Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Storm is Coming

As I mentioned to you, in the previous lesson, my Pastor stated "The Storm is Coming" several times during his sermon.  As he was preaching I saw a vision of a storm very much like the picture shown here.

During the image of the storm in my mind, I felt the Holy Spirit saying to me that there is a storm coming like we have never seen before.  He said we are already in a famine, a storm in the form of a financial draught, which is affecting the whole world, but there is another storm coming and it's against the body of Christ, the church.  There has always been a storm against the church, but as we move closer into the last days Satan will intensify the storm more than ever.

The boat represents the church and the people in the boat are the body of believers that will be tested during the storm.  Jesus gave us some foresight into what the last days will be like and the last days will be Satan's attempt to destroy the church before Jesus comes again what we know as The Second Coming.

Here in America Christians have enjoyed freedom to worship without fear while in the rest of the world Christians are so hated and despised they are murdered for their faith in Jesus.  What the believers in other countries have faced is now moving more and more against the believers here in the USA.  America political leaders have sit by and done nothing to stop the injustice to Christians in other parts of the world, but will go to war to fight against other causes.  It is shameful to say also that the American church has been silent as Christians are slaughtered in other parts of the world.  It seems is if it is okay to have open season on Christians and America has turned a blind eye to this injustice.

The hatred for the Christians has now filtered into the US and growing into the main stream thinking of many Americans.  This kind of attitude is a complete reverse of attitude compared to a few decades ago.  It is as if people are willingly embracing this "new world order" philosophy that is being inflicted on America by our own political leaders as well as some so called pastors and priest from the pulpits.

This storm that has started will get worse for the church and Jesus warned us this.  He warned us so that we will not be surprised when it happens. Check out the scriptures for each of these scriptures, key words, or phrases:  1 Peter 1:7,  Revelation 2:10, Tribulation, Persecutions Are ComingThe sign of the times and the end of the age.  Please do not read these scriptures out of context.  To get the full meaning of a scripture reference I recommend that you read the chapter before and after to make sure you are getting the full meaning of the suggested text.

The church will go through a terrible time of testing and one of the scriptures that bothers me the most is from Luke 21:16 "You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death." NKJV  It is hard for me to conceive that we believers will be betrayed by those we love just as Jesus was betrayed by one He loved.

I predict there will be a great falling away seen in the church as some church goers will be seduced into converting to worship a false god through a false religion.  This is hard to talk about that this kind of thing has actually happen to those that were once raised in the Christian church, but were very naive and easily seduce in converting to a false religion.  This is a test that the church must face.  It is a test for each believer to prove oneself if we are His or not.  Those that are not sealed with the Holy Spirit will fall away.  It is a test that is not a pass for fail test, but I think it is a test to reveal to ourselves whether we are actually followers of Jesus or just a fan.  "Take up your cross and follow me."  How can we tell if we are just a fan or a true follower of Jesus?  I think Kyle Idleman explains this in the "Not A Fan" video series.  To be a follower there must be a commitment.

"The rain descended, the floods came, 
and the winds blew . . ."

In Matthew 7:24-26 Jesus teaches us how to survive the storm(s).  You see the storm represents the attack by Satan through a flood of words (thoughts of fear, doubt, and unbelief), an attack on the soul of man which is the mind, will, and emotions.  Those that will survive the storm(s) are those that have built their faith on the rock, which are the words of Jesus.  Jesus knows the storms that Satan will attacks us with as He was attacked by Satan with a storm, a flood of words, tempting Him for 40-days with every temptation that man could possibly face.  Jesus survived the storm by His commitment to the task His Father sent Him to accomplish and by the words He quoted back to Satan.  Jesus knew the scriptures and quoted them back to Satan, which caused Satan to finally give up and go away.

Talking about the storm reminds me of one of my favorite  old songs, "My hope is built".  Read the words in the sidebar of this BLOG and pay particular attention to verse 3.  Please also watch the video by Travis Cottrell - In Christ Alone.

When you look at the picture the storm looks like it is so fierce that is will destroy the people in the boat, but when the believers look beyond the storm they see Jesus as if He's walking on solid rock in the midst of the storm.  Read Matthew 7:24-27.

"Don't Be Afraid"

Matthew 14:22-33 - To me these two storms in these two scriptures are symbolic of two types of storms.  These scriptures symbolize the storms coming against each individually as well as the storm corporately as the body of believers, the church.  The storms against us are the pressures and the stresses of day to day life.  Satan sends the storms against us in an attempt to distract us through fear.  When the winds of the storm came against the disciples in the boat they became afraid for their lives, therefore causing to not think spiritually.  They never thought about using their faith to take a stand against the storm.

It was about 4 a.m. and Jesus was taking a short cut to the other side by walking on the water.  He was on His way to keep His appointment with His disciples on the other side.   As Jesus was walking He could hear the cries of panic from His disciples.  He turned towards the sound as He would have walked passed them if He had not heard their cries.  As He approached the boat His disciples did not recognize Him as they thought He was a ghost.  They thought He was the ghost of a dead fisherman as was the superstition among the fisherman during this time.

Jesus calmed their fears before He calmed the storm by saying, ". . . Don't be afraid, it's Me!"  Jesus is saying to us, through this scripture, that when we are going through a storm in our lives to not be afraid because He is right there with us and He is more mighty than any storm that cam come against us.

Peter says to Jesus, "If it is really you Lord tell me to come to you!".  Jesus said to Peter, "Come to Me".  Jesus is always ready and willing for you to come to Him at any time whether in a storm or when there is peace and safety.   Peter gets out of the boat and is walking on the water, by faith, just as Jesus is.  Satan did not like this so he intensifies the storm in order to distract Peter.  Notice Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the storm.  When he did this he begin to sink which caused Peter to be overcome with fear again.  Peter called out to Jesus for help and Jesus calmly reached out His hand and pulled Peter back up to the top of the water and standing with Jesus.  Jesus said something like this, "Peter where did you leave your faith?" or He could have said, "Peter have you not heard a word of what I've been teaching you about living by faith?"  When we go through storms of life and we panic in fear by looking at the circumstances we are just as weak as Peter and the other disciples.  Jesus wants us to look to Him during our storms.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

The secret to survival of any storm in your life is to always focus your eyes on Jesus.  We cannot save ourselves in life or in death as it is only Jesus can deliver us that are IN Christ.  Click this link to watch the video by Hillsong.  Please also read the words of the song located on the sidebar of this BLOG.

The closing thought for today is we too can walk on water when our feet are firmly planted on solid rock.  When our feet are firmly planted on a solid foundation of Jesus' words we an survive any storm that comes against us.  How do we do that?  Jesus gave us the key - He said whoever hears these sayings of my and does them is like a man that built his house on "the rock".  Jesus is The Rock.