VIDEO After Armageddon

May 12, 2013

The worst-case scenario dramatization slash documentary After Armageddon aired January 5, 2010 on the History Channel as part of Armageddon Week. After Armageddon presented a picture of the breakdown of society after a worldwide pandemic flu. See Armageddon Week Starts January 3 on History Channel for more information.

The dramatization was interspersed with expert opinion who presented step-by-step what could happen in the event of a worldwide apocalyptic event. In this case, a deadly flu virus caused death and a domino effect that led to an end-of-the-world or at least end-of-civilization world where survival is the only goal.

Expert commentators proposed that pandemic illness would lead to power grid failures due to lack of manpower, the failure of the world wide web and eventually the end of civilized society. After Armageddon supposed that when workers become sick and/or die from disease, their jobs are unfilled which leads to services such as garbage pick up, electricity, water, food deliveries and other basic utilities ending.

After Armageddon experts pointed to Hurricane Katrina as a picture of how quickly civilization can turn to anarchy. One expert stated that it took four days for New Orleans residents to go feral in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The scenario proposed by After Armageddon reminded viewers that ultimately, the survival of they and their families will depend upon planning ahead for the possibility of disaster – whether disaster comes from pandemic illness, natural or manmade disaster. Viewers were reminded that skills our grandparents knew and practiced – gardening, pickling, canning, herbal remedies, and more – will need to be re-learned in the event of an apocalyptic event.

Evacuation plans in the event of emergency should be made – including a plan of where to go and how to get there. Stockpiling of food and basic supplies should be implemented before a disaster or apocalyptic event occurs (see How to Get Started with Stockpiling, Stockpiling: What to Stockpile,Budget for Stockpiling ). After Armageddon also reminded viewers that in order to prepare for disaster, it will be important to be aware that you will need to defend yourself and understand that survival may require force and violence. When people move into survival mode, they do not as they normally would – civilized and peaceful.

One expert on After Armageddon surmised that foraging after a disaster would become a necessary part of survival. As he stated, foraging is a nice word for looting. This illustrates that disaster changes people and changes their behavior – a common theme in After Armageddon.

Another expert said it best: “We like to think that moral progress has made us nice people. We’ve heard that our distant ancestors were mean and cruel and ruthless, and we can’t imagine that we would be such people – but we’re nice mainly because we’re rich and comfortable. And when we’re no longer rich and comfortable, we won’t be as nice.”

Dressed Up

Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 13:14

In her book Wearing God, author Lauren Winner says our clothes can silently communicate to others who we are. What we wear may indicate career, community or identity, moods, or social status. Think of a T-shirt with a slogan, a business suit, a uniform, or greasy jeans and what they might reveal. She writes, “The idea that, as with a garment, Christians might wordlessly speak something of Jesus—is appealing.”

According to Paul, we can similarly wordlessly represent Christ. Romans 13:14 tells us to “clothe [ourselves] with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” What does this mean? When we become Christians, we take on Christ’s identity. We’re “children of God through faith” (Gal. 3:26–27). That’s our status. Yet each day we need to clothe ourselves in His character. We do this by striving to live for and to be more like Jesus, growing in godliness, love, and obedience and turning our back on the sins that once enslaved us.

Dear Lord, grow us in godliness, love, joy, and patience.

This growth in Christ is a result of the Holy Spirit working in us and our desire to be closer to Him through study of the Word, prayer, and time spent in fellowship with other Christians (John 14:26). When others look at our words and attitudes, what statement are we making about Christ?

Dear Lord, we want to be a reflection of You. Help us to look more like You each day. Grow us in godliness, love, joy, and patience.

When others see us, may what they see speak well of the Savior.

By Alyson Kieda 

INSIGHT:What does a well-dressed follower of Christ look like? Starting with verse 11 of Romans 13, Paul builds his case. Maybe he has a smile in his eyes as he thinks, “Hey, wake up you sleepy heads. It’s time to get up. Come on now. Wake up. The night’s about over. The sun’s coming up. It’s time to dress for the day rather than for the night” (see vv. 11–12).

At this point can you hear the emotion in Paul’s voice? Something like, “Come on now, I’m not kidding. Do you really want to be seen as a follower of Jesus dressed like that? Please now, ‘Do this’ for Jesus’s sake” (v. 11). Do what? He replies: “For you, I’ll say it again. Please, don’t hide who you are in Christ by wrapping yourself in self-centered desire. Clothe yourself in the ways of Jesus. Find in Him an honest concern for everyone who comes into your lives. Give yourselves and everyone you come in contact with a chance to see that a new day is dawning. It’s time to love others as Christ has loved us” (see vv. 8–12).

For further study on Romans and other New Testament books, check out this free resource at christianuniversity.org/NT109. Mart DeHaan

Having Courage in the Lonely Hour

Deuteronomy 31:6-8

Loneliness is a powerful emotion. It can lead to despair, or it can draw us closer to the Lord. It is also a condition for which we were never designed. From the very beginning, God said that it was not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18). So, He created Eve. Then came sin, the separator.

Ever since, we have been trying to regain the intimate fellowship that was lost in the Garden of Eden. Most of us start this journey to recovery by seeking healthy connections with other people. Friends and family can help enormously, but their presence is no substitute for fellowship with the heavenly Father. In fact, our best friends can sometimes impede our efforts by appearing to offer what God alone can give. Falling for such pretense is idolatry—allowing something to take God’s place.

That is why you see godly individuals throughout the Bible put to the loneliness test. We find examples in the story of Jacob wrestling alone with an angel (Gen. 32:24-32), Elijah standing alone on Mt. Sinai (1 Kings 19:1-21), and even Jesus praying alone in the garden because His friends had fallen asleep (Matt. 26:36-46). In all three cases, the picture is essentially the same.

Such heartrending experiences in our life are designed for one purpose: They bring us to the point where we can discover for ourselves that God is real. The learning process may take a while, but it is much more likely that we will rely on God if there is no one else to hang on to. When we experience utter loneliness, we can cling to the promise, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).

Searching for God

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

These are days when few people seem satisfied. Everyone seems to be searching for something—for riches, power, health, adventure, fame, peace, conquests, or escape. Shamefully, even few Christians seem to realize that the permanent fulfillment or redirection of such desires can only be found in the Lord, the One who created them and designed them to operate in a particular, satisfying way.

While it is true that in an ultimate sense “there is none that seeketh after God” (Romans 3:11) for salvation without the prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Christian (and indeed the entire human race) is enjoined again and again to seek God. Note the following passages of encouragement.

“If from thence [i.e., captivity due to disobedience] thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29). “If thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever” (1 Chronicles 28:9). “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4). “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee” (Psalm 63:1). “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me” (Proverbs 8:17). “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

As in our text, our search should be for God and His characteristics. All of man’s desires will either be fulfilled or reoriented as we find Him, and according to the several verses quoted, we will find Him if we truly seek Him. JDM

“Our God is in the heavens.”

Psalm 115

The mournfully ludicrous picture of idol-worship afforded by our two last readings, leads us to adore and worship the one only living and true God, who has revealed himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, our God in covenant, whom alone we reverence. Let us read the devout song of the Jewish church contained in

Psalm 115:1

When in trouble, we can find no plea for help in ourselves, but must be humbled, and appeal only to the mercy and faithfulness of God.

Psalm 115:2

Saints draw arguments from the blasphemies of their enemies, and these are prevalent with God.

Psalm 115:3

However much the ungodly may rage, God sits upon the throne, they cannot thrust him from the seat of power; and, moreover, amid all their riot the Lord achieves his purposes, and in every jot and tittle his decrees are fulfilled. Sweet comfort this.

Psalm 115:4

At the very best this is all the idols are, mere masses of metal. What scorn is here poured upon the sacred images! The next sentences are grimly sardonic. Idols are not to be reverenced but despised.

Psalm 115:7

Though their features are meant to represent various attributes of power, they are only so many falsehoods, for an eye that cannot see is a poor emblem of knowledge, a mouth which cannot speak is no symbol of eloquence, and hands which cannot move are a mockery, rather than an ensign of power.

Psalm 115:8

They are as gross and ridiculous as the images they adore.

Psalm 115:11

Thus trust in God is the duty and privilege of all sorts of saints, in all places.

Psalm 115:12

The past ensures the future, since our God changes not;

Psalm 115:13

A precious word of comfort for the little in years, in substance, in ability, and in grace; they are not and shall not be forgotten, when God blesses his chosen.

Psalm 115:14

Believers shall be multiplied, the chosen race shall increase.

Psalm 115:15

And this is true, whatever men may say, or providence may appoint. Rejoice in it, ye righteous.

Psalm 115:17

So far as this world is concerned, death ends human praise: let us then resolve to bless the Lord as long as we live, according to the resolution of the next verse.

 

Formed by human hands, behold

Gods of silver, gods of gold;

Worship unto these they pay,

Unto these bow down and pray.

 

Mouths have they, yet not a word

From their speechless lips is heard;

Eyes they have, yet blind are found;

Ears,—but cannot hear a sound.

 

They as void of sense appear,

Who these senseless idols rear;

All who trust in them for aid,

Miserable dupes are made.

 

Israel, trust thou in the Lord;

He alone can help afford:

Make Jehovah’s name your shield;

Sure protection he will yield.

 

A True Child of God Cannot Continue To Habitually Practice Sin!

1 John 3:6

A true child of God cannot continue to habitually live a lifestyle of sin! It is impossible! In fact, if someone claims to be a child of God but continues in a life of sin, it is more than likely that he was never genuinely born again in the first place. You see, the Bible makes it clear that it is simply impossible for a bona fide child of God to continue in a life of sin! Today I want to tell you the reason why this is impossible.

First John 3:6 says, “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” Do you see the word “sinneth” used two times in this verse? In both cases, the Greek tense indicates continuous action, which means the verse could be more accurately translated, “He who abides in him does not go on continually, habitually sinning as a way of life; he who continually goes on routinely sinning as a way of life has not seen him, neither known him.”

I realize this is a very strong statement, but this is precisely what John said to us in this verse. According to this verse, anyone who continues to live in habitual sin does not know Jesus. It could be that this individual has come close to the Kingdom of God and has even tasted the powers of it. But the fact that he has continued uninterrupted in the practice of sin shows that he has never become a real child of God. The fact that his life never changed demonstrates that his nature was never changed. This is exactly what John wrote in First John 3:6.

John then goes on to tell us, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1 John 3:9). The tense of the word translated “commit” again indicates continuing action, which means the verse could be translated, “Whosoever is born of God simply cannot go on continually sinning….” And then John tells us why!

John writes, “… for his [God’s] seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” The word “seed” is the Greek word spermaand yes, it is where we get the word sperm.

According to this phenomenal verse, God injected His own seed into you the day you gave your life to Christ! Just as the sperm of a human father carries the DNA of that father, God’s seed—the Word of God—carries the life and nature of God within it. When that divine seed was implanted on the inside of you, it imparted the very nature of God Himself to your spirit.

Peter referred to this miraculous event when he wrote that you are “… born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23). This means the day you got saved, that divine seed came rushing into your spirit, carrying the life and nature of God within it to give you a new nature. Just as a human seed produces a human life, God’s divine seed immediately began to produce the life of God inside you.

In Genesis 1, God declared a spiritual law—that every living thing produces after its own kind (vv. 21, 24, 25): Humans produce humans; horses produce horses; plants produce plants, and so on. This principle is also true in the spiritual realm. The day that God’s divine seed was planted in you, that seed transported the very nature of God Himself into your spirit, with the full expectation that His very life and nature would be reproduced on the inside of you. This is why your desires suddenly changed after you were born again. This is also why you felt so badly about sin that previously didn’t bother you at all and why you became so driven to possess a holy life. You weren’t the same anymore, because you had a new nature. The nature of God Himself had been planted in you!

This is the reason a genuinely born-again person cannot continue habitually in his past sinful patterns. His new nature will drive him to be different, to be holy, to be like God. His born-again spirit will grieve and sorrow if sins are committed, because such actions violate the new nature that has been implanted in his spirit. If a person continues in sin as though nothing happened inside him, then nothing is probably exactly what did happen! More than likely, he was never really born again, for if he had been born again, that new nature of God within him would not permit him to continue living habitually in sin.

What does this mean for you and me? If a person who claims to be born again continues uninterrupted in habitual sin, we can take it as a strong indicator that he has probably never really been born again. This person may have come close to the Kingdom of God; he may have even learned the lingo of the saints. But the fact that his actions are unchanged indicates that his nature has never been changed. If he had really been infused with the divine seed of God, that life-giving seed would have so changed him that he wouldn’t be able to continue living as he had lived in the past.

This is why I say that people who claim to know the Lord but whose lives never reflect a change should question if they have ever really been born again. The great preacher, Charles Finney, once remarked that most people who attend church are probably not born again. When asked why he believed this, Finney remarked that it was impossible for true children of God to live in blatant sin as many believers do. Finney made this statement over 100 years ago. As I contemplate the amount of sin that is so prevalent in the Church today, it makes me wonder, How many people who attend church in our own day are not genuinely born again?

  • Could it be that many who claim to know the Lord really aren’t born again but instead have only been “enlightened” by coming closer to the Kingdom of God?
  • If someone is really born of God, could he continue to blatantly live in sin, completely unchanged in his actions or attitudes?
  • Doesn’t John tell us that it is impossible for a person to continue in habitual sin if God’s nature genuinely resides in his heart?
  • Don’t you think it is tragic that many people who come to church week after week, assuming they are saved, may not really be saved at all?

First John 3:9 plainly declares that an authentic child of God cannot routinely commit and live in uninterrupted sin. Because he has been “born of God,” he is so inwardly changed that it affects him outwardly. He acts differently because he is different. Now God’s seed resides in his spirit, and that seed is producing the life of God in him; therefore, he thinks, behaves, and acts like God’s child.

On the other hand, if a person’s life does not emulate God, perhaps it is an indication that he has never really received God’s divine seed into his spirit. If he had been implanted with God’s seed, that seed would have caused clear and visible changes in his life.

You must remember that in regard to the works of the flesh, Paul said, “… They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21). The word “do” is the Greek word prasso, which means to practice. The Greek expresses the idea of a person who performs these things as a matter of routine. These actions are his ritual, his norm, his pattern of life. It means the verse could be translated, “… Those who put these things into practice and who do these things routinely shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.”

This is not the story of someone who has lost his salvation; rather, this is the story of someone who thought he was saved but who never really possessed genuine salvation in the first place. If he had truly been saved, he wouldn’t have been able to continue living a consistent life of sin. The apostle John made this point emphatically clear in First John 3:9.

There is nothing more important than your salvation, friend. If you make a mistake about your spiritual condition, it is a mistake you will regret for all of eternity. Because this is such a vital, eternal issue, I advise you to carefully examine your own life to see if you reflect the life and nature of God.

  • Does your life reveal that your nature has been changed?
  • Or have you continued uninterrupted in your old attitudes and sinful actions since the time you thought you were saved?
  • Does your daily life demonstrate clear evidence of your salvation, or have you just learned the lingo of Christians and how to behave among believers?

This question is too serious for you to make a mistake. If these questions disturb you, take the time to let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart and tell you the truth. If your life gives proof that you are saved, then rejoice! But if an honest evaluation reveals that you have only become more religious but have never really changed, perhaps you need to reconsider whether or not you have ever really been saved.

If you find that this last statement best describes you, it’s time for you to make your heart right with God. Don’t let pride hold you back from doing what is right. Many people will have an eternal destiny in hell because they couldn’t bear the thought of publicly admitting they weren’t saved. Don’t let pride stop you from doing what is right. The question of where you will spend your eternity is too important to ignore! Determine to put aside your pride so you can do what God’s Spirit is urging you to do!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I thank You for placing Your divine life inside me! You have changed my whole view of life and given me new desires. I am so grateful to You for bringing about such change in me. I am truly a new creature with new desires, new longings, and new aspirations. I am so thankful that when I look at my life, I can see Your life and Your nature working in me!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I have a new nature with new desires! I am not the person I used to be. By looking at me, it is evident that God’s new nature is alive and working inside me. His divine seed is reproducing God’s life in me so that every day I am thinking more like God, acting more like God, and possessing less tolerance for any sin that might still be active in my life. I don’t have to wonder if I’m really saved, for my life gives proof that I have received a brand-new nature!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Have you ever known someone who claimed to be born again, but you never witnessed any changes in his lifestyle, behavior, attitudes, or actions? Did it make you wonder if that person was really saved?
  2. If you know someone who claims to be a child of God but whose life continues uninterrupted in a lifestyle of sin, what does this person’s unchanged life indicate to you now?
  3. What changes occurred in you when you received Jesus Christ into your heart? Why don’t you write down some of the biggest changes that have taken place since you were born again? It might be interesting for you to see how much your life has changed!

 

Prudence

Yesterday, after speaking to a group of adults, an attractive gal in her late 20’s came up and asked if she could meet with me. She wanted to be discipled. She looked so sincere. So innocent… so helpless.

 

My wife is excellent at discipling,” I replied. “No, but you are really good,” she responded. “Well, I dont meet with women on a personal basis,” I explained. “But I need your help,” she persisted.

 

Nobut let me introduce you to Ruth.” And with that I pointed her to my wife and turned away.

 

This morning as I reflected back on that conversation, I wrote down the names of ten spiritually powerful men whom I’ve known over the years who got derailed in their walk with God: Missionaries, leaders in Christian circles, winners of souls, authors of Christian books, etc.

 

One fell over a money issue: Cheated people in his business.

 

Two developed huge egos over “successful” ministries. Became unteachable. One of the two fell into adultery.

 

Another, in his struggle for acceptance, allowed himself the luxury of letting women fawn over him. Some, (against his wife’s wishes) he counseled through correspondence. In time, he too fell into adultery.

 

A couple of others, it appears, just went out and played around. Seemed to need a “fix” now and then.

 

One got into trouble with his buddy’s wife.

 

Another got sexually involved through counseling a distressed marriage in his neighborhood.

 

And finally, one fellow who traveled a great deal simply could not resist the temptations on the road.

 

And where are they today? Two died prematurely, while still in their 40’s. Seven divorced.

 

None have regained their previous stature or standing in the community

 

I am reminded of Solomon’s warning, “The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare himHe will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own folly.” (Proverbs 5:22a, 23)

 

QUESTION: In relating to the opposite sex, do you immediately “nip in the bud” the slightest opportunity for cultivating imprudent thoughts or behavior that ultimately could lead to actions you would live to regret? If the answer is not an immediate “yes,” what do you think that reveals about the condition of your spiritual life?

 

 

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