Monday, September 25, 2017


The doctrine of imminency is a reality that should change how we live in the present age. This expectation certainly changed how the early church lived. The early church adopted a special password to identify themselves and to greet each other: Maranatha (1 Corinthians 16:22). It is an Aramaic word that only appears once in Scripture. It consists of three Aramaic words: Mar (Lord), ana (our), and tha (come). It's a kind of one-word prayer - 'our Lord, come.'

Maranatha only makes sense in light of the imminent view of the Rapture. As Renald Showers says, "'It's instructive that the early church coined this special greeting to reflect their hourly hope, eager expectation, and ardent anticipation of the Rapture. No doubt this expectation motivated them to pursue personal purity, devoted service, and evangelism. Think of how the church would change today if we were to adopt this greeting for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Think of how our lives would change if this simple greeting were always on the lips of an expectant people.' "
(p.172, The End, Mark Hitchcock)

The purpose of the rapture really goes back to the doctrine of dispensations. Grace and Judgment unto Wrath cannot work concurrently. Scripture clearly tells us that the Tribulation will be a curse and a punishment for the iniquity of Israel and God's enemies in preparation for the Kingdom Age. In other words, God will be cleansing the earth of His enemies in order to start His Kingdom with mainly believers. (Jeremiah 30:4-8; Jeremiah 30:9-11; Daniel 9:24; Micah 7:8-9; Isaiah 26:21) [edited version of Amy Van Gerpen’s Study]

In speaking about signs in the latter days or end times before Christ's return for His church, Matthew 24:8 records Jesus saying, "All these are the beginning of birth pains." Then in Luke 21:28 Christ is noted as similarly declaring - "When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

Both of these verses refer to a time of Convergence of the signs mentioned for the End Times. The fact that the prophetic signs are associated with "birth-pains" or contractions means the frequency and intensity of the signs must be accounted for as one studies eschatology. However, not only will we be aware of the increasing frequency and intensity of End Time signs, but they will all begin to converge in space and time during our lifetime - "When these things begin to take place,...".

I am a Pre-Tribulationalist. I believe Christ is coming to snatch away His church from the wrath to come. In that belief - the closer I see the world is to The Tribulation Period, the closer I see believers are to The Rapture - Maranatha -Come Lord Jesus!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


There was once a second child to a father and a younger brother to a sibling who felt he knew how to handle or manage his part of the estate. So, the younger son and brother went before the father and requested that he be given his portion at this time in his life. Without any hesitation from the father, without any fuss about his age or experience level in managing wealth, land and/or material possessions – the father divided up the land between the two sons.

The younger son/brother made a couple of bad decisions that kept him spiraling downward in life. First, at such an early age, he thought he knew how to live life. Second, he moved away from home; he moved away from the protection, provision and advice his father could easily bestow before it was time. Finally, the young man seemed to have consolidated his inheritance into currency because he then proceeded to waste all of it on a frivolous lifestyle.

Just as he went bankrupt, a famine hit the area where he was located. Life and all it's challenging scenarios happens, even to the unprepared. Immediately seeing that he was not going to be bailed out by his free money any longer, he sought employment with a local citizen to be his livestock caretaker - in particular, pigs.

The younger man had not eaten in so long because of his bad decisions and misfortunes that he considered what the pigs were eating as his next meal. Here is where he reached "the-bottom-of-the-barrel" and the only way to look was up. Common sense finally came knocking and the young man answered. He remembered that back under his father's roof the servants ate extremely well, even to the point of having some food to spare!

His situation screamed that the effort to make things right with his father would require him to lower himself below that of a son and become a servant in his father's house. However, he would have to come up with the words that convey his confession of wrong and submission of servanthood. So, he did. It all starts with recognition of the problem and movement toward the remedy. The young man had recognized his problem, now he was up and on his way back to his father's house.

He was hardly back on his father's property when his father saw him from far off and came running with arms open wide and a face beaming with a smile so big you might think his face would explode from happiness. What a sight this was to the son! Catching up with the younger son, the father bear-hugged him, kissed him and welcomed him back! Not quite what the son expected. The son, still smarting from the lesson he learned, delivered his confession and offer of servanthood. He said, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son."

Anytime a lesson is learned, a celebration is in order. However, this lesson was worth celebrating big-time! The son had not only lost focus of who was better at managing life, but he also took what he thought would get him there - wealth - and left his father. But now he had returned. He had been humbled and humbled himself before his father. The father did not enlist him in the servant's quarters. Instead, he said, "‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’"

The celebration began, but without the older son in attendance. Nobody invited him. He had to find out what the ruckus was about at his own house by sending a servant to investigate. Then when the older brother understood the reason for the music and dancing, that his younger brother had returned, his heart was not in the same place as his father's. He did not attend.

When the father came out to earnestly reason with him to join the celebration - the older son laid his cards on the table. He said, "‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’"

Words spoken in anger, like these, have potential to hurt or have holes or both - the older son's words had a little of both. When he said - "All these years I have been..." he was referring to the same period of time his brother had been away, magnifying his brothers mistake and magnifying his rightful stance. The words "I've been slaving for you" was an example of a phrase that has holes in it. Sure, he had worked hard for his father, but probably nothing like the very servants that serve under him and his father. The declaration "and never disobeyed your orders" has lie dripping all over it. I am sure the father could recall a time or two when an order was not obeyed by the older son, but he does not bring that into the conversation, it is not the point. The statement, " never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends." reeks of a pouty attitude. It could be that the elder son never asked.

Besides word-choice, tone has a lot to do with the communication of one's thought. I don't know about you, but I can sure hear a sarcastic, accusatory tone coming from the elder son as he concludes by emphasizing a lot of "yours" in his remarks to his father. "But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’"

So with the tongue lashing and terrible tone that was given by the older son, the father still begins his reply to his firstborn by saying, "My son". He then continues and says, ‘you are always with me and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” In other words, you have never been lost or experienced what your brother has experienced. You have been here with me the whole time your brother was lost and had all the benefits thereof. He is your brother, you know. But now he is found and that is cause for celebration.

The Prodigal Son is a tale of two brothers who have lost their vision of their father, his household and all his many benefits. Sometimes Christians lose this vision. One type of son/daughter (younger version) is impatient and arrogant desiring to have all the blessings, but wants no leadership or direction - he/she wants to do the "blessed life" their way, out away from other believers and Father God.

The other type of son/daughter (elder son) has his focus on himself also. This believer has the "but what about me?" question on loop. He or she has a critical spirit, pointing out the mistake or mistakes in the other sibling, while magnifying his/her own supposed right stance in the matter. This Christian also has a bad attitude and tone to go along with those who are returning to the fold or receiving a blessing from the Lord. They somehow think that they are entitled to everything and nobody should be given second or more chances.

The elder brother could be the worse of the two. Anger, bitterness, entitlement, lying and negative attitude are all spirits that he allowed to get the better of him and quickly. These spirits are blinding. They pull a veil down over our spiritual eyes to keep us from seeing our Heavenly Father, just like they kept the elder son's focus off of his earthly father. 

I pray that Christians everywhere keep their focus on The Father. As we learned from the younger sibling, we can do nothing without Him and Christ said so in John 15:5 - “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." 

Let us remember to speak to our soul as David did, brothers and sisters in Christ, and say as the elder brother should say - "Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits." (Psalm 103:2). This declaration places the focus back on our Father God and reminds us of His provisions or "benefits" like we have learned from A Father And His Boys.

Monday, September 18, 2017


As people accept Christ as their Savior and God they also get Commissioned. Christians have a Prime Directive within The Great Commission that every new and old believer should desire to shout from anywhere, mountaintops included. However, there are additional directives that The Holy Spirit prompts us to make on our life's journey. My combined main directives in life form a Worshiper-Teacher-Testifier me.

When I received Christ as my Lord and Savior and was baptized in 1979 (9 years old), even though I automatically received Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; and Acts 1:8 as my marching orders - I wanted to tell others about my Savior, Christ Jesus. My Commission states...

"Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'” - Matthew 28:18-20

The Lord gives the believer His Signet Ring here. Pritchard Paraphrased - through His sacrifice and victory Christ gained all authority SO THAT all nations may be made disciples by sealing them in names of The Trinity AND instructing those disciples to obey His words. The wonderful aspect of The Great Commission is that He does not leave us unequipped nor alone in the effort. He equips us for our journey and promises - "surely I am with you always...".

Supporting the idea of God equipping us and being with us in The Prime Directive - Luke recorded what Jesus said about the testifying effort of God's believers; Christians going into all the world and preaching the Gospel. He documented Christ telling us about where we would testify and the kind of help we would have along the way. "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” - Acts 1:8 Believers would testify Locally, Regionally, Nationally and Globally with the power of the Holy Spirit as our witnessing aid.

Mark does not waste any words. His shortened version of both of these Commissions states - "He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.'" - Mark 16:15  The words "all the world" takes care of every location, the words "to all creation" covers every person and "preach the gospel" instructs what to preach - The Good News!

The AND MORE part of the believer's Commission is found in Ephesians 4:11. Commonly referred to as The Five Fold Ministry, this verse reads -  "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;" Here is where I want to further encourage my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. 

I believe that Christians operate mainly in one of the Five Fold Ministries, but also with a measure of all the ministries as The Holy Spirit leads. For example, the main call on Patrick Jensen's life is Pastor or Shepherd of Cary Church of God. However, God has also pricked his spirit to Evangelize by doing missions in Africa. God has dropped words into his spirit about things unknown - the Prophetic ministry. Pastor Patrick has led the Men's Breakfast on Saturdays, which is a demonstration of Teaching The Word. And I am sure Pastor Patrick has been sent on a specific mission by the church, thus executing the office of Apostle or sent one.

Just like the Body Analogy of 1 Corinthians 12, we are all connected. Christians are all part of the same body. Each believer represents a body part and operates according to the function of that part. However, just like parts that unite to execute a mission, for example hands and fingers interlock under a box to carry the box somewhere, so it is with Christians. Christian ministries will rub elbows with each other and hopefully work in harmony to carry out God's will.

Christ is always The Brains of The Body. However, sometimes the church does not always consult Him and the eyes part of the church goes blind. At this point, yes we must pray for restoration of sight, but Christians must rely on who and what God has already set in place for us to lean upon. In blindness, other senses are intensified (i.e. hearing, touch, smell, taste). When the churches sight is limited or gone, we must call out to The Lord while depending on our other brothers and sisters and their specialties.

Paul tells the believers in Ephesus in the next two verses why these additional directives are needed. Ephesians 4:12-13 says the Five Fold Ministries were created -  
  1. "to equip his people for works of service, 
  2. so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God 
  3. and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."
Let us tackle #1. What do you think equipping entails? Certainly mentoring or teaching in how to witness, but also the development of the other Five Fold Ministries in our lives is crucial. Who do we serve in the "works of service" phrase? The widow, orphan, lost and down trodden for sure. However, do not forget about your own. The phrase says "to equip His people". His people refers to the family of believers and Paul reminds us - "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." (Galatians 6:10)

Let us take on challenge #2. What does being "built up" entail? Kind word, teachings (like this one), testimonies, etc. How do you see "unity in the faith" manifested in the church? Messages aligning, direction is clear, lives are changed, etc. The church fighting the enemy with a unified fist instead of a finger that is alone and can get jammed is a better strategy. How do you see unity in the "knowledge of the Son of God"? Read the Word of God, seek His Shelter and Shadow (Psalm 91:1), and remain under good teaching.

Let us consider #3. What does "becoming mature" or "attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ" mean to you? When I was younger, under my mom and dad's roof, Mom used to tell me, "If you are going to do a good job, do it right the first time." That is how I see the Christian and The Church as we mature from challenge to challenge and from glory to glory. If we go after the "whole measure", go after God's heart - wholeheartedly - then we are on a good road to maturity in Christ. In music we do not sing a half measure and call it quits. A singer or choir sings a full measure to receive all the benefits thereof.

Therefore, my encouragement is to spread yourself out, not thin, for the Lord. Allow yourself to be a Swiss Army Knife for the Lord. A spiritual Jack-of-all-trades, but having one big blade, a specialized skill or talent that the Lord has gifted you for keeps/life. Remember, we are to be found busy about His business when He returns. Let Christ find you loving Him by serving others - a Servant Leader - when He returns! And do that by looking for and praying for opportunities from God to -
  1. Share your testimony, which covers The Great Commission (They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; - Rev. 12:11)
  2. Operate in your empowered Ministry, while flowing in the other ministries
If we, as the Church of Christ Jesus, execute on The Prime Directive and additional Ministries - our faith will be strengthened, unity will be more solidified, and our maturity level will increase in Christ. Yes, we are Commissioned, we do have a Prime Directive....And More.

Friday, September 15, 2017


Wholeheartedness is to be sold out, completely surrendered or without any reservation in something or someone. The answer to the question - why - is usually the basis for anyone's devotion. My wholeheartedness comes from Romans 5:8 - "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." He died for me, so I will live for Him.

Reading in the Old Testament I discovered that to live wholeheartedly for the Lord meant - a great inheritance (Numbers 14:24), rest (2 Chronicles 15:15), prosperity (2 Chronicles 31:21), and escape from shame (Psalm 119:80).

Caleb was rewarded as an individual and his descendants benefited from his commitment to the Lord also.
  • "But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it." - Numbers 14:24
As a nation, Judah was blessed with peace or "rest on every side" of the country.
  • "All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side." - 2 Chron. 15:15
Hezekiah was a hard worker. He was someone who obeyed the Lord's commands. But he was also a man who "sought his God wholeheartedly" and for that he prospered.
  • "In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered." - 2 Chron. 31:21
David knew that to give less than 100% to God in view of family, friends and the public meant possible compromise and eventual shame.
  • "May I wholeheartedly follow your decrees, that I may not be put to shame." - Psalm 119:80
I can hear my Mom's voice in my mind now saying, "If you are going to do a job, do it right the first time or at least give it your best effort trying." The rest of that mentality is - if the job is not done right the first time, return visits are required until the project is accomplished or frustration gains the upper hand. This is the Mindset of Wholeheartedness - giving your all from the beginning, all the way through to the end of a project or relationship.

The Holy Spirit said through Paul to the believers in Ephesus, "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people," - Eph. 6:7. Said another way - Go ahead and be Servant Leaders, but when you serve others, minister to them as if you were ministering to the Lord - with every ounce of your strength, time, talents and resources.

The phrase "not people" implies we serve without this mindset of "as serving unto the Lord". Instead, we come from a human and potentially lacking effort. However, when we pray and include God's Vision toward everyone, believers can be wholehearted in their intentions. Therefore, let us strive, brothers and sisters in Christ, to live for God and with God's love for each other - Wholeheartedly.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


The shadow of an object or person can only cast so far. To be in the shadow of something or someone is to be in very close proximity. Applying this to our walk with God speaks of the intimacy in such close quarters and desire of communion with Him. God's Shadow does not speak of darkness, doom or gloom but of shade, comfort and refreshing. In Psalm 91:1 we read that "The Shelter" is His and "The Shadow" is His. Those who journey to this locale "dwell" and "rest".

Do you have a quiet time or personal time with The Lord? Do you have a set time where you get away to what Psalm 91:1 calls "the Secret Place"? If you do not, I want to encourage you to implement a time like this in your everyday agenda. 

However, I also desire to encourage you to access that hallowed atmosphere when you are on the go and need a special touch of His Presence. Some of us when we get disturbed or irritated might count to ten to get our wits back under control. This is a good technique for some. However, I would propose, if you can, to get out of the offensive area and into a private space where you can enter The Shelter of the Most High God. Afterward you can say as Paul said, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." (2 Cor. 12:9)

Turn Psalm 91:1 backwards and paraphrased - anybody resting in the shadow of The Almighty, dwells under the shelter of the Most High.

Now read the verse as it is written - "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of The Almighty." 

Praise God! Do you see how vast God's shadow is? His Shadow covers the entire area of "the shelter". His Word says, "whoever dwells in the shelter...will rest in the shadow". You come into His "shelter" you get His "shadow". You aim for His "shadow" and "the shelter" is already there. You receive both when you desire and seek for His Shadow And His Shelter.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


The Disciple John recalls - "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'(John 8:12)

Ronnie Hinson best penned a description of this verse when he wrote a song that says....

There's a lighthouse on the hillside that overlooks life's sea.
When I'm tossed it sends out a light that I might see.
And the light that shines in darkness now will safely lead me home. 
If it wasn't for the lighthouse, my ship would sail no more.

And I thank God for The Lighthouse, I owe my life to Him.
Jesus is The Lighthouse and from the rocks of sin,
He has shown the light around me, so that I might clearly see.
If it wasn't for The Lighthouse (Tell me) Where would this ship be?

Everyone that lives around us, says tear that old lighthouse down.
The big ships don't sail this way anymore, ain't no use in it standing round.
But then my mind goes back to that stormy night, when just in time I saw the light.
It was the light from that old lighthouse, that stands there on the hill.

Repeat Chorus

The song is called "The Lighthouse" and it has been sung by many groups, among them The Happy Goodmans.
Father God has established Christ Jesus as The Lighthouse for our minds, bodies and souls.  "And by that will [the will of The Father], we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10:10) However, the Lord does not stop saving us. Our eternity and blessings thereof were secured in His persecution, crucifixion and resurrection. But now He infuses, indwells, empowers and ignites His believers with His Light, His Holy Spirit - making Christians His Lighthouses. Why? To help others struggling in life. To pass-the-torch, so to speak.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." - Matthew 5:13-15

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:16

As additional Lighthouses or Ships with very bright Lanterns, we can be used of God to shine His light so that the "rocks of sin" in life can be avoided. Luke goes a step further and quotes Jesus as He warns against our Light not being "darkness".  

"See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness." - Luke 11:35

The original word for "darkness" is skotos and means shadiness; shaded; obscure; dim. So, do not allow The Light given you to be corrupted in any way. Make sure it is clear and bright. Others need His Light revealed and passed on to them and we are His Lighthouses.

Monday, September 11, 2017


NOAA GOES-16 Sat image (Sept. 10, 2017)

In the last week and a half North America has seen Hurricane Harvey devastate Texas with record amounts of waterfall. Hurricane Irma slam the Caribbean Islands and Florida with high winds, waves and rain. An 8.2 earthquake in Mexico came with an awesome light-show because of the friction of the rocks. Plus, fires in California, Oregon and Montana whose smoke can be seen on radar and smelt for miles is burning. There is also another two hurricanes in the water - one named Jose in the Atlantic and one named Katia in the Gulf of Mexico (

In the meantime, we have American society doing it's best to be the Un-united or Disbanded States of America. We have a broken healthcare system, racism shouting louder "I'm still here!", a leaderless country and a country who has raised it's fist to God. If there is any judgment coming soon, and I personally believe there is, we set ourselves up for it. 

In addition, the idea of having a hot-tempered, knee-jerk reaction President of the U.S. so close to the Nuclear Button is not a good condition for the safety and welfare of the citizens of America. This is especially true when you have someone of equal temperament and in an equal position in other threatening nations.

The world and followers of Christ were promised the kind of environment we have today. Luke 21:5-36 is just one major passage that does an excellent job prophesying or foretelling history beforehand. The caveat of these signs since they have been prophesied 2000+ years ago is the continued frequency and intensity of them in expectation of The Rapture for believers in Christ and The Lawless One for the world's answer. 

Worldly Popcorn Events
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven." (verses 10-11)

Guaranteed Persecution
“But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you." (v.12)

Jerusalem's Cup of Judgment
 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written." (verses 20-22)

Societal and Natural Upheaval 
“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (verses 25-28)

Just as a woman's contractions in childbirth get shorter and shorter before the child arrives, so also are the signs of Christ's coming before He arrives mid-air to take His Bride, The Church home. Meanwhile, we are told to Wait, Watch and Work.

Wait for the hope we have been believing in - the appearance of our Savior and the glorification of our bodies so we can go be with Him forever. "...we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved." (Romans 8:23-24)

Watch for the signs in society and nature which scream louder and louder that the season of the church's Rapture is close. This is acknowledged and observed when the frequency and intensity of foretold signs are increasingly occurring. Also, watch for Christ's actual coming in mid-air. "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." (1 Thess. 4:16-18)
Work for the population of Paradise/Heaven and depopulation of Hell/Lake of Fire. These are real places of great consequences because a great choice made by Adam and Eve cost the Ultimate Price - Christ's life. The harvest is ready, the workers are few (Matthew 9:37). Let Christ find you busy about His business in your calling and watching for His coming when He returns. With the increase in intensity and frequency of signs that our redemption is near, I feel it will not be much longer that believers in Christ will have to anticipate the Lord's return for us. Until then we are charged to Wait, Watch and Work.