Friday, October 30, 2015

Standing Firm In the End Times

Matthew 24:24 says "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; in so much that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

Jesus is coming soon. If we look around we can see so many signs of His second coming: wars, famines, natural disasters, economy, political signs, and we can also see that so many of His people and other people in the world have fallen asleep- we must surely realize the truth.

Does this thought scare you? Or does it make you leap for joy? If it brings about any thought or question of fear.. surely we must reconsider and study why, when we love Jesus so much, we feel unprepared.

How then can we be ready for the Second Coming and to stand for Jesus no matter what the cost? For many will fall and be deceived in the end. And many are sleeping already. How can we prepare for the Great tribulation and the fiery trials that we will face?

I want to share with you some things I have learned from Ellen White and Bible study about being prepared for the End. In addition, toward the end of this writing there are some of my favorite EGW quotes that are very powerful.

Here are some questions to ask our self if we are ready to stand firm in the End.

1. Who is our Master? 
For the Lord says we can have only one.(Luke 6:13). If we love our boyfriends, families, money, college degrees, popularity.. or any other thing as much as we love God, we do not know God. For God is a jealous God who destroys all other idols including one of the biggest- the idol of self. Are you ready to surrender all of your hopes, your dreams, your desires, your beauty, your reputations in order to carry the cross of Christ? This is no small commitment and the biggest decision you will make in all your life. This changes everything. There is no "have my cake (the world) and eat it too (Jesus). You choose today who you will serve and if you will be in Paradise.

2. Do we know Jesus?
Is He our best friend? Do we love to spend time with Him? Do we spend time with Him? Has He changed our lives? If we say no, then something has gone wrong. We are not understanding who He is. This is different than going to church and listening to sermons or Bible studies, we must know Jesus' presence in our lives. Would your life be different if you didn't know Jesus? Are you finding peace and love in His promises?

3. Are we focused?
This is an area that Christ has really impressed upon my heart lately. I just am finishing reading a devotional book and the question is given how much time I am spending in prayer and how much in Bible reading per day? And to be honest this caught me off guard... Aren't I doing good to spend 20-30 minutes every morning Lord talking to you and then pray through the day and at night? And I heard Him respond How much time do you spend in class studying nursing? Studying how to be a better personal trainer? How much time do you spend talking to your mother long distance? If you are to give my life to me, and to serve me, and to love me above anything else, truly this time is NOT SUFFICIENT. I'm sorry to put this so bluntly but reading five minute devotionals a day, Christian books, and listening to Christian music will not be enough. What about when Satan attacks you? How can you be prepared to stand...

4. Are we well-equipped for battle?
We must know that the Devil will attack us for He hates the work we are doing for Christ. But we must not be afraid; we need not quiver because we serve the Lord Almighty- the one who reigns forever and who is victorious. Every day we must wake up and put on the armor of God. Otherwise how can we stand against temptations? For Satan knows our weaknesses, our insecurities, and He will attack us at our weakest moments.. So how do we overcome Satan's attacks? First, we prepare our-self every morning by spending time with God. We ask God to give us His shoes of peace, His breastplate of righteousness, His sword of faith, the belt of truth, the helmet of the Spirit, and the Word of God in our hearts.

I believe that so much of being prepared for battle is being selective with what we put in our mind. The music we listen too, friends we hang out with, media we watch, thoughts we let linger.. play such a role in this. We must train our mind to think pure and we must implant the word of God into our memory and hymns that sing praises. For when comes a hard day, when our mind is empty, the Holy Spirit can remind us of things which we have learned deep in our heart that tell of God's love.

So are we ready for the End Times? Only by the Lord's grace...
We need not fear. God will carry us through if daily we surrender to Him and choose Him above all other idols in our life. If we make prayer and scripture a habit and lifeline, truly then we will walk in the Lord's footsteps and experience true joy and peace =) 

May we be conquerors in the Lord God almighty. For He never gives us more than we can handle, but promises to be faithful to us and to never leave us nor forsake us. 

May we prepare to stand firm in the end, even if we are all alone- may we stand firm.

Amazing EGW quotes:

In order to give such a message as John gave, we must have a spiritual experience like his. The same work must be wrought in us. We must behold God, and in beholding Him lose sight of self.

We must live a twofold life--a life of thought and action, of silent prayer and earnest work.

Prayer and effort, effort and prayer, will be the business of your life. You must pray as though the efficiency and praise were all due to God, and labor as though duty were all your own.-

No man is safe for a day or an hour without prayer

The only defense against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness. Unless we become vitally connected with God, we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin. We may leave off many bad habits, for the time we may part company with Satan; but without a vital connection with God, through the surrender of ourselves to Him moment by moment, we shall be overcome. Without a personal acquaintance with Christ, and a continual communion, we are at the mercy of the enemy, and shall do his bidding in the end.

Christ and Him crucified should be the theme of contemplation, of conversation, and of our most joyful emotion.

But the mind must be constantly going out after God. If worldliness is allowed to come in, if we have no desire to pray, no desire to commune with Him who is the source of strength and wisdom, the Spirit will not abide with us.

Christians should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise, and this preparation they should make by diligently studying the Word of God and striving to conform their lives to its precepts.--

None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict.--The Great Controversy

Build a wall of scriptures around you, and you will see that the world cannot break it down. Commit the Scriptures to memory, and then throw right back upon Satan when he comes with his temptations, "It is written." This is the way that our Lord met the temptations of Satan, and resisted them.

every little detail

Charles Haddon Spurgeon a British preacher in the 19th century once said “The life of a Christian is a series of miracles.” 
I know I write about miracles alot..
But our God is a God of miracles.
He is a God of wonders, a God of love, a God of power who is bigger than our deepest fears. I deeply believe that as we get to know Him more and more and follow His paths for our life, we will see those beautiful miracles manifested.

For me, I know that where I am right now with God, what my major is, where I'm living in the village, how I'm paying for college, my family, who my friends are.. that all these things are miracles.

I know that you may think I am being cliche and people say: those are just coincidences or blessings. But trust me I have SO many stories about God's miracles in my life. And I believe that we should give God credit and glory for the things He does (the things we know that we could never do).

Earlier this week I was really struggling with evil thoughts. I felt tempted and overcome by the Evil one. I was desperate for help and I was crying out for God "Where are you?" Why is everything so hard? Why is my life so messy? Why.. when I tried to follow you.. did you shatter my heart in pieces on the ground like a broken puzzle?

But Jesus is doing miracles in me and I'm more than grateful because it is such a privilege to have the Lord of Lords mess up my selfish life and make it holier- something more like His. And I know that day by day, week by week, He will have to continue this process of breaking and remaking me..
And it will be hard at times, and it will hurt at times. But at the end of the day, I will look up at my Savior, potter, and healer of my life and say Thank you so much for saving me from myself.

Tonight I worshiped with Anthony Evans at vespers and the Lord just spoke to me through the music and the message. And He reminded me of the quote Ellen White says where she says "We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history." Also God gave me a verse I have committed to memory Philippians 1:6 which says being confident of this that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion at the day of Christ Jesus our Lord.

Are you recognizing the miracles Jesus is working in your life? Are you letting the Lord work miracles in you?

In the morning do you wake up and surrender your life to Christ and see Jesus change whatever you want about me, do whatever you need too in me to make me more like you? Use me today to be your hands and feet.

I want to encourage you that if you are praying this prayer and if you have committed your life to Christ, you should be seeing miracles unfold. No it won't be easy. No the world's dreams will not come upon you and plop into your lap like a flying ice cream cone but you will find peace and joy in things you never imagined. You will be restored by the Lover of life and you will understand that truly the Lord is all you need and truly He is a miraculous and good God who reigns forever.

My prayer for you is that you would ask God to do miracles in you. That you would re-surrender your life to Him. That you would watch Him lead and guide you to paths you never would have imagined. It will be the best adventure of your life =)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

God can still use you

Even in the cellars
God can still use you.
You need not be silent

Even in the waiting
God can still grow you
You can fear not

Even in the darkness
With God you can still shine
He is your joy

He doesn't need you to be good enough. He doesn't need you to succeed. He doesn't need you... You need Him. He needs you to trust Him to use you when He wants too.

Romans 8:38-29  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a]neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Wrestling with myself

Are you prepared to wrestle?

Ephesians 6:12 "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

Oh how the Devil loves to confuse us. If he can just get us to focus enough on the things of this world or our own faces in the mirror... then He will deceive us to miss out on the treasures of heaven and will have us sitting sidelines of the battle of the Lord. He will first have us sitting in complacency daydreaming about diamonds and gold rings and next thing we know we will have fallen asleep, on the sofa by the side of the tv to the right of the Garden of Gethsemane, forgetting to fight Satan's temptations off, so we could carry our cross with Christ.

Are you ready to fight yourself? To go to the ground and fight with your selfish desires, with the Devil, with your doubts, with your hard heart.. until you finally reach the point of the perfect melody- Surrender.

Jesus wants everything. 
I must give up everything.
The cost to me is everything..
And yet compared to His sacrifice for me, it is nothing.

I believe whole heartedly that there are many people at my school, at my church, and in my country of America that profess to be Christians and yet deny Him each and every day for this world. I see it all the time. I watch my friends go to church and text their boyfriends the entire time during the message. I listen as they share about their commitment to Jesus and then I watch them dance to secular music and watch R rated movies that night. I see them use manipulation on their friends. I watch them exclude the fat girl. My friends, this cannot be. This is not the lifestyle to which Christ calls us. We cannot choose when and where to be nice, when to be Godly and when to witness for Jesus. "We are always witnesses the question is to whom or to what."

It seems we have confused the American dream with the Christian society. We have made it ok and even a glorified image to "have our cake and eat it too". To be Christian supermodels who make lots of money, live in clean, big houses, have perfect sized families, don't smoke, and attend church. Yet what about when God asks us to stop wearing makeup, to do the janitorial job instead of taking the job promotion, to sacrifice our families for the name of Christ, to give more to others than keep for ourselves? What do we do when Christ calls us out of the world?

Christ wants everything. We cannot hold one thing back. Knowing God requires perfect surrender, perfect trust. It's not something we have to do alone but it's a process God wants to lead us through. He will help us wrestle against our sins, temptations, selfishness.. He is willing to get down on the ground of the rink with us. It is necessary for us to struggle to grow. The greatest problems in life are not our circumstances but our own selfish hearts (EGW).

If you are like me, then you find each day to be a constant fight of surrendering. Surrendering my lustful thoughts, my selfish desires, my fears, my lack of trust, my desire to put myself first... I find myself fighting each and every day and sometimes it feels like I have lost the battle...

But let me encourage you. If you are still fighting, you are not losing. Because God is with you on the ground helping you. When you are weak, He is strong. When you give your life to Him, He molds you; He changes you; He remakes you into a warrior.

Slowly each and every day we say:  God I give this to you. I give everything to you. I choose to lay face first on the ground in total surrender and humble abandonment God says I will glorify myself through you. This wrestling thing turns into a beautiful thing, a beautiful process, a transformation, and something of joy because it happens with Christ's arms around me.. and somehow, in some way, this wrestlinig thing is transformed into a beautiful love story.