What does it mean to endure to the end?

In a number of places in scripture, we are told that “he who endures to the end shall be saved.”  What does that mean?  What does enduring look like?

 

Matthew 24:12-14 (NKJV)

12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Okay, here we see the spiritual love connection.  That’s why it’s so important to live God’s love.  That’s what God looks for in us, so hold fast to that love.

 

Mark 13:12-13  (NKJV)

12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.13 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who]endures to the end shall be saved.

 

Jesus actually gives encouragement here, showing that we must endure persecution just like He did.  The spiritual reality is that we will be persecuted, and that’s something we need to cope with just like Jesus, our example, did.  What hurts is that betrayal by physical family members.  How many of you have endured this already?  I know I did.  My mother would not speak to me for six months because God led me outside her religious comfort zone.

 

2 Timothy 4:3  (NKJV)

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;

I’m sure you know some who are always seeking to learn new things, whether they are within Godly parameters or not.  Let’s understand that scripture is spiritually discerned.  That means no teaching of man can guide you into spiritual truth like God the Holy Spirit surely can.

 

James 1:12  (NKJV)

12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

 

Trials are part of the believer’s walk.  To endure them means we need to stick close to God and His ways no matter the temptation.  Remember satan’s act of futility in Matthew 4 when he tried to get Jesus to change spiritual sides?  Jesus relied on scripture to make His points, and He refused to bow down and worship the devil.  When you think about it, Jesus was fully God and fully man when He walked among us.  Can you see how silly it was of satan to try to tempt God?  Besides, there was a timing issue involved.  When the devil offered Christ the kingdoms of this world, they were already His, but for a time yet future.  Satan must have mistakenly thought that conditionally giving them to Jesus would make a difference.

 

So, what does it look like to endure to the end?  It requires us to live God’s love and be Him to those He sends across our path. It requires focus on God and His plan, ways and timing.  It requires our faithfully keeping our eyes on Jesus.  It requires really believing in Jesus’ promises that we will be saved if we endure to the end.  It requires us exercising Godly character so that we continue on God’s path.   It requires commitment and zeal in the face of obstacles, ones that by ourselves we can’t handle but with God’s empowerment and help, we surely can.  In short, it requires us transcending the physical just like Jesus did and does.

 

Pray with me:  Father God, help all who are Yours to endure to the end so that we may be saved.  Help us make needed changes so that we live within Your parameters. Help us to know You more and better so that we understand Your working in our lives.  Help us to live Your love.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

copyright 2018, Pastors George and Sharon Billington,  All Rights Reserved

Posted in Being Christlike, betrayal, Bible Study, Christian Coping and Living, christian love, Christian Obedience, Christian Teaching, encouragement, God the Holy Spirit, overcoming, repentance, spiritual growth, Spiritual Persistence, suffering | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

God, me and the key

Image result for image of key in a car door

Yesterday, Murphy seemed to have moved into our home and car.  My husband left for work, leaving behind the keys and other tools he needs to run the service desk for a major grocery store chain.  Thankfully, we had just purchased another car, so I thought I’d run it down to him and that would be that.

I went to the car, equipped with eyeglasses and purse,  inserted the duplicate key we had spent $80.00 for a few days prior, and the car would not start.  No matter what I did, the engine would not turn over.  Sure, I prayed, but God didn’t intervene right away, so I called my husband at the store and told him I couldn’t bring what he needed to him.  There are some wonderful guys working on our new home to prepare it for painting, so I went to the guy in charge and asked him to drive me to the store and back.  He was willing but asked me to give him the car key so he could see if he could start the car.  Wouldn’t you know the thing started right up!  This man is a believer, and he said God told him to try the car.  Mine is not to question why God worked through Wayne and not through me, but it baffled me.

Rest of story:  I delivered the stuff to my husband.  He came outside with me to see if the car would start again.  It didn’t.  He then gave me our original key, and it started!  This morning, my husband went to check, and the car started with the new key.  Praise God!

Oh, one more thing:  while he was working, God told my husband we had been under satanic attack.  Good thing His word says that no weapon formed against us will prosper.  God always wins in the end.  His will, plan and purpose prevail.

Posted in celebrate Jesus, Christian Coping and Living, christian focus, Christian Testimony, christian witness, encouragement | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Can you worship God anywhere? We sure can.

You know I’ve said that Pastor G and I can worship God anywhere, and it’s still true today. Denomination doesn’t matter. What matters is that we connect with God.

Yesterday, we were talking and agreed that there is no better place to be with and worship God than our own home. Why? Because God is powerfully present here in ways that He isn’t in most fellowships. I say most fellowships because there have indeed been exceptions like the one where He literally embraced me, where He kissed my cheek. That was so very special and precious!

The sad truth is that most fellowships don’t embrace God the Holy Spirit and eagerly wait for Him to act and be powerfully present. Instead, they rely on ritualized worship and services, leaving no room for His spontaneity. We are rereading Pastor Jim Cymbala’s excellent book Spirit Rising, and he makes the same point, adding that many worship practices include (vain) repetition of worship choruses to hopefully make the worshipers receptive to the spiritual. So sad and so unnecessary.

I pray you can be connected to God the Holy Spirit so you can follow His lead and hear His voice. Yes, Jesus said those that are His hear and know His voice. Do those that are His hear and respond to God the Holy Spirit’s voice? If you don’t, ask for His help to do so.

Be blessed.

Posted in Christian Coping and Living, Christian Meditation, Christian Testimony, Christian Unity, christian witness, Following Jesus, God the Holy Spirit, Spiritual Boldness, walking with God | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

When Fear Isn’t About Being Afraid

I pray you’ve heard from the pulpit about reading scripture in context.  That means you, with the help of God the Holy Spirit, can discern meaning by reading the verses surrounding the one you are drawn to.  Understanding or knowing Hebrew and Greek can help as well, but the two languages are similar in that one word can have multiple meanings.  That’s when I turn to my trusty concordance to look the scripture up to see the sometimes opposite, sometimes varied meanings of the key word or phrase.

This morning, God woke me up with the scripture, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.  The key word here is fear, and I looked it up in Strong’s concordance.  Fear has two biblical meanings.  One is indeed boot-shaking being afraid.  The other meaning is awe or reverence, which is the meaning here.

 

Proverbs 1:7(NKJV)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

 

What this verse says is the a right attitude towards God is the foundation for right spiritual thinking.  It also says that some hate wisdom and instruction and choose not to receive it.  Solomon requested wisdom from God so that he could rule God’s people rightly and make right wise judgments.  Remember the account of the two new mothers, one of whose babies died during the night?  There was a dispute brought between the women as to whose child lived.  It was up to Solomon to discern who was who.  It was the birth mom who was willing to give her child up so it could live.  That’s wisdom on Solomon’s part.

 

What does boot-shaking fear have to do with awe and reverence? In the new testament, God inspired the verse:  “There is no fear in love.  Perfect love casts out fear”.  Believers know that God is love and that we obey Him because we love Him, not because we are afraid of Him.  The word “perfect” is also translated as “complete”.  No matter how long we have been God’s, only His love is complete.

 

1 John 4:18(NKJV)

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

 

Spiritual family, let’s live His love in as much completeness as God grants us.  Let’s revere Him while not being afraid He will turn us into grease spots.  One more thing:  note that it is God who casts fear away from us. “Perfect love casts out fear”.  Praise God for literally loving that boot-shaking fear from us.

 

Copyright 2018, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved

 

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Following Jesus When It’s Culturally Incorrect

Hi spiritual family. This morning God led me to 1 Corinthians 6, which addresses sexual immorality in the congregation. The congregation actually allowed a man who slept with his father’s wife to continue to be in the fellowship with no consequences for his immoral behavior. It took Paul stepping in to spur them to action to temporarily remove this man from their midst. It was a good thing for the congregation, and it was a good thing for the man, since the intent was to literally shock him into obedience. In the same chapter in verses 8 & 9, Paul defines what sexual immorality is and that those who sin in this and other ways will not inherit God’s kingdom. In verse 9, the word translated “effeminate” in the King James is translated as “homosexuals” in the New King James, each translation followed by the word “sodomites”. To me, this is especially relevant given society’s literal approval and acceptance of the LGBT crowd. What needs to matter to us is what God wants and thinks when there’s a conflict with society. Let’s begin 2018 with truly examining ourselves to see if we are in the faith, asking God to help us see wrong thinking and influences that can be taken for granted. When we say we follow Jesus, let’s follow Him in every way. Be blessed. Happy 2018.

 

1 Corinthians 6:8-10 (NKJV)

No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

Copyright 2018, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved

Posted in Christian Coping and Living, Following Jesus, LGBT, sexual immorality, sexual perversion | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Do you really honor God or do you do what seems right to you?

Those of you who are God’s were challenged by celebrating Halloween, which in no way honors Him.  I pray you all have seen my posts so that there is no question in your mind that Halloween honors satan, death, witchcraft and the occult.

On October 30, one of you private messaged me and let me know that your employer requires you to dress up and that you chose a Beverly Hillbillies character as the least harmless way to comply with your employer’s mandate.  My response was that it is between you and God at this point and that you know better.

So, everyone else, what would you do if your employer demanded something of you that conflicts with God’s way.  Would you comply, fearing your potential loss of income?  Would you politely decline, saying that it is a matter of spiritual conscience for you to follow God and live His way?  What would you do?

This is a very serious spiritual matter, and it does affect your eternity with God.  There are some spiritually bold and brave souls that have refrained from dishonoring God in any way.  Some have lost their jobs and their livelihoods because of it.  Others have paid hefty civil penalties.  And, like the Apostle Paul, they consider that great gain spiritually.  As a spiritual leader, I will never perform anything to do with a same sex so-called marriage regardless of the penalty civilly.  There is no bigotry involved as others have accused.  It all has to do with honoring God and living His way.

Is God powerful enough to give you another job if you lose the one you have because of spiritual conscience and conflict?  Is God powerful enough to give you grace and favor in the sight of your employer so you can move forward with your spiritual conscience intact while you honor Him with all that you are?

From this moment on, you can decide to honor God regardless of the potential personal cost.  Rely on Him and Him alone and not on what seems right to you but surely is not spiritually correct.

Mark 7:6 (NKJV)

He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.

Luke 13:28 (NKJV)

28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.

 

Mark 10:21(NKJV)

21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

 

Luke 9:23 (NKJV)

Take Up the Cross and Follow Him

23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

 

Spiritual family, let’s honor God in all that we say and do.  Let no self-reasoned excuses stop us from doing so.  May our spiritual consciences be clear.

 

copyright 2017, Pastors George and Sharon Billington.  All Rights Reserved

Posted in celebrate Jesus, Christian Choices, Christian Coping and Living, christian focus, Christian Obedience, Following Jesus, honor God, spiritual conscience, walking with God | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t honor satan by celebrating Halloween

Posted in Christian Choices, Christian Coping and Living, christian focus, Christian Obedience, honor God | Tagged , | 1 Comment