The Tribulation

I believe all Christians should be prepared for tribulation. It could be “the” tribulation or “a” tribulation. It really does not matter at all. We follow and trust Christ no matter what. When “Babylon” requires allegiance, we refuse to give our allegiance to anyone other than Christ. During the time of the Maccabees, Jews refused the “mark” of eating pork and were beaten and killed. Christians in China during the Cultural Revolution refused the “mark” of reverencing Chairman Mao and were beaten and killed.

I wrote the base pages on this site in 2009. The blog posts start from that time and then stop at 2012 and begin again 2020. The pages, parts 1 – 5, are about living through The Tribulation, but the same biblical principles apply no matter the type of tribulation. Throughout history, Christians have been martyred for following Christ. Paul talks about sharing in Christ’s suffering.

Read through the five parts and think through the Scripture. Read through the posts and be encouraged. I’ve turned off comments, but I have opened a Facebook page if you want to discuss. This isn’t about knowing what’s going to happen. We don’t need to know the details. We need to know Him. Know your Good Father. Spend time with Him and get to know Him through His Word.

If you want more teaching, I have hundreds of Bible lessons. They are all available online for free.

Jesus on the March

Psalms 68:7-9 (NKJV)

O God, when You went out before Your people,
When You marched through the wilderness, Selah
The earth shook;
The heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God;
Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
You, O God, sent a plentiful rain,
Whereby You confirmed Your inheritance,
When it was weary.

The people were in a wilderness. They weren’t producing fruit. They had a purpose and direction, but they were not settled and thriving in the land. It was a dry place and they were reliant on the Lord to meet their needs, even their basic needs. There were victories. There was forward progress. There was also struggle and failure. But the Lord went with them, He went before them. He was bringing them to the place He promised.

The Lord goes before them and the earth shakes. When the earth shakes at the Lord’s presence, the rain falls, refreshing the weary. Mountains move at God’s presence.

A plentiful rain falls and confirms His own.

Pray for revival. Pray for God’s presence to go out before His children and shake the earth, bringing the rain, moving the mountains, and confirming and refreshing His own.

We need an outpouring of the Spirit to bring conviction of sin, repentance, and new life to the church and the nations. It happens by God’s presence. Come, Lord Jesus. March before your troops. Lead us into the Promised Land.   

The Best in the Midst of Famine

Genesis 45:20b (ESV) – The best of all the land of Egypt is yours.

The whole land was in the middle of a terrible famine. It was going to continue for a handful more of years. While the land was starving, God’s children were living in the best of all the land of Egypt.

It was a seven-year famine. This just serves as a reminder that a seven-year period of severe troubles on the whole land, doesn’t at all mean that God’s children suffer. God can provide for His children in the midst of famine. God knows how to separate out His own. We suffer as is needful for our own good and God’s glory, but we don’t have to suffer just because the world around us is suffering. We can live in the light when the world around us is in darkness.

Here’s another verse that could make a similar point. Psalm 68:8a (ESV) The earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain. The whole earth may be quaking, but it can send the rain on God’s people. The next verse is: Rain in abundance, O God, you shed abroad; you restored your inheritance as it languished. Others may be experiencing a major shaking, what they need to fear God and turn to Him, but for you it can be a time of abundance, refreshing, restoring.

God’s out for our good, in every way.

A famine can look like many things. There is a famine in the land right now when it comes to teaching and the word of God. People have multiplied for themselves teachers who say what they want to hear instead of teachers who preach the word of God. But we don’t have to languish in the famine. He Himself is our teacher and can feed us richly right our of His hand. He will provide for us if we seek from Him. He loves to bless His children. He loves to give Himself to those who seek Him and ask. There’s an abundance for the child of God. There’s a table for feasting in the wilderness, in the valley, in the shadow. He’s prepared the table for you, offering you the best of the land. Join Him at the table!

God’s Unchanging Will

There are verses about how no one can change God’s purposes.

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

Job 42:2

For the LORD of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?

Isaiah 14:27

Except people can change God’s plans. God’s people pray and God’s plans change. God says, “I am going to destroy them.” Moses says, “Don’t do it.” God says, “Okay, I won’t.” Those plans changed. God says that His people Israel will stay in the land and be blessed. They get kicked out. The plans changed because of their sin. God’s plans change. That can’t be the same as His will.

God is not fickle. He is who He is. He’s consistent and trustworthy. God is single-minded. He doesn’t have a handful of wills. The Lord is God; the Lord is one. He is of one mind.

So what is His will? His will is His heart, what He desires. His will is mercy, compassion, love, justice, righteousness. His unchanging character shows us His unchanging will. His will is to show us mercy and He will whenever He can, but His will is also righteousness and justice. He can’t do the wrong thing; He can only do the right thing.

The things like healing, the “sozo”-salvation, are all a result of God acting according to His will. He acts in compassion and goodness towards us. He has spoken blessings and curses. He will carry them out. Jesus was perfect but was killed by His enemies. We have to always remember that God’s ways look different than ours. But Jesus triumphed over His enemies. He knew His enemies were not flesh and blood but principalities and powers and He triumphed over them (Col. 2:15).

God’s unchanging will is that He desires all to be saved and all to come to repentance. That’s His will. That’s His heart that will never change. And it’s His unchanging will that He be truthful. He cannot lie. His word is true. He’s given promises, and He will fulfill them. God is true and faithful. That’s another aspect of His character, His unchanging character that we can call His unchanging will. His will has many facets. He’s a big God, an infinite God! His will encompasses all He is. He will never act outside of His will, but He will hold it all in perfect balance, the love, compassion, mercy, and grace and the holiness, justice, wrath, and righteousness.

We see in nature how all things hold in balance. It’s called homeostasis. We see it in everything. God knows how to hold on and release, say yes and no, speak and be silent. He can do all things perfectly at all times.

God acts for the good of His children and for His glory. We can be sure of these things because God’s will is unchanging. He is loving, faithful, and true. We can trust Him and how He will act toward us and in the world. The fear of the Lord is a real thing, but for a child of God, it leads us to revel in His magnificence and the glory of one who does ALL things well.

The Battle

Christians live in the midst of a battle. There is a war of the ages raging in the heavenlies. There are periods of intense battle. There are periods of rest on all sides. There is always a tension though of good and evil in battle, of Satan working to steal, kill, and destroy, and Jesus working to redeem, restore, and give abundant life.

We have to be ready for battle. God trains our hands for war. Training happens during times of peace. Periods of rest aren’t for the ease and comfort of our flesh. Ease and comfort are enemies! They make us fat and lazy, spiritually and physically. That’s what I would always say about America; it makes you fat and lazy, spiritually and physically. We need to be prepared for battle. We need to submit to the training.

What does training for battle look like? What does training for war look like? It looks like a lot of discipline. It looks like early mornings and late nights. It looks like being prepared in and out of season to share God’s word. It looks like changing direction when the wind blows a new way. It looks like devouring God’s word and praying at all times.

The battle also looks a lot like that. Ephesians 6 is where we find the famous armor of God portion of Scripture. After it lists all those pieces of armor, it tells us what to do with them. It says to pray at all times for all the saints. That’s the battle.

It looks a lot like training because that’s the point of training, to simulate the battle, to practice and drill what you will be doing in battle so that when the time comes, you know what to do. The training needs to be thorough so the reflex in battle is the correct response to the situation.

Our correct response in battle is prayer; it’s turning to God first. It’s calling on Jesus to be Savior. It’s being still and knowing He is God and deliverer and help in times of trouble.

There are two points of trouble. We run into trouble if God gives us rest on all sides and instead of training for battle, we take our ease. Look at Solomon as someone who didn’t train for war when given rest and how he fell to the enemy’s trap of worshiping foreign gods.

We can also run into trouble if there is a battle and we decided we need rest. Look at David who stayed home when the other kings went out to war and instead of winning a victory in the name of the Lord, he fell into sin that would mar the rest of his life.

There is rest for a believer, but it doesn’t look like the world’s rest. It’s not kicking back the feet and getting some “deserved relaxation.” It’s certainly not consuming entertainment or satisfying the lusts of the flesh. Rest for the believer is a constant state. It comes from within, not from without. Without looks like war, fighting or training. It’s a constant process. There is no rest from the battle.

There is a rest for the believer, though. It’s knowing that the battle is won, that there is no weight on your shoulders, that you just have to look to Jesus and you have the salvation, the deliverance. It’s knowing the work is finished; it has been accomplished; you just have to be still and know He is God, and you will see His salvation.

Our stillness is internal. We are called to action. We get up and pray. We study the Bible. We help the poor. We share the gospel. We pray for others and meet needs. We serve the Body with our gifts. We work, but we work from a place of rest, knowing we have nothing of ourselves to offer anyone. We know that it’s all His work, that we can accomplish nothing. And we are free from the burden of trying to do for God and others and instead are freed to just love God and others and let Him take it from there.

We Resist the Devil with Humility

1 Peter 5:6-10

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

Peter is writing to Christians who are suffering. They are being persecuted.

Peter tells them how to face their suffering, with humility.

They aren’t to fight what’s happening to them. They are to trust in the mighty hand of God.

Is God not powerful enough to stop what was happening? Of course, He is.

Does God not know what’s happening to them? Of course, He does.

Does God not care? Of course, He cares.

Does God not have the authority to intervene? Of course, He does.

God rules supreme and is all-knowing and all-powerful, not to mention is love itself. They are to trust the God of grace.

When we are suffering, we are under the mighty hand of God.

We’re not to wrestle out from under it.

The command to be alert and resist the devil does not mean that we are to fight him off in order to get out of our suffering.

James 4:7 complements these verses in affirming its message. We resist the devil by submitting to God.

The devil isn’t after us so much as he’s after our faith.

When we fight against our suffering, we’re working with the devil, not resisting him.

Submitting to and trusting the God of grace is how we resist the devil’s attempts to knock us off our firm foundation of faith in the Word, in the goodness and love and perfection of Christ.

We are told in God’s word, which is as good as any unbreakable promise, that our deliverance date is marked on the calendar.

It will come at the proper time.

God won’t leave us in suffering for a moment longer than needed.

He will HIMSELF perfect us, confirm us as His own, strengthen us for His work, and establish us as saints in His kingdom.

A temporary time of suffering in exchange for God Himself perfecting us. How could we not see that as worth it?

Caught Awares

But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware.

Luke 12: 45-46  (NKJV)

It’s the evil servant who is doing the things he shouldn’t be doing that will have the master come when he’s not looking for him, who will catch him unaware.

The servant the master finds alert and watching for His master is the one who is blessed.

We’re the blessed servants who are doing the things we should be doing when the master comes, and we will be invited to recline at the table.

The thief comes at an unknown hour. The thief doesn’t come for the righteous. The thief doesn’t steal from those whose treasures are in heaven. They can’t. Heaven treasures can’t be stolen from you. The thief comes for those whose treasures are on earth. Paul warns that their end is destruction, those who have their minds on the things of earth. 

Believers, the righteous, don’t have to be afraid of the thief. They fear the Lord and He keeps them. They fix their eyes on Jesus, so they are always watching Him. They aren’t caught unawares. They are caught up in a blessing.

Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. 

Luke 12:37

I Shall Not Want

I shall not want. I have no desire for anything.

My desires have been satisfied. I want for nothing.

It’s not just a provision of need, but a restful contentedness in my loving Father’s perfect care of me.

It may be a long, craggy walk to the higher ground, but lush green pastures and still, clear waters wait for me with those same hills providing shelter and safety.

God only takes good care of me. He only loves.

I never need to worry about finding the green grass and still waters.

He leads me there. I never have to worry about how long it will take or losing my way because He is my Shepherd.

He tenderly and expertly cares for His sheep and causes them to know His voice and follow Him.

I have surrendered myself to His care; I have chosen to be one of His flock.

I don’t have to see above the crowd to know which way we are going.

I just have to follow His voice which He makes me to know and follow because I am His.

He has marked me as one of His own. He defends me from one who might try to steal me away because I am marked for Him; He knows me as His own.

I have no need to desire and long after what I do not have because it’s my Shepherd’s good pleasure to give me all I desire.

He taught me what to desire. He put His desire in me, so He’s always pleased to fulfill my desires and always keen to meet my needs without me even making them known.

I don’t have to ask my Shepherd for the green grass and still waters.

He chooses them for me and takes me there without me asking or planning. I just walk with Him.

It’s my joy to walk with Him because He knows my name and calls to me so that I am listening to His voice and keeping close to Him.

I like to stay close so that when He reaches out a hand, I get a warm pat or embrace from Him. The Shepherd loves me.

For what shall I want? Nothing.

Check out my new book, The Loved Lamb. You can listen to the whole thing here. It’s an allegorical storybook about the love of the Father for His children, how we can live with no want. It’s available on Amazon.

Keep Us from the Evil One

I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.

John 17:15 ESV

Here’s Jesus’ prayer for us in tribulation. It’s not that we would be taken out of the world, but that we would be kept from the evil one. Remember that the word kept means guarded. He is a shield about us. He will guard our hearts and minds.

We want to be miracled out of our trials and troubles, but Jesus wants to guard us through them. God is in control; He is the sovereign God. He allowed this for His good reasons. They are good reasons. He is completing that good work in you that He began, that you asked Him to complete. He’s loving you to the fullest. Jumping over the transformative work of tribulation is cheating yourself out of God’s good purposes for you! God’s preparing you for His work He’s created you for.

What work could He be preparing you for during an end times tribulation? He’s preparing you for eternity. He’s preparing you to reign with Him! There is much still to be done.

Humble yourself under God’s hand and allow Him to do His good work in you.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, so that in due time He may exalt you.

1 Peter 5:6 BSB

The Pure in Heart Shall See God

Matthew 5:8  The Pure in Heart Shall See God

Psalm 24:3b-4a  Who is about to stand in the holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.

If you want to be in God’s presence, if you want to see Him, if you want to stand before Him, there is a requirement. Only the pure in heart shall see God.

What is a pure heart? What makes something pure? It’s unmixed. Pure olive oil is only olive oil. Pure water is supposed to only be water. Pure fruit juice has only the fruit in it. It’s not mixed. A pure heart is only made up of one thing. What’s that?

The only ones with a pure heart are those who have received God’s gift of His perfect, pure love poured into their hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).

If our hearts are full of the love of God, then our hearts are pure. They become impure when we mix something else in there and love something else. If we do that, we’re disobeying the greatest commandment, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength. Then, we no longer have a pure heart. Then we are in trouble.

We can’t fellowship with someone if we can’t be with them. If we have no fellowship with God and can’t be in His presence, then we are in danger.

When the Lord shows you that you are loving something other than Him, fall on your face before Him and ask for mercy. Ask for forgiveness and ask Him to cleanse you from the sin. Hate whatever it is because you were having an affair. You were loving something other than your one true love. Ask Him to free you from it. He can and will. Jesus died to free us from sin, not just to forgive us our sins. Our salvation lies in our pure hearts. With man, it is impossible to have a pure heart, but with God, all things are possible.

Jude 1:24   [Jesus] is able to keep you from stumbling and [able] to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.

He is able to do the blameless part. You do your part and just choose to love Him!

Prepare the Way of the Lord

Prepare The Way of the Lord

Malachi chapter three starts with a promise that God will send His messenger to prepare the way before Him. We know the messenger as John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus by teaching people repentance. However, this chapter and what follows doesn’t seem to be about Christ’s first coming — not that God can’t fulfill the same Scripture in more than one way. This chapter is about the end. The following chapter, chapter four, speaks of the end judgment, the fearful great day of the Lord. That chapter ends with a promise that God will send His messenger beforehand, saying He will send Elijah to prepare the way so that God won’t utterly destroy them.

That’s the state Israel is in, in danger of utter destruction. And remember, you are Israel. There is a nation Israel, but we are of the people Israel, God’s chosen children. You are grafted in when adopted into God’s family.

Back to chapter three, though. Verse five says, “Then I will draw near to you for judgment.” THEN. What comes first? Verse three: He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. (Malachi 3:3 ESV)

Before judgment, God will refine and purify His children so that their offerings will be righteous. And once our offerings are pleasing to Him, then He will come for judgment. He will prepare the way. He will prepare His people for His coming, for His judgment, by refining us. That’s what trials and troubles are for, what Tribulation is for, to prepare the way of the Lord, to bring down the mountains, lift up the valleys, make straight the crooked paths, and smooth out the rough parts.

It won’t be easy, though. Verse two: But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. (Malachi 3:2 ESV)

Yet, we must endure. It is he who endures to the end that will be saved. But since He is doing the work of preparing us for His determined purposes, we can trust Him to sustain us through and only refine us as we need refining. God does not afflict willingly (Lamentations 3:33). He doesn’t want to harm anyone.  But because He loves us, He will give us what we need.

When God judges the earth, He will give people what they deserve. We want to be safely at His side at that point. We don’t want to get what we deserve. His mercy and grace says that by the blood of Jesus we don’t have to get what we deserve, hell, but we can live in His glorious presence forever. However, that glorious presence is HOLY and we must be holy and set apart to Him to dwell in His presence. That’s where the refiner’s fire comes in. We submit ourselves to God’s altar of Holy Fire to consecrate us, burn away the dross, what’s not of Him, until our hearts are pure before Him. It’s the pure in heart that shall see God.

But there’s another good promise apart from just surviving judgment and the great day of the Lord. When the way is prepared, the Lord whom we seek “will suddenly come to His temple.” It comes with the additional reassurance, “Behold, He is coming.”

We are God’s temple. I pray that He will come in His temple, His people, before He comes for them. We need the fullness of His life and all His promises being fulfilled in us to stand through the tribulation, to go through as overcomers, for our lives to be the righteous pleasing offerings that He desires.