Saturday, February 19, 2011

Living in Desperate Times

Reading about protests in exotic places such as Egypt, Iran, Libya and Wisconsin... we realize that the scriptures were correct that said:

They have made it a desolation, and desolate it mourns before Me; the whole land has been made desolate, but no man lays it to heart.

Jeremiah 12:11 [AMP]

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.

Romans 8:22 [ESV]

Classic blogs by Pastor Jake and Brotha DC remind us to put our focus on the right things as we continue to walk in a world that becomes more and more evil.

Perilous Times
by Brotha DC

Paul’s words to Timothy, written centuries ago, are as current as the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper.

1BUT UNDERSTAND this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear].
2For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane.
3[They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.
4[They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.
5For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].
6For among them are those who worm their way into homes and captivate silly and weak-natured and spiritually dwarfed women, loaded down with [the burden of their] sins [and easily] swayed and led away by various evil desires and seductive impulses.
7[These weak women will listen to anybody who will teach them]; they are forever inquiring and getting information, but are never able to arrive at a recognition and knowledge of the Truth.

2 Timothy 3:1-7 [AMP]

Perilous times will come in the last days... the days before Christ returns... the days we are living in.

What Are “Perilous Times?”

The word “perilous” in the original Greek text is the word chalepoi which means fierce, perilous, hard to live in, troublesome, dangerous: harsh, fierce, full of troubles and dangers; times that are hard to bear.  It is not very surprising when we see such characteristics in the people of this world.

What is surprising is when we see these characteristics popping up within the church. In Matthew 13:24-30, Jesus tells us that the tares (a plant that looks like wheat) will be allowed to grow along side the wheat until the time of harvest. They may outwardly resemble Christians, but without any spiritual fruit.

Men Shall Be Selfish (philautoi)

Do you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself (see Luke 10:27), or do you “look out for number one?”  God’s very nature is to give (see John 3:16). If we are to walk after the image of our Heavenly Father (see Ephesians 5:1), we need to walk after His example of selfless giving, not “get all you can... can all you get... then, sit on the can.”

Men Shall Be Covetous (philargooroi)

They will be lovers of money more than lovers of God or their brethren. They would rather spend extravagantly than bring tithes into the house of God. They would rather be gluttons than donate food to the poor. They would rather watch television than hear the gospel.  The world says to love things and use people. We need to love people, and use things to bring glory to our Father. The members of the early church shared all that they had. Why don’t we?

Men Shall Be Boasters (alazones)

This word was originally used to describe a “quack” doctor who went from town to town, trying to sell medicines that he claimed would cure illnesses. These people claim to have the answers, but they really do not. Their religion is just empty pretending.  Are you an empty pretender? Do you parade about, trying to pass yourself off as something you are not? Does God get the glory or do you pat yourself on the back?

Paul had much that he could have bragged about. He was a Pharisees’ Pharisee. He was an eloquent speaker. God handpicked him. Yet, Paul counted his credentials as worthless, in comparison to the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:8).

Men Shall Be Proud

The Greek word (huperǝphanoi) means “to show oneself above.” These persons not only think too highly of themselves, they despise others. We see an example of this spirit in Luke, chapter 18:

The Pharisee took his stand ostentatiously and began to pray thus before and with himself: God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men--extortioners (robbers), swindlers [unrighteous in heart and life], adulterers--or even like this tax collector here.

Luke 18:11 [AMP]

Have you ever bristled upon encountering a drunkard, a homeless person, or perhaps a prostitute on a street corner? Remember it is only God’s grace that you are not out there.

Men Shall Be Blasphemers (blasphǝmoi)

These people speak evil, slanderous, or abusive words against God and/or men. They are quick with criticism and put-downs. Some comedians on television joke about growing up in church while reviling God and all that He stands for.  Although you may never have taken God’s name in vain, maybe your lifestyle has given God’s enemies an occasion to blaspheme. (see 2 Samuel 12 and Romans 2:24). Any sin in the camp may affect the entire church (see Joshua 7; Joshua 22:20; and 1 Corinthians 10:6).

Men Shall Be Disobedient to Parents

If you have unsaved parents, keeping your room clean and your chores up to date will win them to Christ a lot faster than nagging them about church or slipping gospel tracts into their sandwiches. Do you honor your mother and father? (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16; Matthew 15:4-6 and Ephesians 6:2).

Men Shall Be Unthankful (acharistoi)

These ungrateful ones take and take, but never stop to say “thank you.” You should “Count your many blessings... see what God has done.” This brings glory to God and gives you strength in times of trial. David praised God for delivering him from the jaws of the lion and the bear. This, in turn, gave him the confidence and spiritual fortitude to defeat Goliath (1 Samuel 17:36).

Men Shall Be Unholy (anosioi)

They offend all that is holy, not satisfied with simply practicing their wickedness but desiring to drag others into their lifestyles.

Men Shall Be Without Natural Affection

The Greek word Astorgoi, is the opposite of “to cherish affectionately with family love.” Today, children shoot and kill without a twinge of remorse. Proverbs 12:10 describes these people perfectly... even their “tender mercies” are cruel.

Men Shall Be Trucebreakers

A trucebreaker (aspondoi) cannot agree to or refuses to enter a covenant. They are dishonest and not trustworthy. They reject salvation, since this is a covenant relationship between man and God (see Acts 3:25).

Men Shall Be False Accusers

If you speak Spanish, you will recognize the Greek word Diaboloi word as meaning, “the Devil.” Satan is a slanderer and a false accuser (see Revelation 12:10). If you accuse your brother or sister in gossip conversation, you are sitting in the devil’s seat.

Men Shall Be Incontinent (akrateis)

This does not refer to a weak bladder, but a lack of spiritual or moral self-control. In Galatians 5:23, self-control (”temperance” in the KJV) is a fruit of the Spirit.

Men Shall Be Fierce (anǝmeroi)

These men are “brutal” or “savage.” Like wild beasts, they pounce upon their prey and mercilessly rip it to shreds.  Many people will walk past someone in the sanctuary and mercilessly rip him or her to shreds with their tongue. These people are savage... fierce.

Men Shall Be Despisers Of Those That Are Good (aphilagathoi)

They are opposed to goodness and those who stand for right. They campaign for animal rights but seek to kill unborn children. They bring homosexuals and lesbians into schools, yet protest the idea of the Bible in school.

Men Shall Be Traitors (prodotai)

This is treacherous behavior. Be diligent to lift one another up in prayer. Don’t betray your family in Christ. Stand in the gap for them lest the enemy hinder them.

Men Shall Be Heady

Are you rash, reckless, or hasty? Do you wait on the Lord, doing things decently and in order, or do you disregard leadership and do things your way?

Men Shall Be Highminded

The Greek word (teutphǝmenoi) literally means, “conceited.” Are you proud, or lifted up with pride? Do you become blinded with pride?

Men Shall Be Lovers of Pleasure More Than Lovers of God

The Greek phrase reads: “philǝdonoi mallon ǝ philotheoi,” referring to those who would rather seek their own pleasure than God’s will and purpose. Does evening service interfere with your game? Does prayer meeting interfere with your television watching?

That is not to imply that there is no pleasure in serving God. King David said that he was glad when they said unto him, “let us go into the house of the Lord.” Are you glad about serving God, or do you see your “religious duty” as a ball and chain?

Men Shall Have A Form of Godliness, But Deny the Power Thereof

You may have an outline or a semblance of piety towards God, but your actions show that you have an estrangement with the power (or, Dunamis... dynamite dynamic Holy Ghost power) of God. You talk a good talk but you don’t walk the right walk. You may sing and shout. Your tearstains may be on the altar. However, are you able to walk holy before the Lord?

Turn Away From Such Men (and Women)

Some of the most charismatic people in our society (politicians, entertainers and false religious leaders) fall into one or more of the categories that Paul describes.  If any of this applies to you, turn away from sin, submit yourself to God and resist the devil, then satan will flee from you (James 4:7). Submit yourself to the cleansing of God’s holy word (John 15:3).

Protect Your Family

In verse 6, Paul tells us that such people sneak (insinuate themselves) into the house/family/property/wealth/goods of others like an insect crawling through a crack in the wall. Be vigilant to protect your family from those who would lead them away from the path of righteousness.

Are You A WIMP?

These people capture or make captive weak-willed individuals. In verse 6, the KJV reads, “silly women.” However, the context of the Greek suggests that this is not strictly a reference to women, but may also refer to what we would call a “wimp.” If a man is not fulfilling his role as head of his family, he may be a “weak willed little woman” (see Ephesians 5:33 and 1 Timothy 5:8). Of course, this verse also applies to women who fail to maintain God’s standards of virtue (i.e., Proverbs 31:10-31 and Titus 2:3-5).  Paul says that these “wimps” are loaded with the consciousness of many sins (failure to hit the mark, committing bad actions or evil deeds; possibly through an error of understanding). They are “Prisoners of War” to satan and his army of demons. These people would rather fry their brains on lust-filled soap operas than feed themselves God’s word (see 1 Corinthians 3:2). They would rather gossip on the telephone than talk about the goodness of Jesus (see 1 Peter 4:11).  These people are setting themselves up to be “led captive” by the people of these perilous days. Do you want to be satan’s prisoner of war... or do you want to be free?

What Impulses Motivate You?

At the end of verse 6, Paul describes these people as being led away (literally, moved by forces and impulses affecting the mind) with many types of lusts, desire, craving, longing, and desire for that which is forbidden. Harlequin Romance Novels, “Swimsuit Editions” and R-rated movies create such impulses.

Is Your Bible Study Fruitful?

In verse 7, we see these “wimps” constantly increasing their knowledge, yet they are never able to come to the precise and correct knowledge of things that are ethical and divine (the truth of the gospel). They are implacable by virtue of their own ability and resources, their state of mind, and/or their customs.  The seven most dangerous words for church leaders is, “We’ve never done it that way before.” Don’t reject God’s moving because it clashes with tradition. Don’t resist change because you are not willing to accept the truth. Don’t hear sermons Sunday after Sunday without it getting out of your head and into your heart.
Many people have their own agenda for attending church. Some go for social or political reasons. Some go to find a husband or wife. Some go to have their good deeds outweigh their sins. The scriptures describe exactly what benefit they get out of their “religiosity” or “churchianity...”

1The promise to enter the place of rest is still good, and we must take care that none of you miss out. 2We have heard the message, just as they did. But they failed to believe what they heard, and the message did not do them any good. 3Only people who have faith will enter the place of rest. It is just as the Scriptures say,

"God became angry

and told the people,

`You will never enter

my place of rest!' "

God said this, even though everything has been ready from the time of creation.

Hebrews 4:1-3 [CEV]

Be steadfast in prayer and Bible study if you wish to survive these perilous times.  And... as Pastor Jake tells us... put first things first!

First Things First
by Pastor Jake

In the games men play, such as football, basketball, hockey and etc. there is the element of time, a time allotted in which the game is to be played. Every coach of a team has a game plan for defeating his opponent. He chooses, conditions and teaches the game plan to his players and expects them to adhere to his plan in order for them to win the game. While time is an important element in the game, it is not the most important.
  1. Complete trust in the coach and his plan,
  2. Working together as a team,
  3. Staying focused on the game,
  4. Sticking to and executing the game plan,
  5. Taking advantage of every opportunity to score points,
  6. While at the same time, with wisdom, defending against the schemes of the opponent is the common goal of every player.
  7. Being aware of the clock is important. Knowing that the clock is running, good players take advantage of ever moment, not distracted by looking back at past mistakes or by looking ahead to the end, but knowing that the signs on the clock indicate that time is passing, serves to encourage every player to work even harder as the end draws near. After all, victory over the opponent is the goal of playing the game; the rewards are for a job well done. This is the plan of victory.
In light of the current events in today’s world it is tempting for a Christian to get caught up in speculations of the outcome of these events as they relate to the coming of the Lord Jesus. The signs of the times are important to us, but we must realize these signs and their significance are not the most important.

The Holy Scriptures teach us that “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, ----” Deuteronomy 29:29f  [NAS]

Thus, our searching for truth must be confined to what is to be revealed. The thing our Lord has chosen not to reveal belongs to Him and we must not be found guilty of conjecture in even speculating about those things lest we drift into error. If we become occupied with God’s “secret things,” we will be found to be one who neglects the study of the things which God would have us to know and to do. Some of the things hidden are the day of our Lord’s return, the end of the age, the end of time and the beginnings of the new heaven and earth.

In answer to questions concerning these things our Lord Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Matthew 24:36 [NASU])

We are taught to know the signs of the coming of these things, but only God knows the exact time that He will bring about these events and He will reveal them to us in due season.

In the book of Matthew, chapter 28, beginning with verse 18 we read, “Then Jesus came to them (His disciples) and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (19) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 [NASU])

Here our coach, Jesus, has given us the game plan.


We must believe in our Coach and His game plan.


We must work together as a team.

To do this we must be “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith , one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:2-6 [NASU])


And we must stay focused on our commission, that is, our game plan.


This means sticking to and carrying out the game plan, not drifting off into fruitless speculations about things that are still hidden. We are to preach the gospel, that is, the good news pertaining to salvation through faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ.


Before ascending into heaven our Lord spoke these words to His chosen, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”.” (Acts 1: 8 [NASU])

He told them to begin where they receive the Holy Spirit, Jerusalem. And then go to the surrounding area, Judea. Normally the Jews did not associate with the Samaritans, there was enmity between them. But Jesus commanded His disciples to preach the gospel to them also, and thought out the world.

The following may be seen as our system of scoring points; being filled with the power that the Holy Spirit brings, preaching with boldness, as the apostles did on the Day of Pentecost, leading lost souls to Jesus through the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16), baptizing them in His name and teaching them in the ways of righteousness, on every opportunity. We start where we first received the Holy Spirit, then in the surrounding community, and among those that we would not normally associate with, and then, though out the world.
The Apostle John writes, “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5:3-5 [NASU])


Our Lord, through the Apostle Paul, gives us the perfect plan of offence and defense, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:10-18 [NASU])


Study the prophets, study the book of Revelations, read chapter 24 of the book of Matthew, and other Scripture concerning the end of the age, know that our redemption is near, but do not neglect the preaching of the gospel. After all, leading lost souls to Christ for salvations, snatching them out of Satan’s grasp, is our goal in defeating him. The rewards that await us are for a job well done. Selah

James C Sanford

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