Living in the Last Days

17And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath: blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. ~The Acts 2:17-21 (KJV)

When God Almighty makes a statement, it is unequivocally and irreversibly true.  You can forget about debate on the subject, because the words “And it shall come to pass” means just exactly that; something WILL surely happen “in the last days”.  Forget about mystical predictions of people such as Nostradamus, gurus, shamans or other fortune tellers.  If you want to know the truth about past, present, or future, seek for it in God’s Word.

The Book of Acts was written by the beloved physician, Luke.  In chapter 2, Luke is recording a sermon given by the Apostle Peter to a large crowd after the first Pentecost.  The crowd had assembled after hearing that the apostles could suddenly speak in foreign tongues.  There were thousands making fun of the apostles, and accused them of being drunk on wine.  Peter denied that any apostles were drunk, and claimed that Old Testament prophesy by the prophet Joel had just been fulfilled:

28 And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. 30 I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 32 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls. ~Joel 2:28-32 NIV

So we have a prophecy in the Old Testament Book of Joel that is fulfilled in the New Testament Book of Acts at Pentecost.  Thank you Lord!  You never change and your Word is true.  But what are the “last days”?  Scripture explains scripture, so let’s look at 2Timothy chapter 3, where the Apostle Timothy describes the last days not as a period of time, such as “beginning on this or that date and ending on another specific date”, but as an artist wielding a broad brush.  He paints us a picture of what the last days will be like:

1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. ~2Timothy 3:1-5 NIV

Sound familiar?  We see the evidence of this scripture play out every day in the news, in our schools, neighborhoods, churches, media, government, courts; sadly, our own homes, and virtually everywhere in our world today.

6They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone. ~2Timothy 3:6-9 NIV

Verse 6 reminds me of the large percentage of women who are abused by an even larger percentage of predators that take cruel advantage of the broken hearted, the vulnerable divorcee; women who are deceived by such men to the point that they allow even their own children to be abused.

Verse 7 talks about education for its own sake.  Our technology is so advanced beyond 30 years ago that many humans feel disconnected or out of sync with the reality of the present age.  Perhaps that is part of the reason so many of us carry cell phones as a desperate attempt to “fit in”.  We may not understand what makes it work, but at least we can reclaim some personal power by owning and using one.  But does education or advanced learning in and of itself lead to a better understanding of truth?

Evidently not; verse 8 predicts teachers will oppose truth, have depraved minds, and reject faith in God.  Please believe me when I state that I am not against teachers in general and have respect for most teachers.  Yet I believe God’s Word as truth and make no apologies for it.

I believe the last days are here and now.

Peter’s sermon continues in Acts chapter 2 giving testimony to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to earth, His crucifixion, resurrection, and therefore fulfillment of Bible prophesy relating to God’s Plan of Salvation for mankind.  He makes the case, I believe, that the last days are indeed the time from Pentecost until Jesus returns for His church at the end of days.  The last days are the time period for the spreading of the Good News Gospel to all humans until Jesus returns to set up His everlasting kingdom on earth.

Peter exhorts the crowd in verse 38 to, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

About 3,000 souls who heard Peter’s sermon “gladly” received the gospel and were baptized, according to Luke.  Since the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has been poured out into the earth; the Gospel has been shared; prophecy has been received and proclaimed by believers; there are many books and documentaries about real cases of near death experiences that testify to a real heaven and a real hell; we have seen signs and wonders; war with blood, fire, smoke; heavenly signs of eclipses, blood moons, and yet the end is not yet.  Every living person still has time to accept Jesus as Lord and spend eternity in Heaven with Him.

4Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8All these are the beginnings of sorrows. ~Matthew 24:4-8 KJVActs2-21copy

Do not fear or lose hope just because we are living in the last days.  People have been living in the last days since Jesus rose from the grave two millennia ago!  Yes, there will be a time of tribulation more terrible than the world has ever seen.  Yes, there will be a great battle of Armageddon.  Yes, this world as we know it will end someday; but this is still the best time to ever have lived on planet earth and the best opportunity to live a victorious life as a believer in Jesus.  He IS the one true promised Messiah.  He has admonished us to “Fear Not.”  He will never leave or forsake His followers.  He has a plan for each and every true believer that is tailor-made for success.  HE LOVES AND ACCEPTS YOU JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!  You do not have to “clean up your act” before you ask forgiveness.  He will help you do that later.  Just admit to Him that you need His gift of grace and redemption and trust Him now.  This is called “God’s Plan of Salvation”.  It is so simple, yet so crucial to your eternal destiny – and it’s TOTALLY FREE!

If you need prayer, just reach out in the comments and I will be honored to pray with you; or ask God to help you find your way to Him.  Read the Bible!  It contains all the answers.  God has promised that all who seek Him shall find Him.  God bless.

 

Featured image photo credit: @Can Stock Photo Inc/LeoBlanchette

Image

National Righteousness versus Sin

American culture seems to have changed a lot in the past fifty years or so.  The word “righteousness” may not even be in the vocabulary of some people, although the word “sin” is well understood.  So what is meant by “righteousness versus sin”?

As always, we turn to God’s Word for wisdom.  What does it say about righteousness anyway?  Let’s take a look:

Righteousness is translated from the Hebrew word “tsdaqah”, which means justice, morality, or virtue.

And he believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness. ~Genesis 15:6

In the Bible (KJV) the word sin is translated from the Hebrew word “chatta’ah”, which means offense.

So what is Proverbs 14:34 telling us?  A country is respected when its culture and laws are based on fairness, rightness, and morals.  Other nations notice and seek alliances with such a people.  God has blessed America with wealth and prestige since this nation was founded on a constitution that honors God’s laws.

So what has happened?  Where are we now as a people?  What is our crime rate?  What is our global reputation?  Is the United States of American respected around the world?  We were once a great world power, but that has weakened in recent years.  Why?

Could national sin be a factor, and should we heed the warning in Proverbs 14:34?  Much could be said about moral decline in our country, yet God’s Word says “for ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.  Since God Himself is righteous, and we were created in His image to be righteous (or like Him), there seems to be a big problem with “falling short of glory” (caused by our sin).

Faith without works is dead. ~James 2:20.  What does that mean?  To me, it means we are to live our faith as a lifestyle.  Americans have and still do send aid, the gospel, military support and much much more to the entire world.  Isn’t that works?  What is our true calling as a nation?  I have heard one minister state that God calls each person to serve Him in some way, but if a believer does not respond, over time God sets that person aside to live out a self-centered life.  God’s blessings are withheld accordingly.

Does God also “set aside” nations who turn from Him?  That is a chilling thought, but I wonder if America is not coming under judgment at this time.  Our nation is declining so rapidly since 911, I am convinced that the solution is not political, but spiritual.  We are so concerned about “political correctness” yet things just seem to get worse for our nation.  What used to be called right is now wrong, and vice versa.

Where is our righteousness as a people?  I pray for our national heart to change toward God instead of away from God, so our nation will not be a reproach, or covered in shame; may we then be described this way:

And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.  In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. ~Isaiah 54:13-14

Overcoming Fear

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? ~Psalms 27:1a KJV

Have you ever been gripped by paralyzing fear?  Most people would say “Yes”.  Yet we suffer from anxiety and fear needlessly.  God wants us to take it to Him right away.  His Holy Spirit brings instant peace if we cast our cares upon Him.

There are many mornings that I pray for God’s guidance during the day, and then by noon I am feeling frustrated, scared, or stressed for whatever reason.  It took a long time, but I am finally learning to stop and ask, “Please, Lord, settle my spirit now!”

Believe me when I say that He has never failed me when I ask Him.  Within minutes I am wondering why I was so upset and fearful.  Thank you, Father, for always being my rock.

For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock. ~Psalms 27:5 KJV

 

Give Glory

15Hear and pay attention, do not be arrogant, for the Lord has spoken. 16Give glory to the Lord your God before he brings the darkness, before your feet stumble on the darkening hills. You hope for light, but he will turn it to utter darkness and change it to deep gloom.  17If you do not listen, I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears, because the LORD’s flock will be taken captive.  18Say to the king and to the queen mother, “Come down from your thrones, for your glorious crowns will fall from your heads.” ~Jeremiah 13:15-18 NIV

Oh, America! Listen to God and not to vain, foolish politicians. Put your faith in the Lord and give Him Glory.  Repent, pray, and watch His mercies and blessings rain down from heaven upon our nation again!

Will a mere mortal rob God?

This is so hard for some. How difficult is it to trust in our Creator, God Almighty , to provide for us?  After all, He has already given us air to breathe; water to drink, bathe, and recreate in; delightful food and taste buds to enjoy even the mundane routine of daily nourishment.

He gave us beauty in the sunrise, the bejewelled planet of the solar system as our home, the sunset, and cool breezes.  We share earth with the plants and animals, and He gave us families, the ability to create art, cities, and most importantly, He gave us our own free will to follow Jesus to obtain eternal life.  God is truly holy and only desires good for mankind.  He hates evil in every form.

Is our nation cursed because we are robbing God?  God doesn’t change, according to His Word.  Our nation needs wise leaders who follow God’s precepts and laws.  Our people must return to faith in the One True God, Jehovah and trust in His Son, Jesus, with a true heart.

Yet, there is always that nagging fear that our needs will not be met unless we maintain constant, fretful control of every detail of our lives.  I have heard, “Let go and let God.” Today I am trying to simply trust Him for the details while I just breathe in and out. Forgive me Lord, for all the times that I have robbed You!  I surrender it all to you in praise and thanks for it all belongs to you.  Turn America again to you, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

 

 

 

Is God Calling You?

 

If God is calling you, He will open the doors.  You can trust that He has already prepared the way.  For one thing, He does not need your money, status, or anything but your willingness to serve Him.  That is what gives Him glory!

I have felt called by God to do certain things when “doors” have suddenly opened, yet as soon as I prepare to walk through those doors, they immediately slam shut!  I was so disappointed and frustrated until I realized that God was teaching me something.

The lesson for me was: It was only necessary for me to be willing to answer His call!  Our Heavenly Father wants to know if we will show up for work!

He later opened new doors of opportunity and allowed me to serve Him.  My new assignments were His most perfect plan for me.

Have you ever experienced God’s call?  Have you been willing?  Can He count on you to show up for work?