Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A New Year To Discern : Some Thoughts

Matthew 24:1-14

And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

I hope everyone had a wonderful, blessed and meaningful Christmas as well as trust in God for a happy New Year.

There. I've said it the way I would want to say it and not in the safely emasculated way that secularizing sentiment would have the holiday seasons observed ("Have a Happy Holiday!", cut and paste on every marketing campaign they could get it on, from Victoria's Secret to Captain Morgan, and show lots of people buying stuff). There is enough to say about our rotting culture right there but I trust many who read here get the point.

I am reassuming the helm on my blog here, after some time traveling and being with family, and in so doing, I do so with a lot of prayerful hope that 2010 will be a more fruitful year for our lives, ministry and one in which I personally seek my Lord afresh. Above all I want to be an overcomer. To each church Jesus sent word to in the book of Revelation (chapters 2-3), He indicated that only those who withstood all of the potent temptations and trials of this world and overcame them would gain the prize of eternal life. This is a battle, as the struggles of those churches indicate, that involves not only personal moral sanctity, responsible relationships with others in the church and the world, but head on conflict in the age old battle between truth and error, against spiritual deception.

Through it all, I want to be about the business of bringing healing to the broken hearted, proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who need to hear it, and announcing deliverance to those bound by chains of darkness, sin and bad religion and philosophy. If that sounds like a tall order, it's only because you may be looking at it from a viewpoint that fails to see how God uses ordinary people to do the extraordinary, as they seek to obey His express will for their lives. The ministry of the Gospel, above all, is one that is based upon reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:8), the bringing together of those separated from the gracious fellowship God offers to all through a renewed encounter with Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:28-29).

Joy and I, Bryan and Cheryl and Steve and Kathy have sought to do this in Spiritwatch Ministries for the past decade. We have all seen and beheld how the spiritual darkness Jesus warned us would come has claimed the lives of so many in the cults and culture of today. And each of us in our church outreaches and personal discernment ministries have done what we can to walk with Jesus so we can take a stand for the truth and then run to the battles where souls have stumbled as angels of light bearing false doctrine and practice blind them. God willing, we hope to continue to do so as time goes by.

In the next few days, we'll be backing up to punt .. I want to focus upon the ABC's of our ministerial ethos and examine just what the last days apostasy is a bit more. In this blog, I've been writing as if many who visit assume that they know what that is. I've responded to various news items that show signs of it all around us. But in the next day or two, I want to start addressing what the Bible says about this apostasy, and why the church today is increasingly a bigger player in it then ever before .. just as Jesus warned it would be.