Tag Archives: destruction

Three Events Before the Millennium

A message summary of July 3, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

The millennium is the time when Christ will reign on earth for a thousand years. Before the millennium, there will be the Bemis seat judgment for believers. After the millennium will be the White Throne Judgment. There are two battles that will take place–before the millennium will be the Battle of Armageddon, and afterward there will be the great final battle, where there will not be any presence of a false prophet or the beast. They will be present during Armageddon.

Whenever you see the name Babylon in Scripture, it refers to rebellion. Out of Babylon comes all of the heresies and false teachings–even today.

Babylon will be destroyed when the Battle of Armageddon takes place.

The destruction of Babylon the Great.

Note the words, “It is done.”

Revelation 16:16-17

So they assembled them at the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.

Then the seventh poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the sanctuary from the throne, saying, It is done!

The rejoicing will take place over the fall of Babylon because Jesus Christ will be taking control. He addresses all of the members of the body–past and present–Old Testament and New Testament.

Revelation 18:20

Rejoice over her, heaven, and you saints, apostles, and prophets, because God has executed your judgment on her!

People will rejoice over Babylon’s defeat.

The great city is split into three parts (no nation can stand if the three parts noted will fail):

  1. Government/political

Revelation 19:19-20

Then I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and against His army. But the beast was taken prisoner, and along with him the false prophet, who had performed the signs in his presence. He deceived those who accepted the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image with these signs. Both of them were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.

  1. Finance/economics

Revelation 13:15-17

He was permitted to give a spirit to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could both speak and cause whoever would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. And he requires everyonesmall and great, rich and poor, free and slaveto be given a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark: the beasts name or the number of his name.

  1. Religion, or what is worshiped

Revelation 13:3-5

One of his heads appeared to be fatally wounded, but his fatal wound was healed. The whole earth was amazed and followed the beast. They worshiped the dragon because he gave authority to the beast. And they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like the beast? Who is able to wage war against him?

A mouth was given to him to speak boasts and blasphemies. He was also given authority to act for 42 months.

Don’t think that atheism is not a religion. It is a worship of self and not God. It is also a religion.

The judgment seat of Christ will take place–good or bad. He will judge His own house first.

2 Corinthians 5:10

For we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or worthless.

Among the things that the judgment will cover for believers…

Did you build a Christian life?

1 Corinthians 3:12-17

If anyone builds on that foundation with god, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, each one’s work will become obvious, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. If anyone’s work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, it will be lost, but he will be saved; yet it will be like an escape through fire. Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s sanctuary, God will destroy him; for God’s sanctuary is holy, and that is what you are.

Did you train yourself? Were you in the Word of God studying about Him?

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Dont you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

2 Corinthians 2:14-17

But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life. And who is competent for this? For we are not like the many who market Gods message for profit. On the contrary, we speak with sincerity in Christ, as from God and before God.

Did you remain faithful to Christ?

2 Corinthians 11:2

For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, because I have promised you in marriage to one husbandto present a pure virgin to Christ.

Ephesians 6:7-8

Serve with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that whatever good each one does, slave or free, he will receive this back from the Lord.

Did you produce good works?

Ephesians 2:10

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

Is your heart in the work?

Colossians 3:24

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Dont you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

Judgment begins in God’s house.

1 Peter 4:17

For the time has come for judgment to begin with Gods household, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?

Matthew 22:8-14

Then he told his slaves, The banquet is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go to where the roads exit the city and invite everyone you find to the banquet. So those slaves went out on the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good. The wedding banquet was filled with guests. But when the king came in to view the guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed for a wedding. So he said to him, Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes? The man was speechless.

Then the king told the attendants, Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

The Wedding of the Lamb, where the bride is the church, and Jesus is the Groom. The wedding is the ceremony of joining two together. This wedding will be the merging of Jesus Christ and His saints for all of eternity.

Revelation 19:6-10

Then I heard something like the voice of a vast multitude, like the sound of cascading waters, and like the rumbling of loud thunder, saying:

Hallelujah, because our Lord God, the Almighty,

has begun to reign!

Let us be glad, rejoice, and give Him glory,

because the marriage of the Lamb has come,

and His wife has prepared herself.

She was given fine linen to wear, bright and pure.

For the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints.

Then he said to me, Write: Those invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb are fortunate! He also said to me, These words of God are true. Then I fell at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, Dont do that! I am a fellow slave with you and your brothers who have the testimony about Jesus. Worship God, because the testimony about Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

The wedding is a ceremony of the marriage. Prior to the ceremony, there is something that needs to take place.

–Courtship…wooing the bride…going after her.

John 3:16-17

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

For Hebrew weddings, it was the father who initiated a contract for the son to marry the future bride. There was a dowry payment.

God the Father initiated the contract for His Son to love those who believe in Him (for eternal life). The down payment is the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13-14

When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.

–Engagement…promise or pledge of marriage.

Marriage is in two parts…the selection and the payment. The down payment of the dowry is from the sacrificial blood of Christ.

Ephesians 1:3-6

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Dont you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.

1 Peter 1:18-19

For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.

At the proper time, the Father would send servants with the legal contract to the bride’s house. The servant would lead the bride to the groom’s house.

Ephesians 5:22-33

Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body.

Jesus Christ is washing us, cleansing us, and preparing us. We are being cleansed and sanctified through our relationship with Him. Our commitment is to be obedient to Him and allow Him to work in our lives. The more that you are into God’s Word, the more you will be cleansed and prepared for life.

Only the Father knows the time as to when He will bring everyone to Himself. Jesus Christ has prepared a place for his believers.

John 14:1-6

Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Fathers house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.

Lord, Thomas said, we dont know where Youre going. How can we know the way?

Jesus told him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Matthew 24:31

He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

This wedding takes place in heaven. The marriage always takes place in the groom’s home.

Revelation 19:7

Let us be glad, rejoice, and give Him glory,

because the marriage of the Lamb has come,

and His wife has prepared herself.

Ephesians 5:25-27

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless.

The celebration feast is the wedding supper.

Revelation 19:9

Then he said to me, Write: Those invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb are fortunate! He also said to me, These words of God are true.

Luke 22:14-16

When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. Then He said to them, I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

At this celebration, the church (all believers) will drink with Him.

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The Seven Trumpets (Part 1)

Today’s message summary of January 3, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Most people today will continue to fail to acknowledge God. Even though Scripture notes this, we are reminded by Scripture to continue to proclaim the good news about Jesus Christ. It is for this reason: God is not in a hurry to do away with those who don’t acknowledge Him. He desires for all men to be saved. But make no mistake about this…there is a day that is coming when there will be the end.

God is merciful. God is putting off the death sentence for those who don’t know Him until the time that they repent and accept Christ as Savior.

God holds back His judgment until that time when there will no longer a restraint on His grace and mercy. And there will be no mistake about the presence of God and His wrath in that day.

Revelation 6:16-17

And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of Their wrath has come! And who is able to stand?”

Some people will decide that they do not want to have anything to do with God; however, there will be a time when God will have something to do with them.

When you examine, in Revelation, the seals, trumpets and bowls, the judgments become worse and worse over time. God’s wrath, soon after this, will be poured out. Satan uses man, at that time, to create destruction and devastation. Satan deceives the people to carry out these acts, and God, of course, allows it. It is part of His plan.

Man will use reasoning to refuse to acknowledge God. They will avoid any situation or circumstance that moves one to conclude that Satan was present; for example, we try to explain why Hitler did what he did without mentioning that Satan was involved. We do this because of fear in that we do not want to acknowledge that God and Satan are present. The reasoning of man is to give an explanation of why something happened in order to remove fear and maintain control of the situation. People are not afraid because reasoning something into natural causes or occurrences removes fear.

Note that as we move into Revelation, Chapter 8, God will move in such a way that no one will be able to explain Him away.

In Chapter 8, the angels of heaven see the real terror that is to come. People on earth have not yet seen it or know what to expect.

Hebrews 10:26-27, 30-31

For if we deliberately sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries.

For we know the One who has said, Vengeance belongs to Me, I will repay, and again, The Lord will judge His people. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!

 

Psalm 76:7

And You–You are to be feared. When You are angry, who can stand before You?

 

Psalm 7:11

God is a righteous judge and a God who shows His wrath every day.

Note that society today has tried to remove God from everything in order to make Him invisible, because of the logic that if we cannot see Him, there is no reason to be fearful of Him. If He is unseen or invisible, it gives justification for living any way one chooses.

Back to Revelation 8, there is silence in heaven once the angels see what is going to happen. There is no choir singing or praises taking place. It is the quiet before the storm.

Revelation 8:1

When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

Note that God is angry with the wicked every day. What holds back God from expressing His wrath? It is His mercy.

 

Lamentations 3:22-23

Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!

 

Psalm 103:8-9

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love. He will not always accuse us or be angry forever.

 

The angels, in Revelation 8, see the actions of God pouring out His anger. Note that, out of the Seventh Seal come the seven trumpets.

John says that he saw seven angels:

Revelation 8:2-4

Then I saw the seven angels who stand in the presence of God; seven trumpets were given to them. Another angel, with a gold incense burner, came and stood at the altar. He was given a large amount of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the gold altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up in the presence of God from the angel’s hand.

The angels are carrying out the message as direct servants of God. The message is that God will now being carrying out the judgment Himself. He will be carrying out what was already noted in Revelation 6:

Revelation 6:9-11

When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the people slaughtered because of God’s word and the testimony they had. They cried out with a loud voice: “Lord, the One who is holy and true, how long until You judge and avenge our blood from those who live on earth?” So a white robe was given to each of them, and they were told to rest a little while longer until the number would be completed of their fellow slaves and their brothers, who were going to be killed just as they had been.

Revelation 8:5-6

The angel took the incense burner, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it to the earth; there were rumblings of thunder, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.

Now come the trumpets being blown by the angels, with God carrying out His wrath:

Revelation 8:7 (The First Trumpet)

The first angel blew his trumpet, and hail and fire, mixed with blood, were hurled to the earth. So a third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

Revelation 8:8-9 (The Second Trumpet)

The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain ablaze with fire was hurled into the sea. So a third of the sea became blood, a third of the living creatures of the sea dies, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

Revelation 8:10 (The Third Trumpet)

The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from heaven. It fell on a third of the rivers and springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood, and a third of the waters became wormwood. So, many of the people died from the waters, because they had been made bitter.

God is saying to those who do not trust in Him that there will be an account. There is nothing to fear as long as you trust Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. He will keep you in fellowship with Him, but while he is merciful and compassionate, He will judge the wicked of this world.

Romans 3:23-24

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.


God Calls His People Out of Babylon

Today’s message summary of June 7, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

God reveals through his Scripture that He has His people through every dispensation. God has always maintained a remnant.

What is striking about this is that He is calling His people out from bad company. He is calling His people away from those who are not praying to Him or edifying Him.

God will be calling His people away from Babylon:

Revelation 18:3-4

For all the nations have drunk the wine of her sexual immorality, which brings wrath. The kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown wealthy from her excessive luxury. Then I heard another voice from heaven: Come out of her, My people, so that you will not share in her sins or receive any of her plagues.

 

God’s people are meant to be the influence over the world and not the other way around; however, there are situations where His people need to remove themselves from being weakened or influenced by the pleasures and luxuries of the world.

Look at the church today…are we involved with the sins of the world? Before you answer, remember that God knows your heart.

God wants you to avoid those who are choosing not to do what is right.

Revelation 18:5

For her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.

 

God wants His people to be removed before His judgment comes.

Even when there are churches that are not very good overall, God may have a remnant of people within the church to make a testimony for Him.

Consider that Lot was called out from Sodom and Gomorrah. God sent two angels in to bring him out because there was a pending destruction.

Genesis 19:15-16

At daybreak the angels urged Lot on: “Get up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he hesitated. Because of the Lord’s compassion for him, the men grabbed his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters. Then they brought him out and left him outside the city.

 

The Lord declares that some will not acknowledge Him or accept Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. Some people will continue to live the way that they choose, and they will face destruction.

If you have God warning you to get away from a situation, what would cause you to hesitate? Is it based upon worldly pleasures?

In Babylon, the people are worshiping anything but God. Even if the people of God were to speak up and say “that’s wrong,” it would put that person in peril. To take a stand for God’s standards and principles is to take sides.

Our church should not be in the entertainment business–it is to be in the teaching business. Believers are always present to shine the light of Christ.

Proverbs 24:1-2

Don’t envy evil men or desire to be with them, for their hearts plan violence, and their words stir up trouble.

 

2 Thessalonians 3:6-8

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from every brother who walks irresponsibly and not according to the tradition received from us. For you yourselves know how you must imitate us: We were not irresponsible among you; we did not eat anyone’s food free of charge; instead, we labored and struggled, working night and day, so that we would not be a burden to any of you.

 

In Babylon, there will many who say they know God or proclaim that they are righteous and have all sorts of religious artifacts. Their actions will show otherwise. How would you know if someone is really saved or not? You would have to observe how a person lives over time to see if it matches up with his words.

Christians are to expose those things that are unrighteous, heretic or unclean–those things that are not of God.

Ephesians 5:11-14

Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret. Everything exposed by the light is made clear, for what makes everything clear is light. Therefore, it is said: Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you.

 

There is a way to share with those who are living in sin, and all of it involves prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit.

Romans 16:17-18

Now I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause dissensions and obstacles contrary to the doctrine you have learned. Avoid them, for such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites. They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting with smooth talk and flattering words.

 

1 Corinthians 5:9-11

I wrote to you in a letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. I did not mean the immoral people of this world or the greedy and swindlers or idolaters; otherwise you would have to leave the world. But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or verbally abusive, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person.

 

Don’t associate with those who are living in opposition with God. While we are ministering to the world and are not of the world, we need to come to a place where we heed the warning that God gives to His people.

God called Abram (Abraham) to another land. (Genesis 12:1-4)

God called His people, Israel, out from Egypt. (Exodus 3:7-21)

God wants you to look forward to where He wants you to go and to not look back.

 


The End Times: Babylon the Great

Today’s message summary of May 3, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Revelation Chapter 17 refers to Babylon as “Babylon, the Great.”

Revelation 17:1-18

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the notorious prostitute who sits on many waters. The kings of the earth committed sexual immorality with her, and those who live on the earth became drunk on the wine of her sexual immorality.”  So he carried me away in the Spirit to a desert. I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and 10 horns.  The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She had a gold cup in her hand filled with everything vile and with the impurities of her prostitution. On her forehead a cryptic name was written:

BABYLON THE GREAT

THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES

AND OF THE VILE THINGS OF THE EARTH.

Then I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the saints and on the blood of the witnesses to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. 

Then the angel said to me, Why are you astonished? I will tell you the secret meaning of the woman and of the beast, with the seven heads and the 10 horns, that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up from the abyss and go to destruction. Those who live on the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast that was, and is not, and will be present again. 

Here is the mind with wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated. They are also seven kings: Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he comes, he must remain for a little while. The beast that was and is not, is himself an eighth king, yet he belongs to the seven and is going to destruction. The 10 horns you saw are 10 kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they will receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings. Those with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.

He also said to me, The waters you saw, where the prostitute was seated, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. The 10 horns you saw, and the beast, will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, devour her flesh, and burn her up with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to carry out His plan by having one purpose and to give their kingdom to the beast until Gods words are accomplished. And the woman you saw is the great city that has an empire over the kings of the earth.

 

Satan knows that he can move nations, countries and people to a place where they adapt to more and more immoral behavior.  People are being conditioned mentally to accept things that you normally would not accept.  The worst is coming.  God warns His people to stay clear of this deception and see it for what it really is.

If you are not careful, Satan will rob you of many things.  He seeks to destroy.

Jeremiah 51:6

“Flee from Babylon! Run for your lives! Do not be destroyed because of her sins. It us time for the Lord’s vengeance; he will repay her what she deserves.”

 

Romans 13:11-14

Besides this, knowing the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.  The night is nearly over, and the daylight is near, so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk with decency, as in the daylight: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.

 

1 Peter 5:8

Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.

 

Ephesians 5:8-14

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light–for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth–discerning what is pleasing to the Lord.  Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret. Everything exposed by the light is made clear, for what makes everything clear is light. Therefore it is said: Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you.

 

God will not force you to seek Him and His holiness.  He will let you continue into your ways, but God desires for you to come out of the “playpen” of the world, and to seek Him with a relationship.  He will respond to your prayers that seek Him and a humble way of living.

Nimrod was the founder of Babylon and builder of Assyria. He was a grandson of Noah.

From Babylon, and its founder, Nimrod, comes every heresy that has even been spoken or taught.

Abraham and Nimrod were two important men after the Great Flood.  Right after the tower of Babel is when Abram is called and is renamed Abraham by God.

Micah 5:6

They will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, the land of Nimrod with a drawn blade. So He will rescue us from Assyria when it invades our land, when it marches against our territory.

 

Genesis 10:8-12

Cush fathered Nimrod, who was the first powerful man on earth. He was a powerful hunter in the sight of the Lord. That is why it is said, Like Nimrod, a powerful hunter in the sight of the Lord.” His kingdom started with Babylon, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-ir, Calah, and Resen, between Nineveh and the great city Calah.

 

Nimrod means, “We shall rebel.”

Abram’s name means, “Father is exalted.”

Abraham’s name means, “Father of a multitude.”

Genesis 17:1-8

When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him, saying, I am God Almighty. Live in My presence and be blameless.  I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you greatly.

Then Abram fell facedown and God spoke with him: “As for Me, My covenant is with you: you will become the father of many nations. Your name will no longer be Abram, but your name will be Abraham, for I will make you the father of many nations.  I will make you extremely fruitful and will make nations and kings come from you.  I will keep My covenant between Me and you, and your future offspring throughout their generations, as an everlasting covenant to be your God and the God of your offspring after you. And to you and your future offspring I will give the land where you are residingall the land of Canaanas an eternal possession, and I will be their God.

 

Abram was raised by Terah (Genesis 11:26) and came up under Nimrod’s system.  His family moved to Ur of the Chaldeans.  The Lord scattered everyone throughout the earth.  God called Abram in Genesis 12:1:

Genesis 12:1

Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

 

Note that the Tower of Babel was a move to become independent from God.  God had to scatter the people in order to prevent this from happening.  Nimrod had set up a system of self-worth and independence from God.  Through God, Abraham set up a system of faith.  Of this, two groups emerged: Christianity and Islam.

From Nimrod comes Babylon and Assyria (Ninevah).  These are the two cities that destroyed the nation of Israel.

Assyria destroyed the Northern Kingdom in 721 B.C.  Babylon destroyed the Southern Kingdom of Israel in 586 B.C.

Jonah 1:1-2

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because their wickedness has confronted Me.


Your Decisions Lead to Others Making Decisions

Every decision that you make will bring about a response in the form of decisions made by others. It is important to remember that whatever decision you make is in accord with God’s Word and with His will. Your decisions should be according to Jeremiah 29:11

“‘For I know the plans I have for you’–this is the LORD’S declaration–‘plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'”

Decisions can be made whether you believe God’s Word or not–even more specifically, they can be made whether or not you choose to follow God’s Word. Whatever decision is made, His Word is consistent:

Galatians 6:7

“Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked.  For whatever a man sows he will also reap.”

God reminds us that we are to remain obedient to Him and His Word, which means that we are to be set apart from those who choose not to follow God.

Joshua 6:17-19

“But the city and everything in it are set apart to the LORD for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and everyone with her in the house will live, because she hid the men we sent. But keep yourselves from the things set apart, or you will be set apart for destruction. If you take any of those things, you will set apart the camp of Israel for destruction and bring disaster on it. For all the silver and gold, and the articles of bronze and iron, are dedicated to the LORD and must go into the LORD’s treasury.”

Look at this example and see how decisions made can have a profound effect on others.

Joshua 7:1

“The Israelites, however, were unfaithful regarding the things set apart for destruction. Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of what was set apart, and the LORD’s anger burned against the Israelites.”

It only takes one person to bring failure, shame, and embarrassment to a family, group, or community. Here, because of the acts of Achan, all of Israel was considered to be unfaithful, because someone took something that God said not to take. One person represented Israel, and in the same way, the way you act or behave has much to say about the family you come from.

Joshua 7:3-9

After returning to Joshua they reported to him, “Don’t send all the people, but send about 2,000 or 3,000 men to attack Ai. Since the people of Ai are so few, don’t wear out all our people there.” So about 3,000 men went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai. The men of Ai struck down about 36 of them and chased them from outside the gate to the quarries, striking them down on the descent. As a result, the people’s hearts melted and became like water.  Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell before the ark of the LORD with his face to the ground until evening, as did the elders of Israel; they all put dust on their heads. “Oh, Lord GOD ,” Joshua said, “why did You ever bring these people across the Jordan to hand us over to the Amorites for our destruction? If only we had been content to remain on the other side of the Jordan! What can I say, Lord, now that Israel has turned its back [and run] from its enemies? When the Canaanites and all who live in the land hear about this, they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. Then what will You do about Your great name?”

Because of the decision of one, 36 Israelites lost their lives. There was the shame of those remaining after the destruction and the fear of others that would hear about this (v. 9), and what it would do for God’s name. Joshua thought he was praying to God, but he was really complaining about his circumstances. Unfortunately, secret sins can affect an entire group because God will not bless the household unless everyone is committed to living a holy and righteous life. While we cannot control what others say or think about us, we can control what we do in how we live for God.

Joshua 7:10-12

The LORD then said to Joshua, “Stand up! Why are you on the ground? Israel has sinned. They have violated My covenant that I appointed for them. They have taken some of what was set apart. They have stolen, deceived, and put [the things] with their own belongings. This is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies. They will turn their backs [and run] from their enemies, because they have been set apart for destruction. I will no longer be with you unless you remove from you what is set apart.

God tells Joshua to get up and stop complaining and feeling sorry for himself. He told him that Israel had sinned and was disobedient. While it seemed to be the right thing to do, the prayer should have been directed more at what has kept Israel from being victorious. Sometimes we need to ask what is it that is impeding our progress in following Christ. Seek God and ask Him what is keeping you from moving forward. You will ultimately have to make a decision to deal with sin in your life, or you will live a defeated life.

The sin that Achan committed was a violation of the covenant. He had lied and had taken some of the devoted things and mixed them in with his own possessions. God held all of Israel accountable for what had happened. There comes a point where all of us, as a family and as a group, to act once the sin is discovered.

Joshua 7:13

“Go and consecrate the people. Tell them to consecrate themselves tomorrow, for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says, ‘There are among you, Israel, things set apart. You will not be able to stand against your enemies until you remove what is set apart.

God makes the decision that He will not be with Israel unless they remove what is keeping them from fellowship with Him. The people, as a result, have to decide whether they will be on God’s side or on Achan’s side. We have to remember to do this very thing when it comes to following Christ. The decision to follow Christ will sometimes separate us from those who are close to us that choose not to follow Christ.

Joshua 7:19

So Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and make a confession to Him. I urge you, tell me what you have done. Don’t hide anything from me.”

Sin may be hidden from men, but never from God. Give God the glory for who He is…don’t play around with Him. God pointed out to Joshua that Achan was the person who committed the sin.

Joshua 7:20-21

Achan replied to Joshua, “It is true. I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I did: When I saw among the spoils a beautiful cloak from Babylon, 200 silver shekels, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, I coveted them and took them.  You can see for yourself. They are concealed in the ground inside my tent, with the money under the cloak.”

Achan’s confession was the result of Joshua’s confrontation with him. He confessed that he was greedy and lusted for things that he thought would be good for him. He failed to see what God had already provided for him and his family.

Your decision, no matter what it is, will come down to whether or not you support God or not. It requires making choices about your personal life, your family and even your job. There is a cost of sin (Joshua 7:24-26), and it will require hard decisions to be made. Achan and his entire family had to endure his affliction as a result of his actions. Because of the consequences of sin, we should never allow sinful behavior to continue around us if we have the ability to confront it and address it.

When God speaks, it is always to be taken seriously. Listening to Him and being obedient to Him will always lead to making good decisions, which will be good for you and even for those around you.

We pray that you will seek God in all things and allow the Holy Spirit to work in us as we make decisions in our life and order your steps. In doing so, you will be a good and faithful servant, and you will, in turn, glorify God with your actions.


The Truth About Free Sex and the Gay Lifestyle

There are boundaries that God has placed around sex; unfortunately, we are well aware that there are many that have circumvented or ignored those boundaries. Sex is only permitted within marriage and between a man and a woman (husband and wife) (Hebrews 13:4). Sex of all types outside of marriage has contributed greatly to the destruction of families, our society, and even our nation. For those of us in a position to act and respond to what occurs around us, a decision must be made to support what is right and make a declaration when things are wrong. Unfortunately, Christians are often silent or quiet about lifestyle matters, especially pertaining to sex, with the false belief that we are not to speak the truth out of fear of offending someone. There is a tactful way to relate the truth, but we must remember that it is always God’s Word and its truth that challenges and convicts the hearts of men and women.

Homosexuality is sin in the same way that adultery is sin and fornication is sin. One cannot take a position that adultery is acceptable while condemning homosexuality. In all of these situations, sexual sins take an emotional toll on both the perpetrators and their families and relatives.

In all of these cases, a choice has to be made as to whether or not one is to live a sinful lifestyle. What you do sexually, with your body, is ultimately a choice. There are claims that some have made, in an effort to justify these lifestyle choices, where comparisons to lifestyle are made with civil rights. These claims are ultimately unfounded because one cannot choose what race he or she is born into, while lifestyles are clearly a matter of choice.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own opinion and clever in their own sight. Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, who are fearless at mixing beer, who acquit the guilty for a bribe and deprive the innocent of justice. Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes straw and as dry grass shrivels in the flame, so their roots will become like something rotten and their blossoms will blow away like dust, for they have rejected the instruction of the Lord of Hosts, and they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 5:20-24).

The term “homosexual” is derived from Latin to mean “human being” and the Greek word homos, meaning “same.” Homosexuality was, at one time, perceived as a clinical illness or disorder according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder. This term is not well accepted today because of its implication of being a disorder, yet it is a sin that can be covered with forgiveness by the blood of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, this alternate lifestyle has been introduced as acceptable in today’s society. Many have embraced this behavior as a means of expression and justification to participate in both heterosexual and homosexual lifestyles (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, which refers to the acronym, LGBT).

The preference today is to use the term “gay” for the homosexual movement. It is an extension of being “carefree,” implying uninhibited behavior without any moral constraints. All of this behavior is rooted in sexual pleasure, which, in this form, is completely contrary to God’s Word and his intention for the enjoyment of sex. To participate in gay and lesbian sexual behavior indicates a willingness of its participants to disregard conventional or sexual morality, even the welfare of one’s family or our society. Note that, from a traditional perspective, it was well understood that behavior, such as adultery or homosexuality, was never tolerated and was even punishable to extremes. It was more than just being outside of God’s law…it was also because of the magnitude of the damage that could occur within the family and community.

It is important to note that one can call themselves “religious” and still participate in an alternative lifestyle. This way of thinking has been pervasive within today’s church, as there are many in leadership that have declared to live openly about their sexual lifestyles. This type of leadership implies that God permits gay lifestyles as acceptable within the congregation and within the body of Christ. Those in leadership who live this way are leading others in a deceitful way and are sending the wrong message to those who lack experience with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. God has reserved His divine judgment for those in leadership that live contrary to the Scriptures (regardless of whether it is adultery or an alternative lifestyle):

Among the prophets of Jerusalem also I saw a horrible thing: They commit adultery and walk in lies. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, and none turns his back on evil. They are all like Sodom to Me; Jerusalem’s residents are like Gomorrah” (Jeremiah 23:14).

Pew Research notes that 4 in 10 black Protestant churches accept homosexuality as a way of life. Many Christians have concluded that the gay lifestyle should be deemed acceptable by society. As the biblical viewpoint is removed from this debate, there will be less and less opposition and a greater acceptance of this issue. Pastor E. Lynn Harris, author of Invisible Life, was asked about being gay and Christian. He responded with deep conviction, “I see no contradiction between my sexual orientation and my faith.” This rather common response to gay behavior and Christianity are evident in that God’s Word has been fully compromised and is clearly not being addressed. Homosexual sex was condemned according to the law (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13), and God judged Sodom and Gomorrah because there were none righteous in those cities and they performed wicked acts of homosexuality. In the New Testament, those who repented of their sin, including homosexuality (Romans 1:27), were covered by God’s grace under the saving blood of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:11). Those who chose to turn from God were condemning themselves (Romans 1:28-29; 1 Corinthians 6:9). Our position as believers remains important in that we are to love those who are in sin, and yet hate the sin itself. We have to make a decision as to who we are to obey.

But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard’” (Acts 4:19).

And because they did not think it worthwhile to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them over to a worthless mind to do what is morally wrong. They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness” (Romans 1:28-29a).

God’s Word has clearly established boundaries as to how one is to live in holiness. How we live ultimately is a choice. We can choose to acknowledge God’s Word or cast it aside. God notes that there is a consequence for not paying attention to those boundaries that He has established.

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).  This Scripture notes that God loves everyone, even though there may be sin present in their lives (which is also why believers in Jesus Christ are to love those with sin in their lives in the same manner). Through the grace and kindness that God has shown each of us, we have the ability to repent and turn from our sins. God reveals His love to us through His forgiveness of sin, which promotes our healing. Just as we choose how we live of lives, it is also our choice to acknowledge God’s Word, His faithfulness, and His promises, and respond accordingly.