Tag Archives: End Times

Spiritual but not religious

Panorama Z

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” 1 Tim. 4:1 NKV

“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day (The Day of The Lord) will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the. Son of perdition.” 2 Thess. 2:3 NKJV

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” 1 John 4 NKJV

I came across an article recently which discussed the findings of a survey done by the Public Religion Research Institute. The survey of some 2000 Americans performed in early 2017 found that 18 percent identified as “spiritual but not religious” and that their beliefs “transcends stereotypical religious identity.” The article sited several participants whose ideas about their traditional religious upbringings led them to find their own way of being in connection or feeling one with some “higher power.” Threw the use of yoga, arts, filling their apartment with plants, meditation and finding ways to have lifestyle choices accepted by “more progressive denominations” these “new faith” believers make peace with themselves in a world of traditional religious establishments.

Now, before I come across as some narrow minded self righteous fool let me give you some background. I was raised Catholic and went threw the sacraments. I was obedient to follow the traditions and rituals of the church as taught to me and in doing so felt empty and uninspired. I have also sinned. I have fallen away and done things “that I wouldn’t want printed on the front page of The New York Times” (as my Grandmother would say). I have denounced traditional religious sects and their empty rituals. At my worst I have raised a clinched fist skyward and declared in my folly that there is no God. I’m not proud of any of that but facts are facts and the Lord saw me threw it all. I ask that you keep all of this in mind as I discuss the article please.

If we look at this survey and the beliefs of its participants who are finding their own new way in the light of scripture we see that they are being deceived. It’s not their fault. Some organized religious groups fail to inspire it’s people. Some will compromise the basic principles of the Word of God in order to fill the seats or be politically correct.

Jesus was never politically correct or a supporter of the empty religious groups in His day. Even though the rituals and religious leaders were established by God Himself over the many years they leaders became proud and the reasons for the rituals blurred into history until they were just going threw the motions. Jesus called them out on their hypocrisy even when they tried to trap him. When the religious men brought the adulterous woman before Jesus they said that she was caught in the very act. Really?! So, these guys busted in on a man and woman (presumably one or both of them married) in the act of making love. In an attempt to test Jesus they dragged the woman before Him but the Law clearly states that BOTH the man and the woman are to be stoned to death for the sin of adultery. As we know Jesus didn’t fall for their trap and He did not condemn the woman. He showed mercy to the woman and simple told her to “go and sin no more.” See John 8:3-12 and Lev 20:10

Jesus turned over the tables at the Temple and criticized the establishment. He ate and kept company with the outcasts, sinners and tax collectors. Jesus did not look like, talk like or behave like the leaders of His time and that got Him both admired and despised. What He did do was affect people. In His short ministry He taught, healed, fed, and raised the dead. He fulfilled the scriptures concerning His birth, life, death and resurrection. He fulfilled the Law and in doing so made a way for all the world to be free from sin and hell. He will meet each and every one of us right where we are and share His love and bring new life. What He will NOT do is barge in on anyone to take them captives or seduce them with goosebumps and warm feelings.

The devil does that. The devil tempts and teases. He sees our pain and our longings and plays on our weaknesses. Jesus called him the Father of lies. The Deceiver. The Lion who seeks to devour.

It’s been said that the greatest accomplishment of the Devil is convincing people that he doesn’t exist. Even as I write this I know that many good churchgoing people will roll their eyes at the mention of the devil. After all isn’t he an imaginary foe created to be blamed for what is simply the behavior of bad people? Isn’t the dark side of our own human nature the real devil?

The answer is a firm “No!” Jesus was tempted by the devil. He spoke clearly of the devil. The Holy Spirit through the Apostles spoke of the devil many times.

Before I stray much farther from my point I will stop. Whether or not you believe in the Devil isn’t the point. The point is that there are deceiving spirits in the world. Always have been but the devil knows his time is short. The participants of the survey taken are looking for answers and fulfillment that they didn’t find within the walls of ritualistic stereotypical religion. They crave, everyone craves, the very real relationship with Jesus. They crave it because there’s a cross-shaped hole in everyone’s heart that only He can fill. It’s and old saying but true.

Lastly, the biggest take away from this post and that survey is that we don’t have time to be judgmental or self righteous. People need the Lord. People need to hear the good news. People need the Lord. Not religion. Not rituals. Not spirituality. People need a relationship with the Lord of all Creation and the Good News is Jesus stands at the door and knocks.

All of us who truly believe have an obligation to share the compassion and love of Christ with all the world. The rest is up to Him.

Be Blessed A&B

This is the link to the article I mentioned https://www.vox.com/identities/2017/11/10/16630178/study-spiritual-but-not-religious

….and the Lord God planted a garden….

The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. Gen 2:8a NKJV

I think it’s safe to say that almost everyone knows of the Garden of Eden. It’s the garden that God made to be the home for Adam and Eve. It’s the place where they ate the apple. It’s where they realized that they were naked.

But how many remember that this is where they also had fellowship with God. Gen 3:8 tells us that they heard the voice of God calling to them in cool of the day. I believe that this was a regular occurrence but that this time they hid because of their sin.

This garden was the perfect example of Who God is and how gracious and merciful He is towards us all. Within the garden were all of the trees and plants and animals. Nothing was held back. God instructed Adam that everything was his for the taking except the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. This was, I believe more a cautionary warning regarding something harmful rather than willful withholding of a delicacy as the world would imply. This is where we see the Just and Fair character of God Almighty. He could have just as easily NOT planted that tree and kept them safe. He rather planted the tree and gave a stern warning in hopes that they would trust Him and obey. Not so dissimilar than a parent instructing a child to not touch wet paint or a hot stove.

Armed with their freewill and a relationship with God Almighty they lived in the garden together. Until the serpent showed up. The serpent raises one question to Eve that set the tone for the whole conversation and is the same trap/test that he continues to use today – “Has God said….?” By asking her a question he already knew the answer to he is looking to see just how well she knows God. Sadly, she fails this test by answering him incorrectly. And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.” Eve added “nor shall you touch it” and that told the serpent that she didn’t know God. Armed with this he was able to plant seeds of doubt regarding the trustworthiness of God. God is withholding from you. He doesn’t want you to enjoy this beautiful fruit and the power it brings. Why, you will become just like Him and He doesn’t want that. Look at how pretty it is.So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.” Gen 3:6 NKJV

Herein are the three roots of all sin – “good for food’ – the lust of the flesh; “pleasant to the eyes” – the lust of the eyes; “desirable to make one wise” – the pride of life. But we’ll visit that another day.

Eve showed that she didn’t have a complete understanding of what God said and that may have been Adams fault for not telling her or it may have been that she didn’t have a close relationship with God fro herself. Either way this has been the devils doorway into our lives for generations. Sadly, for many years only the “Church” had the Word of God and so people were in the dark as to what God said. In modern times we have the Word printed in every language and spoken loudly on the radio, TV, worldwide web and in churches across the globe. Yet, so many are still unsure of what God did and did not say.

Today, more than ever, it is important to not only know the Word of God but to have a relationship with God and His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit because the devil knows his time is short. We live in a world where you can read online about how God is a myth and how Jesus never existed and how we all get to live over and over again threw reincarnation. We live with thousands of abortions daily but have to rescue puppies from pounds. How we can have intimate relations with anyone we want but just don’t go to that fanatical church. The devil, like a roaring lion, looks to see whom he may devour because his only job is to kill, steal and destroy. The glorification of the sinful nature of man is ramped up all around us. Truly we are in the days when good will be called evil and evil will be called good. By not knowing God or His promises in His Holy Word so very many have believed the lies of the devil and are perishing daily.

Brothers and Sisters let us read the Word of God while we can. Listen to the voice of God always. Tell this dieing world about He Who died for them before it is too late.

 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. Jude 20-23 NKJV

Blood Moon Rising

Tonight, or early morning tomorrow, depending on where you are on the planet, there will be a lunar eclipse which will produce a “Blood Moon”. While some have used this phenomenon as an occasion for speculation regarding the end of days I am reminded of the Y2K worries that captivated our thoughts not so long ago. The turning of time from 1999 to 2000 was heralded as a cataclysmic moment. It was feared that the computers that we all have become so dependent on would shut down causing business collapse and hysteria. Thankfully these things did not happen. Life went on without a hick up.

Now, with much less fanfare, there are whispers on the news and internet that this Blood Moon is a sign from God signalling the beginning of the end!! Well, like Y2K, time will tell if these fears are founded or not. But the bigger question is – So What? So, if it is the beginning of the end what can we, or more importantly – YOU, do about it?! If we all hold our breath at the same time can we hold back the hand of God? If we stay up tonight fearfully clinging to the people and things we love will God have compassion on us and change His mind? Obviously the answer to these questions is NO! There is nothing that we as mere mortals can do to put off what God has determined to be. That is, if this is the beginning of the end. If it’s not we will wake up tomorrow and face the day ahead just as we did this morning and yesterday and the day before that. This Blood Moon will disappear in our rear view mirror as we forge on ahead unaffected by its passing.

Red Sun 3

Unless, of course, we use this natural cosmic event as a reminder of our helplessness to defend ourselves from things so massively bigger then us. We could also use this event as a cause for reflection and soul searching. What if the end were coming? Are we ready? Are you ready? Am I ready? There are more prophecies concerning the end of days ahead than the birth of Christ (which all were fulfilled to the T). Christ told us Himself that a day is coming when the world as we know it will be changed. So, if the evening news dedicates a 90 second spot to the Red Moon tonight, listen and ask yourself – “What if?” or “Am I ready?” I hope and pray that we all are ready when that day comes no matter when that should be. Be Blessed – Al

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Ps. 19:1 NIV