Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Testimony of Thankfulness

This week my church had a testimony service on Tuesday night instead of our normal mid week service. To hear all that people were thankful for was a blessing, but one testimony stuck out in my mind. I would like to share this testimony with you on this Thanksgiving Day.

Brother Eddie Witt mentioned in his testimony that he had spoken to a missionary friend of his in Africa. This missionary had told him that in the village he was in it has not rained in a year. These people are drying up, withering away because of the lack of rain and water. Mothers are unable to produce milk to feed their babies and their skin looks like potato chips.

These Africa people mentioned to the missionary that they believe when a person dies they get to go to America. In their mind America is heaven. They say that in America you can find more food in any garbage can than they have to eat. In America you can find better clothes in a garbage can than they have to wear. They dream of America because in America people actually put furniture on the side of the road to throw it away. Their heaven is the things that you and I consider trash.

I can’t get this off of my mind. I have been so blessed, and don’t even realize it. In the midst of what we call hard times we lose sight of the many blessings that God pours out to us every day. So, with that said, I would like to tell you some things that I am thankful for.

  • I am thankful for my family. God has blessed me with wife. I have a beautiful wife that loves me and cares for me. I have two healthy children. They can be rotten sometimes but they are a blessing in my life.
  • I am thankful for my church. God has surrounded me with a group of people that love God and have a desire to serve Him.
  • I am thankful for my job. Many of Americans have found themselves without work this year, but I still have a job to go to.
  • I am thankful for my parents. My parents have been raising me for 32 years now. I can’t tell you how much they mean to me, how much they have done for my family.
  • I am thankful for my wife’s parents. Many of you are not able to enjoy the company of your in-laws, but I can. They are a blessing in my life.
  • I am thankful most of all for my salvation. Almost two thousand years ago God wrapped Himself in flesh, came to this earth, and died for my sins.

I could go on and on. I have health, happiness, a home and there is not a day I go hungry. God has been good to me. How about you?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What's Your Dream?

Allow me to ask you a question. Have you ever had a vision? I’m not talking about the “I saw an angel standing at the foot of my bed” vision. I’m talking about the type of vision when you allow yourself to view your life, your church, and your ministry years down the road. If you answered this question “no” then you should.

The scriptures teach us that “where there is no vision, the people perish.” God wants His children to have a vision or a dream. The fact is when people and churches quit dreaming they quit evolving. Just think if Thomas Edison hadn’t been a dreamer then we would not have electricity. If Alexander Graham Bell had not been a dreamer then we would not have telephones. If Martin Luther King had not had a dream, then we would still be living in a world divided by segregation.

The same is true in the church. Throughout the history of the church we read of men like Martin Luther, Jonathon Edwards and Billy Graham who all had a dream to see the church grow and change. So, that brings me back to my question, what about you? What about your dreams?

I would like to challenge each of you to take a few moments and prayerfully consider what God wants from you. Where do you want to be in your walk with God three, five or ten years from now? Will you be doing the same things in the same way, or will you being doing more, accomplishing more? What about your church? What will your church look like in three, five or ten years?

While you consider these things, let me suggest an exercise that will help. I would like for you to take a piece of paper and draw a straight line. At one end make a mark and write “birth”. If you would like you can put your birthday next to the mark that says birth. On the other end of the line make a mark and write “death.” We don’t know the day we will die so don’t write a date there. Next, I want you to consider where you are on this line and make a third mark. So my line may look something like this:

Once this is done I would like for you to look at the line between your current life and death. This space represents the rest of your life. Now ask yourself the question “What can I do to make the rest of my life a success?” You can’t go back and change the left segment of that line, but you can change the right.

Let me encourage you to dream big when you are dreaming. A young boy was out one night with his bb gun when his friend asks him, “What are you doing?” The young boy replied “I’m shooting at the moon.” His friend mockingly said “Don’t you know your never reach it.” The young man replied “Well I’m getting closer than you are.” It cost you no more to dream big. One preacher said that if your dreams are not impossible in your eyes, then they may be insulting in God’s eyes. Dream big!

Lastly let me give you a word of warning. Any time someone has a dream, someone else will come by and try to squash that dream. The fact is that some people just don’t like it when you try to grow. Joseph’s brothers hated him because of his dreams. Christ was hated because of His vision of the church. This is very disappointing. You get all excited, you are ready to move forward for God and then someone comes along and tries to squash your enthusiasm. Don’t let it happen. Joseph didn’t let his brothers stop him from trusting God. Christ did not let the hypocrites stop Him from accomplishing His goal at Calvary.

I challenge you to get alone with God, let Him give you a godly vision, and then get busy. It might amaze you what God has in store for your life.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Why me?

Have you ever asked yourself the question “Why do bad things happen to good people?” I’m sure that you have. We have all had times in our Christian life when something has happened that causes us to ask “why me?”

This is even more confusing when it seems that you are doing everything right. You are attending church, paying your tithes, living a godly life and then all of a sudden “BAM” trouble hits. This is something that Christian people have been struggling with for years. It makes sense to us when someone that is missing church and living like the devil has problems, but not when it seems like they (we) are doing right.

I have been going through a similar situation lately in my life. My main job is in retail sales. As you can imagine retail sales have not been great lately with the economy as it is. This has had an impact on me and my family. I haven’t been missing church, I pay my tithes, I teach a bible school class, but I am having a difficult time. (I am saying this not for you to feel sorry for me, but that maybe I can help someone else.)

This is not the first time I have had ups and downs in my life. This time I have determined though not to handle the situation with a bad attitude (that has been hard). In the past I have become depressed and angry with my circumstances, and even become angry with God. Before you look down on me for this remembers that happens to all of us. Even the great Job complained that the suffering God brought into his life was not fair. Job complained that God’s judgment was too much, and that God would not even allow him to catch his breath.

Let me point out a few things that will maybe help you if you are going through a tough time. (Maybe these things will help both of us.)
  1. God never makes a mistake. There is a reason for this trouble in your life. God doesn't do anything by accident.
  2. God is not overlooking your situation. God knows right where you are and what you are struggling with. It may not seem like it sometimes, but He knows. There was a time during Job's suffering that he could not seem to find God. Job stated that even when he didn't know where God was, God knew where he was.
  3. One of God’s greatest blessings is the blessing of suffering. Each and every great character in the bible suffered at some point. You will learn more about God’s love and grace during times of suffering than any other time in your life. (See Romans 5:3-5)
  4. One day this will all be worth it. If God allows suffering to come into your life, He will bring you through it. Job was blessed with twice as much as God took away from him. Christ had to suffer the cross before He could purchase the church. Joseph was sold into slavery and imprisoned before he was a ruler in Egypt. It will be worth it one day.

Allow me to say one more thing before I finish. It is not wrong to ask “why.” It’s not even wrong to ask God “why.” Jesus asked while hanging on the cross “My God, My God WHY hast thou forsaken me?” At the same time we must be careful not to become angry with God. Please trust Him. God has not abandoned you. If He brought this into your life it was not without a purpose. In the end you will be better off than if you would have never suffered at all. You may not be able to see it right now, but one day you (we) will.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Two Witnesses, Who are they?

Revelation Chapter 11

The eleventh chapter of the book of Revelation is one of the most debated in the entire book. The identity of the two witnesses is something that has been haggled over by many men much wiser than me. In this post I intend to explain who these two men are, it seems pretty simple to me, and what their job will be.

Beginning in verse three we are introduced to these two witnesses. The bible teaches that they are to prophesy for 1,260 days. Doing the math that is equal to 42 months or 3 ½ years. These men will therefore prophesy for the last 3 ½ years of the tribulation period, commonly referred to as the “great tribulation.”

When these two men come, they prophesy of the coming judgment of God. In the Bible sackcloth and ashes always spoke of repentance, and that is exactly what God is demanding.

The big question is "Who are these two witnesses?" Well let me first say that these two witnesses are men. They are not systems, churches or a body of witnesses. These two are said to prophesy in sackcloth, which cannot be said for a system or church.


Firstly we are told that these two have power to shut up heaven so that it does not rain during the days of their prophecy. I believe that this therefore can refer to none other than Elijah. Elijah had power to shut up heaven so that it did not rain in the days of Ahab. And you can guess how long he shut up heaven. That's right 3 1/2 years according to I Kings 17:1. This is the same length of time that these two witnesses are to prophesy.

“Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.”   James 5:17

This is nothing new. It is simply a repeat performance for Elijah. You will remember the first time Elijah shut heaven was for the purpose of proving who was God. Elijah and the prophets of Baal had a contest to prove who was God. Was Jehovah God or was Baal god. The same is true during this time. Who is God? Is Jehovah God or is Antichrist god?

The prophet Malachi also prophesied and told of the second coming of Elijah.

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.”   Mal. 3:1

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:”    Mal. 4:5

Many say that the prophecy of Elijah was fulfilled in John the Baptist, so let us talk about that. It is very clear that since the prophet Malachi said that Elijah would come just before the "great and dreadful day of the Lord." John the Baptist did not fulfill this prophecy.

When John came we know that he preached the first coming of Jesus Christ, but after his preaching there was no great and dreadful day of the Lord. Therefore this coming of Elijah must still yet be future. The great and dreadful day of the Lord will follow the prophecy of these two witnesses.

Further proof that John was not Elijah is found by the words of John himself. When the Jews came to John they ask him "Who art thou?" As we see in the scriptures John confessed - "I am not the Christ." And then they asked him, "What then? Art thou Elijah?" And he said - "I am not." It is clear from John's answer to these questions that he was not Elijah.

According to Malachi's prophecy Elijah is to come and fulfill all things. This John did not do. This makes it abundantly clear that Elijah is yet to come. Elijah is to come just before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. Elijah will be one of the two witnesses and just as in the days of Ahab the king Elijah will shut up heaven and will not allow it to rain for 3 1/2 years.


Many say that Enoch will be the other witness. They say this because he was translated and did not die, like Elijah. They say that since he did not die he must come to earth so he can then die.

They say it could not be someone else who had already died. This is not good proof however, for if Lazarus could be raised from the dead and then die again then why could not someone else?

I believe the second witness will be Moses. The Bible tells us that these witnesses are to do two things. One they are to shut up heaven and not allow it to rain, and second they are to have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to smite the earth with plagues as often as they want.

We know from the scripture that Moses is the one that God allowed to turn the water to blood and smite Egypt with plagues. We are not told that Enoch had such power. These two witnesses will be Moses and Elijah.

It is worth noting that the title of these two is "my two witnesses." This seems to imply that the job of these two is witnessing. If you will recall on the Mount of Transfiguration there were two men that witnessed.

“And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him.”   Matthew 17:3

There were also two men (angels) that witnessed at the tomb of Christ to the women who came to anoint the body of Christ. They told the women that Jesus was risen. There was two men that witnessed to the Galilean crowd gathered watching Jesus ascend into heaven in the book of Acts. In all three occasions the men were clothed in shining garments. These men may very well have been Moses and Elijah. It seems that God has chosen them for the purpose of witnessing. Why not allow them to do what they have done on other occasions, witness?

The job to be done

These two witnesses are to prophesy for 3 1/2 years and we are told that during that time they will be immune to death. In fact if any man tries to harm them, the Bible says that fire will proceed out of their mouth and devour their enemies. Can you imagine large crowds gather around to hear these two men preach? From out of the crowd someone attempts to attack the witnesses, but before they can harm the witnesses fire comes from their mouths and devours them. I wonder how CNN will spin this.

While they are immune to death for 3 ½ years the scripture is clear that they will eventually be killed. When they have finished their work of prophesying the beast will overcome them, will kill them, and will leave them laying dead in the street for three days.

We are told that the Antichrist will make war with them and will kill them. Their dead bodies will lie in the streets for three and one half days. In these days Jerusalem will be called Sodom and Egypt because their character will be like that of Sodom in the days of Lot and Egypt in the days of Moses.

When these men die, the Bible says that they will not suffer their bodies to be buried. They will rejoice over them and send gifts to one another. The reason they are so happy is that these two men tormented them day and night by plagues and their testimony. These people will think that because they killed these men they also killed the law of God and therefore they cannot be punished for their sins.

No doubt this victory over the two witnesses will give Antichrist the added courage he needs to make war with Christ. If he can kill God’s witnesses he will feel like he can kill God himself.

The peoples rejoicing will be short lived. For at the end of three days and a half the spirit of life will come into these men and they will stand upon their feet and great fear shall be upon their enemies. A voice from heaven will be heard saying, "Come up hither" and they will be caught up into heaven in a cloud.

At this same time there will be an earthquake and a tenth part of the city will be destroyed and 7,000 of its inhabitants will die. The people will repent, but their repentance is short lived, like that of Pharaoh in the days of the Egyptian plagues.

The chapter ends with the blowing of the seventh trumpet. When this trumpet blows the earth will tremble and shake like it did when the seventh seal was broken, and like it will do when the seventh vial of judgment is poured out.

If you would like to watch this lesson taught live click the link:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Are you tired?

This week our church has been in revival. We have had a wonderful service both Monday and Tuesday nights. In both services I have had a thought on my heart that I feel like sharing with you.

In 2 Thessalonians 3:13 Paul warns again being “weary in well doing.” This thought has gone through my mind several times over the last couple of days. The reason I have been thinking about this statement is because it has happened to me. Before you look down on me for this you must realize that it is possible that this could be said for the majority of the church.

The more I think about being weary in well doing the more I realize that this may be one of the biggest problems the church faces today. I know that churches have to deal with sin, suffering and sorrow. I really believe however that if most churches would examine the members and the church as a whole they would have to say that they are just tired. We do the same things over and over again, and while these things are good, we many times find ourselves in a rut of ritualism.

Another problem with becoming weary is that many times when you grow weary you also grow critical. Have you ever noticed that when someone grows older or sick many times they also grow critical? This is not true in every case but we have all joked about the old man standing on his front porch telling the kids to get off his lawn. I’ve experienced in my own family how that being weary in body can change your outlook on life and make you more critical than you would normally be.

It is no different in the church. When we grow tired we grow critical. Something that normally would not trouble us will cause us to be critical. When you are weary in well doing you are more prone to see the problems in everyone else’s life. Again this is not a hard rule, but I believe if we were honest with ourselves we would admit that this is the case most of the time.

The trouble with growing weary in well doing is that most of the time you don’t realize it when it happens. It happens so gradually that you never see it coming. If someone gets into sin and does something wrong, they immediately know they have messed up. It’s not that way with growing weary. Another problem is that when we do realize it, we are in such a rut that we don’t always want to get out. You would be surprised how many people know that they are weary in well doing, but they don’t care to do anything about it.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me who feels these things. Maybe it’s just me who gets into this rut. Maybe you are on the mountain all of the time, but I doubt it. Let me tell this from experience. When you finally get to the point where you are ready to do something about the weariness in your life God will be there to help you. One of the greatest blessings in the Bible is the blessing that Jesus became a man. In becoming a man He experienced the same afflictions we face today. Jesus knows what it is like to be weary; He understands where you are at in your life. Be assured that when you finally decide to do something about the rut you are in, God will give you the help you need.

Why don’t you ask Him right now to help you?