Christianity

Where Did You Meet…

We all have a story of how we met our closest friend, our significant other, a distant relative, or maybe even a favorite pet. Do you remember the details? Can you still picture it as though it happened just yesterday?

Did you see them several times before you actually met? Did you hear someone else say their name? Or maybe you read their name on an office door, maybe even on a name tag or badge. Thinking back on that day, do you remember their clothing, their cologne or perfume? Did you meet them by chance or did you purposely start a conversation?

These are just a few of the details and questions that come to my own mind. Whether you remember the smallest details or not, you usually remember the place or setting in which you met. In an office, on the street, in the market, at work, or at church? These are common places to many meetings.

My question for you is this: Do you remember where in scripture you met Jesus? Do you remember the sermon, the message, the song, or the teaching? Where in His Word did you meet Him? Now, let us go back to the second paragraph and ask some very similar questions with Christ as the subject. Did you see Him in others a few times before you met Him yourself? Did you hear others speak His name? Did you read His name and wonder? Did you purposely meet Him? Maybe you just meant to get some information on Him and ended up meeting Him unexpectedly.

I met Jesus in the twenty fourth chapter of Matthew. I had heard about Him and learned about Him from the time I was a small child. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I met Him for myself. When I met Him in His word, He was at the Mount of Olives telling His disciples what would happen at the time of the end. He gave a detailed, passionate prophecy. It sounded so much like the world I live in. I then thought “how wonderful that Jesus was seeing a place and time where He would meet me, and probably many others, in His word”. Since then I have realized the place, time, setting, details, or circumstance did not hold as much value as the simple fact that we met and I accepted Him as my Savior.

It does not matter which sermon led you to the Savior, Jesus Christ, as long as you accept Him. The songs that were sang are now of little consequence, a minor detail in a major event. I am not trying to downplay sermons or songs or words or prayers, they all play a very important, vital part. Yet, nothing compares to the moment of salvation, the perfect work of Christ being made manifest in the life of a believer. It is of little importance where each of us met Jesus, me in the book of Matthew, another in the book of John, one in the book of second Peter, and another in the book of the Revelation, as long as we met Him and accepted Him as Savior. The one common ground we have is this, we all meet Him at the cross.

Ga:2:20: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

There was a time, as a sinner, we drove those spikes into His flesh. The sin of man put Christ on the cross. His work defeated sin once and for all, for everyone that will accept Him as Savior. Once you come to the cross by His blood, our old man is crucified to the cross with Him. No longer are we guilty, for it is not we who live from the moment we are saved, it is He that lives within us! There at the cross, it was He who loved me, it was He that loved you. He gave himself for us. If you have not yet met Jesus, He can be found anytime, anyplace. You can arrange that meeting at once, just simply reach out to Him in prayer, in faith believing, confess your sin and ask Him into your heart, accept His atoning blood to cover your sin, and you too can have a time and place, where you met the Savior. Glory to His name!

Down at the cross where my Savior died,
Down where for cleansing from sin I cried,
There to my heart was the blood applied;
Glory to His Name!

Glory to His Name,
Glory to His Name:
There to my heart was the blood applied;
Glory to His Name!

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The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah)

In the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus you will find the feasts which are celebrated, mostly by the Jewish people. You find wonderful celebrations, times for rest, time for introspection, and time for judgment. While these are often referred to as “Jewish feasts” the bible indicates otherwise:

Leviticus:23:1: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Leviticus:23:2: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.

These feasts should be recognized and at least acknowledged by the church. Just as we have been made heirs and joint-heirs through Christ, we also share in the promises. If we share in the promises, shouldn’t we also share in the knowledge and celebrations appointed by the Lord? These feasts are rich in symbolism and worthy of teaching and understanding! I have covered some of these in previous articles, such as “Passover” and “Unleavened bread”.

The Feast of Trumpets is celebrated as the beginning of the Jewish New Year. The term for this is “Rosh Hashana” which literally means the “head of the year”. The Jewish calendar is based on lunar cycles, and the new year does not begin until the observance of a “new moon”. There will be one hundred trumpet blasts for this feast.

Leviticus:23:24: Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.

Prophetically, all the feasts were a fore-shadow. This feast is no different. The Feast of Trumpets is a prophetic picture of the rapture, the gathering together of the church. No man knows the day or the hour of the rapture, just as no man knows the day or the hour the new moon will be observed. Consider theses verses also:

1st Corinthians:15:52: In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

1st Thessalonians:4:16: For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Revelation:4:1: After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
Revelation:4:2: And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

The Feast of Trumpets is also called Yom Teruah, which literally means the day of shouting and noise. What a day and what a shout of victory there will be at the prophetic fulfillment of this celebrated feast day! This feast is observed as a day of rest, the beginning of a new year or a new beginning, and a gathering together. The phrase “holy convocation” translates or literally means a holy gathering of a group of people in answer to a summons. What a joyous day that will be when we are gathered together with the Lord! As this day approaches, let us celebrate, and then let us anticipate and live prepared for the prophetic fulfillment!

Mortality and Time

As a child it seemed the days passed so slowly, especially during school. The days of summer would come and erase the memories of tests, studying, and what appeared to be endless assignments. Those warm nights, though, would again give way to cooler weather and a return to school. Upon finishing formal education, those days gave way to employment. Time passes, swiftly. The older I become, the quicker the days seem to pass.

Looking back, the days spent in school don’t seem so far away. As a child it appeared that time was an abundant, inexhaustible source. Now, time is priceless and something that must be managed wisely. Seeing the sands slipping through the hourglass of life you begin to realize that no one knows how much sand their hourglass starts with nor how much remains. With age comes the realization and reality of our mortality.

This life, no matter how long we have, is short. Whether forty years, sixty years, eighty years or more, it passes quickly. Life consists of doing, working, going, and countless other things. We get busy, we become occupied, and time passes. Much of it passes and we are blissfully unaware.

Job:14:1: Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.

In the process of living it is normal to ponder life, God, religion, eternity. I suspect that many, if not all, have pursued the answer to these subjects. I spend every day offering my life, my being, as a witness for Jesus and the Bible. Some days I succeed, other days are not quite as successful. With the time I have been given, I made a decision to accept Jesus as my Savior. Far too many days slipped by, too many times I said “maybe tomorrow”.

James:4:14: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

There is no guarantee of tomorrow. Today is the day of salvation. Once you die, your works here are finished. There is no second chance to come back and make anything right. This life is all we are given, whether your days are few or many, our days are numbered. A decision must be made with the time you are given. No excuse will be accepted. Lies will be transparent. There will be no reason “good enough” for refusing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah:55:6: Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

This day is an opportunity, a moment in time where you too can accept the gift of eternal life. It is a gift. It cannot be bought, it cannot be traded for, it cannot be sold. The giver of eternal life is God, and it is given to all who will confess their sin to God and accept His Son, Jesus as their Savior. If you do not have a relationship with Jesus, let me encourage you to accept Him today, for your tomorrow may not come. Accepting salvation is a simple act, simply pray the following prayer (or something close to it), believe in your heart, and accept the grace of God through Jesus Christ:

Heavenly Father, I have sinned, I have lived a life of sin, I have done wrong and confess my sin to You. God, my sin is against you and I am sorry. Please forgive me. Jesus I ask you now to come into my heart, cleanse me and make me worthy of You. I accept You, Jesus, as my Savior and I thank You for the salvation You have given me now and the gift of eternal life.

If you prayed that prayer I would love to hear from you. I thank God for you, and all that read and share these messages. I continue to pray for you all and simply ask that you do the same for me. May God continue to bless you and all that you do!

You can contact me here:
prophetic.steps@yahoo.com
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A Lesson to Learn

Once you became a Christian, once you obtained salvation through Jesus Christ, did your effort end? If not, does your new life in Christ end in the faithfulness of going to church? Do you venture into spiritual warfare from the comfort of your house by praying? Are you heading up an outreach ministry by smiling and nodding to strangers in hopes they will understand that your actions are really Christ living in you?

I have asked these questions, mostly in jest, but to also stir a desire. We all must start somewhere, and we must also realize there is always more we can do. Salvation is only the beginning of our journey. We should also have a desire to gather among the brethren. An active prayer life is also a great beginning. All these things are a good start, but it is not all that we are called to do.

The work of Jesus is called the good news (gospel) for a reason. When you receive good news, what is it you do with it? You want to share it! Today we use the term “evangelist” as a person who travels and preaches. We are all called to evangelize, which in its simplest terms means to share the good news of salvation with those around you. You can reach others no one else can.

Nothing surprises God, for He is all knowing. He knows you. He knows your attitude, your strengths, your weaknesses, your victories and your failures, and chose you (and me) anyway. We all have different personalities, assets, traits, and abilities. He uses all these things for His glory and to accomplish His purpose. He made us to be different, put us in different places, and called us at different times. His calling on our lives is only the beginning.

This bring us to the main point I hope to make. We all have different callings, in scope, in scale, in ability, and style, and almost any other description or adjective you may wish to use. We, being unique in who we are, are able to accomplish, in such a way, as only we can. In being unique, our calling and ministry should also reflect that.

I am not called to be the same minister as you, as your preacher, or maybe anyone else you know. Neither should you be a copy of anyone you or I know. Similarities are bound to exist, but our pursuit should not lead us to be a copy of anyone else. The lesson we must learn is this: If you aren’t like a televangelist, the preacher with the largest congregation, an accomplished, motivating up-and-coming minister, singer, author, or whatever your ministry may be, be what God is leading you to be. Do not worry about “keeping up with the Jones'”. Don’t worry about your “style”, worry about pleasing God and being faithful to Him. Let Him be glorified in using you for who you are, in reaching those He has called you to reach.

Joh:21:21: Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
Joh:21:22: Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.

We all have our own walk with the Lord. Though we may be treading the same straight and narrow path, we each have our own unique relationship with Jesus. Let each of us continue to pursue our callings, not someone else’s calling. Let us continue to learn from others, grow in ministry, and allow Jesus to cultivate and nurture each of us into what He has planned for us, not what He has planned for someone else. He chose you and me knowing exactly what He was getting. Look forward in expectation and anticipation because His plans for us are better than our own.

The Rise of Persecution

Trials and tribulations should be expected by all who choose to follow Jesus. The Christian walk is not an easy one. We must realize that we do not wage war against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities, spiritual wickedness in high places. It is fortunate when our worst days of “spiritual warfare” are when we are faced with temptation, fight the urge to use vulgar language, want to lie, or refrain from doing good when we should. These are very real circumstances, and submission to these things are sin. If this is the worst we face, and I know at times these are bad enough, I also know it could be so much worse.

I am afraid that we will indeed see worse. There is a storm on the horizon gaining momentum, speed, and strength. That coming storm is persecution. In the headlines of media and news, and across the globe on television we see a very open and violent persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Men, women, and children are being kidnapped, crucified, tortured, beheaded, and gunned down because of their Christian faith. I feel a strong burden to pray for those people and the horrible situation they face. Please remember those people in your prayers.

These situations should not take us by surprise. As we see prophecy being fulfilled, we should know that it will continue to get worse. These things have been foretold:

Matthew:24:9: Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.

Luke:21:12: But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.

2nd Timothy:3:12: Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

I believe we are seeing the very beginnings of those verses taking place. I also believe we are witnessing a very strong faith in Jesus Christ by those people who are more willing to die than deny the Savior. We often read of martyrs from the history of the church and their valiant fight of faith, yet, do we realize that we are also now seeing it in the present?

It is easy to say “well, it isn’t happening here” and carry on with our lives because we do not see it affecting us directly. Those people are our brothers and sisters in Christ, we better care! Their faith to the death should be a witness to you, it doesn’t show their strength, it shows His strength within them.

Luke:21:13: And it shall turn to you for a testimony.

Don’t be fooled though, the storm is coming to you also. The persecution of the church has already begun. Prayer in schools or at school functions has been forbidden. City and state governments must now speak the name of Jesus in whispered voices or behind closed doors for fear of who might hear. Your beliefs may now exclude you from jobs, positions of authority, or show you as impartial or biased. Speaking your belief of Jesus as Lord and Savior could next lead to belief that you are a radical or guilty of a hate crime. You could be taken to court and found guilty simply because you stand on ideas and principles found in the Bible.

Right now, our government tolerates Christianity. We were once a government of the people, by the people, for the people, but we are soon to be a people under a government, unlike what we know today. If you understand Bible prophecy, you already know a change in government is coming. I believe that change is already taking place, but we still see the illusion of what we had. That veil will soon be removed and the persecution we see today will be a fond memory, because Christian persecution will be multiplied exponentially.

Please pray, pray for those suffering persecution to the death, pray for their safety and their lives, that their testimony speak to those who do not yet believe in Jesus. Pray for our churches, our national, state, and local leaders. Pray, if not for deliverance from these things, for strength, patience, comfort, and protection. Remember God’s word for those who suffer persecution:

Matthew:5:10: Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew:5:12: Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Handwriting on the Wall (part 2)

In my previous article I discussed a relevent issue from the fifth chapter of Daniel. If you read the previous article, and are familiar with the events in Daniel, then you should have seen the “handwriting on the wall” there would soon follow a part two. Usually, I am not fond of sequels. I will make an exception in this case, because I know there is some unfinished business to discuss.

In the previous article I had discussed the fact that Belshazzar had committed a heinous act and should have known nothing good could come from it. Then again, maybe he did and just did not care enough about the consequences. Once the temple instruments were used for vile purposes, a hand appeared and wrote a message upon the wall. The previous article dealt with misusing the instruments that belong to God and how it still applies today. Let us now move forward to another matter, just as relevant:

Daniel:5:7: The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.
Daniel:5:8: Then came in all the king’s wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.

The king was horrified by the handwriting. His response was to gather all he considered wise, take counsel with them and hope to learn what the writing meant. In his fear he sought the counsel of men, not God. He offered a chair among royalty, a position of power and authority. The men came to the king, and you can only imagine how anxious they might be to ascend to a higher position among men. Yet, none could decipher what the Lord had written.

Today, our kings seek the counsel of men. The leaders today are crafty, well educated, with much experience in affairs of diplomacy, war, spying, intelligence, and finance. When the unthinkable happens, the experts are called in for ideas, strategy, quick fixes and evaluations, predictions of actions and reactions. We, as people, have not really changed that much. I do understand this seems to be a smart solution, but I also understand it is a fleshly solution. Too often decisions are made without the counsel of God, without looking to Him, His Word, His Spirit in prayer. Rarely is a known or perceived man of God approached for insight, understanding or wisdom. The world loves its own.

The king was reminded by his queen there was a man in the kingdom who had served the kings father in similar circumstances and was made head of all astrologers and soothsayers. Daniel, a man of God, was brought in to do what those who were considered professionals or experts could not. You see, right here I am reminded of the verse that says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not unto your own understanding”. Daniel seemed to excel in exactly that.

And now we come to the conclusion of the matter:

Daniel:5:23: But hast lifted up thyself against the LORD of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:
Daniel:5:24: Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.
Daniel:5:25: And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
Daniel:5:26: This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
Daniel:5:27: TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

Man had exalted himself and his gods, he had misused the instruments set apart for God, lived a life of excess, a life of drunkenness, and promiscuity. The king failed to recognize God, he had falied to glorify God in any way. It is because of all these atrocities judgment came, and it came swiftly.

It is no doubt an awesome thing to go before God in judgment, but that is what we see here at the finish. The king had been weighed in the balance, and came up short. We, as a people, as nations are following suit. Counsel of godly men and women fall by the wayside and upon spiritually deaf ears. Men are too eager to please mankind, to eager to seek after riches and power, and no longer care to glorify the soon coming King of kings, Jesus.

My fear for the world today is this: I fear many of todays rulers throughout the world have seen the handwriting on the wall. The counsel of men is being sought to find the reason for all the calamities in the world, maybe because they are afraid of the handwriting on the wall. Today, the rulers look to “global warming” scientists, they are looking to DNA researchers, to biochemists, to doctors, to environmentalists to ease their concerns. I have a piece of advice for them all, look up!! Look up! Seek the One who has set all things in motion, turn from the ways of this world, save yourself, save your people. Judgment is coming, for nations and for individuals. Seek Him while He can be found, seek Him before you too are weighed in the balance. Only Jesus Christ can balance those scales of justice. Let us glorify Jesus, let us look to Him and pray to be accounted worthy of Him and His kingdom.

Handwriting on the Wall

Have you noticed we live in a world where slogans are everywhere and used to remind us of something? For instance, slogans are one of the most used, most efficient, most reliable ways of advertising. Some examples would be “Just Do It” (Nike), “Made from the best stuff on Earth” (Snapple), “They’re Grrrrrreeaattt” (Frosted Flakes), and “Have it your way” (Burger King). Some of these are a bit old, and probably outdated by now, but you get the idea.

Phrases have a way expressing a big idea using few words. We often hear familiar phrases used in a variety of contexts. Lately, I have heard a phrase used several times, meaning that a person “should have seen it coming”, but the phrase used is: “They should have seen the handwriting on the wall”.

For me this always brings to my mind the fifth chapter of Daniel. This is quite possibly one of my favorite events to read, re-read, and study. It is also a realization, shouldn’t we “see it coming”, should we not be able to discern some of those things which are about to happen? Of course I’m not referring to fortune-telling, nor am I specifically referring to the gift of prophecy. When we are given numerous examples throughout the Bible, when we are given specific actions and reactions, shouldn’t we be able to know what is going to happen? Sure, the consequences of repeated actions may not be immediate, but they are imminent.

In the fifth chapter of Daniel we find that Belshazzar was giving a great feast, a party, and gave orders to bring the gold and silver vessels, which had been used in the Jewish Temple. Once those vessels were brought out and used, something happened:

Daniel:5:5: In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
Daniel:5:6: Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.

The hand and writing caused the king such horror that his bowels were loosed and his knees buckled and began to shake. I suppose the phrase “caught red-handed” could apply here. There is a very important lesson to be learned, you should not mis-use nor tarnish the instruments set apart for the service of God!

1st Chronicles:16:21: He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes,
1st Chronicles:16:22: Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

Those instruments were created, finely crafted, and sanctified for use in serving God. The equivalent today are those who are saved and serving Jesus. We have been cleansed by His blood, we are set apart from this world, and serving our Lord. We are those instruments, indwelled by the Holy Spirit, serving a risen, living Savior, seeking to accomplish His will in our lives, giving our testimony, letting our lives be a witness, moving in faith, praying always, loving in truth and in deed, all that the glory be His. We offer our bodies a living sacrifice.

Just as Belshazzar was living it up in the world (eating, drinking, and being merry), he misused the instruments dedicated to God. Today, this world is misusing and mistreating the instruments dedicated to God. Belshazzar did not see the writing on the wall and his reign ended that very night. There is coming a point in time where someone in this world will say “we should have seen the handwriting on the wall”, and just as it was then, it will be too late. Be of good cheer, we will suffer things in this world, we will be hated in this world, but I have good news, Jesus overcame this world and by Him, we shall too! To Jesus be the glory forever, amen.