We can learn so much from the Word of God. The Bible is our instruction book on life and in it the Lord tells us everything we need to know for any and everything you can possibly think of. In His “Book of Life” the Lord provides us with the answers to every question we could ever have. We just have to get in there, read it, and spend good quality time with Him there to understand.
It is easy and it’s not.
As I have noted in previous blog posts, reading and understanding the Word of God is not always an easy thing. But, if we truly want to learn about God and His will for our lives, it is imperative that we commit time to being in His Word. (As an FYI, I have found it hugely impactful and enlightening to listen to Bible teachings online. Might I suggest Faith School with Keith Moore?)
Today, I wanted to share a lesson that I have learned that many of you may not understand or agree with, and that is ok. However, I feel pressed by the Holy Spirit to share it with you nonetheless.
In Ecclesiastes chapter three, the Lord tells us that to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. In verse eight, He says, “a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
Let’s talk about a time of war, shall we?
Why war and why now? Because, dear brothers and sisters, I truly believe that we are in a spiritual battle like none we have ever witnessed before. There are demons striking terror into the heart of our great nation. And, they have been at this warfare for quite a few years now. And, I have had enough! We MUST take a stand and we MUST FIGHT!
To share the words of Pastor Gary Hamrick:
“I am angry with the spiritual forces of evil that have hijacked the hearts and minds of people in an effort to try to capture the soul of America. And I am angry with demonic principalities and by extension, demonic principles that have influenced millennials, Gen X-ers and Gen Z-ers with godless philosophies and the doctrines of men. I am angry with politicians who are either knowingly or unknowingly pawns of darkness instead of agents of light who are advancing a godless agenda that is destructive to our country.
And thus I cannot be silent. I will not be silent, and neither should you. America needs to wake up and it starts with the Church of Jesus Christ.
We need to wake up, Christian, we need to wake up Christian, this is a battle, this is a war. This is not a game. It's a spiritual battle that we are facing for the heart and soul of America and for the heart and soul of the next generation. I have never felt as passionate for and concerned about America as I am today. We, as the Church of Jesus Christ, are God's restraining force in the world today against evil. And if the Church of Jesus Christ does not rise up and fight the good fight of the faith, who will?
If we abdicate our role and our responsibility as ambassadors for Christ and as agents of truth, then evil will triumph. It was Edmund Burke who said the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. And so I, I can't remain silent and to do so would be evil. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a pastor in Germany. It was part of the German resistance that opposed Nazi Germany, Bonhoeffer said this, quote, "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil and God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act" end quote.“
I am talking about politics here. And, I know what you are thinking: religion and politics should not mix. For whatever reason, this ideaology has been tattoo’d on our brains – but it is NOT true. Here is the real truth, again from Pastor Hamrick:
“For the first couple hundred years of American history, pastors would preach election sermons. And I only get to bring these books out every four years when I do an election sermon. But I have two volumes here of political sermons of the American founding era from 1730 to 1805. These are published sermons of what pastors used to do, how they used to get up in their pulpits and talk to people in their congregation about the social issues and call out the politicians. Why? The reason is because they wanted their folks to be biblically literate so that people could make an intelligent decision based on their sanctified conscience about the social issues and the political candidates and how they either did or did not align with the Bible, which is the source of all truth.
The truth is that God has been at the center of our religious freedom and faith and politics have been intertwined from the very beginning, from the founding of our nation in 1776, not 1619. Wake up, but 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was penned. Listen to the various references to God in the Declaration of Independence.
It starts with, quote, "the laws of nature and nature's God" in the first paragraph, it establishes that our, quote, "unalienable rights come not from government," but from, quote, "our creator". That's paragraph two. It appeals to, quote, "the supreme judge of the world". That's the last paragraph. And then it invokes the protection of, quote, "divine providence" in the signature line of all fifty-six signers when they pledge to each other their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
And then Congress actually instructed churches to read the Declaration of Independence from their steps so that everybody could hear across America. Churches were demanded by Congress to do such a thing. In fact, the Falls Church, the Episcopal Church, the old Falls Church in Falls Church was one of those locations where in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read from the steps of the church.
That's how the news was dispersed in a day without social media. It was pastors who led the charge with the American Revolution to sever ties with Great Britain because of the oppression and tyranny of the government, in particular oppression into tyranny of religious freedom. Pastors led that charge. Pastors like Jonas Clark, who formed the Minutemen militia in Lexington with 70 men from his congregation who fought against and defeated 700 British who marched against them in the first war, The Battle of Lexington, in the first battle, the Battle of Lexington, of the Revolutionary War, April the 19th, 1775.
So enough of the history lesson. Here's a little Bible lesson.
One of the earthly institutions that God ordained and put in place to help mitigate human behavior in human life is government. That's Romans Chapter 13, and God tells us in Romans Chapter 13 through the pen of Paul that the purpose of government is to basically cultivate the good and punish the evil and that God ordains a ruler or a leader, whomever that person might be, be it a king or be it a prime minister or be it a president to be instruments of his righteousness.
I'll put Romans 13 verse four up on the screen. The ruler is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. Again in other words, God's intent for government is twofold to help cultivate the good and to punish the evil of a society. Government is not the savior Jesus is. But government can cultivate the good and punish the evil to help maintain a prosperous and orderly society.
And thus when we have opportunity in our land to be a part of this process, to vote in the free country in which we live, then we as Christians must choose leaders. We must choose men and women who best represent a biblical worldview in terms of policies and procedures that will cultivate the good and punish the evil. It is our responsibility and a privilege that we've been given.
That when we are voting, we're voting for policies and procedures that will then give a mandate to government in terms of how they are to conduct themselves and the rulers regarding policies and procedures to cultivate the good and to punish the evil in our land. Listen, this is about policies and procedures.
This is not about personality. Presidential race is not a personality contest. Get over it. It is not about personalities.
When there is a choice between policies and procedures and personalities, I'm going to choose policies and procedures every single time.
Every single time.
Because that is what will affect the daily life in a society, a nation will rise and fall on the policies of a king, not the personalities of a king.”
I am sorry this was so verbous – but as Pastor Hamrick already told us, it needed to be said. We need to know American history and Biblical history. They go hand-in-hand. As Americans we need to be educated. But, I feel like as Christians we especially need to be educated. Why? Because there are times in life we need to fight. Now is a time of war. And, we need to be well prepared as we possibly can be. And that means we need to be on God’s side.
And guess what? God is on our side! He sent His Son to die on the cross for not only our sins, but our freedom.
So, Christians, suit up. It’s time for battle. While we already know that God has the victory, we still have a vital role to play. We are God’s hands and feet and voice. We must proclaim the victory. We must stand firm on His Word and not falter.
We must speak the truth of God’s Word to anyone and everyone we can. We must educate our brothers and sisters on the history of this great nation and the fact that our Founding Fathers devised it so that God would be at the center of it.
And, believe me when I tell you it will be a battle royale because the devil does NOT want us to know the truth. He wants to control us; our hearts, minds, bodies, and our nation. And he will use every trick in the book to bring us down in an attempt to make us lose all hope. That is where he wants us: hopeless. For if we are hopeless, we will lose sight of God. DO NOT LOSE HOPE AND DO NOT LOSE SIGHT OF GOD.
There is a remanent of us believers who know the truth. And that truth WILL set us free. That truth is that God is for us. God loves us. God wants us to live in freedom. And, just keep on trusting and believing and praying and fighting. WE WILL WIN!
I urge you to watch Pastor Hamrick's sermon. I have watched it multiple times. He was gracious enough to send me the text so that I could share some it with you here. Watch him in action here.
#fightthegoodfight #atimeforwar #spiritualwarfare
We are living in very stressful, very chaotic times. "Normal" life is stressful enough, but throw in a world pandemic, economic uncertainty, rioting and racial unease, and a presidential election into the mix, and stressful doesn't even begin to cover it. But, well, here we are. Welcome to life in 2020.
What do you think the greatest gift someone could ever give someone is? My first thought is giving someone either their life or your life. God did both of these! He gave you life by allowing you to be born. Then, He sent His son, Jesus, to die on the cross for you; thereby, giving up His life for yours.
After these two wonderful and amazing gifts, the third greatest gift I can ever imagine giving someone is the gift of freewill. The dictionary defines freewill as made or done freely or of one's own accord; voluntary. Or, the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion. And, the good Lord gave us all that incredible gift as well. Our Lord is nothing, if not giving!
Being able to make up our own mind about how we live our lives is a precious, precious gift. We are able to decide for ourselves what we believe, what we do, where we do it, why we do it, and how we do it.
This runs the gamut from what flavor ice cream to buy and eat, to whom we marry, what job we choose, or where we decide to live.
Have you ever considered the enormity of this?
God bestowed us with freewill because He loves us so very much. He loves us enough that He sets us free and allows us to make our own choices. It is up to us to decide if we believe in Him. He would never force this, or anything else for that matter, on us.
Could you image having a child and forcing that child to do the things only you want? Or, creating a being that wouldn't think freely? That was made only to do certain things or be made to do things by force? That would basically be creating robots, or lifeless souls. How horrible would that be? I can't even image it!
What a blessing freewill is!
It is up to you to use this gift wisely. It is up to you to choose what you do with your life and what you believe. It is your choice--no one else's. Let's remember to be thankful to God for this cherished gift!
A few Sundays ago I was listening to Mandisa on my Abide App while I was at the gym. She asked, "what is your song?" She was sharing with us that we each need to write our own song about our life. Mandisa pointed out that while all bluebirds sing and sound very similar in their song, that they each have a distinct sound that belongs to only them. We are the same way.
So, ever since then, I have been thinking about what my song is. I have written a few lines in my head and thought it would be good to actually get them on paper. (Or, type them out, as we do nowadays!) And, so here we are.
I realized that for a few years now I have been repeating three words in my head to myself. I say them over and over. So, I figured these words would be the name of my song.
Trust and Believe
I trust and believe in you, O Lord.
I trust and believe in you.
Your Word is my lamp and my sword.
I long to be in your presence and one day see your face.
I am ever so grateful for your love and never-ending grace.
When this world becomes too much and my struggles overwhelm.
I turn to you and trust and believe, because you are at the helm.
I trust and believe in you, O Lord.
I trust and believe in you.
I know the promises you have made.
And I know that they are true.
I know that you love and cherish me.
I place all my hope in you.
Many days my strength fails me,
And my head and heart are a mess.
But, in you, I find my comfort.
In you, I find my rest.
I trust and believe in you, O Lord.
I trust and believe in you.
I place my confidence and my heart in your hands.
I gladly give you my life,
It is yours to direct and plan.
I rest securely in the knowledge that I seek and find in your Word.
That I need not fear, nor worry, nor live my life on my own.
I rest securely in the knowledge that Jesus will come again.
It is for all these things and more, O Lord,
I sing your praises evermore.
I trust and believe in you, O Lord.
I trust and believe in you.
This is it. This is what I have so far. Maybe one day I can put some music to it, somehow. And, maybe even find my voice to sing out loud.
So, what about you? What is your song? I would love to hear it!
I have always been fascinated with the book of Revelation. I guess mainly because I know it is a prophecy of what is to come in this life. Or, as I have come to believe, what is happening right now. I have read it multiple times in hopes that I can make some sense out of it, but always come away scratching my head. What about you? Have you ever read it and wondered what in the heck John is talking about?
Revelation is chock-full of symbolic meaning. But, how do you interpret it? I remember asking others about this and no one had very good answers. And, ultimately, it was just something I let slip into my rearview mirror.
However, since March, when COVID-19 came into our lives and started us on this roller coaster ride of craziness, I have been turning my eyes back to God and His Word. Throw in all the insanity of our world with corrupt politics and race relations, and well, I couldn’t help but think of Bible prophecy again.
Then, at the end of June, I stumbled across a book that was soon to be released called Tipping Point The End Is Here by senior pastor of Gateway Church, Jimmy Evans. Maybe I shouldn’t say stumbled, I honestly think God sent it my way on purpose.
Upon reading that pastor Evans has studied Biblical end times prophecy, known as eschatology, for forty-five years and that the book is an analysis of Scripture, I bought it right away.
When I received it in the mail last week, I dove right in! What with everything that is going on in our world right now, it was like I was dying of thirst and this book was a keg of fresh, ice-cold, refreshing water.
Tipping Point opened my eyes to not only the book of Revelation, but to all of the prophecies of the Bible.
Did you know that 30 percent of the Bible is prophecy? Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Habakkuk, Nahum, Zaphaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi were all prophets. Not to mention Jesus himself.
I finished the book in less than 24 hours. And, I keep opening it back up to re-read it. I am blown away at what Jimmy had written. Hence, why I am here to share the book with you.
The end times can be a very scary thing; especially if you don’t know God as your Lord and Savior. If you think the times we are living in right now are bad, I have news for you, it is nothing compared to what is coming. Once the Tribulation gets here, it will truly be hell on earth.
That is why I am pleading with you today, get to know the Lord. He loves you so very much. You are His child and there is nothing you can do or have done that will make Him turn away from you. I would be overjoyed and honored to introduce you to Him. Please just reach out to me, or someone else you know who is a true Christian and you feel you can trust. Go visit a church and talk to the pastor there. Go online to any one of the following sites and listen, read, and learn: David Jeremiah, Max Lucado, or Joyce Meyer. It’s not too late. But, the time is NOW.
However, if you are a Christian and believe in God and are in a right relationship with Him, this book will give you solace and comfort. It shows you how to have hope and peace in the midst of all of our current turmoil.
This book is the proof in the pudding that God is real. It is definitive and awe-inspiring—just as God is.
Plus, honestly, no matter what you believe, Tipping Point is incredibly fascinating just from a historical and current events' standpoint.
Jimmy walks you through Israel and her history and the vital importance of her role.
Jimmy turns our eyes skyward to explain what the sun, moon, and stars have to say.
And, Jimmy gives us a play-by-play with critical insight into how we are the final generation and how we have seen every end times event fulfilled. He tells us that while every generation has seen some signs of the end times, the final generation will have every sign.
This is it folks. We are the final generation. We are living at the end of the end times.
I pray that you will not be here for the Tribulation that you will instead be with Jesus in heaven, celebrating, as I will be. It is something I am looking forward to.
But, please note that no one knows the day or time when Jesus will return. It could be today or seven years from now. As Jimmy tells us and I will end sharing with you; Plan as though Jesus in not returning for a hundred years and live as though Jesus is returning today.
Much like my last post, I woke up this morning and something just popped into my head--seemingly out of nowhere. (Although, I am learning to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit.) And, the thought was this: hue man beings.
As you probably well know, there is a great deal of turmoil bubbling and running rampant in our country right now. The problem is racism. And, as I am now getting accustomed to doing, I decided to look in my Bible for the answer to this problem.
What does the Bible say about racism, anyway? Well, from my reading and research, nothing. Which, in turn, speaks volumes.
The first thing we need to understand as Christians, is that there is only one race--the human race. Caucasians, Africans, Asians, Arabs, and Jews are not different races. Rather, they are different ethnicities of the human race. We all have the same physical characteristics, with minor variations, of course. More importantly, we have all been created in the likeness and image of God. (Genesis 1:26-27) God so loved the world that He sent His son, Jesus, to lay down His life for us. (John 3:16). And, the "world" obviously includes all ethnic groups.
And, while I can't find any references to race or racism in the Bible, I can find plenty of verses that tell us to love one another. Jesus commands us to love one another as He loves us. (John 13:34) We are to love our neighbors as ourselves. (James 2:8) Jesus teaches us in Matthew 25 that whatever we do to the least of His brothers, we do to Him. Ephesians 4:32 tells us to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
We are not only human beings, but we are hue man beings. The dictionary defines hue as a gradation or variety of a color. or colors, or complexion. Humans come in all different colors. Our complexions and skin tones are as varied as our personalities. Much like all the beautiful plants and flowers God created, God created us humans to be colorful and unique. Could you image a world with only red roses? Don't get me wrong, red roses are lovely, but if they were the only flower in the world--well, how boring! Instead, God not only created red roses but purple irises, yellow sunflowers, blue hydrangeas, green hellebores, orange daisies, pink tulips, white gardenias, and, well, you get the idea!
We need to end racism. All forms of racism, prejudice, and discrimination are affronts to the work of Christ on the cross. God does not show partiality or favoritism, and neither should we. No, indeed, as the children's song says, "Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight." We are the "they" in this song. And, we all belong to one race--the human race.
As I was waking up this morning, I started thinking, what day is today? Do you ever do that? Have trouble keeping up with what day it is? I know I do sometimes! Today was one of those days.
As I was gathering my thoughts right after that, I noticed the beautiful pink sunlight streaming through the blinds in our bedroom. And, it dawned on me (pun intended) that it was Sunday. Then, something odd popped into my head, "Son Day."
We can think of Sunday as Son Day. It is a day when we normally recognize the Son of God. Sundays are typically a day of worship, a day in which we Christians honor the Lord--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We love and exalt a triune God. So, why not start thinking of Sunday as Son Day? The Son of God Day!
It's just a little twist that can give you a new, fresh perspective on Sundays. And, for as much as the Lord has graciously given us, it is a very small thing that we can do to remind ourselves who this day is truly for!
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.