James said there is a precious harvest in the Earth today and that Jesus is coming again. The Father is patiently waiting for the harvest of precious souls to be reaped. It happens to be the only reason the Father has not sent Jesus back yet. When we use the term Last Days – essentially that term applied to us as the Church means the Last Days before His coming for us. Those days will not last forever.
In spite of all that is said to go on in the Last Days (2 Timothy 3:1-5) one thing is certain and that is that the harvest of the earth will be reaped. If we truly understand this we will not get caught up and stuck:
In any blessing.
In any difficulty or trial.
In any threat from satan through deceived people he will use to distract us from where our eyes should be lifted and looking upon.
We continue to be, though presently endangered, the longest ongoing Constitutional Republic in the history of the world. A blessing like this is not an accident or by chance but that God has shed His grace on us. If you ever study the documents of the Revolutionary Period you’d see a picture and some obvious facts. Virtually all those involved in the founding work of our country were God-fearing men.
The Founders were deeply influenced by a Biblical view of man and government, with a sober understanding of the depravity of man’s fallen nature. They devised a system of limited government, with a separation of powers, and checks and balances. The Founders understood that fear of God, moral leadership and righteous citizens were necessary for their effort to succeed. Four names of God or references to Him were in the Declaration of Independence: Nature’s God, Creator, The Supreme Judge of the World & Divine Providence. All of which says that they acknowledged a higher moral law from the God of the Universe and that He is the Source of our inalienable Rights.
They structured a political climate that was encouraging to Christianity and accommodating to religion rather than hostile to it. Christianity was the prevailing moral and intellectual influence shaping the nation at its outset. They realized rights came from the Creator not some political ideology or any of the three branches of government. If the government grants rights the government can take them away which is contrary to the concept within the Declaration of Independence that rights are inalienable.
The Founders, though, did stop short of giving their Christian religion a position of legal privilege or rule over its citizens. They specifically prohibited establishing a religion of the state but they did not prohibit religion influencing the state. It was freedom of religion not freedom from religion. We cannot deny our nation’s history has its failures, but in spite of our failures and flaws, our history is something to celebrate.
Celebrate your liberty and have a Happy 4th of July.
Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
As Christians in America we are exhorted by the Word of God to pray for all those in positions of authority so we can live a peaceable life and spread the Gospel (1 Tim. 2:1-4). We have strayed from the foundations of our founders and the Biblical truths they based the founding of our nation upon. Our Declaration says:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident…all men are… endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.”
Our Declaration of Independence acknowledges a Creator as the source of the unalienable rights that governments among men are formed to secure.
In America, our rights come from God, not from the state or government.
Those self evident truths espoused in the Declaration were based upon what our Founders called the laws of nature (God’s unwritten laws embodied in natural Creation and the conscience within man) and the laws of nature’s God (the moral laws of God written and revealed in Scripture).
All other man-made laws must be consistent with and subordinate to the laws of nature and the laws of natures God if we are to have our natural rights protected. This is what made America great and the ONLY thing that will make America great again.
This acknowledgement in the Declaration was the very heart of the American founding and to be carried out through the framework of limited government in the Constitution of the United States of America. Government had its powers separated among its three branches and its jurisdiction limited by what powers were enumerated to them in the Constitution. All of its functioning was to be subject to the consent of the governed and not operate as a system with a life or will of its own.
Concerning foundations, Psalm 11:3 says, “If the foundations be destroyed what can the righteous do?” Proverb 14:34 also adds, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people (NAS).” According to God’s Word returning to our foundations and righteousness is the only sure way to protect our God-given unalienable rights: those of pursuing life (personal security), liberty (personal liberty) and happiness (property rights).
It is time, saints, to pray for a revival rain of righteousness upon America Hosea 10:12, and that is Jesus changing the hearts of men. Remember when God answered Job out of the whirlwind, one of the things He said was, “Hath the rain a father?” The answer is yes and He is our Father who still hears and answers prayer. He is the ONE who said, “Call unto ME and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty (hidden) things which thou knowest not Jeremiah 33:3.”
Ephesians 4:31, 32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Life is full of events that hurt us that can lead us to resentment. Resentment is synonymous with unforgiveness and bitterness, but it works in our mind and emotions. Resentment becomes like a poison that prolongs the hurt, clouds the mind, steals joy, and drains energy. We need to let it go as Ephesians 4:31,32 tells us. In order to avoid resentment we have to understand it so we can recognize it and then resist it. What is resentment or what does it mean to resent? It comes from two words.
It means to feel again the hurt, slight, wrong, insult, or offense. An offense is something that outrages the senses and emotions while resentment suggests a longer lasting indignation and smoldering ill will. Resentment appears to be a cluster of anger and thought. Resentment is the state of holding something in the mind as a subject of contemplation or reflection. Hurt and injury are always involved. When an expectation is not met we get hurt; this leads to anger, which leads to a decision to hold in the anger and hurt and re-feel it from time to time. It is holding on to or showing feelings of intense animosity (hatred/anger) or vindictiveness (wanting to get back at someone). A synonym is unforgiveness, bitterness, to be merciless, and holding a grudge. We file away a hurt and grudge list and revisit it from time to time. Leviticus 19:17-19 warns against silence that is holding hate and holding a grudge.
What we should do is release it and let it go. Resist not the injury or evil or it hurts more Matthew 5:39. Resentment is a dead end; there is no place to go with it; it can only affect us negatively; it wastes time and energy; it is unproductive. We think if we forgive the people we resent that they are getting away with something, they are getting let off the hook, or they are getting a gift they did not deserve. Forgiveness is a gift to us and lets us off the hook. As long as we resent and do not forgive we bind ourselves to that person because a debt is established. We feel they owe us, but we need to release the debt because it frees us from them.
Everyone experiences stress to some degree from living in today’s fast paced world. Stress is our brain and body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. It effects everyone and not all stress is bad. It is an automatic process often seen when a threat is present some call a “fight or flight” reaction or the “stress response.” When we feel a demand or threat our nervous system responds by releasing hormones which fuels our body for action. The physical changes increase our strength and stamina, can speed up our reaction time, enhance our focus to prepare us to either fight or flee from the threat at hand. This kind of pressure or threat that doesn’t go away and remains for long extended periods of time like we’ve experienced during the coronavirus outbreak can wear us down. It can also affect our health or aggravate an already present health issue.
We have to learn to recognize it and especially when it becomes overwhelming to us. We can remove the things that are “stressors,” in our life and should but what about things we have no control over? It may be time to de-stress with some wisdom and principles from the Bible. Psalm 119:45 Says, “And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.”
Some Bible ways to de-stress:
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
(the word forget is better understood as neglect; whatever you feed grows and we can feed our bad memories or our dreams)
Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
(Refuse to touch it in your thought life. It is not the Holy Spirit Who will keep bringing it before your mind so resist it).
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
(It is “your” mind which is under your control just as much your “hand” is under your control. We can tell it what to do and think).
Philippians 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
(You can receive great counsel but we not only have to listen but also obey. Freedom is in our obedience. Do something with what you know. Only doers of the Word are blessed.).
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
(More, bigger, better isn’t always necessary. We have to learn to be at peace in both abounding conditions and abasing conditions. The strength of Christ is in us to help us do this very thing).
2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
(Compare yourself only to the potential God has given you, not the potential He gave someone else. When we compare we often tend to compare our weaknesses with other’s strengths which is unwise. The truth is that everyone has both strengths and weaknesses).
2 Corinthians 10:13 But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you. 14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ:
(None of us are called to do it all; the Lord is under no obligation to bail us out if we attempt to do more than He has assigned us to do).
When two people disagree disagreeing parties are often urged to reach a compromised position. After all, Christians are told to live peaceably (Romans 12:18). We are to pursue the things that make for peace (Romans 14:19) but is compromise a legitimate way to seek peace? In other words, does God want us to gain peace through compromise?
Those advocating compromise are making the assumption that compromise actually brings peace and that God accepts compromise. Compromise means a settlement by arbitration or by mutual consent reached by concession on both sides: a reciprocal abatement of extreme demands or rights, resulting in agreement. A committal to something objectionable … a surrender; as a compromise of character or right.” In other words, to compromise is the willingness to adjust one’s beliefs to accommodate those who differ. It means that a person is willing to settle for less than one’s convictions. Compromise can be done by giving up a position, by accepting a position, or even by agreeing not to talk about a position. Most of us I think clearly see that such would lead to difficulties.
How can a Christian compromise with something God’s Word forbids? What about murder? Lying and bearing false witness? Violence and lawlessness? Accusation of guilt where there is no transgression of God’s law? Hatred and prejudice? A compromise would require both to give up something they believe is a right and commit to something that both might see as objectionable. The problem is that compromise forces a division of loyalty and in the end, truth is no longer absolute.
The primary command we have is to love God (Matthew 23:37-39) and our highest loyalty has to be to truth (2 Corinthians 13:8). When we allow something else to guide us it always leads to conflict. Many compromises are done in the hopes of making Christianity more acceptable to non-Christians but when we make friends of the world we make God our enemy (James 4:4). Compromise can also cause other Christians to stumble. Remember what Peter did by going along with some Jewish Christians (Galatians 2:11-13). What Peter did made him more acceptable to some Jewish Christians but because he compromised other believers were caught up in his compromise. The problem of compromising on any issue regarding things that are clearly spelled out as sin is that truth can have no fellowship with darkness (Ephesians 5:11) and holiness demands that there be no mixture but separateness II Corinthians 6:14-7:1. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all 1 John 1:5.
Of course every issue isn’t clearly an issue of sin and the Word allows for differing convictions about things where there are no direct commands for or against. Areas of direct command are those areas that the Scriptures clearly speak to or address. Scriptures usually address these topics with numerous verses or principles that are easily understood. They are clear and repeated in Scripture. Areas of liberty are issues that there is no clear command, verse, or principle for or against. They are usually areas of minor importance. They have no bearing on influencing a person’s eternal salvation. They wouldn’t be inconsistent with the character of God. We need to learn to know when to be uncompromising in your stand for truth (2 Timothy 2:14-16). An old saying that addresses this says:
Hebrews 12:1-3 says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
The Apostle Paul in writing to the Hebrews uses the analogy of a race to the Christian life and for us to look to the Finisher of our faith, the Lord Jesus Christ. Every believer has a race, a prescribed and predetermined course, picked by God set before them. It is not a race we chose but the one God planned.
Follow the example of Jesus Who endured. Jesus endured the Cross for it was His assignment from the Father and something He could not escape unless He disobeyed. We sometimes face things we cannot get away from and are called to endure. God doesn’t want us to remain in a situation like that forever but only endure through it. Remember Jesus had a Resurrection and victory over all that He endured.
Jesus endured the heavy burden of the Cross and didn’t stray away or out from under His assignment. Jesus knew the value of looking ahead to the joy set before Him. Look away from everything else and consider Him that endured. People who give up and quit tend to focus only on what they are GOING THROUGH but people who endure focus on what they are GOING TO. The joy set before us is the fulfillment of God’s promise that we are believing or it can be finishing the work He gave us to do. We can do as the writer of Psalm 39 in v. 4 did and ask the Lord to show us our end, “Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof (Ecclesiastes 7:8) so keep your eyes on the end.
We will be tempted a thousand times to turn back or away. If we want to find an excuse to turn away from our calling, we can find a thousand exits. You may decide to quit but it is totally unnecessary. We have spiritual resources and wisdom from God that gives us the capacity to endure.
It is not enough to begin. Only those who finish their assignment are rewarded or promoted. That is why satan deceives and uses his wiles, devices, and weapons to get God’s children to forsake their assignment. Satan hates finishers.
Don’t consider how you feel, how things look, how others are doing but consider the One sent by God who endured. Jesus, who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross, disregarded the shame and made it to the end.
Some may be running out of gas because of where they are looking. We are to keep our eye on Jesus, off of others, and off of ourselves.
KEEP YOUR FOCUS ON WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO NOT GOING THROUGH
1 Corinthians 15:50-58 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
The truth of the Resurrection is a doctrine to be preached at all seasons and not only one Sunday of the year. It is not “a truth” of Christianity it is “the truth” which is foundational to our faith (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 13-19). It was Jesus’s Resurrection that demonstrated that He was the Son of God (Romans 1:3, 4). The power and authority of the Resurrection is something born again and Spirit filled Believers need the spirit of wisdom and revelation to enlighten their eyes to (Ephesians 1:16-23).
The Resurrection is also the loudest voice that speaks, “This is no time to quit or lessen your service to the Lord.” The Resurrection of Jesus is both a fact of history and a spiritual truth. His Resurrection guarantees ours whether it is a physical resurrection from the dead or Rapture of the living 1 Corinthians 15:51-58.
The Resurrection is the basis for Paul’s conclusion and commands where He commands three things for all Believers in relationship to the work of the Lord. “Be ye steadfast (firmly established), unmovable (steady; unshaken), always abounding (overflow; have in abundance; more than enough) in the work of the Lord….”
Our earthly opportunities will be gone forever.
Our destinies will be fixed for eternity.
Our works will be manifested and judged.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
When we come to Jesus God accepts the way we are. That does not mean He wants us to stay the way we are. His plan is to change us into Christlikeness or to be like Jesus in every way. One of the ways He brings this change is through the renewing of our mind with the Word of God (also called the saving of the soul). We must keep in mind that the renewing the mind and saving of the soul is an ongoing process. We must not lose sight of God’s commitment to the process. God will complete what He started Philippians 1:6. As change is taking place in our lives we should assure our hearts while going through the process that:
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
1 Corinthians 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The will to change is ours; the power to change is His. Real change is on its way, don’t give up.