May 29, 2017

Spiritual Preparedness

anchoredtoChrist

Since starting the blog my goal has been to bring a Christian worldview to preparedness, to show Christians that preparedness isn’t a sin and is, in fact, it’s very biblical.

Most articles are about preparedness. I wouldn’t say this means faith took a backseat. This is mainly because I have covered all of the areas of the Bible that I know of that pertain to preparedness. Today the tables turn, and preparedness, while still involved, IS going to take a back seat to faith.

I’ve put in a lot of road time over the last month, some of which was spent in prayer and some enjoying God’s creation. I also spent some of that time listening to audio books, one of which some of you have recommended; The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn. I’m not done with the Harbinger, so this isn’t a review. In truth, it is only part of the reason for me writing this article. Before I go any further, I want to say that this isn’t Chris on his high horse judging anyone. What I have to say in this article goes just as much for me as anyone else.

I’m not a prophet, just a watchman on the wall. That being said I am not trying to be alarmist either, but I am concerned that something is on the horizon that will require us to be anchored in Christ. I am reminded of the parable of the sower. Jesus tells of a farmer who spread seed. Much of the seed perished for various reasons and only the seed that fell on fertile soil flourished.

Anyone who knows anything about gardening knows that you have to pamper soil to ensure it stays fertile, adding compost and mulch, as well as making sure it’s watered. My point is, just because you were in fertile soil when you took the seed of faith and you grew in Christ, that doesn’t mean you can rest. No, you must tend the soil, feed it and protect it. If you don’t, the weeds can come back in and choke out any growth or pests can damage it.

 

Training

Professional athletes spend a good portion of their lives training for a season that is a few short months long, in a sport they’ll only be able to compete professionally in for a limited amount of years. Some pro-boxers train for months for one night. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!
All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.”

Are you living to win the race? I hate to admit it, but I’m not. My walk with Christ is stronger than it was in my past. I am in the word daily, I pray, but I still stumble far more than I care to admit. Let’s face it, if a pro athlete had to be in training all year, year after year, I don’t think we would have as many sports teams.

I think that modern day Christians in America and other developed nations might have a harder time with their walk than early Christians. Sure early Christians in the first church were persecuted but they wore it as a badge of honor. Modern day Christians are surrounded by temptation on the internet, TV, Radio, not to mention every-day life. The first church consisted of people who lived with Christ for three years and people who grew to know those eleven. We’re some 2,000 years removed and we only have what we read in the texts, published throughout those 2,000 years. What we all have in common is the indwelling of Christ and the Holy Spirit. Like I mentioned above, we must tend the soil to keep it fertile, lest we let the thistle in and it choke out the growth. When that happens, we allow the quieting of that still small voice and the indwelling of Christ is muted.

Make no mistake, this doesn’t mean we get an easy out. On the contrary, this means we have to be more aggressive at tending the soil, at keeping our walk with Christ as close to Him as we can. I have heard many people say that there is nothing we can do, Christ has done it all. This is not completely true; He made it possible for us to be redeemed to the Father, but we still have to, as Paul said, “run to win”.

 

The Danger

As I mentioned above, I feel like there is something on the horizon that will require us to be anchored in Christ. There are a couple of reasons why I think this is important. First if we are firmly affixed to something we are not likely to be shaken from it. I have witnessed people who, when faced with something terrible, lose faith and turn from God. I had a friend who, at one time, was planted in fertile soil. His wife left him and he started to lose faith. He quit tending the soil. He then was diagnosed with colon cancer and the thistle took over. In the end, he blamed God and was bitter, not wanting to talk at all about faith.

Persecution is also something that may drive others from the faith. We in America are very lucky, as persecution only rarely happens. The following is a story from the ADF, the Alliance Defending Freedom. The article is called “The Longest Night”.. It is a story of modern day persecution of a pro-life Christian group that was unlawfully arrested and subjected to “strip searches” all because they held anti-abortion signs along public freeways. The ADF was able to get the following accomplished.

“Harford County and the state troopers formally acknowledged that the officers’ behavior was unconstitutional, and agreed to train officers about First Amendment and free-speech issues.”

We are told that persecution will increase. Is your faith strong enough to see you through mocking, verbal abuse, being called a hater or a bigot, beatings, arrest or more? It is easy to say “yes” from the privacy of a keyboard, but when put to the test, with threat of violence or death, is your faith strong enough to stand for Christ? Might you falter as Peter did?

Completely falling from Christ isn’t the only danger. Jesus tells us in Revelation 3:15-16

“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 3:16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!”

I’ve never attended seminary, so maybe there is another meaning to this verse. To me, any time I have ever spit anything from my mouth is was because it disgusted me. If I breakdown the above verse to me “hot” would be of God, and “cold” of the world. If you are neither, maybe you are a mix of both.

For many years I walked with both feet in the world, then one foot in each. I have whittled away many of the things that cause me to sin. There are still so many areas that trip me up. It is a good thing we have a graceful and loving God!

Revelation 3:19-20 “I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”

If you have areas of your life that cause you to be “lukewarm”, with one foot in the world, be it Internet sites you shouldn’t visit, TV you shouldn’t watch, magazines you shouldn’t be reading or relationships that are not biblical, it might be time to repent and press into the Lord. Let Him correct you and open the door for Him!

While we are individually responsible for our walk, we do not walk alone. One of the things that I am grateful to God for is how this community has formed. We share, encourage and pray for one another. If you have a verse that brings you encouragement or strength, feel free to post it. Do the same for any prayer requests.

 

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Comments

  1. Chris,

    Thanks for your encouragement brother!

    Romans 15:1-4 (NIV)

    15 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

  2. Kelly D. says:

    Chris,

    Thank you for your encouragement in all aspects of surviving this world with heaven in mind. When facing challenges where I know my witness and walk will be challenged by my reaction I try to remember, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13. It helps me calm my spirit and approach the situation from a better point of view and hopefully – a closed mouth.

    • Chris Ray says:

      You’re welcome Kelly.

      That is a good verse, thanks for sharing. My wife’s prayer at times is “Lord keep your arm over my shoulder and your hand over my mouth” lol

  3. Ann Wynne says:

    Awesome article, you spoke my heart…

  4. Amen. Not every Christian who begins the race to win eternal life will actually finish it and thereby win the prize/crown of eternal life. Some Christians will stumble or fall because of the sins they commit, but they will repent and so they are able to continue the race until they pass over the finish line (reach the end of their life on earth). Yet many other Christians will become disqualified for eternal life because of their sins and their lack of repentance and so they are not able to finish the race. Therefore, they do not receive the crown of victory/eternal life. These Christians are condemned to hell instead. Matthew 7:21-23

    Matthew 10:22
    And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

    A once saved person who later falls away from the faith through his/her sins of either omission or commission will not inherit eternal life unless he/she repents of these sins and then continues to remain in God’s fellowship/grace/kindness until the end of his/her physical life on earth.

    2 Peter 3:17
    You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;

    1 Timothy 5:8
    But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

    Revelation 2:10
    Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

  5. Chris, my husband and I were talking about this topic the other day. He had heard a message addressing believers obedience and comparing it to PGA professionals. The analogy compared the importance of adherence to the rules of the game to be obedient to post an honest score, you only hurt yourself if you don’t. The message went on to say we Christians take grace and forgiveness for granted and don’t think we have to live by the “rules”, our LORD said “if you love me keep my commandments” ! That is where we become lukewarm. To me there is nothing more disgusting than a so-called Christian who is pro-choice, very worldy not to mention an extreme deception of the enemy! I know that the more we study the Word the more decernment we have. The best teacher, Rabbi, I have ever had is Zola Levitt, his lessons gave me an unshakeable foundation of faith. The road is narrow but worth the travel. With a civilization deteriorating into unGodliness, preparation is paramount, both spiritually and physically, for our own survival and to help others. Thanks!

    • Chris Ray says:

      The golf analogy is clever, thanks for sharing it.

      I think a big part of the problem is that many people have been given a watered down version of salvation. Gone are the fire and brimstone sermons, now people are more concerned with feeling good and less with being holy.

  6. Jim Moore says:

    Indeed a good word Brother!
    Thank You!

  7. Carl Rooker says:

    I am reminded of a teaching of Jesus. I am not sure what the verse reference is, but it is one that has been on my heart lately.

    There was a Pharisee (religious leader) and a sinner (some versions say tax collector) praying. The Pharisee reminded God of all of his own good works, and how he did everything just the way the Law said. He thanked God that he was not like others, or like this sinner.

    The sinner, however, merely asked, “God, be merciful to me, the Sinner.”

    Jesus said that the Sinner was the one who was Justified before God.

    To be anchored in Christ, here is where we need to dwell.

    • Carl,

      Thanks for that …a good reminder to those who think works will bring eternal life!

      Galatians 2:16
      know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

      Romans 3:22-24
      22 This righteousness is given through faith in[a] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

      • Chris Ray says:

        While true that we are not saved by works, just saying the “salvation prayer” isn’t enough to enter into eternal life either. The prayer is a must, but so is the work of repentance to name just one.

        • Carl Rooker says:

          Did not mean to start a debate about “Faith vs. Works”.

          It is true, that James said, “Faith without works is dead.” It is also true that Paul said we are “…saved by Faith, not by works of the Law…”

          And, saying a prayer does not save us.

          Faith starts at admitting we are “the sinner”. It turns to God for Mercy and Salvation, and the Forgiveness of those sins. What James was saying is that true Faith results in something. IF we truly believe something, it will affect our actions. He said;

          “If you say you have Faith, I will, by my works, show you my Faith.”

          The works do not save us, they are the result of true Faith.

          This does not mean we have to be perfect. If it did, we would have no hope. Or as John say’s;

          “These things are written that we may not sin. But, even if we do sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.”

          What are the Works that God expects of us. Peter said;

          “…that we believe on Him whom He has sent, and to love one another.”

  8. Margaret says:

    I have appreciated this message Chris , as well as the responses.
    I know that Father God sees the end from the beginning and in His wisdom He planned that we be the ones, “for such a time as this.”
    I also know He has given us Holy Spirit, Who dwells within and, “leads us to all truth.” For some reason some believers have the urgency to prepare, whether pre, mid, or post Trib.
    I want to grow in my faith to know beyond any doubt that God’s Word is true and alive. God is no respector of persons, and He changes not. We have been told that, “even greater works than these,” we will do.
    If Jesus can feed 5,000 with small fishes and loaves, I am extending my faith to believe that when I bless the can of beans I have stored away, they will have the ability to feed my neighbours too.
    If the widow in giving her last oil and bread away, had oil running over to give away, so too my water and oil can help multitudes. With God ALL things are possible.
    He is our shepherd, in Him we fear No evil and in Him we shall not want. We watch, we wait, we prepare and we be wise as serpants yet gentle as doves.
    It seems like everything is becoming complete and whole. As the world darkens, His truth and light in us becomes stronger, brighter, and filled with hope, while we also do not ignore that still small voice. (As you have done with this website and we have done in our preparations.)
    I do stand on Psalm 91 and I have seen the hail change to rain over my property! I pray the blood of Jesus around my property. I declare this is our Goshen and in it we will have NO plague, or disaster. I pray in advance before heading out into the world. I pray in advance before the storm clouds gather. May we continue to build up our wall of protection by the Blood of Jesus, build up faith by digging into His word and build up our supplies as we feel led. Amen. Thank you

  9. Brenda speaks of Zola Levitt, who is sorely missed…but Jonathan Cahn, the author of The Harbinger (one of the best books in publication) is also a Messianic Jewish Rabbi and teaches from a similar place as Zola. He also spoke at, I think, the National Day of Prayer and is recorded on YouTube.
    Chris, I’m sure your review of the book will be overwhelmingly positive. Although it doesn’t define our conclusion, it certainly gives us a look at the recent road behind us.

  10. elena marcu says:

    This is a very inspiring article.

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