Monday, July 13, 2009

World Peace, anyone?

It is already a fact that anyone, anywhere in the world could attest to - we are sinking into a global crisis. We are quickly falling into the turbulent picture of worldly disaster. Everywhere we turn, there is chaos! Every single time we turn our TV on there's really nothing else in the news but war, torment, hunger, global agitation and terror! Are we dreaming of world peace? Are YOU praying for world peace? I bet every single nation, city, church in the world is wanting to have a taste of this "world peace" we are all dreaming about in our sleep! We must have heard a number of times people, even church leaders, say how much we need prayers for world peace and unity. Ok, ok... I won't hold it against you, but let me clarify a little something here. If you are one of those who FEEL that we need to have some world peace and quiet and you are one of the many souls out there praying for such, here's a suggestion I'd like to make --> READ YOUR BIBLE!!!

Jesus Himself said "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." (Luke 12:51-53 NIV)

Be careful then that you will not be deceived. "World peace" is not what Jesus expected to happen. Not until the new heaven and the new earth will come into place, that is. He instead have explained that we would have chaos even in the midst of our families. Why so? Because we are in the end times and those who do not believe in Christ Jesus will ridicule, persecute, wage war with those who do belong to Him. The world is already moving towards the end of time. Listen to what Jesus had told us during His time and look at what's happening around us these days:

"When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains. You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to local councils and flogged in the synagogues. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Mark 13: 7-9, 12-13 NIV)

Any of them sound familiar in the news today? Friends, we are drawing so close to the end of time. The bible prophesied of what will happen in our very near future. A one world government will be called for as the only way out of a global crisis we all will be facing. Are we on the brink of it? You bet we are! This one world government entices everyone to the very notion of "world peace & unity" urging everyone later on to be marked on the forehead or the hand in order to belong to the society and thus live on since you will only be allowed to buy or sell if you are officially marked! (Revelation 13:16-17) This one world government is very real to us today. They will call it the New World Order and world leaders of significant nations in the economic boat is one by one buying into this idea. They will convince you  that we need world peace - and the promise of the New World Order is that itself. But let me warn you of it, though, as the bible warns us. "While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape." (1 Thessalonians 5:3 NIV) So, are you still praying for this "World Peace" notion? I'd rather you pray the truth in Revelation 22: 20 when John said in the end, "Come, Lord Jesus!"

My good friends, the time is too short for us to procastinate. We all need to fall down on our knees and beg God to jump-start our souls into glorifying Him and hating the world! We need to WAKE UP! and open up our eyes to our wretchedness and sinfulness and filth that we need to have God's sovereign, saving grace in order to cleanse us for we can't do it ourselves. God is worthy of our time. God is worthy of our energies. God is worthy of our entire being! 

It is so easy for us to become deceived by the many things this world will bring to us. We need to get anchored into the very Word of God so we would be able to stand the test of time. We need to get rooted and we need to do it fast! We need to have ourselves fixed onto the Rock of our Salvation so we will not become faint in this race we're running. Let us fix our gaze towards our goal - which is glorifying and enjoying God forever in heaven, so that we will not falter and tire. Do not be deceived. God didn't promise a ride without storms, instead He will be there during the storm and He will be able to calm it. He did not promise a life without need, He instead  showed us that He will make so little as 5 loves and some fish to be enough. He did not promise a life without pain, He instead promised to sustain us with His grace that will be sufficient for us! We need to get back into the Word. Redeem your lives! Allow God to work in it and through it for the end of time is close that we could smell it from a distance! Don't wait until it's too late because it will befall us all at the time we least expect it. We must at least be ready to stand up for Jesus!

By the way, the above picture of the gold coin is the proposed coin for the New World Order in the very near future. Check these sites out! Copy & paste in your browser-->

Copy & Paste the link below to your browser and see just how close we are to the end...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Are you as wise as the 3 Wise Men?

I know you're probably thinking about the three magi who visited the baby Jesus in the manger some 2000+ years ago, but I'm not talking about them. After all, it's still July and I believe it's too early for anything Christmasy for now. The 3 men I am pertaining to here are three very young men, still in their teens, who knew what it was to be called "wise". This is the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the book of Daniel.

The 3 of them, if you haven't heard of them at all, were the friends of Daniel in Jerusalem who were taken from their homes (Daniel, as well) and was brought to the palace of King Nebuchadnezzar in the majestic city of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar besieged their city and has captured men, including some of the royal family and  of the nobles, and youths who were considered without defect, that is good-looking, intelligent, & strong. They probably look like the kind of men you would see in the cover of a magazine modeling on some expensive line of clothing such as Giorgio Armani, Guess, Banana Republic and the like. They must have bodies which were lean and strong, much like those who work out in the gym daily. They are not only superficial with the looks that they carry, they were considered intelligent as well! All these characteristics all rolled into one! (You might say, wow, where have all their genes gone?)

These three young men had their names changed by King Nebuchadnezzar! He made it a point to erase whatever trace of Israelite roots they have in them and attempt to change them entirely to sound like, look like, think like, feel like, smell like a Babylonian. Hananiah became Shadrach, Mishael became Meshach, Azariah became Abednego. Their Babylonian names were actually names that has something to do with the gods that Babylonians worship. King Nebuchadnezzar made sure of the possibility of these very young men, in their teens, to forget about their previous lives and become conformed into the pagan life in Babylon. 

King Nebuchadnezzar's strategy was not something that scared these young man to make them just cower and follow. His was a strategy of "good times" and "this is the life" kind of strategy. There was never coersion in his plans. He instead instructed for these young people to FEAST in the king's palace and eat of the king's abundant, scrumptuous, deliciously hearty meals! He was going to slowly entice them of the beautiful, majestic, wonderfully appealing kind of life that they can live in Babylon as they serve him as king.  Now understand that at this time in the old testament, the law of God was also strictly given against eating food that are offered to idols. Being in Babylon, everything at that time revolved in the worship of idols of many kinds. This then became the dilemma of these young people. Will they just go ahead and succumb to this training and just pray in their hearts saying "God will understand because we've been captured?" Let's look into what happened next...

Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, "Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal good, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see." At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning." (Daniel 1:11-13,15,17)

This time Daniel was with the three and their commitment to the command of God in their lives has greatly been rewarded in the end - God gave knowledge and understanding to them that when the king talked to them, he found none equal to them! How amazing... they have held on to what God has told them even if it meant to be different. As young men it must have been difficult, they must have had "peer pressure" too, but they all dared to go against the flow and follow what God wanted and expected of them to do!

Yet, this was not the main event in their lives. As years passed by, these men had already become appointed administrators of the province of Babylon. God has made them administrators! They were men who never tarried to do what God wants them to do in their lives , they didn't back down when the going went tough for them back in the screening days in the palace. But how far did they go for God? How all-out will they be especially now that they are appointed overseers already of the provinces? Surely, if there was another trial to come, it would be much difficult to be radical for God by then because of the sake of being "politically correct!" 

But there came a day when king Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and ninety feet wide, and ordered all judges, governors, advisers, including officials of the province to attend the ceremony of the dedication of his erected image of gold! That included Shadrach, Mishach and Abednego! They went, of course, for every official in Babylon was summoned for this great gathering. Unknowingly, they will be put in the limelight on this particular day. It must be very uneasy for the three to stand before this gigantic image and  listen to what the herald proclaimed as a declaration of the king...

"This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language: As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace." (Daniel 3: 4-6)

This is where you get to be familiar with the story of these three men. As soon as the musical instruments sounded, the massive assembly of  people fell on their faces and bowed down before the golden image. All except 3 distinct figures in the midst of it all standing tall and unwavering  - Shadrach, Mishach and Abednego once more bravely stood on what they believed in. They went against the flow and dared to be different from all the people who attended that ceremony! For the sake of the Glory of God, they disobeyed the command of the king to worship the golden idol before them...even if it meant they were going to be barbecued very very soon!

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)

To make the story short, the three were thrown into the fiery furnace. But their story didn't end there, for the king saw in the furnace that they were accompanied by Someone and when he called them out, they walked out of the furnace, and they never had any trace of burn on their skin! Not even the smell of fire or smoke was on them! God has delivered them from the furnace because they obeyed Him. God was there with them through the fire because they didn't compromise to peer pressure.

Are we ever going to be like these three? I consider them WISE. Not only intelligent, but WISE. For the bible tells us in Proverbs 2:12 "Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men." These men, even before they got captured, I believe have already found wisdom in their lives. For their fear of the Lord is great! The fear that led them to love His ways and love His commands. And "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge," (Proverbs 1:7). Listen, the reason why the three of them survived the fiery furnace is because of this:

"For the Lord gives wisdom and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones." (Proverbs 2:6-8)

Shadrach, Mishach and Abednego didn't escape the fiery furnace. They were instead THROWN INTO it!!! But because their walk were blameless, because they were upright before the Lord, even when they went through the fire God guarded their course and protected their way! 

If we can only learn from the lives of these three wise men, and DARE TO BE DIFFERENT FOR THE SAKE OF GOD, THEN we will be able to face any fiery furnace in our lives and victoriously walk out of it because God was with us through the fire! Would you dare to be different from the world today? Would you dare to remain standing when everyone else around you bows to an idol? Would you be willing to go against the flow? Let the fear of God be the start of it! Let God be big in your life! Let your life glorify HIM and Him alone so as like these 3 men, and just like the apostle Paul, we may be able to bravely stand and say "I count everything as loss in comparison with the treasure that Christ has become for me!"

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Rise of the Fallen...

"Be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little feet where you go 'coz it's the little feet behind you that's sure to follow. It's a slow fade when you give yourself away, when black and white turns to gray... people never crumble in a day." Casting Crown's Slow Fade song is so true of a warning to the lives we are living today. We have all been slowly fading into the picture of this fallen world. Last Friday, July 3, my friend and I went to see Transformers 2. I actually had mixed emotions while I sat there in front of the big screen. Let me share to you some of my thoughts on that experience.

I have always loved the Transformers when I was (ahem) a lot younger. Being a little boyish back then, I marveled in front of the TV when Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots transform into the cool robots they are! (I can still hear the Transformers theme song in my head). So, when they started doing the Transformers 2 project in Hollywood, it was in my "going-to-watch" list along with Ice Age 3 (hehe..I'm a child at heart).

The movie, though, was more of a disappointment to me. I was so shocked by how they rated it ONLY at PG-13! That to me would be at least at PG-18! I admired how Hollywood makes them robots come alive and how well they have made them look as if they were really there working with the people. No more obvious strings and sticks to make them move. It's not even that obvious that they were only computer generated. Hollywood has really done a great job in the advancement of their movie effects. Unfortunately, though, that advancement is coupled with the very disappointing decline of morals that somehow made the movie effects unimpressive. 

Transformers 2 was a very sexually connotated movie with such morally declined filth of making fun of a parent who got high on a "pot brownie" they call and I quote "A treat for myself!" Children of all ages were watching that movie and I was so horrified with the idea that they will be exposed to such sugar-coated, humor-sweetened evil portrayed scenes in the movie. My little boy, Ryan, loves the Transformers. He loves the idea of having robots turn into cars and vice versa, and would probably benefit from the lesson of good fighting evil, but I wouldn't want him to watch that movie at all. 

The subtitle "Rise of the Fallen", I believe, is so fit for the movie. Truly, we are so tolerant these days of the evils of this world that we totally allow the actual rise of the "fallen" in our real life through the reel world! Forgive me for speaking out my mind but this is one of my pet peeves... our apathy and tolerance to the very things we despise! The very sensual scenes and languages in the movie were so inappropriate for young audiences that I'm sorry if it would offend you, but parents we should WAKE UP! and be very cautious of the things we allow our kids to be exposed to. The problem with all of us today is that we really don't care anymore. We don't care if our kids would listen to trash on TV or the movies, we don't care if our 5-year olds would watch the little robot humping on the lead actress' leg! (And when did it become entertainment to watch animals do "it"?!) We just laugh about all these things and watch our kids laugh at them! Have we really gone so deep into the pits of immorality that we are no longer affected, concerned and moved by the fact that they are evil and abominable in the eyes of God?! Have we really gone so mad as to allow all this wretchedness become entertainment we enjoy with our kids?! Why do we allow ourselves to become a fan of such evil?! Why do we allow ourselves to have "FUN" with that which promoted filth?! And we call ourselves CHRISTIANS! It's such a shame.

It was so timely for Pastor David Dykes of Green Acres Baptist Church, that I fellowship with here in Tyler, to have talked about waking up in his sermon "Wake up, America!" last Sunday. That is a call for all of us! He said that we all have to wake up to a different world already. 

We ought to be very careful because the days are evil. This is why Paul warns us in Ephesians.

 "Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:15-16)

We ought to examine ourselves if we are really "Christians" as we profess to be because if we enjoy the lust of the world, the darkness that is consuming it, we must have been deceiving ourselves. We ought to look at how we are living our lives because we might have thought we are calling out to a god we have made in our heads on Sundays but when we get to see the real God in the end, He would only tell us to our horrifying surprise "Away from me you evil doers. I never knew you!"

"This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth." (1 John 1:5-6)

Friends, we have to WAKE UP!!!! WAKE UP!!! Because we have fallen asleep and has allowed demons to play with our lives and sugar-coat every filth that they rub on us to make us unholy. We must WAKE UP!!! Because we have instead prepared our children for condemnation that awaits them on Judgment Day! We need to WAKE UP!!! Because we have already been desensitized of the evils of this world. We have allowed ourselves to be conformed to the world and all its wretchedness, and we enjoy every bit of it! We must listen to the very words of God!


Let us then not become complacent in our walk with Christ. We need to gear up for it's a war we wage in every day! For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms! Let us wake up and examine ourselves... are we enjoying the ride that this dark world is placing us in? Or do we feel uncomfortable and take notice that we need to go AGAINST the flow of this world? It's really up to you... But for now, allow me to thank you for allowing me to voice out my radical view on this.

Let us TRANSFORM ourselves then, and be aware that the fallen has risen! We need to wage war! Are you with me?! 


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