GODLESSNESS IN THE LAST DAYS

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:9-13

These two verses show us we cannot claim Jesus did not tell us that Christians will face persecution in the last days as God refines His church before the Rapture. It shows the Pretribulation position held by much of charismatic church in the USA and Australia is untenable. The church will go through a refining process with the tribulation and even great tribulation but Jesus tells us that we will kept from the wrath of God that is poured out on the world with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements.

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.Romans 5:9

Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.Revelation 3:10

It is at the sixth seal that heralds the coming wrath of God

Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” Revelation 6:15-17

The trumpet blast at the seventh seal is when the Rapture of the Saints on earth takes place and it is then John sees the Saints in heaven in their glorified bodies.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Revelation 7:9-10

Hold steady by keeping close to Jesus, by following the leading of the Spirit and by keeping short accounts with the Lord.  Confess sin quickly and be restored from all unrighteousness. Pray and seek guidance so that we can walk on the Highway of Holiness prepared for the ransomed, doing the things He has prepared beforehand for us to walk in – all for His glory. 

HARD WORDS OF JESUS RELEVANT FOR OUR TIME

In the days ahead we will need to take these words of Jesus’ seriously:

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.Mark 8:34b-35

Agabus (one of several prophets who came from Jerusalem to Syrian Antioch where Paul was ministering) prophesied that, if Paul went to Jerusalem, he would be bound by the Jews there and handed over to the Gentiles. Paul’s followers pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. Paul’s response;

Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”  When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.” Acts 21:13-14

What a challenge this is to us.  Even today, while we enjoy relative safety in our country, many brothers and sisters in Christ in countries under anti-Christian regimes are making the same decision as Paul, and they and their families are suffering intense persecution and deprivation as a result. 

Who can forget this image?

Islamic State Beheads Egyptian Coptic Christians

God has used the sacrifice of these twenty Coptic Christians and one Ghanaian for His purposes. The relatives of the Coptic Christian recently shared their pride in the men’s refusal to deny Jesus and how the tragic deaths of their loved ones has strengthened the faith of the local community.

Three years after their relatives were murdered by ISIS in the infamous “A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross” video, members of the Coptic community of Minya province, Upper Egypt, gathered for the inauguration of a new church, The Church of the Libyan Martyrs, dedicated to the memory of these men.

What a challenge this is to all of us. I am not sure how I would respond but I cling to the firm promise of Jesus that He will give me the courage when I need it.

Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is GIVEN YOU AT THE TIME, for it is not you speaking, but the HOLY SPIRIT.” Mark 13:11

CHRISTIANS MUST EXPECT PERSECUTION TO ESCALATE

It is important to remember that persecution come with the territory for Christians doing what God has called us to do. You are a Kingdom warrior in a spiritual war so expect demonic attacks. Moreover, Jesus tells us we should rejoice and be glad for we are blessed and our reward will be great in heaven.

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.2 Timothy 3:12

If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.1 Peter 4:14

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.Matthew 5:10-12

Many times demons work through unbelievers to insult, attack, degrade and persecute believers. This should be expected and how we respond is of course key to our ability to influence them for God. We know that they cannot understand the word of God without the Spirit of God. All we can do is love them, pray for them and return good for evil

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Luke 6:28

It is also important to remember that Satan is a created being under God’s control. He is limited by God as to what he can do to you. Read the story of Job again.

Demons do know your weaknesses, particularly long standing addictions and will challenge you again and again to exploit that weakness. The Holy Spirit will convict you and hopefully repentance is quick in response. Make sure you have a mentor with whom you are committed to confess your sins and will hold you accountable to the path of righteousness.

As we approach the last days before Jesus returns, He has told us that spiritual warfare intensifies. Satan knows his time is short. God uses the time of tribulation to purify His church. Many people who call themselves Christians will fall away and compromise with the world and its changing values.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:9-13

But just as Satan intensifies his effort to deceive and destroy, God likewise intensifies His efforts in the natural and supernatural. Joel testifies to this “prior to the great day of the Lord comes”

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.” Joel 2:28-29

And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Joel 2:30-32

10 YEARS IN PRISON FOR ESTABLISHING A HOUSE CHURCH

Nasser Navard Gol-Tapeh was convicted by an Iranian Court May 2017 to 10 years in prison on charges of “acting against national security through the formation and establishment of an illegal church organization in his home,” according to the Jubilee Campaign.

He has been in the notorious Evin Prison since January 2018 and had appealed his detainment and conviction, which was rejected.

Nasser has written open letters to the Iranian authorities, questioning his conviction.

“Would it even be possible for a committed Christian — who was born and raised in Iran and whose forefathers lived in this land for thousands of years, and who is a servant to the God who has called him to a ministry of reconciliation — to act against the national security of his own country?” he wrote in August 2018, according to World Watch Monitor.

“As the charges against me in my indictment states: ‘Action against national security through establishment of house churches,’ is the fellowship of a few Christian brothers and sisters in someone’s home, singing worship songs, reading the Bible and worshiping God acting against national security?” he continued.

“Isn’t it a clear violation of civil and human rights, and an absolute injustice, to receive [a] 10-year prison sentence just for organizing ‘house churches,’ which is a sanctuary sanctified as a place to praise and worship God due to closure of churches in Iran?”

Fortunately, Jesus told us that persecution of His children, Christians will increase in the “last days” before His return. Satan knows His end is near and is doing His utmost to take as many of the people God created in His image down with him. Note the strong warnings in the following Jesus prophecy, but also, that only when the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is proclaimed to all the world then the end will come. The Saints are taken up to heaven and then the wrath of God is poured out on an unrepentant world.

Only a Christian who knows his salvation is assured can smile and declare “I’m proud to be a Christian” before being put to death

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:9-14

LAST DAYS WARNING FROM DR MICHAEL YOUSSEF

Good advice from Dr Michael Youssef: “The time is now upon us when we must pray for boldness rather than safety. We must obey God rather than human beings.”

At a time when many are becoming discouraged by the spiritual climate in America, Dr Michael Youssef encourages his readers that “In any contest of ideas, whether we have the First Amendment and Supreme Court on our side, or our rights have been stripped from us and the entire world has risen against us — God’s truth will prevail.”

Dr. Michael Youssef is a pastor, bestselling author, and internationally respected Bible teacher. He was born in Egypt and lived in Lebanon and Australia before coming to the United States and fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming an American citizen. He holds degrees from Moore College in Sydney, Australia, and Fuller Theological Seminary in California, and has a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Emory University. Dr. Youssef is the host of the popular TV and radio broadcast Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef, which airs more than 13,000 times every week, reaching audiences in nearly every major city in the world.

When I was a young man and had just qualified as a pharmacist from Sydney University, I was attending an Anglican Church, St Philips in a southern suburb of Sydney. Michael Youssef was the Assistant Pastor there, a recent graduate from Moore College. Michael has come a long way from his time in the Anglican church and God is using him now to warn Christians that we are in the last days before Jesus returns. A time when Jesus prophesied intense persecution for His followers.

“I think we are only seeing the beginning of the unfair treatment and persecution that lies ahead for the church,” says Dr. Youssef. “I believe we are heading into a time of severe testing where we are about to find out if we are made of the same stuff as the apostles. We are about to find out if we are willing to stand for God’s truth, whatever the cost.” The stakes are high for Christians today, and the temptation for many is to bury their heads in the sand. But believers in Jesus must be careful not to fall in this trap.

“The message of the kingdom of God won’t win any popularity contests. But it is the truth, and we need the courage to defend God’s truth boldly and without compromise,” Dr. Youssef says. “We are in a battle for the future of our children and grandchildren. We fight this battle with prayer and obedience to God’s Word. We don’t believe in silencing our opponents. We believe in fighting bad ideas with better ideas. And the best ideas of all are found in God’s Word.”

Will you stand courageously for God and His Word. Please consider it carefully, your eternal destiny depends upon it.

TIME TO BECOME ELIJAH’S

America has entered into the times of Baal, says Jonathan Cahn. His latest Prophetic Message is timely and challenging. However, it also demonstrates that God is totally in control as the events that have unfolded in America are exactly in line with a template assigned by God that has played out before in Israel’s history. The timing is mind blowing.

As Jonathan reveals in this video, Christians in America have entered a time when they will face the greatest challenges and the greatest darkness in their history. Survival as Bible believing Christians will be impossible unless we become like Elijah.

What prepared Elijah for what God had planned for him to do? It was in his isolation at Kerith Brook when he was being fed by ravens, sent by the hand of God. Camped in the wilderness, isolated from everyone, Elijah was totally dependent upon God and God alone to meet his every need. It was in his time of greatest fear and need, that God prepared Elijah for his later ministry.

Like Elijah and many of God’s heroes He had to strip them of everything that was important to them and take them to a place of utter brokenness. And like Elijah, there, in isolation by our Kerith Brook, he will carefully tend to our needs. In the most unreal ways, he will provide for us, feed us, clothe us. And, in the process, we will learn how much he loves us and that we can trust him.

It is in our seasons of hurt and isolation that he does an amazing work in us. But that amazing work in us is not for us alone. It is to prepare us for the amazing work God wants to do through us.

Your Kerith Brook might look quite different from Elijah’s. However, regardless of circumstances, God’s plan is the same: he wants to use this time of isolation, this time of pain and loss, to mold you into His image. He wants to meet your every need. He wants to prove that He is good, loving, faithful. He wants to show himself as the Great I am. He wants to build your faith so that you can eventually leave the Kerith Brook.

Then, when He sees that you are ready, He will use and lead you in ways you can not even imagine but for certain it will be to a place where His power and might can shine through you.

DECEPTION IN THE LAST DAYS

Darkness will cover the earth. We now live in a world that largely denies God’s existence and His ability to judge us. A world that is under the control of Satan. Jesus acknowledged His current sovereignty over this word. Just as the first man, Adam, rebelled against God, the Bible reveals that Satan an angelic being (created by God to serve Him in the heavenly dimension but able to impact and even manifest in our earthly dimension) rebelled against God wanting to be God. We are told that one-third of the angels followed Satan in his rebellion and are now demons taking part in Satan’s demonic plan to subvert God’s redemptive plan.

“We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

A world that denies the true history of this world including the worldwide flood of Noah’s day when God judged and destroyed mankind and the animals except those on Noah’s Ark just 4000 years ago. Probably, the greatest lie that Satan has got the world to believe is the evolutionary origins of this universe.

The world also largely denies God ever established a nation to represent Him on this earth and from whom would come the redeemer, the one who can save mankind from sin, man’s rebellion against their Creator. The true history of this world from its beginning to its prophesied end has been given to us by God Himself through the prophets. Fulfilled prophecies already prove the Bible is God’s Word. Jesus came into His world and changed history forever. It is 2020 because God ensured this event could not be denied. When the resurrected Jesus departed this world He said He would return to the same place where He left it, Jerusalem. Extensive details of His second coming were revealed to the O.T. prophets and to the N.T. apostles particularly John in the book of Revelation. There are more prophecies about Jesus’ second coming to earth than there were about His first coming and there were plenty of those.

Christians we need to start living eternally now, ready for Jesus’ return. We can use the coming prophesied events to prepare the church for the coming tribulation and also for what I call apocalyptic evangelism.

available as an eBook on Amazon and from me ron@bakb.com.au in trade paperback format. Anyone who makes a donation of $20.00 will receive a book delivered anywhere in the world. You will need to email me your address.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOMS -THINGS COULD GET WORSE

Martin Isles of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) is worth following if you want to keep up to date with what the Australian Governments (State and Federal) are doing to restrict religious freedoms.

Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020

You will be very concerned as Martin is that the bill before the Victorian parliament will see Christians in gaol, e,g. if pastors read sections of the Bible on LGBT issues such as marriage and homosexuality and counsel people according to God’s values expressed in His Word.

WILL CHRISTIANS BE LABELLED DURING THE COMING TRIBULATION?

 Jews in lands occupied by Nazi Germany were required to wear a yellow star identifying themselves.

Jewish children had to wear the compulsory yellow badge

The Journal of Theoretical Biology (JTB) editors apparently feel that scientists with “creationist” connections should be required to reveal this whenever they submit a paper. People who lived under the Soviet Union had similar experiences. Under Communism, members of disfavored groups were theoretically free to work and live as they wished. Yet to have “Jew,” for example, stamped on your passport was a guarantee of punishing discrimination.

Just read the disclaimer that the editors of the Journal of Theoretical Biology (JTB) appended to the recent peer-reviewed paper they published on Intelligent Design. This important paper, argues for intelligent design in the context of biological fine-tuning. It seems that the censors got hold of the editors, who backed down and repented, claiming they were quite surprised to discover what they themselves had approved and published. Here’s the relevant language from the disclaimer:

Since the publication of the paper, it has now become evident that the authors are connected to a creationist group (although their addresses are given on the paper as departments in bona fide universities). We were unaware of this fact while the paper was being reviewed.

Much as Jews in lands occupied by Nazi Germany were required to wear a yellow star identifying themselves, JTB’s editors apparently feel that scientists with “creationist” connections should be required to reveal this whenever they submit a paper.

As “end times” prophesied persecution steps up and we move into the last three and a half years of great tribulation prior to Jesus return, God’s Word tells us the reverse will be true, all that follow the Antichrist will carry his mark, the mark of the Beast. Christians will face death rather than take the Antichrist’s mark.

Also it (Antichrist) causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.Revelation 13:16-18

RESPONSE TO PROPHESIED LAST DAYS PERSECUTION

Juan Riesco and his brother, Jose, were heirs to a flourishing family business — Nini’s Deli — in downtown Chicago. But it all came crashing down in early June, when the beloved eatery, owned by their foreign-born parents, found itself in the crosshairs of the increasingly progressive Black Lives Matter movement.

Having since left Chicago in the wake of the restaurant’s forced, permanent closure, Riesco told Faithwire he and his brother are focusing on ministry.

If they’re gonna protest,” he said, “we’re gonna preach.

Riesco, whose parents emigrated to the U.S. from Cuba and Mexico, was once lauded by numerous publications as an up-and-coming entrepreneur with a knack for viral branding. He had enjoyed so much success with the deli and his personal business, Chicago Native, that brands like Nike and Adidas launched collaborations with him. But when Riesco refused to wholly endorse the official Black Lives Matter movement, he and his family were made villains on blogs and news outlets, many of which labeled them as “racist” and “homophobic.”

Photo of Nini's Deli - Chicago, IL, United States. Nini's!
NINI’S DELI BEFORE CLOSURE
Photo of Nini's Deli - Chicago, IL, United States. If there's a line.. must be good and worth waiting for
NINI’S DELI BEFORE CLOSURE WITH FIVE STAR RATING ON YELP
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NINI’S DELI AFTER CLOSURE
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Rather than kowtow to the demands of a movement with which they harbor many disagreements, the Riescos stood firmly by their convictions. In early June, after being asked if they “believe Black Lives Matter,” Riesco published an official statement on the deli’s since-shuttered Instagram account. In it, he wrote he and his family believe “all people were created equal in the image of God.” The lengthy statement continued, “We believe that all black lives matter and we know that only God can bring about justice that is deserved.”

Riesco told Faithwire that, because of the success of Nini’s Deli, which had a five star rating on Yelp, locals were eager to see the restaurant throw its weight behind the Black Lives Matter campaign. Rather than totally embrace the movement, though, Riesco said it was important to use his platform to share his faith.

“I had felt in my spirit that I needed to, yes, take a stand [against] injustice, but also take a stand, most importantly, for Christ,” Riesco explained. “Because my business was so successful, by God’s grace, we had a lot of eyes waiting on us to make a statement about what was happening.”

“We used that platform — all those eyes on us, waiting to make a statement — to say, ‘We believe black lives matter, but we believe that because they’re made in the image of God,” he added.

However, by distancing themselves from the overarching Black Lives Matter movement, as other Christians have done, the Riescos drew the ire of many progressive protesters. After posting a statement to the restaurant’s Instagram handle on June 3, Riesco said “all hell essentially broke loose.

The Christian entrepreneur recalled receiving an onslaught of threats and promises to protest his family’s restaurant as a result of his statement on racial injustice. On Friday, June 5, just two days after the initial post to Instagram, Nini’s Deli shut down permanently as liberal protesters descended on the once-popular eatery.

Tensions only rose when Riesco’s brother Jose began brashly preaching during the raucous protest outside the deli, calling out many of the protesters for their “wicked agenda.” With his at times confrontational style, he talked about how his brother once identified as gay but “Jesus fixed him, straightened him

He also spoke out against the Black Lives Matter campaign’s affiliations with Planned Parenthood, the LGBT movement, and calls to defund the police.

Ultimately, the social pressure proved to be too much: the constant protests, the endless stream of social media posts slandering the restaurant, and the cancelled partnerships with big-name brands resulted in Nini’s Deli having to permanently closed its doors after a decade of business.

The pain of what they’ve lost remains fresh. Through tears, Riesco said he and his family “poured our hearts into loving our community, despite gender, despite sex, despite whatever you want to identify as.”

Nevertheless, even though the family company is gone, the Riesco brothers — both of whom became Christians at the deli — said they are “blessed.”

I was just sharing with our team yesterday that my circumstances have changed, but my identity in whom I trust hasn’t,” Riesco said, adding he is still in “a position of gratitude toward our God.”

Moving forward, Juan and Jose Riesco plan to dedicate themselves to ministry.