Watching the Gulf fill up with oil is so unreal to me. I feel like I am watching a Will Smith movie where he has to go down and fix the broken pipe and save the world. Except there is no super-hero in this one. Just a bunch of greed, corruption, and lack of wisdom.
Everyday, I looked out at the ocean and wanted to weep because of how we are destroying God's creation.
Birds would fly by and I would want them to fly as far away as they could from the black crude oil that would probably take their lives. We saw dolphins playing and jumping when we were on a boat in the ocean and it felt like I was looking at one of the pinnacles of God's creation. I wanted to rescue them from death.
The oil is coming.
The animals are so unaware.
It reminded me of people who don't know Jesus.
Death is coming.
They are so unaware.
Do I look at people who don't know Christ as Savior with the same urgency and heartbreak as I did the dolphins? Do I want to jump in and rescue the lost before time runs out?
Oh, if you don't know Jesus, friend, today is the day. The "oil" is coming. God's wrath (against sin) is coming. Hide yourself in Jesus. God will speak peace to you if you know Jesus Christ as Savior. He will move you instantly from death to life and out of harm's way. You will be safe forever. He will protect you and walk with you in this life. All you have to do is acknowledge you are a sinner and are separated from God. Ask Christ to be your Savior and your Addonai (Lord) of your life. Do it NOW.
"Indeed, God is ready to help you right now. Today is the day of salvation."2 Cor 6:2
"And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God."
1 John 4:14,15
Biblical prophecy is really cool to study because of it's exact accuracy and because it tells us the future. As Christians who believe God's Word, this is exciting! To see how close our groom is to coming for His Bride!
(**FYI: We will be talking in detail about this at the college girls conference in August. The dates are Aug 27,28. Sign up on facebook if you want to come. This is going to be awesome.)
But, it is also SAD to watch these horrific events! I was so grieved for our country and the people who have already lost (or will lose) everything that I couldn't sleep and started to get anxious. I was confused as to how to walk through these times. Sad? Happy? Scared? Bold? All of the above??
"remember that at that time you were separate from Christ...without hope and without God in the world."
She was without hope and without God in this world.
Again, something happened in my soul as I looked into her eyes. Tim and I went on a walk that night and I told him I felt like we needed to get prepared for the days that are coming. That I want to simplify and use our resources to have a home that is a refuge for people. So that we can meet their physical needs by giving them a place to stay and food. I want to be able to share Hope with people. Hope is only found through Christ. I don't know what is coming but I want to be prepared if it is as bad as I think it is going to be.
The boys and I pray all the time that our family/home would be "dwelling place for His Name".
I started praying that after reading over and over again in the Old Testament about the place where His Name would dwell...
"except in the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name." Deut 16:6
Now, it is in our hearts...
"so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." Eph 3:17
I sense an urgency to "be ready". For what exactly? I don't know. But dark days are coming and I want to be able to help people and share Hope with them.
Not my baby...
my Christ (where she got her name).
I told Tim I wanted to sell the condo. That makes me sad but I want to simplify. We prayed together on a bench in Rosemary Beach that God would help us to have wisdom and to simplify in order to be able to help people.
A couple days later, a man came up to me at the pool and asked if we would be willing to sell our condo. He asked if he and his wife could look at it. We are currently speaking with him about buying it. I don't know if God is answering that prayer or what. I love the condo SO MUCH and have so many memories there it makes me want to cry but wisdom says, "sell it". We will see what God does.
Ok, so here is what God has been teaching me...
I almost titled this post "Doom, Gloom, and Glory" :)but thought that was a little too depressing. You are going to have to hang with me through this post. It is heavy. But, it is based on God's Word- not my ideas.
As I began to pray that God would show me how to live in these last days, I believe He brought me to 2 Peter 3 to teach me...
First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen."
This chapter is packed with awesome truth that I am buckling around my waist! (Eph 6). I put the parts in bold that really hit me in the face. God's Word is so powerful. I prayed for God to help me know how to live during these times and He directed me here! Awesome.
So, how are we to live?
"...stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles."
* we are to have wholesome thinking/ meditating on the words of the Bible.
I was convicted of this at the beach as I watched the news so much. WOW- It is so easy to get sucked into unwholesome thinking. Murder stories, celebrities, death, etc... We have to fill our minds with God's Word- not the news. I am not saying to be un-informed. But be careful how much time you spend watching and reading the news instead of God's Word. BELIEVE ME, I am talking to myself here.
"...in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised?"
*I hope God wasn't thinking of you when He wrote this. He IS coming back for His Bride. Get ready.
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
*The Lord isn't slow--- He is merciful! Praise God for His mercy. Praise God that He waited on ME to come to repentance. He desires that NO ONE should perish. People say, "I can't believe a loving God would send people to hell." He DOESN'T! They choose to go there themselves. It is as if Jesus is standing in front of hell with His arms wide open in love showing you the scars from the nails for your sins but it is your choice to ignore Him. He desires that NO ONE should perish.
"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:17
He loves you. Respond to His love. Today is the day of salvation.
I think of Noah building the ark and how it says that God shut the door. Think of all the time that door was open. It is believed to have taken approximately 100 years to build the ark. 100 years that people walked by that open door and scoffed. Don't walk by the open door. I hate to say this but I believe God's Word: The door for your salvation will not always be open. Don't ignore that door. God's grace can cover your sins... no matter how great.
"The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in." Gen 7:16
"I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved..." John 10:9
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming."
This world as we know it will be burned up and dissolved. There will be NOTHING left. How then should we live?
holy and godly lives.
"Holy" means to be set apart. We are set apart for God alone.
"Godly" here can be translated "piety" or "to worship well". I want to be godly. I want to "worship well". Our lives should be devoted to pleasing God.
* God, teach me how to to be godly and how to worship YOU well!
"...and find out what pleases the Lord." Eph 5:10
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth...but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven."Matt 6:19,20
Our aim of laying up treasures in heaven is a worthwhile aim because this earth isn't going to be the only thing destroyed by fire....
"By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. " 1 Cor 3:10-14
"Be careful how you build on the foundation. Make sure that you are using gold, silver, precious stones. We're the building of God. The church is the building of God. Christ the foundation, but be careful how you build. The day will come when it will be tested, our works, what sort they are." Chuck Smith
What are we are to be investing into? God's Word & People through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I may make a bunch of people really mad but I wonder how much Oprah will have left on this day. It is nice that she wants to help people but what are her motives? to bring glory to God or to bring glory and a fun fuzzy feeling to her? I don't know her motives. But God does. I hope she isn't standing in front of a pile of smoking ashes after her work is revealed by fire. I hope I'm not either so I have to be careful as to how I build.
*Oh God, I don't want to have impure motives. Please help me not to build a foundation using material that will burn. You are the foundation. It is about YOU. Keep my eyes on YOU- off of me and any other worthless thing that will burn.
the next part says, "as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming".
HELLO! Anybody catch that? AND SPEED IT'S COMING.
I am so excited about the day the Lord's comes. I think about it all the time. What it will feel like to meet Him in the clouds. What He will look like --Revelation tells us what Jesus looked like when John saw Him...
"His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance." Rev 1:14-16
I also wonder what the voice of an angel sounds like. What the trumpet will sound like and who will blow it and who will shout (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. 1 Thess 4). I think about what the angels will look like, what the wedding and wedding RECEPTION will be like, what riding a horse through galaxies will feel like, what ruling and reigning with Him will be like, what the music will be like, what face-to-face worship will be like, what our new bodies will be like, what being free from my horrible sinful nature will be like, what the rainbow around His throne will look like, ( A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. Rev 4:3). I love to look at the clouds and wonder if it will be today.... that cloud.
But, what I have never noticed before is that I can SPEED HIS COMING. Hallelujah! I want to!
Peter just let me in on a BIG SECRET!
How do I (Stephanie) hasten the Day of the Lord? Obviously God has a plan and it is going to happen how and when He wants it to. But, God is allowing us to play a part of His very cool plan.
I figured out as I studied this that there is a major player in speeding His return: Repentance.
Prayer also has a big role. When Jesus taught his disciples (and us) how to pray, He said to pray "Thy Kingdom Come". We also learn in Rev that our prayers are very precious and important.
So important that they are kept in a bowl and brought before God's throne.
"Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. " Rev 5:8
"Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand." Rev 8:3,4
So, pray for Christ's return! Pray without ceasing! Your prayers are POWERFUL and precious to God.
And, Repent to speed His coming-
Check this out...
"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you-even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. " Acts 3:19-21
Build on the foundation of Christ and invest into eternal things:
1. God's Word 2. People 3. Rewards.
1. God's Word is eternal-
"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." Is 40:8
2. People are eternal-
"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men" Ecc 3:11
3. Rewards are eternal-
"And now the prize awaits me--the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return." 2 Tim 4:8
"and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne" Rev 4:10
"But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness."
What is his promise? His return for us! This is the hope we can share with people who feel hopeless. I don't know how anyone has hope without knowing Christ is coming back. The Word is the light that shines so beautifully and brightly in this very dark place. It is getting darker, isn't it? Oh, I cannot wait to get to MY HOME OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. This is not our home. Our home is a place where righteousness dwells- not evil.
"And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts." 2 Peter 1:19
"so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life" Phil 2:15,16
It is our responsiblity to hold out the life-giving Word so that WE will shine bright and so that men can see. And when men see, salvation comes and that means Christ's return is hastened.
Remember, it is His patience and love for the world that keeps Him in heaven...
"Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation"
Final thought on 2 Peter 3- Last verse...
"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen."
GROW! Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior. Don't cower in fear as you see end time events unfold. Dig into God's Word. That is where we find peace and comfort.. and prophecy that tells how this whole world ends. Christ has already won. He won on the cross. He has chosen us to reach the world with His message.
I know this was long and rambled. I hope you got something out of God's Word that encourages you. Current events are so scary but God is in control. He hasn't moved off His throne. He is patiently waiting on you to repent so that you will be His pure and spotless Bride as you walk down the isle. You think you are excited to see Him? He cannot wait to see you! Think about a wedding. Who is the most excited person in that room? THE GROOM.
If you are looking to Him, you will be radiant. I want to be radiant for my Groom who died so that He could marry me. Don't you?
"Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame." Ps 34:5