Encroachment

Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you has an evil heart of unbelief that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day by day—as long as it is called “Today”—so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 3:12-13

God wants us to live a life free of spiritual encumbrances – burdens and impediments to our shared salvation. The world is increasingly encroaching on the body of Messiah; and has already breached many congregations even to occupy the seat of power among them. Unless we tend to our spiritual life, we will become like an abandoned garden. The path before us will be obscured by untended vines and bushes that encroach on it. The same is true for our spiritual life. We become encumbered by issues of life that, if left unchecked, can obscure our spiritual journey. 

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To Abandon Wisdom

“Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous person who gives way before the wicked”.

proverbs 25:26

Here is a rhetorical question. What happens when we look the other way as a wrongful act or crime is being committed? Faced with these situations, self-preservation may take priority over any other options before us. Is that what is happening among believers today? Individuals and groups are constantly seeking the support of believers and are quick to offer words of “comfort” to gain our loyalty. As the old saying goes, action speaks louder than words!

What happens when the true motives of those we support are revealed and their true nature brought to light? Do we withdraw our loyalties and support so that we may hold to righteousness? The book of Proverbs instructs us on how to preserve righteousness, justice, truth, and how to walk in the ways of God. If we live by these words of wisdom, we will remain accountable to God and hold those around us accountable also. Disobedience to God is open rebellion; at the root of rebellion is pride, and pride is very closely tied to self-preservation.

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Test of Faith

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“So the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from the trials and how to hold the wicked until the Day of Judgement while continuing to punish them” (2 Peter 2:9).

If you are like me, you may at times feel a sense of anguish thinking about all the evils in the world. You may also wonder why there is seemingly little to no penalty for their wrong-doings and that judgement is far off; all while innocent people continue to lose their lives and livelihood. I sometimes take comfort in reading the Psalms and being reminded this is nothing new. Though, that sense of comfort doesn’t last; both because of my desire for a perfect world and the next tragedy to hit the news.

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A Holy Nation

“Righteousness makes a nation great, but sin degrades any people”

proverbs 15:34

America has a problem – sin!

We like to talk about how we are the greatest nation on earth; the greatest nation that ever existed and how we are a Christian nation. We boast about our military might, wealth, and democratic values. We boast about how “good” we are and how much we love. Are we? Do we? Or is this nation so bathed in sin and demonic activities that we are merely a shadow of what we should be? Have the walls that cover our secret sins beginning to crumble around us?

“​For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light

Luke 8:17

There are many issues at the heart of what is happening in this nation. James warned that “if you harbor in your hearts bitter jealousy and selfish ambition, don’t boast and attack the truth with lies! This wisdom is not the kind that comes down from above; on the contrary, it is worldly, unspiritual, demonic. For where there are jealousy and selfish ambition, there will be disharmony and every foul practice” (James 4:14-16).

A​s soon as we mention sin and demonic activity the world goes into a frenzy. Yet, those are the primary source of the ills we see in this country and around the world. All forms of bitterness, jealousy, and selfish ambition go back to the prideful desires that caused Lucifer’s fall from heaven. They were at play in the Garden of Eden, the slaying of Abel, the Tower of Babel, and is in every unrighteous act of man to this day. 

I​t is possible that I am preaching to the choir here, but I have seen much of this tolerated, empowered, and practiced in the church today. Congregational leaders are participating in events and supporting politicians, groups, and institutional leaders who embody these traits. Congregants spew the same poisonous rhetoric to each other, and form groups based on their political ideology. 

Believers should not take part in or encourage these behaviors. Our gathering should be according to Paul’s encouragement in Hebrews 10:25-31. We should not partner with those who are intent on acting in a manner contrary to scripture. Nor should we follow Congregational leaders who are corrupting the Word of God for their own selfish ends. The church is complicit with the sins of the nation. Without immediate change, we will not last. God will judge this nation, and we cannot save ourselves!

Revelation Of The Unrepentant

The rest of mankind, those who were not killed by these plagues, even then did not turn from what they had made with their own hands — they did not stop worshipping demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they turn from their murdering, their involvement with the occult and with drugs, their sexual immorality or their stealing.

Revelation 9:20-21

I​ have always wondered how that after all the judgments described in Revelation people still refused to repent. Are we that hard of heart that we don’t want to bow down to God and instead choose destruction? Have you also pondered this and came up with your own reason about why that is? I admit, I never came to a conclusion about why people would still not repent. I guess I was too focused on trying to understand the Book of Revelation to even get that far. 

During the week of August 16, 2021, I had a dream two nights in a row where I saw flooding, panic, and confusion. Later that week, there were some flash floods across Massachusetts and a friend who lives there describes scenes that brought my dreams to memory. I thought maybe my dreams were playing out and kept the matter in mind. That same week, flash floods in Tennessee killed abut 22 people and caused major damage. Though, with hurricane Ida bearing down on Louisiana, this did not get much coverage. I began to think even more on my dream and whether it had broader implications. Then came the disastrous impact of Ida from the Gulf all the way up to New York and New England. My dream was no longer just a dream — to me, it was prophetic, and I had no idea what to do with it.

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Waiting for Morning

I wait longingly for Adonai; I put my hope in his word. Everything in me waits for Adonai more than guards on watch wait for morning, more than guards on watch wait for morning.

psalm 130:5-6

I often reflect on my time in the military and nights when I was on duty. I remember the clear contrast between guard duty during field training, peaceful nights in the barracks, and while I was deployed to hostile regions. The one thing that was common in all of these situations was the deep longing for morning. The night brings uncertainty, loneliness, and, in some cases fear. Our bodies grow tired and restless in the early morning hours. Our eyes grow heavy and we begin to do anything just to stay awake and alert. Every sound brings suspicion and the slightest movement in the dark conjures up images in our minds that may not be true. The night watch often seems excessively long and filled with uncertainty and misconceptions. It is also a time when we are most vulnerable to the enemies assaults; this is especially true when we are in enemy territory.

The morning brings relief and a sense of peace and confidence in our ability to properly assess and respond to situations. We finally realize that the constant stirring in the woods were from harmless animals and not a company of enemy combatants slowly crawling toward your position. All the fears of an assault have not disappeared but there is now greater safety in numbers and the burden to protect others while they sleep is lifted. You can now rest in relative peace and a greater sense of safety. Still, nightfall looms and you will again repeat that haunting experience with even less sleep than before.

David said he was waiting for Adonai more than watchmen (guards) for the morning. This deep longing for the Lord can only be satisfied by finally being united with Him in glory. The watchman goes through a cycle of relief and despair with every shift change but the Lord brings redemption for eternity. I don’t think David is talking about an encounter—for he had many encounters with the Lord. I believe David is talking about the Day of the Lord, when He will rule over the whole earth (Rev 19:6). David is waiting for what the prophet Isaiah later shouted, “Arise, shine [Yerushalayim], for your light has come, the glory of Adonai has risen over you” (Isaiah 60:1).

David is looking forward to the time when there will no longer be night because God’s light (Sh’khinah) will shine forever and there will be no need to guard or close the gates (Rev 21:23-25). A time when the One who always watches over us never slumbers, never sleeps, and is never fearful. When we will live in a city that “nothing impure may enter” (Rev 21: 27) and whose citizens continually walk in the light of the lamb— Yeshua, the bright Morning Star (Rev 22:16). Until that day comes, we must be like David. For he, too, had “the prophetic Word made very certain. You will do well to pay attention to it as to a light shining in a dark, murky place, until the Day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).

We must keep holding on to our trust in Messiah Yeshua. While we are in this world we will toil and repeat those uncomfortably restless nights but even then He watches over us. Keep your hearts pure and remain hopeful in Adonai, with Whom are grace and unlimited redemption (Psalm 130:7).

What is Good, What is Bad, What is True, What is False!

“Loved ones, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

The desire to know more was part of the lure that led to the fall in the Garden of Eden, and with it, the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:22). For generations after the fall, people did whatever they wanted and that led to unrestrained wickedness (Genesis 6:5). Scripture tells us that as time passes “many will run back and forth and knowledge will increase” (Daniel 12:4, TLV). Our fallen nature is inclined toward doing what is evil in God’s eyes. God sent the flood to cleanse the land of evil and to start a new generation of people having intimate knowledge of Him. That may have lasted a while, but the tower of Babel narrative (Genesis 11) shows us that we are prone to walking away from God and glorifying ourselves. With all the knowledge we have gained over the years and all the ways that we have applied it; how do we discern good from evil and truth from falsehood? 

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PREFIGURING THE ANTICHRIST

What is revealed is God’s anger from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people who in their wickedness keep suppressing the truth.

ROMANS 1:18

The world is crying out for a savior—screaming at the top of its lungs for someone to deliver it from the chaos that surrounds us. However, the problem looks very different from person to person and it seems very difficult to know what exactly they need deliverance from. One thing seems very evident, many are running to and from seeking whomever will step into what they perceive as a void to save them from their enemies, while all along ignoring the only One who can save us—God!

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TRUMP’S REPENTANCE

Therefore, just as you received the Messiah Yeshua as Lord, keep living your life united with him. Remain deeply rooted in him; continue being built up in him and confirmed in your trust, the way you were taught, so that you overflow in thanksgiving.

Colossians 2:6-7 (CJB)

How do we know that someone has truly repented and now live a life united with Messiah Yeshua with a devotion to advancing the Kingdom of God? After Donald Trump was elected president of the United States in November 2016, I watched as prominent Christians and other ministry leaders walk slowly to the line of declaring him a Christian. The slow walk became a sprint as more and more people began echoing that declaration. He was declared to be prominent biblical characters like Cyrus, and Jehu. He was called God’s anointed, and the Chosen One—a title he boldly embraced in a news conference on the White House Lawn.

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Man-Made, Hoax, or Judgment

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The rest of mankind, those who were not killed by these plagues, even then did not turn from what they had made with their own hands — they did not stop worshipping demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they turn from their murdering, their involvement with the occult and with drugs, their sexual immorality or their stealing.

Revelation 9:20-21

What would you expect from an adversary who know how everything will end and who would do whatever it takes to win or prevent a total loss? We are in a season filled with chaos on a global scale. People are prophesying that these are the days described in Revelation and the world is experiencing the birth pangs described in Matthew 24.

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