457:  The Prophetic Implications of COVID-19

457: The Prophetic Implications of COVID-19

Right now, we as a nation and as the church are in the midst of an unprecedented worldwide pandemic that has some unfortunate, unforeseen circumstances.  We are currently mandated by our government to stay at home and practice social distancing.  Which, in effect, means no corporate church services.  No normal business activities.  No hugging our grandchildren or shaking hands with a friend.  No picnics at the park, no day trips to the mountains, no shopping at the mall, no having friends over for dinner.  All of that has changed.

But so has our culture.  Our economy is in a free-fall.  Unemployment claims are greater, much greater, than in the time of the great depression.  Small businesses are closing at a rate unseen in our lifetime and the future looks dim, at best.  Liquor stores and abortion clinics are deemed essential, but churches are not.  And since lawlessness has increased greatly, “the love of many,” as Jesus foretold, “has grown cold” (Matt. 24:12).

These are truly desperate times.

But could God be trying to tell us something by all that is happening around us?  Is He trying to get a message to us, a warning?  And, if so, what is that message and why are we as a people so obstinate and hard of hearing?

We know, from Scripture, that God warns His people primarily in two ways.  One, by sending them a prophet, a prophetic voice in their generation to proclaim the words of the Lord.  God often sent a Jeremiah, Ezekiel, or John the Baptist to bring His people back to repentance before He chastised them for their sins.  Unfortunately, because of our collective pride, we in the West are not particularly open to a modern-day Isaiah or a proclamation of “Thus says the Lord!” from anyone.

So often God warns His people the second way, by a remedial judgment.  He allows storms, plagues, war, famine, or pestilence to bring us to our knees and allows us to realize that God is God and we are not.  God often humbles us by showing us how much we are not in control.

Could that be what is happening right now?  And, if so, what warning are we failing to heed?  And what changes do we need to make in our lives right now?

Remember, God is sovereign.  That doesn’t mean He is the cause of suffering and death.  No, our sin brought that upon us.  That blood is on our own hands.  But what it does mean is that nothing happens in our lives, good or bad, without His permission.  Why?  Because He is sovereign.  He is good and gracious and holy, but foremost, He is sovereign.


The Blessings and the Curses

In Deuteronomy, we find a list of promises God gave to Israel that also applies to each of us today, as individuals and as a nation (and church).  They are found in Deuteronomy 28.  In this chapter, God gives His people one grand if/then promise.  If they will “diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, (how) to observe carefully all His commandments” (Deut. 28:1), then an incredible, breathtaking list of blessings will follow.  In fact, the Lord says “all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake (overwhelm) you, (why) because you obey the voice of the Lord your God” (Deut. 28:2).  Did you catch that?  His blessings will literally overtake them (you can’t outrun the blessings of God), and literally overwhelm them.

Would you like to be blessed like that?  Then read the rest of the if conditions in Deuteronomy 28:3-14.

But there is a dark side.  It is the consequence of not meeting God’s if/then standard.  He says:

“But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you” (Deut. 28:15).

And as wonderful as the blessings are, the curses are much worse.  Much!  And we are seeing many of them manifest right before our eyes.

If you are wondering what you and your church can do to prepare your hearts for God’s possible remedial judgments, keep listening.  For our days ahead may be dark indeed.

The following is a study on the Prophetic Implications of the Covid 19 virus and Deuteronomy 28.

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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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420:  Faith Always Has a Cost

420: Faith Always Has a Cost

Faith is not free.  In fact, faith costs everyone associated with it something.  No, I’m not talking about saving faith or salvation.  But even then, salvation has a cost.  It costs Christ His life and the Father His only Son.  And it costs each of us who embrace saving faith the one thing we hold most dear.  Us.  Salvation costs each of us who we are.

But the faith we are talking about is the Hebrews 11 kind of faith.  It’s the faith defined as the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb. 11:1).  It’s the faith that made the notable men of the Scripture, notable. And it’s the faith that helps us answer the why questions in life.


The Why Questions

Why does God allow bad things to happen to people who love Him?
Why does God allow innocent babies to die?
Why does God allow drug addiction and abortion and rape and child abuse and starvation and disease?
Why, oh why, oh why?

Get the point?  But having the faith to trust God’s answer to these questions will cost you something.  Why?  Because it costs Abraham and Noah and Jacob and Moses and many, many others what it will cost you to know the truth.  Are you willing to understand the cost of faith?  Do you want to know the answer to the most troubling questions in the Christian life?  If so, then keep listening.

The following is a study on the cost of faith.

To download the slides to 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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