The Great Divide

I recently heard someone comment on how this election process is so different in regards to the Evangelical community.  Historically, the greatest majority of Evangelicals would rally around the same candidate, usually a republican, but in this election, there is great division within the Evangelical community in regards to how they should vote.  It’s not so much between the two major candidates, but more importantly, between the two major choices they have and their own moral and Biblical convictions.


This election has created quite a mess of sorts.  Where you could in times past look at a candidate, one that professes they are a Christian and attempts to live accordingly, whose history and reputation is in line with Biblical standards and morality, and someone you could feel comfortable casting your vote for as a Christian, that is not the case in this election.  While it may be possible to view some of the policies each of these candidates promote as Christian and godly in nature, to say they are living a life exemplifying Christianity or per Biblical standards and morality would be a gross misjudgment to say the least.  And this is where the great divide comes in.


On one side of the great divide you have Christians making their choice out of their sense of patriotism, patriotism reaching for the greatness America once had, or patriotism reaching for their idea of what America should look like in the future.  You have Christians making their choice based on the future of the Supreme Court and the judges the next President will appoint, as well as the candidates stated positions regarding abortion, marriage, the economy, and equal rights, just to name a few.  Some have even resorted to voting strictly in line with the political party they are associated with and the platform of that same political party.  If you are a Republican, to vote per your party can be both a scary and dangerous thing to do, especially since there has been in recent years a push from deep within the party to abandon some of the conservative positions that Christians generally associate with.  The Republican party is struggling to at least maintain the appearance of being conservative and embracing Judeo/Christian values.


In the mix of the quagmire of this election is the growing manipulation by some to force people to vote for one major candidate over another.  Perhaps you’ve already heard some version of this; to not vote for one candidate automatically means a vote for the other major candidate.  I’ve even heard Christians tell Christians that they are not voting for Jesus, or even a “perfect” candidate, but instead for one that they believe best reflects their ideas of the direction America is to go in, or in other words, “the lesser of two evils”.  This is hard when Christians are truly wanting to represent and honor God with their vote, but now they are having to deal with the ever-increasing pressure to vote for one of the two major candidates.


I recently heard someone that has become popular the past several months, especially with a book he’s written in favor of and supporting a specific candidate.  As I was listening to this person he made a comment that got my attention.  He indicated that about 60% of Christians are on board with this one candidate, and that the remaining 40% were missing God regarding who they should vote for.  For some reason, he believes that Christians who refuse to compromise the Biblical standards and morality by which Scripture instructs us to live by and to promote, that those Christians are missing God.  After all, that has been the main source of the Great Divide between Christians in this election.  The biggest reason more Christians are not supporting this candidate, or are very reluctant to, is the fact that this candidate has not demonstrated a life surrendered or changed by God in word or deed, much less a heart that desires to be, but instead one that is not godly.


Another thing this person said was that this election is a test for Christians, namely a test in their ability to discern the will of God and who to vote for, making it clear that he believes a discerning Christian will know that they are to vote for this candidate.  While I do agree that this is a test of sorts, I do not believe it to be the test he’s thinking of.  I believe this is a test regarding the heart of those who profess to be Christians, seeing what is most important to them and what they are willing to lay down for it.  To be more clear, I believe Christians are in a test to see if their heart is more for pleasing and representing God in and with their lives, or for America and its past greatness and subsequent benefits.


When I think of what the above person said, how that 60% of Christians are supporting this candidate while 40% are not, what comes to mind is that God always has a remnant of followers wholly devoted to Him.  When the Hebrews (Jews) were in captivity in Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar, all but three of the Hebrews bowed to the image of the king, who were subsequently thrown into a fiery furnace God delivered them from.  When Daniel was told that he could no longer worship or pray to God as was his custom to do, he went to pray to God as he always did, and thus was cast into a den of lions that God also delivered him from.  When Elijah thought he was the only one that would stand for God against king Ahab and Jezebel, God made it clear to him that he had 400 others that had not bowed their knee to popular opinion or the wickedness that was prevalent in the country at that time.  God always has a remnant!


I have said for years that there is coming a time when the line between those who are truly living with a heart for God and those who are not will become as clear as night and day, and I believe this could be the start of this great dividing between true followers of Christ, and those who are just fans.  A few years ago, there was a bit of a stir within church circles when it appeared that charitable giving to churches and religious organizations may no longer be allowed as a tax deduction.  At that time, I said we would learn who was giving out of a heart for God, compared to those who were more focused on the tax benefits they were getting, noting that those who lost the tax benefit would stop giving.  Now, we are facing the daunting position of choosing where or in whom we will place our trust for the future of this country.


When contemplating who to vote for, some are basing their decision on “prophesies” pointing to one candidate over another, or on who some well-known Christian leaders are giving and proclaiming their support for.  Is this really the way we as Christians are to choose who to vote for?  Some Christians have said that we are to vote for the lesser of two evils, trusting that God can still change and use them for His purposes in the future.  Is that really faith in action, or is that a way to rationalize why we’re voting the way that we’re planning to?  I know that God used a donkey to speak to a prophet in the Old Testament, and I know that God used one of the most wicked and vile rulers in history, Nebuchadnezzar, to bring judgment to Israel, but does that mean our faith in God is to be limited to one of the two major candidates?  If God is limited to these two major candidates, then is He truly God?  And if the Evangelical community is such an overwhelming influence on elections as history records, then how is it that Christians were not able to bring a better candidate to the forefront that most Christians would feel comfortable casting their vote for?  Could it be that there is a great divide between Christians who truly want to live and vote in a way that honors and represents God, and those who are looking more to restoring the greatness of America’s past and how they and others could benefit from it economically and morally apart from God?


Some argue that the Republican candidate is God’s choice to restore America to greatness.  It’s possible that he is God’s choice, but not necessarily in the same way some believe.  It could be that he is Gods choice to bring judgment to America.  How many people have even considered that possibility?  King Cyrus was chosen by God, but I don’t think He expected the Israelites to vote for him.  Two or three times God mentions that King Nebuchadnezzar was His servant, yet the Israelites not only didn’t want him but they also wanted to be free of him.  Whether or not God is choosing this candidate, it is our responsibility as ambassadors of Christ to vote in a way that best represents the heart and nature of Christ, which we see clearly lined out in Scripture.  As one person put it, while they are a very patriotic American, they are first and foremost a Christian, and their vote needs to reflect that.  No matter what, we know from Scriptures like Daniel 2:21 and Romans 13:1, that God is the only one that puts people in seats of authority and removes them, which even means our current President.


Tough questions that each of us need to ask ourselves.  Are we seeking to honor and please God with our vote, or are we trying to hang onto a way of life that is comfortable and pleasing to self?  When we look at the two major candidates, there is very little doubt regarding the corruption, perversions, and self-centeredness of both.  We can say that one is worse than another in one way, but then say the opposite to be true of them in another way.  One thing that has been proven to be true of both, even as recently as the last and final debate between them, is that they are both serious liars.  There are several scriptures that talk about liars, one of which goes so far as to say liars are an abomination before the Lord, and another that all liars will find themselves in the lake of fire, Proverbs 6:16-19 and Revelation 21:8.  The scary thing about liars is that they can’t be trusted to do what they say, yet many Christians are willing to ignore this fact and what Scripture tells us to embrace either of these candidates.  Their willing to put the convictions and Biblical standards for which they live by, and some even teach and preach, on the altar of American greatness by placing their trust in those whose lives are surrounded in lies promising them many things that tickle their ears.  It is utter foolishness to embrace and place your hope and trust in someone that is proven to be a liar.


It’s been said that one of the candidates had recently given their life to Jesus, and if that is true then that is great!  While that claim has only been made through third parties, nothing has been said by the candidate to support that.  This is especially disheartening when this candidate keeps saying things that contradict what those close to them say on his behalf.  Despite no public claims of a life surrendered and given to Jesus, despite no apparent change in behavior or mindsets that would reflect such a decision and change of heart, we are being told that we are to be tolerant and understanding as this person is a baby Christian.  Yes, I agree we need to be gracious and understanding towards new and young Christians, but even when there is obvious evidence of a life changed for Jesus, Scripture gives us some instructions we should heed.  In 1 Timothy 5:22, the Apostle Paul instructs Timothy to not be hasty, or to be quick, to bring someone into church leadership, and to keep ourselves pure by not sharing in their sins.  I realize that this is about church leadership, but when you’re talking about putting someone into any area of leadership as someone that represents the Body of Christ, we need to be very careful not to put someone in there that has not grown and matured in the faith.  It could be argued that we are not voting for someone to represent the Body of Christ, but that is exactly what one is doing when the person they vote for should reflect what they believe and stand for.


There is a great divide taking place in this presidential election.  Who you decide to cast your vote for is between you and God, however, I would like to ask you a simple question.  If, and that is a big if, your eternal destination was determined by how you vote, would you be comfortable with your vote?  Your vote may not be a determining factor for eternity, but it could reveal where your heart truly is, and that could determine your eternal destination.  I’ve heard it said by some, “I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world, than to stand with the world and be judged by God”.  If Christians got together and cast their votes in a way that honors and represents God, whether it was for any one of the few names on the ballots or a name handwritten in, Christians would have a very significant effect on the outcome of the election in a direction that God would bless.  The problem is, instead of the church coming together to vote with the mind of Christ, we are divided and fractured in multiple ways.  Don’t fall into the trap that says God can only work through one of the two major candidates on the ballot, because the God I serve is big enough, and God enough, to still do His will and fulfill His purposes however He chooses to do so.


The “great divide” is starting, and you need to decide which side of it you’re going to put your trust on, and on whom you will place your allegiance.  Is your God big enough to trust Him by honoring Him with your vote, or is your God only capable for working within the two major candidates?  If you truly want to see change come to America, change that brings God back into every area of this country, change that restores the greatness it once had, change that will not and cannot come through any candidate, then it’s time we as Christians and the Body of Christ heed the following Scripture on behalf of our country more earnestly;


“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14


John Johansson (Pastor John)

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Rapture – Part 2

In my last blog I briefly touched on what is the rapture.  We covered where the word “rapture” came from, and some of the reasons why some discount it as a Biblically sound doctrine.  We also touched on the three primary views surrounding its timing; pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, and post-tribulation.  In the following blogs I will present why I believe that the pre-tribulation teaching is the strongest of the three, but what I want to cover in this blog is the distinction between the rapture and the second coming of Christ.


There is confusion among some who think that both of these events are really just one, and people who take this position generally embrace a post-tribulation rapture teaching.  To say that these events are the same creates some problems Biblically, and we’ll see some of those problems as we continue.


Have you ever heard someone say they are “going with someone” only to see them going in two very different directions?  With that thought as the backdrop, it’s probably the best way to show how that the rapture and the second coming are two separate events, to show the many ways in which they differ.  Let’s take a look at some of their differences.


1.       At the rapture believers meet Jesus in the air, but at the second coming the believers return to earth with Jesus.  (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 19:14)

2.       At the rapture Jesus, Himself, removes the people from the earth, but at the second coming the angels go forth to remove the wicked from the earth for judgement.  (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Matthew 13:36-42, 47-50)

3.       At the rapture Christians are removed to be with Jesus in Heaven, and at the second coming the wicked are removed for judgement.  (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Matthew 13:36-42, 47-50)

4.       The rapture takes place prior to the tribulation period, and the second coming takes place after the tribulation period. (1 Thessalonians 1:10,5:9; Revelation 19:11-16)

5.       There are no immediate signs indicating when the rapture is about to take place, giving a sense of imminence, but for the second coming there are plenty of signs in addition to the fact that it is seven years after the start of the tribulation period. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3; Matthew 24:15-30)

6.       With the rapture there is no mention of an immediate judgment, but at the second coming the judgment of the wicked takes place. (Revelation 20:4)

7.       At the rapture there is a resurrection just prior to the catching up of those alive in Christ, and at the second coming a resurrection of the dead takes place after Jesus descends onto earth. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 20:4)

8.       At the rapture the bodies of the believers, dead and alive, are transformed into glorified bodies, but at the second coming there is no mention of a bodily transformation. (1 Corinthians 15:51-55)

9.       The rapture will happen in secret and instantaneously, but the second coming will take place for all to see. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; Revelation 1:7)

10.   After the rapture wickedness will be the rule of the land for seven years, but the second coming will usher in the millennial (1000-year) reign of Christ on earth. (Revelation 3:10-11, Daniel 9:27; Revelation 20:4)


These are just some of the differences between the rapture and the second coming of Christ.  Based on what we see from above, the idea of both the rapture and the second coming being the same event is incompatible with Scripture.  Part of the confusion between the two events is that some people view what is called the rapture as one of the comings of Christ to earth, but that is incorrect.  When Jesus came to earth as a babe over 2000 years ago, that was His “first coming”, and His “second coming” isn’t until He actually sets foot once again on earth.  He is not coming to earth at the time of the rapture, but instead coming in the clouds to receive the church, His bride, to be with Him in heaven.  One of the biggest differences is that Scripture tells us that the rapture could happen at any time and to be ready, while at the same time telling us that the second coming happens at the end of the seven-year tribulation period.  The Scriptures point to and encourage an awareness that Jesus’ return for His bride is imminent, meaning it could happen at any moment, but if it is at the end of the tribulation period then where is the sense of imminence when we know it will be at least seven years from now, knowing that the tribulation period hasn’t even begun yet???


In the following blogs I hope to share some things that only strengthen the pre-tribulation position as the most Biblically sound doctrine of the three different views we’ve touched on.  Again, the biggest thing to gain from all of this is the realization that no matter what, and no matter the timing, we need to be ready when that time does come.  Are you ready?  If not this is the time to get ready.  How do you get ready?  It starts with surrendering your life to Jesus, asking Him for forgiveness of your sins, and turn away from the sin.  You need to then be reading the Bible, getting plugged into a solid Bible believing, Bible preaching church, and have a willingness to let God lead you no matter what.  If you’ve said or done anything that would be considered sin or dishonors Him, then you will need to take that to Him in humility asking for His forgiveness and help to not involve yourself in it again.


Are you ready????????


John Johansson (Pastor John)

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Has an Alarm Sounded for You?

Has an alarm sounded for you? In Sunday School we are currently going through a study on what it sometimes takes in order for some to change.  As a part of that study we have learned about alarms.  Specifically, alarms that sound in our lives warning us of coming destruction if we don’t heed the alarm and make changes in accordance to God’s Word, nature and will for us.


What is an alarm? Sometimes it is the sounding of an alert like an alarm clock that wakes us up in the morning.  At other times, it is the sound of a warning letting us know of impending destruction if we don’t heed it and make the necessary changes.


When we talk about alarms, it’s funny how some get our attention, and yet others don’t even phase us in any way. In order for an alarm to be effective it has to become more unpleasant to us than what we are wanting or desiring, otherwise we wouldn’t heed it.  When you think of an alarm clock, the soft sounds of a breeze through tree branches or ocean waves crashing against some rocks might not wake you up enough to get up and out of bed, but the sound of an air horn or a fire alarm will probably get you out of bed in a sudden jolt with full adrenalin flowing through your veins.  That alarm was effective.  We see it with our cell phones.  Some ringtones are hard for us to hear to notice, but others get our attention right away and we know that someone is trying to contact us.  What alarms get your attention, and which ones are easy for you to not hear or to ignore?


Have you known someone that paid little attention to what they ate, desiring more the enjoyment of the food than to be without, at least until they got the doctors report? Once they got the doctors report it took very little effort on their part to change both what they ate and their eating habits.  The doctors report was an alarm.  What about the person that thinks nothing about the way they drive and end up having a fender bender that was their fault?  The fender bender was an alarm sounding, letting them know that if they don’t make some changes in the way they drive they could end up in a very disastrous accident that could prove fatal in multiple ways.  Or maybe you’ve been embezzling money from your employer, and one day someone decides to take an audit of the company’s finances?  There’s an alarm sounding.  When it comes to change in our lives, what alarms must God sound before we will take notice and change what needs to be changed?


It would be great if it only took one alarm to bring change in our life, but for many people it takes multiple alarms before that change comes, if it ever does. The person that initially changed their eating habits eventually goes back to eating the way they used to before the doctor’s report, and now they are suffering from a heart-attack that could’ve been avoided.  Perhaps they live through the heart-attack, and if so that is another louder alarm, but how many more alarms will they need to endure before they change or they suffer the consequences of their poor eating habits?  The person with the fender bender shrugs it off as though it’s nothing big, maybe even trying to pass the blame onto someone or something else because they are too good of a driver, only to end up in a multi-car pileup that cost the life of 5 innocent people.  The person embezzling money slips past the audit undetected and they now feel safe, and as a result starts embezzling more than they had previously only to get caught in a “sting” operation that literally costs them everything they have and ten years in prison, not to mention the reputation they had worked so hard to build up over the years.


I recently read in I Peter 4:17 how that judgment first begins in the house of God. Some would say that as Christians we are exempt from God’s judgment, and that we’re free to live as we please because of God’s forgiveness, but that is not the case.  When I think about this verse and the alarms I’ve already mentioned I think of two modern examples for us to consider, Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker.  Both of these men loved God and were greatly used of God to reach millions of people with the Gospel, but both of them had sin in their lives exposed that caused their ministries to collapse.  From what I remember of both situations, both of them had people approach them in private about sin in their life, but because of their pride thinking they wouldn’t get caught or that it was okay, they ignored the alarms God was sounding in their lives.  It was only after they kept ignoring the alarms God was sounding to them in private that God had no choice but to bring very public correction to them, and it cost them dearly, perhaps far more than they ever thought they would lose if exposed.  I won’t go into where these men are now as that is not the crux of this blog, but the fact is God had sounded alarms in their lives long before the destruction came that they ignored.  So, God does sound alarms in our lives when we are not living as we ought, but whether or not we heed the alarms and change is strictly up to us.


Has God been sounding alarms in your life? Is He trying to warn you of destruction heading your way if you don’t change the way you’re doing something?  I think we all have at one time or another, and we will more than likely hear those alarms in the future as we grow and mature in Him as we should.  Instead of learning things the hard-way as some are so proud to declare for themselves, let us heed the different alarms in our lives and make whatever changes we ought to, all with the help of the Holy Spirit.


God loves and accepts us just as we are, but He also loves us to much to leave us as we are.


John Johansson

As In The Days Of …

Many say that either Jesus isn’t coming or that if He does it won’t be any time soon, but what guarantee do they have of this?  Why are they so convinced of this line of thought?  From what do they draw such conclusions?  Is it simply because He hasn’t returned yet so they are quick to assume they are correct, or is it because they simply want to reject it as fantasy or some religious teaching used for the purpose of controlling its followers?  Good questions.

Recently I’ve talked to some about the current state and future of our United States of America.  Some of these people are professing Christians and some who are not.  It is obvious that this country is divided, perhaps even more than it was leading up to the civil war of the late 1800’s.  I talk or listen to some who are very concerned about the current state of this country, and even more concerned about its future in light of the direction it is headed in.  There are others who see things from a very different perspective.  They tend to see only “good” things ahead, but it’s a perspective that is often times short-sighted and self-centered with little understanding of how things will play out or how they conflict with the ways of God.

We live in a time, or at least here in America, where “whatever feels good” or “truth is whatever you BELIEVE it to be” is the ruling school of thought, but this is very dangerous as it attempts to put the ways and wisdom of God on a shelf called “old fashion”.  There is little regard for God and His way of seeing things, and in our pride we think we can survive and thrive in the absence of the One who created ALL things.  It sounds rather silly if you ask me.  It’s as if the stuffed animal we made last summer (no, I didn’t really make one) has the capacity to live and survive independent of us no matter what comes its way.  Or the dog we raised from birth decides it doesn’t have to live according to the parameters we have raised in.  This is nothing less than absurdity, but that is how people treat the God who created them in the first place.

Like I said, we live in a time when God, and Jesus, His only begotten Son, are being pushed out of practically every area of our lives.  Those who continue to embrace Jesus and to follow and serve Him with their lives, they are increasingly being looked down upon as “narrow or closed-minded”, and because of this they are increasingly being viewed as the primary hindrance to ‘peace’ and ‘unity’ for the world.  It’s only a matter of time before the God of all creation steps in and makes things right again.  America, a country founded and built upon the Judeo-Christian beliefs and values found in the Bible, has been turning its back on God, embracing some of the prominent values and morals that fly in the face of what God has said is right in His sight, and with little concern for the consequences of such behavior.

It has been said many times over the years that God is going to judge America, and I believe we are closer to that judgment than ever before.  We as a country are going full-speed as far from God as possible, embracing most everything that is contrary to God.  Some of the values we are so aggressively pursuing as a country were the very ones found in Sodom and Gomorrah before God judged it, so why do we think that God won’t judge us?

I was thinking about how America is on the brink of Gods judgment the other night and something came to my mind.  The scriptures tell us that as in the days of Noah and Lot so it will be when He returns for His bride.  I think the times we are now living in fits that description, and if that is the case then we need to remember what transpired with Noah and Lot.  With Noah God was going to not only judge the world but He was going to destroy all humanity, but because Noah was found righteous in Gods sight he and his family were spared by being in the ark God told him to build.  With Lot, God was going to judge and destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for the sin and wickedness that prevailed there, but because of Abraham’s intercession God spared Lot and his two daughters by leading them out by angels just as He began to destroy the towns.  Yes, Lots wife was initially with Lot when they were leaving, but because she disobeyed Gods instructions and looked back as they were leaving she became a pillar of salt.  The point is, and what I’ve been getting at, is if our country is on the verge of receiving Gods judgment then it stands to reason that the rapture of the Bride of Christ, the Church, is that much closer.

Are we more concerned about enjoying the life we have here on earth and its many recreations and entertainments, or are we more concerned about the life God has for us now, and all the more on the other side of eternity?  If we are enjoying this life such, or so comfortable that it’s okay if Jesus delays His return, then we need to re-evaluate our relationship with Him and what is truly important to us.  Our life with Him and spending eternity with Him should be the “center-piece” of our life, that for which our life revolves around.  This is not the time to be playing “patty-cake” or “Russian-roulette” with our relationship with Him and our eternity.  One way of determining how important your relationship with Jesus is, and how committed you are to Him, is to take an honest assessment of what is most important to you.  A question that each of us should ask ourselves could be, “is there anything that we would choose to hang onto more than being obedient to God, or is there anyone that we are more concerned with what they think or are afraid of offending or losing more than Jesus Himself?”  Something else to ask is, if God were to ask you to let go of or to give up something that might even be a good thing, would you be obedient to Him or find a way to hold onto it with some sort of rationalizing or justification?  If there is, then this is the time to make a decision for Christ, repent for not having Him be the most important person in your life, and surrender to Him completely.

Time is short!  We are living in the days Jesus spoke of that are like the days of Noah and Lot, and with that means the rapture is just around the corner.  Don’t “blow this off” and not take it seriously, because if you do you could very well find yourself regretting that more than anything else in your life in the very near future.  Please, don’t take that chance!!!!

Decision at the Polls

As people prepare from coast to coast to vote tomorrow for who will be the President of the United States of America for the next four years, it is evident that a lot is at stake.  In fact, I’m not sure if the presidential vote has ever held so much at stake as it does now.  Don’t get me wrong, we have had some where a tremendous amount has been at stake but I don’t know of one that was as far reaching as this one.

When we go to the voting booths tomorrow, we will be deciding the future of our country not only for the next four years, but quite possibly for decades to come.  We will be deciding between two significantly different economic philosophies, one of which would follow a more socialistic point of view and one that will embrace many of the economic values this country has been founded and built upon.  We will be voting between the differences of philosophy regarding healthcare, one which again favors a more socialistic approach and one where states and individuals have the freedom to choose for themselves.  We will be voting between differing views of foreign policy and Israel, one that endeavors to befriend those set on the destruction of Israel AND the United States of America while having low regard for Israel who is one of our closest allies, and the other view that America is a great country and has no need to apologize to its enemies and needs to portray itself strong through its military might.  We will also be voting between differences in moral values, one that embraces a more humanistic viewpoint and one that embraces many of the Judeo-Christian values this country was founded and built upon.

So, you can see that there is a lot at stake with this presidential election.  Someone said this is an election of values, and that is true, but the question is which values we as a nation choose to embrace tomorrow.  I think we have more at stake than what I mentioned earlier for one important and sobering reason.

I heard it once said that if God doesn’t judge America then He would have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.  It is true that America has in many ways forsaken the God of the Judeo-Christian faith of our Founding Fathers, and in doing so has embraced values and morality views that are in contradiction with Him.  So, where does that leave us?  There are many who believe that God is getting ready, if He hasn’t already begun, to judge America.  There are even many who view some of the natural disasters we have had like Katrina, and recently Sandy, as part of Gods judgment on America.  Rabbi Jonathon Cahn believes scripture points with incredible precision to a judgment coming to America that was set in motion with the events surrounding the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on 9-11-2011.  Can we discount the possibility of God bringing judgment upon this grand country for its push to keep Him out of the affairs and values of this country?  I believe we would be amiss if we believe that God could, or would, never bring judgment to this country.  I believe He can, and I believe it could be argued that He has already begun to judge us, and I especially believe that the way this country votes tomorrow, November 6, 2012, can have some bearing on how God deals with this country.  That is why we need to really make sure of how we as individuals vote, and whether it is in favor of the Judeo-Christian God this country was founded and built upon, or based on personal agendas and personal likes and dislikes.

How are you going to vote tomorrow?  Your vote does count, and if you don’t then you will have no real right to complain or take credit for it results.  Voting is a privilege, so take advantage of the freedom so many have fought and given their lives for you to enjoy and cast your vote tomorrow!

The Unthinkable

Recently I was reminded of one of the most popular sermons ever preached in America.  A sermon that was given by Jonathon Edwards on July 8, 1741 in Connecticut was more spoken than preached but has gone down in history as one of the most powerfully preached sermons in history.  While I have heard that Jonathon Edwards read in a monotone expressionless voice with his written sermon raised in front of his face where he couldn’t see the congregation, it is also reported that it was so powerful that people we’re groaning, crying out loud and digging their fingernails right into the pews in front of them.  What was this sermon he preached, and what was it about?  The message title was, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God”, and the theme was the fate of those who reject Christ as their savior and hell as it awaits them.

Hell is not a popular subject to talk about in churches anymore, and why is that?  We live in a time when it is more popular to talk of the promises and grace of God, with what many have called a “seeker sensitive” gospel, than we are of the justice and wrath of God.  Don’t get me wrong, we need to hear of the promises and grace of God, but if that is all we hear then the message is incomplete.  This is also true of those who talk only of the justice and wrath of God without the promises and grace of God.

People don’t like to talk about hell, or that there is a chance they could find their eternal destination there, but nonetheless it is something that needs to be talked about.  People like to think that either hell is a mere fabrication of those who seek ways to control others or to scare them into the Christian faith, or that if it does exist they are somehow exempt from going there.  Many believe that if they live a good life and help others then they will somehow not go there, but that is under the premise one can work or earn their right to avoid hell, much like a ‘get out of jail’ free card.  The problem is that no one can avoid hell apart from a saving relationship with Jesus.

Hell, a place of unending torment, was a place that God had prepared for Satan and the angels that followed him in the rebellion against God.  Satan, once known as Lucifer, was one of the highest ranking angels in Heaven, but when he decided to elevate himself to be equal with and independent from God he was then kicked out of Heaven.  Unlike what many may think, hell was never created or intended for humanity, but it was instead created and intended as punishment for Satan and the fallen angels.  It wasn’t until sin entered humanity in the Garden of Eden that the penalty for that sin became the same as that of Satan and the fallen angels, eternity in hell.  In Matthew 25:41 Jesus tells us that hell was prepared for Satan and the fallen angels, but in Isaiah 5:14 we’re told that hell enlarges itself daily and opens up its mouth without measure waiting for the descent of many into it.  Hell was not intended for humanity, but humanity in its sin finds its eternal home there unless they obtain salvation through Christ, and Christ alone.

Many people believe that God is out there waiting with eager anticipation to hurl the wicked into eternal damnation and torment in hell, but that is not the truth.  We read in 2 Peter 3:9 that “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”  In John 3:18 Jesus tells us, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  God has prepared a way by which all can be saved, that being through Jesus His only begotten Son, and it is ones choice to reject the only way God has provided that sends each one to hell.

Despite the fact that God has provided a way by which each one can avoid the eternal judgment of hell, it is amazing to me that so many will go to such extremes to avoid hell on their own merits.  I mentioned earlier that there are some who want to deny the existence of hell, or at least change it into something far different and less than what it is.  Others want to go one step further to deny even the existence of the one true God, or to say He is no different than any of the other man-made gods many believe in.

Whether it is someone that is bent towards proving the theory of evolution as true, or someone who chooses to believe that hell doesn’t exist, or even someone who cites their reasons for not living for Jesus, one of the core reasons for this is the determination to discount the existence of God in their lives.  Many don’t like the idea of living the way they choose being judged as right or wrong by any person other than themselves, much less by a God who has the power to send them to a hell they don’t want to believe is real.  People want to believe that there is no eternal penalty for the way they live, and in order to do so they must discount the existence and role of God in their lives, or at least create their own version of a God that is nothing but love and grace that will overlook the way they lived in conflict with His will and instructions.  Many look at the injustices they see all around, especially those they’ve suffered themselves, and can’t see how a loving God would allow such things and therefore want nothing to do with Him.  When it comes down to it each of them want to discount God and His Son, Jesus, as having any pertinent role in their lives, and that in doing so many want to believe they won’t be held accountable by God and suffer an eternal punishment in hell.

No matter how hard one tries to discount God and hell, or even their existence, this doesn’t change the fact that both God and hell exists.  Hell is not a place in ‘fantasy land’ or a new vacation spot where you can party with your friends, but it is a place of unending torment with flames of fire that burn continuously.  Hell is so bad that I wouldn’t wish it upon the worst person in humanity, but the fact still remains that those who reject the person of Jesus as both the only begotten Son of God and as their savior will find themselves there.  While many want to focus on God being a loving God that wouldn’t send them there, they forget or don’t realize that they are in fact sending themselves there if they choose to reject Jesus in their life.  People also want to discount the fact that God is not only a God of love and grace, but He is also a just God that will punish the ungodly.  In Exodus 34:7, God tells us that “He will not clear the guilty”, holding them accountable for their decisions and actions.

If we want to focus on God’s love we also need to understand that it is because of His love that He will not allow the ungodly to escape hell and find their eternal home in heaven.  You say that doesn’t make sense?  Think of it this way.  If a person chooses one way or another, directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, to reject Jesus and not surrender their lives to Him, God would be unloving towards those who chose to serve Him if He were to allow the ungodly into Heaven.  His love for those who choose to follow and serve Him is great and He will not allow them to be exposed to sin and the ungodly that rejected Him in Heaven.  Hell is a very real place, and while it was not intended for humanity to dwell there it is true that those who reject Christ will get their wish eternally by spending eternity there without Him.  God is not going to violate the free will of anyone that rejects Jesus in this life by having or forcing them to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.  The life we lead and the choices we make in this life will forever determine our eternal destination whether it be in Heaven or in hell.  If you want to reject Him for whatever cause you deem sufficient, He will honor that by allowing you to choose, but you have to be willing to endure the consequences of those decisions.

In closing, no matter what your excuse for not surrendering your life to Jesus and living only for Him, you alone will be accountable for your decision.  When you stand before God, and you will, your excuses will not be allowed, and those you seek to blame will have no bearing at that moment.  Regardless of your excuses you will be judged by one thing, what did you do with His Son, Jesus?  The Bible will be the standard by which all will be judged and there is no way to get around that.

John Johansson

A Wake-up Call to Prepare

I just recently heard that Russia has practically bailed out the economies of Greece and Cyprus, which I admit was a surprise for me.  This apparently was done through the acquisition of some of these countries natural resources.  The European economy is struggling with the financial collapses of some of its member states, and some even predict its collapse within months.  The United States economy is teetering on the brink of collapse as well, with various city and county governments declaring bankruptcy, the increase of unemployment and the spiraling, out of control debt we are experiencing nationwide.  I’ve even heard some experts to say that if the European economy collapses so will the United States that is how much the two economies depend on the other.

Here in America we are experiencing some extreme weather conditions that have threatened our economy, our energy resources, and our food supplies significantly.  The price of so many things, including food, has begun to rise as a result.  The cost of obtaining an education has also begun to skyrocket which either prevents some from pursuing an education, or for others obtain financial assistance they may never be able to repay because of the cost and lack of employment opportunities we are now facing.  We are also facing an election in November that will determine the future of our country in ways that it may never be able to recover from.  A lot is at stake with this election not just on a federal level, but also in the varied levels of government.  A lot is happening.

All eyes are on the Middle East right now.  Can’t say it is for any one particular reason as there are many.  For quite a while there has been a focus on Iran and its nuclear pursuits coupled with their determination to wipe Israel off the face of the world.  We’ve seen how different countries have gone through what has been labeled as an “Arab Spring”, using force to remove the current leaderships of those countries, and how the Islamist extremists are seizing power wherever they can.  Just these two issues alone scream out for attention, creating instability to the region, but it doesn’t end there.  Currently a lot of attention is on Syria and its neighboring countries.  Syria is going through a civil war between the established government regime and rebel forces made up of Syrians and others from other countries, including various terrorist groups.  Syria has the attention of the world right now not only because of the violence and loss of life that has been experienced there, but also because they possess possibly the world’s largest stockpile of chemical and biological weapons.  There are a number of reasons for the concern in that there is a fear Syria’s government will begin to use them against their own people, or perhaps against Israel or one of its other neighbors.  The fears don’t stop there as many fear these weapons of mass destruction will fall into the hands of the rebels, of terrorist groups like Hezbollah which can then use it against others.  If that isn’t enough, Russia, China and Iran have made it clear that they will defend Syria if there is any attempt by outside forces to undermine or replace the current Syrian regime.  Needless to say, there is a lot going on in that region.  Even now various governments are looking and preparing for a major war to break out in the region in just weeks, not months or years.  Some even believe it is very possible and maybe even probable, that this war will turn nuclear because of the issue with Syria’s chemical and biological weapons.

All of these things, as well as others I haven’t mentioned, have gained the attention of many.  People are wondering what is going on, and more importantly what is in store for us within the next several weeks.  Remember I told you that there is the preparation of a major war in the Middle East within weeks, only to be followed by the elections in November?  Well, I’m noticing something that I want to briefly share with you, something that could have eternal ramifications for you.

I want to start off by reiterating the fact that no one knows when Jesus will return for His bride, and to declare a date for His return is foolishness.  However, Jesus does tell us to be watching for His return pointing out many different signs that would indicate His return being extremely close.  I notice that not only do the signs we currently see scream that His return is very near, but I find it interesting that many of these same signs point to a climaxing period of time that coincides with a particular event.  What is that event?  It is Rosh Hashanah, the fifth of seven feasts the Jews remember each year.  Rosh Hashanah is also known as the Feast of Trumpets.  For 30 days preceding this feast a trumpet is blasted once each day.  The day before this feast no trumpet is sounded so people will know Rosh Hashanah is next, but on Rosh Hashanah there are 100 blasts of the trumpet with four different sounds.  Three of the four sounds are blasted 33 times, and the fourth sound is only blasted on the 100th blast.  The trumpets being used for Rosh Hashanah and the preceding 30 days is not a metal trumpet, but instead a shofar which is made from an animal horn, usually a ram.  These 30 days are set apart by the Jews as a day to repent, remember their sins and to prepare for the judgment.  The Rosh Hashanah feast has many parallels to what we refer to as the rapture, but I’m only going to highlight a few.  This feast is known as the day of the awakening blast, the day of the resurrection.  It is also identified as the day of the coronation of the King; the King takes His bride, and the day of the Kings wedding.  The 100th blast of the shofar is known by Jews as “the last trump”, the same one that the Apostle Paul referred to when addressing the rapture of the saints.  This is also the day that God divides mankind into three groups, the wholly righteous, the wholly wicked, and those who are in the middle.  There is one more element to this feast that has my attention and screams out to me, and perhaps it will for you as well.

When referring to Rosh Hashanah, the Jews knew it by another name.  Before I tell you what that name was let me give you some background.  Of the seven feasts God instituted for Israel, this is the only one that the Jews never knew when it was to take.  They were able to pinpoint a 48 hour period of time each year for when it was to start, but that was it.  They knew it was to start with a new moon, but they didn’t know which of two days that would be.  As a result, they would be watching for the new moon, and when it was seen then two witnesses had to go and testify of this to the priests who would then declare the start of the feast.  Because of this what was instituted by God as a one-day feast turned into a two-day feast referred to as one long day, but that is not the name I’m referring to.  With the uncertainty of when it was to start, the feast became known by ancient Jews even in Jesus’ day as “the day no man knows the day or hour”.  Do those words sound familiar?  They should be.  This is the words of Jesus that people use to argue that we can’t know when Jesus is returning.

So, when is this feast?  Well, in 2012 it starts on the eve of September 16th and extends to September 18th.  Whether or not Jesus is returning during that time only God the Father knows, but I find it ironic that it seems things in our world seem to be climaxing around the same period of time, and it behooves us to make sure we are ready if that is the case.  Just as the Jews are using this time to prepare themselves and make themselves ready, so must we.  There’s more I could share but in the attempt to keep this from getting too long, if it isn’t already, I’m going to go ahead and finish this.

The fact is that Jesus is coming back, and all indications are that it is very near, perhaps nearer than we realize.  Make sure you are right with God and ready for Jesus’ return.  Let go of any unforgiveness of any kind.  Rid yourselves of any sin or sinful thinking, and embrace Jesus and His word as never before, more than just the standard by which we are to live by.  Make sure He is your one and only and not your one of many.  Be a follower of Jesus and not just a passionate fan.  BE READY!!!!!

What’s Keeping You from Church?

Over the years I’ve seen and heard of many who have stopped  going to church for one reason or another, and sadly the trend just seems to be  growing.  On several occasions I have had  conversations with people who have stopped going to church, and for them they  feel very justified in it.  Most not only  shared why they’ve stopped going, but were also very transparent into their  thought processes that they felt legitimized their decision. There were also  some who acknowledged they had stopped going to church but couldn’t point to  any particular reason except to say that life got in the way.  While there are numerous reasons why people  stop going to church, I believe that there two core reasons that are the basis  for the countless other reasons people give, and I want to take a look a brief  look at them.

Before we get into the core reasons why I believe many stop  going to church, I first want to remind ourselves of what Paul tells us in Hebrews  10:24-25, and also to take a look into some of the reasons some have given for  not going to church.

Paul tells us in Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJV);       24.  And let us consider one another in order to  stir up love and good works,       25.  not forsaking the assembling of ourselves  together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the  more as you see the Day approaching.

Paul tells us three things in this passage; 1) to consider  others by, 2) not forsaking or neglecting the gathering of “ourselves” together  and, 3) especially all the more as we see that day of His return  approaching.  Paul is telling us that our  time gathering with other believers is not just for us, but it is for  others.  To not go for reasons focused on  self is simple selfishness.  Apparently  there was an issue in Paul’s day with people not being faithful to the  assembling together of the brethren for him to address it, so it’s not a new  issue.  Paul also instructs us to make  sure we are faithful more and more as we see that Day approaching, yet in the  midst of so much prophecy unfolding before our very eyes alerting us to His  soon return the churches are becoming more and more empty.  Something is wrong with this picture, would  you agree?

I want to set the record straight by saying that our  attendance record in gathering with other believers at that house of God is not  the determining factor to your place in eternity, but the reasons behind that  attendance record could be.  Some try to  make an issue of one’s attendance record to church as an eternal one, and that  is wrong.  The issue shouldn’t be so much  what our attendance record is as much as the reasons behind it.  Let me explain with an example.  A person may work at a hospital, a prison or  even a fire department, and because of it there are times that they are  required to work a shift that conflicts with getting together with fellow  believers at times, and I would consider those as legitimate reasons.  On the other hand, and I’ve seen this a lot,  a person may ‘conveniently’ accept a job, work overtime, or even request  specific shifts that will conflict with church as an excuse for not going.  They have no intentions on going, and if they  can ‘conveniently’ work when the two conflict then it helps their conscious and  keeps others and their questions at bay.

So, what are some reasons people have given for not  attending church?  One of the biggest  reasons given is hypocrisy.  They note  how some claim to be Christians but in their opinion aspects of that person’s  life or character do not seem to match that claim, and they don’t want any part  in it.  Another reason is because they’ve  been hurt in some way by others in the church, and they don’t see why they need  to stay and be vulnerable to getting hurt again.  Oh, and what about this one?  For whatever reason they expected God to move  in some way in their life but when He didn’t as they thought He should they  concluded it wasn’t real and that it was just a scam of some sort to get people’s  money.  Even though the list of reasons  could go on and on, I want to through one more out at you.  Some have stopped simply because they got  caught up in life, whether it was in some form of recreation and hobbies, the  pursuit to make more money or further a career, business or education, to  travel, to rest, or to just hang out with friends or family.  No matter what the reason given is, they  always seem justified in them.

I recently wrote an article called, “Yes, but God  understands …”, and you can almost see the same mindset I shared in that  article in these reasons to not be faithful to church.  God understands each of the reasons one may  give for not going to church, so whether or not God understands is not the  issue or the question.  The question is,  however, does our view of God’s understanding of our reasons truly match up  with God’s understanding of them?  In  other words, does our picture of God understanding accurately and truly match  up with God’s understanding of them?

At the core of many of the reasons people give for not being  faithful to church are one of two reasons.   The first reason is found in that it is not a priority.  We tend to view church and gathering with  other believers as something optional if it’s convenient and we feel up to  it.  One of the things that gets under my  skin is when people put more stock and importance on being faithful to work or  school even when it’s not convenient or they’re not feeling good, but when it  comes to church they have a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude.  God, Jesus, the Creator of the ends of the  universe, desires and instructs us to be faithful in gathering with other  believers, where we can receive from Him in much greater ways than we ever  could from an employer or teacher.  There  is something to be said when believers gather together to seek Him in a  corporate setting that you won’t get in any other venue of any size.  We should value time with Him, the Creator of  the ends of the universe, and with fellow believers more importantly than  anybody or anything else.  It’s not just  an issue of priorities regarding His place in our lives, because many will  argue they can pray and worship Him just as well if not better at home or with  a small group of people, but do we value and prioritize His instructions to us,  His “followers”?  Many try to separate their  relationship with God apart from their interaction with fellow believers and  His Word, but that can’t be done.  If you  value interaction with fellow believers and obeying His Word as unimportant,  then your relationship with Him is lacking and not what you think it is.  So, one of the core reasons many stop going  to church is because they do not place a high priority, in fact the highest  priority, on Him and His Word.  When He’s  not the top and highest priority in your life, then something or someone is an  idol to you, and He strongly frowns upon idolatry.

The second core reason why many stop going to church is  because their eyes are on man more than they are on Jesus.  When one’s eyes are more on a man than on  Jesus, they then become very vulnerable to allowing the hurts, the offenses,  and the ungodly (un-Biblical) teaching of some to push them away.  We will all experience hurts and at times be  offended by someone, that is a given, but when our eyes are more on man than on  Jesus it becomes extremely difficult to overcome and press through.  When we’re hurt and offended it’s easy to start  using others as an excuse for not following Him and His Word, excuses Jesus  will not allow or accept when each of us stand before Him to be judged.  When we allow someone to keep us from being  faithful to church for whatever reason, we’ve then allowed them to be more  influential to us than Jesus Himself.   Yes, we could talk about those who have hurt or offended us that keep us  away, but it could also be because we value other people and their opinions  more highly than Gods.  In either case,  our eyes are more on man than on Jesus, which is also idolatry.  Since my youth I have observed something that  touches on this, and as I share it keep in mind that we are simply asking the  question, “What is keeping you from church?”, and how that our eyes being more  on man than on Jesus plays into that.  It  could also fall under the area of Jesus not being in His rightful place in our  lives as well.  As I mentioned, ever  since my youth I have observed something regarding people and going to  church.  We’ve been mentioning some of  the ‘negative’ reasons for this, but there is a reason that in itself doesn’t  seem to be negative but is just as dangerous.   I’ve noticed how that when people have friends or family visiting them  they deal with this in either one of two ways.   One way that I’ve observed people handle this is that they invite their  visitors to go with them to church, citing that following Jesus is the highest  priority in their life and for their family, and one way that is lived out is  to be faithful as a family to church.  I’ve  heard how that there have been times the visitors went with them, or they chose  to leave, or to wait at the house for when they returned.  Sometimes the visitors were also Christians,  and sometimes they were not, but the approach was the same.  The second way that I’ve observed people  handling this is to just not go.  It didn’t  matter if they were friends or family, Christians or not, they were content  with staying home with them.  Sometimes  their rational was that they wanted more time to sit and talk or to do some  activity with them, and at other times it was because they were afraid of  offending them in some way.  Wow, what  does that tell God?  Here we are  ambassadors of Christ with the task of reconciling men to Him, yet we ignore or  downplay opportunities to do just that because we want social time or afraid of  offending someone?  If they’re not  Christians, wouldn’t we want to take them to church where God might reach them  and they can have an opportunity to meet fellow believers?  Besides, if they don’t see and believe with  our lives and our priorities that God is the most important person in our life  and of the highest priority, then what message are we saying to them as to how  important He is, or is not, to us?  And  if they are Christians, how awesome would it be to go and worship God as a  family especially when those opportunities may be few?  What it comes down to is if our eyes are more  on man than on Jesus?

So, what is keeping you from heeding Gods  instructions for us to be faithful and not neglect the assembling of “ourselves”  (which includes YOU) together with the brethren?  Maybe you are being faithful, and that is  great if you are, but if you’re not then you need to take a few steps back and  re-assess what is keeping you from church and why?  If Jesus were to appear before you tonight to  have a chat, and he were to ask why you haven’t been faithful to church, knowing  He knows your heart, what would you tell Him?   If you haven’t been faithful then I would suggest that now is the time  to change that.  The news headlines are  pointing to Jesus’ very soon return, and I don’t want you to be caught  unprepared for Him.

As We See That Day Approaching …

As I was thinking about the soon return of our Lord and Savior for His bride, I began to think about what are some of the things we need to be doing as we see that blessed day approaching.  Or, should we just continue living life, as some would say, believing it will all work out in the end?  Well, what does scripture tell us?

In Luke 21:34-36, Jesus tells us two things we should be doing.  He tells us that we need to be watching for His return, not getting caught up in carousing, drunkenness and the cares of this life.  He makes it clear that if we get caught up with these things His return will come on us unexpectantly.  I’ve heard many people say that they’re not concerned about ‘watching’ for His return, in observing the signs of the times and the unfolding of Biblical end-time prophecy.  They claim that we are to ‘occupy’ until He comes, and that as long as they are ready then it will all work out, but that mindset concerns me.  In multiple passages Jesus tells us to ‘watch’, and with emphasis.  Why, because apparently it would be easy to get caught up with the cares of life and not be ready for His return.  By the way, did you notice He’s telling this to His disciples and not to those who were not following Him?

The second thing that Jesus tells us in this passage is to pray continually that we may be counted worthy to escape that which is coming down the pipes upon this earth.  Wait a minute.  He’s telling His disciples to pray, and pray continually, that they are counted worthy to escape that which will be coming to pass?  Wow.  What does that tell us?  What it tells me is that we can’t just sit smugly in our Lazy Boys and think we have it made and have nothing to worry about.  One of the best lies of the enemy, among many, is that once we’ve asked Jesus to be our Lord and Savior then we have nothing to worry about and can relax believing we’re okay, but that is not how Jesus wants us to approach it.  Jesus knows far better than we do what will come to pass after He comes for His bride, and He’s letting us know we need to take our relationship with Him so seriously so as to not take anything for granted.  Oh, Lord, help us to take your warnings and admonitions to watch and pray as seriously as you need us to.

In Philippians 2:12, Paul tells us to ‘work out our own salvation with fear and trembling’.  While there may be differing views of what that may mean, I believe the consensus is that we take our relationship with Jesus seriously.  I also note that in the same verse prior to the above statement he comments on the obedience of the Philippians to the gospel.  This is something that is missing in most church circles in America these days, the commitment to being obedient to God and His word, the Bible.  We live in a time when it’s fashionable to decide which parts of the Bible we will follow in our own lives, and which ones we will conveniently ignore.  One of my pet peeves is when we either put words in Gods mouth, or for that matter take words out of His mouth.  We have a tendency to look at a scripture we don’t like or agree with and to ‘modify it’ according to what we think God really meant by it so as to justify why we don’t embrace and live by it.  Jesus said that if we love Him we will do His commandments, and when we fail to be obedient to Him and His word we are then considered as lawless in His sight.

Another thing we need to be doing is found in Hebrews 10:24-25.  The writer of Hebrews tells us to consider one another so that we can stir up love and good works.  He further states in the same sentence that we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as apparently some made a habit of doing, so that we can exhort one another, especially as we see the day of His return approaching.  Check this out.  We are told that as we see the day of His return approaching we must not forsake the times that we gather together with the brethren.  The more evident it becomes that Jesus’ return is imminent, the more we need to embrace times with fellow believers both in church settings and in our ‘social lives’, this is so that we can be an encouragement and a help for others and they in turn can do likewise for us.  The closer we get to His return, which means the closer we’re getting to the tribulation period, the darker things are going to get in this world, and the harder it will be for us to stay close to Him.  Might I also add, the closer we get to His return the harder it will be for us to 1) watch for His return, 2) continually pray that we are counted worthy to escape that which is coming, and 3) to remain obedient to Him and His word when so much of this life will pull us away.  We need more than ever before, to relish all the time we can with fellow believers where we will find the encouragement, the help and the corporate strength to persevere until that blessed day arrives.  I’m speaking even to myself in that I’m not a ‘social butterfly’, but it is going to be essential for each of us to lock arms with our brothers and sisters in Christ like never before if we’re going to stand.  I’m not saying we need to isolate ourselves from those who are not followers of Christ, because that is not what we are called to do, but it does mean we need to value time with the brethren more and more all the time.  People who are not followers of Christ, or those who think they are but are merely fans of Jesus, and there is a difference, may not understand this, but we need the support of those in the family of God if we are going to make it in these last days.  Many feel that being faithful to your local church and spending time with fellow believers of Christ is optional and not essential, but I’m afraid that they will one day have tremendous regrets for not heeding the instructions of the Lord and taking their walk with Him more seriously.  After all, if you knew that there was a potential threat coming to you and your family, would you not take it seriously and do whatever  you needed to do no matter how inconvenient and disliked it was just so you could protect them?  How much more seriously should we take our walk with Jesus as we see the coming judgments of God coming soon to this earth after what we call the rapture takes place?

So, as we see the day of His return approaching more and more each day, and seeing the urgency of the times we live in and that His return is imminent, are you doing what you should be doing?  If not, I strongly encourage you to grab a hold of these things as you prepare for Him.  No matter how some may paint things, you will not want to be here during the tribulation period as it will be worse than many think it will be.

The Harbingers

One of the many uses of the shofar was to sound an alarm of something coming.  While we at The Resounding Shophar focus on sounding the shophar to prepare for the return of Christ, it would be wrong to not sound it in regards to a judgment to come.  I realize that many believe that God doesn’t judge people because He is so full of grace and love, but is that consistent with scripture?  No, it is not.  We can read from Genesis through the book of The Revelation how that the loving God of all creation executed judgments on people, families and nations.  When God brings judgments it is a result of disobedience to or rejection of God and His ways.  To only focus on God’s grace and love and to say that God won’t bring judgment to people is to be naïve of who He is and what He is all about, not taking into account all the different facets of who He is.

Some people believe that God will never judge this awesome country called, The United States of America.  They say that since we are the one country the world looks up to, or at least used to, and that we are the most Christian of all countries who even sends the most missionaries to other lands, surely God wouldn’t judge us, but that is pride which provides a false sense of security.  While this country was founded on Christian principles and the Word of God, the Bible, in the past fifty years it has turned its back on God, His ways, and even now His people the Jews.  How can we be so bold as to think that He won’t judge us?  That is a scary place to be in, thinking that we are exempted and protected from Gods judgments simply because of who we are.  We as a country have strayed far from God, and if we don’t repent of our ways, turn from our wickedness and seek His face, God will judge us.  Is there any reason to believe that an impending judgment is on its way for our country if we don’t repent and return to the God of our fathers?  Yes there is.  I am including a link to a couple videos of a rabbi, Jonathan Cahn, teaching on harbingers, what they are, and how they apply to the United States, all based on scripture.  One is a shorter video that briefly touches on this, and the other one is a full video that goes into much more detail that is sure to grab your attention as he goes through nine (9) harbingers.  I hope you will take the time to view these as he “sounds the shophar” of warning to this country of a judgment soon to come.


Shorter clip

Full version


John Johansson

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