Time to Come Out of Slumber
Jesus said only the Father knew the hour of His return, yet we are to be found faithfully watching and working as we near the second coming of Jesus Christ. The same is true today as it was in the days of Apostle Paul, we must understand the present time. And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. - Rom 13:11 NIV
With all the turmoil in the world from nation to nation, it is not hard to discern the times are getting darker and now is the time to awake from our slumber and shine the light of Christ. Of course the time has always been here but now we are nearer to the return of Christ. If you believe that Jesus is returning then that belief should reflect your lifestyle. It doesn't take a prophet to see the hate that has increased in this world.
Jesus said in the last days, 10“many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Matt 24:10-13
Fifty years ago there was a movement known as the Jesus Movement by most Christians. During this time there were mass salvations. This was also the days of the "hippies" and "free love, make love not war," slogans. That was the thought in the 60's, only the "free love" was of a sexual nature and not one of Christianity. Today, we might deem this to be an antichrist movement with the motto of "free to hate." It seems there is a hate fest of sorts in our streets and people have taken their freedom in this country to use as a license to spew their hatred all over the streets.
Time to Repent and Be Refreshed
"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, - Act 3:19 NKJV
Repentance is a mandate for everyone if we are to see the kingdom of God. It is also a necessity if we are going to operate in the fullness of Christ' love and power. Repentance makes room for Jesus and causes us to decrease.
Today many of our lives are so embedded in the world and in others’ lives that we lose focus of the One life that matters most, the life of Jesus Christ. His life is now lived out in us through the Holy Spirit, but it requires work to live this life in all of its fruitfulness. We must embrace the very Spirit that Apostle Paul embraced when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I Now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Gal 2:20
Paul also said, “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.” (Phil 1:21 NLT) Our lives should be lived for Christ, not for us any longer. He was crucified so we wouldn't have to be, in exchange we crucify our flesh, give up this world, and live for Him.
The work required to advance the kingdom of God in this world is a work of warfare. Complacency will not move the Church forward to take the billion-soul harvest being called forth by Heaven! All of heaven is awaiting the manifestation of the sons and daughters of God. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. - Rom 8:19 NKJV
We have work to do Church, and it won't get done from a place of sleep. I look around at church services, and so often it seems as if people are zombies, lacking any spiritual understanding. Today when a believer has any trial in their lives they blame God while their brothers and sisters judge them for being in sin.
The truth is Jesus Himself said there would be trials and persecutions that would come to even those who follow Him. Expect it. Rejoice in them if you can and ...... consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us. - Rom 8:18 NKJV
Expect to Suffer
Suffering will come, it is coming, and it has come. There is no getting around suffering in this world, and if we have come to know Jesus through a message that states anything other than suffering, we have come to Jesus via another gospel! Jesus said, "…. in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." - John 16:33 NKJV
There are blessings that come with being a child of God when that life is lived to glorify Him. The first blessing we receive is an eternity spent with God; the others may manifest here on earth. 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with [Him], that we may also be glorified together. - Rom 8:16-17 NKJV
Notice there is a connection between suffering and being an heir to God. Jesus suffered a death that is incomprehensible to the ordinary mind, yet we are not willing to endure criticism of our religion; let alone give up the comforts of the world and spend time in the word building a relationship with our Creator the King of the Universe! It is because we are heirs through Jesus Christ, that the same blessings God told Moses to tell the people were theirs, are ours.
1 "Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. 2 "And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God: - Deu 28:1-2 NKJV
Obedience is an Act of Warfare!
Some portions of our inheritance require us to engage in warfare, starting with obedience. If we don’t understand what obedience as warfare is, then we will be pushed back every time we gain traction and forward motion towards the things of God. Every time we lose traction, it causes us to question the love of God.
"And it shall be, when you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you [as] an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it, - Deu 26:1 NKJV
Possess means to seize, dispossess, take possession of, occupy and inherit! There are times that even when we receive an inheritance from the passing of a loved one that others may come out of nowhere and fight us for it. Even though the deceased left us an inheritance in their will, there are loopholes that attorneys will use to fight an inheritance at times. It is the same with the devil. Because "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have [it] more abundantly. - John 10:10 NKJV
This “life” that Jesus came to give us is a real and genuine, active and vigorous life. A life that is devoted to God and consequently will be blessed. This blessing is in a portion of this world for those who put their trust in Christ, ending in an eternity spent with the Father. The abundance is superior, extraordinary, surpassing and uncommon. This word describes something far better than the world's idea of abundance. The world's description of abundance is an extremely plentiful supply, as in stuff or affluence and wealth as in money. God defines abundance as overflowing fullness as in the abundance of the heart!
Jesus said, “…..the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” Mat 11:12
If we are sleeping, we can't take anything by force. It is time to stop allowing the circumstances in our lives rob us from what God has in store for us. It is time to stop living as if we have an unlimited amount of tomorrows and start living as if today is our last, as it relates to the kingdom of God!