Leaving Laodicea
457 - The Prophetic Implications of COVID-19

457 - The Prophetic Implications of COVID-19

May 5, 2020

Right now, we as a nation and as the church are in the midst of an unprecedented worldwide pandemic that has some unfortunate, unforeseen circumstances.  We are currently mandated by our government to stay at home and practice social distancing.  Which, in effect, means no corporate church services.  No normal business activities.  No hugging our grandchildren or shaking hands with a friend.  No picnics at the park, no day trips to the mountains, no shopping at the mall, no having friends over for dinner.  All of that has changed.

But so has our culture.  Our economy is in a free-fall.  Unemployment claims are greater, much greater, than in the time of the great depression.  Small businesses are closing at a rate unseen in our lifetime and the future looks dim, at best.  Liquor stores and abortion clinics are deemed essential, but churches are not.  And since lawlessness has increased greatly, "the love of many," as Jesus foretold, "has grown cold" (Matt. 24:12).

These are truly desperate times.

But could God be trying to tell us something by all that is happening around us?  Is He trying to get a message to us, a warning?  And, if so, what is that message and why are we as a people so obstinate and hard of hearing?

We know, from Scripture, that God warns His people primarily in two ways.  One, by sending them a prophet, a prophetic voice in their generation to proclaim the words of the Lord.  God often sent a Jeremiah, Ezekiel, or John the Baptist to bring His people back to repentance before He chastised them for their sins.  Unfortunately, because of our collective pride, we in the West are not particularly open to a modern-day Isaiah or a proclamation of "Thus says the Lord!" from anyone.

So often God warns His people the second way, by a remedial judgment.  He allows storms, plagues, war, famine, or pestilence to bring us to our knees and allows us to realize that God is God and we are not.  God often humbles us by showing us how much we are not in control.

Could that be what is happening right now?  And, if so, what warning are we failing to heed?  And what changes do we need to make in our lives right now?

Remember, God is sovereign.  That doesn't mean He is the cause of suffering and death.  No, our sin brought that upon us.  That blood is on our own hands.  But what it does mean is that nothing happens in our lives, good or bad, without His permission.  Why?  Because He is sovereign.  He is good and gracious and holy, but foremost, He is sovereign.


The Blessings and the Curses

In Deuteronomy, we find a list of promises God gave to Israel that also applies to each of us today, as individuals and as a nation (and church).  They are found in Deuteronomy 28.  In this chapter, God gives His people one grand if/then promise.  If they will "diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, (how) to observe carefully all His commandments" (Deut. 28:1), then an incredible, breathtaking list of blessings will follow.  In fact, the Lord says "all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake (overwhelm) you, (why) because you obey the voice of the Lord your God" (Deut. 28:2).  Did you catch that?  His blessings will literally overtake them (you can't outrun the blessings of God), and literally overwhelm them.

Would you like to be blessed like that?  Then read the rest of the if conditions in Deuteronomy 28:3-14.

But there is a dark side.  It is the consequence of not meeting God's if/then standard.  He says:

"But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you" (Deut. 28:15).

And as wonderful as the blessings are, the curses are much worse.  Much!  And we are seeing many of them manifest right before our eyes.

If you are wondering what you and your church can do to prepare your hearts for God's possible remedial judgments, keep listening.  For our days ahead may be dark indeed.

The following is a study on the Prophetic Implications of the Covid 19 virus and Deuteronomy 28.

448 - Narcissism:  The Ultimate End Time Personality Disorder

448 - Narcissism: The Ultimate End Time Personality Disorder

February 15, 2020

Jesus chastised the religious elite of His day for their confidence in predicting things like the weather, but not being able to discern the signs of the times.  In fact, He called them hypocrites.  Remember?  "When it is evening you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red'; and in the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.'  Hypocrites!  You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times" - Matthew 16:2-3.  I wonder if He would say the same about His church today?  After all, it appears we all seem to know everything about everything.  Just ask us.

It seems we resemble those that Isaiah was called to address.

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight - Isaiah 5:20-21.

But there is one prophetic statement of Jesus regarding the times before us that is hard for many, including me, to understand.  That is until today.  Jesus said "because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold" (Matt. 24:12).  Got that.  He also promised that "a man's enemies will be those of his own household" (Matt. 10:36).  How is that possible?  How can our love for our spouse or children grow so cold we will treat them as enemies to the extent of hatred and betrayal? (Matt. 24:10).  How can that be true?  What sort of perverted human would turn on his own family for the sake of himself?  What kind of depraved mind or personality disorder would produce sociopaths with a love this cold?

In a word, it's called narcissism.  And it is the ultimate end-time personality disorder.


Narcissism

In general, narcissism or narcissistic traits can be described as follows:

  • They have an exaggerated sense of self-importance.
  • They have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration.
  • They expect and demand to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it.
  • They exaggerate their achievements and talents.
  • They are preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate.
  • They believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people.'
  • They monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior (which is just about everyone).
  • They expect and demand special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations.
  • They habitually take advantage of others to get what they want.
  • They have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others.
  • They are envious of others and believe others envy them.
  • They behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious.
  • They Insist on having the best of everything because they are entitled.

And they are everywhere!  They multiply like kudzu.

Narcissism may very well be the ultimate personality disorder of the end-times.  And it certainly fits the Laodicean church model.  In fact, psychologists believe that in the last 15 years over 30% of our population now registers on the narcissism spectrum.  And that number grows daily.

So what are we to do?  Great question.  Keep listening to find out more.

The following is a study on Narcissism and the End Times.

429 - Signs of the End:  Deception

429 - Signs of the End: Deception

July 3, 2019

In this message, we begin a deep journey into the prophetic words of Christ found in Matthew 24.  Why?  Because we are truly living in the last of the last days and it would do us well to see what our Lord has to say about the events that precede His coming.  And we will especially look at the first sign Jesus told us would point to the beginning of the end, deception.  That's right, deception is planáō in the Greek and means "to cause to wander, to be led astray, to mislead, to seduce, to cause to err."  Or, simply put, good old-fashioned deception.

Which raises just a few questions.

How are we being deceived today?
And, if we are being deceived, how would we know?
Are there other places in the Scriptures that warn us against deception?
What kind of deception can we expect?
And what was the specific focus of the deception Jesus spoke about?


How Important is the Coming (and Present) Deception

To see how rampant deception is in our society, and as a sign of the end, look at how many times Jesus spoke about it in Matthew 24:

And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you.  For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many." - Matthew 24:5.

"Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many" - Matthew 24:11.

And how powerful will that deception be?

"For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect" - Matthew 24:24.

Did you catch that?  If it were possible (and we know that it's not), even the elect, those chosen and sealed by Christ, would be deceived.  It's gonna be bad.


Who Do You Trust?

One final question regarding trust and deception.  Ask yourself this one question:  Who do you trust?  If you're honest, your answer may shock you.

Do you trust your government?
The media?  Hollywood?
Do you trust what you read in the news or on Facebook?
Do you trust what you are taught in school?
Do you trust our economic system in this country?
Do you trust the church?
The family?
Do you trust your friends or spouse?

There is so much more to talk about regarding deception.  To find out more, keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 24:1-4.

412 - Leaving Your First Love

412 - Leaving Your First Love

August 3, 2017

The first of Jesus' seven letters to the churches in the Revelation reveal more about each of us than we often care to admit.  The letter to Ephesus has this chilling assessment from the Lord:

“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love" (Revelation 2:4).

Ouch.  In spite of this church standing firm against heresy and faithfully persevering under great trials, the Lord holds something against them.  He is hurt, angry, almost unforgiving.  He must feel rejected and forgotten.  Why?  Because the church in Ephesus, the early church, the church that still had members that knew the Lord personally had left and forsaken the very one they claimed to love.  He said, "Nevertheless I have this against you, (what) that you have left your first love."  And that first love was Jesus.

Do you remember what it was like when you first came to Christ?   Do you remember the joy, the exuberance, the passion and full commitment you felt towards Him?  Do you remember the promises you made in sheer gratitude for what He had done for you?  Do you remember any of this?

Now look at your life.  Are you still as passionate?  Are you still giddy in love with Him?  Are you closer to the Lord today than in any other time in your life?  If not, you've done more than simply plateaued.  You've left and forsaken your first love.  And in doing so, the Lord now has something "against" you.

If I were you, I'd not rest until I made this right with Him.  Do you know how?  If not, then keep listening.

The following is a study on Jesus' letter to the church at Ephesus, Revelation 2:1-7.

409 - Why Do We Study Prophecy

409 - Why Do We Study Prophecy

June 26, 2017

One of the major reasons we study prophecy is called the Law of Proportions.  This law states the more ink the Lord uses in His Word to communicate a message, the more important that message must be.  Consider the following regarding the Old Testament:

Number of Verses in the Bible:  31,124 Number of Predictions in the Old Testament:  1,239 Number of Old Testament Verses that Contain Predictions:  6,641 out of 23,210 Percent of the Old Testament that is Prophecy:  28.5%

What about the New Testament? Number of Predictions in the New Testament:  578 Number of New Testament Verses that Contain Predictions:  1,711 out of 7,914 Percent of the New Testament that is Prophecy:  21.5% And the Bible as a whole?

Percent of the Whole Bible that is Prophecy:  27% Number of Separate Prophetic Topics in the Bible:  737

Just a few more facts:

Of the 333 prophecies concerning Christ, only 109 were fulfilled by His first coming, leaving 224 yet to be fulfilled in the Second Coming. There are over 300 references to the Lord’s coming in the 260 chapters of the New Testament— one out of every 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books mention the Lord’s coming. Jesus refers to His second coming at least twenty-one times. There are 1,527 Old Testament passages that refer to the Second Coming. For every time the Bible mentions the first coming, the Second Coming is mentioned eight times. People are exhorted to be ready for the return of Jesus Christ over fifty times.

Need we say more?  If you're interested in the study of prophecy, then keep listening.

408 - The Next Event on God’s Prophetic Calendar

408 - The Next Event on God’s Prophetic Calendar

June 16, 2017

Jesus said, "When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’  Hypocrites!  You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times" (Matt. 16:1-2).  In essence, He was paraphrasing an ancient maritime proverb that went something like this: "Red sky at night, sailor's delight.  Red sky at morning, sailor's warning."

But the point of HIs words was to shame those of us who fail to see the signs of the times of His coming— even as they are portrayed right before our eyes.

Open Your Eyes

Take a look around.  Read your Bible.  Look at the nation of Israel.  Do they mean nothing to you regarding the soon coming of our Lord?  "Hypocrites!  You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times" (Matt. 16:2). The study of the end times, that discipline known as eschatology, is a minefield of confusion and disagreement.  And because it's so divisive and  controversial many shy away from it.  But not so with us.  We are going to take a look at the Lord's prophetic calendar to see exactly what the Scriptures tell us is right around the corner.

Are you ready?  Good.  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on the End Times.

386 - What Does “Praying in the Spirit” Mean?

386 - What Does “Praying in the Spirit” Mean?

February 13, 2017

Twice in Scripture we are commanded to “pray in the Spirit.”  We see this first in Ephesians 6:18 and again in Jude 1:20.  We are not told to pray “with” the Spirit or “to” the Spirit, but pray “in” the Spirit.

Have you ever wondered what that means?  Is it praying in tongues as Paul referenced in 1 Corinthians 14:15?  No.  That’s something entirely different.

Is it something that I do or is it something the Holy Spirit does through me?  Where does my responsibility end and His activity begin?  What is the essence of “praying in the Spirit”?  Am I praying for what I want or is the Spirit praying through me according to the will of the Father?  And if that’s the case, what’s the content of that prayer?  Am I an active participant in my prayer life?  Or do I just kick back and let the Spirit take over?  And again, if so, to what extent?

Ah, so many questions.  Do you want to know the answers?  Good.  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Praying in the Spirit.

342 - Understanding the Times in Which We Live

342 - Understanding the Times in Which We Live

April 4, 2016
Twice in the Proverbs we find the following warning:

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished - Proverbs 22:3.

And again,

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished - Proverbs 27:12.

But what does this mean?  And does this warning still apply to us today?  Absolutely— and even more so than when it was written so many thousands of years ago.  In fact, it's a vital warning to the church today.

Want to know more? Then keep listening.

The following is a study on 2 Timothy 4:1-4.

274 - Answering the Rapture Question

274 - Answering the Rapture Question

December 1, 2014
Many of those who deny the doctrine of the Rapture of the church smugly say the word rapture doesn't even appear in the Bible.  And, to a degree, this is true.  Unless you have a Latin Bible, and then everything changes.  You see, the Greek word translated rapture in Latin is harpazo and means:  "to seize upon, to snatch away, to draw away, to carry off, to catch up, to receive, to pluck out, to rescue, to forcefully take away."

Rapture is the Latin form of harpazo and is found in the Vulgate which was translated by Jerome in the late 4th century and in the 16th century became the official Bible of the Catholic church.

Do you have questions about the coming rapture (harpazo) of the church?  Good.  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on the rapture of the church.

270 - “O Lord, hear!  O Lord, forgive!”

270 - “O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive!”

November 4, 2014
Daniel has been in captivity for close to 67 years and understands, from the writings of Jeremiah, that this captivity will only last 70 years.  In 3 more years— freedom.  And Daniel is close to 80 years old when he discovers this truth.

So what does he do?  He prays.  But not like you and I pray.  No, Daniel prays and cries for mercy for his sins, the sins of his people, and the sins of the land.  Daniel prays for his nation like you and I should pray for ours.

Consider the end of his prayer:

"O Lord, hear!  O Lord, forgive!  O Lord, listen and act!  Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name" (Dan. 9:19).

What happens when we, the church, begin to pray like Daniel?  Listen to find out more.

This is a study on Daniel 9:1-19.