Monday, February 28, 2011

COURAGE, CONFIDENCE, REST AND THANKS

We live in a world where we're CONSTANTLY and INSTANTLY bombarded by NEWS gives cause for great alarm.  In this blog, I hope to offer encouragement which enable us to move past the SCARE, and to REFOCUS our ATTENTION and FAITH upon FAR BETTER THINGS.  We need this CUSHION in the end times, or we'll find ourselves terrified, depressed, anxious, angry and discouraged.

I know.  I've fallen prey to the emotions LISTED ABOVE on many occasions, and it takes a STRONG ACT OF WILL to turn away from FRIGHTENING SCENARIOS--not only a strong act of will, but an ABIDING FAITH.


First of all, I'll address the FEAR issue. 

There are multitudes of things in these end times that can create FEAR, and sometimes, people don't want to learn about end time prophecies BECAUSE it fills them with FEAR.  They'd rather BE IGNORANT of the prophecies than cope with the FEAR it brings.  Even if they are IGNORANT of prophecy on purpose, there are STILL many things in this current world situation which is TERRIFYING anyway (fear of illness, accidents or death, for instance), and these things have NOTHING to do with end time prophecy (they're just the common lot of living in this world). 

It's far better to be INFORMED, FOREWARNED and PREPARED, than suffer under onslaughts of FEAR. 

God (and Jesus) tells us in many places of His word:  "FEAR NOT."  FEAR is the OPPOSITE of FAITH, and when we're paralyzed by FEAR, we do NOT operate in FAITH.

I encourage you to read Hebrews 11, because that chapter SHOWS powerful things that comes through FAITH.  It's a gallery of HEROES who lived by FAITH (and not by fear).  For the purpose of this blog, I'll focus upon Hebrews 11:1.

"Now FAITH is the SUBSTANCE of things HOPED for, the EVIDENCE of things NOT seen."

This is a FAITH (a CONFIDENCE and a KNOWING) that SEES a situation as GOD SEES IT.  Even if we do NOT have a PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION (the OBVIOUS ANSWER) of what we HOPED for, our FAITH, which SEES the "situation" and "answer" AS COMPLETE, is ALL the EVIDENCE (proof) we need.  We're able to SAY we already POSSESS our answer!  We HAVE what we SEEK, because God SAYS we have it (and NOT just because we SEE it in our hand)! 

FAITH is NOW--at this moment.  (1.)  AS SOON as we ask God for something, we reckon it as answered "yes and amen" in the name of Jesus.  (2.)  We RECEIVE (and ACCEPT) it as ACCOMPLISHED with a DEEP TRUST in our spirits.  (3.)  We HAVE what we seek from God (even if the PHYSICAL REALITY of the answer has NOT yet appeared).  (4.)  As we REST in FAITH, assured of our answer, the PHYSICAL REALITY will come.  Simple as that!

I share this brief explanation of FAITH, because the remainder of this blog will REST on PRINCIPLES which are UNITED with a WALK of FAITH in Jesus.

We LIVE in the END TIMES, and we can be terrified--FULL OF FEAR--by what we see coming to pass!  I'll offer a few examples:

Our government has gone crazy.  We see and understand that this is NOT the same FREE country we've known and loved.  Spending is out of hand and our country is broke.  Furthermore, our economy will soon totally collapse.  (How can a debt burden be passed down to our children when there will be NO MORE country left for them to enjoy?  The whole world will be turned into slavery, oppression and tyranny!  These are horrifying ideas, made even MORE FRIGHTENING, because the Bible prophesies it WILL happen.)

Thousands of people have lose their jobs.  Unemployment rates have RISEN to a steady 9-point-something% (and indications are that the actual figures are more like 17% to 20%).  Legislation which imposes STRICT REGULATIONS, and TOTAL GOVERNMENT CONTROLS, are being pushed through congress, while the people who are elected to represent us--well, they IGNORE US!

Iran threatens to blow Israel off the map, rhetoric which THREATENS the START of World War III.  Israel, in defending themselves against such threats, will INSURE the START of World War Three!  That, too, is written in Bible prophecy!

At home, here in the U.S., violence is on the rise, with Islamic Jihadists in our midst who massacre our people.  Fears of more vicious attacks hover over our populace in the wake of such horror--while a weak President, and a "politically correct" media, place the WRONG SPIN upon the issues.

I could go "on and on" with the SCARY things that occur on a DAILY BASIS.

In watching these things, how can we AVOID being terrified? 

THE ANSWER:  We need a SOLID FOUNDATION under us, which ONLY comes through God, and the PROMISES in His word.  We need a SOLID TRUST and CONFIDENCE in Jesus.  His STRENGTH and VICTORY, (already given to us by His work at Calvary), gives us COURAGE in such uncertain times.

Let's look at a few of His assurances:  Return to Hebrews, this time to chapter 13, verses 5(b) and 6.

God says, and Jesus agrees, "I will NEVER leave you, nor forsake you.  So that we may BOLDLY SAY, 'The LORD is my HELPER, and I will NOT FEAR what man shall do unto me.'"

Many times over, God declares that He will NEVER leave us nor forsake us.  This should bring us great COMFORT.  No matter the situation in the world, God has NOT abandoned us in it.  He KNOWS.  He PROTECTS.  He PROVIDES for our every need!  We may see violence, murders, persecutions, wars and destruction, but God is there WITH us.  We find SHELTER under the safety of His outstreched wings. (See Psalm 91, Psalm 23.)

2 Timothy 1:7 further instructs us.  "For God has NOT given us the spirit of FEAR, but of POWER, and of LOVE, and of a SOUND MIND."

1 John 4:18 assures us that "PERFECT LOVE casts out all FEAR." 

What is PERFECT LOVE?  The LOVE of God.  The LOVE of Jesus.  And our STRONG RESPONSE to Him with OUR LOVE of Him and His Word.  There is NO FEAR in a LOVE as strong as that.  When we are so CERTAIN of His ABIDING LOVE, we'll discover that our COURAGE and FAITH level is HIGH!

LOVE fuels our COURAGE to face the world and ALL of its many problems.  FAITH is our CONFIDENCE and TRUST in a God Who is ABOVE all things, and Who has ALREADY given us the VICTORY in Jesus.


The next topic is "LET GO AND LET GOD."

When I teach on end time prophecies, I find many people who don't want THE END to be JUST YET--because they have FRIENDS and LOVED ONES who do NOT know Jesus, and who therefore are NOT ready. 

I've heard such people make this remark--"It's SELFISH for us to DESIRE, to LOOK FOR, and to PRAY for the return of Jesus to RAPTURE His Church.  So many people are NOT ready for it to happen."

Out of a MISPLACED sense of responsibility, some people won't allow themselves the JOY and the BLESSED HOPE that I discussed in the previous blog. 

(I'm NOT saying that we SHOULD NOT witness, or SHOULD NOT feel concern for others--who are NOT ready for the RAPTURE.  What I AM SAYING is that our witnessing, and our concern for others SHOULD NOT detract from our personal JOY, or from our living in BLESSED HOPE.  We can pray, "EVEN SO, COME QUICKLY, LORD JESUS," and NOT feel guilty that we prayed it.

How can that be?  How can we want the RAPTURE so STRONGLY when we KNOW others are NOT ready--and will be LEFT BEHIND?

(1.)  There WILL be people who will miss the RAPTURE for various reasons.  Prophecy says so. 

It's NOT our responsibility as to what happens to those people once the time is up.  Instead, those people have made their OWN CHOICE, a PERSONAL DECISION, in which they REAP their OWN CONSEQUENCES.  It's GOD'S responsibility to DEAL with them, hopefully bringing them to repentance.  (And EVEN then, NOT ALL will CHOOSE God.) 

The FACT is this--there WILL COME a time when God will say, "The age of My grace is finished.  Go get your Bride, My Son."  And Jesus will respond, in effect, saying, "Ready or not, here I come."  (In an hour in which you THINK NOT, the Son of man WILL come.  Matthew 24:44.)

(2.)  What about our friends and loved ones?  I have some who I wonder about, and the question is always in front of me:  Are they ready?  They sure don't ACT like it!  (I imagine you can say the same thing.)

To think of family, dear precious loved ones, being LEFT BEHIND, causes all manner of GRIEFS and FEAR.  We can say the same thing about our valued friends. 

We desire to grab these people by the collar, shake them and say, "Wake up!  The end is near and Jesus is coming."  But, so often, we're overwhelmed by sorrow when they laugh at us, or scoff.

What can we do?  We pray!

In the summer of 2009, I prayed intensely for family and friends, and the burden on my heart was VERY HEAVY.  Every day as I took my half hour walk, I prayed, interceded, begged, implored.  I held my prayer list of individuals before God again and again and again.  This happened for SIX WEEKS or more.  Then something happened...

I heard the Holy Spirit say, "Let go and let God.  He's heard and answered your prayers."

At that time, I had no proof that my loved ones and friends had accepted Jesus and were ready--many of them live in different states.  However, I experienced the PEACE in my heart that God, in His grace, was doing a Holy Spirit work with those ones who were in my intercessions.  I placed their souls in His capable hands, knowing He loves them far more than I.

Lo and behold, in 2010, I began hearing news that a few of the ones that I'd prayed for had realized their need for Jesus, and moved into a closer and personal relationship with Him.  And I still believe that God has plans for the others I've interceded for.

Why do I share this?  So that, hopefully, you can follow the same route. 

The FAITH in my heart is that my loved ones will be with me when the RAPTURE finally comes.  My JOY and BLESSED HOPE buoys me as the world grows darker, and I do NOT feel guilt when I pray, "EVEN SO, COME QUICKLY, LORD JESUS."  I also add a sentence from the Lord's Prayer, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven," and with that petition, I envision the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem.


Finding REST (Peace) and giving THANKS

The remainder of this blog covers the concepts of RESTING in Jesus and giving THANKS.  (This is getting to be a LONG message, so I'll attempt to say what I want without too much extra elaboration.)

REST in Jesus is another way of saying to Him, "I have TOTAL CONFIDENCE and TRUST in You."  No matter what circumstances face us, we can THROW ourselves into Jesus' arms, and KNOW He'll PROVIDE EVERYTHING we need.

Scripture declares, "Cast your cares (anxieties, worries, problems) upon God for He CARES for you."  1 Peter 5:7

"Be anxious (worried) about nothing, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the PEACE which passes ALL understanding, shall KEEP (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6-7

"My God SHALL supply ALL your NEEDS according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:19.

By taking those promises, using them, RELYING on them, being TOTALLY confident in them, we DO FIND REST. 

Rest is that quality of PEACE which PASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING.  In such REST, no matter what occurs in this end time world, we remain calm and assured.  God is WITH US--who or what can be against us?  With FAITH like this, we can FACE ANYTHING.

As the world grows darker with sin, violence, wars and rumors of wars and economic upheavals, we can remain STEADY, UNWAVERING, CONFIDENT, BOLD, JOYFUL and FULL OF PEACE, because we KNOW God is in CONTROL.

And while we pray, casting our CARES upon God, we also offer THANKSGIVING and PRAISE. 

I thank God for all those things that people take for granted:  Life.  The ability to breathe.  The ability to walk.  Sight.  Hearing.  A stable and sensible mind.  Food.  Shelter.  Warmth.  My family.  That I KNOW God, Jesus and the Word.  That the Holy Spirit is my Comforter and Teacher.  The list is endless...

Giving thanks fills a heart with JOY. 

When JOY bubbles up, there comes a transition into PRAISE.  This is telling God how good He is...how wonderful is the Lord and Savior, Jesus...and when PRAISE comes, it flows into WORSHIP.

With this blog, I hope to SHOW you how to LIVE in a world where end time prophecies are becoming fulfilled.  Rather than allow world situations to SCARE or DISTRESS us, we can take this GUIDELINE, apply it and experience COURAGE, CONFIDENCE, REST and THANKSGIVING.

With these qualities ACTIVE, when the RAPTURE of the TRUE CHURCH is mentioned, we can sense a JOY in our spirits and truly KNOW our BLESSED HOPE.


In the next series of blogs, I'll begin to show why the RAPTURE of the TRUE CHURCH is PRE-TRIBULATION--before that time of woe, exceeding trouble and the realm of the Antichrist.  I'll show HOW the Church is NOT appointed to wrath.

Have a great day.

EVEN SO, COME QUICKLY, LORD JESUS.  WE LONG TO SEE YOUR WONDERFUL FACE!

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