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Prayers for American Church System (7/18/2019)

Christ Church Stellarton

Photograph of Christ Anglican Church, Stellarton, NS. Taken the morning of October 28, 2005

We can learn much about the Kingdom of God and also the Church by looking at God’s first kingdom venture on earth (after the fall): Israel.

God’s desire for Israel was that the nation would have no king and no standing army. God would be the Israelites’ King and their defense. Israel was divided up into twelve parcels, one for each tribe. The leaders for each tribe would be elders, heads of families and families. Israel was set up to be a loosely governed confederation of tribes and families, unlike any other nation at the time.

In approximately 1043 BC, the elders came to Samuel the prophet and said, “Samuel, you are old. Now make for us a king to rule over us like all of the other nations.”

Samuel felt bad, but God told him, “Listen to the people. They have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should no longer reign over them.”

God warned Israel, telling them all that the kings would do to abuse their authority over Israel. Yet, the people of Israel still said, “We want a king so we are like the other nations.”

From 1043 BC with King Saul until the fall of Jerusalem under King Zedekiah in 586 BC, Israel and Judah had a government headed by a king. They were like the other nations with a hierarchal governmental system. It was a total failure.

Why?

God said it would fail and it did.

Okay, now let’s look at the American Church system.

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)

Thousands of American believers are praying for revival, which they hope will bring a move of the Spirit to America’s churches and change our nation. Hey, if it happens, I will join my brothers and sisters in celebration.

But…I don’t believe it will happen.

Most of America’s churches resemble Israel with a hierarchal government reigning over them. The New Testament name – pastor – sounds better than king, but make no doubt about it, the pastor is an overlord in charge of the membership. This type of church system has been in place since Martin Luther reformed the church in 1517. Five hundred years!

Now, many will say that God has often revived the Church in times past. And yes, He has, but He also sent some good kings to Israel and Judah until He didn’t send them anymore. Maybe the American church system is in the same season that Israel was when its hierarchal government failed.

So don’t stay with the same-o same-o attitude about traditional churches just because God has not reformed the wineskin in times past. Seek the Lord.

I believe God will totally reform the church, preparing it for the End Times.

My prayer today:

Lord, help us American believers not to be conformed to this age and its traditions, but to be transformed and changed by the entire renewal of our minds and attitudes so that we may know what is Your good and perfect will for Your Church. (Based on Romans 12:2)

Join with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays to fast and pray for America’s churches.

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Filed under America, Christianity, Church, Prophecy, reformation, Uncategorized

Summer Break

Since we moved to Gilbert Arizona on March 1, I have been busy working on two writing projects while writing four or five blog posts per week. Plus, I have been working as a delivery driver for Panera Bread.

No matter how I slice and dice my day, there aren’t enough hours to do everything. So I will be taking a summer hiatus from this blog to work on my two writing projects. See you soon.

 

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Will We End Up Being A Part of the Great Falling Away? (Part 2)

In His second year of ministry, Jesus taught His most important parable – the Parable of the Sower – to the multitudes. Afterward, when they were alone, His twelve disciples asked Him the meaning of the parable.

Jesus explained to them the various soils in the parable, especially the third one:

Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. (Mark 4:18-19)

Now, by this time, Judas Iscariot was the treasurer of the group and was siphoning off funds for his own use. He was a thief!

Since all of the twelve disciples inquired about the parable, what was going through Judas’ mind when he heard Jesus explain about the deceitfulness of riches?

Or maybe Judas’ heart was so filled with trampled down, footpath soil that Satan was able to easily remove all of Jesus’ words about this parable? 

As we all know, Judas eventually went to the chief priests and negotiated a sum of thirty pieces of silver to betray Jesus.

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

Let’s be honest, okay?

None of us think we would ever be guilty of falling away from the faith. Why – we attend church, have Bible apps on our phones, listen to all of the latest worship songs – so this can’t possibly refer to any of us, right?

But remember this: Judas traveled with Jesus for three years, fellowshipped with Him, saw His miracles and heard His words, yet Judas was never delivered from the deceitfulness of riches.

Paul’s prophecy about the great falling away will be fulfilled by some of us. It’s going to happen! Even though I have walked with the Lord for 34 years, I don’t lightly skip over the prophecy. I have a reverent fear of the Lord about it.

So, what can we do to prepare ourselves ahead of time?

(Continued in Part 3…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

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Filed under America, Christianity, End-Times, Falling Away, Fear of the Lord, Prophecy, Revelation, Uncategorized

Will We End up Being a Part of the Great Falling Away? (Part 1)

Most of us read Scripture through a foggy set of lens. For instance, let’s look at Judas.

I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me. (John 13:18)

Jesus chose twelve disciples, whose ages were probably between fourteen and twenty-two years old. Young kids. But oops! One of them was a teenager named Judas Iscariot.

Now think about it: was Judas a robot on auto-pilot to fulfill Scripture from the moment Jesus chose him until he kissed Jesus in the Garden?

No, of course not!

Jesus spent three years teaching and preparing the twelve chosen disciples to preach the Kingdom of God. He explained to them that He had to become the sacrificial Lamb and would need to die for the sake of others. He even told them, “One of you will betray Me.”

All of the disciples, including Judas, replied, “Is it I?”

Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. (John 13:26)

This was the pivotal scene, which I believe was staged mainly for Judas’ sake. The disciple had to know that Jesus would have forgiven him if he had confessed his sin to Him, but Judas hardened his heart and Satan entered him at that moment.

All Jewish boys memorized the Psalms. So, there’s no doubt that Judas knew Psalm 41 by heart, but obviously he never once considered he would be the one to fulfill a prophecy in it –

Even my own familiar friend, in whom I trusted (relied on and was confident), who ate of my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. (Psalm 41:9 AMP)

Bad choices by Judas caused his name to be linked to betrayal forever because he fulfilled this Old Testament prophecy.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

Almost every Christian has memorized this verse, written by Paul to the Thessalonians who were confused about the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. We now look at the verse as a New Testament prophecy.

But like Judas, memorizing and knowing this verse doesn’t mean we’ll avoid being a part of the thousands and thousands who will fulfill Paul’s prophecy about the End-Times.

(Continued in Part 2)

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Uncle Phil Was a Hero

phil

 

Carol’s uncle, Phil Fielder, was a handsome seventeen-year old Iowan whose remaining boyhood years were set aside by World War II. Four older brothers enlisted soon after Pearl Harbor. He followed their lead by signing up on July 10, 1942. After boot camp, he attended airplane mechanic’s school and specialist’s training for P-38 fighter planes.

But like many other young men, Phil hated sitting on the sidelines, thousands of miles away from action so he volunteered for gunnery school. The heavy casualties in the air war over Germany caused his transfer orders to quickly pass through proper channels for his relocation to Pueblo, Colorado. The Army assigned him to a B-24 bomber crew as a flight engineer and a machine gunner after graduation.

In the midst of the Army’s hurry-up-and-wait schedule, Phil married Helen Kimler on October 24, 1943. Their honeymoon was brief, but fortunately, she was able to travel with him to Colorado. The months quickly passed until Phil was assigned to a bomber crew. Helen left for Iowa, pregnant with their soon arriving child, while Phil flew off to war.

During World War II, more than 18,300 B-24 bombers were manufactured in America. It was a clumsy looking four-engine airplane with twin tails and a nose wheel. The cruising speed was 200 miles per hour with a maximum rating of 300 miles per hour. Aptly named the Liberator, it was armed with ten .50 caliber machine guns and could carry a payload of 8,800 pounds of bombs.

Though fondly remembered by their ten-man crews, the B-24’s were anything but passenger friendly. Noisy, bumpy, cumbersome, awkward, cramped, and uncomfortable with no heat, no restrooms, no pressurized cabins, no padding on the iron seats, and no kitchen facilities. Temperatures were as low as fifty degrees below zero at times with winds gusting through the cabins from the open bomb bay doors and machine gun turrets. Each man used an oxygen mask at altitudes above 10,000 feet and wore two parachutes: front and back.

Phil’s ten-man crew was a part of the 15th Army Air Force and the 485th Bomber Group. Their ages ranged from nineteen to twenty-three years old. Captain Tom McDowell was a respected veteran at the ripe old age of twenty. Uncle Phil was the second youngest and the only married man on the crew.

Landing in Venosa, Italy, the B-24 crew flew their first mission on September 6, 1944. Thus, began their countdown towards a minimum of thirty-five bombing runs over enemy territory before being reassigned to less hazardous duties.

Thirty-five missions over Germany, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Austria. Thirty-five flights bombing oil refineries, railroad yards, ammunition plants, ball bearing factories, and whatever else. Thirty-five trips through anti-aircraft fire filled with deadly flak so heavy it appeared to be black clouds. Thirty-five times taking off knowing one in three planes might not return that day. Thirty-five tests of courage far beyond what normal men could ever hope to bear. It was no wonder these crews became life-long friends after enduring such perils together.

On one particular mission, Phil’s B-24 came under heavy anti-aircraft fire just after dropping their bombs. A piece of flak tore a hole in the hydraulic reservoir tank, spraying oil all over the cabin. If left unrepaired, the bomb bay doors would remain open and the plane’s wheels could not be lowered into landing position when they returned to the base. Valuable seconds ticked off. Something had to be done or the plane would have to be ditched, forcing them to use their parachutes. A dangerous last resort for B-24 crews.

“See if you can do something! And be quick about it!” shouted Captain Tom to Uncle Phil.

Phil saw a small broom under the pilot’s seat. He grabbed it, broke the handle off, and made his way toward the hydraulic tank.

The trek to the rear was dangerous under normal conditions because there was no aisle. Just an eight-inch wide catwalk spanned the thin aluminum doors, but on that day, the bomb bay doors were wide open with high winds ripping through them. The plane flew at an altitude of twenty-eight thousand feet, with temperatures at forty degrees below zero. Slippery hydraulic oil covered everything, including the narrow catwalk.

Phil unhooked his front parachute pack and edged sideways over the long oily catwalk, much like a high wire walker in a circus. He crossed the open bomb bay doors to the leaking tank. Arriving there, he cut off a finger on his leather glove, shoved the broom handle into the lopped off piece, and rammed the jury-rigged wad into the tank’s gaping hole. It worked. The leak stopped.

Was there a band playing for our hero when he arrived back at the base? No. Did any reporters rush to write about his heroic act of courage? No. Were any medals of honor pinned on his chest? No. Did he really expect to receive any of this? No. Phil instead received the grateful thanks from the ones he considered the most important people in the war zone: his crewmembers.

Phil and his crew completed their quota of thirty-five bombing missions in April 1945 and then were reassigned back to the states. There he reunited with Helen and finally met his seven-month old son, Philip, Jr.

Uncle Phil summed up his actions on that day with the hydraulic reservoir by saying, “Somebody had to do it. It just turned out to be me.”

Happy Memorial Day to all those who served in America’s Armed Forces.

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Prayers for Businessmen (5/21/2019)

If you’re working in the marketplace, and you’re not the owner or the owner’s son, you’ll have managers supervising your work. Some of the managers will be good and a few might be bad. Yet even so, the Bible is clear on how we should treat all managers −good and bad:

Servants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not with eye service as men-pleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with good will doing service as to the Lord, and not to men. (Ephesians 6:5-7)

Paul reiterated these same instruction in Colossians 3:22, 1 Timothy 6:1, and Titus 2:9, but Peter took it a step further:

Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. (1 Peter 2:18 NASB)

Why should we honor our managers with loyalty and good service?

Knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. (Ephesians 6:8)

If we are hoping to serve the Lord and have Him prosper us, we need to be loyal and honor all of our managers. If we struggle with any of our managers, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us. This is His job as our Helper.

But if for whatever reasons, we aren’t able to honor a manager or a company, then maybe we should resign and look for employment elsewhere.

My prayer today:

Lord, help us businessmen to love the managers who supervise us with Your love, the love You revealed to us on the cross.

Join us on Tuesdays to fast and pray for American men in the marketplace.

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Friday’s End-Times Bible Study (Part 9)

 

The number seven is used over seven hundred times throughout the Bible, beginning with the creation week in Genesis Chapter One.

In the Book of Revelation alone, the number seven is used more than fifty times. Seven letters to seven churches. Seven Spirits before God’s throne. Seven golden lampstands. Seven stars in Christ’s right handSeven seal judgments. Seven angels with seven trumpets. And so forth.

Usually, the number seven in the Bible symbolizes perfection and completion. This is God’s number. He is the Perfect One.

Man’s number is six because he was created late on the sixth day. He is always less than seven (or God), just like “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Six is never greater than seven, nor is man greater than God.

Okay, all of the above prepares us for looking at the Millennium.

Most scientists believe the world is millions of years old, but who really cares what they say, right? The Bible reveals that the world is about six thousand years old. If the Word says so, I’m going to believe it. How about you?

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Peter 3:8)

The world is six thousand years old, but with the Lord, it is only six days old. That means the world is about to enjoy a Sabbath rest on the seventh day, or in this case the Millennium (or a thousand years).

The Millennium comes after the seven bowl judgments and after the battle of Armageddon. The armies of the Antichrist will be gone. The great kings and leaders of the earth will be gone. The Antichrist and his false prophet will be thrown into the lake of fire and Satan will be thrown into the bottomless pit.

So, what will we believers be doing during the Millennium?

And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.(Revelation 20:3)

If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. (2 Timothy 2:12)

Believers will be reigning with Christ for a thousand years. What does that mean?

Let’s first do some figuring, okay?

As a guess, let’s say there will be 8 billion people living on the earth at the beginning of tribulation. The fourth seal judgment will kill a quarter of the earth’s population. That leaves the earth with about 6 billion people.

The sixth trumpet judgment will kill a third of the earth’s remaining population. That will leave the earth with about 4 billion people.

The seven bowl judgments are the worst of all the judgments because there will be no fresh water to drink. How long can people last without water? About three days and many won’t last that long because of the two bowl judgments beforehand. Plus, four more bowl judgments after the water is gone. And the battle of Armageddon will add tens of millions to the total.

So, as a guess, let’s say that there will be only 1-1.5 billion people left on the earth after all of the judgments and wars.

(Now remember: the various judgments are on the unbelievers, not believers, but we will suffer persecution.)

After the seven seal judgments, seven trumpet judgments and the seven bowl judgments, the earth will be devastated. The seventh bowl judgment will release an earthquake so mighty that all the cities of the earth will be destroyed.

There won’t be any homes. There won’t be any crops. There won’t be any transportation systems. There won’t be any economic systems. There won’t be any schools. All of this will have to be rebuilt for the 1-1.5 billion survivors.

Many Bible teachers – who I agree with – believe faithful Christians will manage the rebuilding of the earth under the guidance of King Jesus.

So, whatever we are going through right now is probably preparing us for our management positions in the Millennium. Let’s be faithful!

(Continued in Part 10…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

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