In Triumph!

Thursday, June 19, 2014, 6:45 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “He Lifted Our Burdens.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Revelation 12 (NIV).

A Woman

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.

I am not a gifted theologian. I have never been to Bible College. Yet, I am a student of the word of God, and I do sit daily at my Lord’s feet to hear from him. Still, I do not understand all of these symbols and their meanings. Yet, I do believe the woman is a figure of Israel, not physical Israel, but spiritual Israel, the children of promise. Jesus Christ did come from Israel. He was/is the promised seed of Abraham, and he is the one who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter, yet we who are in Christ will rule and will reign with him.

Satan tried to destroy Jesus Christ, but he was not successful. Jesus Christ conquered him, instead. First he tried to have him killed when he was still a small child. Eventually he incited the religious leaders of his day to incite a riot of people to demand that Jesus be crucified. And, they did hang him on a cross to die. Yet he was resurrected from the dead, and in his death and resurrection he was victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death. Then, he ascended back to heaven where he is seated at the right hand of God the Father until the time when he comes back to judge, to receive his own, and to rule and to reign on the earth. After he left the earth, he sent his promised Holy Spirit to indwell and to empower all of us who have believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives.

You see, when Jesus Christ died on the cross, it was not according to the will of man that he was crucified. This was in God’s plan for his life, as well as for the lives of all humankind. When Jesus died, he took upon himself the sins of the entire world so that our sins were crucified and buried with him. And, he rose from the dead triumphant over our sins, too, so that we could be set free from the penalty of sin (eternal damnation), and free from the control of sin over our lives on a daily basis. He died so that we who live would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us (See 2 Co. 5:15). He died, too, so that we would be crucified with him to our old lives of sin, and so that we could walk in the Spirit of God, in the power of the Spirit within us, and in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, no longer living to please ourselves, but living to please him who saved us by his grace (See Ac. 26:16-18; Ro. 6-8; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14 & 1 Jn. 1-5, et al).

So, when we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we die with Christ to our old lives of sin, we are transformed of the Spirit of God in heart and mind away from sin and to God, and we are given new lives in Christ Jesus, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See Eph. 4:24). We are thus made holy in Christ, which means we are now set apart from the world of sin, and we are set apart to Christ and to his service. “For to me to live is Christ, but to die is gain” (See Phil. 1:21). My life is no longer my own to live how I want. I was bought with the blood of Christ. Now I am to honor God with my life.

In Pursuit

Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short.”

When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.

Satan was once a beautiful angel in heaven. But he wanted to be God, so he rebelled against God, along with many of the angels in heaven. They were cast from God’s heaven. And, now Satan is the prince of the earth. He roams the earth as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. He is at war still with God, and he is still trying to destroy Jesus Christ, only now he is trying to do it by killing Christ’s servants, or by trying to kill their testimonies for Christ, or through deception within the church to try to destroy the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, although he will be allowed to pursue the children of promise for a time, and he will be allowed to tempt them, to try to discourage them, to deceive them or destroy them and their testimonies for Christ, and/or to physically put them to death, the saints of God will triumph over him by the word of their testimony, and because they are willing to die, if need be, for their faith and witness for Jesus Christ and for the gospel.

I believe the Lord Jesus has given me a picture of where we are right now, as the world, and as the people of God, in relation to all of this, though I certainly do not know the timing of all these events which will soon take place, or that have already taken place, perhaps.

In America, for one, much of the church is like the church in Laodicea – neither completely on fire for the Lord nor completely disinterested, but just kind of lukewarm or middle-of-the-road, i.e. avoiding the extremes of hot and cold and thus taking a position somewhere in the middle as a “moderate” Christian – not too radical, and not totally turned off to Christ and the gospel. Yet, this “moderate” position on Christianity is not confined only to America, but is global, and its purpose, ultimately, is to blend all religions into one.

The point or the goal of this global effort is to bring about the intersection (joining) of this “moderate” approach to faith, with the true path of salvation, of godliness, holiness, and righteousness in Christ Jesus, so that this “middle-of-the-road” approach to faith overlaps and covers over certain parts of the gospel to make it more agreeable to all. These are the parts which tell us we must be crucified with Christ, and we must die to sin and self; that we must say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled and upright lives in this present age, and that God’s grace is not a free license to continue in sin.

We are nearing the time, or else that time is now upon us when the people of the world, and of God, will be forced into a cataclysmic decision of having to choose what path they will follow, and whether or not they will compromise their faith and witness for Christ by going with the “moderate” position of faith, i.e. the path of least resistance. We will then have to choose whether or not we will stand strong in our faith, remain on the path of “crowning” achievement (See 2 Ti. 4:6-8; Jas. 1:12), and whether or not we will keep God’s commands and hold fast our testimony about Jesus, knowing full well that it will most likely cost us our lives. I believe many followers of Christ are at that place right now all across the world, where the enemy is trying to convince them to compromise and to find that “middle ground” that will be acceptable to all the religions of the world so that we can all live together in “peace” and “harmony.”

When this time comes for us, and it will, we must know that the only way we will be able to stand our ground, to hold fast to our testimony about Jesus, and to keep God’s commands, is in the power of the Holy Spirit within us, as we learn to completely yield to our Lord’s leadership in our lives, to rest in his love, to rely on his strength, and to trust in God’s sovereign will for our lives. Yet, this is our hope:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. ~ 2 Tim. 4:6-8​

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. ~ Jas. 1:12​

Wait! / An Original Work / February 8, 2014

Wait for your Lord. Be of courage.
Be strong, and take heart today.
God is always watching o’er you.
Trust Him with your life always.

Sing of your Lord. Praise His blessings.
Believe in His sovereignty.
He delivered you from your sin;
Gave you life eternally.

Rest in your Lord. Know His promise.
Beneath His wings rest secure.
Your God has a plan and purpose.
Let your faith in Him endure.

Trust in your Lord. He’ll not leave you,
Because He is faithfulness.
He will lead and guide; protect you.
In His love you can find rest.