“Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” 3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. Matthew 24:1-12 (NKJV)
Specific signs of the last days:
People will say that they are Jesus.
A lot of deception (Leading people astray)
Wars and rumors of wars (Strife, fighting everywhere)
Nation will rise against nation (Nation is the word “éthnos”, is where we get the English Word Etnic.
Kingdom against kingdom (Governments)
Earthquakes (A lot of shaking)
Great tribulation and the mass killing of the true people of God.
Great hatred against God’s people all over the world.
Many will be offended and leave churches because of offenses.
A lot of betrayal and hatred from within the church.
The rise of many false prophets that will tell people what they want to hear and move people away from God.
Because of lawlessness many will grow cold in the things of God. Everybody will accommodate the law to their convenience to satisfy their carnal desires.
Every activity offer by the world is designed by Satan to keep us from being on fire from God. This is so because Satan is the god of this world according to Second Corinthians 4:3-4
“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” (NKJV)
From music, to clothing, to movies in Hollywood is all designed to keep our minds away from meditating on the Lord. Even things that appear to be good, when the focus take us away from God Himself it become another distraction and a potential idol. Many people in the church have become secular minded and are constantly mixing with the things of this world. The world and what the world has to offer is very attractive to our flesh. To justify our carnality we make pitiful attempts to spiritualize our worldly activities.
So many Christians go to clubs and dance to the sounds of secular artist who are enemies of God. As we dance to their rhythm we approve and support their agenda and therefor give Satan legal right to enter into our lives and do greater damage. We find ourselves spending money to support their music, their movies, their TV Shows, their line of clothing, etc. We convinced ourselves that we are not doing it for Satan, but Satan is a liar and a deceiver, so we can actually find ourselves worshipping him without knowing it. In John 15:19 Jesus told us:
“If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (NKJV)
These are tough words to swallow, but when we find ourselves in a friendly relationship with the world something is actually wrong with our Christianity.
Nobody likes to be hated, everybody likes to be respected and liked, but when you are serious about your Christianity you will clash with the world system. In the last days we will have a remnant that will be on fire for God and because of it, they will be hated by the world according to Matthew 24.
Today we see many politicians who present themselves as Christians and Religious’ leaders who purposely avoid taking a Biblical stance on the issue of homosexuality. They are also avoiding the reality of Christ as the Only way to heaven. Making a Biblical stance on these two issues will guaranty great hate against us.
Take a look at this video where Former President George Bush, who campaigned as Christian, was asked about Jesus being the only way to heaven:
As you can see in these videos, the Gospel is under attack, so many people that consider themselves saved, are not really, because more and more we see that this new gospel does not need Jesus. Therefor there is no need for repentance. So we have problems right at the door. With the fear for being accused of judging many chose to back off from the topic of repentance.
As you enter then, the house of God’s family, we are also under attack, because now Satan has found ways of taking away our fire by promoting the mixing of the world with Christianity under the umbrella of ministry. We are call to love everyone, but we are not call to fellowship with the world or the things of this world. Second Corinthians 6:13-18 tells us:
“13 Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open. 14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” 17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”(NKJV)
In Psalm 137:1-4 we see the Levites being capture by the powerful Babylonian nation of that time. The Babylonians wanted the Israelites to sing, it could have been a great opportunity to minister to them in song right? To win a few for Jesus right? But look at how the Israelites answered:
“1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars we hung our harps,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?”
These people knew that there is no place for mixing with the world for God’s people. The bottom line is that many Christians today are afraid! If we confess Jesus as the only way to heaven the world will accuse us of being crazy, arrogant, close-minded and others. On the other hand if we established that sin is sin, we will be hated. James 4:4 tells us:
“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (NKJV)
Lets take the issue of homosexuality for example. Homosexuality is, not only a sin before God, but an abomination. The spirit of homosexuality is so strong that their leaders are making the atrocity of comparing their fight for social, moral and legal acceptance of homosexuality to the fight for racial equality. Lets look at another Christian leader speaking on this issue:
It is hard for us as Christians to understand that we do not have a middle line; it is hard for us to understand that everything that refuses to give glory to God will indeed take our fire for God away. The Bible tells us in Matthew 18:8-9
“If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.” (NIV 1984)
Is there anything we need to cut off? The concern here is, are we as Christians call to miss out on things? Are we called to take away from our children what the rest of the children have? This is how Jesus response to this concern:
“He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:39 (NKJV)
The Devil will have us think that we are losing, but we are not, we are actually gaining a life that no one else can offer. We are called to do what God tells us to do…in that we will find the abundant life that Jesus came to give us according to John 10:10.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” NKJV
So what can we do in this world as Christians? We still need water, food and shelter; we still need to wear clothing and we still need to make a living. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:31-34
“31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” NKJV
These verses are making it clear that God is aware that there are things we need for our survival; but He is also making it clear that we should not make it a priority in our lives to run after those things. God is telling us not to worry, He promise that He will provide, but He also is giving us how the order of our priorities should be. In verse 33 God tells us:
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” NKJV
The word Seek here means: “To strive to find, to go after.” The Kingdom is God’s Government and Righteousness is God’s way of doing things. God must be first; He demands first place in our lives because nobody else can do HIS job. Only God can heal us, restore us, save us, give us purpose, give us true joy and peace that overpass all understanding according to Philippians 4:7.
Why do we continue to mix with the world? The answer is very easy to find; we want the acceptance and validation of this world. The children of Israel did the same thing as they ask for a king that would lead them; that was the system established in the known world, so the Israelites, like many of us today, have the same carnal desire. In First Samuel 8 we see the story of God’s people step in the wrong direction. Even as Prophet Samuel tried to discourage the people from such idea, even after God Himself told them that having a king was going to hurt them deeply, they replied in verse 19 and 20a,
“No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations…” NIV
That is exactly what we do today, we know that we are spending too much time messing with our smart phones, we know that we are spending too much time on Facebook, we know that movie is not Godly, we know that TV Show has a demonic agenda and that is presenting a value and moral system that is against God, we know that those books are drying our souls, we know that those videos games are taking away our ability to sense God’s presence, we know that this or that relationship is not good for us…but we do it anyway because deep inside we want to be like the world. We resolve in our minds that they, the world, have all the goodies, they get to have fun and I want some of that to…after all, I deserve that, I am not a bad person, I go to church on Sundays, I don’t smoke and I have not kill anybody, after all, everybody else is doing it…so, why not me?
Beloved, we are call to be holy, a people separated for God. I know that legalism and man-made religion have done a great deal of damage, however that is not an excuse for us to live our lives as if we are able to do whatever we want without having to pay any consequences. First Corinthians 10:23 tells us:
“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive.” NIV 1984
We must understand that even as we have the freedom, especially in this country, to do whatever we want as long as we are not violating the law, not everything is beneficial and/or constructive. We must know that those things we insist in doing that are against God’s Word carry very painful consequences. No! We are not call to do whatever we want, we are call to do what God wants. Romans 8:6-9 tells us:
“6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”
What kind of mind do we have today? What kind of walk are we walking today? Maybe the problem is that the Spirit of God is not in you. May be you are moving away from God because you are offended or because you got a hold of some false teachings.
This writer does not write from the pride of a perfect life where I did everything right. I am writing as one who knows sin very well. I wish I can hide behind the leaves of my days before coming to the knowledge of Christ, but I can’t. I have sinned with the sin of fornication. Oh I know that many say that all sins are the same, but even as all sins will separate you from God and all sin will guide you into hell without Jesus and without true repentance, there are sins that will cause more damage to your soul than others. Fornication is that kind of sin that is designed to destroy a men or a women of God. In First Corinthians 6:18 the Bible tells us:
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” NKJV
I know first hand what it is to go after the desires of our flesh. In my case is taking me years to get back to feeling God’s fire in my life. But I don’t want you to be discouraged. Right now, take the time to truly repent and return to God for He is faithful and He will always love you. God has not deleted His plan for you. I end this small e-book with these words from Romans 11:29 as Paul tells us:
“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” NKJV
People of God, Get Up; We Do Not Belong on the Floor
By Angel Casiano
All Rights Reserved
In the morning of April 17, 2011, I woke up early and went for a walk with my dogs around my community in Arlington in the city of Jacksonville, Florida. It was before our morning service at The Hispanic Church of God, when I serve as a member of the Worship Team. I could sense that God was going to do something unusual. I love it when God does unusual things. The routines bore me! Thankfully, our Pastors, Dr. Vivoni and his lovely wife were open to the interruptions of the Holy Spirit. As our Worship Leader, Charles Couret officially started the service; it seemed like just one more service. However, it was far away from a normal service. The Spirit of God moved through the musicians; new songs started birthing all over and as the Spirit of God started moving in me, I heard a powerful expression in my spirit that I needed to share with the people: “People of God: get up, We do not belong on the floor.” This small book is the direct result of the awesome move of God in that service.We are not Exempt from Pain Are we exempt from suffering, injustice and pain? Absolutely not; for the Bible tells us “…that many are the afflictions of the righteous…” Can a Christian stumble? Can a Christian be hurt? Absolutely! Many of our troubles are indeed our own doing! However, whether the troubles are of our own doing or not, we must focus on God so that we can come out of the mess. God is the only one that can deliver us. Psalm 34:17-22 tells us:“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. The LORD will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.”We can see in these verses that troubles will come, guarantied, but the promise is that God has the power to deliver us from them “ALL.” The word “all” means: “every single one.” God can deliver us from every single one of our afflictions.
Looking at Our Falls
It is obvious that throughout history many of us have indeed fallen; but why did we fall? Because we move away from the path God has given us to follow: Jude 1:17-24 tells us:“But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” God is able to keep us from falling, but that is if we continue to build ourselves in the most holy faith by praying in the Holy Ghost; by staying in the love of God and looking for His mercy. It is God, in us, doing the work, not us by ourselves. When we do these things, we give God the permission in our lives to keep us from those horrible falls. Now, you and I know that we have not always stayed on that path; that in our humanity and in our disobedience, we have gone astray many times. We are a work in progress. That is why the Bible tells in Psalm 119:67 “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.”
The Inner War
I believe that the evil one has done a good job in convincing God’s people that their troubles and afflictions are indications of God not loving them; somehow they are feeling that there is something wrong with their faith; some even feel like they are not saved. They have yet to understand the nature of life as Christians; and even more tragic, the sinful nature that still resides in us according to Galatians 5:16-17“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Beloved, there is a war taking place on the inside of us; it is the war between the part of you that wants to do the right thing and the part of you that loves sin. Every Christian is engaging in that war daily. The soul is in the middle, deciding between the will of your sinful nature and the will of the Spirit of God in you. This war is designed for you to fail on your own; we don’t even have a chance if we try to engage in these things with our own power. This war is also designed to establish our dependence in God.The
Divine Nature in Us
2 Peter 1:2-4 speaks to us about the divine nature that resides within us; it is the divine nature that is given by God that makes us able to overcome the world and live Godly lives:“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” Everything that we need to get up, if we are down, is already on the inside of us. It is not the ridiculous approach of relying on self that is going to give us the power to get up; being the “captains of our souls” is not going to cut it. We must surrender to Jesus; we must get a hold of that divine nature that can help us to shine through this evil age. We can shine as much if we allow our divine nature to consume our hearts.
A Walk by Faith and not by Circumstances
The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we live by faith, not by sight.” We can’t judge ourselves based on our current circumstances. We must keep the faith, even when, in the natural, there is no logical reason to believe. The people of God will find themselves in difficult circumstances.
The Brutal Nature of our Struggles
The Apostle Paul stated in 2 Timothy that “He fought the good fight…” Surely, it was not a little dance or a walk in the park; it was a fight; a bloody fight. Ephesians 6:12 tells us:“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.” Many times, we read this verse and we don’t realize that the word “struggle” is extremely significant and insightful. This word implies a contact fight; but not just a fight; not just a wrestling match, not just a boxing match, a kick boxing match or even an ultimate fighting match. This is a fight where the objective of your opponent is to place himself on top of you and shock you to death as he watches you straight in your eyes. No, this is not a cowardly “drive-by” shooting; your opponent enjoys watching you as you die. As believers we must understand that our circumstances ought not to dictate and determine who we are. David would have never been the kind of man he became without a Goliath. The nature of your battle will determine the magnitude of your assignment, but most of all, the magnitude of your character. God is working in you and through you in the midst of your battle. That is why our walk must be a walk of faith as we trust the work of God in our lives; it may be crazy for the world; but we ought to know that God is at work.
Get Off The Floor!
The amazing thing about a man and/or woman of God is that we do not belong on the floor like a boxer being knocked-out. A lost person is on the floor whether they recognize their condition or not. However, God’s people, on the other hand, have the ability in God to stand in the midst of whatever life throws at them. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 14:32“When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous seek refuge in God.” The calamities that come our way are a good method to test our faith and trust in God. When we are praying for the miracle that refuses to manifest, when we pray and things seems to get worst, when all hell is breaking loose around…it is then, that our trust in God is truly tested; it is then that we show the world what we are truly made of. This verse gives us the ultimate test: “…even in death the righteous seek refuge in God.” We can here the echoes of Psalm 23:4 also:“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
The promise is that God will deliver us from all of our troubles (Psalm 34:19) Beloved; we do not belong on the floor; it is time to get up. You have that divine power within to do so. Even King David, with all of his troubles, caused mostly by his own doings; made a powerful statement in First Kings 1:29“And the king sware, and said, As the LORD liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress…” When King David made this statement, he was already an old man and close to his death. King David endured rejection from his family, ran for his life out of the hands of King Saul, had many battles, blood on his hands, personal adultery, had one of his sons publicly having sex with all of David’s wives, had one of his other sons sexually molest his own sister, had murder in his own family and now an old man…David finds himself alone as he never again had intimacy or closeness with neither one of his wives. David was, seemingly, so alone that he found a young woman to sleep with him to keep him warm, however they never had intimacy. This beautiful young woman was there just to care for the king. What a pitiful way of ending such a great man’s life, someone would think. However, David was fine! David speaks of how his soul was redeemed from all of his distress. Beloved, we too, will be redeemed from all of our distress. People of God Get Up; We Do Not Belong on the Floor!