Friday, November 1, 2013

By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
    “And the children of Issachar, which were men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.” (1 Chron.12: 32)
    WHERE are the men among us today who understand the times and who know what we ought to do? The ability to understand ‘the times’, is undoubtedly a rare ability.  
   And to know how to be proactive or reactive in each situation is equally important. There is a natural ability which comes from genetic inheritance, experience or observation!
    There is also the spiritual gifting which comes directly from the Holy Spirit! God has given to His body, the Church, nine supernatural spiritual gifts which include the unique ‘Gift of the word of knowledge’ and the ‘Gift of the word of wisdom’.
    “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit.” (1 Cor.12: 8). 
     The ‘gift of the word of knowledge is the supernatural ability to know things that are not naturally known and the ‘gift of the word of wisdom’ is the supernatural ability to know how to act or react to that knowledge!
     God has so equipped His Church with these safeguards and tools to not only protect it, but to thrust it forward in its task of building His Kingdom! 
     Whether the ability to “understand the times” and to “know what to do” come to us through natural ability or supernatural gifts is immaterial. The important thing is that we are apprised of the situation, our eyes are wide open and our minds are alert to know, see and do the right things!
     I pray for each one reading these lines that our dear Lord will grant unto all the ability to “know Him who to know is life eternal” and the desire to walk with Him in truth, sincerity and humility, trusting only in His merits for time and eternity!
    And that we may understand the times and know what to do in order to keep our families safe from the filth and gutter slime so prevalent in our disintegrating society. To keep our children safe from this corrupt, wicked and perverted world. (2 John 1:1-9)
    The Bible admonishes: Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise;
  “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but UNDERSTANDING what the will of God is. And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit.” (Eph.5: 14-18)
  You may ask: “Where are the Men?” We have a real problem because we live in a society where many younger men have had no role model due to broken homes and absent Dads!  
    The rage they have developed because of the ache in their hearts for a father often surfaces against their wives and children!
   And it is even worse in common-law arrangements, hopping from one relationship to another, leaving behind bruised and hurting women and children, as well as heart broken men!
    Large numbers of families are hurting because of stubborn foolish pride, self-centeredness, and demons of lust let loose through immoral movies, alcohol and drug abuse and pornography!
     I blame the Devil that has blinded the eyes of Religious Leaders who have been asleep at the switch and didn’t see the approaching train filled with worldly pleasure, compromise and lethargy! 
    And Parents who have allowed their children to change the rules and call the shots!
     St. Paul stated: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that that are lost. In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believed not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Cor.4: 3,4)
     I blame our Politicians who have listened to the voices of the crowd crying: “Give us the Murderer Barabbas” and “Crucify Jesus the Christ: We won’t have Him to rule over us!” (Matt.27: 20-26).
     Amazingly, politicians are often allowed to pass laws that are unhealthy, immoral and ungodly and believe that they can go scot-free, that there are no further consequences!
    A good example is the ‘same-sex marriage’ or as it has been aptly called ‘man-on-man’ marriage, which our former corrupt, sleazy Government pushed through against the wishes of the majority of Canadians. 
     Do they think that they had the last word on that? That they can get away with it? Well, they won’t! It will come back to bite them in this life and the next! 
     One day, every lawmaker, politician and judge that has contributed to the breakdown of society, destruction of marriages through perverted laws, knowingly releasing pedophiles and murderers into society to molest, rape and kill, will stand before the greatest Judge of all to hear His verdict.
   The Bible states: “For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” (Romans 1: 18)
   It means to suppress the truth and hide it from the people, to cover it up or water it down. It means to lie about the truth and promote the very opposite. It means to substitute another agenda that is carnal, fleshly and untruthful.
    St. Paul warned: “Because that when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God…but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 
   "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. Wherefore God gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie...
    “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust, one toward another…
   “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave then over to a REPROBATE MIND, to do those things which are not convenient.” (Romans 1: 21-28)
   WARNING: “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will Judge.” (Heb.13: 4)
     The Bible warns PERVERTS: “And Jesus called a little child unto Him and set him in the midst of them. And said: Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
    “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matt. 18: 2, 3, 6)
   Every philosopher, theologian and preacher who suppresses the truth and perverts the teachings of Jesus Christ will have to stand before the Eternal Judge on the‘Day of Judgment’
   Unbelievers will appear at the Great White Throne presided over by our Lord Jesus Christ:
    “And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God;
    “And the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
   “And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works. 
     And death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev.20: 11-15)
    Believers in Christ will all appear at the Bema Seat Judgment. It is where followers of Jesus Christ will be judged for rewards or lack thereof depending on their works: Here are the words of Holy Scripture on this matter:
    “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Cor.5: 10)
    The Bible commands believers to turn from sins that war against the soul and flee from the wrath to come, by abiding in Christ the sure rock of our salvation! 
    St. Paul admonishes the church: “If so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the TRUTH is in Jesus:
   “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
   “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man TRUTH with his neighbour: for ye are members one of another. Neither give place to the devil.” (Eph.4: 21-27)
“I beseech ye therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.   And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Rom.12: 1,2)
    “Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith;
   “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand at the throne of God.” (Heb.12: 1,2)
     Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God”. He asked: “How can these things be?” (John 3: 1-9). Jesus answered:    “Art thou a Master of Israel, and knowest not these things? If I have told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?”
   O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye discern the signs of the times?” (Matt.16:3)
                          WELL, WHAT TIME IS IT?
Jesus’ disciples asked Him: “Tell us, what shall be the sign of Thy coming and the end of the world?” (Matt.24: 3) Jesus warned: “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceiver many.” (Matt.24: 4,5)
  Then He warned of coming conflicts, wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, tsunamis, persecution, betrayals, hatred, false prophets, love of money, increase in sinfulness and backsliding.
   THE LAST SIGN: “This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the World as a witness and then shall the end come.” (Matt.24: 14). Before ascending to Heaven he was asked by His disciples: “Wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”
    Jesus answered: “It is not for you to know the TIMES or the SEASONS which the Father hath put in His own power. 
     "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem and in Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1: 7, 8)
    St. Paul warns: “For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your SANCTIFICATION, that you should abstain from fornication.
   “That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence (sensual appetite, desire) even as the Gentiles (heathen) which know not God. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness but unto holiness. (1 Thes.4: 2-7)
     In his novel, A Tale of Two Cities (1859) set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution, Charles Dickens wrote:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.”
   While Maximillin Robespierre and his gang of rebels almost destroyed France, God used John Wesley and his righteous, holy Methodists to save England from a similar tragedy!
    THE BIBLE clearly states what the spiritual condition of the world will be like in the ‘Latter-Days’ or the ‘End-Times’ which point to the soon return of Jesus Christ. Here are some of those markers:
   “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the LATTER TIMES some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron. (1 Tim.4: 1-5)
   “This know, also that in the LAST DAYS perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good., traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Tim.1, 2)
   Jesus warned: “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came and took them all away.
   “So, shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 
    "Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. Therefore, be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.” (Matt.24: 37- 42, 44)
                        LET US CONSIDER JESUS! 
    "Wherefore holy brethren, partakers of the Heavenly calling. consider the Apostle and High Priest of our  profession (confession) Christ Jesus." (Heb. 3:1-2)
    There could never be any comparison between Jesus of Nazareth and any mortal man because He was not a man like any other. He was the “Son that was given and the Child that was born” (Isa.9: 6)
    He was virgin born, without any sin. He lived without sin and died without sin. When He died on the cross of shame, He atoned for our sins by meeting the demands of Divine Justice though His vicarious death for us all.
    Jesus Christ was TRUE GOD from eternity and TRUE MAN. He was the Creator of the worlds, space and the entire cosmos, giver of life and redeemer of lost humanity. 
    It was love that drew Him to earth to deliver us from the power of sin, sickness, fear, pain and the occult! He came here to deliver us from the devil and his evil power! (Col.1:13; Phil.2: 5-11; 1 John 3:8)
     The Bible states unequivocally: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16, 17)
                          LET US LOOK UNTO JESUS!
    "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher (perfecter), Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb.12: 2) 
    Don’t just look at Him but look unto Him for forgiveness, counsel, comfort, healing. Go to Him with your needs and watch Him work in your life! Draw your sustenance from Him. He is Jehovah Jirah, the Lord our provider. He is Jehovah Ra-ah, the Lord our Shepherd. He is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our physician who heals us. He is Jehovah Shammah, the Lord is present. He is Jehovah Tksidkenu, the Lord our righteousness. He is Jehovah Nissi, the Captain of our Salvation who fights our battles for us. He is Jehovah Shalom, the Lord our peace!

                             LET US FOLLOW JESUS!
    "Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His Own Blood, suffered without the Gate. Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach." (Heb. 13: 13) 
   Take up your cross and become His Disciple. Serve Him. Live for Him. Look for His Return! (Matt.11: 28)
   You will then become like the Sons of Issachar who understood the times and knew what Israel had to do! May God richly bless you as you draw near unto Him for He has promised to draw near unto you! (James 4: 8). He will accept you when you call upon His name in sincerity and faith. (John 6: 7). Amen.