Cry Father, Abba, Father

“They are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:14-15)

Charles Wesley’s great hymn “Arise, My Soul, Arise” concludes with a stirring testimony of the joy of salvation.

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear.
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear.
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And, “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.

“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18). As our text explains, once we have received the spirit of adoption, we are the sons of God—He owns us as His child. This is a “new” thing. We who formerly were estranged from our Creator have been reconciled to Him. “Old things,” such as the bondage to fear, are “passed away.” The close-knit ties are strong, “for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee….I will not fear what men shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

Now that He is our Father, we have direct access to Him. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:8). As an earthly father desires the best for his children, “how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11). “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And…we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

This father/child relationship goes deep. The term “Abba, Father” reflects a most sensitive and loving bond, perhaps best rendered “O Sweet Daddy.” “We pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). JDM

10 Things the Bible Says about the Mark of the Beast

 

10 Things the Bible Says about the Mark of the Beast

World War II German soldiers managed to tattoo numbers on the arms of every Jewish prisoner, but a time in this world when everyone on the earth would receive a mark either on their right hand or in their forehead—how could that be?

In the span of my generation, what sounded like an impossibility in The Book of the Revelation written in approximately 90 A.D., today’s technology has made a reality.

During that last Passover meal with His disciples, Jesus told them, “From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He” (John 13:19 NAS).

He instructs us to read, hear, and heed the signs of His coming—to be ready—are you?


1. Who is this beast who requires a mark?

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The Book of Daniel tells us there will be a number of beasts. But the angel Daniel saw prefaced all this information with a single comment: “And he said, ‘Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end’” (Daniel 8:19 NAS).

“And in the latter period of their rule, when the transgressors have run their course, a king will rise insolent and skilled in intrigue, and his power will be mighty, but not by his own power, and he will destroy to an extraordinary degree and prosper and perform his will; he will destroy mighty men and the holy people. And through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; and he will magnify himself in his heart, and he will destroy many while they are at ease. He will even oppose the Prince of princes. But he will be broken without human agency” (Daniel 8:23-25 NAS).

Daniel’s beast, according to Revelation 13:1-3, is Beast #1, the anti-christ. And Beast #2 is identified in Revelation 13:11 as the false prophet—a religious leader who has all the power of Beast #1 as long as he’s in the presence of this first beast.


2. Where does he come from?

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God left a message in Daniel 7 so we would know a fourth beast/kingdom will devour the whole earth and crush it. And out of this kingdom, one will rise who is different from all the rest and he will subdue three kings. Keep your bookmark in the 7th, 8th and 9th Chapters of Daniel and go to Revelation Chapters 13-20.

“And he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time” (Daniel 7:23-25 NAS).

So where does Daniel’s beast come from? Out of an end times, one world government, where he rises over many kings, but finally subdues the last three. The Book of Revelations gives us a final preview of what’s coming, not to scare us, but to help us connect the dots… and be ready. When Jesus speaks to the churches in Chapters 2-4 of Revelation, He repeats seven times, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” And that’s us folks. We’d best listen up!


3. When does beast #1 appear?

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The angel Gabriel gave Daniel the message of what’s called the 70 weeks of Daniel—a countdown on God’s time clock of the ages—the clock began ticking with the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. And that decree was issued by Cyrus in 538 B.C.

Daniel 9:26-27 tells us, “…the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary” (the city is Jerusalem, the sanctuary is the temple… does this mean there will be a new Jewish temple during the time of the beast? Let’s read on.) “And he (the prince who is to come) will make firm covenant with the many for one week (seven years), but in the middle of the week (3 ½ years) he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

Revelation Chapter 13 gives a more detailed description. But we know this beast is the anti-christ and God gives him power to rule over the whole earth for 42 months. And he brings another beast with him.


4. Who does beast #1 bring with him?

Slide 4 of 9

Why Beast #2, of course. He looks like a lamb, but speaks like a dragon. This beast is identified as the false prophet—the religious leader of this end-time prophecy. He has no power of his own, but in the presence of Beast #1, he has all of the power of the first beast. And he orders all the earth to worship Beast #1. He performs signs… even making fire appear to come out of heaven. He is a deceiver who builds an image that all who are alive on this earth must worship. He is even given power to make this image breathe and speak. And if the people don’t fall down and worship this image they are beheaded. (Revelation 20:4 NAS)

And Revelation 13:8-9 tells us “…all who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear.”

5. Who gives the beast power?

Revelation 16:13 adds information about these two beasts by letting us know after God’s bowl judgments begin, the power source behind the two beasts joins them in a desperate attempt to defeat the Sovereign God of all Creation. And this third one is none other than the serpent—the dragon of old—Satan. We see the picture of unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouths of these three unholy ones—spirits of demons going out to gather the kings of the earth to war of the Great Day of God.


6. What is the “mark of the beast”?

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Beast #2 who caused the image of beast #1 to be constructed has issued an order that everyone—small or great, rich or poor, free or slaves—be given a mark on their right hand or in their forehead. This makes my mind shift into overdrive. A few years ago, a chip was invented that holds all a person’s information. Alarm bells screamed in my head when teens were urged to have these chips implanted in their hand so when they decide to party-hearty their information can’t be stolen, and to persuade parents, if their child were in harm’s way, they could be tracked.

During this 42 month period, a person without the name of the beast or the number of his name will not be able to buy or sell. Revelation 13: 18 says: “… the number is that of a man; and his number is 666.” Think for a moment about what that indicates. Probably a cashless society. Those who refuse the mark won’t be able to buy groceries, gas, medicine—nothing. They will have no way to earn what they need, because without the mark of the beast, there will be no banks or places to store earned wealth.

And with the technology of our time, what should that provoke within each one of us? Urgency! An immediate need to share the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all within our sphere of influence.


7. Why the mark?

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From the beginning, the serpent—Satan—has desired to be like God. His unholy trinity mocks The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of God. God’s Word tells us: “Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NAS).

Tucked back in Leviticus 19:28 we find these words: “You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead, nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.” But God gives everyone the choice—to trust Him or not. But receiving the mark ends all choice.

“If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or upon his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God…and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lord. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name”(Revelation 14:9-11 NAS).


8. What happens to those who refuse the mark?

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Many will come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ during these years of tribulation, but the cost of that choice will be their life.

Revelation 6:9 gives us a glimpse of those who’ve been martyred because of their faith in Jesus. God has safely cloistered them under the altar, where they ask Him, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” They were given white robes and instructed to rest until the number of those who were to be killed, as they had been, was completed.

Revelation 7:15 tells us: “For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple… they shall hunger no more… for the Lamb… shall be their shepherd… to guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes.” 


9. What happens to the beasts?

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And now the good news! Revelations 19 and 20 record the closing hours of this age. I invite you to read these final chapters to visualize the great victory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Beasts 1 and 2 are seized by the mighty angels and pitched alive into the lake of fire and brimstone.

Then another angel comes down out of heaven, holding the keys to the great abyss. He seizes and binds Satan and throws him into the abyss. This angel shuts and seals this bottomless pit over Satan where he is bound for 1,000 years so he can no longer deceive the nations of the earth.

But after 1,000 years, this devil of old must be released for a short time… and I’m not going to tell you the rest of the story. Revelation 20-22 are worth the read! These chapters are easy to understand and God promises a blessing to all who will read, hear, and heed the words of the prophecy of Revelation. Jesus warns: “For the time is near” (Revelation 1:3 NAS).


Slide 9 of 9

“Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness’” (2 Timothy 2:19 NAS).

I know the messages of Revelation and Daniel make the eyes of unbelievers roll and they turn us off with a chuckle. But those who choose to turn from God in no way invalidate His instructions to us to go and make disciples. We are to share what our Lord has and is doing in our lives.

The study of the Revelation of Jesus Christ will become clearer as the Day approaches. In my lifetime, I’ve seen technology develop that allows us to see what happens across the globe in real time. In the 11th Chapter of Revelation, God told us the whole world would look on the dead bodies of the two witnesses and rejoice. When I was a young girl, I wondered, Lord, how can that happen? Now I know. I wondered how anyone or anything could track the population of the whole earth… but now we have computers programed to do just that. They already track your shopping habits, your online exchanges… what’s next?

Time is short! God has been merciful. Repentance is urgent. Judgment is imminent. Jesus is near—even at the door.

Wife, mother, and Mimi, freelance artist and photographer, DiAne Gates writes for children, young adults, and non-fiction for adults through her blogs, http://dianegates.wordpress.com/ and www.floridagirlturnedtexan.wordpress.com. She also facilitates a GriefShare support group. DiAne’s award winning, ROPED, first in her western adventure series released July of 2015, and the second book, TWISTED, released by Pelican Book Group July 14, 2017. Third book in this series, UNTIED, is her WIP. Visit DiAne on Facebook.

https://www.crosswalk.com/slideshows/10-things-the-bible-says-about-the-mark-of-the-beast.html


10. What's God's message for you and me about this mark?

What does it mean for a Christian to backslide?

The Old Testament uses the term “backsliding” to speak of those who have been near to God but have allowed sin to take them away from Him.

The prophet Jeremiah said, “Our backsliding is great; we have sinned against you” (Jeremiah 14:7). Backsliding in Scripture is always seen as a very serious matter: “‘Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me,’ declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty” (Jeremiah 2:19, NIV).

Backsliding can be caused by many things. However, whatever the sin might be that leads us away from God, it must be dealt with honestly and brought before Him in repentance. God loves us and wants us to be close to Him. Even when we sin against Him, He promises to forgive. “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them” (Hosea 14:4).

We must always fight against backsliding, but if we do backslide, we know that when we renounce our sin and return to God, there is forgiveness and reconciliation. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

What does it mean for a Christian to backslide?

Father Figure Job

So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify [his children], and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly. Job 1:5

There is no end of worrying by parents on behalf of their children—especially after they have left home and are living their own adult lives. Parenting never ends. In spite of the many ways to communicate electronically, parents no longer see their children daily. Parents want to know how their children are doing, especially how they are doing spiritually.

The best way for parents to safeguard their children’s lives no matter where they are is by intercessory prayer. The father and patriarch, Job, maintained a steady practice of intercession on behalf of his seven sons and three daughters. He offered sacrifices and prayers for them in case they had stumbled and sinned against God (Job 1:1-5). Just as Jesus Christ intercedes for us (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25), fathers and mothers can intercede for their children.

If you have children and grandchildren, let intercessory prayer be your lifeline to heaven on their behalf.

We are never more like Christ than in prayers of intercession.  Austin Phelps

VIDEO Tough-Minded About Heaven with Increasing Confidence

Being assured of Christ’s return and our eternity in heaven is life-changing. But has it changed the way we think? Dr. David Jeremiah examines the relationship between our thoughts about heaven and how we should live here on earth.

But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Your works. Psalm 73:28

We are appreciative when we find a service or repair person who instills confidence. It’s not the fancy truck or high-tech gear that they have; it’s that they are there when we need them. They may not advertise on the radio or TV, and they may not have a web page or social media presence, but they stay busy because one satisfied customer tells a friend, who tells a friend, and so on.

Similarly, the longer we walk with God, the more our confidence in Him grows. We stop being attracted by the bangles and baubles of this world and find ourselves turning to Him in quietness and strength. He is there when we need Him and never fails to meet our needs. This reality began to dawn on the disciples when some of those following Him were offended by His teaching. He asked the disciples, “Do you also want to go away?” And Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:66-68).

The more we embrace God’s perspective and spend time with Him, the more our confidence in Him grows.

The ultimate ground of faith and knowledge is confidence in God. Charles Hodge

 


Just Give It All You’ve Got

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give. 2 Corinthians 9:7

Scaling. It’s a term used in the world of fitness that allows room for anyone to participate. If the specific exercise is a push-up, for example, then maybe you can do ten in a row, but I can only do four. The instructor’s encouragement to me would be to scale back the push-ups according to my fitness level at the time. We’re not all at the same level, but we can all move in the same direction. In other words, she would say, “Do your four push-ups with all the strength you have. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else. Scale the movement for now, keep doing what you can do, and you may be amazed in time you’re doing seven, and even one day, ten.”

When it comes to giving, the apostle Paul was clear: “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). But his encouragement to the believers in Corinth, and to us, is a variation of scaling. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart” (v. 7). We each find ourselves at different giving levels, and sometimes those levels change over time. Comparison is not beneficial, but attitude is. Based on where you are, give generously (v. 6). Our God has promised that the disciplined practice of such cheerful giving brings enrichment in every way with a blessed life that results in “thanksgiving to God” (v. 11).

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

How would you describe your giving: Cheerful? Reluctant? Under compulsion? Not comparing yourself to anyone else, what might cheerful giving look like?

Generous God, I want to be a cheerful giver, to give it my best effort. I know that discipline in this area is crucial. Give me the wisdom not to compare, the strength to sow generously, and the faith to leave the results in Your hands.

Salvation Gifts

1 Peter 1:3-5

Gifts are an expression of love, yet sometimes we take them for granted. This is certainly true when it comes to salvation. Perhaps the reason is that we’ve forgotten how amazing this gift is and what it cost the Father and Son to give it.

As Christians, we know that salvation results in forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with a holy God, and adoption as His beloved children. But maybe we aren’t as familiar with its other benefits:

We become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17). We undergo a radical internal change. Our old self has been crucified with Christ, and we have a brand-new self, which is created in righteousness and holiness.

We are joined to the body of Christ (Rom. 12:5). Not only do we have union with the triune God, but we are also united with every other believer.

We receive an inheritance in heaven (1 Peter 1:4). Salvation transforms us from those destined for hell to those who are fellow heirs with Christ in His kingdom.

Salvation is an unfathomable treasure for which we will spend eternity praising, thanking, and worshipping God.

His Does Spirit Answer to the Blood

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Romans 8:11)

The fourth verse of “Arise, My Soul, Arise” speaks of God the Father answering the request of God the Son and granting salvation to a repentant sinner, adopting him into His family.

The Father hears Him pray, His dear Anointed One;
He cannot turn away the presence of His Son.
His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God.

As Christ the Messiah hung on Calvary’s tree, God the Father turned away, unable in His holiness to look upon Christ as He bore “the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28). “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1) He cried in His agony. But once God’s righteous justice was satisfied, the Father turned back and answered Christ’s prayer, even from the horns of the altar, as it were (Psalm 22:21). “I and my Father are one,” Christ had said (John 10:30), and once sin’s penalty was paid, there would be no more separation.

And when a sinner comes to God, claiming the blood of Christ as a full payment for his sins, and Christ Himself prays for the sinner’s full forgiveness and acceptance, the Father cannot turn away, for “he loved us, and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

In our text, the same Spirit that raised up Christ grants the spiritually dead sinner new life and declares him to be born of God. “Marvel not that I say unto thee, Ye must be born again [literally, ‘born from above’]” (John 3:7). “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). JDM

Everyone Seek His Face

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD; and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

—Isaiah 55:7

 

It will require a determined heart and more than a little courage to wrench ourselves loose from the grip of our times and return to biblical ways. But it can be done. Every now and then in the past Christians have had to do it. History has recorded several large-scale returns led by such men as St. Francis, Martin Luther and George Fox. Unfortunately, there seems to be no Luther or Fox on the horizon at present. Whether or not another such return may be expected before the coming of Christ is a question upon which Christians are not fully agreed, but that is not of too great importance to us now.

What God in His sovereignty may yet do on a world-scale I do not claim to know. But what He will do for the plain man or woman who seeks His face I believe I do know and can tell others. Let any man turn to God in earnest, let him begin to exercise himself unto godliness, let him seek to develop his powers of spiritual receptivity by trust and obedience and humility, and the results will exceed anything he may have hoped in his leaner and weaker days.   POG066

Lord, today I commit myself to “turn to God in earnest,” to “begin to exercise [myself] unto godliness,” and to “seek to develop [my] powers of spiritual receptivity by trust and obedience and humility.” Amen.

 

Warm Hearts and Cool Heads

We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.

—Hebrews 8:1

 

The warmest hearts and the coolest heads anywhere at any time should always belong to the Christians. There are sound reasons for this. The Christian is seated “above.” His fortunes do not depend upon earthly circumstances, but upon Christ who has conquered everything….

For the warmth of his heart the Christian has the love of God which is “shed abroad” by the Holy Ghost, while from his vantage point in the “heavenly places” he is able to look down calmly upon the excited happenings of men. In his flesh he may be a part of the human scene, but in his spirit he is far above it all and is never at any time too much moved by what he sees….

Since he is a part of God’s eternal purpose, he knows he must win at last, and he can afford to be calm even when the battle seems to be temporarily going against him. The world has no such “blissful center” upon which to rest and is therefore constantly shifting about, greatly elated today, terribly cast down tomorrow and wildly excited the next day. TET041-042

We know that in the natural world the mightiest forces are those we do not see….So in the spiritual world faith is the power to attach ourselves to God. PC018