Posts tagged ‘the great commission’

As the Church Goes, So Goes the USA: The Inextricable Link, Purpose, and Final Hope

Election day in the United States was nearly two weeks ago. Everywhere I looked I saw people mourning the loss of their nation.  There was an air of resignation, dismay, even doom as people battled hard to change minds and votes.  The decision has been made, and not everyone is happy.  There is unrest among the losing team.  And even among the winners, there is an air of uncertainty.  Below are the words I wrote on election day, before the results were in.  I pray that as you read, you will be blessed by this message of hope.

Many who have found peace on this day do not have it because they are confident in the choice of their vote.  They do not have it because they know that God is in control and that He will restore America to its former greatness.  They have the peace that passes all understanding knowing that America is in decline, and that it will never be great again, BECAUSE God is in control.  The United States of America is not, and has never been, intended to be the end time focus of the world.  

Israel is.

In fact, it is widely agreed upon that the United States isn’t even mentioned in any of the end time prophecies in the Bible.  But the United States has had a purpose in God’s sovereign plan.  And it was/is an amazing, incredible, humbling plan!

A few years ago I was praying about the rapidly increasing rate of brutal persecution of Christians, particularly in the Middle East.  Honestly, the rise of ISIS terrified me.  God spoke one line to me during that time of prayer.  I have been praying and seeking the meaning behind it ever since.  He said, “You are Joseph.”  What I did know immediately was that He was referring to Joseph, son of Jacob, who was sold into Egypt by his brothers only to end up saving his entire family from destruction decades later in a great famine.  Beyond that, I had no other understanding.

“You are Joseph” has been on my mind and in my heart ever since.  I have prayed and prayed.  Did God mean that I was somehow going to be a place of safety for my own extended family?  Did He mean that the state I living in here in the US would be a place of safety for people, particularly Christians?  Was it broader than that?  Is the United States Joseph, and we are a place of refuge for persecuted Christians from other lands around the world?  I didn’t know, so I continued to pray and wait on the Lord.

It wasn’t until I was sitting in church this Sunday where Pastor has been preaching a series on the entire book of Genesis (we started this time last year, and it has been incredible, by the way).  Sunday’s focus was on the reuniting of Joseph with his brothers.  Suddenly God began to speak to me and slowly on flushed out the meaning behind the word He gave me so many years ago.

Joseph is the United States, or more specifically, the Church in the United States While there are similarities to the stories, it is not an exact parallel.  Allow me to explain.  In pain and despair, Joseph was sent to a land other than his home.  But God had a plan, unknown to Joseph at the time, to use him to save the land, and especially, the family from whom the Messiah would come, from a famine that He foreknew decades in the future.  The first settlers to come to America from Europe were Christians.  They fled because they were being persecuted by the state-run church.  Unbeknownst to them, God had a plan to use them to preserve His Church, and to save it from the famine of the Spirit and the Word which resulted from the influence of the government.

In Matthew 28:19-20 Yeshua commanded His disciples (the fathers of the Church) to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey God’s commands.  The Church, under state rule, had become corrupted to the point it was no longer capable of fulfilling this command.  God preserved a remnant by sending it to a new land from which missionaries in greater numbers than any other nation have been sent out to all the world doing exactly as Yeshua commanded.  In Matthew 24:14 (TLV), while explaining the signs of the end times, Yeshua said this, “This Good News of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”  Last year I heard a report on Christian radio from a missionary outreach organization (who’s name I cannot remember) which said that approximately 10% of the world was currently still unreached with the Gospel, but that 10% was expected to be reached within ten years or less.

While God has preserved the Church to carry out His command, He has also used the United States as a safe haven for Jews.  The state of Israel was re-established thanks in large part to the leadership of the United States in the late 1940’s.  And we have been one of their strongest allies for decades.  However, now is coming the time when Israel must stand alone, as is prophesied in Ezekiel.  During the end times, the United States will not be a powerful force able to stand by Israel’s side.

Today, as the Church comes closer and closer to fulfilling its command from Yeshua, its influence declines, and along with it, declines the United States of America.  The mission for the Church is drawing to a close, and so is the need for the United States to be a powerful force on the world stage.

Knowing this, what should the Church expect in the near future?  Regardless of the outcome of today’s Presidential Election, we can expect a sharp decline in our freedoms of speech and religion.  Just as the Israelites lost favor and freedom in Egypt after Joseph was gone, so we will lose favor and freedoms here in the United States.  We already see the beginning of that, and it will continue.

But also as Egypt suffered God’s judgment for the mistreatment of His chosen people, so this nation will meet with God’s judgment for its mistreatment and rejection of Yeshua’s Bride, the Church.  Prepare yourselves.  Remember that Israel was affected by the first 3 of the ten plagues on Egypt, then God exempted Israel from the rest.  I don’t know what God’s judgment on America will look like.  I suspect we will know it when we see it.  In the end, Israel was bodily removed from Egypt, guided to their Promised Land by Moses.  And soon, very soon, we too will be bodily removed and guided to our Promised Land, the place where Yeshua has gone to prepare with many mansions.  We will be guided by Yeshua Himself!

REJOICE Brothers and Sisters!!!  Our mission is nearly complete!  When it is, WE GET TO GO HOME!!!!!

Today, remember the promise of Yeshua, “What I am leaving with you is shalom—I am giving you my shalom.  I don’t give the way the world gives.  Don’t let yourselves be upset or frightened.”  (John 14:27, CJB).  Don’t look for peace and comfort in the election results or anything else in this world.  We have peace of a whole other kind!!!  We know God’s purpose, and we know God’s plan.  Don’t mourn this world too much.  Everything worth loving here will be hundreds of times better in Heaven!!!

Come quickly Lord Yeshua!!!!!  Amen!

How To Clean Coal

An illustration for you today:

I was born with a piece of coal in my hand – filthy, dirty coal.   I held on to it and carried it with me everywhere I went.  Even as a babe, it was with me in my cradle, and when in my mother’s arms.  I never let it go.  As I grew, so did the coal.  Bigger and heavier and dirtier it became.  Yet I continued to carry it with me.  Never once did I consider leaving it behind or getting rid of it in any way.  It was a part of me, in a sense.

As a young teen, I wondered once what would happen if I left it at home when I walked out the door.  Out of mere curiosity I tried it.  But when my foot stepped across the threshold of my door, I found the coal was still with me.  I shrugged and went on.

The coal seemed to grow with me.  By the time I was full grown, the coal was nearly as big as I.  It weighed me down and was becoming burdensome.  It’s filth rubbed off on everything I touched.  I thought more and more of being rid of it.  One day, feeling especially labored by its presence, I determined to leave it behind.  I recalled my attempt as a youth, so decided that I would lock the coal inside a closet in the house, and lock the house door behind me.  Alas, when I turned to leave, I discovered the coal still clung to me.  I heaved it higher on my back, and went on my way.

Years went by.  The coal stood like a bastion between myself and anyone I would have a relationship with.  I got in the way of my work, and prevented me from enjoying any part of life.  It had now grown to twice my size.  Still, I carried it.  My body could not bear the strain much longer, I knew.  The blackened dust was continually filling my lungs, leaving me coughing in fits and unable to breath.  My heart pounded in my chest from the exertion.  My muscles cramped and my joints throbbed with the pain.  Finally I drove to the edge of a cliff, the highest one I could find.  I couldn’t live like this any longer.  I had to be rid of this unbearable weight.   I turned my back to the cliff and let go of the coal.  I held my breath, straining to hear the crash as it hit the ground far below.  But it never came, and I realized with horror that the coal would not fall.  I hung my head and lumbered home, resigned to living with this burden until it would eventually over-take me, and my life would be over.

One day as I walked in the country, gasping for fresh air, back buckling under my now enormous piece of coal, I heard a voice in the distance.  “Come to me,” it said.  Something in it drew me.  I turned toward the voice and trudged on.

“Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened,” the voice said, and a single tear rolled down my face.  I fell to my knees and crawled on.

A third time, I heard the voice, “Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  I collapsed at the crest of a hill, unable to move one inch more.

“Take my yolk upon you and learn from me,” the voice, who was just before me now, spoke.  But I cried, “I cannot bear anymore weight!”

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  

“Oh, to have your burden rather than mine,”  I wept, with my face on the ground.  “But how can I when I have never been able to rid myself of this foul mass?”

“I will deliver you, if you trust me.  It is my gift to you.  You need do nothing save give up your coal to me.  I will take it as my own,” the voice gently coaxed.

Sobbing now, and unable to believe someone would take my burden from me only to carry it himself, I asked, “But why?  Why would you do that?”

And he replied, “Because I love you.”

Slowly I pushed myself up to my hands and knees.  My head hung low.  I couldn’t understand this offer, but I couldn’t continue to live if I did not accept it.  I had not choice but to believe he would do as he said, and take the chance, a leap of faith greater than I knew I had strength for, I pushed the weight from my back, and it fell to the ground.  As I felt freedom for the first time in my life, I rose to my feet.  My body was completely renewed.  I stood tall, stretched my back and reached my arms to the sky.  I felt strength I had never known.  I inhaled deeply of the air free of soot, and opened my eyes.  There before me, suspended high above my filthy load hung a man, severely beaten, bruised and bloodied.  Large nails had been driven through his wrists and his feet and held him to this wooden cross.  A crown made of long, piercing thorns had been pressed onto his head.  Streams of blood flowed down his body and began to drip onto my coal which lay at his feet.  I was horrified that this was the man who had taken my burden, but I could not take it back.   In spite of the scene before me, my soul was being filled with unspeakable peace and even joy.  I knew that it must be from him.

I fell back to me knees, but this time looked up to the man on the cross and thanked him over and over.  Then I said, “You have taken my weight, and given me your peace and joy instead.  What can I do to repay you?”

The man replied, “Your debt cannot be repaid, however, do this for me.  In everything you do or say, do it in my name, Yeshua*, and give thanks to my father, who is God. Love Him with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love the people around you like you love yourself.  If you make this the basis for how you live, you will bring honor to me.”

I bowed my head.  “I understand,” I said, “I will honor you in this way for the rest of my life.”

I looked again at the coal heaped at Yeshua’s feet.  It was covered with his blood, except for one tiny spot.  As a fresh drop of his blood fell to cover it, Yeshua said, “It is finished.”  Then he hung his head and died.  I wept.

Soon some men came to remove his body and bury it.  I followed, not wanting to be far from him, even in death.  I mourned for this man who had taken my own burden and made it is, then covered it with his blood.  I noticed that my burden had followed him into the tomb.  It was buried with him.

I prepared to remain vigilant at his tomb for days.  Waiting for what, I did not know.  I just knew that I could not leave.  But on the third morning after his death, something strange and wonderful happened.  The large stone that stood in front of the grave was rolled away, and Yeshua walked out, alive as ever!  I ran past him into the tomb.  What I expected to find, I don’t know, for Yeshua was not there.  As I turned to go back out, I realized that my blood-covered burden was gone.  Completely vanished.

I knelt at Yeshua’s feet and praised him!  He smiled and gently placed his hand on my head, and said, “No go.  Go into all the world.  Tell everyone about what I have done for you.  I will do the same for them.  And I will always be with you.”

*Yeshua is the original Hebrew name of Jesus.

Matthew 11:28-30 (CJB – Complete Jewish Bible) –  “Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 (CJB) – For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift.  You were not delivered by your own actions; therefore no one should boast.

1 Peter 2:24 (CJB) – He himself bore our sins in his body on the stake, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness by his wounds you were healed.

John 3:16 (CJB) –  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed.”

Colossians 3:17 (CJB) – That is, everything you do or say, do in the name of the Lord Yeshua, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

Matthew 22:37-39 (NKJV) – Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV) –  And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.


walking on the narrow path.

walking on the narrow path with Jesus


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