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Recently I heard Bishop James Swanson say as clergy “you are called to be a spiritual leader, you are not called to change people”.
Being in ministry this is the hardest thing with which I deal. When people come to me and they often do, with problems of every kind. I go to scripture and show them what God’s Word says and they walk away because they don’t want to do it God’s way. For some reason it seems too difficult, for some reason the worlds way seem better, less painful, easier.
Often this can become such a heavy burden that it makes me want to throw up my hands and just quit trying and then Bishop Swanson reminded me that I am not called to fix people. Since the beginning of time people have decided to do things their way and not God’s way. God Himself has not forced people to change therefore when He limits Himself to working through the means that He does and not forcing change in people, even God has not convinced some people to change and do things His way.
In Mark Chapter 10 and verses 46-52 there is a story of a blind man.
46Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
52“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Why did Jesus ask the blind man, “what do you want me to do for you”?
Because some people don’t want to be well!
I am not called to change people, I am called to be a spiritual leader. Lord help me to remember that your Word will do the work, your Spirit will do the convincing and the convicting. I am only called to be obedient.
Can you imagine the things that were being said to and about Noah when God told him to build an Ark. I imagine based on the fact that Noah’s family was the only ones who made it out alive that everyone thought he was a joke.
Genesis 6: 5-8
5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
Genesis 6: 13-14a
13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark…
Genesis 6: 17
17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish.
The following quotes are from The Good News magazine;
Potential devastation from the sky
Although some of these possibilities are unlikely, others present a real threat. Based on the increasing number of gigantic impact craters discovered in recent years, scientists believe that a collision between earth and a killer asteroid is inevitable.
What would be the result of such a violent encounter? “An asteroid only a kilometer across would create cosmic havoc by impacting on the earth,” writes Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at City College of New York. “. . . The shock wave would flatten much of the United States. If it hit the oceans, the tidal wave it created could be a mile high, enough to flood most coastal cities on earth” (Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century, 1997, p. 317).
In 1908 a meteor or comet exploded over a remote area of Siberia. Though it was relatively small, with an estimated diameter of only about 50 yards, it flattened 1,000 square miles of forest, felling 80 million trees. The energy released by that celestial missile is estimated to be about equal to that of a large hydrogen bomb. The resulting tremors were recorded as far away as London. (To learn how such events might tie in with Bible prophecy, see “Will Civilization End in Global Cataclysm?“)
The increasing nuclear threat
Experts generally agree that, of all possible means of destroying humanity, nuclear weapons pose the greatest threat.
And the genie cannot be put back in the bottle. Austrian theologian Ulrich Kortner put it this way: “The nuclear threat . . . constitutes not a temporary, but rather an irrevocable global threat. The actual possibility of an end to all life is now a constituent part of our reality” (The End of the World: A Theological Interpretation, 1995, pp. 229-230, emphasis added).
Some sober scientists go even farther, saying that nuclear annihilation is inevitable. The late Carl Sagan, perhaps the world’s best-known scientist before his death in 1996, wrote that “the development of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems will, sooner or later, lead to global disaster” (Cosmos, 1980, p. 328).
With the Cold War ended, the probability of all-out nuclear war between countries has lessened for the time being, but the continuing addition of more nations to the nuclear club ratchets the threat back upward.
If North Korea has successfully developed nuclear weapons—as it has strongly hinted it has done—the nuclear club of nations now totals 10. More than 50,000 nuclear weapons exist in the world, many in dangerously unstable places. No one dares dismiss the idea that terrorist groups, if they can get their hands on nuclear devices, will use them in pursuit of their deadly aims.
Optimistic scientists believe that, thanks to continuing discoveries in science and technology, the nations will realize they must cooperate and work together to develop a unified global civilization. However, admits Dr. Kaku, “in the background always lurks the possibility of a nuclear war, the outbreak of a deadly pandemic, or a collapse of the environment” (p. 19).
Is time running out?
Reagan expressed concern that Armageddon may occur in our generation. His defense secretary, Casper Weinberger, observed: “I believe the world is going to end—by an act of God, I hope—but every day I think time is running out” (quoted by Reginald Stackhouse, The End of the World, 1997, p. viii).
Former French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing commented on the state of humanity: “The world is unhappy because it doesn’t know where it is going and because it senses that, if it knew, it would discover that it was heading for disaster” (ibid.).
Former U.S. vice president Al Gore speculated on the longevity of the world: “Two world wars, the Holocaust, the invention of nuclear weapons, and now the global environmental crisis have led many of us to wonder if survival . . . is possible” (Earth in the Balance, 1992, p. 366).
Indeed, experts from many fields share the concern that we could see the end of civilization as we know it. These concerns have created an age of anxiety, especially in a world where so little seems certain anymore.
Many others, however, say there is no need to be concerned about the world ending. They point to epidemics of end-time panic that have raged in the past. They list many failed past predictions regarding the end of the world.
Such criticism is justified to a point. Doomsday predictions have abounded for centuries; date-setters have been wrong many times. The problem with most of these prognostications was that, though well intentioned, the specific chronological details were the ideas of men who badly misinterpreted information in Scripture.
Is there a source to which we can go for reliable information? There is! That one reliable source is the Bible—what it really says. Many people today have a vague idea that the Bible says something about the end of the world. Does it? Most certainly!
The end of an age
Although we do not know the time, one thing we know for sure is that the Bible prophesies the end of the world as we know it. But what does that mean?
When Jesus’ disciples asked Him about “the end of the world,” they weren’t talking about “world” in the sense of our physical planet, the earth. The Greek word translated “world” is aion, from which we get the English word eon. The two mean essentially the same thing—an age, an epoch, an era .
Christ’s followers well knew the many prophecies of the Old Testament that foretell the coming age of the Messiah. Our present time, the time of human rule on earth under the deceptive sway of Satan (1 John 5:19), is described by the apostle Paul as “this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4).
Another Greek word translated “world” in the New Testament is kosmos, which denotes the ordered world around us—that is, not the physical planet we live on but man’s society and geopolitical dominion. This is what will end.
Paul and the other apostles understood that, at the end of this age, man’s corrupt civilization will be swept away and a new era will dawn at the return of Christ. Peter described this change as one in which “times of refreshing” will come from God the Father through Jesus, who will return from heaven when “the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets” (Acts 3:19-21, New International Version).
This transition from man’s misrule—which is, in reality, the unrecognized rule of Satan—to Christ’s divine reign in the Kingdom of God was at the heart of the messages of the biblical prophets as well as the gospel Jesus taught. (For more information, request our free booklets The Gospel of the Kingdom and Is There Really a Devil?)
Scripture proclaims that the present age—the civilization and societies we know today—will terminate in a cascade of unimaginable destruction and violence that will climax at the return of Christ. In the New Testament alone, more than 300 verses refer to these events.
I fear that like Noah, people will say that I am crazy, I fear that people will just ignore the signs of the times in which we live. I fear that there will be very few that make it out of this world to the next because so few take it serious.
What did Jesus say about the end of the world?
Matthew 24: 3-8
3 Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?”
4 Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, 5 for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. 7 Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. 8 But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.
You may be saying, but yes there have always been famines, nations have fought with each other. there have been earthquakes all over the world and that is true.
However, Jesus said these were just the first of the birth pains. As we all know, birth pains intensify and with each new day these things intensify and multiply around the world.
The world today is just like the world when Noah lived and the flood came and caught them all off guard.
In Noah’s day there were those who said a flood would never happen. We know from the Biblical account that only Noah and his family were saved from that great tragic event.
Luke 17: 26 -30
26 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 27 In those days, the people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came and destroyed them all.
28 “And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building—29 until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Yes, it will be ‘business as usual’ right up to the day when the Son of Man is revealed.
I couldn’t wait for the movie 2012 to start and I went on opening day. The movie is based on the Mayan calendar which runs out on December 21, 2012 and many people believe that will be the end.
Just for the record, I don’t believe that 12-21-2012 will be the end of the world, I believe it could be before we take the next breath. If I didn’t believe this I wouldn’t be wasting my time preaching. No, I would be somewhere making a lot of money and living it up, because if this is all there is, i would want to live it to the full. i would want to grab all the gusto I could grab.
No, I believe the Bible teaches that the end could come at any second.
Back to the movie. I love the movie, not because I believe the date is right but I believe it is a wake up call. It is something that will hopefully make people think about what God said was going to happen and not what the Mayan’s said would happen. The entire time I was watching the movie, all I could think about was getting out of there and going to find all my children and just hold them close. I believe with all of my heart that the end as we know it is near.
There are more than 300 verses in the New Testament that speak of the end as we know it!
In Romans 13: 8-14, Paul says it is time to wake up!
8 Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. 9 For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.
11 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. 13 Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.
Here is the movie 2012′s depiction of the end of the world as we know it.
I Peter 4: 7-11
7The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 11If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
In light of the end, Peter says we are to do 4 things
1. Live self-controlled
Vs. 7 “The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.”
Newspapers and cable network news channels overflow with headlines and articles about:
drug-related deaths of popular actors and rock stars, not to mention missions that no one seems to know
abuse of power and corruption
to the abuse of substance, one theme is crystal clear: our society is in a corporate crisis caused by individual indulgence
Lack of self-control kills self-respect, friendships, marriages, careers, and it even kills ministries.
(Beth more, Living beyond yourself bible study)
What is the key to living a self-controlled life? The key to living a self-controlled life is the refusal to allow our enemies, which are the world, the flesh and the Devil, to rule or hold us captive in any way.
Jesus has given us victory over all of these and over the accuser the devil. If any of these things hold something over us then it is because we have opened the door and invited them to reign in Jesus place.
Peter is telling us in this passage to live in these last days a life controlled by the Spirit of God and practicing self-control.
2. Live a life of love for others
Vs. 8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
The original Greek word for deeply or fervently is an athletic word meaning to reach out or strain or exert an utmost amount of energy.
This is so interesting to me as I am preparing to run in a Marathon this Thursday on Thanksgiving Day in Atlanta. I have a great friend, Kenneth who is running this race with me and these last few days before the race we are starting to wind down the miles. We have run a 15 mile training run, 18 mile, 20 mile, and a 22 mile training run to prepare for this race. But yesterday morning as we met and went out to run just 3 miles, Kenneth said “I don’t even put my shoes on for 3 miles”, we both got a great laugh out of that.
You see, we have poured our hearts into this race, 26.2 miles. This is Kenneth’s first Marathon and it is my 8th. We have put in the hard miles, we have taken good vitamins, we have tried to eat well, we have searched and found the best shoes to wear for out needs in 26.2 miles, we have drunk bottles and bottles of water to maintain hydration, and we have even forced ourselves to eat energy gels during the long runs in order to have sufficient energy to finish the race.
We are to love each other with the energy it takes to run a Marathon because love covers a multitude of sins!
“Because love covers a multitude of sins.” What does this mean?
True love ignores the faults of others!
This is just to qualify the above statement: Jesus never told us to be ignorant and to allow people to harm us. That is not love. There were two blind men in the bible and as Jesus passed by where they were they called to him and said, Lord have mercy on us and Jesus said to them, what do you want me to do for you? Many ask why would Jesus have to ask what two blind men wanted but the truth is that many people do not want to be well. Many people no matter how much we love them, they will take advantage of us again and again. You can love people without letting them take that kind of advantage of you. Sometimes tough love is in order. Ask people what it is they want God to do for them through you, that is true love.
When we love “Above All” we are living a life of love which will more than likely reach those who do not know Jesus The Christ.
3. Serve others and oh yeah, do it without grumbling
Vs. 9 “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
This verse means that we are to be generous with strangers. Food, shelter, and in general being nice to those we don’t know.
And by the way, do it without complaining!
Jesus said, feed those who are hungry, clothe those who have so little, give a drink of water to those dying of thirst. Give a home to a child who has no mom or dad. Interrupt your comfortable life to make a life for someone else.
4. Live a life of service through your gifts of the Spirit
Vs. 10-11 “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”
Romans 12:6-8 “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a person’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”
No one knows when Jesus will return or when this world as we know it will end, but we do know that it is closer now that it was yesterday.
Jesus could come back at any moment.
Will he catch you by surprise?
Maybe you need to rededicate your life to serving the Lord, maybe you need to publicly profess Jesus as Lord and repent of your sins and follow Him with all that you are.
You can do that right now. Ask God to forgive you and empower you with His Holy Spirit to live a life that is pleasing to Him. If you have done this, drop me a note to let me know, If there is any way that I can help you in your Christian walk, please don’t hesitate to ask. As Jesus said to the blind men, “what do you want me to do for you?”
lots of people are still up, I have received several e-mails in the last few minutes about 10 hours ago from web
I am not the only pastor still up working on sermons and Witness Team Ministries. I am in great company. Blessings Amy about 10 hours ago from web
Operation Christmas Child, bring a lunch & join Pati after church workin @ Joy Ranch 2 pack boxes. Yth & Tween interested there will B a van about 12 hours ago from web
the dishes are clean and we are ready to just relax, except the kids are all excited about 14 hours ago from web
working on Sunday Morning’s Sermon: the end of all things is near about 23 hours ago from web
fb is riddled with problems this week. Beware, don’t click on links that appear to be sent by your friends. If it looks strange don’t click about 23 hours ago from web
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