The High Cost Of Living – Part One

Matthew 16:  MSG
25  Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.
26  What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?

Luke 15:    MSG
11  Then he said, “There was once a man who had two sons.
12  The younger said to his father, ‘Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.’ “So the father divided the property between them.
13  It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had.
14  After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt.
15  He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs.
16  He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.
17  “That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death.
18  I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you;
19  I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’
20  He got right up and went home to his father. “When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him.
21  The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’
22  “But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
23  Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time!
24  My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.
25  “All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day’s work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing.
26  Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on.
27  He told him, ‘Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast—barbecued beef!—because he has him home safe and sound.’
28  “The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen.
29  The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends?
30  Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’
31  “His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—
32  but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!'”

There are many lessons to be learned in the above portions of Scriptures.

  • The destruction power of greed
  • Jealousy
  • The Open Arms of The Father
  • The Dangers of Focusing On Self

Every young person dreams of going out into the world securing a great job and making great lots of money.  With that money buying all the things you think you need, like a car, nice clothes, comfortable place to live.

As a teenager I use to find part time jobs during the summer months so that I could buy some clothes for school and maybe some extras.  My biggest problem was the more money I earned the more I spent, thinking little of saving some.  I feel most teenagers do not give much thought to the subject of saving.

Eventually I left home, was offered a job working in an orchard pruning fruit trees and everything to do with that type of work.

I had just bought a used 1973 Ford Pinto to take me to work and back home.  I soon found a small apartment nearer to my work.  It only had one way to get to it and that was a flight of stairs.  There was only one door to the apartment, so if I had to leave in an emergency the stairs were my only option.

The next few things on my to – do list was, getting furniture, stocking the fridge and other items needed to live.  On my first grocery trip I got my groceries and headed for the check out.  The cashier totalled my groceries, I paid for them, then looked at what money I had left until the next pay, It was barely enough to buy a coffee and put gas in the car.  I stood there looking at the money and almost started crying.  The cost of living hit me right between the eyes.  No wonder as kids we were told ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’.

Not long after that I was asked by an evangelist to join his team as an organist/piano player and singer.  Well the pay was better than working in the orchard, besides it was something I had prayed about doing since I can remember.

It wasn’t long before I began to fall into the greed of making money through the prosperity gospel.  Soon the evangelist started to let me take some of the services.  I would raise money during those meetings and the evangelist and I had an arrangement on the percentage of the money raised I could keep.  Well, after some time I began to only care about how much money I could raise during any service.

I was changing into something I look back on with much regret.  I was more concerned about money than I was winning people to Christ.

During my time with that evangelist I met all types of evangelists who preached the prosperity gospel and observed what was happening behind the curtains, sort of speaking.  

The high cost of living at that time was my soul!

I now understand the words of Christ:

Matthew 7:   MSG
21  “Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills.
22  I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’
23  And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’

I now look back on that with a broken heart and with a lot of regret.

Yes, you can gain the whole world but it will cost you greatly, the price is your very soul!

In the next article part two of “The High Cost of Living” I want to speak to the matter of jealousy and it’s corrosive power in a person’s life.

Special Report:Jail Break Has Happened!

Acts 16:25-34 MSG
25  Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears.
26  Then, without warning, a huge earthquake! The jailhouse tottered, every door flew open, all the prisoners were loose.
27  Startled from sleep, the jailer saw all the doors swinging loose on their hinges. Assuming that all the prisoners had escaped, he pulled out his sword and was about to do himself in, figuring he was as good as dead anyway,
28  when Paul stopped him: “Don’t do that! We’re all still here! Nobody’s run away!”
29  The jailer got a torch and ran inside. Badly shaken, he collapsed in front of Paul and Silas.
30  He led them out of the jail and asked, “Sirs, what do I have to do to be saved, to really live?”
31  They said, “Put your entire trust in the Master Jesus. Then you’ll live as you were meant to live—and everyone in your house included!”
32  They went on to spell out in detail the story of the Master—the entire family got in on this part.
33  They never did get to bed that night. The jailer made them feel at home, dressed their wounds, and then—he couldn’t wait till morning!—was baptized, he and everyone in his family.
34  There in his home, he had food set out for a festive meal. It was a night to remember: He and his entire family had put their trust in God; everyone in the house was in on the celebration.

I have often wondered about how I would react in different situations.  Sometimes I would muse to myself that I am not sure I could stand against some terrible event.  

As I previously mentioned the loss of my daughter and grandchildren would be horrific to face.

I and my siblings were raised with a healthy respect of police officers.  We were told that if we ever had to be brought home by the police there would be consquences.  Now it would not be abuse, but most privledges would be taken away for a period of time.

When I went through school it was still a practice for unruly students to receive a strap for misbehaving.  My mother told us once if you get a strap at school you may expect one when you get home.  I am sure it would not have happened but it was always in the back of our thoughts.

So as one could imagine I never received a strapping from the school principal nor did I ever find myself in the company of a police officer for something I did wrong.

A I launched out from under the roof of my parents and began life on my own those lessons stayed with me and I still live by them throughout my adult life.  Yet I have learned that not all people have those life lessons instilled in them as youth under the tutelage of their parents and school teachers.

I have also experienced something that other christians taught me when I ventured out into the ministry, that some are very thinned skinned when it comes to going through trials and temptations.  When you meet them and ask how they are doing, the response is a lengthy history of their battles in life and how they feel like no one understands what they are going through.

Now I cannot imagine how the Apostles Paul and Silas must have felt finding themselves in prison for the crime of spreading the message of Christ.  In today’s world if christians in North America were put in this situation the response would be, “my rights have been violated”!

I sometimes think they must have missed the writings in the Gospel where Christ the Saviour warned the disciples that they would be hated and even killed.  The killers would brag they were doing God a service.

John 16:1-3 MSG
“I’ve told you these things to prepare you for rough times ahead.
They are going to throw you out of the meeting places. There will even come a time when anyone who kills you will think he’s doing God a favor.
3  They will do these things because they never really understood the Father.

Let me say this, “tough times are just beginning for the children of God”!  We better develop a thicker skin when we are going through trials.  What would you do if your life depeneded on whether or not you deny Christ?  Would you be willing to lay down your life for Christ, or would you deny ever knowing Christ?

I have spent almost my entire life singing and playing Gospel music.  I am not to sure at times if I could be strong like the apostles and still sing songs unto the Lord.  

As I am writing this article the following comes to mind:

‘Music has charms to soothe the savage breast’?

Left quote icon
No, not beast – breast.
right quote icon
The phrase was coined by William Congreve, in The Mourning Bride, 1697:

Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.
I’ve read, that things inanimate have mov’d,
And, as with living Souls, have been inform’d,
By Magick Numbers and persuasive Sound.

Could I have such a strong relationship in my walk with the Lord that even when facing prison bars I could be found singing unto the Lord.  Even greater yet, could I have such an anointing of the Holy Ghost to see God work a miracle that would shake the prison and loose the bars that hold me in a prison cell.

In my mind I can hear the naysayers “the prison was probably built on a fault line, thus an earthquake is what made the prison shake so violently to cause the bars to move.  Either way you look at this, it is still a great miracle!

In many autocratic governments there is an onslaught already happening of christians being jailed for long periods of time.

Listen to what John the Revelator wrote of what is yet to happen on planet earth.

Revelation 13:11-18 MSG
11  I saw another Beast rising out of the ground. It had two horns like a lamb but sounded like a dragon when it spoke.
12  It was a puppet of the first Beast, made earth and everyone in it worship the first Beast, which had been healed of its deathblow.
13  This second Beast worked magical signs, dazzling people by making fire come down from Heaven.
14  It used the magic it got from the Beast to dupe earth dwellers, getting them to make an image of the Beast that received the deathblow and lived.
15  It was able to animate the image of the Beast so that it talked, and then arrange that anyone not worshiping the Beast would be killed.
16  It forced all people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to have a mark on the right hand or forehead.
17  Without the mark of the name of the Beast or the number of its name, it was impossible to buy or sell anything.
18  Solve a riddle: Put your heads together and figure out the meaning of the number of the Beast. It’s a human number: six hundred sixty-six.

This is not limited to just a certain geographic area, but I feel this will be world wide under a world wide government.

I question even myself, would I be able to withstand this type of persecution because of my love for the Lord Jesus Christ?

You see, your privilege, status in life, all your money, power, will soon be nothing but distant memories, all these will not help you during the tribulation that is about to engulf the entire planet.  Men committed suicide by jumping off buildings during the great depression in the late 1920’s and 30’s.

Countries where their national currency lost all value people took the cash and dumped it into the streets by wheelbarrel full.

During the upcoming economic collapse and the great tribulation men will cry out for death and death will not come.

Revelation 9:6 MSG
6  When this happens, people are going to prefer death to torture, look for ways to kill themselves. But they won’t find a way—death will have gone into hiding.

I do not want to sound crass, but I have had people tell me “your scaring the hell out of me”!  My reply to them, “great mission accomplished”!

So, my question is this, how is your relationship with God, are built on the rock or on shifting sands?

Matthew 7:24-27 MSG
24  “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock.
25  Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.
26  “But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach.
27  When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”

 

FAITH CLINIC – DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY FREE!

This document was created by me over thirty-five years ago.

A copy was found just recently among some of my grandmother’s belongings.  My aunt told me about it.  

I had forgotten all about it, but I am now making it available for all who wants to download a copy.

It is sixteen pages of Scripture on the topic of “Faith”.  This is pure doctrine, not a “prosperity gospel” message nor is it a “name and claim it” gospel.

This would be a perfect way to launch a Bible Study on the issue of what the Bible says about “faith”.

I have done nothing to edit the document.  It is exactly how I created more than three decades ago.

To download your own copy click on the following link:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/19-S6CnMGNhVoYwjSTPQh2KdHEbeltFgJ/view?usp=sharing

I am sure you will not regret taking some time to get your copy free of charge.  Please do not take this and charge for a copy to anyone.  Freely you have received, freely give!

 

BABYLON RISING!

*Please Note This Is Not About Politics, Rather A Commentary On The Headlines & Bible Prophecy*

Syria, Palestine, Israel, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Russia, China, Korea North & South…

Jeremiah 50:1-3 MSG
1  The Message of GOD through the prophet Jeremiah on Babylon, land of the Chaldeans:
2  “Get the word out to the nations! Preach it! Go public with this, broadcast it far and wide: Babylon taken, god-Bel hanging his head in shame, god-Marduk exposed as a fraud. All her god-idols shuffling in shame, all her play-gods exposed as cheap frauds.
3  For a nation will come out of the north to attack her, reduce her cities to rubble. Empty of life—no animals, no people— not a sound, not a movement, not a breath.

As I hear the headlines I am not sure if I should be excited or concern.  I guess I am both.

The headlines are beginning to show that End-Time prophecies are beginning to take place at a rapid pace.

All of the countries mentioned are mentioned in connection with end-time prophecy.  I truly feel that these countries are in the headlines is no accident or  coincidence.  

Now, concerning my text for this article.  The above prophecy is still to be fulfilled. 

Ancient Babylon could be found in Persia, now known as Iraq and Iran.  During it’s height of power and influence it was the trading center of the known world.  It is speculation that it’s hanging gardens was one of the seven wonders of the world.

While doing some research I found reports that while Sadam Hussein was alive he was trying to rebuild Babylon to it’s former magnificent splendor.  The Iraq war ended that building when Sadam Hussein was hanged.

I have said in past articles that I do not find a reference to the North America in Biblical prophecy.  I have no sure answer to this, but, something major must happen that renders the countries of The United States, Canada, and the west impotent.  However, I can call to your attention that there have been mighty empires rise and fall.  The cause of their demise is simple, pride and turning to false gods and idols.

The Babylonian Empire is an example of an empire that was proud and worshipped false gods and idols.  Remember, they were the center of socery and witchcraft.  The people believed that they could build a tower and reach God.  God saw their wickedness and caused confusion with their languages.  Therefore, they could not finish the tower because their language was in total chaos.  They no longer could understand each other.

The Babylonian Empire was given many chances to destroy their idol worship and turn to the God of the Hebrew children.

Once again that region is trying to rebuild it’s empire.  As I have stated in times past I believe that the anti-christ will come out of what is known as Iraq/Iran.  I am not sure how they will rebuild the empire, but, Babylon will rise up once again and turn their anger to the nation of Israel.  Babylon will not be alone in this plot for they will have help from neighbour countries and their armies will set their focus to march against Israel.

I do not know what major event will happen to cause all the armies of the countries to assemble and begin their march toward Israel on the dried up river bend of the Euphrates.  They will arrive in the valley of Megiddo.

Revelation 16:1-21 MSG
1  I heard a shout of command from the Temple to the Seven Angels: “Begin! Pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on earth!”
2  The first Angel stepped up and poured his bowl out on earth: Loathsome, stinking sores erupted on all who had taken the mark of the Beast and worshiped its image.
3  The second Angel poured his bowl on the sea: The sea coagulated into blood, and everything in it died.
4  The third Angel poured his bowl on rivers and springs: The waters turned to blood.
5  I heard the Angel of Waters say, Righteous you are, and your judgments are righteous, THE WAS, THE IS, THE HOLY.
6  They poured out the blood of saints and prophets so you’ve given them blood to drink— they’ve gotten what they deserve!
7  Just then I heard the Altar chime in, Yes, O God, the Sovereign-Strong! Your judgments are true and just!
8  The fourth Angel poured his bowl on the sun: Fire blazed from the sun and scorched men and women.
9  Burned and blistered, they cursed God’s Name, the God behind these disasters. They refused to repent, refused to honor God.
10  The fifth Angel poured his bowl on the throne of the Beast: Its kingdom fell into sudden eclipse. Mad with pain, men and women bit and chewed their tongues,
11  cursed the God of Heaven for their torment and sores, and refused to repent and change their ways.
12  The sixth Angel poured his bowl on the great Euphrates River: It dried up to nothing. The dry riverbed became a fine roadbed for the kings from the East.
13  From the mouths of the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet I saw three foul demons crawl out—they looked like frogs.
14  These are demon spirits performing signs. They’re after the kings of the whole world to get them gathered for battle on the Great Day of God, the Sovereign-Strong.
15  “Keep watch! I come unannounced, like a thief. You’re blessed if, awake and dressed, you’re ready for me. Too bad if you’re found running through the streets, naked and ashamed.”
16  The frog-demons gathered the kings together at the place called in Hebrew Armageddon.
17  The seventh Angel poured his bowl into the air: From the Throne in the Temple came a shout, “Done!”
18  followed by lightning flashes and shouts, thunder crashes and a colossal earthquake—a huge and devastating earthquake, never an earthquake like it since time began.
19  The Great City split three ways, the cities of the nations toppled to ruin. Great Babylon had to drink the wine of God’s raging anger—God remembered to give her the cup!
20  Every island fled and not a mountain was to be found.
21  Hailstones weighing a ton plummeted, crushing and smashing men and women as they cursed God for the hail, the epic disaster of hail.

I was raised to believe that the city on seven hills was Rome and that the whore in the Book of Revelation was The Catholic Church.  I would offer this thought that it is really the rising up of Babylon – for it is surrounded also by seven hills.  Babylon was uniquely situated that it could see any army marching towards it.  They built a great wall around it but there was one weakness in their protection, the river that ran through the middle of Babylon.  The Persians dammed up the river and the Persian army used the river bed to go under the gates of Babylon.

I truly feel that all the conditions are ready for us to see Babylonian empire to rise again.

Again, my inner being is a mixture of excitement and also great concern.  

I believe that we are on the precipice of something great that will usher in the King of Kings putting His feet on the Mount of Olives the place of where the disciples witnessed the ascension of the resurrected Saviour, Christ Jesus.

 

When The Chips Are Down

*This is not an article about gambling!*

Job 1:1-22 MSG
1  Job was a man who lived in Uz. He was honest inside and out, a man of his word, who was totally devoted to God and hated evil with a passion.
2  He had seven sons and three daughters.
3  He was also very wealthy—seven thousand head of sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred teams of oxen, five hundred donkeys, and a huge staff of servants—the most influential man in all the East!
4  His sons used to take turns hosting parties in their homes, always inviting their three sisters to join them in their merrymaking.
5  When the parties were over, Job would get up early in the morning and sacrifice a burnt offering for each of his children, thinking, “Maybe one of them sinned by defying God inwardly.” Job made a habit of this sacrificial atonement, just in case they’d sinned.
6  One day when the angels came to report to GOD, Satan, who was the Designated Accuser, came along with them.
7  GOD singled out Satan and said, “What have you been up to?” Satan answered GOD, “Going here and there, checking things out on earth.”
8  GOD said to Satan, “Have you noticed my friend Job? There’s no one quite like him—honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil.”
9  Satan retorted, “So do you think Job does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart?
10  Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him or his family or his possessions, bless everything he does—he can’t lose!
11  “But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He’d curse you right to your face, that’s what.”
12  GOD replied, “We’ll see. Go ahead—do what you want with all that is his. Just don’t hurt him.” Then Satan left the presence of GOD.
13  Sometime later, while Job’s children were having one of their parties at the home of the oldest son,
14  a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys grazing in the field next to us
15  when Sabeans attacked. They stole the animals and killed the field hands. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened.”
16  While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, “Bolts of lightning struck the sheep and the shepherds and fried them—burned them to a crisp. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened.”
17  While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, “Chaldeans coming from three directions raided the camels and massacred the camel drivers. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened.”
18  While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, “Your children were having a party at the home of the oldest brother
19  when a tornado swept in off the desert and struck the house. It collapsed on the young people and they died. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened.”
20  Job got to his feet, ripped his robe, shaved his head, then fell to the ground and worshiped:
21  Naked I came from my mother’s womb, naked I’ll return to the womb of the earth. GOD gives, GOD takes. God’s name be ever blessed.
***22  Not once through all this did Job sin; not once did he blame God.***

If you were to come and visit me for a couple of days you would find that I am human like the rest of the seven plus billion living on this earth.

When I was in my teens I was learning to play the piano so that I could play when my sister and I would sing gospel songs.  It was not easy learning because I was not being taught by a piano teacher.  There were times I wanted to quit, yet I persevered trying to play the instrument.  I would sit at the old piano that was given to me for hours at a time.  Then come Sunday I would try to play at my home church since there was no other musicians after my grandfather passed away.

I now look back at those days and would not trade one moment of them.  Going through those days as a young teen my mother said she could always tell when I was frustrated.  She said that I would scratch the top of my head a certain way.  I never realized I was making such a motion.  I finally mastered the piano and developed my own style that was fitting to the gospel songs that I sang.  I have come a long way since those teenage years and I no longer get frustrated when playing the piano and now also the organ.

I am no saint and have my weak moments where I may get angry about how someone is driving around me.  I even have moments where I just want to throw my hands in the air and admit defeat.  

I can remember hearing people talk about a person who was dealing in an situation that for many would be total disgust.  They would say, “he must have the patience of Job”.

For the most part it would seem we all have two faces, one for when we are in a social setting, and the other when no one can see us and the door is closed to the rest of the world.  The latter is the face we all need to work on for that is the true person coming out.

Some days I would like to throw my phone out the window because it seems it always rings just when I have my hands full, or when I am trying to watch a program on television.  If I were to guess I am not the only who has those feelings from time to time.

There is one event that shows our true character, it is adversity.  Everyone who lives and breathes will face it during their life.  Aversity will either break you or make you stronger.

I believe the hardest adversity one has to face is parents losing a child due to illness or accident.  I have witnessed two young teenagers laid to rest and the pain and despair on the parents.  No words can ever soothe the absolute sense of loss for those parents.  It is true that parents shouldn’t have outlive their children.  As one pastor said at my cousin’s funeral, “life is not fair”.

For Job it was the loss of his entire family, Job’s response is truly beyond human character.  The last verse of chapter one declares through all the despair Job did not sin.  **22  Not once through all this did Job sin; not once did he blame God.***  The King James version says that Job did not charge God foolishly.

I must admit that I am not sure that I could live up to the standard that Job showed to all his friends, and the land he lived in. 

I have a daughter and three grandchildren and the thought of losing them at all the same time would be devasting throwing me into complete and utter despair.  I would hope that I would be like Job and not blame God for the loss of my loved ones.

When I was thirteen years old my grandfather, who I was very close to, died at the age of fifty – seven.  I remember how I felt, I was angry, depressed and many more emotions that would seem quite expected for a teenager to be experiencing.  I did blame God for quite awhile.  At the time I was learning to play the accordian.  I took that accordian and placed it next to the garbage can.  My mom took it and stored it for me.  Yes, it took awhile for my emotions to stabilize.  I now look back and can see the good that came from that event, I learned how to play the piano which eventually led me to be able to travel across Canada and the United States with an evangelist.  So, while it seemed dark and bleaked going through it, it work to God’s glory.

I am now much older and have learned some of God’s lessons and I look at adversity in a different light.  No, I don’t look through rose colored glasses, but rather I look through the lense that God desires for all of us.  We may not understand the trial that we are facing but we should be able to go through it knowing God is holding our hand.  Therefore we can be like Job and not sin or blame God.

Oh, it may look like all the chips are down and would appear that the whole world is against us but remember this:

Romans 8:31 MSG
31  So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose?

 

 

 

Broken and Leaking

Jeremiah 2:13 MSG
13  “My people have committed a compound sin: they’ve walked out on me, the fountain Of fresh flowing waters, and then dug cisterns— cisterns that leak, cisterns that are no better than sieves.

There are two things that I find frustrating.  Something that is broken and the other is leaking.  Worst yet is that something is broken and leaking.

Several years ago my roof started leaking and it was getting serious.  I live in a mobile home and it had no peaked roof, so during a normal shingle repair was certainly out of the question.  I started phoning around to find a roofer that had an answer to my dilema.  I found one and he told me about a solution for my roof.  They had a plastic that goes on hot and it begins to fill all crevices and cracks.  When it finally cools off it becomes like an invisible membrane across my entire roof.  The solution worked and my roof no longer leaks.

My understanding of what a cistern is something that holds and stores water.  If a crack were to develop the purpose of that cistern would be comprimised.  Or imagine if you needed a vase to place some fresh flowers in only to realize that it cannot work due to a crack in its structure.

Psalms 34:18 MSG
18  If your heart is broken, you’ll find GOD right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.

Psalms 51:17 MSG
17  I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.

Now I spoke about finding something broken.  In that context it is a negative.  God when He finds broken it is a positive.  For us to approach Him it has to be out of a broken heart, not a proud spirit, but a contrite spirit.  As long as we carry a spirit of self righteousness and pride the door to approaching God is closed, no access whatsoever.

For many it is a life shattering moment, at the end of hope, that the only way out is up, up towards God for Him and Him alone can only lift us out of the miry clay.  Only God can fix our broken heart and spirit.  

Ezekiel 36:26 MSG
26  I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed.

God takes our broken vessel and begins to create a vessel of honor and glory.

Romans 9:21 KJV
21  Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

It is this vessel that God pours in His spirit.  Our old vessel cannot contain or hold the spirit of God.  That new spirit is the Holy Spirit.

John 7:37-39 MSG
37  On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
38  Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.”
39  (He said this in regard to the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were about to receive. The Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.)

His disciples did comprehend exactly what Christ was speaking about, they would not understand until that moment in that upper room.

Acts 1:4-8 MSG
4  As they met and ate meals together, he told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but “must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me.
5  John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon.”
6  When they were together for the last time they asked, “Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?”
7  He told them, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business.
8  What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

Acts 2:1-18 MSG
1  When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
2  Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building.
3  Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks,
4  and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.
5  There were many Jews staying in Jerusalem just then, devout pilgrims from all over the world.
6  When they heard the sound, they came on the run. Then when they heard, one after another, their own mother tongues being spoken, they were thunderstruck.
7  They couldn’t for the life of them figure out what was going on, and kept saying, “Aren’t these all Galileans?
8  How come we’re hearing them talk in our various mother tongues?
9  Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; Visitors from Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
10  Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene; Immigrants from Rome,
11  both Jews and proselytes; Even Cretans and Arabs! “They’re speaking our languages, describing God’s mighty works!”
12  Their heads were spinning; they couldn’t make head or tail of any of it. They talked back and forth, confused: “What’s going on here?”
13  Others joked, “They’re drunk on cheap wine.”
14  That’s when Peter stood up and, backed by the other eleven, spoke out with bold urgency: “Fellow Jews, all of you who are visiting Jerusalem, listen carefully and get this story straight.
15  These people aren’t drunk as some of you suspect. They haven’t had time to get drunk—it’s only nine o’clock in the morning.
16  This is what the prophet Joel announced would happen:
17  “In the Last Days,” God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on every kind of people: Your sons will prophesy, also your daughters; Your young men will see visions, your old men dream dreams.
18  When the time comes, I’ll pour out my Spirit On those who serve me, men and women both, and they’ll prophesy.

Christ knew and understood His disciples and followers and all those who will come after needed something more that human efforts to fulfill that which He died on the cross for.  Our efforts are futile and predestined to fail.  

We must get out of ourselves, surrending our will to God’s will and rely on God’s strength.

 

That Bear Is A Killer!

Daniel 7:5 MSG
5  “Then I saw a second animal that looked like a bear. It lurched from side to side, holding three ribs in its jaws. It was told, ‘Attack! Devour! Fill your belly!’

I have touched on this portion of Scripture in past articles, but feel it is relevant at this present time.

I have also mentioned that I watch the news on a very regular basis.  Sometimes if there was sitting in the room they would think that I have lost my mind. Why?  I sometimes get excited and start yelling at the t.v..  The reason being some headline comes across the broadcast and it fulfills a Bible prophecy.

I have been studying Bible prophecy for as long as I can remember.  While in high school I was taking classes on computers.  One lesson caught my attention, it was about how this computer could assign every living being an indentification number and never once use it twice.  Does this sound familiar?  It should, there is coming a time that all people will be ordered to take a mark, “the number of a man, 666”.  

There are seven billion plus people living on the earth today and computers now have the ability to give each a number, but now more than that actually keep track of everything you buy and sell, and we know they can monitor your travel when you carry a cell phone.  If you do not know this, they keep track of everything you do on this world wide web and the exact location you logged on and used your computer, tablet, cell phone, and any other device that connects to the internet.

Now before I get into the above mentioned Scripture let me say that I am going to use some speculation about what I believe is happening or is about to happen in prophecy.

Special Statement

I would like to interject that the following is relevant to headlines that are appearing in the United States.  However, it is not my intention to speak to the political atmosphere in the country.

Yet, I cannot help to see the parallel of the headlines and Bible prophecy by the prophets of old.  And because of this parallel I can foresee what may be just on the horizon.  For students of Bible prophecy there arises an excitement of what possibly Biblical prophecy being fulfilled before our very eyes.

Who Is This Bear?

Most Bible scholars and theologians agree that the bear spoken of in the foremention Scripture is the country of Russia.  If you were to go throughout modern printed history you would find that commentaries in the newspapers about Russian usually there would be a bear depicted.

Russia is also spoken of in Bible prophecy as “the king of the North”. (Daniel 11). Also referred as “Gog and Magog” (Ezekiel 38).

The Bear Is Not friendly!

Almost every little child has a teddy bear to go to sleep with in their beds.  Most have watched a bear named “Winnie The Pooh” look for pots of honey.  However, the bear found in Biblical prophecy is not the afore mentioned types of bears.  

This bear, Russia, is far more dangerous, or as one pastor I heard speak on the subject, likened this bear to a polar bear.  The polar bear is a carnivore and it’s only true enemy is us, humans.

There is nothing cuddly about this prophetic bear and it should not be underestimated.  It is cunning, deceitful and most of all, it is definately not friendly.  However much you would like to believe you can co-exist with this bear it is a false hope.

Notice this verse in Daniel chapter seven:

Daniel 7:5 KJV
5  And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

Most Bible scholars and students of Biblical prophecy believe those three ribs to be three different countries, Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt.

Now the modern names of two are:

Babylon: Iraq/Iran

Lydia: NW Turkey and of course Egypt has remained Egypt.

I agree with two of the countries mentioned by the Bible scholars, but as for Egypt I am not so convinced, truly and honestly as of this writing I feel it just might be Syria.  I am basing this on the fact that at this present time all three countries are in some type of warfare with Russia being involved directly or indirectly.

This prophetic bear/king of the north has only one objective as its goal, that being to conquer and devour everything around it.

Be On The Lookout!

Heads up, with all of the unrest that is being reported around the entire mid – east region keep your eyes on the bigger picture.

Eventually there are other prophetic actors to enter the stage.  It is the “kings of the east”, or our Asian/Pacific Rim countries.

We know through Biblical prophecy that the kings of the east begin to turn towards Israel and begin to march down the riverbed of the Euphrates river.  Along with Russia and other nations meeting for the final battle in the valley of Megiddo, a valley so large that all the armies of the world have room to manevour around in it.

So, with that understanding is the reason why sometimes when I hear the headlines in the news I can get excited.  What is even more exciting is the fact that students of Biblical prophecy have read the last chapter of the book(The Bible) and know that “we win”.