UNDER UMBRELLAS OF PROTECTION

 

NAHUM 1:1-7 (NIV BIBLE):

[1] An oracle concerning Nineveh: The book of the vision of Nahum the El-ko shite.

[2] The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies.  [3] The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; he will not leave the guilty unpunished.  His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet.  [4] He rebukes the sea and dries it up; he makes all the rivers run dry.  Bashan and Carmel wither and the blossoms of Lebanon fade. [5] The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away.  The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it.  [6] Who can withstand his indignation?  Who can endure his fierce anger?  His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him.

LIVING ‘UNDER THE UMBRELLA’ – (verse 7)

[7]  The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in him.

AN UNINTENTIONAL DECEPTION –

We live in an age when even the CHURCH has tried to become politically correct.

We have tried to candy coat God into a nice little good God who loves and never hurts anyone.  He never gets angry at sin, or judges or condemns anyone–let alone sends them to hell.

In our efforts to sell God to the world we have often sugar-coated the awesome reality of God, then question why people don’t take God in the Bible seriously.  In our efforts to bring in proselytes through the hallowed doors of our buildings on Sunday…telling only of God’s LOVE and avoiding His burning HOLINESS and His fearsome WRATH.   We have left it in the Old Testament as if God has changed (evolved) over time to a kinder, gentler God, who overlooks our sins and just wants to bless us all.

All of that’s fine and dandy, but CHURCH…we are in for a rude awakening.  We can’t keep avoiding the bible passages that speak of God’s WRATH, pretending they don’t exist.  If we do, we are spiritually and morally negligent.

THE FACT OF NATURAL DISASTERS (rarely can they be blamed on man directly) –

It is rare for a single generation in a given locale to be spared at least some kind of natural disaster.  Without warning, tornadoes sweep down from the afternoon sky and destroy in moments fury what it took decades or centuries to build.

HISTORIC FLOODING FAR FROM OVER…

I was reading the headlines in the paper while in a doctor’s waiting room this past week:  Nine deaths have been blamed on flooding in several states across Midwestern and Southern United States this past week.  More than 270 roads remain closed across the state of Missouri, with some 200 homes have been impacted by the floods and another 1,500 are in danger (Associated Press).

Do these types of natural disasters represent merely isolated, infrequent events? Hardly.

Throughout history, man has recorded many such tragedies:

  • In 526, an EARTHQUAKE hit the country now known as Turkey and left 250,000 dead.
  • A similar EARTHQUAKE in China in 1556 killed over 830,000 people.
  • In 1889 the famous “Johnstown Flood” occurred in Pennsylvania.  Over 2000 people were killed when the South Fork Reservoir dam burst during heavy rains.

Each time natural disasters happen across the world humanity suffers.  And each time there are those who ask “Why?”  Why them and why now?

The struggle to understand a Good God and the fact of natural disasters is common.

ORIGINAL SIN CURSED THE WORLD (Genesis 3).

MAN’S PERSISTENT UNCONFESSED SIN opens the way for disaster to strike giving Satan a place to establish a STRONGHOLD.

So…MAN’S SIN takes him out of God’s Protection.   

AN UMBRELLA can show us something of God’s Protection and to be covered and protected we must walk close.  If we walk out from under the UMBRELLA we are no longer protected.

  • God is not in every STORM – (He allows them–in that He doesn’t stop them from happening).
  • God is in some storms (He causes some).
  • Time and Chance happen to all (Ecclesiastes).

We blame a lot of DISASTERS on the devil, but the biblical record shows very few times when he was personally responsible (example Job).

However, very often God says I SENT THIS DISASTER AND HERE’S WHY:

GOD IS ON RECORD –

  • Joseph in Genesis 41 (God’s plan to enlarge His people in Egypt) – FAMINE in Egypt–Psalm 105:16 caused by God.
  • David’s 2 Samuel 21:1 – Saul’s sons the reason.
  • David’s Choice 2 Samuel 24:13 – Because of SIN.
  • 1 Kings 18:2 – Elijah-Ahab- Because of Ahab’s SIN.
  • Jeremiah 24:8-10:  (vs. 10)  “And I will send the sword, famine, and pestilence among them until they are consumed from off the land that I gave to them and to their fathers.”

EARTHQUAKES, PLAGUES, AND DISASTERS –

God has POWER & AUTHORITY over the earth, so why does He allow all the destructive storms, plagues, and disasters to occur?

THE ANSWER is found in the first chapters of Genesis.  God created everything perfect and beautiful.  When Adam and Eve SINNED, He placed a CURSE on the earth and everything became broken and degraded.

Although the CURSE brought about CONFLICT, DISEASE, AND DEATH, much of the original beauty can still be seen in God’s Creation.  It continues to show His Power, Wisdom, and Design ability.

But why do Christians suffer?  Couldn’t God protect us from the powers of evil?

The ANSWER is YES, He will.

He protected the nation of Israel in Egypt from most of the PLAGUES and could still do the same today.

Some Reasons Why God Allows Natural Disasters…

ONE reason is to make us realize we are totally dependent on Him:  Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread” (Mt. 6:11). With all that we have and need, we tend to forget this prayer and God’s ability to answer it.  This is a reason why God keeps many of us poor.  If we had all we wanted we would become independent and turn from a close relationship with our Father.

To Cause Us to Call Upon God in the Day of Trouble:

Our TROUBLES give God an opportunity to keep His PROMISES, otherwise, we forget we are dependent upon God for everything.

God says, “And call upon Me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you and you shall honor and glorify Me” (Psalm 50:15 AMP).

To Sort Out Our Priorities:

During times of DISASTER, we realize that RELATIONSHIPS are more important than things–especially our Relationship with our heavenly Father and belief in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul said, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

A Call to Repentance:

DISASTERS serve as a wake-up call to REPENTANCE for mankind.  Disasters can have a sobering effect upon the human mind.  When WAR breaks out, or an EARTHQUAKE destroys countless lives and property. or a DROUGHT burns the crops and dries up the water supply, or an EPIDEMIC DISEASE victimizes millions of people, many call out to God either in a curse or in prayer.

It was C.S. Lewis who penned “pain is God’s megaphone to a deaf world.”

 

The DROUGHT in California

 

  • It was an earthquake that caused a Philippians Jailer to cry out “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 17:30)
  • It was a famine that sent king Ahab searching everywhere for the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 18:10).
  • It was a plague that brought Pharaoh to his knees confessing before Moses: “I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you.  Now, therefore, forgive my sin, I pray you, only this once, and entreat the Lord your God only to remove this death from me.”  (Exodus 10:16, 17)

The manifestation of divine judgment through calamities is intended to summon people to repent. 

AN ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE COMING FINAL JUDGMENT:

God’s final judgment is called the Day Of The Lord in the OT.  It reminds us that the Day of the Lord is nearing (Joel 1:15).  They are also to remind us that the Judge of all mankind is standing at the door! (James 5:9).

TO SHOW GOD’S POWER TO RESTORE:  (All Natural Disasters are Redemptive in Nature)

Our Father wants what is best for us.  We don’t know the future.  God does and will shape events to bring true the promise:

“All things work together for good to them who love God”

That’s our UMBRELLA folks.  Knowing that our heavenly Father will work out for us the best deal in town and we do not need to worry when bad times come.

“EACH TIME GOD SENDS HURRICANES, FLOODS OR OTHER CALAMITIES HE IS SPEAKING TO HIS PEOPLE”  by Henry Blackaby.

While not expecting unbelievers to connect anything with God because they don’t think He exists.  Blackaby goes on to say he “expects God’s people to be paying attention and for the most part they aren’t.”

GOD IS IN CONTROL OF WORLD EVENTS (ISAIAH 28:2):

NATURAL DISASTERS are a humbling reminder that there is a God:

Isaiah 13:13:  “Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; the earth shall be shaken out of its place at the wrath of the Lord of hosts in the day of His fierce anger.”  (AMP Bible)

Joel 2:31:  “The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and terrible day.” (AMP)

Amos 4:13:  “He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, whom turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth–the LORD God Almighty is his name.” (NIV)

Is God Judging the Nations Today? YES.

HIS JUDGMENT IS BASED UPON OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM!

WHAT’S YOUR CHOICE?

Feel free to add your comments and observations in the REPLY section at the bottom of this page on God’s control of world events whether NATURAL or manmade.

_______________________________________________________________________

CREDITS:

QUOTES BY Henry Blackaby, Founder of Blackaby Ministries and author of Experiencing God.

Photos:  Google Advance Image Search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV), except where noted in the text.

Palm Trees In A Dry And Thirsty Land

A STUDY IN THE PSALMS–Psalm 92:12-15

The [uncompromisingly] righteous shall flourish like the PALM TREE…(verse 12).

In preparation for this blog, if I were going to address how it is to “flourish like the palm tree,” researching the PALM TREE’S characteristics was important to the study.

ATTRIBUTES:

There are over 300 species of Palm trees, growing from 3 to 100 feet tall.  The DATE PALM produces over 300 pounds of dates annually.  That’s a lot of fruit.

Fruit of the PALM TREE
Fruit of the PALM TREE

When growing up in Southern California, there was always the presence of palms–along side beaches, front yards, landscapes, everywhere.  In fact, there are towns and cities named for the abundance of PALM TREES.

My wife and I went on our honeymoon to PALM SPRINGS California.  There’s even a town in the desert called 29 Palms.  An OASIS in the desert.

welcome-to-twentynine

HISTORICALLY, the Palm Tree has been called the REPRESENTATIVE TREE of Palestine, where it has stood through the years as a symbol of the land of our LORD.

At the triumphal entry of Jesus as He made His entry to Jerusalem before His death, people broke off palm branches and waved them in front of Him.

Looking at a picture given to us of the victorious Children of God, given to us by John in Revelation 7:9, he says among other things, that they were “clothed with white robes and PALMS in their hands.”

The Bible says in Psalm 92:12, the PALM TREE has several characteristics that gives us pictures in the life of the Christian.

#1.  THE PALM TREE BREAKS THE BANDS –

Unlike other trees, as the tree grows, it breaks the band surrounding the trunk.

In most other trees, bands placed around the wood when young, dig into the trunk.  I’ve seen pictures of an old clothesline wire wrapped around the tree when young, sunk deep into the wood as it appears to be strangling the life out of the tree as it grew.

While in Hawaii, wide bands are placed around the Coconut Palm Trees to prevent rodents from attacking the fruit; the “bands” are broken by the growth of the tree and periodically must be replaced in the groves.

The true CHILD OF GOD can claim victory through Christ–

We don’t have to continue in sin…

Romans 6:1-2, 6, 11-14;

1 Corinthians 15:57;

Romans 8:37.

#2.  THE PALM TREE WILL BEND–BUT NOT BREAK!

3374071855_baa6da995a

Even in HURRICANE FORCE WINDS, the palm tree is able to withstand the storm.

And as the storms of life approaches, it causes many disasters for those not serving God.

But the child of God, like the PALM TREE will bend, but doesn’t break in the storms that will come our way.

#3.  THE PALM TREE IS A SURVIVOR–

Still Standing in the Storm
Still Standing in the Storm

Not only does the PALM TREE grow in the desert, it flourishes!

The roots go deep below the burning sands, finding moisture down deep below the surface, anchoring its stability in the bedrock.

“…and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that ROCK WAS CHRIST”  (1 Corinthians 10:4 NIV).

Although the HURRICANES we are familiar with come ashore to large populations and not deserts, the principles still apply–DEEP ROOTS.

As a child of God, we must go DEEP with God if we’re to flourish.

Without a deep tap-root, and only surface feeding roots…fibrous roots, it will do nothing but cause unstableness to the tree in the storms of life.

To go deep, we must live the Christ-like life:

“I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me”  (Galatians 2:20 King James Version).

To go really deep…we must fervently PRAY.  

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says,  “Be unceasing in prayer–praying perseveringly” (Amplified Bible).

So it is NOT theology, NOT psychology, but “kneeology” that encourages our deep rooting.

MANY CHRISTIANS today are not flourishing…

BECAUSE, they’re seeking nourishment on the surface only–running their ROOTS of life out laterally.

Shallow rooted believers look to the world for refreshment and come away still thirsty.

True Believers send their TAP ROOT deep in into the Word of God and prayer.

#4.  PALM TREES GATHER TOGETHER IN THE WILDERNESS–

One tree standing alone will never produce much shade in the wilderness’ hot sun.

AN OASIS
An OASIS in the Sun

 

But a group of PALM TREES gathered together, forms an OASIS–stay together and stand as BELIEVERS.

Orange and lemon trees can be found growing in the desert beneath the SHADE of the PALM TREES grouped together.

When we group together, as the church gathers together, we can provide shade for those who are spiritually weaker than ourselves.  That’s why HEBREWS 10:25 is so important in a dry and thirsty land:

“Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching”  (Amplified Bible).

Since “we are the church,” whether gathered together in a large building, or a private home, or in an underground meeting place in China, we are to gather together as an OASIS.

#5.  THE HEART OF THE PALM TREE IS ALIVE!

The life of the palm tree is on the inside.  Outward abuse doesn’t affect the life or quality of the tree.

Because the child of God has a life deep within the HEART (soul and spirit)–they are free from a sin nature.

Romans 6:17-18 NIV Bible:

“But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.  You have been set free from sin and have become saves to righteousness.” 

Our lives as God’s children is seeded within us (2 Corinthians 4:16).

#6.  THE OLDER THE PALM TREE–

The Encyclopedia Britannica says this about DATE PALMS longevity:  “Palms are known to live as long as 150 years. Though their fruit production declines, with scared trunks visible, the fruit produced in the later years is often sweeter!

Though I don’t want to live to the age of a palm tree, I do hope and pray as I grow older, my FRUIT will still be as SWEET.

** [Biblical verses pertaining to FRUIT: Matthew 12:33; Luke 8:14-15; John 15:1-8; Galatians 5:22-26.]

As Christians grow older, our fruit should grow sweeter.

The SCARS OF LIFE produce the fruit of holiness and the TRIALS OF LIFE conform us, prunes us into the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-29).

#7.  THE PALM TREE CAN’T BE GRAFTED–

I remember my father-in-law telling me about his small avocado ranch in Vista, California. “Root Rot” destroyed many groves one season, forcing him to make a difficult but necessary decision:  Sell the farm, or…he took the “or”.

He cleared the diseased avocado trees, planted lemon trees in their place.  But after a few years, lemon prices dropped below market cost, and another decision was undertaken.

He GRAFTED limes on to the lemon rootstock because limes were more valuable wholesale and citrus trees are compatible to graft.

HORTICULTURALISTS say, to GRAFT a palm tree is to kill it.  

THE PALM TREE, unlike the lemon and lime trees, is distinctive and unusual.  That’s why grafting kills it.

To GRAFT A CHRISTIAN into the world, kills one’s testimony and influence.  

As a true believer, the Christian is to be unique and easily distinguished from the world.

“I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren…”  (Romans 12:1-2).

#8.  THE PALM TREE IS AN EVERGREEN–

“They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green”  (Psalm 92:14 NIV).

I have lived in the Evergreen State (Washington State) now for over 35 years.  Coming from Southern California originally, I have come to enjoy the evergreen trees that are in abundance and part of the landscape; seen from every home and automobile window.

EVERGREEN is a symbol of immortality.

The child of God will never die spiritually, having an everlasting life (John 3:16, 18, 36).

When I awake every morning, I give THANKS to my God and Savior that I am “planted in the house of the Lord”; that like the PALM TREE, my fruit is growing sweeter every day by the renewing of my mind daily (Romans 12:2), in Christ Jesus; that the Word of God will keep me fresh and green as the PALM TREE.

It is good to praise the Lord…to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night…How great are your works, O Lord, how profound are your thoughts!  The righteous will flourish like a PALM TREE, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon…  [Selected verses from Psalm 92]

I hope an pray that this blog has given you encouragement in whatever you are going through in life and a testimony to others around you.


CREDITS:

DATE PALM FACTS: Wikipedia the Date Palm; Encyclopedia Britannica.

PHOTOS:  Photo Pin, Google Search.

 

 

 

To SLEEP or Not to SLEEP? That’s the Question!

FIRST OF ALL, THERE IS “GOOD SLEEP” and there’s “BAD SLEEP”:

2489146362_6daf5bee61Have you ever taken a “RED-EYE” flight to a destination?  I did once, from Seattle, Washington to Chicago, Illinois; then transferred, after a two-hour layover at O’Hare Airport… to Detroit, Michigan.  All for a job interview in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Other than the flight duration, shaving in an airport public restroom, and putting on a wrinkled tie out of my briefcase, matching my wrinkled suit…I might have been more refreshed and alert if I could only SLEEP on airplanes!  But alas, unlike the gentlemen in the picture to the left, that didn’t happen.

Now the Flight Attendants on the RED-EYE did their best to make me comfortable, I still couldn’t seem to nod off.  Maybe because my mind was so wired, worried about the interview, I couldn’t sleep; or maybe it was FEAR!  FEAR that I would get lost in an unfamiliar airport, miss the connecting flight, etc.  Regardless my reasons, by the time I arrived at the perspective employer’s corporate office, I was definitely not rested or at peace at my destination.

“Sleep” is a Funny Thing–

When you need rest, SLEEP often doesn’t come.  You toss and turn…fidget…you’re in misery because you can’t sleep.

Then…when you need to stay awake, sometimes, SLEEP overtakes you and you can’t help but fall asleep.  Someone once said:  “You can buy sleep (it comes in a pill form), but you can’t buy rest.”

The Bible has a lot to say about “sleep”–

It’s probably because everybody does it!  But there’s GOOD sleep, there is BAD sleep.

Matthew 26:45-46 NASB:

[45]  “Then He came to the disciples, and said to them,  “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?  Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.  

[46]  “Arise, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!”

JESUS says 2 things about “sleep”:

26:45 – “Sleep on now.”

26:46 – “Rise, let us be going”…get up out of your sleep!

There’s a time to sleep…AND…there’s a time to wake-up.

The verses in Matthew seem to put “sleep” into two categories:

#1.  “Sleep On.”

SLEEP refreshes us for the events of the next day.  And in the verses in Matthew, Jesus is headed for the cross the next day; He wanted the disciples to stay up and pray with Him.

Every time He went to them, they were asleep and missed out on a wonderful experience of ministry.  Now, JESUS says, “sleep on”…for they will need their rest for the events of the next day.

SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING…there are times when we SHOULD sleep.  

We can see this illustrated in several Bible characters found sleeping.

ADAM – Genesis 2:18-22:

“[21]  And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam…”

God caused Adam to SLEEP, yet Adam didn’t sleep because he was tired; he didn’t FAIL God by going asleep (like the Disciples).  God CAUSED him to sleep.

It was GOOD that Adam slept.  WHY?  Because God was going to do SURGERY on Adam.  I would rather be put to SLEEP whenever anybody is going to do surgery on me.

We can apply this to our SPIRITUAL LIVES too!

Some things in our life, God wants to “put to sleep”, so He can do surgery on us–EXAMPLES…

WORRY –

We need to put our WORRY’S to sleep by given them to the Lord; FORGET those things behind, looking in faith to Christ Jesus:

“[13]  I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.  [14] I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in christ Jesus is calling us upward”  (Philippians 3:13-14 AMP).

GRUDGES –

We need to bury them deep, so they never surface again.

Holding GRUDGES or ILL-FEELINGS against someone can become like CANCER–it eats us up!  It doesn’t do near the damage to others as it does to us.

We need to bury the past…not dig it up, again, and again.

Philippians 3:13-14 (again):

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.    I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”  (KJV).

SINFUL HABITS –

2941673519_fd21e82e02We need to put them to sleep… so God can do surgery on us…they’ve been NIGHTMARES for too long…ruling and ruining our lives.

When God put Adam to sleep, he awoke…there was Eve…a help-mate, a companion, a blessing!

Those things that are hindering our SPIRITUAL GROWTH…we need for God to put them to sleep, and do surgery on us.

When I think of “sleep”, I think of…

JESUS – (Matthew 8:23-27)

It is the only time in Scripture we find Him sleeping.  AND…what a time to sleep!

[24]  And suddenly, behold, there arose a violent storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered up by the waves; but He [Jesus] was sleeping.”

Have you ever known someone like this…to sleep no matter what’s going on around them?  BUT…there was a PURPOSE for His sleeping…to test their faith.

What is the PURPOSE of the storms in our life?

I think it is the opportunity for us to cry out to God, like the Disciples cried out to Jesus:  “…Lord, rescue and preserve us!”…and He was ASLEEP!

Remember Psalm 121:4:

“Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”

But sometimes it seems like God is SLEEPING, doesn’t it?  WHY?  Because of the same reason the Disciples found Jesus SLEEPING…to test their faith.

How did they wake JESUS?  With their prayer:  “Lord, save us!”  These trials and storms that come our way in life can bring us to our knees in prayer.  Sometimes, that’s the only way to get us on our knees…get our attention.

PRAYER will AWAKEN the POWER of God:

“If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, PRAY, SEEK, CRAVE, and require of necessity My face, and turn from their wicked ways, THEN will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land”  (2 Chronicles 7:14).

So…JESUS says, “Sleep on!”

There are good things about “sleep”.  BUT…there are some things that AREN’T so good.

Spiritually speaking, Jesus also said:  “Arise out of your sleep.”

1 Thessalonians 5:6:

“…let us not sleep, as the rest do, but let us keep wide awake (alert, watchful, cautious, and on our guard) and let us be sober (calm, collected, and circumspect”  (AMP).

#2.  “RISE ( ‘get up’ – AMP), LET US BE GOING” —

I found several people in the Bible who could apply the words of JESUS to  “Get up and let’s get going.”

When I think of “sleep”, I think of:

SAMSON – Judges 16:18-19 – Lulled to sleep by Delilah.

Satan loves to do that to us.  THEN…when he gets us to sleep, he starts with the scissors…taking away our strength and our usefulness (16:20-21).

Satan knew Samson’s weakness…WOMEN!  Satan knows OUR weaknesses too.  Maybe it’s love of money…the lust of the flesh…pride…the love of pleasure…I could go on and on.  You know what YOURS is…I know what MINE is.

Satan will lull you to sleep…THEN…get out the scissors…steal your JOY and USEFULNESS.  JESUS says: “Arise out of thy sleep”.

When I think of “sleep”, I think of…

JONAH – Jonah 1:4-5 – Slept in total indifference of the WILL of God and the CALL of God.

JONAH didn’t care about the lost of his generation like God did.  Jonah said:  “Let them ALL go to HELL…I don’t care.”  THEN…he went to SLEEP.

How many of us have done the same thing?  SATISFIED with our own salvation…we’re going to Heaven, and that’s all that matters.  If others don’t want to go there, that’s their tough luck!

What have we done?  We become like Jonah.  It’s time we woke out of our SLEEP.  JESUS said, “Get up, let us be going.”

TEN VIRGINS – (Matthew 25:1-5 AMP).

 Most of us are familiar with the parable Jesus gives regarding the kingdom of Heaven.  I did a study sometime go on the TEN VIRGINS and POSTED with the title, “Shout!  It’s Midnight And The Bridegroom is Here!” if interested.

[1] THEN THE kingdom of heaven shall be likened to TEN VIRGINS who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.  [2] Five of them were foolish (thoughtless, without forethought) and five were wise (sensible, intelligent, and prudent).  [3] For when the foolish took their lamps, they did not take any [extra] oil with them;  [4] But the wise took flasks of oil along with them [also] with their lamps.  [5] While the bridegroom lingered and was slow in coming, they ALL began nodding their heads, and they fell asleep.

The ladies weren’t living in light of the Lord’s soon return and were caught SLEEPING!  So whose attention was Jesus trying to reach in the parable?  I believe a “hint” is given in Matthew 24:51:  “…the pretenders…”

FIVE of them were caught UN-PREPARED…no oil…

FIVE of them were PREPARED…oil in their lamps.

BUT…ALL TEN were caught “sleeping”.

What is the LESSON here for us?

We don’t know WHEN Jesus is coming back so, we better not be caught “sleeping”.

THIS IS A “SLEEPY” GENERATION!

JESUS gives this warning in Mark 13:35-36:

“Therefore watch–give strict attention, be cautious and alert–for you do not know when the Master of the house is coming, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrowing, or in the morning.    [Watch, I say] lest He come suddenly and unexpectedly and find you asleep”  (Amplified Version).

Don’t be so sound ASLEEP, spiritually speaking, that you aren’t ready for the Lord’s coming.  Don’t be caught with EMPTY lamps; UNPREPARED.

Some THINGS need to be “put to sleep”-

…some sin…

…some habit…

…some worries…

…some grudges…

…some ill-feelings…

Maybe we need some trials in our life to see that JESUS isn’t “sleeping”…BUT…He cares about you…and is always there for you.  Maybe we need to see that Satan is trying to lull you to sleep…to steal your joy…our effectiveness as a Christian.  Remember that the five foolish virgins never ran out of oil, they never had it to begin with.

There are some things in our lives that we need to PUT TO SLEEP and other things that we need to WAKE-UP about.  Let’s agree with one another that the Holy Spirit [represented by the “oil”] be our teacher.

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