Are you a thankful person? How much do you grumble and complain? For me, this is a serious situation, as my carnal nature is a real grumbler and complainer! My born-again nature is extremely thankful. And whichever one is ruling me, wins the prize.
Having an “attitude of gratitude” is quite popular, even in the secular world, as being a better way to live. For a Christian, it is fundamental to our faith. It is part of the godly way we live. A positive attitude is wisdom, and spoken of in the books of Psalms and Proverbs many times. It is seen there in black and white, as well as, in underlying ways.
The opposite attitude, ungratefulness, is a true fruit of a godless nature.
All a person has to do to be carnal, is follow the fallen nature we are all born with. People can try to harness or overcome it, for being immoral or not smart, but the only real way to overcome it, is by being born-again. Once our spirit is re-birthed into the light, we receive the nature of Christ and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us, as living temples of the Lord, this is when real change happens.
As Christians, we always have the option to grumble and complain, just as we have the option to commit any sin, but the new nature in Christ is thankful. And we are thankful to be born-again and saved from the wrath we deserve! We are thankful God is merciful, loving and kind. The Creator of everything, has given us a beautiful earth to live on. We are thankful that Jesus came and paid the price for our sins, and overcame the devil, so that we can have a true relationship with God. We are thankful that a holy God, can come and live in the hearts of ones such as us. There is so much to be thankful for.
It is utterly amazing, that the Lord makes all things work together for good, for His true people, as told in the verse above. Even hard circumstances and actions are turned for good, as we see in the next verses.
It is interesting that “being thankful” and “being merciful” are intrinsic to each other. A heart that is truly thankful for God’s mercy, knowing that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” shows mercy to others. And their respective opposites are intrinsic to each other too. Most people who are unthankful are unmerciful too. By unmerciful, I mean harsh, resulting in being critical of others. Once, when I was going through a bad season, I heard someone say that “fault finding is the devil’s job.” He is the accuser of the brethren. And when we are critical of others, we are actually helping the devil do what he does. This stung me like a bee. When I catch myself being critical, I often ask myself, who am I helping?
While this is the time of the year for Thanksgiving, as Christians, we need to be thankful every day. We also need to be gracious to others. We must maintain a thankful, gracious attitude internally and also share it. If we catch ourselves becoming unthankful or ungracious, we need to stop, repent and get back on the right path. Even while God was blessing the children of Israel with daily manna, they still fell into the pitfall of grumbling and complaining in the wilderness, and it is still an easy sin for us today.
Through His Word, the Lord teaches us His ways. Consider these next verses, as part of the direction, for a great life in Christ.
Let’s look again at our key Scripture in this blog, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). This is the will of the Lord for us. No one desires the best for us, more than Jesus Christ, and His will for us, is to give thanks in all circumstances. And the Lord set a great example for us to follow. Even while on the cross, He considered all the good that would come from His sacrifice and it was worth it to Him.
We can always find the silver lining, when we are the children of the Lord. His Word is true and amen. Let us follow the Lord and the example He set for us. In so doing, we have the best life possible!
God wants to give His power to those who spend time in His presence and have soft hearts. Jesus’ disciples were with their Lord day and night, they did everything together, they spent many nights listening to Him and telling Him what was in their hearts and they were the ones who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and started His church. But before the power came, they had intimacy with Jesus. This truth has never changed, power can come only after intimacy.
While being in God’s presence we start to understand ourselves better, as He shows us how we truly are, what is good and what needs correction in our character, heart, mind, speech and actions. Oftentimes the image we have about ourselves, is distorted, as we perceive ourselves based on our past, experiences, emotions and the circumstances we face. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to show us what needs to be changed. It is not easy to sit at Jesus’ feet, as Mary did and do nothing. You might think that you need to do things for the Lord to please Him, but Jesus put things in a different perspective when Martha asked Him to make her sister help her serve:
Can you “hear” Martha’s possible thoughts? “Lord, what are You saying? You encourage laziness? She does nothing! I already worked so hard and you say my sister made the right choice? And she will even get to keep it? If I would sit there with her, there will never be any food on the table!” It is good to be like Martha and there are good results for our labor, but the more we learn to rest in God’s presence and receive from Him, the more productive we become while we do our work and the more we will enjoy our walk with Christ.
But how do we enter in His presence? The first step is to find a quiet place, where no one will disturb us. Then we need to quiet our minds and focus on the Lord. It is not easy to stop thinking about stuff, or even worrying and planning what we should do next. For many of us this can be done best by listening to worship or “soaking” music inspired by the Holy Spirit. We need to choose to open our hearts and receive what the Holy Spirit has for us and what He wants to do in us. As we start to praise God and thank Him for what He has done for us, His presence will start to manifest. The more often we do this, the sooner we get to sense His presence. Once we change our lifestyle to where we do our best to spend quality time with our Lord on a daily basis, the more we grow and mature spiritually and we can become more effective in God’s Kingdom. To learn to hear God’s voice, we can read the Bible asking the Holy Spirit to reveal its truth to us and to continue do it until what we read becomes real and speaks to our hearts.
You might say that God is omnipresent and that is true. He is everywhere all the time, but it takes effort and determination for us to be able to step out of our flesh and reach to Him in the spiritual realm. We need to get to where we silence our physical minds and senses, to allow to our born-again spirits to take control and the Holy Spirit to manifest. The more time we spend in God’s glory, the more we learn to live led by the Holy Spirit and not by our flesh.
To get to know someone takes time and effort. A strong relationship develops in time, as the two persons involved in it are sincere, devoted and love each other. We need to be the same in our relationship with God, as He is perfect in every way and already did all it takes for us to be His beloved.
The Lord is calling us all: “Come up here! All is much better, more beautiful and you will find perfect rest for your souls.” This is what getting in His presence does for us, we get to taste God’s love and goodness at the highest level, we get rest and strengthen our faith. And as we spend more and more time with Jesus, loving on Him and He loving on us, we become more and more like Him: more loving, kind, patient and merciful towards others. So much so, that others will delight to be in our presence and will start to desire what we have. This is the best evangelism method! As soon as we choose to turn our attention to the Lord, we start to think about the spiritual things and realize they matter more than the physical world around us. The spiritual world becomes more real and that helps us to tune our spiritual senses into seeing and hearing what God wants us to receive. In Colossians 3:2, we are urged to “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” and in Ephesians 2:6, it says that God “… made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” This means we are already in the spiritual realm, but we need to turn off the physical senses and turn on our spiritual ones to perceive it! Hardships, sadness, hurt and losses cannot overcome God’s presence and peace, as long as we truly love and seek God. Whenever we are hungry and thirsty for God, He will show up to infill us! When we choose to surrender it all unto the Lord, He can work for us, fix our problems, heal and restore us, take care of our needs, give us favor and even set a table for us in front of our enemies (Psalm 23:5).
When we enter in God’s glory, we are in His shelter. The more we enter into it, the more protected we are and the more we can live led by the Holy Spirit and not by our flesh. Thank You Lord for this wonderful gift!
There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience…
The salvation we receive through Jesus Christ means much more than eternal life. Jesus wants us to give Him our burdens, worries, fears, needs, and He gives us His rest in return, as we read in Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
The Lord wants us to choose to enter into His rest. We must want to lay everything at His feet and relax, trusting that He cares for us. When we choose to praise the Lord, to thank Him for who He is and what He has done for us, we can enter into His presence and be filled with the Holy Spirit. We need to continually do this on a daily basis, because the challenges of everyday life can drain and exhaust us. And an exhausted Christian is more easily irritable, and more vulnerable to temptation. Isn’t it the truth? We are the ones who limit the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in us. Our heavenly Father fills us with as much as we allow Him to. The more we thirst and seek to have fellowship with the Lord, the more we receive.
King David understood the importance of spending time to soak in God’s presence as shown in Psalms 16:11b, "In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." The joy that fills our hearts when we spend time with the Lord, transforms us and the deeper we understand what we have in Jesus, the greater our joy can be. This is the joy of salvation, of belonging to the heavenly family. We no longer doubt the love of God, and realize that He is in us permanently, no matter what we go through and that He provides all we need to become what He has created us to be.
The Lord has the most wonderful blessings and perfect plan prepared for every single one of us. But in order to enter into His rest, we must stop struggling to solve everything on our own and give it all unto Him. If we follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, learning to listen to His voice and obey Him, we will be able to take possession of all the best that the Lord has for us.
Sometimes our dream vacation can turn out to be an ordeal, but the vacation we can have in the Lord, on a daily basis, by entering into His rest, relaxes us, frees us from burdens, fears, frustrations, stress and physical fatigue. In trusting that our heavenly Father is doing everything for our best, we rest and find peace. We can have a fulfilled and fruitful life if Jesus is truly our Lord and we realize that He loves us and never leaves us or forsakes us!
We can rest when we know that the universe functions just fine without our help. We must not lose our peace worrying about what will be or not, and what will happen locally or globally. On the contrary, if we spend time more daily with the Lord, we can rely more and more on His love, help and protection, and will be much more able to keep our peace, sleep better, and be more physically and spiritually rested. Let us enter and remain in the rest of our Lord!
For many years, I was under the impression that we are like glasses. And we need to be full of the Holy Spirit. As we decrease, He can increase and we can be full of Him. It is important to be full of the Holy Spirit, but using the glass analogy, may not be the best analogy.
In reality, we are mainly two parts, spirit and flesh. We are all spirit beings living in human bodies. Some would say that we are three parts and we may be, but I want to address the flesh and the spirit. As Christians, Paul has said we are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16).
The spirit world, for most of us, is invisible. Granted, God does allow dreams, visions and spiritual experiences, but most of us do not normally see in the spiritual world.
While we do not see in the spirit, the spiritual world is very real. Secular education would have us all think that the physical brain is the center of everything. But in reality, the physical brain takes direction from the spirit. One might say, the spirit is like the heart. It is our deepest place. The apostle Paul has called it the “inner man” in Ephesians 3:16.
The truth is that we are not like mere empty glasses but that we are spongy. We soak up whatever is going on around us. Every day we take in and soak up what we see, hear, feel, touch, reason, etc., most of the time consciously, but still much of the time, we do it without even realizing it. We are like sponges.
Whatever we intake from the world around us, we soak up.
Since the Covid -19 outbreak, I have heard people talking about being stressed, depressed, frustrated and some even with despair, and I am talking about Christians feeling and saying these things. Much of it, is because of what is heard of on television and every form of media we have. The fear that has overtaken many hearts, has been anywhere from disturbing to overwhelming and any measure in between. I have heard people say they cannot shake it off. I believe it is because they have absorbed too much heaviness.
So how can we fight it? Praise God there is a way! Instead of directly soaking it all up, we have a filter that God has provided. We can filter everything through Him. But how? We cannot just sing and praise all week like a church service. We have to work and manage our responsibilities, but we can refuse to absorb anything without God’s filtration. I will explain how.
Think of it like this. Let’s say we live in a city with dirty water from the public water supply or get well-water but the source is not the cleanest. A person can add their own “filtration system” and by the time it comes out the faucet, one would never know that is was originally bad water but run through their home filtration system. With the Lord, we do not need a savings account or a loan, to acquire an expensive filtration process. The system He has available to us, never needs cleaning and never fails. Through His filtration, we can eliminate the toxins of daily life.
So let’s look at some of the ways we can filter the everyday issues and stresses through the Lord. The first step is to not just hear and receive things. As we hear things that are disturbing, we take it to the Lord first, then process it. It is not hard to do at all. Some people are doing this already, but for those who are not, as we hear what is rough, we just stop and give it to the Lord as they occur daily (examples will be given shortly). After awhile, it becomes second nature. Another step in the filtration process, is to consider what the Bible has to say about the issue at hand. Circumstances might say, I should tell someone off, but God’s Word says to “love my enemy” and “keep my patience.” God’s Word also says, “a soft answer turneth away wrath.” We must apply God’s Word to all situations. An important part of filtration is to trust the Lord foremost. Some might call it having faith but I prefer to call it trusting the Lord. I trust His Word, His timing, His provision, His help and everything I deal with is not unknown to Him but He saw it ahead of time and will be making the way for me, even if it means through fires, floods and storms. We need to be soaked in His Spirit (meaning filled of the Spirit) and when we operate our daily lives from being prayed up and in tune with the Holy Spirit, we will be much less vulnerable to the enemy.
So what might be a simple example of this filtration system? I heard today my cousin Bill got the virus. What is the first thing I do? I fret or freak out? No, I pray. Even while I am getting the news, in my heart, I am going “oh Lord” not as a term going nowhere, but unto the Lord. And I start praying for Bill and all his family. I see what I can do to help. But I need God in between the circumstances and myself.
Instead of: “Me – circumstance.”
It is now: “Me – God – circumstance.”
Instead of just accepting the news and praying about it tonight or later, I include the Lord as it happens. I can still pray more later, but I do not just accept it without the Lord. God is with me and the more I lean on Him, the less stressful it is for me.
Another example: I just found out I lost my job. And my husband already lost his two months ago. I say, “Okay Lord, I know You will continue to show Your amazingness in seeing us through this crazy time.” Then, I just get still before the Lord. I refuse to drink in the despair. I stand of the fact that the Lord has always seen us through. Even when we made bad financial decisions in the past, the Lord in His mercy, still made a way for us. It was not easy, but He was with us every step of the way and saw us through. He has not changed. We are still His. And when I do not just accept the bad news, but filter it through the truth of God’s faithfulness, it truly makes a huge difference.
One more example: More riots and looting are going on in our city. I have to go out to get a prescription filled or food that we really need. What if I run into people acting crazy? I pray in my heart as I am considering my circumstances, “Lord help me to have Your wisdom and turn the other cheek if necessary or protect myself and family if necessary. Help me know what to do, and when, as situations occur. Lord, I thank You that Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my eyes. Holy Spirit, show me Your way as I go forth.”
These were just three examples, but everyday life is full of challenges and issues. So let’s not just receive whatever this world has to offer and directly drink in the heaviness of the circumstances and news around us.
Let’s call on the Lord first in all that we encounter. Let’s always remember that the Lord has faithfully taken care of us. Let’s keep in mind, that the Bible is our instruction manual for life, especially in troublesome times and circumstances.
Thank the Lord that we can refuse to just take in and soak up all the negativity that is comes at us. When we choose to include the Lord and all He has given us to filter life with, we can operate from a position of strength instead of getting so weighed down and frustrated.
These are trying times, but for those of us anchored in Christ, we have the huge benefit of being His.
Life has seemed surreal for many of us all over the world since the outbreak of Covid 19. Some would say it has been like living in the “Twilight Zone.”
I believe with all my heart, we are all caught in the middle of the battle of good and evil. I believe the evil are trying to birth their global plans and in order to do that, they are implementing many strategies that they have worked hard on for some time.
America as a constitutional republic, stands in their way. True Christians stand in their way. True conservatives who believe in individual liberty and a free flowing commerce, stand in their way. All who are are deemed “enemies of their agenda,” are considered just that: enemies. And as they increase in power, all who are their enemies will feel and know it more and more.
Many years ago, this would be considered conspiracy theory. But the globalists are not in hiding any more and their agenda is seen easily by anyone who looks.
As Christians, no matter where we live in the world, we must all be firmly anchored in Christ and His Word, the Bible. We must set our hearts now, that if things do no go pleasantly or even if they go harshly, to hold on to our faith. Because we are the children of the Lord, we know we have His favor, but just like Christians living in China today or how all people were affected globally by World War 2, we as believers, will have to endure hard times ahead. This is not gloom and doom, this is saying to get one’s ship in order and be “anchored for stormy times.”
As big a hurry as America was in after Pearl Harbor was bombed, she still sent every soldier through boot camp. There are basic instructions that are important for every soldier to learn and then additional instructions for their unique military positions.
We as Christians, need to accept that we are living in the last days of the last days. We are mid-tribulation rapture believers on this site. But whether one is pre, mid or post rapture, or “Second Coming only” believers, it does not spare us from the hard times we are in or possible harder times that may be ahead.
So what can we do? We can get closer to the Lord. Read His Word and pray more. In the natural, we can pay off debts as much as possible. We can keep a little more extra food and supplies on hand. The evil anarchists of this world are not playing softball, they are playing hardball. The punches they are throwing are real.
This means Christians will overcome the attacks and persecution by 1- being born-again, 2- the spoken words of their testimony and 3- being willing to lay their lives down for the Lord.
I believe the apostasy has started, and if not, it cannot be far away.
So, my message today is “draw close to God” and be “securely anchored in the Lord” for stormy seas are here and perhaps stormier ones on the horizon.
The Lord is the only Anchor that truly holds.
RETURN TO THE LORD
THE SEVEN SEALS OF REVELATION
Emotions may easily take control of our lives, if we are not careful. In the current global context, where fear, worry and uncertainty reign, it is very easy to fall prey to negative emotions. God created emotions so that as we live in these physical bodies we are able to relate the environment, to enjoy what is beautiful and beneficial for us, to express our delight when we like something, but also to avoid what it can hurt us.
The level of sin around us has reached unimaginable levels, evil is called good while good is blasphemed, and as a result, emotions had become greatly affected, leading to widespread depression and a large number of other mental illnesses. Statistics show that depression is one of the most widespread diseases of the 21st century, affecting many more people, including Christians, than in previous centuries. Whenever hopelessness and depression set in, a person loses motivation to get out of bed and be active and responsible.
But God created us to enjoy life while living in these bodies as we prepare for heaven and has a wonderful plan for each of us. God created us out of love and wants us to live in a close, loving relationship with Him both here on Earth and in the perfect heaven for all eternity. In John 14: 2b-3, Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” And the following verses show how important it is who we choose to follow:
Joy, fear, anger, sadness, surprise, pleasure, disgust and shame are the main emotions, from which all other human feelings derive. God's character includes emotions, too and we find them listed in Galatians 5: 22b-23a as the fruit of the Holy Spirit: "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."
If we choose our lives led by the Holy Spirit, in total surrender and obedience to God, the fruit of the Holy Spirit will manifest itself more and more in us and will change our character. We will become better, calmer, more loving, more patient. We will smile more and overcome difficulties more easily. I know from my own experience, as well as from those I have ministered to over the years, that these are the result of being born again.
What we hear and see has a great impact on our thoughts, emotions and actions. If we do not guard the "doors" of our heart and mind, we will suffer. The distorted information in the media, the panic and worries of those around us, the rules that are imposed on us, the emotional and spiritual atmosphere in public places that we cannot avoid, can make us fear and lose our peace.
It is up to us to not allow negative emotions to take control but rather to proclaim the truth of God’s Word over everything that affects us. We cannot change circumstances, but we can change how we react to what is happening to us. Let us not forget that "our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20).
The fear of losing something may have an effect on us, only if we love that something. If we love Jesus more than life and more than anyone or anything, we will not be afraid of what terrifies our fellow men. For the born-again Christian, physical death means only instantaneous moving to heaven, where we will be with our Lord forever. I am not saying to be unwise and not take care of our physical bodies, but we can be responsible and live from a position of victory, trusting that our Lord loves us more than we can love ourselves and that He will not allow anything to happen that may separate us from Him, and miss heaven. No suffering on this earth can be compared to spending eternity in hell, so let us choose to live a life of obedience to the Lord, fulfilling His will, and we can be sure that no one and nothing can snatch us from the hand of our Lord (John 10: 28-29).
Let us spend as much time as possible praising the Lord, studying and meditating on Scripture, so that we may know who we are and what we have in Jesus as well as what God's will is. We do ourselves the greatest favor if we renounce living our lives led by our flesh and instead seeking to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, fulfilling God's plan for each of us. Only by living this way can we reign in life and be forever in His presence.
Many people are looking forward to the rapture, myself included. And we look for signs that would show the nearness of the Lord’s coming. With this recent pandemic, many wonder if this is a plague referenced in Luke 21:11 or part of the prophecies of the 4 horsemen of Revelation 6. I personally do not think it is part of that.
However, I do think we may be seeing birth pains of a one world system. I do not believe that all of a sudden in one moment there will be a global government and an Antichrist in power. It is most likely that a system will come into place and then at some point, he will rise up in it. I believe that Scripture in Daniel shows that three evil ones have to be removed before the demonic Antichrist will come into power (Daniel 7:7-8).
Globally, something has been going on. Some have called this a planned-demic and others are calling it a manufactured crisis. I do not know if perhaps it was concocted by the Chinese alone or possibly in conjunction with a deep state group that wants to overturn the United States or some other human group or entities, but I do know two things. One, this has been allowed by the Lord and two, the devil is behind it. Humans are just pawns to the wicked one.
The whore (Revelation 17:1-18) that is “carried” by the beast is really “the human network” that is moved around by the demonic network. Many want to call her mystery Babylon. But she is the whore of humanity. The people that have “sold their souls for corruption.” The mystery referenced in Revelation 17, is the relationship between the whore and the beast and who each are.
So if this world is being set up for even more evil, what do we do? I believe that all Christians must stand for righteousness. If we do not, who will? We are not to stick our heads in the sand below or the clouds above and just say, Jesus will take us out of here so why worry. That attitude is unbiblical and unwise. We must stand up (and also pray) for the unborn, the elderly, the children and even ourselves. Have you ever read in the Old Testament where the Lord had people marked?
God is not pleased at all by apathy and complacency. Did you notice that the judgment first began with the House of God? Caring about what goes on and being responsible matters. And we are to love people and carry the Gospel to the end.
If we should each live long enough, we will see a global order that will come together. Countries may be tricked into joining as the EU did with the lure of prosperity and benefit, or they may make it hard for nations that do not want to join in so that they feel they must. I can only surmise. But one way or another, it will happen. And like many hard times in history, those alive will have to live through it. Matthew 24:3-32, Mark 13:5-24 and Luke 21:7-28 tell of what is coming for believers before the Lord comes for His saints. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-11 tells of what must happen first. Revelation 13:4-8 tells of the allowed term of the evil one including over Christians and is confirmed by Daniel 7:23-25.
As Christians, we need to stay in His Word. It seems far-fetched, but there may come a time when Bibles will be illegal. We need God’s Word implanted in our hearts. We need to get or be close to the Lord and stay close. We face uncertain times, but our Lord is certain. We need the Lord’s direction now more than ever.
Articles on this site for consideration in relationship to this blog:
THE SCARLET BEAST AND THE MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH
CAN THE RAPTURE HAPPEN AT ANY TIME?
MID TRIBULATION RAPTURE, WHY 3 1/2 YEARS?
THE APOSTASY, THE GREAT FALLING AWAY