Blog Feed

YOURS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

Matthew 4:2  “And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.”

WHAT DOES THIS SAY?

Fasting, in the Jewish tradition, means you should pray have nothing to eat or drink for a specified period of time.  In this case, Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Spirit to pray and fast for 40 days and 40 nights. 

Normally, it would seem highly improbable that anyone would attempt such a thing, since credible medical and scientific sources tell us a person cannot stay alive for more than 8 to 21 days without food and water.  Yet, The Bible plainly states, Jesus fasted in an arid and hostile environment, alone, for 40 days and 40 nights.

Imagine wandering in a hostile, arid wilderness, having no food or liquid for 40 days.  Imagine the weakened state of a person!  You might even wonder if anything you see or think is real or rational?  This was Jesus’ condition.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

First, you must ask yourself “Do I believe it?”, because ultimately, this is what the Bible and faith in God comes down to:  Belief.

Next, perhaps you should ask “Why prayer and fasting” and why for “40 days and nights”, specifically?  What was Jesus trying to accomplish and what was He telling and showing us?

I would have to surmise it was very important to go to this extreme and to take this kind of risk, wouldn’t you think so, as well?!!

FIRST about FASTING.  One primary reason for fasting, found in Psalms 35:13  is to “humble my soul with fasting”.   Jesus was being tested through temptation.

SECONDLY, in Isaiah 58:6  God says, “This is the kind of fasting I want:

  • Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
  • lighten the burden of those who work for you.
  • Let the oppressed go free,
  • and remove the chains that bind people.
  • 7 Share your food with the hungry,
  • and give shelter to the homeless.
  • Give clothes to those who need them,
  • and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
  • 8 “Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and
  • your wounds will quickly heal.
  • Your godliness will lead you forward,
  • and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind.
  • 9 Then when you call, the LORD will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.
  • “Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
  • Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
  • 10 Feed the hungry, and
  • help those in trouble.
  • Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
  • 11 The LORD will guide you continually,
  • giving you water when you are dry
  • and restoring your strength.
  • You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.
  • 12 Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.  Then you will be known as a re-builder of walls and a restorer of homes.
  • 13 “Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly. 14 Then the LORD will be your delight.
  • I will give you great honor
  • and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob.

I, the LORD, have spoken!”

Finally, the number 40.  FORTY shows up often in the Bible.  Forty appears often in contexts dealing with judgment or testing.  Many scholars understand it to be the number of “probation” or “trial.”  This doesn’t mean that 40 is entirely symbolic; it still has a literal meaning in Scripture. “Forty days” means “forty days,” but it does seem that God has chosen this number to help emphasize times of trouble and hardship.

In the Old Testament, when

  • God destroyed, purged and cleansed the earth with water, when He caused it to rain 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7:12).
  • After Moses killed the Egyptian, he fled to Midian, he spent 40 years in the desert tending flocks (Acts 7:30).
  • Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights (Exodus 24:18).
  • Moses interceded on Israel’s behalf for 40 days and 40 nights (Deuteronomy 9:18, 25).
  • The Law specified a maximum number of lashes a man could receive for a crime, setting the limit at 40 (Deuteronomy 25:3).
  • The Israelite spies took 40 days to spy out Canaan (Numbers 13:25).
  • The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years (Deuteronomy 8:2-5).
  • Before Samson’s deliverance, Israel served the Philistines for 40 years (Judges 13:1).
  • Goliath taunted Saul’s army for 40 days before David arrived to slay him (1 Samuel 17:16).
  • When Elijah fled from Jezebel, he traveled 40 days and 40 nights to Mt. Horeb (1 Kings 19:8).
  • The number 40 also appears in the prophecies of Ezekiel (4:6; 29:11-13) and Jonah (3:4).


In the New Testament

  • Jesus was tempted for 40 days and 40 nights (Matthew 4:2).
  • There were 40 days between Jesus’ resurrection and ascension (Acts 1:3).

It is interesting that Dr. Paul Halpern, Ph.D in theoretical physics, an M.A. in physics and a B.A. in physics and mathematics, writes, “The universe is built on (mathematical) harmonies. The Pythagoreans had it right when they married mathematics, music, and the cosmos. Just as mathematical patterns underlie the musical scales and intervals most pleasing to the ear, they also describe the probability waves at the heart of quantum theory. 

“More than 2500 years ago, according to ancient sources, Pythagoras applied his discoveries in music theory to the behavior of the celestial objects. Pluck a string, and the pitch of the note it produces is related to the length of the string. When the lengths of two strings are a simple ratio—1/2, 2/3, and so on—the notes together sound harmonious. Pythagoras believed that the universe itself hummed with its own harmony—beautiful, divine, and inaudible to human ears. He characterized the intervals between successive orbits, such as those of Mercury and Venus, as either tones or half-tones (the smallest intervals in the musical scale), adding up to seven whole tones that form a perfectly harmonious natural order.”

Is it any wonder that the Word of God is replete with the repetitive use of certain numbers and patterns to remind us of certain Truths, or as symbolysms of God’s Intentions and Ways.

After Jesus had fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, “He then became hungry”.  This statement seems straight forward enough, right?  But, look at the word “hungry” as used here:  It is the Greek word, “peineo”.  Through the idea of pinching toil, or to “pine” for a need; to suffer want and to be to be needy, to crave ardently, to seek with a desperate and eager desire   It could describe one who is “starving”.

 This word is synonymous with the Greek word, “ptochos” found in Matthew 5:3, translated as “poor” which could easily read, “Blessed are the POOR / the STARVING in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”!

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME?

Jesus is telling and showing us that it is at a time like this, a condition like this, when we are POOR & STARVING in our Spirit, destitute in our body, mind and soul, that He may prepare us to come into His Kingdom! 

When you make your decision to follow Christ, and you bind it by covenant of your mouth, something miraculous happens.  It ORIGINATES in the Spiritual realm of God’s Kingdom and is manifest in the natural world – your natural world.  And, make no mistake, you are being readied to enter His Kingdom.  This is the One and Only way you and I may enter His Kingdom.  By way of faith in Christ!  

And, just like Jesus’ testing in the wilderness, He strengthens the souls of His disciples, encouraging us to continue in the faith, saying, “It is through many tribulations we enter the kingdom of God.”  Acts 14:22

Our Promised Land is within our reach!  Scout it out and be ready, for we are about to Enter The Kingdom!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

PS: Please be aware that this is not metaphorical. This Kingdom is real. It is not so much a defined territory as it is the dominion, authority and the power of God manifest. Jesus demonstrated Kingdom Life as He went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them. THIS IS OUR CALLING!

 

AMERICA & THE BIBLE?

Is America ever mentioned or referred to in the Bible?  And, where is America during The Great and Terrible Day of The Lord  (Beginning with the Great Tribulation – the 6th Seal of the Tribulation, and the Rapture)?

There are a lot of questions and discussions about this topic, as there should be.  Your preparation may depend on how you view these matters.

It is a common practice to find what you are looking for in the Bible, whether it is actually there or not.  Is America symbolized by the Eagle mentioned in Daniel 7 or is America symbolized the Great Harlot and her fabulous wealth who will die a horrible death on her bed of harlotry?

Does anyone really know?  And, will knowing change the outcome of prophetic events?  Be certain of this, the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord is coming, and the ongoing convergence of multiple prophetic events in our day may indicate it is at hand.

You and I can know, and need to know, the ‘seasons’ as Jesus warned, and to be ready.

I have selected five  known Bible teachers and pastors who speak about these matters.  And they do not all agree.  You can click on their names for their views:

1.  S. Michael Houdmann is the Founder, President, and CEO of Got Questions Ministries, the parent ministry for GotQuestions.org.

2.  Irvin Baxter, the founder and president of Endtime Ministries.  A television and radio talk-show host, author, publisher, and international prophecy teacher.  Irvin felt God call him to start traveling as an evangelist at the age of 19. He began pastoring when he was 26, and continued for 34 years until he made the decision to devote all of his time to Endtime Ministries.

3.  Greg Laurie, an American author and pastor who serves as the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, Harvest Corona in Corona, California Harvest Woodcrest in Riverside, California, Harvest at Kumulani in Kapalua, Hawaii, and Harvest Orange County in Irvine, California.

4.  Doug Batchelor is an evangelist of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and author of several books including The Richest Caveman.  His primary ministry is Amazing Facts – a worldwide television and radio broadcast ministry based in Sacramento, California.He also pastors the Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist Church.

5.  Pastor John C. Hagee,  founder and Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, a non-denominational evangelical church with more than 22,000 active members. Pastor Hagee has served the Lord in the gospel ministry for over 60 years.

The signs around us are terrifying at times so what a better description of those agent’s of this evil than “terrorists”?  And, these terrors will on intensify as that day draws ever closer.

The GOOD NEWS in all of this is that if you are ready as a true believer, a true disciple of Jesus, you will be spared the worst of what is coming.

Even if America ceases to be “The home of the brave and the land of the free”, your safety and sanctuary will continue to the in the Ark of the Covenant of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!  And then we can say aloud…

As I dwell in the shelter of the Most High, I abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!”

For it is He who delivers me from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover me with His pinions, And under His wings I may seek refuge; His faithfulness is my shield and bulwark.

I will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day;  Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.

A thousand may fall at my side And ten thousand at my right hand, But it shall not approach me.

I will only look on with my eyes And see the recompense of the wicked.

For I have made the LORD, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place.

No evil will befall me, Nor will any plague come near where I live.

For He will give His angels charge concerning me, To guard me in all my ways.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

DANGEROUS CHRISTIANITY?

It is distinctly possible to be self deceived.  And to be self deceived in the matters of faith, is of eternal significance. 

2 Corinthians 13:5, says to “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? “

In other words, Paul does not assume that everyone who professes faith in Jesus has living faith in Jesus.

James says it is entirely possible to listen to the Word and not hear the Word and therefore be self deceived.  That is one who does not have a compassionate heart, a clean life or who lives a humble life, then they might want to reexamine themselves and test themselves again.

Just to consider oneself as within the framework of being a Christian is not sufficient.  Since James loves those to whom he is writing, he warns them about what is a clear and present danger.

Speaking for myself, I have, personally experienced, on more than once instance, pastors and groups of people in churches (a.k.a., congregations) who exhibited little in the way of Fruit of the Spirit of God but who were very good at discrediting anyone and everyone who did not fit their mold.

They are very good at appearing good and doing good works on full public display and for public consumption, but, privately were troubled by envy, pride and even resentment.

Their public display of faith was carefully but primarily and ostensibly emotional.  Frequent outbursts of emotions, such as speaking in tongues, proudly announcing their accomplishments, ranking themselves in order of achievements compared to others is their habit.  If these things were, perhaps, intermittent behaviors, one could let them pass.  But, when they are the staple, one has to wonder, “Is this the behavior of Christ, Himself?”

Here is a sermon by Alistair Begg address this issue.  It was a great reminder to me for my conduct.  Maybe it would be helpful to others?

https://www.truthforlife.org/resources/sermon/false-faith/

The reason I bring this up is for the same reasons Pastor Begg presents in his sermon.  Please, do not be deceived.  These days are dangerous enough.  Find your refuge in Christ, and Christ only – hide His Word in your heart and it will become your hiding place!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Church or Cult?

Before you click away from here, please consider…

THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST, according to the Bible, is to be transparent, loving, joyful, peaceable, known by its patient kindness and its goodness.  The Leaders and Membership of Jesus’ Church are welcoming people, gentle people, faithful people, forgiving people and they marked by self control. 

According to the Bible the Leadership and Members of Jesus’ Church are not the the jealous type;  they do not brag, they are not arrogant, and they do not act unbecomingly;  they do not seek their own, they are not provoked, do not take into account a wrong suffered, do not rejoice in unrighteousness, but instead, they rejoice with the truth; 

According to the Bible, the people of Jesus’ Church bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things.  This is THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST.

There are to be no secrets kept and no secret dealings.  And if trouble within the membership arises, church discipline is administered with great caution and care and love for the Body of Christ.  It is to be completed in public, not in secret meetings, remembering that Jesus warns us to forgive seventy times seven.

Some so called churches, however, rely heavily on the unquestioned “visionary leadership” of one person or a select group.  Some so called churches require obedience to this leadership ‘without question’.  And, some so called churches follow an un-biblical and worldly corporate management model and use disciplinary practices to control growth and to discourage dissent. 

They use opacity or secrecy in planning, budgeting and finances.  Are these really “churches”, according to the Biblical model?

Compare the patterns shown below, to the situation you, a family member, or friend is currently involved. This list may help you determine if there is cause for concern. Bear in mind that this list is not meant to be a “cult scale,” or a definitive checklist to determine if a specific group is a cult;  this is not so much a diagnostic instrument as it is an analytical tool.

  • The group displays a pronounced commitment to its leader, regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
  • Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished by public discrediting, shaming, ridicule.
  • Thought-altering practices such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, or work routines are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
  • The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel e.g., members get detailed directions on how to date, change jobs, or marry.  Leaders prescribe what to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth.
  • The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and its members and proudly, publicly, announces its accomplishments and congratulates itself.
  • The group has a polarized, us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
  • The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered questionable or unethical before joining the group, e.g., concealing practices, facts or withholding important information from family or friends, or collecting money for questionable charities.
  • The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and control members. Often this is done through peer pressure, marginalization and subtle forms of persuasion.
  • The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
  • The group is preoccupied with making money.
  • Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
  • Members are encouraged to live and/or socialize primarily with other group members.
  • The most loyal members feel there can be few meaningful relationships outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear alienation for themselves or others if they leave—or even consider leaving—the group.

Concerted efforts at influence and control lie at the core these groups, programs, and relationships. Many members, former members, and supporters of cults are not fully aware of the extent to which members may be manipulated, exploited, or even abused. The following list of social-structural, social-psychological, and interpersonal behavioral patterns commonly found in cultic environments may help you assess a particular group or relationship.

  • Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
  • The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel.
  • The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and its members.
  • The group has a polarized, us-versus-them mentality.
  • The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence members. Often this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
  • The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
  • Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.

Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

  • The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave— or even consider leaving—the group.
  • How are people who left the group treated? What is said about them? Will the group give you names of people who left? Both those who were satisfied and those who were not?
  • Are former members willing to speak about their experiences? How do they evaluate their time with the group or person?
  • What is the process for filing complaints? Is there a feedback mechanism that is real and honored? Are complaints made public? Is there a money-back guarantee?
  • Are your questions answered directly? Are you told time and again to listen to your heart and not your head? Are you told that you are too new, too uninformed, too nosy, and so on, and shouldn’t be asking such questions?
  • Is there a leader who appears to be the ultimate authority, spokesperson? Are his or her views challenged by others?
  • What is the attitude of the followers toward the leader? Are there checks and balances to hold the leader accountable?
  • Is more than one point of view presented? Are other points of view recognized? Are other points of view seen as valid but different?
  • What kind of commitment is expected? In time, money, lifestyle changes?
  • Does it appear that there are secrets? Is information restricted in any way? Is there some information that you are told must not be shared with outsiders? Is there information that you’re told you can’t get until you’re a member of the group or reached a certain level?  Is there information which is incomplete in detail and details are clouded or concealed without reasonable explanation?

THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST is transparent, loving, joyful, peaceable, known by its patience, its kindness and its goodness.  It is gentle, faithful, forgiving and marked by self control.

There are no secrets kept, no secret dealings.   And any form of church disciple is administered with great caution and care and it is completed in public, not in secret meetings, remembering that Jesus warned to forgive seventy times seven.

So, which is it for you?  Honestly.  Is your Church “Church-like” or is it being run like a “Religious Cult”?

We are living in dangerous times.  We are to find our peace and safety in Jesus Christ and in His Body, The Church.  He is the Ark of our Salvation.

Do not be deceived.  Do not confuse the “baby with the bath water” as some are inclined to think, and do not fall for such nonsense.  Flee from the counterfeit,

If you want to talk, please contact me.

Your Brother and Friend,


Mike Young

MATURE IN CHRIST

“If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into you.”

It would appear to some, that this world is on the verge of slipping into the clutches of godless socialism, communism or into the clutches of Islam. 

It has been The Gospel of Jesus Christ implanted in the hearts and minds of willing men and women which has been tipping the balance back from the abyss.

Some think otherwise.  One can read all kinds of proposals for saving America and the rest of the world and let me say here and now, that it will not be because of some politician with a crafty scheme which will save the world.  Nor will it be some religious incantation from a ‘holy man’.  Not an ‘anointing oil or potion from a TV preacher, a ‘holy water’ soaked hanky, not a Pentecostal preacher exhibiting a public holy fit and not even a well intended, but wistful, protestant praying some rote prayer which will stay this evil which besets us nor will it slow the demise of civilization. 

It has always been and will continue to be men and women of God who are sold out to the Cause and Purpose of Christ, who are MATURE in their faith, bravely carrying His Banner into battle against this evil.  This is a spiritual battle manifested on earth – it is occurring in our natural realm.

We must be making the next generation of disciples, preparing them to take up His Banner and to continue the fight against the rulers, the powers and principalities of darkness, until He returns and claims our victory.

Here are excerpts and a link to an important and succinct message from Pastor and teacher Alistair Begg on this matter of Making Disciples.  It is titled “Presenting Everyone Mature in Christ — Part One”

EXCERPTS:

“Our text is Colossians chapter 1:28 – 29:  “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”

“I was part of a panel of ministers, and in the Q and A session of that particular evening, the questions turned very specifically to the issue of discipleship: “What is a disciple? What does it mean to make a disciple?”.  And the way in which the question was answered by my colleagues, left me with a really empty feeling.   If I were to go by the definitions that were given to me then I would have to conclude that I had been missing the point for the last thirty-six years.   So I left despondent.  I left thinking to myself, “I have to think this issue out.”  Because, if what was being said there didn’t intersect with my own heart and mind and thinking.

“The difficulty, as I reflected on it afterwards, lay in an inference was the idea that it was one thing to be a Christian and it was another thing to be a disciple. In other words, that discipleship was a kind of upper tier, a kind of stage-two dimension of Christian pilgrimage.  In other words, the inference was that only “The Pastor is a Disciple Maker,” a number of things occurred to me.

“First of all, that in the Acts of the Apostles, we discover that the disciples became known as Christians and not the other way around.

“It was the disciples that became known as Christians, not the Christians that began to be called disciples. The disciple band began as disciples. They were the disciples of Jesus. They were the followers of Jesus.

“The other thing that struck me was that the noun discipleship never actually occurs in the Bible at all, and that the verb matheteuo, “to make a disciple,” occurs in the framework, essentially, of a process—a process that involves conversion, baptism, teaching, and development along the line of sanctification. So as I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that in the New Testament, everyone converted to Jesus was a disciple. So I decided that it can’t be an upper tier; it isn’t a second stage. And the danger is that when that becomes a prevalent kind of teaching, as with other kinds of second-stage, upper-tier teaching on the Christian life, it almost inevitably divides people from one another.

“In the New Testament, everyone converted to Jesus was a disciple, setting out to follow Jesus is not a hundred-yard dash, but it is actually, as we discover reading the Bible, it is a cross-country run that lasts for a lifetime.” – Pastor Alistair Begg, Truth for Life, 10/16/2020. From Series: The Pastor’s Study, Volume 8

https://www.truthforlife.org/resources/sermon/welcome-and-main-session/#transcript

https://www.truthforlife.org/resources/sermon/welcome-and-main-session/

I hear a lost of excuses from Christians now-a-days about disciple making, and it would seem we are failing and that there will be no one to carry this fight forward!

But, the Word of God tells us He will raise up a remnant, a holy army, arrayed in His Glory, in these Last Days.  God, through this remnant, will put the enemy on the run and He will completely destroy them.  You and I can choose to be part of this Army or sit it out, at our peril.

Do not give in or give up.  Continue to proclaim and believe that our God is before us, over us, with us, in us and is working through us,   God has done and is doing His part and we must do our part.  Let’s join God in what He is doing!

Dear Brothers and Sisters:  Sitting in church won’t get this done, and  if we shrink back or shirk our duties, if we are not engaged with Christ in this historic and cosmic battle, all of us will pay an awful price!

Start now! Pray His Word, carry the banner of God as you go, preach and teach His Gospel, confront evil wherever you encounter it and stand fast in the face of evil!

If you have any questions or want to discuss these matters, please contact me:

Your Brother and Friend in Christ,

Mike Young

 

SHORT PEOPLE

“Short People” – A song, a parody about some people’s CHARACTER

A song by Randy Newman, popularized in 1977 was song is widely misinterpreted, which generated a great deal of exposure for the song and controversy for Newman. On the surface, the song is making fun of little people, but “short” is meant in a figurative sense, intending to poke fun at people who are short-tempered and small-minded, which is quite the opposite of the literal meaning. A lot of people didn’t get the joke and thought of Newman as a bigot. Many radio stations refused to play it.

At first, Newman sings about Short People as having “nasty little feet,” “stubby little fingers” and “dirty little minds,” but he makes his statement clear near the end of the song when he sings, “Short People are just the same as you and I. All men are brothers until the day they die.”

Short people got no reason
Short people got no reason
Short people got no reason to live

They got little hands
Little eyes
They walk around tellin’ great big lies
They got little noses
And tiny little teeth
They wear platform shoes on their nasty little feet

Well I don’t want no short people
Don’t want no short people
Don’t want no short people ’round here

(Short people are just the same as you and I)
A fool such as I
(All men are brothers until the day they die)
It’s a wonderful world

Short people got nobody
Short people got nobody
Short people got nobody to love

They got little baby legs
They stand so low
You gotta pick ’em up
Just to say hello
They got little cars that go “beep, beep, beep”
They got little voices goin’ “peep, peep, peep”
They got grubby little fingers
And dirty little minds
They’re gonna get you every time

Well, I don’t want no short people
Don’t want no short people
Don’t want no short people ’round here


Do you know who else was a “short person” that is a person “short on character”?  Napoleon Bonaparte!

Bonaparte was considered a great military stragtegist and leader.  His accomplishments are legends of history and are still being studied and talked about.

His end?  Bonaparte died as an exiled prisoner of war on the small island of Saint Helena off the coast of Africa.

“A close look behind the heroic portraits and beneath the gorgeous uniforms reveals some surprising things about the great little man. (He was small.)

“Perhaps most striking? The number of complexes he suffered from, including

  • class inferiority,
  • money insecurity,
  • intellectual envy,
  • sexual anxiety,
  • social awkwardness and, not surprisingly,
  • a persistent hypersensitivity to criticism.

Taken in whole, these traits drove his stark ambition, undermined his grandiose endeavors—and ultimately crippled his historic legacy.” (This paragraph is an excerpt from the History Channel https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/napoleon-dies-in-exile).

I guess some of you might have guessed that I might go here with this:

HEY, PASTORS and PREACHERS, BIBLE TEACHERS, and Christians, GROW UP!!  Stop being like those people who are “short of character”, who are short-tempered, self centered, controlling, and small minded.

We are looking for GIANTS in our pulpits.  GIANTS we can trust and follow in this postmodern chaotic world.  We are looking for men and women who are GIANTS in faith, EXCELLENT in character and PARAGONS of virtue.

These GIANTS, these people of faith, character and virtue should be found in all our Christian Churches but, alas, there are a few to be found. 

If you will look, however, you can find them and you can identify them because they stand out!  They loom over the myriads of “short people” who have invaded our pulpits.  These GIANTS come equipped with temperaments of mercy, righteous standards of justice, wisdom of the ages and exemplary judgment.

If you are one, your humility probably keeps you from seeing it.  To you I beg, please, stand guard at the gates for the rest of us.

If you are not one, then I implore you to become one.   Then, please follow this adage:  LEAD, FOLLOW, OR GET OUT OF THE WAY (or, we the people, may just have to move you out of the way).

From your “short, but working on it” Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

GROW UP, CHRISTIAN!

There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”   Proverbs 14:12

Postmodernism, “hyper-grace”, the cheap gospel, a seeker sensitive gospel, new age practices, gnosticism, chrislam, ecumenicalism, prayer labyrinths, holy laughter, the purpose driven life.  A Strange gospel has invaded the church.

Some are saying that there are many ways to heaven, but, the Bible says there is but One Way, and His Name is JESUS.  But, many ways are being offered by false prophets, antichrists and deceivers.

Jesus says to take on His yoke for it is easy and His burden is light and it leads to life.  But, make no mistake, His way is costly and difficult and He warns us to count the cost before we start.  The END however, is a choice between Eternal Life with Him or eternal damnation in hell, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I am presenting you both a teaching and a plea.  Both an instruction and a warning. 

Please read to the end and prayerfully consider what is offered here.  Your life may depend on it.

PRESS ON TO MATURITY

Hebrews 6:1  “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do, if God permits.

4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,

6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. 7 For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; 8 but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.”

The Apostle Paul is generally credited with writing these verses to the Hebrews, both believer and non-believers in and around the Roman Empire and in Israel.

This book is described as eloquent and intellectual but most commentaries make it difficult to understand its purpose and message because of its complexities.

It is not my intention to try to explain the details surrounding these verses from the Book of Hebrews, but, my intention is to understand the prophetic meaning and application of these verse – for our edification and use in His service.

I understand that the purpose of the Book of Hebrews was that many of the early Jewish believers were slipping back into the rites and rituals of Judaism in order to escape the mounting persecution. This letter, then, is an exhortation for those persecuted believers to continue in the grace of Jesus Christ.

I want to simplify the purpose and message to the Hebrews: 

This book was originally intended for the Hebrews, but, it is important to realize that Hebrews is written for ALL PEOPLE who are following Jesus.  The Apostle Paul is saying to us all, “IT IS PAST TIME TO GROW UP!”  

(I have color coded this message to link related thoughts and teachings; and I have used CAPITALIZATION to emphasize specifics; and I have separated it into paragraphs to further group the related teachings.)

Hebrews 6:1  Therefore leaving THE ELEMENTARY TEACHING about the Christ, let us PRESS ON TO MATURITY, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

2  of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.

3  And this we will do, if God permits.

4  For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,

5  and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,

and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

7  For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God;

8  but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.

Verses 1-3.  Most Hebrews would understand the context of these verses.  If you want more detail you can look it up yourself or go to https://thirdmill.org/seminary/lesson.asp/vs/HEB/ln/1

Verses 4-5.   The first few words identifies the addressees, the intended audience, of this prophetic warning:  “For in the case of THOSE who have once been enlightened…”

“For in the case of” is the Greek word, ‘hapax’ which means ‘once for all time’.  It is a clear statement that it happened and is an enduring fact!

“those who have once been enlightened” means to give light, to shine, to render evident, to become clear to all and to spiritually imbue with the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  (Strong’s Concordance).  Many commentaries either fail to mention this altogether or work around it:  It is saying, “those who have been saved…”

“Have tasted of the heavenly gift”  means to taste of or to eat and to perceive the flavor of; to partake of, to enjoy, to feel, to make trial of and to experience, to take nourishment from. 

This is certainly not a ‘seeker sensitive’ casual encounter with God or His Gifts. 

This is reminiscent of and akin to what Jesus says in John 6:51  “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

v53 “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 “For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. 58 “This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

Been made partakers of the Holy Spirit  –  To have been made a partaker is being made a partner in, a sharing in.  It comes from the word “amen”, it is so or so it is completed.  This is a Holy Union.

“Have tasted” in the context of the Greek word, ‘geuomai’ (taste), is to ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, require to eat and feel and to  make trial of, to experience and to be nourished by eating.

“The good”  word of God,  contextually is an honorable word, excellent, eminent, affecting the mind.

“Word of God”  in this case, is the Greek word, “rhema” which is The Word of God which is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing spoken, the Spoken Word of God. 

It is important to note that the spoken Word of God is Causative, Creative and Prophetic.

The powers of the age to come  The Greek word, for ‘power’ in this case, is the word, “dunamis” from whence we get the English words, dynamite and dynamic.  It is defined as a mighty work, miracle working strength, virtue.  An in0herent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth

  • power for performing miracles
  • moral power and excellence of soul
  • the power and influence which belong to riches and wealth
  • power and resources arising from numbers
  • power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts

The powers of the age to come”   The age to come is forever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity and includes all of creation, time, space and matter.  All of this world, all of the universe, the cosmos and things beyond our comprehension.

Verses 6-8.  If this were a play, it would be a Greek tragedy, and it would be a most sought after play. 

It is a most tragic fact, God tells us, that it is possible for those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, can fall away.

“Have fallen away”  is a phrase taken from the Greek word “pipto”, to descend from a higher place to a lower, to be thrust down, metaphorically, to fall under judgment, came under condemnation; it is used to describe those overcome by terror or astonishment or grief or under the attack of an evil spirit or of falling dead suddenly; to lose authority, no longer have force, to fail of participating in, miss a share in (God’s Gift of salvation).

These verses are a picture of a Greek wrestler being “thrown to the mat” (fallen away) even after having tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and having tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, continues to ‘wrestle’ with the good things of God.

“Impossible to renew them”   The Greek word for impossible, “adunatos”, means exactly that:  It cannot be done.   They cannot be restored nor can they repent again.  This is not an act of God but is the innate workings of mankind.  This must be taken, in English (or any other language) at complete face-value.  They are now unrepentant, permanently, because they would again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God”  This is a beautiful metaphor comparing mankind to ‘the ground’ drinking in the rain of the Gifts and of God being tilled by The Holy Spirit of God, bringing forth the produce or fruit of righteousness and of the Holy Ghost.

“But if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.  The metaphor turned into a paradox, shows ‘the ground’, after drinking in the gifts of God, producing the antithesis of Fruit of the Spirit, being ‘thorns and thistles’.

The end of this man or woman is damnation.   Note:  There are some theologians and bible teachers who argue that their works will burned up, but the person will be spared. 

BEWARE.  THAT IS A LIE.  Both the person and their works will perish.

Please read these passages and pray:

  • Matthew 13:41 “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
  • 2 Peter 2:1  “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
  • 4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;

  • 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;
  • 6 and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; 7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men 8 (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds),
  • 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,
  • 10 and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, 11 whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, 13 suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, 14 having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; 15 forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.
  • 17 These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. 18 For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, 19 promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.”

This is offered in love and out of a heartfelt concern.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

PS:  If your study of the Bible, your worship of God and your Church is not presenting a complete, comprehensive, mature teaching of the Gospel, you may be in danger.  Flee!

If you church is seeker sensitive, pandering to the world’s lost, watering down the Word of God to please the unsaved, FLEE!

If your pastor is trying to fit into the culture by his speech, his dress, his attitudes and behaviors, demand he grow up!  If he won’t then leave!

If you do not know what is going on behind the scenes at church, you don’t know where the money is actually being spent or how much you are paying your staff, if don’t understand you budget, this may be OBFUSCATION.  FLEE!

There are Bible centered, Bible teaching, Bible practicing Churches and Pastors.  Find one.

THE HOLY SPIRIT AND FIRE

Matthew3:11 “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

John is telling us, “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

This may well be one of the most important statements made by John and one of the most overlooked in the entire new testament. 

Ask yourself, “Do you know what this means to you?” and have you been baptized with the Holy Spirit and with Fire?

First about baptism:  The word in the original Greek is “baptizo”, pronounced bap-tid’-zo.  It means, in this case, to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to overwhelm with permanent change.

This word is not to be confused with “bapto” which is to dip in or immerse in water, as to dip into dye, or to color.  This is simply and change of the exterior. 

The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C.   It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words.  Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be ‘dipped’ (bapto) into boiling water and then ‘baptised’ (baptizo) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptizing the vegetable, produces a permanent change.

When used in the New Testament, this word more often refers to our union and identification with Christ than to our water baptism. (Mark 16:16).  ‘He that believes and is baptized shall be saved’.  Christ is saying that mere intellectual assent, a coloring of the outside of a person, so to speak, is not enough.  There must be a spiritual union with him, a real change, a permanent change which only the Holy Spirit can accomplish, is needed, like the vegetable to the pickle!

JOHN’S BAPTISM is the act of Binding, on earth.  “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:18

Second,  John is saying, in fact he is prophesying, that Jesus will baptize you – BAPTIZO – with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

We can see what is meant by this in the next verse:

Matthew 3:12 

(a)  “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and

(b)  He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and

(c)  He will gather His wheat into the barn, but

(d)  He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

A winnowing fork is an instrument used to separate the grain of the wheat from the chaff.  It is a violent act of beating and threshing.  This is symbolic of the process of salvation, sanctification and being made ready to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus will thoroughly clear His threshing floor.  Nothing is left untouched.  Everything will be “purged, purified and refined” and made ready for the Kingdom of God.

THIS IS FOR THE BELIEVER in preparation for what is coming upon us.  This is your first and last line of defense against the evil day.  You cannot and will not survive what is coming upon the world if you have not allowed Jesus to Baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with Fire!

(*NOTE:  This is NOT some postmodern or contemporary reenactment of ‘speaking in some strange tongue’ and behaving strangely.  It is NOT an elevation of your adrenaline or some ‘excited fit’ where you supposedly ‘take dominion over demons’.  This IS an awesome and a fearsome act of God.  It IS God’s steady hand, filling you with His power and Presence.  It IS HIM doing HIS works through you.  It is HIM speaking His Words and HIM doing His bidding through you, while you are quiet and yielded to Him.)

We can also see this prophecy given and this process described in

Daniel 12:1  “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. 2“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.  “10“Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.”

These are prophetic pictures of Jesus Second Coming as Judge and Conquering King. In His first coming, Jesus arrived in the most humble of circumstances.  His second coming,  Jesus will arrive with the armies of heaven at His side.

Revelation 19:11-16, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Dear Brothers and Sisters, it is urgent that we understand (1)  What is coming  (2)  That it is already upon us  (3)  We are to be participants in these Last Days, and not standing idly by looking up into the sky wondering about His Return     (4)  He will prepare us to join with Him to complete His earthly mission and then (5) Comes His Judgement

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

NEXT:  “HIS WINNOWING FORK“?

 

HIS WINNOWING FORK

WHAT DOES IT MEAN – TO YOU & TO ME?

Because these verses and John’s words are prophetic they have a special significance for you and for me.  You will be either a participant or an observer.  You will be either a disciple, a follower of Jesus or not.  You will either…

FIRST, Prophecy is never a one-time thing.  Prophecy, once “God Breathed”, will repeat and reverberate throughout time and history, until Jesus fulfills it.

Jesus explains this when says in Matthew 5:17  “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.  “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

SECOND, Prophecy is something we apply internally, to our hearts, to our minds and within our spirit.  We must internalize God’s Prophetic Word in order to be part of prophecy and not be overcome by it.

“His winnowing fork is in His hand”.  The meaning of this prophetic phrase is also found in Matthew 24:27  For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28“Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather”.

He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; can be seen in Matthew 24:29 “But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30“And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory”.

He will gather His wheat into the barn, and you can see Jesus gathering His Wheat in Matthew 24:31  “And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.  And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”

He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Just of example of this can be found in Revelation 20:15  “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

*THESE FIVE POINTS ENCAPSULATED HERE DESCRIBE THE ENTIRE TRIBULATION PERIOD, BEGINNING WITH THE BREAKING OF THE 1ST THROUGH THE FOURTH TRIBULATION SEALS FROM AROUND AD 69 AND CONTINUING UNTIL THE  WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT AND CULMINATING WITH THE DESTRUCTION OF ALL EVIL, THE 1ST HEAVEN AND THE FIRST EARTH.

These verses tell us and show us for the fourth time just in the New Testatment, that the tribulation period, known as

  • the ‘Time of Distress’ (Daniel 12:1) or
  • ‘The Beginning or Sorrows’ (Matthew 24:8) had its beginning in or around AD 1, most likely between AD 69 and AD 100.

Similar remarks as those made by Jesus in Matthew 24:3-8, are also made by Paul in Hebrews 1:2 and by Peter in Acts 2:14-21 and again in 2 Peter 3.

JESUS’ BAPTISM is “the spiritual, heavenly sealing of an earthly act” of binding.  The earthly baptism is temporal but Jesus’ Baptism is eternal and permanent.

GOD tells us how to do this through the Book of Joshua, particularly Chapter 1

Come with me on the adventure in prophecy, learning and doing!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

NEXT:  “NEITHER RIGHT NOR LEFT”

NEITHER RIGHT NOR LEFT

“He will baptize you with The Holy Spirit and Fire”  John 3:11(b)

The literal and practical outcome of our baptism “With The Holy Spirit and With Fire” is found in the book of Joshua and it shows us how we enter a Kingdom Relationship with Him.

Joshua 1:3 “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses.

4 “From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory.

5 “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.

6 “Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.

7 “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.

v8 “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”

These prophetic words of God show us HOW WE CAN ENTER INTO A PRACTICAL KINGDOM RELATIONSHIP with Him.

Again, we are told, in John 6:31-35  “Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.’”

Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.

“For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”

Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

“Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.  This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.

“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.   “For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.

 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him

 “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.

“This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

“I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

These prophetic words of Jesus tell us HOW WE CAN ENTER INTO A SPIRITUAL KINGDOM RELATIONSHIP with Him.

Jesus is telling us that His Baptism of believers “With The Holy Spirit and with Fire” requires that His Word permeate every part of your being: body, soul, mind and spirit.  You are called to continue His Works until He returns to consummate the age.  This His Command and this is your calling!

This command is NOT A METAPHOR or is it HYPERBOLE.  THIS COMMAND IS LITERAL! 

For this to happen, for you and I to obey Jesus’ Command and to respond to our calling, we must do as John (and Jesus) say, and “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

The Kingdom of Heaven, The “Basileia”, is of royal power, kingship, dominion and rule, the right or authority to rule over a kingdom.  It is the royal power of Jesus as the triumphant Messiah and of the royal power and dignity conferred on Christians in the Messiah’s kingdom.

It is at hand, “Eggizo”, the Greek words which means it is so near that is joined as one thing to another.  In other words, nearer than is your wrist to your hand.  This word refers to the crook of your arm or a curl as in a wave.  It is near, it is active and powerful, it can overpower and you can be joined to This Kingdom.  You can enter into it, or better understood, THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU!  (Luke 17:21)

Jesus is revealing the location of His Kingdom which is accessible – but only for the few who are willing.  Jesus  makes no secret of it, yet, not many will understand and fewer yet will be willing to follow Him and enter His Kingdom.  (“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”)  Matthew 7:14

As the word of The Kingdom spread, questions began to surface. Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; (v21)  nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in within you.”  Luke 17:20

You can only imagine the consternation created, especially among the religious ruling elite.  They must have asked, “Is Jesus saying that Heaven has come down to earth?”  And, in the minds of the Pharisees, they wondered “who is this Jesus and what gives Him the right to say these things?”

These same questions and this same controversy persist until this day.  For example, many of the contemporary Bible translations or versions, purposefully and deliberately changed the Greek-to-English translation of Luke 17:20-21,

from saying…

“The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in within you.”  

to saying…

“The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” 

“In your midst” is a deliberate misquote and a deliberate misinterpretation of God’s literal Word which should read “Within you”!  They are miles apart in meaning and will have the effect of misleading and misdirecting a Believer from his or her ultimate goal in serving God.

In this day and age, The Kingdom of God is at hand and Jesus will baptize the willing believer with The Holy Spirit and with Fire. 

“Now therefore arise, you and all this people, cross this Jordan, to the land which I have given to you.

“Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses.

“From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory.  (The land God promised)

“No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.

“Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.

“Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.

“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”

Read these words, drink them in, consume them.  Now, GO!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

ESCAPE THE COMING WRATH

Matthew 3:8  “Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;

WHAT DOES THIS SAY?

Verse 8 warns and instructs us on this one urgent matter:  How you escape the coming wrath.

“Bear Fruit in keeping with repentance”: 

Bear = (poieo, greek) Produce and demonstrate through your life actions,

Fruit = (karpos, greek) works, acts, deeds which appear in your progeny and posterity,

Keeping with = (axios, greek)  having the weight, value or worth befitting and corresponding to your confession of faith in Christ, and which demonstrate

Repentance = (metanoeo, greek) a change of one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

This is the “Gateway to Safety and Freedom”.  I will almost guarantee you that most have never heard this verse taught or preached in any detail.  Why is that? 

Going forward in some church building, whispering or whimpering some ‘magic words’ which we call “the sinner’s prayer” is not going to save you.  Oh, it might be a ‘first step’, but, until you “Bear Fruit in keeping with repentance”, you are not safe.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME?

Have you ever heard this before?  “Please, bow your heads and close your eyes and repeat this prayer after me

“I know that I am a sinner.  I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins.  I ask you to come into my heart.  I promise to serve you to the best of my ability. Please save me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

“For all who prayed this prayer, CONGRATULATIONS!  You are NOW, a child of God!!  (Congregational applause)  Please pick up some literature after our service.  It will tell you what to do next.”

It is called, “The Sinner’s Prayer”.  But, is It Biblical?  And, is it enough to save your soul and get you into heaven?  https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/368-sinners-prayer-is-it-biblical-the

Is it enough, to utter a scripted prayer, and expect a magical transformation of your life and a free pass to heaven?

Perhaps this little mimicked prayer, almost like an incantation, will get you thinking about salvation, but, the Bible seems to consider this a more serious matter and addresses it a bit differently.

The Bible and Jesus say there has to be a commitment to follow Jesus in His teachings and His commandments.

The facts are that neither Jesus nor His disciples ever used a “sinner’s prayer” to induce people to follow Jesus.

And, neither Jesus nor His disciples minced their words on this important matter.  They just gave it straight and then you either dropped what you were doing, what you had been, and followed Him – or not. 

So, what are you to do?  Has Jesus changed His mind about how we are to follow Him and become a Christian?

Read what Pastor David Platt, former president of the SBC international mission board and currently the pastor-teacher at McLean Bible Church in Virginia has to say on this matter – and read your Bible for further understanding.  It might just help and save a few souls along the way.

“I am convinced that many people in the churches are simply missing the Life of Christ.  And a lot of it has to do with what we have sold them as the Gospel.  I.e., pray this prayer, accept Jesus into your heart, invite Jesus into your heart.  Should it not concern us that there is no such superstitious prayer in the New Testament?” Davie Platt, sermon on The Sinner’s Prayer:

Additionally, and more importantly, the Bible tells us, in Matthew 4:17  “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Repentance, a necessary step for Salvation, refers to an emotional change, and to a change of choice and has reference to particulars for ones entire life.  Repentance signifies only regret even amounting to remorse.  In a Christian sense, repentance is a reversal of moral purpose, a change of attitude and behavior to the teaching of model of Jesus.

Another example of the seriousness of this matter is found in Philippians 2:12 which says,

“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling…”

Being saved is not just a simple prayer, repeated at the urging or insistence of someone else. It requires a serious commitment to follow Jesus and to accept a radical change in our life.  And, once prayed, it is someone’s responsibility to then disciple, walk with the person who is seeking salvation in discipleship.

Finally, and most importantly, Jesus told us at least a couple of things we are to BE and what we are to BE DOING while we wait for His return:

1.  Matthew 10:7  “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.

a)  9 “Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, 10 or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.

b) 11 “And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city. 12 “As you enter the house, give it your greeting. 13 “If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace.

c) 14 “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. 15“Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.

2.  18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

a)  20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

WE THE CHURCH  have been warned by Jesus

Matthew 7:21  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’  

We, THE CHURCH, need to get to the Gospel Message and the Teachings of Jesus and make disciples in the likeness of Him.  We have drifted far and are now at great risk.

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THIS?

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

More on this: 

https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/fruit-repentance/

https://whitestone2020.com/2020/08/14/how-can-i-get-into-heaven/

https://whitestone2020.com/a-call-to-arms/

A BROOD OF VIPERS

                     A PROPHECY FOR TODAY – Part 3

Matthew 3:7  ¶  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?

Suppose with me, that you were sent to deliver a message, a warning of a pending disaster, to a specific group of people.   And, you were tasked with getting them ready to escape a coming disaster.  How soon would you tell them?

Also, would you be busy warning people who would not encounter the disaster, or would you spend your time warning those who would be affected?  This is a simple, if not a silly question, isn’t it?  No one in their right mind would waste time telling someone to flee a coming disaster if it was not going to affect them!

John the Baptist is warning and preparing those who would be affected by the wrath to come.  And, he was wondering who had warned the Pharisees and Sadducees – the brood of vipers – who were coming for baptism, to flee from the wrath to come.

There are two important messages here:

1.  The “coming wrath” was immanent!  In fact, it would begin within just a few years of John’s warning.  And, it began as Jesus said, “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.”  And, these birth pangs continue to this day!  And, they are intensifying as we near the breaking of the 6th tribulation seal.

This has not been our only warning. 

The period of the breaking or opening of the first FIVE Tribulation Seals, which began between around A.D. 33 is also referred to THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS or the LAST DAYS.

John the Baptist began warning about this period in or around A.D. 27, the time of Jesus’ baptism.

Jesus calls this period the LAST DAYS or the END OF THE AGE in Matthew 24:3-8

The Apostle Peter calls this period the LAST DAYS in Acts 2:16-17

The Apostle Paul calls this period THESE LAST DAYS in Hebrews 1:1-2

The Apostle Peter again reminds us THESE ARE THE LAST DAYS in 2 Peter

The Bible tells about the END OF DAYS and the Tribulation.  It is important to know that the Tribulation period actually is called by three prominent, although variant names: 

(a)  The Beginning of Sorrows, Birth Pangs, The End of The Age or the Last Days

(b)  The Tribulation also known as The End of Days 

(c) The GREAT Tribulation also know as the Wrath of God or the Wrath of the Lamb.

2.  This warning was for the “children of God” only.   You can know this since  John 1:10 tells us that “Jesus was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.  v11  He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.  v12  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name”.

And,  Matthew 13:10 tells us, The disciples came and asked Jesus, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11  Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13 “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.”

YOU have been warned.  The time is near.  Are you ready?  (And, if you do not know what “being ready” entails, you are not ready.  BE WARNED! )

If you have concerns, please contact me and let’s talk.

Your Brother and Friend,


Mike Young

Whitestonefellowship@earthlink.net

More reading on this: 

https://whitestone2020.com/2020/07/24/it-has-been-spoken/

POVERTY & THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?

Matthew3:4  Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.

5  Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan;

6  and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.

The Bible can be easier to read with all of the ‘new versions’ floating around.  And, assuming they are correctly written, you can begin to think you understand what the Bible is saying.

But, even that is not enough.  Unless you have the Holy Spirit and you see the Word in the correct context, you are still “seeing through a glass darkly”.  In the case of these verses, context is everything to understanding and to doing.

We are told that John is living in the wilderness, dressing in a garments of camel’s hair, eating locusts and wild honey.  This is a description of first century poverty.  In reality, John is beyond being financially poor, he is destitute of any earthly possessions. 

So, why so much talk about poverty and the seeming conflict between wealth and poverty in the Bible?  Should we embrace poverty also?

Matthew 5:3, will give you understanding of the meaning of true poverty, its purpose and insights through context. 

We learn that,  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Again, Matthew 19:21  Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

And again in Mark10:17  “As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

18  And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.

19  “You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’”

20  And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.”

21  Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

22  But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

23  And Jesus, looking around, *said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!”

24  The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus *answered again and *said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!

25  “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

26  They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?”

27  Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

28  Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.”

29  Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake,

30  but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.

John the Baptist is an example to us that it is possible to live and walk in the power, in the provision and in the presence of The Kingdom of God, while on earth. 

Setting your mind, your focus, on Earthly possessions effectively blocks access to Kingdom life.  If you dispute this, look at Jesus’ life and example and hear His Words again:  “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Everything you have is the result of how you think.  Very few come by their possessions by accident or happenstance.  People toil, day and night to earn and possess.  And this is what God is saying to you, “Think on Me.  Toil, day and night to possess Me and my Greatest of all Gifts to you.”

Jeremiah 29:13 ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.’

Matthew13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”


Matthew 13:45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

It is not wealth or possessions, in and of themselves, which blocks access to Kingdom life and walking in His Authority.  IT IS THAT YOUR MIND IS SET ON THINGS OF THIS WORLD which blocks access.

Romans 7:6 says, For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

 And finally,  Matthew 6:19 cautions us, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

      22“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23“But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

      24“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve (douleuo, Greek = be a slave to) God and wealth.

Poverty, difficulties, stress, lack, need and want are the trip wires at the doorway into the Kingdom of Heaven, placed there by God to assist us, to strip us of the obstacles preventing us access to the Kingdom of Heaven. 

Jesus has already said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that you will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.

1.  Let go of your possessions of wealth, intellect, position, status or anything you treasure on earth and you will receive a hundred times as much NOW!  (If you cannot let go on your own, God will aid you, just don’t resist Him)

2.  You will also receive persecution.

3.   And, you will inherit Eternal life.

These are some of the greatest secrets contained in the Word of God.

Please, brothers and sisters in Christ, do not turn the Bible into a text book.  It is a portal into the Kingdom of God.  It contains all the mysteries of God, the earth and the entire cosmos, and it unlocks those mysteries. 

You have the opportunity to know by experience that we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them!  This is WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU, NOW!

More to come…

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

A PROPHECY FOR TODAY

2  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

3  For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!’”

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME?

This is important to you because you must be ready for His Return.  Most protestant denominations have been taught that the tribulation period will begin at some future date and that all Christians, without exception, will be Raptured off the earth and into heaven.  They teach that if you have prayed ‘a sinner’s prayer’, nothing more is needed for you to avoid the coming tribulation and to go to heaven.  This is a false and dangerous message.

The Bible teaches, and we see this teaching here, that the “Days of Distress” also known as “The Birth Pangs” of the tribulation began in the early 1st century.  Earth and all its inhabitants will experience – and, already have experienced – the opening / breaking of the first 5 Tribulation Seals

The 6th Tribulation Seal will signal the beginning of the Great and Terrible day of the Lord, the Rapture, followed by a half hour of silence in the heavens while the saints are sealed and found to be before the Throne of God, and the 144,000 of faithful Jews will be sealed.

However, if you are not found doing or to have been doing what Christ has commanded of all Christians, before His Return, you are is grave danger of being left behind and cast into the outer darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth!

The day of His return is very near.  There is likely little time left.   If you should die before that day, you are still accountable.

The Great Apostasy found in the 5th Seal, has begun.  The revealing of the anti-Christ is all that is left to happen before Jesus Returns.

1  Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying,

The spirit of Elijah, (John the Baptist), has come as prophesied.  (For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!’”) 

John’s preaching (kerusso, greek) is one of authority to be a herald, to officiate as a herald to proclaim after the manner of a herald, always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed.

His message is Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  This message is the “golden key” for entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.

His method is I baptize you with water for repentance”.  This is the preparation for your salvation.

His missive is “He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  This is your salvation and your calling.

John is announcing to you the Day of the Lord is now at hand.  John conducted his ministry with an eschatological authority that demanded immediate action. He taught that judgment is at hand.

Interestingly and importantly, Jesus is telling you that whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. And, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.

John is still speaking and he is pointing you to Jesus.  He is telling you that you must be baptized with water for repentance which requires that you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, so you will be saved and you will escape the coming Day of God’s Wrath; for it is with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

Baptism is a form of binding.  Once you have believed, called on the name of the Lord, repented of your past life, the covenant of baptism is next.  Once that is completed, thankfully, God’s promises and covenants are permanent.  Make your decision and agree with another believer and make it permanent.  (Remember, that breaking this vow can be catastrophic.  Make your decision wisely.)

You can remain safe in the shelter of God.  Your present life made new and clean;  your past forgotten and your future secure.  Do so, and you will be on the greatest adventure of your life. 

Embrace it.  Do it.  Finish strong!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

PS:  Many think that ‘repentance’ is a one-time act.  It is a daily act.  Everyday is made new in God.  Stay up-to-date with God and let’s get this done, together!

THE AXE IS LAID – A PROPHETIC WORD

“The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”  Matthew 3:10

The Olive Tree, specifically, comes to mind when talking about prophecy and about Israel.  It is mentioned frequently in the Bible with regard to fruitfulness, health, and blessings. It is one of the seven species with which the land was blessed.

Jewish people associate it with the concept of “putting down roots” in the Holy Land. As such, olive trees appear in the emblems of both the State of Israel, as well as the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The olive tree has also been used as a motif in many works of art and in Jewish culture throughout history.

Here are some specific examples of ways the symbolism of the olive tree is represented in the Jewish faith:

  • Peace: The olive tree has become a consistent symbol of peace over the years, thanks to the story of Noah’s Ark and the dove that brings back an olive branch as a way to inform Noah that the rain had subsided. Olive branches even became used as a means of showing peace to other leaders/nations.
  • Love and celebration: Olive branches were used to make wreaths for the heads of young people on their wedding days, and at festivals in biblical times. The pilgrims who brought their first fruits to Jerusalem decorated the horns of the bull that led the procession with olive branches.
  • Life and vitality: Throughout the Bible there are consistent references to olive trees as symbols of life and vitality. For example, the people of Israel are referred to as “a green olive tree, beautiful with goodly fruit” in the book of Jeremiah. When King Solomon dies, the trees of the garden mourn, shedding their leaves.

“The axe is already laid at the root of the trees”.  Verse 10 is saying judgment is now at hand.  The prophesied Messiah is here.  Your salvation is at hand.  You cannot depend on your traditions, rituals, good works, heritage or lineage to be saved from the coming wrath.  It is time to repent and bear fruit of Righteousness which is in Jesus the Christ, for your salvation, or you will perish.

“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”  Matthew 3:11

John is pointing the way to Jesus.  He baptizes with water for repentance which requires that you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, so you will be saved and escape the coming wrath; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

Interestingly and important to this prophetic word, is that it is Binding.  Jesus has told us that whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

Baptism is a form of binding.  Once complete, it is irreversible.  We may fail to remember our oaths or to take them seriously, but God never forgets.  God will remember the oath and He will keep His Word.  You and I are bound.  The following words from the book of Matthew and the account of John the Baptist and of Jesus are a binding oath.

READER BEWARE:

“His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Matthew 3:12

*THERE ARE FIVE POINTS GIVEN IN VERSE 12.  THEY ENCAPSULATE THE ENTIRE TRIBULATION PERIOD, BEGINNING WITH THE BREAKING OF THE TRIBULATION SEALS, CONTINUING THROUGH THE TRUMPET AND BOWL JUDGMENTS, INCLUDING THE  WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT AND CULMINATING WITH THE DESTRUCTION OF THE 1ST HEAVEN AND THE FIRST EARTH WITH INTENSE HEAT.  THEY ARE A BINDING OATH AND PROPHECY.

(a)  “His winnowing fork is in His hand:  Represents the cleansing, refining, purifying of His Bride, the Church.

 (b)  He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor:  Represents the preparation purging and separating the believers from the unbelievers through tribulation.

(c)  He will gather His wheat into the barnRepresents Jesus gathering His Church together by way of the rapture and taking us to our eternal Home.

(d)  He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire:  Represents the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord and the destruction of the first heavens and earth.

Jesus has told us that His coming will it be just like in the days of Noah.  The days before the Great Flood people were eating and drinking, marrying, unconcerned about the warning of the coming wrath, that is until the day that Noah entered the ark.  They did not understand the accuracy and the gravity of the warnings until the flood came and took them all away; so it will be with the return of Jesus.

So, what can you do with what you now know?  Stay with me in this teaching and I will show you from scriptures how you not only can, but must, endure to the end of these days of trouble, and actually OVERCOME them.  Stay with me on this, it’s important and could be lifesaving!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young