VIDEO The End of Times

Feb 20, 2013

We are about to enter a time like no other time, a time that no man has ever seen, a time like no other time in the history of this world, as a matter of fact we are about to enter the end of times. Most movies start at the beginning, this movie starts at the end and ends at the beginning, a new beginning. We are about to enter the End Times and the End Times begins with a mass evacuation. Suddenly, without warning, millions of people will disappear off the face of the earth. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, now you see them, now you don’t. Where did they go and what will happen next?

The world as we know it is coming to an end, the curtains are about to be lifted up and the greatest drama the world has ever known is about to begin. The stage has been set, the characters are in place, and the director is almost ready to shout ACTION!

Praise in the Dark

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. Hebrews 13:15

Even though my friend Mickey was losing his eyesight, he told me, “I’m going to keep praising God every day, because He’s done so much for me.”

Jesus gave Mickey, and us, the ultimate reason for such never-ending praise. The twenty-sixth chapter of Matthew tells us about how Jesus shared the Passover meal with His disciples the night before He went to the cross. Verse 30 shows us how they concluded the meal: “When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”

Lord, help me to learn to praise You more and more.

It wasn’t just any hymn they sang that night—it was a hymn of praise. For millennia, Jews have sung a group of Psalms called “The Hallel” at Passover (hallel is the Hebrew word for “praise”). The last of these prayers and songs of praise, found in Psalms 113–118, honors the God who has become our salvation (118:21). It refers to a rejected stone that became a cornerstone (v. 22) and one who comes in the name of the Lord (v. 26). They may very well have sung, “The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad” (v. 24).

As Jesus sang with His disciples on this Passover night, He was giving us the ultimate reason to lift our eyes above our immediate circumstances. He was leading us in praise of the never-ending love and faithfulness of our God.

 

You are always worthy of praise, Lord, even when I don’t feel like praising You! Help me to learn to praise You more and more.

Praising God helps us recall His goodness that never ends.

INSIGHT:How might Jesus’s example encourage you to praise God during hard times?

Our Reason for Hope

1 John 4:7-10

Without a sense of purpose, there is no hope. But the Lord created each person for a reason: to love God and be loved by Him. He pursues us and does everything in His infinite power to reveal Himself. The Lord wants each person to understand who He is and respond in worship and devotion.

God’s love is personal. Christianity stands out among world religions because God desires a personal relationship with every man, woman, and child. His care isn’t limited to just one group; He loves every individual and desires regular, intimate conversation with each one.

God’s love is unconditional. It’s who He is (1 John 4:8) rather than simply something He does. Nothing about your character or behavior can make Him love you less or more. Nor are His care and concern limited, because He is infinite and eternal.

God’s love is available to everyone. It is inexhaustible and reaches across every boundary or hindrance man can set up in an attempt to keep God at a distance. The Lord does not have favorites, but He does have intimates. These are His followers who spend time with Him, talking and listening, walking in obedience, and desiring to know and love Him with their whole heart. He wants all of us to choose this kind of relationship with Him.

The Father didn’t just say He loves you; He proved it by giving His Son as a sacrifice for sin. Those who haven’t trusted in the Savior can go through life oblivious to the blessing of His unconditional care. But what a waste it would be to live as though unloved when God’s infinite, eternal love is offered to you.

He Counted Me Faithful

“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.” (1 Timothy 1:12)

The testimony of a changed life is perhaps the best evidence that God is alive and active today. The fact that at salvation a dead slave to sin is given life and a new nature comprises the only rational explanation for one who lives in victory and power after a lifetime of defeat.

Take Paul, for example. Our introduction to him is at the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:58), after which his ardor for the Jewish traditions and hatred of Christianity caused him to wreak “havoc of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison” (Acts 8:3). This was not just casual opposition, for he was “breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1). He was a “blasphemer, and a persecutor [not only of Christians, but of Christ Himself—Acts 9:5], and injurious” (1 Timothy 1:13).

However, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I [Paul] am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15), he said. Paul “obtained mercy” (v. 13), not receiving the punishment he deserved, through “the grace of our Lord [which] was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (v. 14), even though he was not even seeking God (Acts 9:1-5).

To a greater or lesser degree, God has worked that same work of grace in each life that now belongs to Him. Paul called himself the chief of sinners, but each of us has done or has been capable of equally heinous acts. Through His grace, we are not only rescued from addiction to sin, but rehabilitated and empowered and given, as we see in our text, missions to accomplish that are of eternal significance. Let us “thank Christ Jesus our Lord” with Paul. JDM

“Look unto me, and be ye saved.”

Numbers 21:4-8

Numbers 21:4

At mount Hor, Moses had seen his brother Aaron die, and now, all alone, he has to bear anew the contentions of the people; yet he was not alone, his God was with him. The people were getting weary of tent life, and of the inconveniences of perpetually moving, but they forgot their many mercies, and the great deliverances which the Lord had wrought for them. Fretting, groaning, and complaining are very easy, but they are ungrateful, unholy, and useless habits.

Numbers 21:5

What a weariness it is to read this repetition of the stale complaint! It is always the same old and cruel slander; but each time there is more sin in it, because it is committed against a longer experience of the divine faithfulness. How wretched a thing is discontent—it rails at the bread of heaven, and despises the clear crystal leaping from the rock.

Numbers 21:6

They acted like serpents in hissing at Moses, and now serpents are sent to punish them. God has many ways of chastising sinners. He who made Moses rod a serpent, can also use a serpent as his rod to smite Israel. He will sting those who sting his servants.

Numbers 21:7

Admirable meekness. He prays at once for the aggravating people who had been so basely libelling him. They had but to say “pray,” and Moses prayed. O! for the like holy readiness to return good for evil.

Numbers 21:8

It was “like curing like,” an uplifted serpent heals the mischief wrought by a serpent: by man came death, by man came also the resurrection from the dead. The serpent on the pole was, as it were, executed by hanging on a tree, and so was the more lively type of the Crucified One, who was made a curse for us. A look was demanded of all who were bitten; there was one command for princes and paupers; they must all look, and look in one direction, for no other remedy was provided. It was the duty of Moses to lift up the serpent, but he could do no more, he had no mystic power in his own person to heal the wounded: even thus, ministers are to preach Christ Jesus to us, but they cannot save us, they are as weak as other men in such matters. Our Lord applied to himself the incident before us, we will read his words in—

John 3:14-17

John 3:14-17

We have but to look to Jesus, and whoever we may be, we shall find immediate deliverance from all our sins. One glance of faith brings a present salvation. This gospel is for all mankind, and no man of woman born need hesitate to trust his soul’s eternal interests in the hands of the Son of God. Whoever trusts him is and shall be saved.

 

So did the Hebrew prophet raise

The brazen serpent high;

The wounded felt immediate ease,

The camp forbore to die.

 

“Look upward in the dying hour,

And live,” the prophet cries:

But Christ performs a nobler cure

When faith lifts up her eyes.

 

True Profession Is From the Heart

Hebrews 10:23

Years ago, I was staying at a pastor’s house while I was preaching in his church. The first day I slept in his home, I became very frustrated early the next morning. About 5 a.m., the telephone started ringing—and it rang and rang and rang. I began to count the rings—thirty rings, forty rings, forty-five rings. Finally on the fiftieth ring, I got up, put on my clothes, and walked down the hallway to the kitchen, mumbling to myself, “If no one else cares enough to get up and answer this telephone, I’ll do it!”

I picked up the receiver and said, “Hello.” But to my amazement, the phone just kept on ringing, even though I was holding the receiver in my hand! Then I noticed that the ringing wasn’t coming from the telephone at all, but from something to my right that was covered with a big white sheet. I pulled the sheet back to look, and there in a big cage was a Grey African parrot looking back at me! It had been mimicking the ringing of the telephone! That parrot sounded just like a telephone, but it was not a telephone!

As I walked back down the hallway to my bedroom, I started thinking about how that parrot reminded me of some people I knew! I’m talking about people who made what sounded like great faith confessions, but who weren’t really in faith at all. Their words sounded right, but they weren’t doing anything but parroting what they had heard someone else say or do. Because there was no faith backing up their words, their confessions were no more real than the ringing telephone coming from the beak of that parrot!

In Hebrews 10:23, the Bible says, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith….” Today I’d like to draw your attention to the word “profession.” It comes from the Greek word homologia, which is a compound of the words homo and logos. The Greek word homo means one of the very same kind. The second part of the word, logos, is the Greek word for words. When these two words are joined together, they form the word homologia, which seems at first to mean to say the same thing.

The King James Version translates the word homologia as the word “profession.” However, this is really inadequate to fully understand what the word homologia means. To capture the comprehensive meaning of the word homologia, it is essential to further consider the word logos. As noted above, it means words.

Let me give you an illustration of the word homologia. I am a writer and have written many books. My words are my thoughts, my convictions, and my beliefs printed on paper. If you read my books and agree with what I have written—with my words—then in essence you are in agreement with me, for those words are me! They are what I think, what I believe, and what I have expressed.

Ultimately, if you like my books and agree with what I’ve written, you are coming into agreement with me, the author. If you take my viewpoint and begin to hold it as your own conviction, it won’t be long until you and I are aligned in our thinking and believing.

After my words have gotten deeply into your heart and you have fully embraced them, those words will soon become your own conviction. Then when you share that information with others, you will no longer be just repeating—or parroting—what you have read in my book. Instead, you will be speaking from the platform of your own heart about what you believe. At that point, you and I will be genuinely aligned in our viewpoints and convictions, talking the same language!

The word “profession” used in Hebrews 10:23 (or “confession,” as it is translated in other scriptures), from the Greek word homologia, is not the picture of a person who simply repeats what someone else says. This is an individual who has gotten God’s Word into his heart and who has come into agreement or alignment with what God says. This person sees a matter like God sees it; hears it like God hears it; feels it like God feels it. Now his heart and God’s heart are so unified on the issue that their hearts are nearly beating in syncopation with each other. Thus, when the believer opens his mouth to “confess” God’s Word, his confession is no longer powerless, empty chatter; instead, it comes from a very deep place of conviction inside his heart.

 

In light of this, Hebrews 10:23 carries this idea:

“Let us come into agreement with God and then begin to speak what He says, holding tightly to what we confess and refusing to let anyone take it from us….”

Real confessions are made out of words from God that have been sown into the heart. After a period of meditating and renewing the mind, you finally begin to see it the way that God sees it. You really believe what God believes! And from that place of heartfelt conviction, you then begin to speak and to declare your faith!

You see, when a believer gets God’s Word so deep into his heart that he comes into alignment with it, he is no longer simply muttering empty words or parroting something he has heard when he speaks. Now he speaks boldly from a legitimate place of faith!

Many people make the mistake of going through life repeating what they have heard someone else say without ever developing any depth of faith or understanding behind their words. They say the right things, but because these words come only out of their mouths and not out of their hearts, their confession doesn’t produce results.

Your faith and your mouth must be connected. A mechanical profession doesn’t come from the heart; therefore, it doesn’t bring forth any fruit. True profession must come from your heart before it comes out of your mouth.

How do you avoid making mechanical, mindless confessions?

  • First, make certain you have chosen to believe what God says. Commit your mind, heart, and all your strength to believing the Word of God, no matter how crazy it may sound to your natural mind.
  • Then ask the Holy Spirit to make God’s Word real to you— so real, in fact, that should anyone even imply that what God said isn’t true, you’d think that person was out of his mind!
  • Finally, pick up your Bible and do some serious study and meditation. Sow that Word into your heart until you and God are aligned on the issue. After that alignment comes into being it’s time for you to open your mouth and start declaring the Word of God over your situation!

Today I want to encourage you to get into God’s Word. Take it deep into your heart and mind, and meditate on it until you and God begin to think alike! Once that Word becomes so real inside you that it becomes your word, it’s time for you to open your mouth and speak to any mountain that stands in your way. As you do, that mountain will be removed!

A faith confession can only be a real mountain-moving confession when it comes from the heart before it comes out of the mouth. If you have planted God’s Word in your heart so that it is now your word as well, you have no need to tarry any longer! Open your mouth, and begin to confess what God has promised you!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I want to get Your Word so deep into my heart that it becomes MY word! I want to see things the way You see them, hear things the way You hear them, and feel things the way You feel them. I want to get so aligned with You that our hearts beat in syncopation together. I thank You that once Your Word gets that deeply rooted in my heart, my spoken words will release rivers of power and authority against the works of the devil that he has designed for my destruction! I thank You that just as Your words created the universe, my spoken words of faith create a change in my atmosphere!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I boldly confess that God’s Word is deeply rooted inside my heart and soul. My mind is being renewed to the truth, and I am being changed. What I used to think, I no longer think; what I used to believe, I no longer believe. Now I base my life on the eternal truths contained in God’s Word. I take the Word deep into my heart and soul where it inwardly transforms me. When I open my mouth to speak, I don’t speak empty, mindless words; instead, my words come from a deeply held conviction and therefore release power to set the answers I need in motion!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Have there been times when you have found yourself so aligned with God’s Word that when you spoke, the words you released literally caused a change in your situation? What was that situation, and what happened when you spoke forth words of faith?
  2. On the other hand, can you remember a time when you just mindlessly parroted what someone else said and nothing happened? What did you learn from that experience?
  3. From what you have read today, what must you do in order to be able to speak a true confession of faith?

Your faith and your mouth must be connected. A mere mechanical profession doesn’t come from the heart; therefore, it doesn’t bring forth any fruit. A true profession must come from your heart before it comes out of your mouth.

 

Christ’s Transfiguration

Christ’s transfiguration reveals four desires He has for you:

 

1. He wants to get alone with you:

 

Jesustook Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.

 

Modern life can be unkind to the soul with the pressure, the pace, the distractions… and the allure. Because Jesus understood the deadening impact of the world upon the inner life of His men, He deemed it necessary to draw them apart unto Himself.

 

If our extended times with God are sparse, could it be because we fear aloneness with Him may expose the barrenness of our soul?

 

2. He wants to reveal His glory to you:

 

As He was praying, the appearance of His face changed, and His clothes became as bright as a flash of lightningPeter and his companionssaw His glory… ”

 

In the process of molding the character of His men who would change the world, Jesus knew they must (in a measure) comprehend His holiness. Thus, the “Transfiguration”. And so it is to be with us: At the very core of our spiritual survival and development lies the necessity of grasping a view of His glory… His holiness.

 

3. He wants to create a hunger for Himself in you:

 

Peter said to Him, Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters— one for You, one for Moses and one for Elijah.‘”

 

For a brief and glorious moment, restless, blustering Peter caught sight of Jesus’ majesty that provoked in him a longing to remain in His presence. As His pilgrims, should not that kind of hunger be the norm for us?

 

4. He wants to speak to you:

 

A voice came from the cloud, saying, This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him.

 

I wonder what truths the Spirit would whisper to our languid souls, were we to learn the art of listening over talking.

 

 

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