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‘In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.’ Ephesians 1:13-14 https://www.bible.com/bible/114/EPH.1.13-14

In the mid 90’s there was a film that came out called Independence Day.  It was a family favorite movie growing up but by no means a family friendly movie due to its graphic depiction of aliens and destruction on the earth.  Watching the movie growing up it was just entertainment but looking back on it now I see some spiritual implications.  I am in no way advertising for the movie but the spirit of wisdom allowed me to see some correlation as it relates to my faith.  The basic premise of the film is an alien invasion of planet earth and the destruction of major cities to take all of its resources.  Of course, earth’s inhabitants were not going to allow that to happen so a group of ordinary American citizens comes up with a plan to destroy the aliens and its mothership.

In the early scenes, we are shown the mothership floating in space and the secondary ships breaking off and floating towards earth to strategically position themselves over major cities around the world.  Before the ships entered into the earth’s atmosphere people started to notice that the signals were being disrupted on their televisions to the appearance of 1950’s screens.  There were only handful of people who noticed or were concerned about these disruptions while they showed many who still continued on with life as they knew it.  Spiritual implication #1: As a believer living in these last days, there are a lot of things going on in the heavens causing disruptions on earth.  The Bible says last days just before Christ returns should be as in the days of Noah.  Some Bible experts say be expecting the return of giants and the manifestations of “alien” beings which are really demons to appear on earth. Those studies are not in my wheelhouse nor what I want this blog site to be about.  However, Jesus mentioned in those days people were marrying and giving in marriage living life as they knew it until sudden destruction.  For believers experiencing these somewhat visible disruptions should not cause us fear but concern.  Alarms should be going off to get our households and those we love ready because the day of our redemption is drawing closer.

As the movie went on more people were made aware that this disruption was actually an alien invasion.  The ships were hovering over major cities and people could visibly see them in the sky.  Some people in the film packed their bags and tried to leave the city.  One character in the movie a former military fighter pilot turned crop duster experienced an alien abduction and tried to warn people for years that they would be returning but no one believed him until now.  Other people ignored instructions to evacuate and literally partied until the moment of their destruction.  Spiritual implication #2: It is inevitable whether you are a believer or not Jesus Christ is returning.  Everyone will be given a fair warning.  We can respond in two ways we can follow instructions and accept Jesus Christ and prepare to meet Him or we can reject Him until the moment of our destruction by then it will be too late.

Once the aliens signaled to each other to destroy the cities, very few people survived.  Even the First Lady of the United States in the film did not evacuate until the last minute and she barely escaped.  Her husband urged her to leave right away but she stayed to finish up some business she had instead.  In the aftermath, many were left confused and helpless.  Which left the President seeking answers in Area 51, a supposed government cover-up of previous alien experiments from the 1950’s.  Upon the president’s arrival, he was met with a scientist that had been down underground in Area 51 for years and he had been studying the alien technology and their anatomies.  They even had one of their smaller spaceships that crashed and had been hiding it underground.  The scientist having no clue of the level of destruction the invasion has caused regarded the recent event as exciting when he noticed all the gadgets and gizmos lighting up in the spaceship when the other alien ships came into the atmosphere.  Of course the President did not think it was exciting because these aliens caused many deaths.  Spiritual implication #3:  As we are aware of all the natural disasters, worldly turmoil, rumors of wars, Bible prophecy being fulfilled, we should be getting signals from the Holy Spirit that our redemption is drawing near but not yet.  Just as the instruments were lighting up in the alien ship when it sensed the other ships were near.  The spirit within us is waking up and believers across the globe are waking up to it too.

The survivors in the film came up with a plan to defeat the alien invaders that included taking the spacecraft and flying it into space where the mothership is located and implanting a virus into its computer system.  They found the two most qualified individuals they had available to complete that mission.  When they took the aircraft into space as they got within a certain distance of the mothership, the aircraft automatically was guided in.  Even though that ship had been gone for years the mothership could recognize it as one of its own and dock with it.  Spiritual implication#4: We are the aliens in a way. This present earth is not our home.  Once you accepted Jesus you renounced your current earthly citizenship for the new earth, our home base.  No matter if you have walked with Christ for years, you’re new in your walk, or you left for a while, repented and came back, we are brothers and sisters and we are all connected through the Spirit for redemption. Just as that mothership recognized that long-lost ship the Father will recognize you because we have His Spirit.  When it is time for us to go home and dock with Him we don’t have to do anything, He has it all under control.

I will not give away the end of the film in case anyone would like to watch it.  I just wanted to point out the spiritual applications.  In no way, I am likening the return of our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to an alien invasion.  It will be much bigger than that with greater repercussions.  There will be a whole host of heavenly armies and saints, not one person will be able to hide.  While there is still time I urge you if you are not saved please accept Jesus Christ today for the forgiveness of your sins and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit so that you may be recognized by the Father when it comes our appointed time for departure.  If you have accepted Christ, but are not sensing the closeness of Christ’s return then you may be caught up in the cares of this life or ignoring the blatant signs that surround us.  Don’t be like the First Lady in the movie who was warned but did not leave until the last minute.  She barely made it.  Spoiler alert! She ends up dying from injuries later in the film as a consequence of not leaving when she should have.  Prepare now.

As We Get Closer

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‘But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.’ Jude 1:20-21

As we draw closer to the end of this age, there should be a dawning in our hearts.  Much less of the things of this world and more on Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith.  We should also reflect on the importance of living a life of holiness which we are called to.  We do this by taking a personal inventory of what takes up most of our thought process day to day.  For example, for me, I used to watch a lot of secular television shows.  I used to be obsessed with one television show to the point where I would watch previous episodes over and over again on Netflix and I developed friendships with these characters in my mind.  All while going to church and reading my Bible.  However, my mind was divided.  I was trying to devote myself to God and that television show.  I was essentially asleep to the spiritual things of God.  I enjoyed that show so much because it was mind-numbing and for one hour I could forget all the issues and responsibilities that surrounded my life.

One day during my lunch hour at work where I usually would watch episodes of my favorite show, instead the Holy Spirit led me to watch a video on Youtube where the late David Wilkerson was preaching.  He mentioned the evils of television specifically soap operas and I was instantly convicted.  Right then I decided that I needed to let that show go.  That show was considered to be a prime-time weekly soap opera.  My devotion to that show was what held me back from starting this blog for the longest time.  Every extra minute I had was dedicated to watching it.  I even watched while making my lunch in the evenings for the next day and laying out my kids’ clothing for school. I just liked to have that noise in the background while I worked, instead of meditating on the word of God like I should have been.  Yet, I have no idea what the name of that sermon was David Wilkerson preached or the day or year he preached it.  It was embedded inside of someone else’s youtube page.  But it didn’t matter, I needed to hear it and God used it to get my attention.

Of course, my new found deliverance came right before the new season premiere and part of me still wanted to watch it.  I told myself, “I’m just going to watch the first episode to see how the characters faired after the last season’s finale, then I would move on.”  The night of the season premiere I could sense the unction of the Holy Spirit telling me not to watch it, but I still said to myself I’m just going to watch the first episode and that’s it.  The whole time I was watching it I felt uncomfortable because I shouldn’t have watched it.  The first episode was filled with all types of abominations to God. I should have cut it off before it was over.  But I watched the whole thing.  After it was over, I just had a yucky feeling over me.  My whole mood went sour.  Little things started to anger me and before my anger could escalate any further, my husband called out that evil spirit that show carried and told me not to watch it anymore and didn’t want to see it anymore in our house.  I agreed.  That was last fall and I haven’t seen the show since.

When it came down to between God and that show, I chose God.  I no longer have the desire to watch it anymore.  That show has been replaced with a desire to know God more.  His desire is for us to be in an intimate relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ.  We must rid ourselves of all the worldly things that keep our attention off Him.   For me it was television, for others it may be relationships, money, careers, cars, music, pornography, etc.  Friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4).  The last thing I want to be is an enemy of God, especially in these last days.  We have no clue of when or how we will enter into eternity.  But it will happen. Whether it’s with Jesus in everlasting life residing in New Jerusalem or without Him in everlasting torment in the lake of fire.  He gives us the choice.  However, God is merciful and each day we have breath is an opportunity to choose Him and surrender our lives while we still can.   Once you have chosen God, He will use you lead others to His son Jesus.  The time of the Harvest is now.  We must work while it is still light.  In the book of Revelation, the letters to the churches Jesus mentioned a number of worldly practices that disqualified the churches from rewards.  I will delve into what Jesus spoke to these churches in future blog entries.  In the meantime, what is it in your life that is keeping you from hearing God and all that He has commanded you to do?

Passing from Death to Life

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‘Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. ‘ John 3:3 https://www.bible.com/bible/1/JHN.3.3

As I mentioned in the previous entry my encounter with Jesus began at a young age.  I was 8 years old when I was saved.  Week after week I sat there in that big church as watching people go down the aisle answering the pastor’s invitation to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior and be baptized.  Strangely I could feel the nudging of the Holy Spirit on my tiny heart to go forward.  But I kept ignoring it.  I had a knowledge of God, I knew who Jesus was because of my upbringing.  I was raised in the church because of the devotion and obedience of my mother.  One Sunday, in March of 1992 I was overcome by the Holy Spirit almost as if He lifted me out of my seat and threw me down the aisle.  I felt as if God said, “daughter you’re going to need to the peace that I give for what you are about to experience in the coming months.”  I didn’t know that’s what He said at the time but looking back over the events that came after my salvation it makes sense.  That day I walked down that aisle, my mother was nowhere near me.  I was sitting next to complete strangers.  No one coached me, no one pushed me. I just answered the call.  I met the pastor at the end of the aisle and he asked, “Do you believe Jesus Christ died for your sins?” I said, “yes.”  “Would you like to be baptized today?” I said Yes.  BEST DECISION EVER!!! After I was baptized that day, I went home so excited.  I felt like a new person.  I didn’t even want to take a shower because I was afraid I would wash off this feeling warmth and love.  I told my father what happened at church and he was happy for me, but he made me take a shower. I was so sad. I cried and cried but my mother comforted me and assured me that the Lord would never leave me.

As the months passed, my father grew sick and in and out of the hospital.  We prayed and prayed for his healing.  However, in June 1992 he passed away.  When my mom told me and my brothers the news, the peace that only God gives He gave to me.  I did not cry right away, I just accepted it.  When my earthly father left, my heavenly father stepped in.  That began my walk with the Lord.  In the fall of the same year, my mom took me and my brothers on a weekend church retreat at a lake.  The campgrounds were beautiful and so peaceful.  There was even a little white church with a bell where we had evening service.  One of the biggest impressions from that weekend was that we had “rapture drill” where the pastor told us when we heard the bells ring head to church because once the doors closed we would “miss the rapture.”   After I saw that movie I mentioned previously called A Distant Thunder, there was no way I was going to be left behind.  I was listening for those bells and I was ready to go.

Early one evening on the retreat I was playing outside with my 3-year-old niece at the time when I heard the church bells.  I grabbed her hand and we ran as fast as we could toward the church.  The church also happened to be at the top of a hill.  None the less, I was determined to get us there before the doors closed.  As soon as I got to the doors, they were open and I could see inside that we were about to have church service so I took my seat.  Again, I had no idea where my mother was but I was so glad I made it! Hallejuah!  As service went on you could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit all around.  As the pastor delivered his message, the Holy Spirit moved upon people and caused them to leave their seats and run to the back of the church where they praised God and started speaking in tongues.  As an 8-year-old girl, I had no idea what was happening.  I looked to my left and saw people leaving to go shout and praise.  Looked to the right and saw the same.  I looked straight ahead then bam! I was hit.  Baptized by the Holy Spirit and given the gift of tongues.  A true Pentecost moment.  The church I attended at that time was a nondenominational church.  No one taught me or asked me if I would like the gift.  I just received it.  Many children received that gift that day.  Before I lose my Baptist readers. I love you all. I attended a very prominent southern baptist church for 7 years as an adult.  I have lots of brothers and sisters that are Baptists that have no idea that I have this gift because I do not practice my gift out of order.  I only use it for personal edification and fellowship with God.  If I should come across an interpreter one day that would be awesome but until then it’s just me and God.  After that event, I just felt a renewed peace.  Especially, in the aftermath of losing a parent.  People were getting baptized in the lake. It was just a remarkable experience that left a great impression on my life.

Now between 8 and 22 years of age, there were times of rebellion and lack of discipleship.  However, I never gave up praying and asking for forgiveness.  When I was 22, destitute, and on the brink of homelessness, I found myself in a closet rededicating my life to Christ, and the next 13 years were quite a journey.  I found myself on the mission fields in Central America and the Caribbean.  I became more grounded in the word of God.  I did street evangelism, wrote Christian drama sketches, landed a career, got married, had two kids and I want to continue to serve.  I say all this to say that this is my born-again testimony.  In reference to the scripture above, you must be born again to enter the kingdom of God.  You will not see New Jerusalem unless you are born again of the Spirit by faith in Jesus Christ and the complete work He did on the cross for our sins.

‘But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”’ Revelation 21:8 https://www.bible.com/bible/114/REV.21.8

God’s city New Jerusalem is where Jesus will rule and reign and the presence of God will radiate and penetrate the whole city so that there is no darkness and anyone not written in the Lamb’s book of life can enter.  It is a Holy place.  So I must ask, are you saved? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Is your name written in the Lamb’s book of life? If not, what are you waiting for? Today is the day of salvation.  Seek Jesus while He can be found.  Don’t let the doors of the church close on you.

 

Why New Jerusalem?

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When I was saved many years ago at age 8, the first book of the Bible I read entirely was Revelation.  That’s quite a feat for an 8-year-old.  It was like the Spirit told me get familiar with this book.  I always had a fascination with the end times.  It made me feel more alive knowing the end.  It started with an old movie I watched at church one evening called “A Distant Thunder”.  It was the second movie in a series called A Thief in the Night.  I believe it was an old 70’s film that really frightened me at 8 years old because of its depiction of what would happen during the Great Tribulation period.  Especially if you did not accept the mark of the beast.  You would face the guillotine.  Even watching it recently, I still learned some important lessons on preparing for what’s to come.  Whether you believe in a pre, mid, or post rapture, all lead to the final destination which is actually the beginning.

When you listen to Christians discuss Bible prophecy, it’s mostly debates about when is the rapture, the Antichrist, the two witnesses, mystery Babylon, etc.  While all of those are gravely important, you rarely hear about the life after.  We are so focused on whats going to happen and when the Great Tribulation will start that we aren’t spiritually prepared for eternal life.  Life with Jesus.  The body of Christ is always so divided on the topic which of course makes us look foolish in front of the world.  To the point in recent years movies have come out mocking our end time beliefs and our Lord and Savior Jesus.  I believe God will give us the Grace to face whatever come what may.  As for now, His heart is for His children to get ready to come home.

‘“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”’ John 14:1-4 https://www.bible.com/bible/114/JHN.14.1-4

New Jerusalem, the Glorious city where God Himself will dwell with us.  It took some years for me to realize that the meaning of this life is to prepare for the next one which is a lot longer and very permanent.  It became so clear to me my purpose for living, each day I have been given breath. As a working wife and mother of two, I get so caught up with the cares of this life and the daily routines.  Jesus paid the price for our sin so that we may have eternal life and what an amazing life that will be.  I will delve into all that comes with that life in future entries.  I am alive for such a time as this and God has given me the Grace to wake up while there is still time to prepare my life and my family and loved ones to meet the Lord.  So we must work while it is still day and prepare for the harvest. Who’s ready to meet the Lord?  What are you all doing to prepare?