Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Because I Know He Holds the Future"

          "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

The other day while talking with my mother, our conversation drifted to our friends who are overseas in Belgium at the moment.  They had been to Belgium before but things were different this time.  With all the "Debt-Ceiling" talk in Washington, and our country's spending addiction, the public opinion on Americans has fallen greatly.  Most citizens in Belgium can speak English, but because of their disdain for America they refuse to speak to our citizens.  

They tried to contact the local Baptist Church there.  But because the majority of the population is Muslim now, the mission board wouldn't disclose the names of the church leaders or their contact information.  

They ran out of money because inflation is so bad.  And they couldn't use their credit cards because they weren't European credit cards.  Actually, the problem wasn't that their credit cards were American.  The problem was that unlike European cards, their cards didn't hold any medical, occupational, or personal record type information on them.  And being a "AA" nation, didn't help them any.  

We discussed this as something akin to "The Mark of the Beast."

End times prophecy seems to be a big deal in the church today.  There are the "Left Behind" books, countless sermons, and books all discussing the events prophesied in the latter half of Revelation.  People seem to be engrossed in all things "Anti-Christ." 

And there seems to be a recurring mentality in the church of, "I we can survive until Jesus comes back.  If we can hold America together until we're ruptured.  Then everything thing will be alright."

Friends, "survival" was never what Christ wanted.

He wanted a church that would go out and "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."  (Mark 16:15 KJV)  What's written in Revelation wasn't put there so we could say, "Wow, I'm glad I won't be there."  No!  God showed John what he did, so: 
A.) We could warn those that reject him.  
B.) Those believers that go through that time would know what's to come.
C.) His ultimate glorification through his word.

We get so caught up by the deteriorating condition of the world, as if we're shocked by what's happening.  We feel like we can stop what's going to happen.  And when we're not "crusading," we're preparing little persecution fallout shelters.  

In case you missed it.  WE CANNOT STOP WHAT'S COMING.  Like the old preacher said, "I read the end of the book.  And Folk's, we win!"

Worrying and fearing what's going to happen is sin in case you didn't know.  It's doubting God, he already has you in the palm of his hand.  He's got control over every situation.  The safest place for you, is in God's will, and in case you've forgotten, his will is perfect.  And he can't use us when we're cowering in fear.  

I was thinking about the old hymn, "Because He Lives" today.  More specifically the line that reads...

"...Because I know he holds know he holds the future..."

Let me leave you with this thought...

God doesn't owe, nor has he ever promised anything to America...  But he promised the Church, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."  Hebrews 13:5

Monday, May 9, 2011

Growing in Blogging

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.  2 Peter 3:17-18  KJV
I'll be honest from the start and say, "Blogging" is very new to me.  So new in fact, that this is my very first blog.  But I figure that everyone that's ever blogged has had a start, so this is mine.

I've wanted to start this blog for a while now.  And I figured the beginning of Summer would be a good time to start.  The driving concept behind this blog as a whole is illustrations of God's word.

Inspired word of God.  Illustrations of that word.  Hence the title Inspired Illustrations.

This passage I've chosen, illustrates is the main reason I'm writing this.  So I can grow in my Christian walk.  I'm off to college next year, most likely one out of state away from my parents.  So I've taken on this project to help me, "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord..."  So that I won't, "fall" in my stedfastness.

I find, that myself as with many other Christians, we think we're able to withstand the toughest of temptation on our own.  When the fact is, we're not.  I'm drawn to another passage where Jesus said.
Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.   Mark 14:38 KJV
Here Jesus is speaking to his disciples in the garden of Gethsemane hours before his crucifixion.  And not just any disciples, no!  These specifically were Peter, James, and John.  The three closest to Jesus while he was on Earth.  The three that had seen him on the Mount of Transfiguration.(Luke 9:27-36)  And yet they folded when they were tested.
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.  1 Corinthians 10:12 KJV
Oh, they said they would die for Jesus.  Peter swore he would never let any harm come to Christ.  But "The flesh is weak..." and before the day was over they all left the man they had been disciples of for years, for dead.  Peter even denied knowing Jesus three times before morning.

The statistics for Christian Youths that give up their faith in college is staggering.  Ninety-Percent have left the church by their Senior year in college.  Ninety-Percent!  

And in talking with my peers on this subject, they all say something to the effect, "That won't be me," or "I'm firm in my beliefs."  And yet the statistics don't lie.  They sound just like Jesus's disciples.  They swore to follow him to death, we swear to live for him no matter what.  But just like Peter, James, and John, the Christian Youths of America are dropping like flies.

So that's why I'm writing this.  Because I'm a disciple.  Because I'm a youth, about to enter college.  And I'm weak.  No.  Actually, I am nothing, without Christ.(John 15:5)  And if I ever think I'm strong enough to endure temptation, then I'm already doomed to failure.  Without daily seeking him in his word, I'll become  part of the "Ninety-percent."    

So, my prayer for my fellow Christians today, especially our youths, is "Pray, lest ye enter into temptation."
My prayer for this Blog, is that God would use it for his glory.  For it to be a tool of his to grow me, and whoever reads it.  For it to never be a "Stumbling Block," to anyone.  And that I would always seek him first in it.
And finally, my prayer for myself is that I would, "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."