Do Not Be Surprised!

Thursday, August 08, 2013, 4:05 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with this song:

Do Not Fear / An Original Work / June 2, 2013

Based off John 14

Do not let your hearts fear.
Trust in God. Trust in Christ.
“In My house you will find
Many rooms I have
Prepared for you,
And I will come back
And take you to heav’n.”

“I will take you to be with Me;
You’ll be where I am.”

“I am the way and
The truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father,
Except he comes through Me,
So put your faith in Me,
And do all of what I command.”

“Whoever has My commands
And obeys them loves Me.”

“I did not leave you as orphans.
I sent you the Counselor;
The Holy Spirit to live in you.
He teaches you all things,
And He reminds you of Me.”

“My peace I give to you,
So do not fear, trust in Me.”

Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Peter 4 (ESV):

Arm Yourselves

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. ~ 1 Pet. 4:1-5

When Jesus Christ suffered in the flesh on the cross, he not only suffered physically, but he took upon himself the sins of the entire world, so that when he died, our sins were crucified with him, buried with him, and then remained in the grave when he rose from the dead. He put to death the power of and the ultimate penalty (judgment) of sin so that we could be set free from slavery to sin; free from its control day-to-day and set free to walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness (See 1 Pet. 2:24; cf. Lu. 9:23-25; Eph. 4:17-24). Thus, when we come to faith in Jesus Christ and we are crucified with him, our old life of living for sinful pleasure should also die with him, so that we can live and walk in his righteousness. So, we need to put on this way of thinking which says belief in Jesus Christ means death to sin and resurrection to a new life in Christ, yielding to his Lordship (to the cross).

We should no longer live for sinful passions, desires and pleasures, but for God’s will. We should be done away with living for sin and self. That should all now be a thing of our past, not still in our present. We should no longer be involved in any way just doing what we want to do without regard for God and the teachings of Christ. Living in sensuality or participating in what is sensual, seductive, adulterous, evil, out-of-control and/or idolatrous should not be part of the life of a follower of Christ Jesus. This includes participating through viewing and/or listening to these things for entertainment purposes. Jesus went through a horrible death on the cross to set us free. How can we live in sin any longer? Or, how can we agree with it by participating in it through entertainment? We are to come out from them and be separate. We are not to partner with those who are still walking in darkness.

Yet, when we do come out from them, and we do separate ourselves, not from people as a whole, but from participating in what is evil and what is sinful, those who still follow the ways of this world and who still partake in its “delicacies” - i.e. in what is sinful or in what gives approval to what is sinful - may be surprised, offended, and/or disgusted with us. They may also take to mocking us, criticizing and/or gossiping about us, accusing us falsely with the intent possibly to cause us harm, thinking we are crazy for our stand for what is right and what is true, and for our stand against all that sets itself up against Christ and his word. They may even tempt us or try to shame us into returning to some of our old ways. But we should not fear their rejection of us or what they might say about us to others. They will have to give an account to God one day for what they did, and God will be their judge.

The End of All Things

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. ~ 1 Pet. 4:7-8

The end of all things could happen very soon. Not one of us knows the day or the hour, but the Bible says we should know the season by the signs. I believe we are in the season, but only God knows when the end will come. Yet, with the end of time in mind, knowing that we will all stand before God one day, we should be sober-minded about our relationship with Jesus Christ. I am not against having fun or laughter. I laugh a lot and I enjoy what God has given us to enjoy within the boundaries he has provided for us for our protection against evil. Yet many professing Christians live as though life is a big party and that church is just supposed to be fun and entertaining, and they have lost the awe and respect of God and of his word and the seriousness we should all have about what is holy and right.

Above all we should keep on loving one another “since love covers a multitude of sins.” Lest we take this in the wrong way and fail to interpret this phrase in light of the rest of scripture, let me say here that love never placates, approves, allows for or overlooks sin in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ. It is not loving to our brothers and sisters in Christ if we just act like life is just fun when we know they are caught in the trappings of sin. True love tells the truth in love. That does not mean we go around condemning everyone for every little thing, but god-like love speaks the truth in love to each other about willful sin in our lives, calls us to repentance, and reminds us that we must obey our Lord Jesus. And, true love forgives and does not seek to punish the offender. And, it restores where repentance has taken place and there is a desire to see change of life in the power of the Spirit. This way the “covering” for sin is not a “cover-up” but is God’s grace at work in desiring to see people set free from slavery to sin and the power of Satan so they can walk in Jesus’ light.

The Fiery Trial

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? ~ 1 Pet. 4:12-17

As followers of Jesus Christ we are destined for hardships, persecutions, rejections, etc., just like Jesus was. These have come to test our faith, to strengthen us, to give us resolve and perseverance, to make us holy, to conform us to the image of Christ, to develop godly characteristics within us, to purge us of all anomalies (deviations) and to purify us. The Bible says we will go through difficulties in life to test our faith, so we should not be surprised when these times come. In America we have suffered little persecution for our faith in comparison to the kinds of persecutions Christians throughout the world have had to suffer for generations, yet I believe our time is coming, and it is not far off. Yet, in many ways this may prove to be the best thing for the church in America in order to get her to return to her first love, and/or for the spread of the gospel and the salvation of souls.

For those of us who are truly being persecuted because of our faith in Jesus and our testimony for him, we should rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer for the sake of the name of Jesus and to share with him in his sufferings he went through for us. So, if we are insulted, mocked, ridiculed and rejected for the right reasons, we are blessed. Yet, if we suffer because we have done evil, then we cannot claim we are suffering because we bear the name of Jesus. Yet, if we are persecuted and falsely accused because we obeyed Christ, then we have no cause for shame, but only for rejoicing!

Judgment (divine discipline and correction) comes in many forms and at various times. Jesus said he disciplines those he loves and that suffering is a part of that discipline. Yet, he also promises divine correction of some kind to the wayward church in Rev 2-3. Many of the prophets of old told of the church going through a time of great persecution prior to the Lord pouring out his wrath on those who caused her suffering. So, we should expect such a time to take place if it hasn’t already. Revelation speaks of the purpose of this as a time when Christ purifies his bride and makes her ready for the wedding consummation. So, we should not be surprised if the Lord Jesus does not rapture out his church before such a time takes place here in America. Yet, we should not fear such a time, for our Lord will never leave us or forsake us, and he will give us all we need to endure such a time if we will but yield to him, submit to his Lordship and to his sovereignty, and just trust him to work it all out for our good and for the salvation of human lives.

Abide in Him / An Original Work / July 31, 2013

Based off Ps. 27:14; Is. 40:31; Jn. 14-15

If you wait for the Lord,
Put your hope now in Him,
He will give you His strength
And endurance within.
He will renew your strength,
So you will not lose heart.
You will soar on wings like eagles,
Never depart.

“If you abide in Me,
And My words live in you,
You will walk with Me daily
And follow what’s true.
I will live now in you;
Give you peace now within,
If you obey My teachings
And turn from your sin.”

“If you listen to Me,
And do all that I say,
I will give you My comfort;
Be with you always.
I will heal all your pain;
Life with Me now you’ll gain,
If in fellowship with Me
You always remain.”