494:  What Can Man Do To Me?

494: What Can Man Do To Me?

There is uncertainty all around.  And we, as the church, are in the beginning of a life of persecution that was promised by our Lord.  Often uncertainty leads to fear, and fear crushes faith.  But we are instructed in Psalm 56 to not fear but turn our fear into faith.  David says, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You” (Psalm 56:3).  And then twice, in the same Psalm, he affirms, “What can flesh do to me” (Psalm 56:4) and “What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:11).

Great questions.  And the answer is, “Not much, other than kill us.”  But if we have a proper view of eternity, even death becomes an anticipation and not something to fear.  Think about it.

Life is more than what we see and feel, much more than what we can experience with our senses.  There is, on the one hand, the true reality that lasts forever with God, when this temporal, transitory, substitute reality ceases to be.  And there is, on the other hand, the pre-game reality we exist in today.  Jesus said we are living in this kingdom, this reality, but are actually citizens of His kingdom, of His reality, that has not yet physically manifested itself in this world.  And the true, “abundant life” Jesus promised is reserved for those who physically exist in this temporal reality that is passing away, yet live and abide in the reality that lasts forever.

This is called living by faith.  And it takes concrete action on our part to do.

When fear is brought into (or subject to) the presence of God, it dissolves right before our eyes, just like it did with David in Psalm 56 and elsewhere.  And when for some reason it doesn’t vanish yet remains like a lingering cough after a bad cold, it is not because our fear is so large, or intimidating, or frightening.

It is simply because our God is too small.


But What Can Man Do To Me?

Jesus said we are not to fear those who have only limited power, who can do nothing more than take our lives.  He said the one to fear is God, the One with unlimited power, who can not only do what man can do and take our lives, but also have the power and authority to cast us into hell.  “Yes,” Jesus said, “I say to you, fear Him!”

“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and (limited power) after that have no more that they can do.  But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, (unlimited power) has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” (Luke 12:4-5).

So are we to have that kind of relationship with the Father, one of fear and dread, like a young child living in an abusive home?  Of course not.  Because right after this Jesus lets us know how much we are loved and known by the Father and how much He truly cares for us.  Jesus said:

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?  And not one of them is forgotten before God.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered (not counted).  Do not fear therefore; (why) you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:6-7).

So no matter how much unrest, anger, and distrust there is all around us, do not fear.  For the only One worthy of our praise and our fear, is God and God alone.  And remember to confidently smile when things go from dusk to dark or from bad to worse.  It is only another confirmation that Jesus is soon to return.  So rejoice and look up, for “our redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28).

The following message is about How to Fear God and Not Man.

To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

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Our Latest Posts:

493: Prepare for Persecution
492: The Bema Seat Judgment of Christ
491: The King and His Kingdom
490: Salvation and the Kingdom of God
489: The Forgotten Gospel of the Kingdom

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Will You Survive the Coming Blackout?

Will You Survive the Coming Blackout?

Now, even FOX News is covering the inevitable.  The following is from Doug MacKinnon and was posted on the FOX website on Sunday, June 23, 2019.

We will speak much more about this on our website beginning in mid-July.  But for now, read this and consider what Doug says.

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Will You Survive the Coming Blackout?

There are many never-ending debates between Republicans and Democrats.  Impeach vs. don’t impeach; capital punishment vs. life in prison; wall vs. no wall; legalizing marijuana vs. not; self-driving cars vs. human drivers; Red Sox vs. Yankees; takeout vs. home-cooked; or Gone With the Wind vs. any other movie.

All of these issues are stunningly important, right up to the second where cataclysm falls and creates a nightmare scenario that so many fear.

That cataclysm is a complete loss of electricity and every mode of convenience and survival we take for granted.

The largest red flag on this issue in years just waved in South America.  Last weekend, tens of millions of people in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay found themselves in a complete blackout.  In one moment, they had electricity.  The next moment, they had none, and they were catapulted back to the 1800s.

Only much worse.

People in the 1800s were not dependent upon electricity for their jobs, money, communication, Internet, transportation, education, security, medical services, prescriptions, water, and very lives.

The national power grid of the United States is truly a mess held together with, as the joke goes, by not much more than “baling wire and chewing gum.”

The average age of large power transformers in the United States is 40 years.  Seventy percent of all large power transformers are at least 25 years old.  It’s little wonder that, according to data from the Department of Energy, the United States suffers more blackouts than any other nation in the developed world.

The overall system is so weak, so taxed, and so vulnerable that in 2003, over 50 million people in the United States and Canada were hit with cascading blackouts simply because a tree branch fell on a power line in Ohio.

Because the infrastructure is so antiquated, weather triggers multiple blackouts per year in the U.S.  Blackouts which collectively cost the nation upwards of $30 billion in spoiled inventory, lost wages, and repair of the grid.

Unfortunately, weather is becoming the least feared trigger of a blackout.  In the age of terrorism and increasing cyber-threats, our power-grid getting taken down by a hack is no longer seen as a question of “If it will happen,” but rather, “When it will happen?”

The U.S. government is so rightfully fearful of this, that last November, it ordered DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) to war-game a complete cyber take-down of the U.S. power grid.

An exercise they are now wisely running on a regular basis.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, just last year, hackers – strongly suspected to be Russian – gained access to a number of utility control rooms in the United States and got to the point where “they could have thrown switches.”

The DHS report further stressed: “Russian government cyber actors targeted government entities and multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors.”

Aside from the Russians, the Chinese, North Koreans, other terrorist states, and even cyber-extortionists, are targeting our power grid on a daily basis.

That clock is ticking.

Unfortunately, much like any large terrorist attack, when an extended regional or national blackout hits, you and your family will be on your own. No one is going to ride to the rescue.

How will you survive?

In the blink of an eye, you will lose access to money, food, gasoline, communication, medicine, medical attention, heat, air conditioning, and security.

Gone.

Even though most don’t do it, residents of California and Florida are reminded every year to assemble their “two-week” survival kit. In California, it’s because of earthquakes. In Florida, it’s because of hurricanes.

Survival kits which include water, non-perishable food, medicine, first-aid kits, batteries, a radio, flashlights, candles, cash, a hand-crank charger, with smaller versions of all for your vehicle and office.

The federal and state governments should be issuing that same reminder to every citizen in the nation about the coming blackout. It truly is not a question of “if,” but of “when.”

A night on the town for a movie, dinner, a sporting event or a political debate is great fun until none of it matters and your survival is literally at stake.

Make a plan, because you will be on your own.

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419:  Thyatira – The Church of Sin and Corruption

419: Thyatira – The Church of Sin and Corruption

In our Lord’s seven letters to His seven churches, He says both good and bad things about three of the churches (Ephesus, Pergamos, and Thyatira).  Two churches have only good things said about them (Smyrna and Philadelphia) and two have only bad (Sardis and Laodicea).  And when we look at how these seven letters lay out for us church history in advance, we would assume the church that represents the Medieval church, the church of the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church, would have only bad things said about it.

But that’s not what happens.  In fact, incredulously, the Lord says some pretty good things about the church at Thyatira, which represents the Catholic church (along with some pretty bad things too).  For example:

“I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first” – Revelation 2:19.

Note this is the first time the Lord commends a church for their love (agapē).  Love?  How can He say that about a church known for corruption, false doctrine and the Inquisition?  And then He says the church that represents the Catholic church is actually getting better.  After all, our Lord says, “I know your works” and “the last are more than the first.”  Really?  How can that be?

How can the Lord have anything good to say about a church filled with so much corruption and have nothing good to say about the church (Sardis) that shed their own blood to remove themselves from that corruption?  How is that possible?  Is there something we’re missing?

I think so.  To find out more, keep listening.

The following is a study on the Lord’s letter to the church at Thyatira in Revelation 2:18-29.

To download the slides for this message, click – HERE

Download this episode (right click and save)

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415:  The Curse of God’s Abandonment

415: The Curse of God’s Abandonment

There’s a time when the Lord gives us what we want: freedom, autonomy, independence, and to have no authority over our lives but ourselves.  That’s right.  God gives us over to our selfish, carnal attitudes and allows us to experience the consequences of our sins.  It’s like He says, “Ok, you want to go your own way?  Have at it.  I’ll be here when you come to your senses.”  It’s the story of the prodigal son played out in our lives in real time.

This is called the curse of God’s abandonment.  It’s when He removes His protecting grace from our lives and our nation and let’s us see how we like life without Him.  And the results are catastrophic.

Samson, after having his hair cut by Delilah, woke up to confront his enemies still believing he had the same strength as before because his God was with him.  But that was not the case.  He said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!”  But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him (Judges 16:20).  Samson was experiencing the abandonment of God.


God Gave Them Up

In Romans 1 we see three examples of this very act of God’s abandonment:

Therefore God also gave them up – Romans 1:24.
For this reason God gave them up – Romans 1:26.
God gave them over – Romans 1:28.

But who are the “them” in these verses?  The lost?  The unregenerate?  Those nations that reject truth and justice?  Yes.  But if you will study these verses closely you will find the object of God’s curse of abandonment is also the church.  It includes His wayward believers.  It includes you and me.

Does this seem strange to you?  Maybe hard to believe?  Then I suggest you keep listening and find out the truth for yourself.  And remember, “judgment begins at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17).  Are you ready?

The following is a study on the Curse of the Abandonment of God.

To download the slides for this message, click – HERE

Download this episode (right click and save)

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414:  The Blessings of Persecution

414: The Blessings of Persecution

Sometimes there are passages in the Scripture that confound even the most mature Believer.  These are the ones that seem to defy logic, ones that fly in the face of our cherished sensibilities.  For example, in Luke 6:30 the Lord tells us to “Give to everyone who asks of you.  And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.”  But Jesus gives no qualifier in this verse.  The person who asks for your stuff may be a bum, a greedy businessman, or the government.  How are we supposed to follow that command?

Another example deals with how we respond to a personal attack.  Jesus said, “But I tell you not to resist an evil person.  But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.  If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also” (Matt. 5:39-40).  How does this play out in real life in real time?  If the church followed this command the future of the legal profession would be in great peril.

But one of the hardest teachings in Scripture, especially to an opulent, narcissistic church like we have today, is the idea that suffering or persecution could be a good thing.  That sentiment is hard to swallow, let alone believe.  How could persecution be a good thing?  Ever?  To anybody?


The Church at Smyrna

In the second of our Lord’s seven personal epistles to His church, found in Revelation 2 and 3, He has nothing but kind words to say about the church at Smyrna (Rev. 2:8-11).   And the primary characteristic of this church was their faithful perseverance under extreme persecution that lasted centuries.  We would be well advised as a church, and as individuals, to emulate in our life what brought this church such praise from our Lord.

To find out more about the Lord’s letter to the church at Smyrna, and what we can learn about our own view of suffering, then keep listening.

The following is a study on Jesus’ letter to the church at Smyrna, Revelation 2:8-11.

To download the slides for this message, click – HERE

Download this episode (right click and save)

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