LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS RESEARCH             November 9, 2015      LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS PUBLISHING
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Spiritual Formation Versus The Life of Christ—Which One Will You Choose?

Spiritual formation is sweeping quickly throughout Christianity today. It’s no wonder, when the majority of Christian leaders have either endorsed the movement or given it a silent pass. For instance, in Chuck Swindoll’s book So You Want to Be Like Christ: 8 Essential Disciplines to Get Your There, Swindoll favorably quotes Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. Swindoll calls Celebration of Discipline a “meaningful work”1 and Willard’s book The Spirit of the Disciplines “excellent work.”2 In chapter three,”Silence and Solitude,” Swindoll talks about “digging for secrets . . . that will deepen our intimacy with God.”3 Quoting the contemplative poster-verse Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God,” Swindoll says the verse is a call to the “discipline of silence.”4 As other contemplative proponents have done, he has taken this verse very much out of context.

Roger Oakland explains:

The Spiritual Formation movement . . . teaches people that this is how they can become more intimate with God and truly hear His voice. Even Christian leaders with longstanding reputations of teaching God’s word seem to be succumbing. . . .

We are reconciled to God only through his “death” (the atonement for sin), and we are presented “holy and unblameable and unreproveable” when we belong to Him through rebirth. It has nothing to do with works, rituals, or mystical experiences. It is Christ’s life in the converted believer that transforms him.5

What Christians need is not a method or program or ritual or practice  that will supposedly connect them to God. What we need is to be “in Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:30) and Christ in us. And He has promised His Spirit “will guide [us] into all truth” (John 16:13).

In Colossians 1:9, the apostle Paul tells the saints that he was praying for them that they “might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” He was praying that they would have discernment (“spiritual understanding”). He said that God, the Father, has made us “partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (vs 12) and had “delivered us from the power of darkness [i.e., power of deception]” (vs. 13). But what was the key to having this wisdom and spiritual understanding and being delivered from the power of darkness? Paul tells us in that same chapter. He calls it “the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints” (vs. 26). What is that mystery? Verse 27 says: “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

For those wanting to get involved with the Spiritual Formation movement (i.e., contemplative, spiritual direction), consider the “direction” you will actually be going.

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel. (Colossians 1:21-23)

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2: 8-10)

For more information on Spiritual Formation, read our article Is Your Church Doing Spiritual Formation? (Important Reasons Why They Shouldn’t) here.

Endnotes:
1. Chuck Swindoll, So You Want to Be Like Christ: 8 Essential Disciplines to Get You There (Nashville, TN:W Publishing Group, a div. of Thomas Nelson, 2005), p. 15.
2. Ibid., p. 13.
3. Ibid., p. 55.
4. Ibid.
5. Roger Oakland, Faith Undone (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails, 2007), pp. 91-92.

 

Letter to the Editor: General Superintendent, Jo Anne Lyon, Leading Wesleyan Church Down Contemplative/Emergent Road?

Photo: Jo Anne Lyon (used in accordance with US Fair Use Act from PBS)

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

The Wesleyan church is being lead by Jo Anne Lyon, who has yoked the denomination with false teachers.  I had been in a church that was taken over by the Wesleyan denomination.  I later transferred my membership away from it.  She has spoken in our church and she all but tripped over herself in bowing down in name dropping being in meetings with Rick Warren and Bono.  She also was giving credit to the teachings of Richard Foster.  She also has signed many documents with the usual suspects and their names on it – Rick Warren, Bill and Lynn Hybels, Tony Campolo, Jim Wallis, Ron Sider, and the like.  She has equated being pro-environment/climate change with being pro-life.  She is pushing the social gospel and spiritual formation.

Even if it were a man in the pulpit spewing this stuff, I would say it is unbiblical.  Thought I would let you know to keep your eye on things.

https://www.wesleyan.org/sftour

Here is just one of the stops coming up:

GO + MAKE | The Wesleyan Church

The Spiritual Formation Department Tour: GO + MAKE is coming to the Chesapeake District on Saturday, November 7, 2015. The event will be hosted by Calvary Wesleyan Church in Harrington, Delaware. https://www.wesleyan.org/3490/go-make

Saturday, November 7th is the date set for GO + MAKE a one-day, holistic, all-church discipleship training event for local church leaders plus a Generous Church Training event for lead pastors and spouses. Both events will be hosted by Calvary Wesleyan Church in Harrington, Delaware for the Chesapeake District and will run from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. Don’t miss this day of training and learning. These events are a great opportunity for you and your church congregants to be challenged and energized by our denominational leaders.

Presenters include:

Rev. Jeremy Summers, Director of Spiritual Formation, previous to his current appointment, he served three Wesleyan churches in Indiana and Illinois. He has also studied at Indiana Wesleyan University, Asbury Theological Seminary, and currently at Fuller Theological Seminary. Jeremy is also the author of Awakening Grace: Spiritual Practices to Transform Your Soul, the Merge Discipleship Series, and The Way Forward.

Rev. Scott Simmons, Director of Youth Ministries for the Wesleyan denomination, has served in youth ministry for over 18 years. He is an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church and a graduate of Bethany Bible College and Indiana Wesleyan University. Scott is committed to the Wesleyan youth movement, being involved with youth camps, student and adult leadership development and the Wesleyan youth conventions.

Rev. Kathy George, Director of Children’s Ministries for the Wesleyan denomination, has been a children’s ministry director for 28 years. She served at First Wesleyan Church in Chilllicothe, Ohio for 9 years, and is currently in her 19th year at Cypress Wesleyan in Columbus, Ohio. During her time at Cypress, she has seen the children’s ministry grow from 200 to over 1,000 participants. She loves sharing her passion for Children’s Ministries through her position in The Wesleyan Church.

The Generous Church Training for lead pastors and their spouses will be presented by The Generous Church Organization. Andy Stanley, Senior Pastor, North Point Community Church, Alpharetta, Georgia say of this event, “The Generous Church team are partners to churches striving to create cultures of generosity by reaching every steward. Creating culture starts with the leaders, and the team brings the vision, strategies, and tools to equip church leaders for this important yet challenging task.”

Back Up Research and Documentation from Lighthouse Trails:

  1. Dr. Jo Anne Lyon’s book The Ultimate Blessing: My Journey to Discovering God’s Presence is laden with quotes by and references to contemplative and or emergent figures such as Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, Soren Kiekergaard, and Jurgen Moltmann.
  2.  The Wesleyan Church website offers a book series on Lectio Divina (see LT article on What is Lectio Divina?)
  3.  The “Consistent Life” Document (“An International Network for Peace, Justice, and Life”) is signed by several contemplative/emergent/New Spirituality figures including: Wendell Berry, Shane Claiborne, Richard Foster, Richard Rohr, Brian McLaren, Jim Wallis, Ron Sider, Jean Vanier (trained Rick Warren’s spiritual director),and New Age teacher Wayne Teasdale.
  4.  (2006) Wesleyan Goes Deeper into Contemplative
  5. List of 50 Top Contemplative-Promoting Organizations Adds 8 Runner Ups

Related Information:

Letter to the Editor: Campus Crusade for Christ “Gospel Message” Includes Spiritual Formation/Contemplative Spirituality

Question to the Editor: What’s Up with Lilly Endowment – Funding Pastoral Sabbaticals with a Contemplative Agenda

“Spiritual Disciplines Handbook” – Christian Organizations, Seminaries, and Ministry Leaders Incorporate This Mystical Primer into Christian Education

Wesleyan Goes Deeper into Contemplative (2006)

Sending Your Child or Teen to Camp This Summer? – Be Careful – Many are Promoting Contemplative Spirituality (2013)

 

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Formation Versus The Life of Christ—Which One Will You Choose?
Letter to the Editor: General Superintendent, Jo Anne Lyon, Leading Wesleyan Church Down Contemplative/Emergent Road?
New Spirituality Teacher Says “The Jig is Up” to Those Who Believe in “the Blood of the Lamb”
"Prophetic Prayer" Claims God Has Given Donald Trump "Anointing for Mantle of Government"

From a Soviet Prison Camp: Ode To My Persecutors

Letter to the Editor: Oprah’s Latest Attempt to Introduce New Age Spirituality to Evangelical Church
Calvary Chapel Pastor Greg Laurie Posts Photo Standing with New Age Advocate Roma Downey
NEW BOOKLET TRACT: The Unacknowledged War and the Wearing Down of the Saints
4 Months in Kenya for U.S. Family
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Lighthouse Trails is a Christian publishing company and research project ministry. We work with a group of Christian journalists and authors, all who understand the times in which we live from a biblical perspective. While we hope you will buy and read the books we have published, watch the DVDs we have produced, and support our ministry, we also provide extensive free research, documentation, and news on our Research site, blog, e-newsletter, and now our subscription based print journal. We pray that the books as well as the online research will be a blessing to the body of Christ and a witness to those who have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.

 

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New Spirituality Teacher Says “The Jig is Up” to Those Who Believe in “the Blood of the Lamb”

Every now and then something come along that presents our case in such a succinct and obvious way that we are compelled to share it with our readers with the hope it will leave no question as to how serious the present situation is with regard to Christianity in the Western world. Religious author Diana Butler Bass, who was one of the speakers at the recent Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, has written a book titled Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening. In it, she makes the stunning statement:

Conventional, comforting Christianity has failed. It does not work. For the churches that insist on preaching it, the jig is up. We cannot go back, and we should not want to. . . . In earlier American awakenings, preachers extolled “old-time religion” as the answer to questions about God, morality, and existence. This awakening is different . . . it is not about sawdust trails, mortification of sin [putting to death the old man], and being washed in the blood of the Lamb [the preaching of the Cross – emphasis ours]. The awakening going on around us is not an evangelical revival; it is not returning to the faith of our fathers or re-creating our grandparents church. Instead, it is a Great Returning to ancient understandings of the human quest for the divine. (pp. 36, 99).

Contrast this with 2 Corinthians 5: 18-21, which states:

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

It could not be any more clear what’s at stake here. The term “the jig is up” is a slang term that has the connotation of someone being caught at doing something wrong. It has an intrinsically militant tone that is more or less saying “you’re not going to get away with this any longer.” By Butler Bass saying “the jig is up,” there is an underlying implication of a mounting consensus that backs up that statement, such as what Ray Yungen and others we know recently witnessed at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, where 14,000 people attended and where a clear animosity toward biblical Christians was prevalent.

Inside Diana Butler Bass’ book that so openly rejects the Cross and the atonement are the following glowing endorsements of people you have probably heard of:

She’s spot-on prophetic, compelling, and most important, hopeful. —Rob Bell, author of Love Wins

Join her in rebuilding religion from the bottom up!—Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation and author of Falling Upward

She has a good nose to sniff out crappy religion, but she also has the eyes to see new life budding from the compost of Christendom. Shane Claiborne, mentored by Tony Campolo

Diana Butler Bass has a keen eye for what is happening in the Christian world these days— so keen, she is able to see through the bad news for the good news that is emerging. Parker Palmer

Bass as one of our foremost commentators on twenty-first century Christianity.—Marcus Borg

I expect (and hope) that this will be the must-read ‘church book’ for every Christian leader— clergy and lay— for years to come.” —Brian D. McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity and Naked Spirituality

We hope our readers will pass this information onto to many they know and pray it may jolt quite a number of people out of complacency or even skepticism into the realization that what we’ve been reporting on these past nearly 14 years is actually occurring.

What Butler Bass refers to as the “ancient understandings of the human quest for the divine” is what the apostle Paul called the mystery of iniquity. This is where man is deceived by familiar spirits (demons) into believing that man is God.

And when it comes to the preaching of the Cross, Diana Butler Bass, Marcus Borg, Brian McLaren, Richard Rohr, and Shane Claiborne are wrong. On the contrary to what they believe, the preaching of the Cross DOES work. People ARE reconciled to God when they are washed in the blood of the lamb. In other words, they’re not just wrong, they are terribly tragically wrong.

And they [the saints of Jesus Christ] overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:11)

 

‘Prophetic Prayer’ Claims God Has Given Donald Trump ‘Anointing for Mantle of Government’

By Heather Clark
Christian News Network

DALLAS, Texas — A leadership and motivational speaker recently delivered what he called a “prophetic prayer” to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump via his attorney, claiming that God has given Trump “an anointing for the mantle of government.”

Lance Wallnau of Dallas posted a video on Facebook on Tuesday that showed the speaker encouraging Christians at an event in North Carolina to support Trump. He was surrounded by scores of attendees who cheered for the presidential candidate with their hands raised in the air.

“My dear Michael Cohen,” Wallnau states, referring to Trump’s attorney, “I am here with a group of people that are praying for and encouraging Mr. Donald Trump. These are the tribe; would you all encourage him!” . . .

Wallnau was among those present last month when over 30 members of the clergy met with Trump [including David Jeremiah] at his New York City tower and laid hands on him to pray for his potential presidency. Prosperity preachers Kenneth Copeland, Paula White and TBN’s Jan Crouch were also present. Click here to continue reading.

From a Soviet Prison Camp: Ode To My Persecutors

By Georgi Vins

prison-camp-soliders-with-dTo My Persecutors

My persecutors, I do not curse you,
And at this hour under the burden of the cross
I pray for you and bless you
With the simple humanity of Christ.

I am pure before you: by word and deeds
I have called you to good and to light.
I have so much wished that your hearts
Would be possessed by the lofty ideal of love.

But rejecting this kind summons
You answered with rabid enmity.
My persecutors, I do not curse you,
But I am saddened by your fate.

The immortal examples of history
Speak of the futility of persecution—
The fires of love and abundant faith
Burn enthusiastically through the whole land!

My persecutors, I do not curse you,
And at this hour under the burden of the cross
I pray for you and bless you
With the simple humanity of Christ.

—Georgi P. Vins
Anyusha Prison Camp
December 1968

From The Gospel in Bonds by Georgi Vins

Letter to the Editor: Oprah’s Latest Attempt to Introduce New Age Spirituality to Evangelical Church

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

In light of your coverage regarding the Parliament of the World’s Religions, which took place Oct.15-19 in Salt Lake City, UT, it has been brought to my attention that Oprah’s “Belief” (her 7-episode television series) was shown some time during the conference, according to a post-conference e-mail from Imam Abdul Majik Mujahid, Board Chair of the Parliament of the World Religions.

Oprah’s “Belief” television series (7 episodes) premiered Oct.18 on OWN Network and is Oprah’s latest attempt to introduce New Age Spirituality and interfaith spirituality to the evangelical church:

Here is the link to the 2 minute trailer:

http://www.oprah.com/belief/Oprah-Winfrey-Presents-Belief

Photo: Used in accordance with the US Fair Use Act; 2 second still from video from Oprah.com.

On that page, it states:

Seven billion people, searching for connection, redemption, meaning. Oprah Winfrey presents the seven-night event, “Belief,” a groundbreaking television event exploring humankind’s ongoing search to connect with something greater than ourselves.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/belief/Oprah-Winfrey-Presents-Belief#ixzz3q3IbNpjz

You have warned about Oprah much in the past (see http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?s=oprah&search=Search).

Although Oprah was not physically present at the Parliament of World’s Religions, her influence was there . . .

In Christ,

CONCERNED IN CALIFORNIA

 
Calvary Chapel Pastor Greg Laurie Posts Photo Standing with New Age Advocate Roma Downey

LTRL Note: On the Lighthouse Trails FaceBook page, where we posted the following photo and statement, we received a wide variety of response. Some were upset with Greg Laurie for posting this picture on his own Facebook Account; others were upset with Lighthouse Trails for "judging" him and posting this. If Greg Laurie had his lunch get-together with Roma Downey and her husband to share the biblical Gospel with them, then that would be a good thing as we need to reach out to the lost. However, given the fact that he posted this on his Facebook account, where he knew thousands would see the photo, without any explanation as to the nature of the meeting, merely sends out the message that Laurie has no problem with Roma Downey or her husband. If he had wanted to have a private meeting with them, that is one thing, but he shared it with virtually the whole world by posting it on Facebook. And, we think he owes the church an honest explanation. Roma Downey is a devout Catholic and a New Age sympathizer, and we know from Scripture that the Catholic church teaches a "different gospel" and the New Age teaches a false christ.

Our Post:

A Lighthouse Trails reader sent this photo (see below) to us today (October 28th). It is a picture of Calvary Chapel pastor Greg Laurie, standing with Roma Downey and Mark Burnett and was posted on Greg Laurie’s Facebook page along with this caption by Downey:

So nice spending time with friends. Mark and I had a lovely lunch today with Greg and Cathe Laurie ‪#‎harvestoc

Such a photo only heightens concerns as to the direction Greg Laurie (one of Calvary Chapel’s most popular pastors)  is taking the church.

In 2012, Chris Lawson (a former Calvary Chapel pastor, now a Lighthouse Trails author) wrote a report about a book titled Have Heart (which is the story of pastor Steve Berger and communication with his deceased son). Even though the book encouraged necromancy, it was endorsed by Greg Laurie.

In author Greg Reid’s booklet, Confused by an Angel: The Dilemma of Roma Downey’s New Age Beliefs, he documents that Roma Downey is aligned with the New Age. That, though, has not deterred Christian leaders, such as David Jeremiah and now Greg Laurie, from showing comradeship with Downey and Burnett.

To understand a fuller scope of our concerns about Greg Laurie, refer to the articles from our archive below.

laurie-downey

Related Information:

Tens of Thousands Introduced to Contemplative Advocates Gungor and David Crowder at Greg Laurie’s Harvest Crusade

Green Bay Catholic Priest David Ricken leads Mass at Lifefest Before Joint Worship with Greg Laurie

The Pope’s New Evangelization Program: Bishop Ricken, Greg Laurie and Calvary Chapel

Warren, Blanchard, Hybels, Laurie, Buford – Launching New York Leadership Center This Week  (2008)

Greg Laurie Connects Purpose Driven to a Move of God – Gives Financial Support (2008)

 

NEW BOOKLET TRACT: The Unacknowledged War and the Wearing Down of the Saints

The Unacknowledged War and the Wearing Down of the Saints by Cedric Fisher is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of The Unacknowledged War and the Wearing Down of the Saints, click here. This is an important booklet.

The Unacknowledged War and the Wearing Down of the Saints

By Cedric Fisher

Orthodox Bible-believing Christians do not fit in our world nor will they be tolerated.1—From an eye-witness account of the 2015 Parliament of the World Religions

In the wake of a brutal execution of Christians at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon in October 2015, the Obama administration announced the appointment of a new czar position to supposedly battle domestic terrorism. According to one report:

[T]he new position within the Justice Department—yet to be filled—will focus on investigating lone-wolf domestic terrorists or “extremists.” The person who heads this new effort will target extremists who plan mass shootings, hold racist, bigoted or anti-government views or see themselves as “sovereign citizens.”2

However, many analysts are concerned that this new czar’s purpose will be to also identify and target conservative Christians and believe this decision could easily amount to an attack on freedom of religion and a dramatic escalation of the soft persecution streaming non-stop from the Obama administration. Actions like these appear to be intimidating conservative Christians into silence and obscurity so as not to be identified and harassed by Homeland Security, the Justice Department, the Internal Revenue service, and so forth.

Bryan Fischer of OneNewsNow wrote that the president’s new terror czar position is an example of his “abiding hostility to people of Christian faith.”3 Further, Fischer wrote:

If you are a sincerely devoted follower of Jesus Christ, your president believes you are a potential domestic terrorist.4

Of course, there is absolutely no evidence that conservative Christians are a threat to national security. It is a fact that they do not commonly vote democrat and that they are vocal about Obama’s destructive and anti-Christian policies.

The fact is, there is a war against Bible-believing Christians on the horizon. And until we acknowledge it, we are not going to fully grasp how essential it is to prepare and remain prepared for a brutal period that is rapidly approaching. There has always been a satanic war against God’s people. However, in the United States, we have become complacent, and like the frog in the boiling water, it has crept up upon us, and most won’t even realize it has happened until it is too late. We have lived in relative peace, and up until a couple of decades ago, enjoyed a fair amount of respect from the secular world.

That has changed radically. We are now in an increasingly hostile environment, and it is getting more antagonistic. Most true Christians that I am acquainted with are well aware of the frontal assaults from the secular realm and the openly heretical forays by emissaries of Satan in the religious realm. But most of them have not recognized the danger much closer to them. Certainly, the unified and unifying world religions despise true biblical Christianity. But it is a mistake to view those entities as being outside the scope of our associations.

For example, the rhetoric of the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions (which took place in Salt Lake City in October of 2015)has been espoused within mainstream and emergent Christianity for a significant period. Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, and even Rick Warren (to name a few) have written or expressed virtually or literally the same agenda. It is all about ecumenism, everyone in harmony, world peace, and the need for a “New Christianity.” But an eye witness at the 2015 Parliament succinctly described the underlying purpose of this New Christianity (i.e., New Spirituality):

The Parliament of the World’s Religions has an agenda and they are now very open about it. It is now an outright attack on the Christian church and the Word of God. . . .

They are not afraid to say that “an orthodox Bible believing Christian does not fit in our world nor will they be tolerated.” It was in our face. This Parliament is a sort of coming out of the closet for them.5

The New Christianity/New Spirituality is the great and final apostasy—rank rebellion against the nature of God while at the same time re-identifying and glorifying the nature of Satan.

Most members and ordained ministers in denominations have not yet realized that the war has spread much closer to home. The satanic spirit inspiring the Parliament of the World’s Religions is motivating the New Age moles that have invaded Christianity. Evidence of that influence is now apparent in leaders of denominations. When a denominational leader supports New Age heretics, invites New Age gurus to speak at denominational functions, recommends heretical books as sound doctrine, then Satan has invaded and overthrown Christian leadership. To treat it as simply another disagreement or denominational dispute is farcical. One cannot hope to fight this spiritual war by the means commonly used to solve disputes between two born-again believers.

The intensity of that war and the extent of its progress is seen by the fact that the World Parliament of Religions, the Federal Government, highly popular and influential Christians including denominational leaders, and the Roman Catholic Church appear to have come to an agreement. They agree that Bible-believing  Christians (and Jews) are the source of all the world’s ills. Their consensus is that the exclusivity of biblical Christianity (i.e., Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, and man is not God but a sinner) is a hindrance to achieving world peace, global unity, climate control, hunger and disease management in third-world countries, harmony between religions, emotional well-being of licentious individuals, population control through abortion and euthanasia, genetic research using aborted babies, the advancement of science to “prove” evolution, and virtually every immoral issue and problem in the world. The solution cannot be arrived at without the elimination or eradication of true Christianity. As the eye witness at the Parliament states, according to the new spirituality view, “[t]he Christian orthodox view of Heaven and Hell will no longer be tolerated as they say it divides humanity.”6 One Parliament speaker, Salih Sayigan from the Department of Theology at Georgetown University, stated:

[E]xclusiveness leads to violence when we say you get to go to Heaven and you end in Hell; then we have a problem when you exclude you sow seeds of extremism.7

The plan to rid the world of these biblical “extremists” will be by incremental oppression in various forms. In a number of Muslim nations, they are well beyond increments. They brutalize, rob, rape, imprison, and murder Christians. The violence they use to remove Christian influence is justified as a means to solve violence. In other words, if they murder all the Christians, then they won’t have to murder anymore. That is the pragmatic premise of the coming brutal persecution. The slaughter of the Jews by Hitler was presented as necessary to peace, prosperity, and superiority. People believed that when the killing was done, there would be an end to any further killing in the Utopia achieved. They would simply need to endure the inhumanity for the chance at a world wherein inhumanity did not exist.

Of course, evil cannot solve evil. The killing cannot and will not end with the death of all Christians and Jews. Some other faction of society will be deemed a roadblock to progress, and the killing will resume. Evil must metastasize everywhere it infects and gains control. It can no more be a means to the development of peace than rape is a means to developing love. The war against Christians has but one purpose and that is to destroy God’s people and thereby eliminate godliness from the earth. It is Satan’s ploy.

Hasn’t the time come to identify the ones compliant with Satan’s goals? They do not appear as devils. There are no horns, no fangs, no foaming mouths, or other diabolical features. They appear as benevolent and gracious people. Their personalities are charismatic. Their rhetoric is engaging. Their leadership is diplomatic, for the most part, and they fit confidently (or seemingly humbly) into their esteemed positions. It is difficult to look beyond the image of such individuals, their smiling faces, considering their position, hear their gregarious and congenial words, and recognize the cleverly disguised malevolence. But it must be done. Until they are properly identified, evil will operate successfully and unabated through these people.

At this point, I am not certain that the evil can be stopped or even slowed down. The degradation of the secular and religious realms may be too far gone to reverse or much less halt. And after all, the Bible tells us such days are coming. However, there remains a reason to make the effort. There are still professing Christians who have not entered apostasy but have no idea, for various reasons, what is taking place within and outside the walls of Christianity. Warning them about the intense and clever deception is still viable. It is for that purpose we must continue to try.

But if we have any hope in us of rescuing these unknowing Christians, we who see and understand the times in which we live (because of the grace of God), we must get off the fence. We must speak out, write, pray, and stand without wavering when evil is present. The time is long past to enjoin the battle. Whatever it costs, we must stand up for God and His truth, have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, and expose the apostasy as the deadly spiritual plague it is. It threatens to destroy our children and our grandchildren from the newly born to the youth battling through the public education system while besieged by a torrent of satanic influences. Entire churches and even denominations are being vacuumed into its inescapable bottomless chasm.

It is a huge battle, but we must believe in the omnipotent God who will assist us. You may ask, “How can I ever stand strong in such a battle as this? I am too weak for something of this magnitude.” Yes, you are and I am, but He tells us in His Word the solution:

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

The Great Shut-Down
Not long ago, social media (e.g. Facebook, Google, etc.) presenting end-times information was bustling with activity. Eschatological and discernment posts were peppered with thousands of favorable commentaries. Now, most of the ones I’ve checked have incurred a significant drop-off in views, likes, comments, and shares. The most popular ones are receiving only a few hundred views and some less than a hundred. It is as if a switch was flipped and people are staying away from information deemed “negative.” The blogs and pages maintaining viewership are the ones presenting heresy or benign information.

Why are people shunning the news of a perilous time arriving? Are they rejecting portents of a harsh period because they no longer believe them to be true? No, I don’t think so. I believe it is what I call the Great Shut-Down. I’ve been expecting it to manifest—it has finally arrived. The Great Shut-Down is the point when negative information overload reaches a saturation point. People can only take so much bad news, especially those who are spiritually weak or have not been conditioned to receive harsh truth.

Futurologist Alvin Toffler labels the phenomenon in secular society as “future shock” syndrome. Toffler postulates that future shock is the result of people witnessing and feeling the effects of sudden negative changes in society. The lack of response from any authoritative source can cause them to feel helpless and hopeless. They reach the point where they no longer have the will to resist or even complain. Obviously, the secular faction is not looking to Christianity for hope. However, many professing Christians seem to be experiencing a lack of hope as well.

Sociologist and philosopher Émile Durkheim (1858-1917) observed that the collapse of European society by modernity dramatically affected Christianity. He observed that once “the collective force so vital for the life of a society was no longer generated,”8 faith in God declined. Harsh burdens and stresses prevented the people from sensing God’s presence. This resulted in replacing faith with belief in social justice and science. In other words, “the social milieu that supported Christianity disappeared, leaving Christian faith, values, and thinking without any social foundations to give them life.”9

Consider the situation today. Evidence suggests that Christianity is disintegrating from the inside out. Christian leaders are allowing (either through their silence or their promotion) millions of Christians to be introduced to heretical doctrines and practices. The effects of this landslide of heresy are pushing biblical Christianity into obscurity.10 One of the heresies that has made major inroads is contemplative spirituality (a mystical spirituality often introduced through Spiritual Formation programs).11 It is going unchecked and virtually fully ignored by almost every Christian leader, spreading throughout Christian colleges, seminaries, ministries, and denominations rapidly. People don’t realize that by embracing such a belief system, they are, in effect, rejecting the biblical concept of God’s nature because the two oppose each other. And the results of this are rejection of love for truth and unbridled acceptance of heretical and cultural trends.

Concurrently, there is a steady flow of negative information about the shenanigans being foisted on society by the courts and the federal government. There is ObamaCare, IRS scandals, executive orders circumventing Congress, the aberrant and oppressive SCOTUS ruling against Christianity, the Nuclear Treaty with Iran, and a porous border with Mexico. Adding to that disheartening list is the news of terrorists beheading those who profess to be Christians (among other atrocities), the Umpqua Community College massacre, a growing hatred around the world toward Israel, the Kim Davis saga, and attacks on Christian businesses that decline to support homosexual marriage. Combined with the Benghazi scandal, the Common Core invasion of public education, concerns about the next presidential election, an undependable and shaky economy, the nationwide genuflection of the Catholic pope, the burdens and stresses thus created go beyond comprehension, nearly crushing all hope.

Additionally, psychological secular studies concerning the effects of watching cable news indicate it produces “negative mood experiences.”12 Many professing Christians have been daily cycling through a spectrum of negative experiences including anxiety, sadness, anger, disgust, discouragement, fear, and even depression from cable news and radio talk shows. This constant flow of bad news about secular and religious events, along with the many warnings about encroaching heresy, the great apostasy, and the dark and deadly period ahead, has brought many Christians to a shutting-down state.

I personally believe one factor that has initiated this shut down is the highly publicized supposed “prophecies” based on the “blood moon” theories. People have had their emotions manipulated one too many times. It was after that fiasco was proven false that I really noticed the shut-down.13

Shutting Down or Staying Alert?
Whatever the cause, shutting down is the worst thing a Christian can do at this point of time. Instead of shutting down, believers need to be selective about what they are putting into their minds and spirits. Being informed is essential to being prepared. Shutting down will not prepare one to endure the harshness of the tough days ahead. It’s one thing if believers are focusing on their relationship with the Lord and want to spend less time on the Internet and watching TV. However, the temptation for many (and I have seen it already) will be to shut down by engaging in entertainment media and outlets of benign and mundane information. Rather than adjusting with balance, they are going into denial, choosing to believe we have lots of time before our society, as we know it, collapses. That’s the “Ostrich Complex,” and professing Christians with the Ostrich Complex will pay a severe price for what they are enjoying now.

As painful and frightening as it is to accept, I believe we are on the verge of a global government and religion that will be very brutal to true Christians. It will take more than a sabbatical from bad news and ominous warnings to prepare for enduring life in such an environment.

Satan, the enemy of our souls, is working overtime right now to  “wear out the saints” (Daniel 7:25), but I cannot exhort you enough, this is not a time when born-again believers in Christ can afford to be worn down, bury their heads, and become apathetic toward what is happening around us. For those who cave in to that temptation of apathy, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to stand when things get truly harsh. The time to prepare is long past, but it’s still not too late.  The first step is to wake up and accept truth. It is time to gather and store “oil,” the substance that keeps our light shining. In order to keep that flame lit and not allow it to become a flickering flame on a wick in a near-empty reservoir, we must put into action our confession of faith in Christ. He promises to sustain us as we abide in Him.

In conclusion, it is essential for preparation and subsequent endurance that we acknowledge the spiritual war in which we find ourselves, that we do not shut down our senses because of negative information overload, and that we do not live in a bubble of false security.

May we also remember that this home on earth is not our final destination. We have a home where God dwells in righteousness.   Nothing in this life is worth forfeiting the opportunity to live in that eternal kingdom with Him. If we are going to defeat the forces of darkness that seek to minimize our efforts and diminish our faith, we will have to fight, “not as one that beateth the air” (1 Corinthians 9:26) but as informed and equipped saints of God. We must not deceive ourselves and think we can be both complacent and effective all at the same time.

Instead of shutting down, let us look up. Genuine blessed hope is the buffer for the stress of perilous times. It can only be had with a sincere relationship with Christ, a strong knowledge of His Word, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit (who “shall teach you all things; John 14 :26). That is the only focus that makes sense in this period of encroaching darkness. As the psalmist so well stated, let us hope in His mercy, rejoice in Him, and trust in His holy name.

Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.—(Psalm 33:18-21)

To order copies of The Unacknowledged War and the Wearing Down of the Saints, click here. 

Endnotes:
1. Lynette Irwin, “Parliament of the World’s Religions 2015: An Eyewitness Account” (Herescope Blog: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2015/10/parliament-of-worlds-religions-2015.html).
2. Leo Hohmann, “New Obama Czar Will Hunt ‘Right-Wing’ Extremists” (WorldNetDaily, 10/15/2015, http://www.wnd.com/2015/10/new-obama-czar-will-hunt-right-wing-extremists).
3. Brian Fischer, “Obama: Christians Threaten Nation” (Guest Columnist, OneNewsNow, October 16, 2015,  http://www.onenewsnow.com/perspectives/bryan-fischer/2015/10/16/obama-christians-threaten-nation).
4. Ibid.
5. Lynette Irwin, “Parliament of the World’s Religions 2015: An Eyewitness Account,” op. cit.
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid, citing, Salih Sayigan, Department of Theology, Georgetown University.
8. Paul Carls, “Émile Durkheim” (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://www.iep.utm.edu/durkheim), section: c. The Death of the Gods.
9. Ibid.
10. For extensive documentation on the compromise of Christian leaders, visit www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com.
11. Read A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen to understand contemplative spirituality.
12. Graham C.L. Davey, “The Psychological Effects of TV News” (Psychology Today, June 19, 2012, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/why-we-worry/201206/the-psychological-effects-tv-news).
13. See “Four Blood Moons Are Coming” by Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason Ministries: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=15326.

To order copies of The Unacknowledged War and the Wearing Down of the Saints, click here. 

 


 

4 Months in Kenya for U.S. Family

John, Shannan, and their three children have now been in Kenya working with the Bryce Homes for 4 months.1 While the time has had its share of struggles, as they adjust to life in a third-world country (including frequent stomach sicknesses), they wouldn't trade this time for anything. They have loved getting to know the Bryce Home families as well as other families they have met in the town (and rural area) in which they are living. Here pictured to the right, they are with a woman named Mary and her disabled child. There are a few other children in the family and Mary's 65-year-old sick husband (Mary is about 30 and was given in an arranged marriage when she was a young teen). The conditions that Mary's family is living in are almost unimaginable, much like many of the Bryce Home widows were living in when we met them and began officially helping them in 2011.

John and Shannan reached out to their own line of supporters in the US and have just raised money to build this family a new house on an acre that will be their own. They also raised enough money to get some ongoing medical help for the baby. As you can see in the photo below, the house the family is currently living in is just a small tin box. There are no beds or furniture, and they get their mucky water from a pool of ground water. This is life for millions in Kenya.

John and Shannan have also begun working with the Bryce Homes on a gardening expansion program for the Bryce program. Many of the widows are already growing gardens, but we hope to see them expand the variety of vegetables, and for some, help them grow larger gardens. The Bryce Home project, which is supported solely by Understand the Times and Lighthouse Trails readers, has been going on in Kenya for about 4 years, since Roger Oakland, the founder and director of the Bryce Homes International Program, made his first trip there and met with a group of rural pastors who were trying to help several Christian widows and their families but with very little means to do so.

The Bryce Home project in Kenya has changed the lives of 24 families, and we plan to expand the program to more families as the means are made available. Some of the present families are in the process of becoming more self-sufficient, which will allow us to bring in more needy families. There are many many families in this region of Kenya that are very much like the family pictured above.

Please pray for John, Shannan, and their children that they will remain in safety and be healthy during their remaining stay in Kenya. UTT and LT are grateful for their involvement in the Bryce Homes in Kenya. If you would like more information on the Bryce Homes or would like to become a supporter, please visit Understand the Times website at: http://www.understandthetimes.org/missionkenya.shtml. You may also call Lighthouse Trails (866-876-3910) at any time with questions.

Widow Fransiscar in her garden. She is one of the Bryce Widows.

 

 

 

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NEW BOOKLET TRACT: How to Stand Fast in the Last Days—What Scripture Tells Us

NEW BOOKLET TRACT: How to Stand Fast in the Last Days—What Scripture Tells Us by Warren B. Smith is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract.  The Booklet Tract is 16 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of How to Stand Fast in the Last Days—What Scripture Tells Us, click here. 

How to Stand Fast in the Last Days—What Scripture Tells Us

NEW BOOKLET TRACT: How to Stand Fast in the Last Days—What Scripture Has to SayBy Warren B. Smith

If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. (Proverbs 24:10)

Hostility towards those who hold fast to the Lord Jesus Christ and the literal teachings of the Bible has increased greatly. Biblical Christians endeavoring to stand in their faith have been shocked and saddened at the growing antagonism coming at them not only from the world but from within the professing church itself. This booklet will attempt to convey what Scripture tells us about remaining faithful in the midst of this spiritual opposition—what to expect and how to respond.

Standing
Standing is to be stationary; to persevere, to endure, to stand fast. While the world moves “forward” with its distorted agenda, God’s people are exhorted to stand fast in their faith as they stand against false teachings and the wiles of the Devil.

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10-11)

Steadfast
The act of standing fast is to be steadfast. Steadfast means firm, fixed, settled, or established. Not changing, fickle or wavering; constant. As believers, we are to remain steadfast and unmoveable in our faith as we resist the Devil and the temptations of the world.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end. (Hebrews 3:13-14)

Keeping
To keep is to hold fast, preserve, and maintain. We stand fast and remain steadfast by keeping God’s Word, keeping His ways, keeping His works, and keeping the faith.

But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. (Luke 11:28)

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. (Proverbs 8:32)

But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations. (Revelation 2:25-26)

Continuing
To continue is to stay, abide, remain, stand. We do not change. We do not depart from the faith. We do not fall away from the faith. We continue in the faith.

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:31-32)

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them. (2 Timothy 3:14)

And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:21-22)

The Cost
There is a cost that comes with our faithfulness to God and His Word. The price we pay is having to endure the trials, tribulation, and persecution that comes with our faith.

For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish it. (Luke 14:28-30)

Enduring
To endure is to remain, to undergo, to bear trials. It is to have fortitude, to persevere, abide, take patiently, suffer.

But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Matthew 24:13)

Behold, we count them happy which endure. (James 5:11)

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about 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 of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Thanks to God’s Word, we know what to expect and how to respond to whatever befalls us. Mercifully, we are given the assurance that with God’s help we can endure even the most challenging and difficult trials and temptations.

What to Expect and How to Respond

1) Expect Trouble

Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward. (Job 5:7)

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows. (Mark 13:8)

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. (Daniel 12:1)

Biblical Response

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. (Psalm 46:1-3)

In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me. (Psalm 86:7)

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. (John 14:1)

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. (Matthew 24:6)

Prayer

The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. (Psalm 25:17)

2) Expect Suffering

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. (Philippians 1:29)

For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:5)

Biblical Response

But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (1 Peter 4:13)

Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. (1 Peter 4:16)

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:17-18)

And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. (Acts 5:40-41)

For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. (1 Peter 2:19-20)

Prayer

Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death. That I may show forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation. (Psalm 9:13-14)

3) Expect Grief and Sorrow

For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. (Ecclesiastes 1:18)

For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity. (Ecclesiastes 2:22-23)

Biblical Response

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)

Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. (Ecclesiastes 7:3-4)

As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. (2 Corinthians 6:10)

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Prayer

Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly. (Psalm 31:9)

4) Expect Persecution

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12)

Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you. (John 15:20)

Biblical Response

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. (Matthew 5:44)

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)

Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word. I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. (Psalm 119:161-162)

Prayer

O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me. (Psalm 7:1)

5) Expect Affliction

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. (Psalm 34:19)

That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. (1 Thessalonians 3:3)

For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. (Mark 13:19)

Biblical Response

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)

This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. (Psalm 119:50)

It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. (Psalm 119:71)

Prayer

Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. (Psalm 25:16)

6) Expect Tribulation

Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)

Biblical Response

When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them. (Deuteronomy 4:30-31)

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope. (Romans 5:3-4)

Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. (2 Corinthians 7:4)

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

Prayer

And, behold, as thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the LORD, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation. (1 Samuel 26:24)

7) Expect Temptation

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10)

Biblical Response

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. (James 1:2-3)

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (James 1:12)

Prayer

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:13)

8) Expect Trials

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. (1 Peter 1:7-8)

Biblical Response

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (1 Peter 4:12-13)

Prayer

O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee. (Psalm 25:20)

9) Expect Hatred

Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. (1 John 3:13)

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. (Luke 21:17)

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. (Matthew 24:9)

Biblical Response

Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. (Luke 6:22-23)

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. (Matthew 5:44 )

Prayer

Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters. (Psalm 69:14)

10) Expect to be called Beelzebub/Satan

It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? (Matthew 10:25)

Biblical Response

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)

Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. (Romans 12:14)

And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. (1 Corinthians 4:12-13)

Prayer

My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. (Psalm 31:15)

11) Expect You May Die for Your Faith

Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter. (Psalm 44:22)

These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. (John 16:1-2)

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. (Matthew 24:9)

Biblical Response

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer...be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15)

For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death. (Psalm 48:14)

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:11)

Prayer

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

12) Expect to See Jesus

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13)

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7)

For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:27)

Biblical Response

Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching. (Luke 12:37)

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:25-28)

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1Thessalonians 4:16-18)

Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not. (Luke 12:40)

Prayer

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20)

13) Expect a New Heaven and a New Earth

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:1-2)

Biblical Response

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:7)

Conclusion

Life can be extremely difficult and challenging. It is not easy being a biblical Christian. If we continue in His Word and remain steadfast in our faith, we are promised trials and tribulation. We know that we will be mocked, hated, betrayed, persecuted, and maybe even killed for our faith. But we are not to be deterred by a world and an apostate church that would seek to undo our testimony. Even in our most trying moments, we are encouraged to rejoice and be thankful as we glorify God and exhort one another daily to be steadfast in our faith until the very end:

Rejoice evermore. (1Thessalonians 5:16)

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1Thessalonians 5:18)
I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. (Psalm 86:12)

But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end. (Hebrews 3:13-14)

Overcomer
To overcome is to subdue, conquer, prevail, to get the victory. Overcomers do not fall away. We are to be more than conquerors—we are to be overcomers. Paul said:

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)

Jesus said:

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

Charge

With spiritual darkness coming on fast, we must share God’s Word and work while we can.

I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. (John 9:4)

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

Encouragement

When we grow weary and faint, we must remember that our strength comes from the Lord. He will renew us for the task at hand. His grace is sufficient, and He perfects His strength in our weakness. As we are strengthened and encouraged, we must encourage others that God’s Word is true and that His truth will prevail in the end. Evil will be vanquished, and those that are planted in the house of the Lord will flourish in the courts of our God.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)

When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever: But thou, LORD, art most high for evermore. For, lo, thine enemies, O LORD, for, lo, thine enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered. . . . Mine eye also shall see my desire on mine enemies, and mine ears shall hear my desire of the wicked that rise up against me. The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. (Psalm 92:7-9, 11-13)

This booklet is part of Warren B. Smith's Word of God booklet series. To order copies of How to Stand Fast in the Last Days—What Scripture Has to Say, click here. 

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