The NAYSAYERS and SCOFFERS ABOUND!

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Scripture Text For This BLOG:  2 PETER 3:3-5 

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“ALL MATTERS FOR CHRISTIAN FAITH AND PRACTICE ARE FOUND IN THE BIBLE.”

Any “scoffers”, disbelievers yet?

Peter’s Critical Warning to Christian Believers – VERSE 3

This warning is to the church, of the SCOFFERS & NAYSAYERS that are here already, and the ones who are on their way.

The great turning point that divides mankind in two different groups are those who accept this Book, the Bible, and those who reject it.

It’s critical to know that in the LAST DAYS, there will be mockers of God’s Truth.

12716866_1129933190373473_1572461181_nIn the LAST DAYS, not only will God’s word be rejected, people will mock it!  They will disrespect or mock the TRUTH OF CHRIST JESUS by using their own misinterpretation that they want to be as the truth.

They scoff at God’s Word, not knowing that this very scoffing fulfills Bible prophecy.

Even though these people have always existed to threaten the church from its earliest days, their ungodly activity will increase in “the last days,” that period of time preceding Christ’s second coming.

Peter, John, Jude and Paul all make reference to the increase of false teachers, warning the church with passion not to be alarmed (1 John 2:18; Jude 18-19; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).  

This contempt of the Scripture, God’s Word, and the terrible apostasy [from within the “church”] was also predicted by JESUS.  There was a question put by our LORD Jesus – Luke 18:8:

“When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” 

This scoffing at God’s TRUTH is the expected from this world’s system with one heresy leading to another, drawing mankind further and further away from their Creator.

Self-Willed People Will Doubt the Coming Again of Jesus – VERSE 4:

[4]  “Where is the promise of His coming?  For since the forefathers fell asleep, all things have continued exactly as they did from the beginning of creation.”

THE IMPLICATION:

“THERE IS NO SECOND COMING, we can live any way we want.  A loving God will never judge us.”

A Few EXAMPLES of Today’s Mockers and Scoffers of God’s Word:

Since America is right in the middle of a political season, a lot of ‘out of the heart’ statements (Proverbs 4:23) are being voiced.  Let me give you two examples.  One from a POLITICIAN and one from a PASTOR:

Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority Leader (D. Calif.) says,

“Hillary Clinton faces an uphill climb with white men because they are more influenced by hot-button social issues that they are by economic arguments because of guns, because of gays, and because of God, the three G’s.”  [Free Republic – PBS NewsHour interview.]

“Because of God”?  Really?  That’s a bad thing?

Erwin McManus, the lead pastor at Mosaic Church in Los Angeles, gives his views on what today’s Church should be:

“The church must acclimate to a changing world, or she will decline herself to irrelevance or even extinction…One of those dramatic changes in our environment is the shift from words to images.  To do church in a way that is entirely text driven is the kiss of death.”  [Erwin McManus “An Unstoppable Force, pg. 18]

Now that is interesting view, especially since the apostles taught just the opposite {Titus 1:9; Romans 16:17-18].  

Those who mock and reject God’s written word–that our existence is the way it always has been since the beginning of CREATION or, in the case of most, since we evolved.  The intent of their remarks is…there is no reason to be concerned about pursuing righteousness or about God’s punishment for unrighteousness.  

These people pursue their own lusts, scoffing at the idea that  a “loving God” wouldn’t judge them.  They foolishly claim that Christ was never going to return and that there is no such thing as a final accounting of God.

This was the attitude of some people surrounding the churches in the northern part of Asia Minor, the area of the world that Peter had sent his letters to.

Peter’s Validation –

People persistently IGNORE the OBVIOUS!!

VERSES 5 & 6 answers the previous arguments by reviewing ancient history:

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Scoffers, Naysayers reasoning is faulty.  If they don’t believe that EXISTENCE came into being by the Word of God, then all their reasoning is based on unsound evidence.  Here’s an example I found online (Google Image Search – Atheism):

THE SCOFFERS deliberately and “willingly” forget that God’s Word brought creation into existence and that He desires men to acknowledge it.  When the lives of these people MOCK God, willfully forget that God created EVERYTHING that exists.  God’s WORD created the Heavens and the Earth  (John 1:1-3 AMP):

[1]  IN THE beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.  [2] He was present originally with God.  [3] All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being.

And yet, NAYSAYERS deny that God CREATED the world in the beginning and deny that God would JUDGE the world at its conclusion.

CREATION though, was all due to the divine WORD of God:  “And God said…and God saw!” (Genesis 1).

There is no evolutionary concept of creation with the events taking place over millions or billions of years.

A DIRECT INTERVENTION BY GOD –

VERSE 6, is a direct intervention by God in the course of human history, “through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.”

The SCOFFERS’ claim is short-sighted and ignorant because they ignore the FACT that things haven’t continued as they were from the beginning.

In the previous verse, PETER stated that the UNIVERSE and all contained within it was created by the Word of God.

Now, PETER informs us that by the same WORD…JUDGMENT was rendered upon every living being in response to humanity’s WICKEDNESS.

He reminds us of the NAYSAYERS, the SCOFFERS, the MOCKERS of Noah’s day–decade after decade by his friends and neighbors as he was building the Ark.

Genesis 6-7 gives us clues that it took approximately 75 years to completion [Answers In Genesis – How Long Did It Take for Noah to Build the Ark?].  So imagine your neighbors laughing, jeering, thumbing their noses at you while working on a special project in your front yard after a few short years, much less 55-75 years!

Eventually, the collapse of the water canopy surrounding the earth caused RAIN to fall for the first time and the bursting forth of the underground water system resulted in a world-wide FLOOD.

2 Peter 3.6

In other words, people shouldn’t rely on false assumptions that God has little or nothing to do with the WORLD He created.  Instead, people must realize that by His WORD, He can create anything that He desires, and by His WORD, He can destroy anything that He has created!

GOD’S JUDGMENT (VERSE 7)

“But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been stored up (reserved) for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly people.”  [Amplified Bible]

“By the same WORD”, meaning the Word of God that brought existence into being (verse 5), and brought the watery destruction in Noah’s day (verse 6), by the same WORD, God also sustains His creation.

Moreover, there is a specific limitation to this world’s existence according to the sovereign will of Almighty God.  The POWER of the WORD which sustains ALL living things will one day release the FIRE of His JUDGMENT upon the world.

Over the years, I have heard people around me make jokes about God’s impending JUDGMENT.  I have seen cartoonist draw their caricatures of prophets of doom. But you can take this to the bank, on the fact that just as the world was flooded with water in days of old, it will one day be burned with FIRE  [Read Revelation 19:20; 20:10-15.  Isaiah 51:6; 66:15-16 and Malachi 4:10]. 

And at that time, the earth as we know it, will undergo a far greater impact of God than water.

The JUDGMENT OF FIRE refers to the day when God will come to judge the earth and destroy ALL evil!  (This is called the Day of the Lord in the Old Testament.)

The Lord Jesus will intervene in history by His second advent (coming) to institute His kingdom on earth.

In spite that the Lord hasn’t yet returned, the HOPE of His return is a present reality for those of us who are BELIEVERS–BORN AGAIN!!

The FLOOD and the future renovation of the earth by FIRE should remind us that God accomplishes what He purposes, and He has declared that Jesus Christ will come again (Acts 1:11). 

Since man lost his RIGHTEOUSNESS and renounced the image of God that created him, there is no way he can escape the horrors of the JUDGMENT DAY.

All will perish because of their own SIN and their defiance of their Creator and rejecting their only Savior.  Only those in Jesus Christ escape this punishment.

Remember, “The payment for sin is death, but the gift that God freely gives is everlasting life found in Christ Jesus our Lord”  (Romans 6:23).

As surely as there is SALVATION for the believer, there is terrible JUDGMENT for the Naysayer, the Scoffer, scorner, and ungodly.

God has the end in mind and in sight!  God’s judgment is a call for the unbeliever to examine his sinful condition, and for the believer to be consistently obedient to His WORD.

 


CREDITS:

Photos:  Google Image Search, using Scripture verses.

Bible Translations:  Amplified (AMP), unless noted.

“When the Roll is Called Up Yonder!”

ISAIAH 2:2-5:

[2]  In the last days the mountain of the LORD’S temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.

[3]  Many peoples will come and say,  “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob.  He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”  The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

[4]  He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.  They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.  Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

[5]  Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.

[New International translation]

THE TEMPLE – (verse 2 a.):

SOLOMON'S TEMPLE -Artist's Rendition
SOLOMON’S TEMPLE -Artist’s Rendition

Solomon’s Temple was built on the mountain of the Lord, Mount Moriah, highly visible to all the people of Jerusalem.

[For more on the Temple’s significance, See 2 Chronicles 3-6].

“In the last days…”

Bible prophecy is much like peeling an onion.  As you peel the onion, it gets stronger the farther down you go and at the same time, each layer is significant in its own right.   This certainly applies here in Isaiah.  [https://theworddetective.wordpress.com/2012-03-13/peeling-an-onion:-the-many-layers-of-biblical-prophecy/.]

Revealing the Core
Revealing the Core

 

 

VERSES 2-5–“A Hymn of Hope for Zion”–

This is the looking forward to the “someday” of the LORD.  In the Old Testament, the “someday…” had reference to a time of the victorious interposition by GOD for the overthrow of the foes of Israel, e.g. Isaiah 2:12.  [Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary.]

Then in VERSE 6…HOPE is dashed in fragments:

Surely [LORD]  You have rejected and forsaken your people, the house of Jacob, because they are filled  [with customs]  from the east and with soothsayers [who foretell] like the Philistines; also they strike hands and make pledges and agreements with the children of aliens.  (Amplified Bible)

THE WORLD TODAY:

VERSE 6 can be talking very much of the world today, where the church has largely abandoned its people.  The indifference of Christ’s teaching is diminishing as we allow, even encourage the teaching of foreign religions.

We sing songs proclaiming that we will not serve foreign gods, and society still encourages others to do so.

THE RESULT?  

We have a growth in the Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Eastern and mystical worship in our society and a confusion of belief.  Even church leaders talk about acceptance and incorporation of foreign worship into the worship of the One True God!

Exodus 20:3, 4 – King James Bible:

Thou shall have no other gods before me.  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Living In Today As Christians…

There will be a tomorrow, and a sense of tomorrows after that.  We’ve rested on our laurels; do we really believe Christ will return for His people?  Christ’s second coming becomes empty, a set of words which gives us comfort, becomes diluted, has little meaning.

THE SOMEDAY OF THE LORD – another layer of the onion revealed–

The day of the LORD will come…

JESUS has promised it… (Matthew 26)

The prophets foresee it…

The apostles affirm it…

Malachi 4:1, 2 a – NIV Bible:

“SURELY THE day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day this is coming will set them on fire,”  says the LORD Almighty.  “Not a root or a  branch will be left to them.  [2] But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings…

Joel 2:30, 31 – AMPLIFIED:

And I will show signs and wonders in the heavens; and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke.  [31] The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood BEFORE the great and terrible day of the LORD comes.

WE NEED TO  KEEP WATCH– 

“What!  Are you so utterly unable to stay awake and keep watch with Me…”  (Matthew 26:40).

The Greek word “watch” is Gregorio; translated means: “spiritual alertness”; “be vigilant”.  [i] See Footnote.

Keeping WATCH of World Events Occurring…

Matthew 24:6-8:

[6]  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened or troubled, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.

[7]  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in place after place;

[8]  All this is but the beginning [the early pains] of the birthpangs  [of the intolerable anguish].

Our attention these days is being focused on the trials and problems of our own lives; the increasing interest rates, inflation, negative equity for mortgage loans, increasing personal debt in America.

I read this week in my WORD STUDY investigation, an article entitled Debt Slavery:  30 Facts About Debt In America That Will Blow Your Mind  [ii] See Footnote.

“When your finances are dominated by debt, it makes it really hard to ever get ahead.  Incredibly, 43 percent of all American families spend more than they earn each year.  According to the Federal Reserve, median household debt in America has risen to $75,000.

MEN AND WOMEN IN THE LAND…

Across the land people are working hard in offices, factories, schools, etc., just trying to keep up…forgetting sometimes to WATCH!

Matthew 24:41, 42:

[41]  Two women will be grinding at the hand-mill; one will be taken and one will be left.

[42]  WATCH therefore, for you do not know in what kind of day [whether a near or remote one] your LORD is coming.

You may be sleeping in your bed, and some will be taken…and some will be left behind.  These are the words of JESUS himself!  We ignore them at our peril because a great and terrible day of the LORD is coming.

THE MOUNTAIN OF THE LORD  (Isaiah 2:3):

GOD  WILL JUDGE (Verse 4), and we shall have to stand before Him.  The Big Question is,  “in what frame of soul will we stand there?”  

As the story of our lives are REVEALED, what will you be thinking?

What matters even more…the Book in Jesus’ hands, the Lamb’s Book of Life–Revelation 20:12

The Book of Life
The Book of Life

“And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.”

IF our names are written there, have NO FEAR…for all of our past sins, our failures will be washed away.  Our past has been nailed on the Cross at Calvary.  We’ll be standing in WHITE ROBES, washed in the Blood of the Lamb!

Perfection is Attainable!

Here lies the great JOY that one day we will know:  PERFECT LIGHT–PERFECT PEACE–PERFECT JOY–PERFECT LOVE–in the eternal presence of GOD!  Nothing can take that perfection away from us, absolutely nothing!

Do you find yourself sitting on a pile of poop these days?

“Job was stuck on his dung hill”

I’ve been reading in my devotion time in the mornings, about the life of Job.  Living as I do in “dairy country”, I’m quite familiar with cow “dung.” You can see it, smell it every time one takes a walk in the morning or evening.

Job’s family had mainly been killed in tragedy.  His wife was against him and his best friends could only tell him he was in this situation because…he was a terrible sinner and GOD was punishing him.  FRIENDS can be that way sometimes, well-meaning as they may be.

Still… Job could say, in the middle of it all…

Job 19:23-27 – NAS Bible:

“Oh that my words were written!  Oh that they were inscribed in a book!  That with an iron stylus and lead they were engraved in the rock forever! 

“And as for me, I know my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.  Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes shall not see another.  My heart faints within me.”

In spite of his present circumstances, Job could confidently know and say,  “I KNOW MY REDEEMER LIVES,”  “IN MY FLESH I WILL SEE GOD.”

Rev21_1_New_Jerusalem_Gustave_Dore_L_Sotka_2012IN THE “LAST DAY” A New Jerusalem–Revelation 21:2:

“And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, all arrayed like a bride beautified and adorned for her husband;”

Do you have the same confidence of Job?  Do you know on the last day of judgement, your Redeemer lives; that you’ll see Him with your own eyes?

You can know it, right where you’re sitting.  All it takes is for you to accept Jesus Christ as your LORD and Saviour.  He will stand there with you… and for you as your advocate.

I know I’ll be standing there, when The Roll is Called Up Yonder  for the children of God  [iii] See Footnote.

Yes, our past is nailed on the Cross at Calvary, but our future is tied to the RISEN CHRIST; the RISEN CHRIST who is going to return for His bride, the Church.

JESUS is coming again…

An old hymn I used to sing every sunday morning, while the choir came from the basement of the church, into our places on the platform.  It was a song written and composed by John W. Peterson:

Coming again,  coming again;

Maybe morning, maybe noon, maybe evening and maybe soon!

Coming again, coming again;

O, what a wonderful day it will be,

JESUS is coming again!

But will you be ready?

Or, will you’ve been diverted into the concerns of this world?  That doesn’t mean, using the cliché,  “We’ve become so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly use.”  

There will be a day…

When JESUS is standing with you as your ADVOCATE–claiming us as His own!  So, when “the Roll is called up yonder,” will you be there?  Just come to JESUS as you are, and claim Him as your own!

The Bride of Christ--The CHURCH
The Bride of Christ–The CHURCH

 

PHOTO CREDIT: The First Temple – Solomon’s Temple from the Jewish Virtual Library.org/…/The-Temple.html.; New Earth, New Jerusalem ONION STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY – http://www.inmagine.com;  christimages.org/biblebooks/Book of Revelation.html.

Footnotes:

[i]  Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary;  

[ii] Alex Jones’ INFOWARS.COM

[iii]  Title for this Blog came from:  Words & Music by James M. Black, 1893 cyberhymnal.org/htm/w/h/e/whenroll.htm.

 

 

 

Comfortable with Religion but not Committed to Spiritual Growth

Scripture: 1 Peter 4:7-16 NAS:

The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.  Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.  Be hospitable to one another without complaint.  As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to who belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever, Amen.  Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;  but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.  If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.  By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evil doer, or troublesome meddler;  but if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God.

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LIVING IN THE “LAST DAYS”

Spiritually speaking, many people I’ve come in contact with, have no perception of the times we are living in.  The message has been preached so much, many have become hardened by even the mention of the words–“END TIMES” or “LAST DAYS”.

What are the Last Days?  When did they begin?  When will they end?

ALL good questions.  Let’s search the Word of God for His answers, not mine:

Acts 2:17-21 (Amplified Bible).

“And it shall come to past in the LAST DAYS, God declares, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy and your young men shall see visions (divinely granted appearances), and your old men shall dream [divinely suggested] dreams.  [18] Yes, and on My menservants also on My maidservants in those days I will pour out My Spirit, and they shall prophesy [telling forth the divine counsels and predicting future events pertaining especially to God’s kingdom].  [19] And I will show wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth beneath, blood and fire and smoking vapor;  [20] The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the obvious day of the Lord comes–that great and notable and conspicuous and renowned [day].  [21] And it shall be whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord [invoking, adoring, and worshiping the Lord–Christ] SHALL BE SAVED.”

THE “LAST DAYS”…

The “last days” is a period of time that began at Pentecost and will end at the second coming of Christ Jesus.  In my humble opinion, based on the signs mentioned in the bible, are coming closer together…we are living near the end of the last days.

The “Last Days” Church On Display

The condition of the last days church is outlined in Revelation 3:7-22–a divided church, whose condition is characterized by the churches at Philadelphia and Laodicea.

1.  The Church at Philadelphia:  A church marked by faithfulness, unashamed boldness and good works–a church that is spared from the hour of tribulation that will come upon the whole world.

2.  The Church at Laodicea:  A church marked by laziness, spiritual poverty, lukewarmness–a church that is so distasteful to the Lord, He wants to “spew”, “spit” them out of His mouth with force.  The Message bible really paints an ‘ugly’ picture:  “I will vomit them out of My mouth”–and all this will occur if the church doesn’t repent.

HERE’S THE QUESTION.  “WHERE ARE WE?  WHICH CATEGORY DO WE FALL UNDER?  HOW DOES GOD VIEW OUR SPIRITUAL CONDITION?”

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Spiritual Growth

OR

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Lifeless Pews

RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND BEHAVIOR IN AMERICA:

George Barna is the founder of The Barna Group; a market research firm specializing in studying the religious beliefs and behavior of Americans, and the intersection of faith and culture.  “Overall, Barna said, the survey revealed “a nation that is comfortable with religion but not particularly committed to spiritual growth.”

He commented:  “Most people who are aligned with a Christian church really make a rather minimal investment in religious activity…most people describe themselves as religious, describe their faith as being very important in their daily life, but make only a half-hearted effort to truly master the foundations of their chosen faith and living a life that is determined by that faith.”

In a typical week…

“In a typical week, 41% of the adults attending Christian churches are not “born again”…and most of these people have been attending Christian churches for years and years without understanding the foundations of Christian faith with personal implications.

Barna suggested that our nation seemed stuck in a ‘bog of oozing mud…of spiritual complacency’.  Americans seem to have become almost inoculated with spiritual events, outreach efforts and the quest for personal growth.

The changes that are needed…

Barna’s research study points out:  “…the need for behavior modeling, strategic ministry and a more urgent reliance, not on the pastorate, but upon God to change the people.  

Now there’s a topic of prayer to consider in the body of Christ.  Like the churches of Laodicea and Sardis, as described in Revelation 3, the lack of commitment, their complacency, their lack of commitment and their spiritual deadness is distasteful to the Lord.

The Bottom Line… 

It is NOT how many do we have coming through the church doors all week-long, but how many people are actually ready to go if Jesus should rapture His Bride, the church?  What I found in my detective work, was some startling statistics from the Barna Research Study that should grab your heart as it did mine:

85% percent of Americans claim to be Christian while only 41% percent claim to be “Born Again”.

49% are actually committed to Christian faith and 37% read the Bible outside of church.

42% percent attend church; 49% have a private time of prayer and devotion.

20% did volunteer work at church and 19% attend Sunday School.

Now the next statistic not only grabbed my heart, but also put a lump in my throat:

According to the same research study,  “America loses 48 churches every week, that’s 2,496 in a year”!

SPIRITUAL CHARACTERISTICS WE ALL NEED IN DEVELOPING OUR COMMITMENT – 1 Peter 4:7-16 NAS:

1.  “Be clear minded”; “SOUND JUDGEMENT” – (verse 7 a).

Literally, God’s meaning is to have a correct understanding of what being a Christian is all about; having a thorough and correct understanding of God’s Word.

In the Last Days…

There will be days of religious deception…spiritual illusion, deceiving spirits, doctrines of devils, abandonment of sound doctrine, an increased activity of the “spirit of antichrist”.

2.  “Alert”; “self-controlled”; a “sober spirit” in the practice of prayer” – (verse 7 b).

The average Christian prays about 45 seconds a day, over a meal.

Ephesians 4:14 says, “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming”;

The apostle Paul is telling the church, don’t stunt your growth by your spiritual immaturity–not searching and knowing the TRUTH contained in God’s Word.

3.  “Fervent charity” – (verses 8-9).

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another”.  Peter is telling us ‘point blank’…above everything, above all…keep fervent or,  “have a red-hot, burning, glowing” (Greek translation) love for your brother and sister in Christ Jesus.  Remain motivated in your good works by LOVE!  Real bible faith is not what you believe, but what you do, motivated by LOVE.

4.  “Proper use of ministry gifts” – (verses 10-11).

I just finished a home bible study on the Spiritual Gifts given to all who accept Christ as their Savior (1 Corinthians 12:7-11; Romans 12:3-8). I gave it the title, “Gifted for a Purpose”.   In the “not knowing” how to recognize the gifts of the Holy Spirit manifested in the body of Christ, the Church, how are we going to apply the proper use of ministry gifts?

As we progress into “the last days”, we’re going to have the tendency to spiritually “cool off”.  Peter reminds us to be passionate in our Christian service, no matter what is going on around us.

PASSIONATE/ZEALOUS

“…Christ Jesus; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, ZEALOUS FOR GOOD DEEDS”  (Titus 2:14)

“…So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with ZEAL, and repent–changing your mind and attitude”  (Revelation 3:19 AMP).

5.  “Rejoice in our sufferings” – (verses 12-16).

This is something that the church preaches and sings a lot about but seldom do.  We generally moan, groan and complain.  As the LAST DAYS continue to unfold, opposition to the gospel and Christianity will increase.  So, to be able to REJOICE, we are going to have to keep our eyes on the Cross and REJOICE in Christ.

As long as we remain quiet about our FAITH, we can sail through life pretty easily.  When you become vocal about your FAITH, opposition against you will increase.

WHICH CHURCH ARE WE TO BE CHARACTERIZED BY?

Is it the Philadelphia church or the Laodicean church?  Are we following the instructions of Peter, or will we ignore them?

The Importance of the “Muster Drill” in Life

5153669326_13321d38f2Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia tell us what a “muster drill” aboard ship is:  “A muster drill (also sometimes referred to as a lifeboat drill or a boat drill), is an exercise conducted by the crew of a ship prior to embarking on a voyage.  The purpose is to prepare passengers for a safe evacuation in the event of an emergency while on board the ship.  In this MUSTER DRILL, passengers are educated on the use of Life Vest and escape routes from the ship.”

My wife and I have been on two different ships for a vacations in the Caribbean, and yes, the muster drill was mandatory before leaving the dock.  All we wanted to do was to get underway, not stand on an outside deck railing, waiting for instructions, with a life-vest on.  I always felt like a kindergartner, standing in line, holding hands with other kindergartners , then going out for RECESS.  All I wanted to do was go out on the swing sets or Monkey Bars to play.  But somehow, we muddled through the well-meaning information on each trip  (some had to “muddle” more than others).

Scripture:  Habakkuk 3:17-19 (New International Version).

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.  The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

CIRCUMSTANCES IN THE WAY:

In today’s world we see overwhelming number of people moving from one position to another at the drop of the hat.  When life’s circumstances get a little tough…the water gets “choppy” and we see the white caps from the gale force winds increasing around us; everybody wants to immediately ABANDON SHIP!  There are very few who will stay the course and get through the bad times.

More Bad News!

FEAR grips the hearts of the UNSAVED, the heathen, with the release of every bad news article; the Stock Market will crash because of one day of business.

The question is this: Will we, as God’s people, stand for Jesus when everything around us is failing?  When jobs fail, when the economy goes under, when sickness strikes, when shortages occur or when storms are on the horizon,  will we stand up and be counted as Faithful in Christ?

Habakkuk said,  “We’ve got troubles, but I think I’ll just thank God anyhow!”  It seems evident to me, the Prophet had been to the “Muster Drill” before.  He knew what to do in case of an emergency…when the alarm bell sounded aboard the ship and the Captain gave precise instructions in exactly what to do.

The Captains Instructions Given, but Not Heard and Understood!

And on that day, when evening had come, He [Jesus] said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.”  And leaving the multitude, they took Him along with them, just as He was in the boat; and other boats were with Him.  And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up.  And He Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they awoke Him and said to Him,  “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”  And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.”  And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.   And He said to them, “Why are you so timid?  How is it that you have no FAITH?”  (Mark 4:35-40 NAS).

The Captain had already conducted the “muster drill” when evening had come.  His  instructions to the crew and passengers before stepping one foot in the boat was,  “Let us go over to the other side”; the instructions were perfectly clear–WE ARE GOING TO THE OTHER SIDE…and yet, when trouble came their way in the middle of the journey, they forgot the Captain’s promise; and their lack of understanding, their FAITH, had abandoned them in the midst of the storm.

Sunset on the Sea of Galilee
Sunset on the Sea of Galilee

It seems amazing to me how life plays itself out; one moment everything seems to going so smoothly and then…

Rembrandt Painting
Rembrandt Painting

Habakkuk Knew that Difficulties Were On the Horizon–

The mention of the fig tree, the grapevine, the olive, the grain, and flocks covers the entire range of agricultural produce on which the nation depended on.  It is reasonable to assume the failure of the crops would be due to the Chaldean invasion.  Enemy troops not only lived OFF the land, but deliberately destroyed what was left behind.

In these last days, we know that times will become more difficult.  We’ve already seen many economic problems and shortages arise causing fear and panic in our society.

When the Scriptures say that in the last days, men’s hearts would be failing for fear, they mean what is said literally.  We are truly living in a perilous time this world has ever seen and yet…the worse has yet to come.

Are we going to praise Him when the times get tough for us?

Satan will bring circumstances that will sometimes overwhelm you:  [a] Financially – bill piling high [b] in your marriage [c] with your children [d] in the Church [e] in your witness for JESUS.

Will you praise Him when people turn against you?

Habakkuk knew that when God’s judgement fell on Judah, it would also include him.  He would not be spared because he was a prophet of God.  In fact, he could be treated worse than any other prisoner because of his trying to warn Judah of its coming doom.

It seems people you meet these days, just don’t believe that times could get any harder.

People seem to be sticking their heads in the sand and try to ignore the problems.  I want you to know that it can and will get worse!  We are living in a dangerous World–just let on Hurricane or Typhoon come, and see how fast the shelves empty.

THE “FAITH BOAT” IS READY TO SAIL:

"THE LOVE BOAT"
“THE LOVE BOAT”

I was a big fan of the American television series set on a cruise ship.  It aired from September 24, 1977, until May 24, 1986.  The one-hour sitcom was usually set aboard a Princess Cruises cruise liner nicknamed, The Love Boat.  Each episode contained several simultaneous story lines of the passengers on board; people’s romances, their failures, disappointments, etc., and were all played out by guest actors on The Love Boat.

Embarkation Instructions…

When the world turns on you, will you still praise Jesus?

When your friends won’t have anything to do with you, will you follow the crowd?

When your family won’t have anything to do with you because you are just “to religious”, will you quit and abandon ship?

When the community you live in turns against you, will you want to put one foot on the ship’s guard-rail and bow to political pressure?

Habakkuk Knew the Importance…

Habakkuk knew when it was all said and done, GOD was the only real salvation he had…his life-preserver was secure and tight.

Habakkuk knew that GOD would be his strength:

Vs 19…”and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet

and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.”

GOD WILL deliver us through every trial, every test, and every circumstance and He will lift us up above the rocky shores.

A Little Deer…

A HIND was a little deer able to climb even the steepest of cliffs, walk through the roughest places, and leap over deep chasms.  The HIND lived in the high mountains and cliffs and always stayed above all circumstances that involved people on the ground.

GOD has the POWER to lift you up, right where you are, today.  POWER to change your lemons into lemonade and make your tests and trials into greater victories.

A BAR OF STEEL:

A $5 bar of steel cut into ordinary horseshoes is worth $10.

A $5 bar of steel cut into needles is worth $350.

The same bar of steel cut into delicate springs for watches becomes worth $250,000.

So the next time you get discouraged at what God is putting you through…you’re about ready to abandon The FAITH Boat…think of that BAR OF STEEL.

The “Muster Drill” of Instructions Have Already Been Given!

Have you been in the valley long enough?  Are you ready for a change of scenery, perhaps even an Ocean Cruise?

We can dwell above our circumstances and live on a higher plane than the rest of the World.  We don’t need to be concerned with those things that threaten to destroy the World.  It begins with a spiritual REBIRTH; a “born-again” life experiences that will set you on course.

GOD is our refuge and strength; our High Tower; the Captain of our ship of FAITH.  He is our Deliverer and will get us safely to our final destination!  So, let’s get aboard the FAITH BOAT and experience the LOVE Cruise of a lifetime!

The Yacht REBORN or The FAITH BOAT
The Yacht REBORN or The FAITH BOAT


www.powerandmotoryacht.com/megayachts/broward-reborn/