Seeking First The Kingdom of God

Originally posted on February 17, 2018 by Amanda at kindlingtruth.com  

When it comes to being prepared for the “end times,” there are a few different approaches Christians seem to take. There are those who do not think it’s necessary to prepare at all because of the rapture, there are some who view preparedness in terms of worldly security, like stocking up on food or gold. There are some who think keeping track of the latest inside prophetic scoop will provide information necessary for avoiding deception.

I’m sure there are other view-points; I’m just speaking from my own experience and the ways I have approached this idea in the past wrongly. As someone who has believed all these things, I understand the logic and reasoning we might use—but I wonder, what did Jesus tell us about preparing for his return?

Did Jesus say to learn everything we can about prophesy or to buy a bunch of food and store up gold? Did he tell us we would escape tribulation if we just believed in him? No, he did not.

What Did Jesus Tell us About Preparing Ourselves for His Return?

Jesus teaches us that we should be prepared, but the way we prepare is not the same as preparing for some every day, common disaster. Sure, it can be wise to be ready for a power outage, food shortage, or some other sudden calamity. Having canned food, clean water, first aid kits, access to news reporting, and sometimes help from local law enforcement is perfectly reasonable. However, when it comes to the tribulation brought on by God before Jesus’s return, these things will not be very profitable. Why?

The “time of trouble” is meant to overthrow all worldly rulers and devices, so looking to this world in order to be prepared will not work. We need to be spiritually prepared—and the only way to be spiritually prepared is by “seeking first the kingdom of God.”

What does it mean to seek first the kingdom of God?

Consider these lessons from Jesus (found in Matthew Chapter 25):

Become a Wise Virgin

You’ve probably read the parable of the ten virgins. Five were wise and five were foolish. We know that the wise were prepared for the return of the bridegroom by having lamps that were full and ready, and the door was shut on the foolish who took no oil for their lamps. What does it mean to be as one whose lamp is full? What is the oil?

The name of Jesus is the oil. When we are filled with Jesus, our hearts are healed and we are filled with experiential knowledge of his righteousness.

This isn’t about being filled with intellectual knowledge or the kind of wisdom this world offers. Instead, this is about learning how to live our lives in a way that is aligned with the righteous ways of the Lord.

We become filled when we “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” Looking to anything other that Jesus will drain the things of God from us, and we are as the foolish virgins with empty vessels.

Be a Good and Faithful Servant

Following the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, Jesus tells us a story about faithful and wicked servants. The faithful servants took what the master gave them, invested it wisely, and had something to show for the labor. The wicked servant did nothing with what he was given, the master rejected him, and his “talent” was given to another.

What does this have to do with spiritual preparedness? As Christians, the whole purpose of our life is to raise us up as children of God. Everything we have can be viewed as a “talent.” Everything God gives us and every task set before us is part of His process of raising us up.

If we respect God and are thankful for what we are given, we will do our best to care for these things. This includes seeking the Lord so we can grow in the faith, of course.

This can also mean taking care of our families, being responsible members of our community, and setting good examples for others. In doing so, we grow in things like patience, self-control, and faithfulness—and we are also growing the kingdom of God.

Care for the Needy

One of the greatest ways to prepare our spirit is by caring for others. When we take our focus off ourselves and try to help someone else, we are becoming more like Jesus. We are learning to be selfless instead of self-centered, and I believe that what we invest in others the Lord will also invest in us.

Caring for the needy can mean many different things from feeding someone who is hungry to just lending a helping hand instead of looking the other way. It can mean preaching the gospel or supporting others in their Christian walk.

As Christians, we are community-focused people. We should be doing our part to help those around us as much as it is possible according to what the Lord has given us, especially caring for those of the faith.

Matthew Chapter 25 ends with Jesus teaching that what we do to the least of our brethren, we also do to him. Those who neglect the poor and needy are rejected. So, unless we want to be “separated as goats from the sheep” during the time of trouble, we should be good caretakers of the brethren.

Let No Man Deceive You

Jesus tells us (see Matthew 24) that many will come in his name, affirming that Jesus is in-fact Christ. However, they are not of God and they are sent here to deceive. As the “end times” approach, we can expect to see this happening on a larger and more manipulative scale.

Even today, there are many out there who profess the name of Jesus, yet they do a lot of harm to Christians in various ways. In doing so, they are forgetting the Lord’s patience, and he will not “keep them from the hour of temptation” (Rev 3:10) In-fact, they might be part of it.

I think that being kept in this sense means that the Lord will give us what we need to resist and endure the final deception and persecution. I do not view this as support for a “rapture.”

There is some measure to which God allows us to be wrong about Him and about Christian doctrine. There are also doctrines and the like which He hates. In order to avoid these things, we have to exercise ourselves in maintaining a firm focus on Jesus alone and learn to trust in him.

Paul the Apostle also warned about this in his second epistle to the Thessalonians. This is obviously very important.

One of the sneakiest ways Satan corrupts Christians is through other Christians. It’s also easy for us to become focused on things that seem to be of God, but in reality they are nothing more than a distraction—and often dangerous spiritually.

If we seek Jesus first in all things, he will teach us to recognize deception so that we can keep our focus where it needs to be.

How Does Seeking the Kingdom Prepare us for End-Times?

To sum up the above points, some of the things we can do to prepare for the end-time is to seek after the righteousness of God through Jesus, to be faithful over what God gives us, to care for the needy, and to be cautious of deception. All of these things are accomplished by placing Jesus and his kingdom first in our lives.

How though does this prepare us for the last days?

Currently, the prince of this world is restrained. How hard is it to resist him now while he is restrained? How hard can it be to seek the things of God presently, and how much harder can we suppose it will be when he is no longer restrained? How much more powerful and deceptive might he be? How much more will this world turn on us, even those we love most?

Seeking the kingdom of God presently equips us in the things of God so that we can grow in the ability to exercise ourselves in resistance to Satan. Consider Ephesians 6.

Put On The Armor of God

(Ephesians 6: 10-17)

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

When we seek the kingdom first, we become equipped with the full armor of God. In so doing, we are given the power to withstand any trouble that this world might throw at us.

Reading the latest headlines or “prophesy updates” will not provide these things for us. Buying gold will not help us. “They cast their idols of silver and their idols of gold which they made every man for himself to worship to the moles and to the bats” (Isaiah 2:20).

We do not want to be those who curse God during the time of trouble; we want to be those who are under his protection. I do not believe the end-time tribulation is for those who’s hearts are earnestly following the Lord. It is judgment towards this world and those who profess Jesus but do not strive to keep his commandments and honor his name.

Even so, “it is not just given to us to believe on Jesus, but to suffer for his names’ sake” (Philippians 1:29).  There will be hardship and many lives lost, but it’s all for our ultimate good and God’s glory. This is not a time to fear, but a time to rejoice! That is, if our hearts are made ready.

Do Christians Even Need to Prepare for End Times?

If you’re wondering over this, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you want to be a wise or foolish virgin?
  • Do you want to be a faithful or slothful servant?
  • Are you a sheep or a goat?
  • Do you want to please the one you call Lord?

Seeking the knowledge of the Lord written in our hearts so that we can grow in righteousness is the ultimate joy and freedom. After all, isn’t it the gospel of the kingdom we are to be so excited to proclaim? If so, shouldn’t we be seeking the kingdom of God above all things anyway?

I do not believe in the rapture (I used to, so I’m familiar with the argument), but even if you do that does not mean you should not prepare—especially since Jesus said that we should make ourselves ready for his return. If we prepare and then realize that the rapture was a false teaching, it won’t matter because we will be full of the Lord and ready to stand strong.

Regardless of what we believe about the end-times, as a sign of our faithfulness to Jesus we should be placing his kingdom at the head of our life anyway. It is what the Christian walk is all about, whether we are in the final generation or not, and whether we believe in the rapture or not.

What in this world is more worth pursuing than God? He creates all things, knows all things, and upholds all things. He is all powerful, all merciful, forgiving, and patient. There is nothing in this world that can take the place of Jesus, and we should not allow anything to take our eyes off him.


3/19/21 – I don’t disagree with what I wrote here, but I do have some additional thoughts that are related. Visit the links below if you would like to.

I think the reason why it is so important to have “oil” in our lamp is because as “iniquity abounds, the love of many will grow cold.” The love of Jesus is that oil, and His love is enough, but we must “abide in His love” so that we can “overcome.” Though we strive and fall short, we can have faith in His faithfulness. We can call out to Him in our distress.

He will not allow those who sincerely love and trust in Him to run dry. It is also written of Him, “a smoking flax shall he not quench.” We will overcome. We will hold fast. We will keep His words. We will do all things that He would have His faithful servants to do because He has overcome already, and by His grace alone and faith in Him, we will also.

This is part of an article series I began a few years ago entitled, “Preparing for End Times.” I intend to republish the articles here and perhaps complete that series. I plan to repost all of the articles at once after they are completed.

Blessed are the Merciful

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

The mercy of God in Jesus Christ is an amazing thing. For most of my life, the mercy of God was just this fact of life that I did not think much about. Later in life, when I became more serious about the mercy I claimed and the blood that was shed to give it, I went too far to the other extreme. I began to place limits on God’s mercy in my mind as I esteemed many Christians to be false because of the carelessness wherewith many wore the name and blood of Jesus.

The fact that I did not see the grace of God that was given to me—grace that made me zealous when many Christians are not—is a shame to me now. Pride blinded me, and as is the case with pride, I did not know that I was blind. I’m certain that I am still blind in many ways.

Now, having been on both ends of the isle so to speak, I understand both extremes and I have compassion for both extremes. Yet, I know that the chastisement of God is warranted for both extremes, and if He deals with us as sons, we will receive such chastening of the Lord.

If we take the mercy of God for granted, then something is amiss.

We can take the mercy of God for granted by wearing the blood of the Son of God carelessly, without regard as one who just sees His mercy as a fact of life, but we don’t do our upmost to honor that mercy by living a life that serves the One we call Lord.

We can also take the mercy of God for grated by wearing the blood of the Son of God while we ourselves place limits on the mercy of God for others as we esteem them to be lesser Christians in some way. Or worse yet, not Christians at all.

Both extremes are amiss because we, having received the mercy of God, fail to show that mercy to others and fail to fully reverence the cost that was paid for us.

Having been so great a fool as myself, I have a great appreciation for the mercy of God and for the blood of the Son that was shed for people like me.

I know that God is in control of all things, and I have had to learn many things pertaining to Christianity the hard way. This is blessing because I can relate, and hopefully, find an escape from the blindness of pride so that I can be faithful to the blood of the Son that I wear as I do what I can to help others straighten out their garments also.

It is possible to wear the blood of the Son of God in a disrespectful manner, and it aught not be so. My example is one of extremes, but there is a middle ground too. There are small ways we can be tempted within our daily lives to take the mercy of God for granted.

We must submit ourselves to the one we call Lord, or work towards that goal earnestly. If we do so, we will see for ourselves how amazing His mercy is as we strive and fail, grow, and learn to be faithful servants.

We will not be able to resist a love for His mercy and a desire to show that same mercy to others. His mercy will be a sincere part of our character that grows over time, and an aspect of His nature that we love oh so much because it is absolutely precious.

It is not burdensome to love mercy and to show mercy. It is peace of mind. It is restored relationships. It is closeness with the Creator whose creation is full of mercy.

We serve an exceedingly merciful God, and who can know the limits or the depths and richness of His mercy?

Yet, I do know that it is possible to take this mercy for granted, so let us consider. God is also fearful. He is a consuming fire that refines and destroys. Let us be refined as He burns off the callousness of our heart that lacks mercy. He will do so for all who belong to Him. I trust in this whole heartedly, because He did so for me.

This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand.

Some Thoughts on Dealing with our Inner Accuser

Insecurity and pride seem to be two sides of the same coin, and I think a lot of insecurity stems from inner voices of criticism, or maybe more adequality put, inner voices of accusation.

One of the greatest hindrances for me when it comes to writing about Christian topics as I see them has been dealing with inner voices of accusation. I love and appreciate genuine criticism. We are supposed to hold each other accountable for what we do in the name of Jesus. Accusations are another thing.

I can hardly make a post without some voice of accusation creeping into my mind, and I realized today that these voices of accusation come from people I know. I know I’m not alone in this. Many of us have dealt with very accusatory people.

Recognizing these voices of accusation is useful. For one, I know that to defer to these voices is pride. It is pride because I worry about what other people will say instead of what the Lord has to say. Why should I be insecure or afraid? I know me. Jesus knows me. He knows me better than I do. If I love Him and trust in Him, why do I allow my accusers to cause fear to well up in my heart?

Recognizing this also makes me realize why there are so few people I am close to. There’s something about me that brings certain personality traits to light, and I don’t know what it is. However, I think that those who serve as voices of The Accuser should continue to remain at a safe distance.

Jesus does not accuse. The Holy Spirit does not accuse. There is a difference between conviction of sin of a truth and assumptions, accusations, and slander. I also know that many will do you wrong, then instead of admitting to it, they will convince themselves that you are the wrong doer, and even go so far as to accuse you of the very thing they do.

Most importantly, I want to make sure that I do not serve as the inner voice of accusation for anyone in my life. Including my readers. There’s so much of this today. If we struggle with jumping to conclusions and making false accusations, we need to look at ourselves. Where does this insecurity come from? What inner voices of accusation do we carry that accuse ourselves or others?

Squash that insecurity and pride. Jesus’s love is enough, and His grace is humbling when we really think about all that He has done for us that we do not deserve. There is no room for insecurity nor pride in the Kingdom of Heaven. These are corrupting forces, and as it is written, “There shall not enter in anything that defiles or makes a lie.”

I won’t accuse myself for keeping distance from my accusers or those who accuse those I love. There is much that goes along with this, and it’s more than I can unravel at the moment. There is so much accusation among believers. It should not be so.

Considering Proverbs 10:19-21

19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.

20 The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.

21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.

I like the contrast between verse 19 and 20-21. On one hand, an abundance of words will not lack sin and it is wise to control what we say. On the other hand, if our hearts are just, then the words we speak will be useful because many “fools” die for their lack of wisdom.

This is a silly reference, but I think about something the scarecrow said from The Wizard of Oz. “People without brains to an awful lot of talking.”

More importantly, I think about something Jesus said: “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account on the day of judgment.”

Thanks be to God for His mercy through His Son, by whom we have passed from judgment to life. How many careless words have we spoken? How much sin has poured out of our mouths?

God makes all things through His word. Jesus, who is The Word made flesh died for our sins, including our idle words.

The words we speak matter. I know many would disagree with me, but words are violence. Words kill. Words make alive. Yet, to stop the speech of those who you disagree with using more violent words or violent actions is hypocrisy. We have a flood of words going out into the world by those who want to drown out any who stand in their way, and hypocrisy abounds. Let us be on guard against all malice and hypocrisy.

I pray, and trust, that the Lord will provide those who trust in Him with His words: not words of foolishness, but words of choice silver. Words that feed many. Words that bring wisdom to fools. Word that testify of He who is Life.

Life has shown me that we do not need violent words of malice or violent actions because the truth is violent enough for those who hate the truth. It is violent because in their denial of the truth and hatred for those who stand up for truth: especially He who Is Truth, they condemn themselves. We don’t have to lift a finger against them, and we shouldn’t.

God is in control of all things, and He will do the fighting for us. His Word is our weapon. I know that if we humble ourselves, look to Jesus above man—including our own religious authorities who have by and large misused the word—we will be granted this defense. One day, Jesus, who is The Word Of God will come and He will avenge. His Word will set the world on fire—and what will He be if it is already kindled? He will be glad.

We need to turn our hearts to Jesus and seek Him above all else. I know that He does in-fact reward those who “diligently seek Him.” I know that He will work on our hearts because our salvation is wrought in He who is True. He will do all things for us who trust in Him.

There is so much goodness that He can pour into us, and out of us will come this goodness. A goodness that knows when to destroy and in what manner. A goodness that knows when to build and in what manner.

Man does all things backwards because man is foolish. Do not worship Man. Worship Jesus. Worship God. Worship He who made all things for His purposes. Worship He who holds our souls in His hand. Worship He who is the source of all things—without whom, we could do nothing. Worship He who can make our foolish hearts wise and our words will follow, because as Jesus says, “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

It all begins with grace, and by grace we are humbled before God. In humility we will remember what Paul the apostle said, “boast not against the root because the root bears you.” There are many evils in this nation and within our churches, but the founders dealt with much so that we could have the freedoms we have. They dealt with much so we could come to know the Lord, Jesus. They deal with much, even blindness, so that we can learn and grow.

The mercy of God is vast and we cannot know it nor judge it.

It is also true, that before we go around judging “The Great Whore” we must recognize that we have been a part of her too. She is not fully formed, but she has always been. The call to “come out of her” has always been. “The beast” has always been. The call to wait and watch for the bridegroom who soon comes has always been.

In our lives of complacency, we have forgotten. We will be reminded. So, let us remember and turn to the Lord—with hearts of thankfulness, praise, and humility—so that we can have eyes to see and ears to hear, and so that we can have hearts that know Him and mouths that speak the right things—even if it means death.

No one can really share this with you. It’s too intricate and personal to the individual. What we have, we can try to share, but as the parable says, you must have oil in your own lamp. Seek Jesus. He will provide it.

Exercising in Humility

Originally posted at kindlingtruth.com on August 23, 2018

What is humility? This is often transliterated from a Greek word that means lowliness, which I believe to mean esteeming ourselves as low creatures rather than becoming proud or “puffed up.” I think we can also say that humility is a form of sober mindedness in that we do not begin to think too highly of ourselves as opposed to being as one who is “drunken” with their high opinions of self-worth.

Why is humility important for us as Christians, and as it relates to this article, why is being exercised in humility an important form of “end-times” preparedness?

A Lesson from Jesus in Humility

We might recall that Jesus taught about the importance of humility.

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea (Matthew 18:3-6)

Within this alone there are a few conclusions we can come to. We see the idea of conversion. If we convert, that means we make a change. What is this change? It is to become as little children. In what ways should we become as children? Jesus makes it clear that he is speaking about humility.

When we think of a humble child, this is a child who submits to authority. In the natural order of things, a child should view themselves as lowly in comparison to an adult authority figure. Such a child is going to be obedient and reverent for the things they are taught by their elders.

As Christians, we should have the same mindset in the way we esteem our relationship with God. We are lowly. God is exalted. We know nothing, yet are eager for teaching. God knows all, and we should show respect for His ways. We are obedient and submit ourselves to the instruction of God.

How do such actions make us great in the kingdom of heaven? First, we can consider what this means for us presently as the kingdom of heaven dwells within us. If we show proper reverence for the Lord, eagerly listen to the teachings of Jesus, and seek to apply these teachings to our lives obediently, and if we accept God’s correction as it comes and learn from our mistakes, then we will grow in the knowledge of the Lord within our hearts—which is the same as thriving in the presently-indwelling kingdom of heaven.

As for the kingdom of heaven to come, we cannot expect to inherit eternal life if we are proud and unruly. As joint heirs of the promise in Jesus Christ, we are to be as he was. We are to be meek and lowly. This shows reverence for God with a proper perspective of self in which we know our importance is only measured according to our usefulness for God’s purposes—purposes which hinge upon God-given tasks and abilities, not our own strengths. That, and whichever strength we inherit must be bridled and contained.

We should also consider the warning towards those who “offend” those of a humble and sincere faith. To offend means to cause the faith of another to waiver. Should we cause those who believe in Jesus-given righteousness as a fruit of salvation by grace through faith to cease from such a pursuit—the very pursuit of the kingdom? I think not.

Why is Humility Important During End Times?

There are many scriptures indicating that God hates pride. God promises to lay low the proud and to exalt the meek and humble. In-fact, a key purpose behind the time of tribulation is laying low the high things in this world to make way for the coming kingdom of heaven. All things in which man trusts instead of God including our knowledge, intellect, technologies, governments, religions, and all the works of our hands are going to be destroyed. Our food supplies dried up, our water sources made deadly—all things we esteem so highly will be made so low as to be returned to dust and ash.

Do we want to be caught up in this?

As Christians, we might feel as if we are immune and “no harm will come to us.” I do not think that is very wise—at least when such a belief is encased in pride and willful disobedience to God justified by incomplete ideas about grace and the “burden of the Lord,” to which Jesus says, “what burden? I will utterly forsake you.” If we are sincere, faithful, and fruitful, then we should trust the Lord during this time.

I think Christians at large today are in great risk of being consumed by their pride. Pride in their traditions and Christian establishments that have long abandoned sound doctrine and fruitful faith—all the while acting hatefully towards those of the faith who remain loyal to the truth of the gospel. Such as these who are going down the paths of vanity, conformity with the world, calling evil good and good evil, living in excess while ignoring the poor, and hating all things pertaining to the true nature of God are steadily on their way to embracing the rule of Antichrist and forming the Great Whore.

This so often begins with pride. Pride in the works of our hands. Pride in the so-called great Christian evangelists and influences of the past that have corrupted the teachings of the gospel. Pride in our mega churches and lucrative ministries. Pride in our appearances and shows of righteousness. Is it really so hard to consider that the Great Whore is made of those who profess themselves Christian? She would not be called a whore if she were not supposed to be espoused to Christ.

Are you espoused to Christ? Are you made lowly at his feet, or are you embracing prideful things that will keep you from the present-day and future-coming kingdom of heaven?

God Will Humble His Children

Pride is a struggle that is common to man. I believe that most of us can grow in humility, and Jesus is faithful to give us all things pertaining to an abundant life in the kingdom of heaven. As with all manner of “exercise” we Christians must go through, and as with all works of our salvation, these things are accomplished in us by Jesus. He will do things in our lives that bring us low and cause us to examine our areas of pride so that we can turn from them.

Perhaps many Christians will turn to Jesus when the things they hold so highly are brought low, especially themselves. However, to think we will live in pride now and repent at the last minute is foolish. If we are sincere in our dedication to the Lord, we will naturally grow in humility as we learn how utterly desolate we are without Jesus.

Scriptures on Humility

I try to provide scripture references because I know people expect that, and often if a work is not cited as scriptural many will simply disregard it. There are a few reasons why I limit my use of cited scripture. For one, many can cite scripture in a way that is deceitful. Cherry-picking verses that seem to support an idea is dangerous because we can often quote things out of context to support bad teaching, and I do not want to do this unknowingly. I trust the Holy Spirit to lead, though that does not mean my work is infallible. However, I believe it to be over-all scripturally sound.

Secondly, if we are serious about the faith and if we are able, we should familiarize ourselves with the scriptures enough to have some basic concept of whether any teaching is true or not. Failure to do the leg work ourselves and relying solely on man has lead to a lot of proud, spoiled, and ignorant people within the faith.

Even so, here are some verses you might find helpful when considering humility:

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves (Philippians 2:3).

When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom (Proverbs 11:12).

Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits (Romans 12:16).

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price (1 Peter 3:3-4).

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility (Proverbs 18:12).

And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence (1 Corinthians 1:28-29).

Isaiah 2-3 in entirety. Click here for a quick reference. This is not an endorsement for Biblegateway. I just did not want to take up a whole page citing it here, but I highly recommend reading Isaiah 2-3. In-fact, while you’re at it, read Isaiah 1-5.

Here is an excerpt from Isaiah 2

Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made:

And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not.

Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty.

The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.

For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low

This article is within the series, Preparing for “End-Times” which is meant to re-direct us from vain pursuits in this regard and encourage us to seek profitable knowledge that will benefit us presently and also in those days should we be here.


3/13/21

I tend to focus on differing themes from time to time. Right now, my main focus is on humility. We need to be made low so that we can see past the foolish blindness of our pride. At least, I know I do. I still have pride. I need to be lower, and I believe the lower we get the better we hear what the Lord is saying to us in this time.

Also note that the above article has a little bit of that issue I’ve written about in the past: “you do not know what spirit you are of.” I don’t like statements that begin to accuse my fellow servants. I don’t like the impatience. I don’t like the pride–within an article about humility–which is kind of funny.

I would like to go through the entire “Preparing for End Times” series and republish it here. I did not complete it, so I would need to do that first.

Will we Worship the Beast and His Image or Will we Worship the King of Kings?

I have some thoughts that contrast the seal of God with worship of the beast and his image and the mark of his name.

These are my thoughts and not to be taken authoritatively. Maybe this will develop further, and the understanding will if this is understanding from the Lord. I’m not trying to be cringe-worthy here. I’m trying to be transparent because these are big ideas about serious issues.

This is a small glimpse into how my mind works: I show you so you can see how I tend to piece things together. I’m also a forward-thinking person, and I think in large, big-picture ways. This can give the illusion of being prophetic. If I am using this mind that God gave me to hear with the Spirt says and weed out the spirits of this world, then I might say things that are prophetic, but I also might connect the dots in vain. I think that needs to be made known.

I’ve been thinking lately about the “rest” of Jesus that we experience as Christians. I think about scriptures that tell us to “labor to enter into His rest.” I think about those who receive the seal of God in Revelation 14-15, and contrast that with those who worship the “beast and his image” in Revelation 13. I also think about my understanding of what it means to have received the knowledge of good and evil, and how by the Spirit we are to use this knowledge appropriately—not according to the foolishness of the flesh—but according to the wisdom of God.

You see, we are made to create. Just as God creates. We will either labor to further the kingdoms of man, or we will labor to further the Kingdom of God. One is the beast and his image. One is Christ and His Kingdom. We can worship at the feet of this world and grow rich and entitled off this world, as the Great Whore does, or we can grow in righteousness, accept suffering for the name of our Lord, and grow in humility so that we are made fit to receive more of He who is humble and meek in heart.

We can labor for Jesus Christ—which is rest—or we can labor for the world—which is not rest, day nor night.

Why is it no rest, day nor night, if we worship the beast and his image?

There is no end to man’s fighting over what will be built, and there is no peace. We will always fight over what we are to make this world into, and we pave the way with the bones and blood of those who stand in our way. Even though those who worship the final beast and his image will have “one mind” I think we can see today somewhat of what that looks like. This “one mind” is a kind of obey or be canceled oneness, and a oneness of vanity, pride, calling good evil and evil good, and all manner of slander against all that is good and true—including Jesus who IS Holy and True.

If we labor for Jesus, we enter into rest. There are things we must do in this world, and sometimes we get sullied because there is no other way. So, we wash each other’s feet. We help each other walk in the ways of the Lord and not this world.

There will come a time to rest from these labors. There will come a time to enter into the service of God in a fuller way, and that is a joyous time! Even now, by the Holy Spirit, we experience this. There is no greater rest from the beasts of this world—which was and is not and yet is—than to labor for Jesus Christ. Learning about Him, sharing Him, and growing up into Him is rest. It is work, and it is pain also. It is especially pain when our flesh still wants to worship the world. However, we can seek more grace from God to release us from the world. The blood of the Son of God was shed for us so that we could be free. Not just judicially or in some metaphorical sense, but in this present world.

So, let us labor to enter into His rest and escape the bondage of the beast and his whore. We are not of this world, just as Jesus is not of this world.

Do you agree? I think we should be of one mind too. That does not mean we cannot disagree as we humbly understand that we all “see in part and know in part.” I do believe that all sects of Christianity have something right and something wrong. I believe that if we could communicate, we would see the things of God more clearly. We could tear down the towers of babel that we have erected in His name. Let the enemy build their tower. Let them build it high. We will be low. Low even to the dust because our lives do not matter, and we know that Jesus will lay low the high and raise up the low—especially those who go so low as to forfeit their lives for His sake.

Let’s be low, and in being low we will find unity in Spirit. We will find strength. We will find rest. We will find escape from the wrath of God and the chastisement that comes for the children of disobedience.

That’s quite a lot to put together, isn’t it? There are many ideas I have wrestled with. Too many to list here, but they all come together to form this understanding and more. If we are to be one, we also need a framework of the faith that we can unify on. We cannot just say that anything goes. What is that framework? Lord willing, we will find it, but the foundation of that framework is lowliness. We cannot see clearly unless we are made low.

Can Christians Be Victims?

Blessed are you. That’s something Jesus said a lot. Blessed are the poor. Blessed are those who mourn. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. Blessed are you when men revile you, persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be glad! Great is your reward in heaven!

I admit that I can whine and complain as much—or worse—than the next person. Life is challenging, but who among us has not suffered at the hand of someone else? Who among us has not caused suffering also? Who among us is not worthy of the worse possible thing: death?

I’ve hated my tendency to complain for some time, and it’s something I try to be mindful of. I try to turn my focus onto all the good things in this life that I have to be thankful for. I even try to be thankful for the hard things. As time passes, I see more and more how blessed those hard things were—even more so than the “good” things in many ways.

Even now, all of the “suffering” I go through pales in comparison to the reward that is being wrought, and I know that there is much greater suffering in this world. Believers have always suffered, and far worse than I ever have.

I really do not like the victimhood mindset that saturates our culture. It leads to entitlement, and it is used as weapon against people wrongfully. I know that people suffer and compassion is important. So is justice. I also know that some people make up stories of victimhood to gain attention or control over people, and that is a shame because it creates a kind of massive “boy who cried wolf” scenario.

With so many people jumping onto the “I’m a victim” bandwagon, who will hear the cries of those who are truly in distress?

Who are the people in true distress right now? Not Christians.

We like to complain about how the world hates us, but no. Blessed are we.

We are inheriting the Kingdom of Heaven as joint heirs with the Son of God. How are we in any way victims? All things are working together for our good if we love the Lord and are called according to His purposes. Especially the hard things. Blessed are we!

I want to do better about moving away from a mindset of sorrow towards a mindset of thankfulness. Blessed are we! I want to praise Jesus for all that He has done to save us from this world and for the incredible things to come in His Kingdom: both as we experience His Kingdom within and in the future promise we have to look forward to.

Blessed are we!

I will never belittle the emotional or physical suffering of my brethren. I suffer too, and I know that we will suffer and I know that this is good for us. However, in our suffering, I think it will help if we can remember that we are blessed to suffer. To be counted worthy to suffer for Jesus is great blessing, and the more we suffer the more blessed we are.

We should help when we can, remembering that Jesus said, “in so much as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it also to me.” We should not be the cause of each other’s suffering, and if we are then we need to repent. The fellowship of all believers should be our safety zone and our rest in Christ during times of trouble, not a source of contention and suffering. We fellowship in suffering. We do not cause it or ignore it when it is in our power to do something about it.

Imagine if the good Samaritan had passed by that beaten man and said, “blessed are you” then kept walking. Ridiculous, right? I say this because I know how easy it can be for us to find silly loopholes. We don’t pass by our suffering brethren and say, “blessed are you.”

Yet, we should expect suffering. I really do not like the idea that Jesus places no burden on us. When we come to Him as hopeless sinners, we find a place of rest because He is meek and humble. He does not make us feel harshly accused or condemned. We find mercy, understanding, and gentleness. Yet, once we accept His mercy, we enter His service.

Service is work. We are inheriting great responsibility as sons of God. How silly our carnal ideas of heaven are! How silly are we to think that we are to live a life of self-pleasure? No, we are living a life of sacrifice. If we rule with Jesus, will we not be servants? The best leaders are servants, not petty kings, tyrants, or spoiled princes and princesses who wallow in decadence and sin. Thanks be to God that in His mercy with many Jesus says, “hold fast what you have until I come.”

We are not earning our reward; we are being good stewards of it. Grace keeps us, not our works. That is important, yet I would hate to see Christians fall away due to fear or sorrow when suffering comes because they expected a life of worldliness made possible by the blood of the Son of God. Not so. That is a teaching God hates.

It is a shame that many among the faith view suffering as a sign that God is against you. No. Blessed are you! If you are chastised, blessed are you because God deals with you as a son. If you suffer for righteousness’ sake, blessed are you because your reward is great. Blessed are you!

Blessed are Those That Hunger and Thirst After Righteousness

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. – Matthew 5:6

As Christians, our righteousness comes from the blood of Jesus first and foremost. We have all sinned, and the way I tend to look at sin is our tendency to do things that bring death to this world. We have an “eat or be eaten” mindset that results from our “knowledge of good and evil.”

We are intimately aware of our ability to create as well as destroy, and we know that all of mankind has this ability. We fight over what we will create and we destroy those who stand in our way. We destroy others out of greed, self-preservation, fear, wrath, vengeance, and so on. We do not use our knowledge of evil uprightly, as God does, but in a self-serving manner. So, we are worthy of death.

Without the blood of Jesus covering us, we have no hope, and we have no plea before God that we can make on the day of judgement that can justify all of the death we have wrought in the earth. We deserve death, but in God’s mercy, we have a way set before us that can bring us to life—even everlasting life.

Having received so great a gift as this, we are to grow in our love for life and our desire to bring life-giving things to this world. However, we soon see that the world hates life because life is truth and the world loves death and lies. They want to call their evil and dead ways good, and all who challenge them are hated and destroyed.

However, since we have overcome the fear of death, we will bring truth and life anyway. Or at least, that should be the mindset we strive to keep.

This is the righteousness we hunger and thirst after, or we should.

We see how depraved this world is, and we so disparately long for something better. We want righteousness. We want a more righteous world and we want to be more righteous ourselves. We look forward to a coming Kingdom in which righteousness dwells, and we know there will be no more death, sorrow, or pain there! The whole earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord, and there will be no more killing among us.

By the Holy Spirit, we receive the beginning of this inheritance as adopted sons of God through Jesus Christ. By His Holy Spirit, we can learn what is good and true. We can find strength to overcome sin, even knowing that many will hate us and want us dead. We can overcome the weakness of our self-preserving flesh overtime as we find rest in the promises of God in Jesus.

By the Holy Spirit, we learn what a truthful and appropriate “knowledge of good and evil” looks like as we wield the forces of destruction and life in an upright manner. There are things to tear down and there are things to build, but without the right perspective, we will do things backwards.

The wisdom of God is foolishness to man, but by His Spirit we can learn. We can learn to destroy things that destroy as we “wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness in high places.” We do not destroy as man does. We also do not bring life as man does. We learn to have the mind of Christ as He redeems us by His Spirit as well as His blood.

It seems that the Spirit of the Lord has been much neglected by this world and by His church. They have so little power, and that is sad.

I want more power too. More power to discern good and evil, not according to the foolishness of man but the wisdom of God. I want more power to use this knowledge—which is the sword of the Spirit—in righteousness and truth. I want more power to lay my life down willingly and gladly, with joy and not fear, knowing that I can overcome this world because Jesus overcame first.

We need a revival of the Spirit among believers. We need to hunger and thirst after righteousness. We need to regain a focus on what the Kingdom of Heaven is really about instead of our carnal ideas that have polluted it. We need to regain focus on what the rest of Jesus is really about instead of our legalistic gatherings that have polluted it. We need to regain a desire for the commandments of God in Jesus Christ: to love God and love others with all our might—and the teachings of Jesus that show us what this means.

Let us be hungry and thirsty, knowing that we are in desperate need in this time that loves evil and hates good, that pollutes all righteous judgment, that despises Jesus and His ways, that uses Him for carnality and not Spiritual knowledge, that has made His cross of none effect in many ways.

His blood is a gift given without repentance, and all who trust in His blood sincerely will be saved. I believe that and I condemn no believer. However, there is much to be gained by His Spirit: much that has been neglected over the many generations of the faith.

We need to be exceedingly in awe and thankful for His mercy that transcends all that has gone astray, with faith in His ability to do something about it. We need to hunger and thirst after righteousness, and we will be filled.

This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand.

Get Behind Me, Satan

The idea of Christian suffering is heart-wrenching. I do not relish in it whatsoever. However, I do know that suffering in this life pales in comparison to the goodness sewn in the Kingdom of Heaven. I would rather see myself or someone I love to suffer in this short life and reap a great and everlasting reward. I think of what Jesus said to Peter: “Get behind me, Satan. You savor the things of man and not God.”

In my natural mind, I am heavily impacted by the suffering of others. This is one of the reasons why I tend to be so reclusive. This world is full of suffering and my drive to help—whether wanted or not—can make me go a little haywire. Depression is a constant foe of mine also. I hate to see suffering, and it makes me sad when people accuse me of relishing in the suffering of Christians because of the things I write.

The Lord knows. He knows all of our hearts, and thanks be to God that He is the judge of them all. Not us. Would you judge me as sounding a trumpet before myself to say that though I know there is no more sacrifice for sin and none needed, if it were possible for me to bear the coming chastisement of His people, I would. Yet, I wouldn’t because I know that such suffering will work the righteousness of Christ in many, and I would not have them robbed.

I have desired to see all Christian systems come down, and I admit that this was not out of love for the brethren, but out of my own selfish resentments, pain, and the foolish zeal of youth. I still have that zeal at times, and I get angry at times because I am also heavily impacted by injustice. When I see how many are hurting because of the injustice of many leaders in the faith, I get mad. When I think of how my Lord who I love is used and slandered, I get mad.

I have a very contradictory nature that is hard for most to grasp. At least it will not be said of me that I was “neither cold nor hot.” Though, other things could be said.

My point is this: we are carnal minded, but to be carnally minded is death. To these mindsets, I will assert by the grace of God, “get behind me, Satan.” This takes many forms, because as it is written, our adversary is as a roaring lion seeking who He may devour. We can learn to be on-guard and mindful of our motives and the “sprit we are of” so that we are not overcome as often.

I understand that the ways of God seem foolish. They seem backwards sometimes, because in our carnal mind we cannot know them. In the Spirit we can know and grow in our knowing.

Please, do not accuse me. As Paul the Apostle said, I speak as a fool: I do not accuse you, and if I could spare you by giving myself, I would. Why else do I lose sleep every day? Why else would I bear the weight of considering the state of our brethren, continually seek Jesus for us, and bear suffering in this life that I could escape if it were not for my desire to be made into the righteousness of Christ in Jesus so that I can grow in understanding, to share with all of you, who hate me?

Do I do this to be loved or to gain so many followers (sarcasm, folks)? I know it’s hard to believe that someone can love you like that. By the grace of God, I do because Jesus first loved me and I first loved Him before I could love you. Jesus loves us most. Continue in His love. Doubt it not, and please, do not doubt that I love you also. Though, I can love you better. I can love Jesus better, and in so doing I will love you better. We will all love each other without fear, accusation, slander, envy, strife, and division.  That will be such a beautiful thing to behold!

God is so good to have this instore for us, and so much more than we know. How good is He, who can change our calloused hearts of revenge and hate into something more like Him—who made all things for His pleasure and purpose.

So, yes. I pray it. I pray to God that we are all made low. Make us low. Make us low. That repeats in my mind throughout the day today.

Make us low, Lord. Make us low. Though our enemy is high, make us low. Low as the dust. Make us low. The Lord Jesus alone is worthy to be praised an honored. If we want to find Him, we need to be made low. Make us low, Lord. Make us low. For your Name’s sake, your suffering we will partake. Make us low, Lord. Make us low. More on that to come as it unravels more fully.

Considering Proverbs 10:18

18 He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.

Have you ever dealt with someone who praised you to your face then slandered you behind you back? Be honest…maybe you’ve done this too. Sometimes we don’t want to say what we really feel because we have to be civil. We have to be adults in this world and get along. Then, when we are in our safety zone around people we know or trust, out pours the hatred as we gossip about someone.

Not good. It doesn’t feel good when it is done to us, and it’s not good to do this to others.

How often is this done among the household of the faith?

Now, when I say that, what do you think of? Do you think of your local church? Do you think of your local denomination? Although there might be occasional bickering among you, for the most part, you are of one mind, correct?

Think broader.

What about Christians you disagree with?

Where I live, there are two main camps of Christianity. I have spent some time among them both, and both never cease to complain about the other. It is like they are vying for the souls of their congregants who must pledge allegiance to the flag of (enter denomination or pastor here).

I’ve seen a surplus of online ministers and prophets/prophetesses so-called who absolutely hate the brethren. Why do they hate them? I think many of them have felt as I have: cast out, looked down upon, and judged harshly.

Resentment leavens the whole lump, as Jesus says. Purge out the old leaven of malice. It is hard to do. I know. I still have some purging to do too. Some are not merely wounded; they want to be King themselves as they give into strange delusions. I pray for you. I know what you struggle with.

What’s sad is that the things stated by all who hate their brethren are not entirely true. A lot of it is slander based on impartial information about the beliefs of the opposition, assumptions that fill in the blanks, and an unwillingness to see that perhaps their opponent has some things right that they themselves miss.

This is not good. This gets into being “drunken and smiting your fellow servants” territory. They are drunken off their superior understanding of the faith and of the teachings of Jesus, wherewith they justify condemning all others. This is four-horsemen stuff, folks. As I have said and will stand by, We Are the Four Horsemen—yet what is in heaven is in earth. Correct? Hear me?

Jesus is merciful. Thanks to God that our judgment is in His hands. Thanks to God that Jesus is a person who deals with us all individually, circumspectly, and with much patience and wisdom. If the grace of God is for us, nothing can be against us—not even our failings.

Yet…our failings are going to be judged. We cannot go around erecting towers and petty kings in the name of the King of Kings and get away with it. We cannot murder our fellow servants in the name of the Prince of Peace and get away with it.

He will tear it all down at the hands of our enemies—and this is for our own good. However, the way He does this will try our hearts. Are we faithful to Jesus or are we faithful to man? If we have the love of Jesus in us and the grace of God to see this, we will not be tried. We will see it coming from a mile away…please see it. I pray the grace of God for you to see it.

We cannot continue to speak peace to the face of our enemies and slander them behind their backs…especially among the brethren.

I do not hate the brethren, though I am human and I get angry. That is a fault of mine and I know that anger and hate are closely related. Yet, to hate wickedness is good. So, I will hate it, but I will not hate you by speaking peace to you then allow the results of your ways come crashing down on you without at least attempting to do something about it.

I have been there too. I have held my views—views that did not line up with any one of you completely, but in part with most if not all of you. I’ve felt the temptation to be against my brethren and I have felt the desire to see it all come crashing down. Now, for your sakes, I desire to see us repent. I desire to see us find humility and learn to communicate beyond our petty Towers of Babel.

The Spirit speaks still. We can hear Him if we will lower ourselves. Jesus is meek and lowly. He will not make Himself known to our towers, and if He must, He will level them to the ground so that He is exalted for our sakes.

In that way, I do desire to see it all fall—but not for the destruction of those within—but that their soul might be saved. It will happen as the scriptures say. This too is grace. It is the grace of God to chasten those He loves.

I do not accuse the salvation of my brethren, as many towers do, but I do know that those who are high now will be low in His Kingdom. Those who are low now will be raised up, as He has said. So, we can always grow in humility. Grow down, not up. The lower we get in the earth, the bigger we get in the Spirit.

In the Spirit, we are one, as the Father and the Son are one. One day, by the grace of God, we will be.