About My Brother’s House

There are, in life, timeless moments. Glimpses of something unearthly, surreal. A beautiful thing, but also a haunting, a calling of sorts, that pulls you into a space that can’t be described; a space that holds you captive even though it’s fleeting.

Selah.

My brother’s home is a home that has brought our family, his family, laughter and love—one of those homes that’s full of interesting and good things: Collections of goods that have a past—deep stories that lie beneath the barrels of antique guns, pottery, art, and shelves and shelves of written history.

It is a home where family Christmases are celebrated, meals shared, and generosity practiced.

It is a home of homes. Built by their own hands (mostly). Their abode is one of those unexpected structures that has a room added here and an upstairs there. A quirky garage whose walls are adorned with wooden planks, lovingly hand-hewed then placed in a mix-matched order just so you will take the time to stop and ponder the wood’s delicate grain.

There, my brother and his family planted an orchard, a tree farm, a family. There, they invited guests from other countries, prisons, and anyone who needed a place to stay. There, they not only lived abundant, but fought the things of country life: mice, hot summers, chilly winters, the occasional copper head, and a raccoon invasion.

So when the house burned to the ground, nothing but a heap of twisted metal and ashes left, I mourned with them, but also for myself. That place was like an old friend. One that welcomes you in, unchanged, other than a few cosmetic lifts over the years.

But when the smoke cleared and a vacant space hung where a grand porch once stood, my heart sank. And I, overwhelmed with sadness, couldn’t imagine what my brother and his wife must be feeling, not knowing that the chosen moment, that sudden grasp that seizes your heart, stood at my door.

In the rush to help them rebuild, to replenish the sweaters, the boots, the jewelry, the dining table of shared stories, I might have missed it.

Isn’t that what we do?

We rush in to fix things.

But in their called Holy Spirit and Job-like moment, my brother and sister didn’t rush to fill the void. They did the unthinkable. They praised God.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds …” James 1:2

Me, in a hurry to rebuild what seemed to be lost, realized that nothing at all was lost, but a rich and valuable treasure was gained (Matthew 13:44). It wasn’t the house, the hearth, or the quirky dishes my sister-in-law loved to collect. It wasn’t the farm feel, the worn work boots by the door, or the buzz of activity around their projects.

It was them. Two people, embracing their life journey and sharing it with others.

It was their character, their love, their process of reflecting Christ.

And when he told me, the love they received after the fire felt like what he imagined heaven to be like, I found my moment. I let go of the material and embraced who my brother and sister really are–people of outstanding, godly character.

I am so glad I didn’t miss it. I breathed it in. Let the house go.

They are my earthly home. My children are my earthly home. My husband, my mother, my father, the body of Christ, these people are the warm, wooden floors beneath my bare feet. They are the banquet at my table.

The moment.

Now I pray, when you are stripped of all this world has to offer, that you realize who you are: the treasured gold within God’s loving hands.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6.

And we are. We are filled.

Laurie

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You’re in the Story

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Luke 1:5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the division of Abijah. And his wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.

In Exodus and Leviticus, we are introduced to the four sons of Aaron (Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar) the beginning of the priestly line of Levites. The oldest two were killed by supernatural fire from the heavens after concocting their own brand of incense that had not been sanctified by God, and therefore, disobeyed God. This, as many of the facts found in the Old Testament is a forerunner/shadow of Christ’s sacrifice. (You are sanctified by Christ’s blood and not the work of man). The other two, younger sons of Aaron offered a sanctified sacrifice to the Lord but did not follow the commanded ritual completely. They, however, escaped immediate judgement.

More foretelling that we are saved by Grace and not works. (Eph. 2:8-9)

There is lots of history and shadowing surrounding Aaron’s sons, but did Aaron have daughters?

In the Christmas narrative found in the book of Luke, we see that yes, Aaron had daughters and Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, is a descendant from one of these women.

The nameless daughters of Aaron show up in the Gospel story.

Luke makes a point of letting us know that both Zechariah and Elizabeth are descendants of Aaron, making their future and long-awaited child a priestly-blooded son fit for serving in the temple before the Lord.

But John, as the Angel Gabriel explained to Zechariah, will be a different sort-of priest.

As a priest, he didn’t wear the jewel-adorned priestly garments. He wore camel hide. As a priest, he didn’t eat the reserved priestly portion of meat from sacrificed animals. He ate locust and honey. As a priest, he didn’t enter the temple to burn incense before the Lord. He burned hearts with truth in the desert beneath the blazing sun.

Radical John prepared the people for the coming and not-what-was expected Messiah.

I love this. It is no accident that John the Radical is linked not only to his father’s lineage, but also to his mother’s purposeful line.

Think about this: One of those nameless, ordinary women — whose brothers were making history – was selected to be mother who would train up children, who would train up more children, who would train up a mother, who would train up the priest that would rip apart tradition and open hearts for the coming Messiah.

Behind the scenes and without fanfare, ordinary women and men quietly made headway in God’s storyline for mankind.

Do you sometimes feel like a nameless daughter or son in the background?

Wait! A story is in process. An unexpected purpose lies ahead.

While the Christmas story is about the birth of our Savior, I love, love taking a deeper look at the ordinary people surrounding this glorious triumph.

Aaron’s daughters are given this beautiful nod in the Gospel story.

And you, my friend, have a nod coming, too. Doesn’t this give the words wait upon the Lord renewed fervor?

I cannot wait to meet these women in heaven. And likely, they cannot wait to meet you and me.

I anticipate, with great joy, hearing the story of generations preparing for the Messiah. I anticipate, with growing excitement, hearing how nameless people have prayed us through many miraculous moments, and how the ordinary turn out to be the extraordinary who showed up, sacrificed, and quietly gave their all to the Lord.

We are each a thread in a tapestry story woven by the Lord.

Take heart and be courageous for you have a God-sized nod coming.

Laurie

The Shepherd is a Lion

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In John 10, Jesus calls himself the good shepherd. Considering that Christ was/is the awaited Messiah, it might have seemed odd to the disciples to hear Jesus call himself a simple shepherd. The coming Messiah was a promised king of Israel.

I feel certain that the Pharisees he addressed at the time were also perplexed.

But when Christ made this revealing statement, he claimed himself God. Take a look at Psalm 23:1 (below). Here, the psalmist (King David) says that God is his shepherd. Both Pharisees and disciples likely knew this passage by heart and understood that when the famous King David wrote these words, he would certainly know the work and character of a shepherd. He’d been one.

Remember? David, before becoming king of Israel, tended sheep as a profession.

In this discourse with the Pharisees, Jesus goes on to explain that he owns the flock he tends to. He tells these legalistic scoffers that hired shepherds who do not own their own flocks will make for the hills when a wolf comes to steal and kill for dinner. Hired hands who aren’t invested in the life of their sheep aren’t going to face a threat head on.

Interesting.

Why?

Just as Jesus’ audience likely knew this Psalm of David, there’s a high percentage rate that they also knew the story of David, the good, but fierce shepherd. You see, David single-handedly killed both a bear and a lion that threatened to steal sheep from his flock. And, as we all know, David also came to the battlefield (bringing lunch of all things), and was the one who stepped up to kill Israel’s biggest threat: a giant named Goliath. (By the way, David didn’t slay Goliath with a slingshot. He knocked him down with that thrown stone. Once he downed the big guy, he ran to the beast, pulled the giant’s sword from his sheath, and cut his head off.

David the fierce shepherd is the perfect foreshadow of our coming King.

In these “I am” passages, Jesus stands before his scoffers and his followers and states that He is The Good Shepherd and because He owns the sheep … well, now the wolves in sheep’s clothing have something to be concerned about.

I wonder if those law-loving leaders within earshot began to sweat as they thought about David killing the threats to his father’s flocks.

If David is a mere shadow of Christ the King, then imagine what Christ will do when bears, lions, or wolves come calling.

Think decapitated giant.

Considering that Jesus had just told this same crowd that He was The Door/Gate to the sheepfold, and anyone who came into the fold any other way was a robber and a thief who came to steal, kill, and destroy the sheep in the fold … woe to the thief. As the Good Shepherd, Christ told the wolves gathered (false teachers leading the flock astray) that He would be the protector who would slaughter anything that came for His own.

A shepherd. Conjures up images of a poor man, staff in hand, gently leading his sheep to green pastures. But with David as a foreshadow of the coming Christ King, we’re shown a dynamic, new picture.

I’ll never looks as shepherds keeping their flocks the same way.

You?

Psalm 23:1- The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

John 10:11 – I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd lays down His life for His sheep.

John 10:14 – I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.

The Door

“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:7-10

I am the door,” is one of the seven “I am” statements found in the book of John.

This has been the hardest “I am” statement of the seven for me to relate to.

A door?

But if we set the stage by context, it’s easier to understand Christ’s claim. This is the passage where Christ spits in the mud, places that mud on a blind man’s eyes, then tells the man to go and wash himself. Doing as instructed, the life-long blind man receives sight. His neighbors, perhaps perplexed and perhaps in shock, neighbors take the previous blind man (PBM) to local Pharisees looking for an explanation. Seems the “how” was more important than the rejoicing over the man seeing his world for the first time.

Because it was the Sabbath and evidently giving sight to a blind man on the Sabbath was a Pharisaical no, no, the spiritual leaders claimed that Jesus could not possibly be a man of God or sent from God, because He broke (in their opinion) the Sabbath law … get this… by healing this man. The PBM and the Pharisees get into a back and forth about whether or not Jesus is who He claims to be when the PBM finally lays out the truth: Jesus is from God. The Pharisees take offense at this lowly and uneducated man’s statement and puff up their holy-robed chests. The PBM is immediately dismissed.

On the street, Jesus hears about the temple scuttlebutt and goes to find the PBM. He tells PBM that He is the Son of Man and to believe it. Jesus then reveals that He came to the world so that those who do not see will have their eyes opened. He meant this in more ways than one.

The blind man is one of those living, breathing metaphors that teach us how Christ is the cure for Spiritual blindness (and false teachings).The puffed-up Pharisees lurking nearby, and probably looking for opportunity to build a case against Christ, scoff at this statement and ask, “Are we also blind?”

This is where Jesus changes the conversation to a discussion about sheep gates and doors.

Seems disjointed but wait.

Jesus tells these Sabbath keepers that He is the door to the sheep’s pasture.

What???

And he says all that came before him are thieves and robbers.

Uh oh. The Pharisees claimed to be the spiritual leaders and final word on spiritual situations long before Christ came along. Is he calling … accusing … these respected men … of being robbers?

Yes.

Staying in context here, Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees and accusing them of being thieves and robbers — those that have stolen sheep from the precious fold with their twisting of the law.

The thieves, he claims, have come to kill, steal, and destroy. Considering that throughout the New Testament, we’re warned time and again against false teachings, this is a serious charge against men who were considered the spiritual authorities of the day.

In Jeremiah 23:1, the prophet tells us that faulty pastors come as wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Christ echoes Jeremiah’s sentiment when He calls Pharisees thieves, robbers, and destroyers.

The battle against false teachings is not trifle. It is major warfare. We will see that Jesus calls himself The Truth in an upcoming blog, so anything He calls false is in direct opposition to all that He is.

In these latter days, it seems thieving wolves have entered the sacred sheepfold, toting false teachings that threaten to destroy our lambs. We have religious leaders accepting, even promoting, all kinds of anti-biblical principles in the name of unity. Other gaining religious fame tout tolerance and acceptance of lifestyles that oppose what Christ taught. It’s slick. Hardly noticeable because letting “you do you” is easier than calling sin sin.

It’s easy to drift into a “what’s the harm?” mentality. But these little altercations, according to this exchange between Christ and the accepted leaders of the day, prove that unless the teaching is pushed through the door of Christ, which is the doctrine of Christ, it is a false teaching. As the door, He is the doctrine.

Now I can relate.

Truth is not relevant. Truth cannot be twisted, watered down, hidden, or ignored for the long term. A day of reckoning approaches. The revealing day of Truth is speeding towards us. Truth is Christ and nothing else. Cling to it! Make darn sure that your doctrine is Christ’s absolute Truth doctrine. Check all teachings and proclamations by so-called prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers through the Word, which is Christ, which is Truth. We know in the last days, deceivers will come (it’s the first warning sign Christ gives His disciples in Matthew 24 that the latter days are wrapping up).

Mind blowing stuff, I know, but let us pray and claim Truth during these dark, deceptive days!

The Bridegroom’s Final Touches

In John 14, Jesus makes a very dramatic statement. He says, “In my father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may also be.” (Verses 2-3)

One of many interesting points to be made about these words is that they were spoken during the Last Supper just prior to Christ’s crucifixion and death. After upending many of the legalistic traditions, performing miracles that the spiritually blind refused to see, and wreaking havoc among the ruling parties of the day, his earthly ministry was about to reach a climax on a cross.

But Jesus had some things to say before He’d be heading to the grave and prove the resurrection real.

Before he went to the garden to pray, before His betrayal, and before He stood before Pilate, Jesus wanted His followers to know He’d be returning.

He made this promise around two-thousand years ago and it’s as real today as it was at that moment in a dimly lit room, disciples wide-eyed and perplexed.

The “prepare a place” Scripture is one of my favorites. Actually, all rapture and second coming (two separate events, btw) are my favorites. I dream about this promised time like a newly engaged bride dreams of her wedding day.

Over the years as I’ve taught, spoken, and written about the Word, I’ve been challenged by some to get my head out of the clouds and back on the earth where we’re having some major issues. True, and considering that we are to occupy until our Beloved returns, I’m doing what He’s asked me to do: be steadfast in prayer; watchful with thanksgiving, and prayerful for doors to open to the Gospel (Colossians 4:2-3). But there are countless Scriptures (this one included) that tell us to be watchful and alert for not only Satan’s schemes, but also for signs that God is at work, and for the return of our very passionate and excited Groom. (1 Thes.5:2,6; Matthew 24:36, 42; Luke 12:40; Colossians 3:1-4)

Being watchful is commanded in Scripture.

I know, I know … He’s been gone so long and nobody knows the hour or the day … blah, blah. There is a scriptural rebuttal for scoffing comments like these. Look at 2 Peter 3:1-13. Peter tells his readers that the scoffers are going to mock those who’ve anticipated His coming. Peter also reminds his readers that the Word is true. Not false. Not even a little. If God said it, it’s going to happen. As well, the hour and the day Scripture is one that is often quoted to me, and it grieves me that people don’t quote the entire verse and take those few words out of context. In Matthew 24:42-43, Jesus said, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day on which your Lord will come. But understand this: If the homeowner had known in which watch of the night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.”

News flash: we are supposed to be watching for Him.

Think about that. Jesus said He’s coming to take us back to this fabulous place He’s been preparing. Considering He’s the King of the Universe, a perfect ruler, and the One who fashioned us out of dust, there’s some exciting stuff to ponder there.

Jesus also gave the disciples things to be watchful for — a coming season when we’d be able to look at worldwide circumstances and put a few more watchmen on our walls. If you read through Matthew chapter 24, you’ll see that some of the signs He spoke of look a lot like things going down today. To name a couple: wars and rumors of war, the hearts of many growing cold, and that His Word would go to the ends of the earth.

There’s a global, Christian movement underway and it’s utilizing technology to see that every language group on planet earth has the opportunity to hear the Gospel in a language they can understand. This is huge. The Great Commission is about to be fulfilled.

Another point worth mentioning here is that other prophecies are lining up, as well. Take a look at Ezekiel 38 and 39. We also know from prophecy that Israel would be returned to her land in Jeremiah chapters 23, 30, 32, and in Ezekiel 34, 37, and 39. The prophecies of Israel’s return to her homeland were fulfilled in 1948 and a very special prophetic countdown began.

We’re alive on planet earth when more history-making prophecies will be fulfilled. Possibly, the rapture of the church — the return of the majestic Groom for His prepared Bride.

It’s important to note that 100% of the prophecies about Christ’s first coming were literally fulfilled. We can anticipate the same with the rapture and the second coming. In Dr. Chuck Missler’s book, The Rapture, 2015, He has a a table of prophetic Scriptures about both unique events. I’ve looked up every one of them, read them in order, and am one watchful, hopeful, enchanted Bride. How could I not want what God has planned for me? If He gave me this life, which I love, then how much more love and grace will there be in the next chapter of life?

Read John 14:1-3 tonight! Read it everyday! Memorize Christ’s words so they are seared on your heart as you hang your love-sick head out the window of hope, watching for the Groom.

We’re so close. I can imagine He’s putting those final touches on the many rooms (some translations say mansions) in the Father’s house.

Any day now. Take courage.

“In my father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may also be.”

L.G. Westlake

The Making and Undoing of Kings

A behind the scenes look

Though I usually advise against it, I recently played Bible Roulette. You know the game—the one where you’re not fully engaged with your current Scripture readings or study and just want to open your Bible and find a life-changing verse that will uplift your withering day? At the time, I had a disgruntled attitude not only with some of the leaders of our country, but also with the news media that skews the truth to suit their political bent. I desperately needed a God realignment.

Fortunately, or miraculously rather, when I let my Bible fall open, I found myself in the pages of Daniel.

Though the book of Daniel is regarded as one of the most dynamic eschatological writings in the Bible and studied extensively for prophetic understanding, that day, I found the book of Daniel to be an insightful look into God’s sovereignty. Sovereignty is the word we use to describe God’s ultimate source of power and authority over all things. All things. While we’ve been blessed with free will and can exercise that free will within our own lives, God has a specifically designed global blueprint with His glory in mind. This established blueprint cannot be altered.

In Isaiah 14:27 we’re told: “For the Lord of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?”

At Job 42:2, Job tells the Lord: “I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.”

Isaiah 46:10 declares: “Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure…”

These verses tell us that in the scope of universal strategies, kings, conquerors, presidents, and prime ministers play a vital role.

Like no other book of the Bible, Daniel demonstrates this truth. In Chapter 2, we are given a glimpse of God’s sovereignty when Daniel writes: “And it is He who changes the times and epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; he gives wisdom to wise men, and knowledge to men of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.”

Daniel’s declaration is played out in the story of King Nebuchadnezzar when Daniel is given an opportunity to interpret the king’s dream. In this particular dream, the curtain of time is pulled back and the future is revealed through the symbol of a statue (Daniel 2:31 – 45). While interpreting, Daniel makes this profound statement to the highest ranking man in the world: “You, O king, are the king of kings to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength, and the glory, and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all …”

Daniel just told the ruler of Babylon that he was on the throne because God put him there. I can imagine the king declaring, “Off with his head,” as Daniel lets the king know he’s not the ultimate authority. But thanks be to God, Daniel interprets the dream correctly and instead of getting his head removed, he’s given a big promotion. The king then declares that Daniel’s God is the God of all gods and Lord of all kings.

Hallelujah.   

But that’s not the end of the story. While Daniel is serving in the king’s court, the king’s newly found allegiance to God seems to slip and slide and he goes back to glorifying himself. One day, while Nebuchadnezzar was on his roof admiring the great city of Babylon, he whispered to himself that he was the one to build the city and he deserved the glory for doing it.

Side note – Don’t we all lie to ourselves about how much influence we really have? When I think I can control anything around me, I’m pulling a total Nebuchadnezzar. Ugh.

Anyway, through Daniel, God had already revealed to Nebuchadnezzar that it was God’s will alone that gave the king this elaborate and beautiful kingdom. Our Father so intended to use Nebuchadnezzar in his global plans that instead of squashing the arrogant little ruler and altering the course of history, God showed the man who was really in charge. The Lord told Nebuchadnezzar that He, the God of All, would give the king a temporary case of insanity to prove who controlled the universe. He explained Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity episode would continue until: “ … you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it [power to govern] on whomever He wishes.”

Let us not forget God’s declaration lest we be stricken with insanity as Nebuchadnezzar was, and as it appears some among our own rulers have been. Lol.

Once the allotted mental break-down time ended, Nebuchadnezzar, with senses and kingdom restored, honored and worshiped the True King.

Aren’t second chances wonderful?

Throughout the rest of this Bible book, Daniel serves a couple more Babylonian kings and God’s sovereignty over these leaders continues to play out.

Daniel has a few dreams and vision of his own. Within the pages of Daniel, there are powerful prophecies. But the point of this blog is sovereignty, so let me write this: Just as God gave Nebuchadnezzar his throne, God gives our governmental leaders their seats of power according to his plan.

In the course of history, that fact does not change.

Some 400 years after Daniels seat of authority in Babylon came to an end, the Apostle Paul wrote these words about rulers on the earth: Romans 13:1-2: Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

Before His crucifixion, Christ told Pilate: “… You would have no power at all against me, unless it had been given you from above …”  – John 19:11(a)

As we watch our governing officials slip and slide all over the foundations of our states and our country, we can and should be horrified. But in the midst of jaw-dropping political disasters, we can still possess peace. Somehow, somewhere between the space of free-will voting and God’s sovereignty, His perfect plan plays out.

So vote your conscience, take part in peaceful protest, and speak the truth. But when you go to bed at night, don’t grind your teeth in despair. Bend your knees instead.

As God reveals the mysteries of his long-determined plan, let us pray that plan forward with kingdom building and the sharing of the Gospel. The blueprints of time and history have been sketched and thanks be to our Creator, the final drawing turns out to be a really good one.

“Fear not,” the Lord tells us, for He not only created the world, but He will overcome all that’s dark and wicked.

For me, watching His plans unfold are not frightening, but rather fascinating.

Peace out my friends. He’s got this.

By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.” Pr 8:15-16[1]

Laurie

Dreams, Visions, & Truth

Lots of dreams and visions going around these interesting days. Some great, some not so good. Hear Laurie’s take on her own dreams.

In Current Chaos, There is Purpose

So what is God doing while the world spins out of control?

We live in a unique period of time. Acts 17:26 tells us that God has appointed the people of every nation’s time and geographical boundary. This means each of us has been born to be citizens of our collective nations in precise cultural eras. In other words, I was chosen to live in America at this unprecedented hour when there are famines, multiple pestilences, deadly diseases, wars, rumors of wars, and when the hearts of many grow colder by the minute. God has placed you and me smack-dab in the middle of chaos of all kinds: a morphing global economy, calls for one-world order, riots throughout major cities, political extremes, religious persecution, and uncertain tomorrows (Matthew 24:5-28).

From what I understand through Scripture, His motives are intentional.

This is all hair-raising, nail biting stuff. And communal anxiety is peaking. The evidence of our flesh reactions do not just dot—but engulf—the feeds of my FB pages.

I hope we can flatten our emotional-response curve with the truth that God has a purpose in these times.

In the book of Matthew we find a very compelling conversation between Christ and his disciples. In chapter 24, we’re told the disciples asked Christ two specific questions about the future: 1. When will these things [the destruction of the temple] be and 2. what will be the sign of Christ’s coming and the signs of end of the age? (My translation: When is it going to happen and what will be happening when it does?)

His answers outline imminent world conditions and give a clue about the timing of it all. In Romans, Paul also reveals a clue as to the timing of future events when he addresses the salvation of the Jews in chapter eleven.

Of great interest to me is that the two timing verses mentioned above (Matthew 24: 14 and Romans 11:25) are not just about the when of events, but are indicators to the ongoing purpose of the Christians living in the generations between the birth of the church and today. In the Matthew verse, Christ proclaims that before the end of the age comes, His Word will go into the whole world and be a witness of truth. That, by the way, has not happened yet. Not every nation has access to God’s holy Word at this moment. There are still several thousand language groups without Holy Scripture. In the Romans chapter, Paul explains that gentiles are being grafted to a tree whose roots and branches are Israel. At verse 25, he tells his audience that he doesn’t want them to be uninformed about a mystery—that the current and partial hardening of Israel’s hearts to the Gospel will continue until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. There seems to be a measurement associated with the “fullness of the Gentiles” taking place as we Gentiles are being brought into the family of God.

In essence, we’re told that in the space of time between Christ’s ascension and today, two distinct acts will be taking place: the Word will be making its way into the entire world and the body of Christ will grow. That, I believe, is our purpose.

In the midst of these objectives, Christ reveals world conditions will deteriorate towards the culmination of the Word reaching into every nation. The world-condition list in Matthew 24 (and mentioned in the first paragraph here) is extensive and hard to wrap my head around. But it is also, currently, recognizable. Much of what Christ revealed then, is happening today. If I line up the indicators with other biblical prophecy not yet fulfilled, I get a sense that we are in the very moments Christ spoke of in Matthew 24. He tells us that the prophesied destruction, wars, and hatred must take place before the end. It seems God has ordained that we live through these trials while we persevere in sharing the good news of Christ with the world.

No one knows the exact hour or specific day of Christ’s return, but He has given us great insight into the season we’ll find ourselves in when this long-awaited event happens. More than once, Christ and the New Testament writers warn us to be watchful and alert, not letting the foretold times catch us unaware of what is taking place (1 Corinthians 16:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8; Luke 12:35-47).

I believe the Lord intends us to be fully engaged in accomplishing our Gospel-sharing purpose and not overwhelmed with the traumas happening around us.

From the news and my FB feed, it appears that many are consumed with current trials and not focused on God’s intentional agenda. Someone once told me that anger is a powerful and drug-like addicting emotion—much easier to evoke than humility. Daily, I see and read evidence of this.

My objective here is to raise this question: As a specifically selected generation, are we doing what we’ve been chosen to do?  Or, are we, through heightened emotions, creating our own objectives in order to fight what seems to be out-of-control circumstances?

We’ve already established that conditions are actually not out of control, but in the hand of God. We’ve been told these difficult events must take place and we are called to place ourselves in a position of trust and prayer. But it seems many have been caught off guard and are somehow placing trust in government, their national rights, and/or their own lofty opinions.

And meanwhile a miracle takes place.

Did you know? There are worldwide Christian alliances now working to give every nation God’s Word in their various heart languages and in multiple access formats to ensure cultural understanding. This is historic and the plans are to finish the Gospel-sharing task by the year 2033. You are living in the generation that will see the completion of the Great Commission in thirteen short years when every tribe, nation, and tongue will have access to the Word of God. Christ’s prophecy in Matthew 24:14 will be fulfilled. And you and I may see it happen.

As His own, selected to live during these uncertain days, we can be certain that God is using all of this, you and I included, to His glory. This does not mean we shouldn’t be riveted by the riots, the political battles, the famines, the deaths, the fires, the earthquakes in various places, and the hate raging in our streets today. Like the Apostle Paul, I am hard pressed on every side, but I am not crushed; I am perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but I am not destroyed.

Knowing we live in prophetic times, I press on.

From Scripture, I’ve come to understand that in this life, I will have many troubles, but I am to take heart, for He has overcome each and every one of them. The true King is coming back to hold the government on his own shoulders, ushering in a thousand years of blessed, earthly existence that will look quite different from what we know today.

I long for this radical change.

Until then, I work at sharing God’s Word with the world.

Let us look up for our redemption draws near!

Laurie

A Quick Look at Fasting

Click her to watch Laurie’s video blog on the discipline of fasting

empty brown paper cup on gray surface
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