THE GREAT AND FINAL EARTHQUAKE

THE GREAT AND FINAL EARTHQUAKE

And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so sever.
Rev.16;18,20,21

It seems like the disasters are getting bigger and more destructive as time goes on. Students of history tell us that there have been some major events, like nothing we have seen in our lifetimes, throughout history. According to John’s prophesy in the book of Revelation, the biggest of all earthquakes, “such as never been since man was on earth”, is being reserved for the last chapter of this age. What will that climatic event look like? How devastating will it be? If we take this passage as it reads, it seems there may be a tsunami that is so enormous, that every island will be overwhelmed. This prophesy also states that all the mountains will be brought down, that will be quite an earthquake!!
Some may say, “that is to far fetched, that sounds like a bad science fiction movie”. The truth of the matter is that this creation is coming to the end of its purpose, the Lord is preparing to create a new heaven and a new earth, that is the clear teaching of scripture. So there probably will be bigger earthquakes and bigger tsunamis as we get closer to the very end. These events are not happening by accident, they are all part of God’s plan for these last days. We should not be shaken, but strengthened in our faith as we see God’s prophetic time clock wind down. These are the days of preparation, the greatest moments of His church are about to unfold. We can tell a lot about ourselves and our spiritual condition by the way we respond in days like these. Do you find yourself searching the scriptures more, or just distracted by the cares of this world? Are you being drawn closer to your christian friends and your church, or are you wandering aimlessly with the lost people all around you? The time of putting off spiritual things and personal involvement is far past. If today is not the day for repentance and dedication, tell me, what will it take for you? Hopefully you are not waiting for the hundred pound hailstones to fall before you get serious (look at today’s scripture verse). Today is the day, now is the time for all of us to press on to know the Lord.

WHO IS IN CONTROL ?

WHO IS IN CONTROL?

The Lord has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all.
Ps.103:19

Sometimes our world seems out of control. From national revolutions to terrorist attacks, from earthquakes to tsunamis, from oil spills to political chaos; to the natural man, these things are quite unnerving. Our personal lives can experience the same kind of upheaval; from money problems to domestic contention, from medical problems to unexpected loss, from family problems to heartbreak; how can we deal with the endless cycle of “stuff” that happens? Charles Spurgeon had some great insight in dealing with these issues, here is what he had to say.

“He (the Lord) now reigns universally, he always has done so, and he always will. To us the world may seem rent with anarchy, but he brings order out of confusion. The warring elements are marching beneath his banner when they most wildly rush onward in furious tempest. Great and small, intelligent and material, willing and unwilling, fierce or gentle, — all, all are under his sway. His is the only universal monarchy, he is the blessed and only Potentate, King of kings and Lord of lords. A clear view of his ever active, and everywhere supreme providence, is one of the most delightful of spiritual gifts; he who has it cannot do otherwise than bless the Lord with all his soul.”

In today’s scripture verse, David is declaring some of the things that cause him to worship the Lord. “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name”, David’s heart is literally bursting out in worship, this is the overflow of spiritual revelation. In the midst of all of his troubles; attacks from the Philistines, betrayal from his family, traitors within his personal staff, in the midst of it all, David had gotten a glimpse of the sovereign sway of the Almighty. This is why David was worshipping.
Maybe you are in personal crisis today, or maybe the relentless stream of international calamity is weighing on your heart. If this is the case, take a worship break. Join in with David and sing his timeless song, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul. The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom REIGNS OVER ALL”.

THE END OF ALL THINGS

DESTRUCTION OF ALL THINGS

Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said, “These things which you see – the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.” Lk.21:5,6

As Christians, we all know these words are true, but when the things Jesus spoke of begin to happen we are caught by surprise as if we never really thought His prophesies would come true. What kinds of things? Things like revolutions, terrorist attacks, nuclear disasters, earthquakes, sunamis; you get the picture. Let’s face it, we live in a fragile, dangerous, and yes, fallen world. The effects of mankind’s rebellion against God have effected everything, even creation itself, and now the “chickens are coming home to roost”.
The tragedy that these events begin to expose is quite alarming, many of us have lived our whole lives only investing in, and thinking about the natural world, the very things that will pass away in the days ahead. The tragedies we have all witnessed recently are meant to turn our attention to the things that really matter, the things that have an eternal value.
This is what the Lord meant when He said, “look up, your redemption is drawing near”. This is what Jesus was saying; when you begin to see these prophetic events beginning to increase, the end of all things, as we know them, are at hand. So, in light of all of this, what exactly should we be doing?
I am so glad you asked. We should be setting our mind, our affections, and our actions on spiritual matters. Our time should be invested in God’s word, times of prayer, local church involvement, and pouring out our love on the lost and the hurting.
Many of us wish we could run over to the latest tragedy and do our best to fix it. Don’t get me wrong, that is a good thing to do. I would love to go and help the people in Japan with the recovery from the latest earthquake in their nation. The truth is that there are thousands of hurting people dying right under our noses right here in our area. There are abandoned children at the orphanages, the homeless are everywhere, there are thousands struggling with substance abuse and various addictions. There are the hungry along with the sick and dying, the list is endless. In light of the obvious uptick in our prophetic calendar, look up, the Lord will soon return.

MELTDOWN

NUCLEAR MELTDOWN

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness.
2 Peter 3:10,11

We all know the world is temporary, but still, when we hear of nuclear disaster, like the recent one in Japan, we are brought face to face with the destruction of all things. Of course we all “believe” these things will someday happen, but when the events unfold right before our eyes, well, that is different. Somehow, we are never quite ready for the kind of destruction implied by the word “meltdown”. In Peter’s prophesy, he was describing something beyond his ability to comprehend, he was describing the “meltdown” of this present creation. When we realize that Christ Himself is the “X factor” that holds all things together, it is not surprising that the old creation will dissolve like a nuclear meltdown, making way for the coming new creation. This new creation will be incredible, the beauty and majesty of God displayed unaffected by the fall that has dimmed the beauty of the world we live in. That day is drawing near.
How should these things effect us? What are we to think and feel when we see this creation beginning to fail before our very eyes? Peter said that the fact that these things are coming should effect the way we live. He said we should allow these things to bring us into godliness and holy behavior. How has your behavior been lately? Have the recent upturn in prophetic events caused you to draw near to the Lord? As surely as the sun rises each morning, the Lord will return to this earth, He will come for his sons and daughters and the destruction of this present world will come suddenly.
2 Thes.1:7-10
“when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe”

CATASTROPHE AND THE EXPECTATION OF THINGS TO COME

CATASTROPHE AND THE EXPECTATION OF THINGS TO COME

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
Rom.8:19

When tragedy begins to strike the earth, the expectation of the Christian soars. We don’t know exactly what is coming, we only know it will be beyond all our hopes and dreams. Paul said that the birth pains of the groaning creation awakens an “earnest expectation” in His children. That phrase, earnest expectation, is one word in the greek new testament. It’s meaning is quite descriptive, it means literally to stretch out your neck in anticipation of what is coming. The picture Paul paints is that of a spectator at a race, stretching his neck to look over the crowd to catch a glimpse of the finish.
When we hear of the increasing number of prophetic events being fulfilled, something inside of us begins to pulse with excitement, we know that something special is about to happen.
In today’s verse, the apostle Paul gives us a hint at what that might look like. He says what is coming next is the manifestation, or the unveiling of the sons of God. That is our great hope, that is what life is all about. We were made for eternity, nothing else can possibly satisfy our hearts. After all, deep inside our hearts we know that there is more, a whole lot more.
These present calamities are speaking to the world, creation itself is calling out for God’s glory to be revealed. Creation is all about the revealing of God’s glory. That is what this vast creation does, it declares His glory.
So why is creation groaning? It is longing for the greatest display of God’s glory reserved for these last days. And what could that be, it is the unveiling of His glory in this fallen race. Millions of sinners; the drug dealers, the prostitutes, the pimps, the crooked politicians, and the average guy, all of those who have been born of His Spirit, will be changed in a moment of time. We will be clothed with His glory, we will be like Him. That is why creation is groaning. The King is returning and the great display of His redeemed sons and daughters will begin. At that instant the groaning will end and the singing will begin,
“For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”

JAPAN- KATRINA DEJA VU

Japan-Katrina Deja Vu- Merry Monday by Parris Bailey

“And a man shall be as a hiding place form the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Isaiah 32:2

Looking at the recent footage of the Japan earthquake and tsunami definitely brought back flashbacks of Katrina. Our landscape changed in that storm and we are still rebuilding the city 6 years later.
A few months after Katrina, Frank and I wrote the “Eye of the Storm”. This is a excerpt from the book:
“A month before Katrina hit New Orleans, Frank and I went to Bulgaria. Bulgaria holds a special place in my heart, we have made many visits there. The long term effects of the Communist reign has had a devastating impact on that little country. The buildings are crumbling, the people don’t make enough money to live and there is not enough jobs to go around. On that trip we had just ministered at a church near Varna near the black sea. We went to grab a bite to eat up in the country side. As I look back on that day, little did I realize how God would use the events that followed to help me face the Katrina that would be coming just one month later. After lunch we begin to ride back down the mountain. We soon came across this Shepherd in full shepherd gear with his sheep, and his staff. I felt like I step backed into time, when we got close enough I saw his face. It was weathered and worn, but something about his face made me feel the peace of God. Something about the landscape spoke to me. The next thing I saw happened as we came across a little village and in this village I saw two girls washing their clothes in a wash pot laughing and giggling. When I looked at them, once again I felt a unusual peace. Finally we reached the valley below only to see field upon and field of huge sunflowers. All their black faces face the sun whenever it is shining. It seemed at that moment all their faces turned to me and once again I felt peace.”
When Katrina hit, God brought back to me all those visuals of Bulgaria. It became obvious, that the Shepherd always watches over the sheep, he weathers the storm. The girls giggling as they washed their clothes reminded me to take pleasure in the simple things of life, and of course the sunflowers are made beautiful as they fix their gaze upon the SON. He becomes our apple tree. It provides the shade, the fruit and the protection from the world without. I pray you can join with me as we let our Shepherd guide us, find joy in adversity and continue to drink from the rivers of water in a dry place.

CATASTROPHE AND THE JUDGEMENT OF GOD

CATASTROPHE AND THE JUDGEMENT OF GOD

…those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Lk.13:4,5

We are all struck with amazement and fear by the recent earthquake and tsunami that brought such destruction and heartbreak to the people of Japan. So many questions flood our minds when we see events like this strike so suddenly. Inevitably, some will say that Japan deserved this catastrophe because of their non-christian culture, just as they spoke about New Orleans after Katrina. The scriptures speak differently. Jesus pointed out a disaster that had happened in a nearby community to where He was teaching. He clearly stated that Siloam was not worse off than anyone else, all of us are in a fragile state. All of us, if justice was served, lie in peril of losing everything we have. Only by the mercy of God do we stand everyday, in a moment it can all be removed, and someday everything will be removed all across our world. These tragedies are only the initial birth pains, preparing for the main event.
How should I respond when I see such destruction? First, I should remember how fragile our life is, everything we prize in this life can be gone in am instant. The electric power can be gone, the internet can vanish, all communication lost, properties swept away; our lives are extremely fragile. Secondly, I have to remember that I live everyday by the mercies of God. It is only His mercy that keeps our country safe, our lives and nation can be brought low in an instant. Thirdly, I should pray for the people of Japan. In moments like these, people can make eternal decisions, we should pray for awakening to come upon these precious people.
Finally, all of us should be humbled. We stand back in silent amazement at the power in God’s creation. We bow down in reverence, and yes, fear at the coming wrath of God that will shortly be released on all mankind. Just as Jesus said, “just as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be the the days of the Son of Man”. Most of the time we take these events in stride, we continue as if nothing happened. That is a dangerous way to live. The people of Noah’s day did not heed his warning, the results of their bad decision was catastrophic. Today, the doors of the ark are still open, let us run into the open arms of our Lord. That is the only place of safety in these troubled times.

THE TIME OF THE END

THE TIME OF THE END

“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Dan.12:1,2

“A time of trouble such as never been seen”, these are the powerful prophetic words of the prophet Daniel speaking of the days that we live in. There has never been a time like the one we live in now. There are more conveniences than ever, which tend to lull us into a sense of false security. Then, suddenly we are awakened again to our fragile state by a terrorist attack, an earthquake, a “Katrina like” storm, a revolution, or a tsunami. The latest two events are the revolutions in several muslim nations and then the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The world is reeling in the throes of birth pangs, anticipating the promised return of Jesus Christ.
Jesus spoke often of the events that would signal His return. He spoke of wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, pestilences, and famines. But this is not all He indicated would happen just before He returned. He said that there would be an incredible spiritual tsunami before His return. What would that look like? It would be a time when multitudes of the least likely would suddenly be converted to Christ. Also unexpected candidates would find themselves suddenly thrust into gospel ministry. We are entering into the most dangerous, unpredictable yet glorious time our world has ever known. These are the days the prophets spoke of and the angels longed to see, and we live in them.
For the Christian, these days are not terrifying, our future is secure and we are in the midst of the Father’s hand. Who can pluck us from His hand or separate us from His love? I am persuaded that, neither life nor death, earthquakes or tsunamis, terrorist attacks or nuclear disasters shall be able to separate us from the love of God found in our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is our returning, victorious Lord and all of these events are in the midst of His hand. What shall I do, love Him with all my heart and tell as many people that I can of His great love.

MARINATED

MARINATED

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Eph.4:4-6

What is the greatest honor and greatest happiness a man can achieve in this life? Is it to climb to the highest heights in academic achievements, or to climb the mountain of ambition and gain in the business world, or to hear the accolades of thousands because of your athletic accomplishments and trophies? No, the greatest honor and highest joy available to man, in this life and in the life to come, can be found in his connection to the Lord and His church by being filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit. Charles Hodge, professor at Princeton University in the 19th century, expressed it like this in his comments on Ephesians 4:6.

“The apostle does not refer to the dominion of God over the universe, or to his providential agency throughout all nature. Neither is the reference to his dominion over rational creatures or over mankind. It is the relation of God to the church, of which the whole passage treats. God as Father is over all its members, through them all and in them all. The church is a habitation of God through the Spirit. It is his temple in which he dwells and which is pervaded in all its parts by his presence. To be filled with God; to be pervaded by his presence, and controlled by him, is to attain the summit of all created excellence, blessedness and glory.”

To be “pervaded” by God, we would say today permeated, is the greatest atainment in this life. I like the word marinated. When you are pervaded, permeated, or marinated by God Himself, you will find your highest honor and deepest happiness. Where is this place of total permeation? Why, it is in His church of course, this is the place where the Lord has chosen to dwell and to reveal His Glory, and this is the place you will discover your purpose in life. Have you ever experienced that corporate anointing that Paul describes in this verse? To experience the tangible presence of God in a gathering of believers is the closest parallel to heaven we can experience in this life. In that place of corporate saturation, many times, the Lord speaks to us. This is the place of total contentment and the place of supernatural guidance.

FACEBOOK REVOLUTION

FACEBOOK REVOLUTION

In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border. It will be a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt. When they cry to the Lord because of oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and deliver them. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.
Isa.19:19,20,23

We have seen some incredible events in the last several months, a successful revolution in Egypt and much of the middle east in social upheaval. These recent revolutions have been largely led by the young people of these nations. Their dissatisfaction with their status quo has been fueled by the internet over the last several years and communicated and organized by the social network phenomenon. When people get a whiff of a better life, there is no stoping their desires to attain that life. That brings us to the underlying reality below the surface of these social changes, actually it brings us to the underlying real purpose of these events. The Bible clearly teaches that the Lord raises up political leaders and brings them down to fulfill His ultimate purposes. What is the real purpose behind these revolutions? Unbeknown to the participants, the Lord’s plan in these nations is spiritual awakening. In today’s scripture passage the Lord describes a prophetic day when the Assyrians and the Egyptians would worship together. When Isaiah spoke of Egypt and Assyria, he was speaking of the entire middle east. Could that be possible? Absolutely! Just as the iron curtain fell in a day, followed by an incredible season of evangelism and church planting, the middle east is beginning to swing it’s doors open which will result in one of the greatest harvests of souls our world has ever seen. The Lord will make “the Assyrians” and the “Egyptians” a sign and a wonder to His amazing grace.
What an amazing time to be a Christian. We have all wondered what it would have been like to live on earth when Christ was here, or maybe during the Great Awakening at one of George Whitefield’s meetings, or maybe at the Azusa Street Revival. Any of those times would have been great, but this season could prove to be the greatest spiritual upheaval our world has ever seen. What should I do, look up your redemption is drawing near.