End Times Exit Strategy Daniel 12

Return of Christ, Rescuing our own from the Apostasy


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End Times: One Night in Russia. Part 2

“Exit Strategy” (seen below) is now blowing shofar3available at most e-book venues.

We want to go to heaven but we do not understand the nature and the power of the gifts of Grace and Righteousness here in this life. Here prepares us for there! We were to have received both and they were to reign in our lives abundantly!

Look at grace. We read “You are saved by grace through faith…” (Ephesians 2:8 NAS) Paul makes no mention of righteousness? Could it be because grace must have its way with us first? Righteousness comes as a result of grace. “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:21 NAS) In many cases we have received grace but we have not granted grace, creating the problem of unrighteousness, fearfully common but unrealized by many of us.

We receive what we give. The Beatitudes, given at the Sermon on the Mount, confirm this in Matthew 5 and Luke 6. Knowing this, God plants the seed of grace freely, in our being forgiven, with the intent that we will grant it freely, thereby bearing fruit, presenting His Way to others. Consider this. “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” (Matthew 13:23 NAS)  Now we can understand this verse. God, the Master, expects a return on His investment, even more, a duplication of His Son! For the grace He entrusted to us, He expects us to multiply it to many, many others, planting the seed of grace in their hearts with the hope of resulting righteousness, saving them. In return we never lack grace abundant!

We must also see that the intention of grace (received and granted) is to qualify us to receive the second half of this Spiritual epoxy. Together it keeps us glued to God. One does not fully work without the other. It proves us salvation bound versus just reconciled. “Isn’t that enough?” Not if you are still alive. The Gift of Righteousness is the gift that transforms us, renews us and enhances us. Mostly it ensures our eternal life. It births joy in us! Our decisions are affected by it, our relationships are enhanced by it, we can do and become more than we could have, without it. We are no longer who we were! We are new, created again by what He says we are, His every Word being a gift of righteousness! Grace cleanses us and preps our soul like a blank canvas; ready for the brush strokes of righteousness, His likeness appearing. So what part do we play in righteousness? It says, “those who receive…” (Romans 5:17NAS) Our canvas must receive the paint. If it does, we become more and more, in His likeness. We must remember that grace cleanses us, as we use it to cleanse others! Our canvas is not clean and ready to receive righteousness if still sullied by the unrighteous hurts of others. If however we are at peace with all. We can have great expectations in Christ. Like I said, grace and righteousness must reign.

Think about it, I get this understanding while in RUSSIA, where I am teaching in a Bible College. Me a former drug smuggler, a failure, a target for death!!! Like the Lord says to all of us, I was saved by grace. Change began with grace. He was willing to meet me where I was. I had confessed belief, I had reconciliation but I was still unchanged. Then, in the Bible, I started to see what God said about His children, His words of righteousness. “You are above and not beneath , the head and not the tail, blessed going in and going out, you are a child of God, a joint heir with Jesus, a son a Abraham, all God’s promises are yes and amen to you!” Wow! It was so encouraging, so joyful. I wanted to be what He said I was. I finally got it! He said I was, so I was! I began living according to His gift of righteousness over me. I became what grace began!

I continued to and still do receive, the abundance of grace which I certainly need daily. In addition, long ago, I began to whisper that series of proclamations to myself, I wanted to be who God said I was, not who I used to be. As I called that which was not, as though it were, I became, according to Romans 4:17. Anyone can do this, from a place of grace.

I read in the book of Hebrews where God formed the world by that which was unseen, by the words of His mouth. Those words still form worlds. I did not realize it, until that cold inspiring night in Russia, that I had been receiving the gift of righteousness every time I whispered His encouraging words to myself. I had changed and here I was, in Russia, teaching young future pastors. I shake my head in wonder. Thank you, Jesus.

In hope believing, I chose God’s words over those Devilish, accusing reminders that now, albeit infrequently, echo through the now repossessed chambers of my heart. If the Devil accuses us daily in the throne room of God, why would he not boldly enter the throne room of our heart, where we (Jesus and I) are seated, in that now, by His grace, heavenly place?  

I was being built up in Him as I received His gifts. (Romans 5:17 NAS) That night in Russia I realized the creative power, as we are to be distributors, not only of grace, but of the gift of righteousness. It was no longer just me receiving. We are to create, not destroy, with the words of our mouth. That may not be so profound to the mature follower but to me at that time it was expanded truth. Every time we acknowledge a thoughtful act, speak an encouraging word, cast a compliment on the troubled water of some soul, when we thank some one, edify our children or someone else’s, in so many ways, we can change ourselves and others by the love that is in the gift of righteousness. It can only be received for ourselves or given as a free gift to others in an atmosphere of grace.

Knowing how I changed, I began to understand why others do not. We can be saved (reconciled), I can confess belief in the Son but if I do not change, if I keep repeating the same acts and attitudes, clinging to unforgiveness and offenses associated with my old self, sin plagues my life. I fail to become. At the heart of my failure to change can be my unrealized rejection of grace and its transforming introduction to the gift of righteousness! Does this sound at all like John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” This section, like the others is about us preparing for eternity and our initiating the Lord’s return following the events leading up it.

The grace we received at reconciliation and the creative newness of righteousness loses its power if we fail to grant grace and give the gift of righteousness, if we fail to walk out the Lord’s commandments. We must obey the Son. If we reject the bi-directional function of grace, to grant as well as receive, then whatever we hold against others comes upon us in the form of unrighteousness. It overshadows the righteousness we gained when we were initially forgiven. God’s forgiveness was a seed planted in our heart that is (later) not bearing the fruit it should. If we are not forgiving of others, as Jesus said, we are not forgiven. If by my choices, I am not forgiven, I am also not righteous. I am lost!

“[In us] Grace must reign through righteousness to eternal life through Christ Jesus.” Romans 5:21 NAS) Righteousness also opens doors here in this life because God wants others to experience righteousness through us. We are to be the fruit bearing tree of Christ’s grace. If our heart is not a throne of grace for Christ to reign from, how will we enter the eternal Throne of Grace? One gives us access to the other!

If we are stuck in a particular area of sin, we may grow weary of seeking forgiveness. We may equate God’s patience with ours, which is another error of impaired judgment. “How can He keep forgiving me, He can’t even change me! I can’t win.” Doubt floods our souls. “This God stuff is baloney,” can become our fateful conclusion, as it has with many. The Word is true when it says, Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12)

We must receive the two gifts, grace and righteousness because God’s intention was that we would give the two gifts. One brings the other. “I can not give what I ain’t got any more than I can come back from where I ain’t went.”, as Sue Wyatt, a great saint, English teacher, mentor and friend used to say. “…much more, those who receive the abundance of grace AND the gift of righteousness…” They have no value to us if we do not receive them and only temporary effect if we receive only one. There is an abundance so we can share it! It was never meant to be just for us personally.

These two gifts were meant to spread to hearts and souls in a positive way, similar to but opposite of the negative way judgments spread in the days leading up to Noah and the necessary destruction of mankind! “Just as in the days of Noah…” Jesus said of conditions upon His return. In those same ways, forsaking grace and forfeiting righteousness, mankind has failed again. God is now, I believe one last time, saying it again. In Christ and His “commanded” Ways, grace does not judge others, grace intercedes. Grace gives hope. Righteousness does not and can not condemn others.

Righteousness is the fulfillment of the hope grace brought. Eternal life is the fulfillment of righteousness. (Romans 5:21 NAS) We begin with God calling us clean when we were filthy in our sin. That was grace. (Romans 4:17 KJV) That is what He did from the foundation of the world. This is what we must do at the closing of this lost and dying world.

Before we responded, God called everyone righteous if they would respond to Christ. God knew Jesus would come to us by grace and if obedient we would become righteous through His Ways. We very likely will stand before “our persecutors.” As one of those who did respond to Christ, I am to intercede for them, calling them saved, praying that God would forgive them, for their eyes to be opened and for His grace to fill their hearts. “They” still might respond to the Christ in me. We will have already initiated Christ’s return by the time this happens world-wide! In preparing ourselves, their salvation might be made possible.

I want to love God fully. I want to be victorious. I know I rest in His grace, in His accomplishment, but there is a reason why the Word says, my mind will and emotions are to be renewed. I am to become, according to His Word. I am to be more than I was. I want this, because of God’s initial injection of grace, by this God has put it in our hearts to win His Way. By His grace we get a taste of victory, a taste of righteousness! To rule and reign in this life, in preparation for eternity, we must stay aware of the qualifiers He has established. “…much more, those who receive…” I must receive to reign!  

 

He waits,

Michael

    Exit Strategy

   We initiate the return of Christ!  (The E-book)

Barnes and Noble, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, many others and around the world.

 

 

 

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End Times: One Night in Russia. Part 1

“Exit Strategy” (seen below) is now blowing shofar3available at most e-book venues.

 Through the abundance of grace I have needed and received, I have come to believe that the gift of righteousness is God’s real instrument of change. I was forgiven but forgiveness was just the beginning, forgiveness did not change me. Forgiveness put me in touch with Righteousness. Forgiveness, made it possible for me to change. The gift of righteousness changed me!

“…much more, those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness, they shall reign in life through Christ Jesus.” (Romans 5:17 NAS)

 Righteousness is the hyper-positive power of God. He is the Creator of the Universe. If He says you are…then you are! If I immerse myself in His loving descriptive words of righteousness, I will become what He says. As I become what He says, I am no longer what I was. He is the Word made flesh. I am the flesh made Word, as His Word defines me anew. 

 Eternal life is found through grace and righteousness. (Romans 5:21) The “Gift of Righteousness” (Romans 5:17 NAS) comes wrapped in the “Abundance of Grace.” Not just more than enough grace to cleanse our hearts; enough to grant all the grace that anybody else needs, qualifying us, through the resulting righteousness, for eternal life. That is why we must continue in grace. Grace maintains our righteousness which maintains our eternal life. “…even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:21 NAS)

The Lord spoke to my heart several years ago, while in Pskov, Russia on a mission (teaching) trip. It was cold and snowing. We all had settled in for the night, going to our rooms early because we got up at 5:30 AM to go teach in the Bible College. To me, our early evening retreat meant “Word time.”

 I really wanted to serve something fresh in a sermon I was going to preach the next Sunday at a distant satellite church. Alexe’, the young pastor, was a previous graduate of the college where we were teaching. The service was to be held in his church. How cool. It was a former missile factory. Church was in the (Communist) political auditorium!

This particular night, as I sought inspiration, the Lord took me back to Romans 5:17, a favorite verse of mine. The core of the verse says, “much more those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in life through Christ Jesus.” I paused for a moment, God was getting my attention.

A realization came to me. Success in life and in eternity is dependent upon receiving BOTH the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness. I know what you are thinking. I was too. “We all receive His righteousness.” Do we or is it a separate item on God’s agenda? It is separate in the verse. It was only a moment later, as I contemplated this dual approach, that God spoke to my heart and said something very simple but to me profound. He said, “You are saved by grace but you are changed by the gift of righteousness.” Another thought came. “…those who receive…(will let)…the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness REIGN in life through Christ Jesus.”  

 Addressing the first inspiration I thought, many confessing Christians never seem to get far in the changing of their lives. They continue in struggles that are tied to their old man, they are not changing the way they had hoped they would, the way they were told they would. With sincere determination they go to church, believing for something to change, but with little or less than apparent results. The second inspiration explained why.

In that distant wonderful place, in the cold of night, with the windows frosted over and the wind whispering a high C through the cracks in the 1950’s wooden window frame, I was ensconced in an old armchair, my used and abused bible in my lap. I was joined by Catherine the Great, as she looked down from her picture on the wall. Maybe she was there to observe this pilgrim, a stranger in a strange land. Along with her kind but reserved gaze, I was warmed by the soft yellowish red glow of the simple shaded lamp by my side, but that was not all that warmed me.

That night, His presence by distraction or miracle had robbed the dark, blustery, cold and snowy Russian winter of its chill, warming my heart by the grace of His inspiration. Understanding had come to me. God had answered my prayer. It was His wisdom that, when shared with His anointing, would offer amazing opportunity for change to many Followers. “…much more those who receive…”

It now seemed clear to me why Christians all over the world were not changing, why some were to varying extent and why some were not at all. Many had only received grace, one half of what was required for their lives to truly change and that grace only on a limited scale. Neither grace nor righteousness were reigning in their lives…or mine?

We want to go to heaven but we do not understand the nature and the power of the gifts of Grace and Righteousness here in this life. Here prepares us for there! We were to have received both and they were to reign in our lives abundantly! They still can!

He waits,

Michael

    Exit Strategy

   We initiate the return of Christ!  (The E-book)

Barnes and Noble, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, many others and around the world.

 

 

 


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End Times: Only One can call our efforts “works.”

“Exit Strategy” (seen below) is now blowing shofar3available at most e-book venues.

 How dare we call obedience “works” as we emulate Christ, His commands and His glorious example of forgiveness? Christ’s assension depended on His obedience. Like Jesus, our future salvation depends on our obedience, from our heart, toward others and God. Our success is first made possible when God draws us, through Christ Jesus, by the Holy Spirit. In the depth of our first wonderful experience in Christ, we find a new heart that likes what it has just experienced. At least we should. Seeking the same, we hear and obey. We sincerely and voluntarily act, obediently exerting our will. THAT is what God is waiting for. It is evidence of our transformation. Each heart exam takes time, a life-time. Even Jesus had to wait extra hours on the Cross. That too was a test, not of the Son of God but the Son of Man.

Forsaking obedience, many declare, “This couldn’t be God, it is too painful,” or “there is nothing I can do to “get” saved, it is a free gift.” That is true. Getting saved is free. Maintaining my “saved” condition IS my responsibility and is maintained by what Jesus taught me. Many have believed life with Jesus is not supposed to hurt. Jesus said the opposite when He said, “You must pick up your cross daily.” We confuse “heaven on earth” with the real heaven we look for. Of all the object lessons to use, it was His willing obedience to go to the cross and His then saying we must pick up our cross “Daily” that takes us beyond our salvation / reconciliation experience into a life experience of obedience in Him. Keys to the kingdom means keys are required. Forgive to be forgiven means forgivness is required. WE are to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. It does not say WAIT until they do something nice, then do something nice for them.  

When we run from this cross of ours or fight being put upon it by our persecutors, instead of volunteering to mount our cross for the sake of others, we are forsaking ourselves and our reward, our continued reconciliation and our eternal life. We can not afford to self-excuse our resistance to Gods instructions. We fool only ourselves by calling them “works”, rejecting God’s action orders as not being of Him. There is only One who can call our efforts “works.”

 ”For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NASB77)

Obedience must be evident in us IF we are the workmanship of God. The “works” are of His design and to His credit. Our will, with our obedience, allows (yes allows) His works to be accomplished through us. One who is owned is expected to obey.

So that we do not exalt ourselves in our obedience, we must remember, even if we were to literally die for our faith, we will not have purchased anything. Our life is not our own. We have already been bought with a price. (1 Corinthians 6: 20 and 7:23) Our new self does not belong to us. Our obedience is intended to prove that. We really have nothing of our own to offer God or His effort that does not already belong to Him. Physical death, as a willing witness for Christ is a great act of sacrifice to us, but it is also expenditure, an investment on His part, for the sake of the still unsaved. That may sound hard but we are an asset, a treasured asset of His having great value to the Lord. Our obedience mirrors Christ and His preciousness; or is our mirror broken?

This book is pointing to what may be our greatest value in this life. As an asset of His, as a child of the Most High God, this might be a final Christ-like witness to unbelievers, who in their ignorance are terminating us. They will see Christ in us, in our interceding departure. We will remain a child of God, and gain an honor shared with Jesus.

None of us rejoice over our possible demise. Jesus did not either. (Matthew 26:39 YLT) Christ went to the Garden knowing, prepared in advance for the prophesied events. It will be a fearful challenge, and God will understand as He did with Jesus; but let us seek to understand it now, and the fullness of its glory, so we are prepared to endure it gloriously should it come. Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him. (Hebrews 12:2 NAS) We are that joy. Do we have a joy to envision? Is Christ our joy?

“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”

Our obedience leads to His return!

He waits,

Michael

    Exit Strategy

   We initiate the return of Christ!  (The E-book)

Barnes and Noble, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, many others and around the world.

 

 

 


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End Times: “Almost sounds like a plan, but whose.”

“Exit Strategy” (seen below) is now blowing shofar3available at most e-book venues. 

Because bad things are happening in front of our eyes and to us, those lawless and offensive things are like a “tractor beam” attaching to our soul, (forgive the Star Trek reference). The offenses we receive, wound our heart, clamp on to our will. Our minds are molested. It becomes post traumatic stress. We can become stuck or even buried in the mire of our world, being rooted and grounded in the mire instead of God’s love. We must be rooted and grounded in God’s love to be able to put away all bitterness and malice, forgiving one another, to become a bride without spot or blemish, holy and blameless. (Ephesians 3:17,4:30-32, 5:25-27)

We have loved this world and life too much. Almost all of us have. Maybe if it gets bad enough, we will hate this life. Maybe we will finally seek the next life? Almost sounds like a plan; but whose? We can hate the person or persons who have destroyed our life. These days, the list of offenders is long, but it had to be for the enemy’s plan to be carried out against so “many” of us. The list of offenders will grow longer. The “many” will become more. On the other hand, God warned us. So who will just get angry and who will spot the plot and cast off the anger in exchange for eternal life?

 “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” (1 John 2:15-17 NAS) 

Don’t get me wrong. We all have loved life and the beauty of this world, especially when our faith was pointed at prosperity and living like heaven on earth. It was so appealing, but I see what the Lord is saying. I personally experienced this prosperity like I had never known it before. Now, with all that is happening today, that prosperity has fled away and the mire of God’s plan, (it is His plan) is troubling everyone. I say God’s plan because nothing the enemy does can supersede God’s plan. God is allowing it. We might ask, “Why would God allow such things? My reply would be, He warned us and also, God is not being tested, we are! Some will reject God over this. Others will reject Christianity when being asked to die for their faith. Some however will put all the pieces together and recognize how red God has made our sails these mornings.

 “So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father. 25And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life he promised us.” (1st John 2:18-25 NAS)

Where it says, “from the beginning” it means from what Jesus said which I (John) delivered to you as a first hand witness to Christ’s Words. It does not mean from the beginning of your personal walk. Your walk, like mine, has included teachings steeped in traditional understanding.   

What Jesus taught us, if obeyed and followed faithfully, is what keeps us in fellowship with He and Father God. This fellowship via His Words, is eternal life. So, with such an important reward for our obedience, what has He taught us? Are we obeying?

He waits,

Michael

    Exit Strategy

   We initiate the return of Christ!  (The E-book)

Barnes and Noble, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, many others and around the world.