I have spent quite a bit of time lately thinking over the events of the last few years. I myself remember hearing as far back as I can remember that we are living in the last days and the return of Jesus as KING of Kings and LORD of Lords is imminent. I can remember many times when people had actually stated that the world could not possibly go beyond a certain year (which ever one it may have been at that time), without the Lord returning. Each generation saw things that previous ones possibly did not see.
One thing that has happened is that many people have gotten to the place to where they are tired of hearing it because it just sounds like the same old story again and again. It begins to sound like a whole lot of spiritual hype. This has helped many to fall asleep at the wheel, and the slumber is so deep that real events and changes in the world that we live in are not registering—especially in America.
So here we are. I admit being guilty of being one of those that is saying that things are quickly wrapping up and we need to be prepared for His imminent return! I’ll have to admit, it has brought me some grief and often disrespect. At the very least, many have an attitude that says, “well, that’s just Jake!” Yet, when I look back at well over forty years of watching world events and comparing them to what Scriptures have to say, I can make a very good case that we are in different days than any other generation has lived through.
One thing that I had asked God for at the very beginning of my life of ministry to people, whether during times of pastoring churches, or pounding nails in the construction industry, was to keep me balanced in what I shared with people. I believe He answered that prayer. Not all would agree, but it needs to be understood that God uses different people to fulfill different assignments. As I look back, the thing that was always the driving force in what I felt God was giving me to share with people had to do with deepening our intimate walk with God. The study of “eschatology”, or end-times, was the less important of the two subjects, although knowing that true prophetic events are taking place which point to the Lord’s soon return, gives a strong incentive to make sure our relationship with God is where it should be. I have always been a believer that individual people can walk and talk with God. If there is a lack of relationship between a person and his Creator God, it is not for lack of desire on God’s part. The hang-up is always on our side. I have found that God loves man with a love that is way beyond our capacity to understand. He longs to commune with the one that will dare bend his knee and enter God’s Presence.
Does that mean that I can choose which god I want to commune with? Not if I want the real deal! There is only ONE God that is “Creator”. There is only ONE Almighty, only one God who is Present Everywhere, and absolutely only one that is “All Knowing”. There were no others. That means that He has the right to call the shots. My rights are the ones that He has allowed me to enjoy. The things that He has designated as evil and “sin” are just that. We squirm under that kind of “dictatorship”, don’t we? We see Him as quite demanding. We figure that He is a control freak! We feel like our lives belong to us, and us alone. We want to be our own person and don’t like anyone to tell us what is right or wrong, nor what He expects of us. We figure that it is our business, period. We humans don’t like His interference.
We live in a world that claims that there are many roads to Heaven. Wrong! Our intellect chafes at the thought of God being so arrogant as to claim His way is the only way. This world has many religions, and claims many prophets, as well as great spiritual leaders. You know what? They are all dead! No one has ever showed the world anything but “a” way. Jesus said, “I AM the way”. It is tough for modern man to accept the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. Most consider it a desperate fairy-tale of a group of religious zealots! Yet, even Roman historians (who certainly weren’t followers of Jesus), could not explain how it was that over 500 people saw Jesus after He had been crucified and put in the tomb. The Roman soldiers were not about to let the disciples steal the body. It would be a death sentence for them under Roman law—even though the Jewish Sanhedrin pain them a lot of money to say that the body was stolen. I’m not sure that the Jewish leadership had enough influence with Rome to save the soldiers lives, but that is how they conned them into giving a false story of what really happened. No one can explain how it was that many ancient people came out of their graves at the time of the Resurrection and were seen all over the city of Jerusalem either!
The point of this all is just this: God has the absolute right to instruct mankind in how to live. He had every right to tell him what was right and wrong. He had every right to ask for the worship of His creation. It’s not because God has a huge ego that needs to be kept built up. Mankind needs to worship his Creator. Man has a craving in his make-up that only worship of his Creator God will satisfy..
God also has the right to tell us what is morally right and what is not. God has every right to condemn abortion, because it is taking life that He has created. If He takes the life, that’s His doing, but man does not have the right to kill for the sake of convenience. We talk about the woman having the right of her choice yet, the murdered child has NO CHOICE. God hates this hypocrisy that has cost at least 50 million babies in America alone. But, I digress…
It is the same with morality. God created us! He made the plumbing to work one way. People are stupid to ignore that fact. God also did not design adults to “become one” with lots of sexual partners. Yet, we want Him to stay out of our personal lives, and leave us alone. We don’t realize that we seal our own destruction by doing so.
It’s easy for those of us that are Christians to say that this applies to the non-believer. Yet, I’m afraid that.millions of Christians live just like the ungodly world around them. The non-Christians can’t tell the difference in some of our lives. Does God forgive? Thank God, He does! He does expect us to live up to His standards though, and not to our own. He will judge our rebellion. America is in that place at this time. This country is not going to turn around anymore, but God’s grace and forgiveness is available to millions of people that will bend their knee, humble themselves and decide to make Him the LORD of their lives.
One of the things that God condemns in people today is that they have lost their “awe” of Him and Who He really is. We make fools out of ourselves with our fawning over Hollywood stars. It is the same with our athletes, musicians, and even a few popular political leaders. We show way more “awe” for them than we do for the Eternal God before whom we will all soon be standing. Think about it. It’s true. I’m afraid this is not a popular message today, nor is it all that spectacular. It is however true. Most people would rather listen to feel good sermons—anything that doesn’t force us to face our shortcomings or sins. Our thinking is that God is a God of grace and mercy and He’s going to overlook our indiscretions, so what’s the problem? Yes, He is a God of forgiveness, grace, and mercy, but that does not exclude us from having to answer to Him. He still expects us to live up to His laws and ordinances that bring blessing to our lives. Much of today’s teaching is guilty of putting “grace” on a pedestal way higher than God’s requirements to live life as He designed it. His laws that bring us His protection and provision have never changed.
It’s simple. God said, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments!” Was He joking? Was He just playing with us intellectually because He knew we could not possibly live as He has asked us to? Was His death on the cross an event that gives us a pass to do as we please, because it was so complete? To the contrary! His provision was complete, there is no doubt about that, but we insult Him and make light of the sacrifice paid for our freedom when we rebel and do as we please. I’m not talking about the legalism that has so many people in bondage. God had no intention of having us live lives like the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day did. They could quote thousands of rules and laws that they claimed to live by. Yet, they missed the very simplest of commands. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and also our neighbor as ourselves.” That seems a simple read but is well worth some honest contemplation to see if we are really following through with what it says.
In the next post, coming right on the heels of this one, I would like to tell you why I believe we really are living in the genuine end-times that Jesus described in Matthew 24, and so many prophets spoke of thousands of years ago.
Please see to it that today becomes a new day for you—even if you are already a committed Christian. Let’s make an effort to step up our walk with God a notch or two. It will take no less in these days.
Be blessed, and…Keep Looking Up!