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536:  Evaluating Our Priorities in These Dark Times

536: Evaluating Our Priorities in These Dark Times

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The Importance of Being a Faith Prepper

If you look around at our culture, you can see things are getting darker for our nation and the church.  We have experienced betrayal at the highest level of our government.  Our elected officials lie as if it was a spiritual gift and are never held accountable.  In fact, we almost expect it from those who hold those positions.  And God’s judgment is being slowly unleashed upon our land.  We have record inflation, rising crime, war breaking out all over the globe, violence and hatred worn as a badge of honor, and a growing apostasy that has not only overtaken the pulpits of America, but also the pews.

And every day it only seems to get worse.

What are we to do?   How can we protect our children and grandchildren from being groomed in school to hate their gender and crave to be something God did not create them to be?  Men are no longer men and women are no longer women.  We must now, like living in an asylum, call someone by their chosen pronoun, regardless of how little that pronoun resembles their reality.

And to do otherwise could get you canceled, fired, arrested, or imprisoned for a hate crime, whatever that is.  What a strange, evil, and insane world we have created for ourselves.  No wonder God’s judgment is unfolding on His rebellious creation.  And no wonder we, as believers, will also suffer the collateral damage that comes from living in silence in a world that needs our voice.  We all, as the church, have blood on our hands.

After all, Jesus said it rains on “the just and the unjust” (Matt. 5:45).  So you better get ready for rain.

Keeping the First Thing First

Today we are going to learn how to become a Faith Prepper.  A Faith Prepper is one who sees the darkness coming and realizes the importance of having faith that can move mountains (Matt. 17:20) and will do whatever is necessary to become more like his Lord.  A Faith Prepper is the “prudent man foresees evil and hides himself,” and not the “simple who pass on and are punished” (Prov. 22:3).  He sees the big picture and understands the core truths of this life.  In essence, a Faith Prepper is one who has the priorities of their life arranged correctly, putting God first and everything else, including self, second.

Here are few things a Faith Prepper understands.

•   God is sovereign.  Let that sink in for a moment.  When you get a grasp of what this entails, everything in your life changes.
•   He is a King, and we are citizens of His Kingdom.
•   The highest satisfaction in life is to surrender our lives to Him, the One who created us and gives us breath and to trust Him for all things, now and forever.  From His perspective, nothing else really matters.
•   We surrender our lives to Him by faith.  Faith in His Word, faith in His promises, faith in His character and attributes, and faith in His faithfulness.
•   And if we trust Him for all things, He promises us immense blessings, both now and forever.

Becoming a Faith Prepper is to take God at His Word and believe whatever He says, no matter what.  And when we believe His Word and act upon it like we truly trusted what God said, we can experience the promises that accompany faith and obedience.  And those promises are beyond comprehension (1 Cor. 2:9).  Literally.

But often we miss the promises and blessings of God because we place ourselves first and leave Him and His glory a distant second.  And when we do, God will chastise us, as a loving Father, to bring us back into the fold of His blessing.

And there is no better example of this than in the small, two chapter book of Haggai.

Join us as we look at the book of Haggai and discover the importance of putting God first in all things before He allows us to suffer the consequences of our selfishness and lack of faith.  And no one, trust me, wants to be on the receiving end of the consequences of our sin.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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535:  What We Know to be True About Christ

535: What We Know to be True About Christ

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The Importance of Looking Back

As we have been preparing ourselves spiritually for the dark, troubling times ahead, it is quite helpful to pause and take a moment and remember what we know to be true about Christ.  This is the discipline of looking back.  God commanded the children of Israel to make a pillar of twelve stones at their crossing of the Jordan River.  Why?  So when their children’s children would ask them what the stones meant, it was a reminder to look back and remember how faithful God was to them then, and is still faithful today.

It was a way God provided to grow the faith of His children as they entered the promise land.  And it also works for us today.

So let’s look at some truths about the Lord and our relationship with Him that don’t change with time.  And in doing so, let’s pray our faith will be strengthened for the days ahead.

Here are a few things we know about God and His relationship with us.

•   God is Sovereign.
•   There is nothing greater or higher than God.
•   God created everything, including us, for a purpose.
•   Knowing God’s purpose for creating us and serving our Creator is the most important thing we can do.
•   It is a great and indescribable blessing for a lowly creation like us to be able to have a relationship with their Creator.  Yet that is what our Creator has allowed.
•   God is also a King and has a Kingdom.
•   As King in His Kingdom, He rules supremely.
•   We have been granted citizenship into His Kingdom.
•   And we have been granted this great gift on the basis of God’s grace and mercy, and not on our own merit.
•   As citizens of the Kingdom of God, we have certain responsibilities and duties to our King.
•   And our King gives us the power to carry these out.
•   This amazing power comes from the King Himself, who has chosen to live in us, His citizens, in the Person of the Holy Spirit.
•   Therefore, the King is always with us.
•   He will not, nor ever has, left us alone or as orphans.
•   So we are empowered and protected by our King.
•   But our King also loves us.
•   So much so, our King has adopted us as His children, and has given us an inheritance as such.

Ah, and it gets even better.

God Wants Us to Know Him Personally

More than being simply a citizen of His Kingdom, God has better plans for those He loves.  He wants us to know and experience Him as Father.

•   In fact God, our King, loves us so much that He wants us to know Him, not just as King, but as Father.
•   So, our God and King, is also our Father.
•   Which means we can know Him as Father.
•   And He invites us to come to Him as His children.
•   Jesus, God’s Son, is the One who revealed God, our King, to us as our Father.
•   And in doing so, we became joint-heirs with Christ of all that belongs to our Father, the King.
•   Now, there is no fear in approaching God, for He is our Father and loves us as His children.
•   And as His children, we have access to Him.  We can boldly come before His throne.
•   Since God is Sovereign and there is nothing greater than Him, it would stand to reason the greatest joy in life comes from finding our pleasure in Him.
•   And, like Jesus His Son, our greatest joy is to devote our life to doing the will of the Father (John 6:38) and the things that please Him (John 8:29).
•   Only then can we experience the blessings that come from being a child of God and a son of the King.
•   But there is a problem we each face.
•   We have an enemy.
•   There is a sinister creation of God that wants to destroy the work of God and deflect the glory of God to himself, and not where it rightfully belongs.
•   This enemy is Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44) and deceiver of the whole world (Rev. 12:9).
•   And since Satan cannot attack God (for Satan is also a created being), he instead attacks those God loves, you and me, God’s children.
•   We are the objects of Satan’s wrath.
•   Since Satan cannot hurt the Father, he goes after the Father’s children.
•   For if Satan can get the objects of God’s love to look to him and this world for satisfaction and fulfillment, he can deflect glory from God to himself and feed his insatiable pride.
•   So the battle is for the trust of God’s children.
•   Will they trust in themselves, or in their Father?
•   But the Father has already given His children the power to withstand all the attacks of Satan.
•   All they have to do is use this power by faith.
•   Faith is the confidence (assurance) in the love, attributes, promises, and character of God
(since we know Him as our Father).
•   And this confidence does not come by seeing some tangible proof.  It comes by knowing and trusting and resting (abiding) in Him.  Just like a child does to their human parents.
•   In the same way, we are to approach our Father in faith in Him, and not in what we want Him to do.

Finally, as we enter the troubling times our Father warned us were to come, how can we enhance our faith and stand strong against His, and our, enemy?  In Scripture, the Lord encourages us to look back.  And when we see God’s sovereignty in the past, it strengthens our faith in Him for the future.

So join us today as we do just that.  Let’s look back at the faithfulness of God.  After all, since He has been faithful in the past, He will continue to be faithful today, tomorrow, and forever.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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534:  Whatever the Problem, the “Lord is Near”

534: Whatever the Problem, the “Lord is Near”

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The Lord is Near to All Who Call Upon Him…

Often, when tough times come, much like we are experiencing as a culture and as the church today, God seems distant.  We pray, and receive no answer.  We worship, only to feel alone.  And when we attend church, well, it sometimes seems like something we do out of duty and not out of passion or love.  Have you ever felt this way when surrounded by the uncertainties of life?  And if so, have you ever wondered why and what you can do about it?

David did.  And so have millions of believers down through the ages.

In David’s last Psalm, he reveals so much of what we need to embrace today.  He tells us how to worship the Lord in dark times and when life couldn’t get any better.  And he uses a powerful word that has fallen out of vogue today— extol.  Look at how David begins this Psalm.

I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever.  Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever – Psalm 145:1-2.

In just these two sentences, David claims he will do four things because of his love for the Lord and because of God’s unsearchable greatness (Psalm 145:3).  He will,

•   Extol You…
•   Bless Your name…
•   Bless You…
•   Praise Your name…

But what do these words mean?  And what can we learn about our Lord through these actions of David?

•   extol (rûm) means “to raise, to lift up, to be exalted”
•   bless (bāraḵ) means “to kneel, to bend one’s knee in honor, submission, and blessing, to speak words of excellence about”
•   praise (hālal) means “to commend, boast, shout out affirmations of greatness, to worship, to exclaim Hallelujah”

And as you can see, these words mean more than simply, “Have a blessed day.”   They convey the idea of submission to a power greater than we are, to kneel before our mighty King.  Which is exactly what David calls God when he says, “My God, O King.”

To All Who Call Upon Him in Truth – Psalm 145:18

But there is so much more.  It seems God always anticipates our questions in advance and gives us the answer when we simply keep reading.  And this is never more true than it is in this Psalm.

•   What is it about God and His Kingdom that elicits such praise?  Keep reading verse 3.
•   What are we to do with the greatness of God?   How are we to respond?  Do we proclaim it from the rooftops?  Or keep it hidden under a basket on a table?  Keep reading verses 4 to 6.
•   But what does it look like when the church praises God for His greatness?  How is that to be done?  See verse 7.
•   And what specifically about God’s goodness are we to be remembering and sharing?  Again, keep reading the next few verses.

Get the point?  Read it for yourself and see if every question and fear you have about praising the Lord with a full and sincere heart is not answered in this Psalm by simply reading more.  It is like we are having a conversation with the Lord Himself and He is telling us what we need to know.

One final thought.

The most powerful truth in this Psalm is found in verse 18.  Here we see God’s promise to be near all (key word) who call upon Him.  And that all includes you and me and people we like and people we don’t.  God promises to be near to all who call upon Him in truth (Psalm 145:18).

The LORD is near to all (kōl – each, every, everything, the whole, entire, in totality and without exception) who call upon Him, to all (kōl – each, every, everything, the whole, entire, in totality and without exception) who call upon Him in truth.

Know the Lord is near, whatever your circumstances.  And He is near no matter what happens in the future.  So what are we to fear?  Nothing.  Why?  Because nothing, good or bad, can “separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

Rest in that today.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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533:  Is There Something Better than Answered Prayer?

533: Is There Something Better than Answered Prayer?

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Give a Man a Fish, Feed Him for a Day

When it comes to our understanding of the Kingdom of God, what makes the early church different from us is they lived in the realm of knowing God as their King and they served Him on earth while maintaining the rights and privileges of being a citizen of His Kingdom.  We talk about it; they lived it.  We have a theological understanding of the Kingdom; they functioned like card-carrying citizens of His Kingdom.  And the difference between their lives and ours is, well, profound.

The early Christians, and many since then, have relished in the confidence and boldness that comes from knowing they are a child of the King and living in His grand and protected Kingdom.  Remember, nothing can happen to a citizen of the Kingdom that surprises the King.  And nothing can happen to a child of the King unless the King thought it best.

This is where faith trumps our fallen senses.  This is where we can experience the joy and boldness that comes from knowing and living like we have God Himself, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, living and abiding in us.  And this is the realm of life when we take God at His Word and trust what He says, no matter what.  It is literally walking by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).

For example, consider the following familiar verse.

Rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentleness be known to all men.  The Lord is at hand – Philippians 4:4-5.

How is this humanly possible?  We are commanded, no matter what happens to us by evil people or institutions, to let our mercy and tolerance and unassertiveness be known, by experience in real life and in real time, to all, even to those who hate us and want to destroy us.  How can we have the depth of love and grace and confidence to live like that?  What did the early church believe that we don’t?

Teach a Man to Fish, Feed Him for a Lifetime

But there is more.  We continue reading in Philippians.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus – Philippians 4:6-7.

This passage promises we will receive peace if we trust God with everything.  Got that.  But also notice what it doesn’t promise.

•   This promise doesn’t guarantee God will remove you from whatever situation you are worried about.
•   This promise doesn’t guarantee you won’t feel pain or loss or suffer death?
•   And this promise doesn’t guarantee a humanly positive outcome, no matter how hard we pray.

But what it does promise is the peace of God which the world, including each of us, cannot fully fathom or understand.  And God’s peace will guard our emotions and thoughts through the Lord Jesus, no matter how bad our situation might seem in the flesh.  After all, we serve a great King who knows best.  And if He wanted to answer our prayers like we desire, He both could and would, if He wanted to.  But if He doesn’t, there is a reason we often cannot see, or don’t want to see, because we think we know best.

So is there something more important than having God answer our prayers?  Absolutely.  What does this saying mean?

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

And this same principle works in our prayer life.  Spiritually, we could say it this way.

Answer a specific prayer, and you teach a man to expect God to give him what he prays for.
Teach a man the goodness of God, and He will grow into the likeness of His Lord and trust Him no matter the outcome.  One is temporal, the other eternal.

More important than getting our prayers answered is experiencing the peace that only our Sovereign God can give.  God knew this.  And the early church knew this.  Therefore, no matter how dire their circumstances, they trusted and rested in Him and His goodness.  And He took care of the rest.

Do you live like this?  Would you like to live like this?  If so, keep listening.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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532:  Pulling Back the Curtain of the Kingdom of God

532: Pulling Back the Curtain of the Kingdom of God

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The Two Dimensions of the Kingdom of God 

We have spent some time discovering incredible truths about the Kingdom of God and its dual dimensions.  For the Kingdom manifests itself today, in our daily lives, and also tomorrow, when Christ the King comes and ushers in the fulfillment of His Kingdom.  In other words, the Kingdom is manifest in several realms and the Gospels speak of entering the Kingdom of God both today, and tomorrow.

Let me explain.

First, and most important, the Kingdom of God is His rule and reign over creation.  Where He rules and reigns, there is His Kingdom. Today, presently, it is not a physical Kingdom.  But it will be someday.  And that is the tomorrow realm of His Kingdom.

The Kingdom of God is the acknowledgement and submission to God’s will, which is His rule and reign in your life, and receiving the promised blessings that naturally follow obedience.  However, the New Testament clearly shows that the will of God will not be perfectly realized in this age.  At best, we experience a taste of what God is like.  We still see in a “mirror, dimly” (1 Cor. 13:12).

For now (at this present time, today) we see in a mirror, dimly (dark, that which is difficult or impossible to understand, in riddles), but then (when He appears, future) face to face (countenance, personal presence, what is before one’s eyes).  Now (at the present time, today) I know (ginṓskō) in part (allotment, share, portion), but then (when He appears, future) I shall know (epiginṓskō) just as I also (likewise, in addition to) am known (epiginṓskō) – 1 Corinthians 13:12.

Now we can know and experience the Kingdom of God, His rule and reign over all creation, in part, dimly, incompletely, but we can experience it, nonetheless.  But when He comes and ushers in the full manifestation of the Kingdom, then we will know in full, completely, in the same way we will also be known in full, completely, with nothing to hide.

Or, as it says, “face to face.”

Tasting of the Kingdom of God in this Life

Let’s dig a bit deeper with just a question or two.

Question:  When does all this happen?  When is the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God?
Answer:  At the Second Coming of Christ

There are two comings of Christ, one past and one future.  First, Jesus came in a manger, as a baby to live as a man on earth.  And next, He will come in glory, when He comes to set up His Kingdom, defeat the usurper, and rule and reign on this earth for 1,000 years.

Since there are two comings of Christ, there are also two manifestations of His Kingdom we can experience.  One we can experience in part while on earth.  And the other we experience in power and glory when Christ returns.  But the good news is that now, while we are living on earth, we can experience a taste, a foreshadowing, a hint of what life in His Kingdom will be like.  And we can know what blessings He has in store for those who obey Him and submit to His rule and reign voluntarily and out of love.

Much like the disciples did on the Mount of Transfiguration.  What?  Really?

Yes, really.  Join us as we discover how to experience the Kingdom of God today by looking at what happened with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (and the words He spoke right before that event).  There are some hidden gems in this amazing story.  Are you interested?  Intrigued?  Then keep listening.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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