed” (Amazing Grace, John Newton). Indeed, grace is never so precious until faith itself, the one thing needful, is seen as ‘impossible to man’ apart from the gift of divine quickening.
This is how the truth of unconditional election severs at the root the one thing blocking the reach of reconciling mercy, namely, confidence in the flesh. Like the word of the cross, it destroys all hope of a righteousness that is one’s own; the best virtues of which fall hopelessly short of that righteousness which is Christ’s alone. Therefore, the most admired of those virtues that can be generated by human will and moral ability can never be the basis of divine acceptance (see Jn.1:13 with Ro.9:16). Because election assumes the total destitution of the natural man as spiritually dead, it ultimately becomes the ‘Yes’ of grace to all who justify God’s sovereign right to “quicken whom He will” (Jn.5:21), and that “apart from works” (Rom.4:6). “So then, it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs” (Ro.9:16).
Strategically, He has “concluded all [both] in unbelief” that no flesh might glory, and so that mercy might appear to the praise of the glory of grace alone. If grace is to be demonstrated as free, unconstrained, and uninfluenced it must be ‘according to election.’ And “in order that the purpose of God according to election might stand” (Ro.9:11), “it is [necessarily] not of him who runs or of him that wills” (Ro. 9:16 ).
With the principle of covenant rejection as background, we turn now to consider the process that effects the covenantal reinstatement of Israel as a redeemed nation. There is one condition for which Israel waits that must be realized before the Shekinah glory can return to a resurrected and reborn nation. Specifically, it is “when He sees that their power is gone” (Deut 32:36); and again “when He shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished” (Dan 12:7). Is this not also a principle that the church must realize for itself if it will attain to its own eschatological victory and fullness?

Many are called but few are chosen.  Even fewer will read to the end, but for those who did, I hope it was a blessing.  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Prisoner of Hope during the long pause

David Baron's study of Zechariah has been a treasure trove of blessing to me.  These thoughts proceed from it.
Between Zechariah 9:9 and 9:10 there is a "pause" of 2,000 years.  "But this is sure and certain, that however long the pause may last, God never loses the thread of the purpose which He has formed for this earth"  (D. Baron) and just as certain, he will never lose the thread of your individual life.  Israel is a prisoner of hope and so are we.  It is even given the article "the" and called "the hope."  The Abrahamic covenant will be fulfilled by the God who made it 'one sided.'  The God who speaks of the future in the "perfect tense" of the verb, which means when He says it it is as good as done!
This sentence brings great joy to the redeemed heart, true of Israel, true of us.
"And since his iniquities have been the underlying cause of all his sufferings and sorrows, when God forgives Israel his sins, and removes his transgressions, He shall "redeem" him also " out of all his troubles."            (D. Baron)
When we truly begin to see and comprehend God's amazing covenant faithfulness to Israel, we will be able to rest in His covenant faithfulness to us.  And that rest will lead to works done in and through His power and for the glory of His grace. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

God and bad choices

The activities director at my job posted this on her bulletin board at work.
Happy Moments,
Praise God
Difficult Moments,
Seek God
Quiet Moments,
Worship God
Painful Moments,
Trust God
Every Moment,
Thank God

As I read it this morning I burst our crying and went into prayer in tongues
for our 15 year old son, Isaiah.  He is in the Captain America shirt in the
picture on the right.  He has a heart for the underdog, he came to the rescue
of a girl a grade below him, when she was being picked on in (I think) second
grade.  He can be caring, giving and compassionate, but right now, he is making
so many bad is just overwhelming to a parents heart.
I stated this blog would be a view into my heart and although my passion
for the truth about the end times is often the focus...I live in the day to day
reality of being a husband and a dad, and I need your prayers.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Acts 1:7,8

Dalton Thomas does a very good job of handling this verse which "seems" to fly in the face of being a "people prepared."   The full article is here,
but this section speaks specifically to these verses.
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8)
Jesus did not say, “It is not for anyone to know the times or the seasons”—He said, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons.” This statement was made to the disciples–not you and I. He did not say “no one can know, or “no one should know,” but that the disciples did not need to know. This information wasn’t intended for them. They didn’t need it. But that can’t be said of the generation of the Lord’s return. That generation will need more than the disciples had. This verse has suffered the same abuse as Matthew 24:36. Many an uninformed preacher has often used these passages to discourage believers from discerning God’s leadership and the timing of redemptive events. But God has made much of “times” and “seasons” throughout history because of the consequential nature of transitional generations. Jesus and the apostles all taught in the most emphatic terms that the Church is to “hear what the Spirit is saying,” “discern the signs of the times,” and “know” the “season” of Jesus’ return. And they also discouraged believers from ignorance and indifference towards the timing of the Lord’s return. Below are but a few examples.Matt. 24:32,33,
1 Thes. 5:2-5, Matt. 16:3, Luke 19:41-44.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Church in the tribulation

We start in Revelation chapter 12, not an easy chapter.
Let's pray.
 God we need You to reveal truth, to remove the veil.
We cannot, You can.  Come Holy Spirit and break
 open the Word to us, in Jesus' name, amen.

In verse 9 Satan is thrown down, at that time he will
be on the earth indwelling the anti-christ.  It is both an
awful and a glorious time because, Satan is no longer in the
heavenlies, he is on earth.  Verse 10 makes it clear that
from a heavenly perspective, this is great news.  Individual
believers in verse 11 will be giving a 'martyr witness.'
Verse 13 is very clearly the persecution of the physical
Jewish people.  They are spoken of as being rescued from
Satan's wrath and presence for the final 3 and 1/2 years.  This
will be true of a remnant portion of that people.  God's promises
can not ultimately fail.  Verse 15 "the flood" is associated with
the anti-christ's end times persecution of the Jew.  Verse 16 "But
the earth helped the woman"...Who does Satan get mad at when
the earth helps the woman?  Verse 17 states, " So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus."
Satan is aware of who helped the woman and is enraged.

Rev 13:7 It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the  book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10 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.

The perspective of perseverance and faith that gets physically overcome but is still triumphant is an ultimate truth.

On to a beautiful section of scripture in Isaiah 35:3-6.  
"Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.
Say to those with anxious heart,
“Take courage, fear not.
Behold, your God will come with vengeance;
The recompense of God will come,
But He will save you.”
Then the eyes of the blind will be opened
And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.
Then the lame will leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy.
For waters will break forth in the wilderness
And streams in the Arabah."
Oh to be a faithful servant, who have walked through our own wilderness and trusted in the faithfulness of God, who can then be a light to the Jew in the wilderness and speak a powerful prophetic word that goes forth and accomplishes exactly what is stated.

Psalm 102:10-14 must be included as interpreted by Art Katz.                                                                                               "Because of Your indignation and Your wrath,For You have lifted me up and cast me away.My days are like a lengthened shadow,And I wither away like grass.But You, O Lord, abide forever, And Your name to all generations.  You will arise and have compassion on Zion; For it is time to be gracious to her,For the appointed time has come.  Surely Your servants find pleasure in her stones And feel pity for her dust."

The appointed time is when the 'servants' reach out with love
and compassion.  The Corrie Ten Boom family is the picture of gentiles
laying down their lives out of love for the Jew.

The principle of suffering followed by glory and death followed by resurrection is through out scripture.
Ezekiel 37 puts a 'son of man' outside of the condition of Israel, "dry bones" and he is commanded to prophesy to them.  Very humbly and totally relying on God he/they speak the word of the Lord and the results are miraculous.

The church is to be a light to the world  Matthew 5:14.  Would God withdraw light at a time of great darkness?  God give us grace to be what You have called us to be.  Give us a love for the Jewish people as you did Your servant Paul.  (Romans 9:1-4)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Israel, end times , covenant final thoughts

It is the covenant with Israel, God's choosing of that people and that land, that brings to a close this portion of history.
Exekiel 37:25 "They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. 27 My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people."
This is the place where God is leading history.  
He must keep this promise.  Satan hates this covenant.  
When Satan indwells the anti-christ, this hatred of the covenant drives him to trample down both the people and the land.
Threre are two sections in Daniel where the angel is revealing truth about the end times to us. One section details the future-telling of the career of the anti-christ in Daniel 11:21-45.  Also there is a unveiling of the way that his career starts in Daniel 9:27 And he will make
(the word for 'make' is also accurately translated as 'confirm' so the anti-chirst may not be the 'leader' in making this covenant, he could be just one of ten leaders who 'agree' with it.)
a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”  Most agree the start of the last seven years of history is the making of this covenant, that allows the rebuilding of the altar/temple in Jerusalem.

This little part of the detailed section in Daniel Chapter 11 emphasizes the HATRED of the covenant that will be the driving force of the terrible evil that takes place in the end times.

28 Then he will return to his land with much plunder; but his heart will be set against the holy covenant, and he will take action and then return to his own land.
29 “At the appointed time he will return and come into the South, but this last time it will not turn out the way it did before. 30 For ships of Kittim will come against him; therefore he will be disheartened and will return and become enraged at the holy covenant and take action; so he will come back and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant.31 Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation. 

At this point the worst time in human history begins and goes on for 3 and 1/2 years.

Finally when Satan has been used to complete  "shattering the power of the holy people"(Daniel 12:7)  "When He (God) sees that their strength is gone,"(Deuteronomy 32:36) When "they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.’ "(Ezekiel 37:11) Then it is time for the appearance (the second coming) the fulfillment of this amazing scripture. “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. (Zechariah 12:10)  The rapture of the church and the national salvation of Israel end in glorious simultaneous fashion, with both groups receiving the fullness of the promises of God.  His covenant is fulfilled "the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." (Luke 21:24)

As this year comes to a close, I would like to review scriptures that speak of the glorious role of the "church" during this 3 1/2 year period.  
I am so indebted to Art Katz
and Reggie Kelly
I recommend you immerse yourself in as much of their teaching as possible.