How to deal with this world as the last days come closer.

The Bible says in 1 Timothy 3:1-4, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” I think we can all agree that these times are upon us right now.

What is the clear and concise advice that Paul gives to Timothy and to us, “Avoid such people.” What is becoming more challenging all the time is that it is getting harder to avoid these people. And honestly, I believe Paul and Timothy would agree that in some regard, we must seek to share the Good News with them as circumstances allow.

The key to addressing this situation is that I need to begin to understand what my true motivation must be when coming across these sorts of people. My motivation must be Christ’s love for them. Trying to do this in my own strength is virtually impossible but with the power of God’s Word (which is living and active…) and prayer and active listening for the Holy Spirit’s reminders to me, I am, only then, able to accomplish this.

What the Lord has focused me on is this section of 2 Corinthians 10:5, “…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” The first challenge I faced in focusing on this verse section was, “Is it possible for someone to take EVERY thought captive and make it obedient to Christ?” That was my first hurdle to overcome. Since about 6 or 7 years ago I settled on the truth that all that is written in God’s Word is true and that I need to conform myself to it rather conform it to me. From this point forward, life has improved giving me greater clarity and peace. I think this is because I decided not to spend time wrestling with God’s Word, arguing with it or questioning it. I just accepted it no matter how difficult and continued to study it in deeper ways. What I discovered is that when I came across those difficult passages that I questioned or wrestled with and then studied them further, I always found sound and legitimate reasons why God did what He did or said what He said, etc…

So back to 2 Corinthians 10:5: What happened when I began to simply trust this verse, God began to make me aware of my thoughts and feelings. Nothing more than just making me aware of my thoughts and feelings. It was something I had never done with any power or wisdom.  Within a short time, by simply thinking about my thoughts/feelings and scrutinizing them to see if they were obedient to Christ (as best I knew at the moment) I began to almost immediately overcome a struggle with depression that I’ve had since I was probably a teenager (I was born in 1957 just to give you a timeframe).

So, since taking 2 Corinthians 10:5 seriously and beginning to learn to practice this discipline, I have begun (and I emphasize “begun”) to take more thoughts/feelings that were, what I call, not of God.  The next step beyond awareness was to actually begin to take these thoughts/feelings captive to make obedient to Christ.  What I’ve clearly sensed is a greater ability to walk/live in the spirit as God’s Word speaks about even within the midst of those people who are lost and living lives that are portrayed in 1 Timothy 3:1-4.

If you are interested in walking/living in the spirit with confidence, power and wisdom, let me know and we can discuss it further. I hope to write about the next step of how one begins to take captive thoughts/feelings to make them obedient to Christ at a later date.  It’s a simple process that may help you begin your own journey with power and wisdom and hence, peace.  I’ll even give you a hint: Jesus did the same thing when He was tempted in the wilderness by Satan.

What are the Signs of a True Believer in Jesus Christ

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Dear fellow pilgrims,

The first thing I need to explain before I get to the core reason for writing this post is that I am involved in a Christian Internet support ministry called http://www.Groundwire.net.  It is a ministry which provides the ability for anyone to chat with what we call a “Spiritual Coach”.  This ministry places ads on both Christian and secular media including VH1, MTV, Adult Swim, etc…  The overall purpose of the ministry is to seek and to save the lost for Jesus Christ and to also encourage fellow believers who are having some sort of difficulty in their life.  (If you’re interested in doing evangelism from your own home for 1-2 hours a week, please contact Dan Y at dany@groundwire.net.

I’ve been involved in this ministry for a little over four years now and I can say that it is an incredible blessing to me in many ways.  First of all, I’m blessed just to have the opportunity to share the power of God’s Word with others.  Secondly, I’m blessed in that as I’m prayerfully helping someone on-line, the advice from God’s Word that I’m sharing with them is also ministering to me and blessing me in my faith.  These blessings I attribute to our Holy Spirit who, with prayer, helps us help others by utilizing the true power of God and His Holy Word.

During my four years in this ministry, many people that I’ve chatted with in the past, have e-mailed me to follow-up on things we’ve discussed in our past on-line chats.  I recently had a person (I’ll change his name to “Adam”), contact me about his struggle with p0rnography and ma$turbation (the reason I wrote it like that is because I’m concerned that if I write it the normal way, it may be flagged by this blog site in a way I wouldn’t want it to be flagged).  Anyway, “Adam” and I had chatted recently about his struggles with this and I shared with him about the power of prayer and the power of reading, studying and memorizing God’s Word.  I reassured him that with diligent and prayerful engagement with God’s Word, he would begin to understand how to overcome his sin of lust and self-abuse.  I’d like to share with you one of our most recent interactions so that it might be helpful to others who struggle with these sorts of problems AND to get any input from my readers about how they might have answered Adam.

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From “Adam”:

“Thanks so much for your spiritual warfare prayers I used the first one about 4 days ago and was lust and porn free for about 3 days! It was an amazing feeling. however I feel like total crap now because I messed up today. I will try again but please pray for me. That I can go on for longer this time around.”

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My response:

“Thank you for writing!  I’m so glad to hear from you!

Please remember that our sinful ways did not develop overnight and so those sinful ways sometimes take time to overcome.  Please be careful about trying to overcome completely in your flesh.  Our flesh is no match for Satan, but the power of the Holy Spirit which resides in each true believer, is THE power that will overcome.  Living in the spirit is our long term solution because we learn to live and walk in the spirit through the power of God’s Word.  God’s Word “is living and active and sharper than any double edged sword.  It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow.  It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
We must know that we have the Holy Spirit who desires for us to live righteously but communicates best through our reading, understanding and memorizing God’s Word.  If you will commit yourself to these things, you will grow in true power to overcome more and more and deeper and deeper sins in your life.
Please be patient and know that God desires us to sometimes battle with HIS weapons rather than the papier-mache weapons that the world or Satan try to hand to us to fight them with.
After falling, upon noticing that you’ve just lost the battle, immediately repent (turn toward God) and confess your sin.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  Never forget that Jesus died for ALL of your sins, past, present and future almost 1980 years ago on a cross on Calvary.  You are as white as snow.   Our love for Jesus and what He did so completely for us is what our life should be about from that point on; out of love not obligation.  It’s a hard concept for those of us who live in a world that tells us that we must perform in order to earn what we want in our lives.  As true believers in Christ, we are forgiven and have the power to overcome sin.  We just need to deeply understand Gods powerful Word in order to figure out how HE says it must be done.
How is your Bible reading, studying and memorizing going?  Without a dedication to this, we are doomed to fail over and over again, and be convinced by Satan to give up.
Joyous Christmas blessings!”
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The next time I will share the next interaction I had with “Adam”.
Until then fellow pilgrims, always remember, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

Introduction to the life

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So my first observation about this pilgrim life, is about us; those who call themselves my fellow sojourners and followers of Jesus Christ.  

I listen to various radio broadcasts and podcasts that are decidedly Christian.  While I understand why radio/podcast jockeys, who are followers of Christ, would want to discuss the things of this world and possibly project the Good News of Jesus Christ via the media, many times I sense “worry”, “anxiousness”, “hype”, “fear”, and “shock” in these broadcasts, just as the “worldly” jockeys do!  I agree that there are many unusual and strange and disappointing events occurring here on this alien planet, but none of them are without explanation or ancient prophecies predicting them.  

So I remind you my fellow sojourners, “Do not be afraid.”  I found this specific phrase in our handbook (The Bible) 70 times.  I would encourage you all to consider what’s happening with a sense of distance and a sense of our King having everything under His control.  I recently heard Mark Hitchcock from http://www.raptureready.com say something like, “God the Father, and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are not having an emergency meeting up in Heaven, wringing their hands worrying about what they’re going to do about certain events here on Earth.”

I realize that we live amongst family members, friends and business associates who do not know our King and do not trust or understand the perspective we have as new creations in Christ and pilgrims in this world. Therefore shouldn’t we, with peace and joy reigning in our hearts, be helping them understand our Lord and Savior by assuring them that everything can and will be OK?  Shouldn’t we be telling them that If they would receive Him and trust Him and all His promises then “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23) would be their’s?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating the health and wealth gospel, but I am advocating something actually far better.  These godly promises are for those in the midst of suffering and tribulation and therefore makes them far batter than any health and wealth gospel could ever be.

Now here’s the rub fellow sojourners; before I can possibly do such a thing, I must recognize and receive and embrace these promises for my own life first.  If I have not received and understood these promises and attained this perspective in my own life, how will I ever be able to assure others that what I have received and become, is any better than what they already have.

So my intention in this blog is to be in this world but not of this world and report on situations I come across; all the while using God’s true Word to guide me thereby helping us shift our perspective away from mere earthbound perspectives and encourage a new earthbound/ heavenly perspective that is loving, encouraging and redeeming.  I pray that this will be encouraging to all my brothers and sisters in Christ and that together we will live and love as Jesus lives and loves through us in His Holy Spirit.

Grace and Peace in Him alone!