Last Days: Part Seven—God’s Wrath and The Rapture

Do you think the rapture will happen pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, post-tribulation, or pan-tribulation? Pan means, however the rapture pans out. One thing we know, we will face suffering and troublesome times in the last days, which I explain in Part two. Over 2000 years ago, the first century writers proclaimed that we were in the last days. How much closer are we today? In this post, I want to address the uncomfortable subject of God’s wrath and the tribulation. Revelations15:1 states, “Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.”

The Bible says in Ephesians 5:6, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” What things is Paul referring to? Ephesians 5:5 explains, “For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” I explain this in more detail in the posts called: Are you in control of your life? And, What Will Cause You to Lose Your Inheritance. I encourage you to read them.

What is the wrath of God, and how do we avoid it?

God is Holy (perfect, untainted by evil) and deserving of reverence and worship. God has wrath on sin, which is disobedience of His instructions in the Bible. To avoid God’s wrath, you need to receive the atonement (payment) of your sins through Jesus Christ, God’s Son. 1Theselonians 5:9 tells us, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” John 3:36 tells us, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” Have you warned your friends and neighbor’s about the wrath of God and salvation through Jesus Christ?

The flood in Genesis 6 was God’s wrath on a wicked world. Likewise, the tribulation described in Revelations is God’s wrath on the wicked, who do not repent of their sins. Romans 1:18 states, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” Do you see how godless people are suppressing the truth in our world today? What is happening in America with the Leftist’s evil desire to eliminate the truth and control what they want us to think and do is concerning, but not surprising. History repeats itself.

Since the tribulation is God’s wrath on humanity’s wickedness, yet God has not destined us (the righteous) for wrath; therefore, the righteous will be removed from the earth before the tribulation begins. An example is when God saved Noah and his family from the flood. 1Peter 3:20 tells us, “Because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.” God is waiting for each of us to humble ourselves and repent of our sins. Do it now before the tribulation starts and it is too late. 1Peter 3:9 states, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” Remember the conversation between God and Abraham about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. God would not destroy the two wicked cities if there were any righteous people in them. Lot and his family were the only righteous people, so God sent an angel to lead them out before He destroyed the cities (see Genesis 18:22-33).

Who are the righteous?

Malachi 3:18 states, “Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.” How are you serving God? The Bible also explains that the righteous lives by faith. Hebrews 10:37-39 explains, “For, ‘Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” 1John 2:28-29 states, “And now, little children, abide [remain; stay] in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29) If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.” Living by faith is active trust in the promises of God based on the evidence in the Bible and the lives of those who live by faith. Read my post on the 15 Promises We Can Trust God to Keep.

When you practice something, you perfect a skill by repeating the task until you can do it flawlessly. For instance, when you practice a song on the piano, you don’t get it perfectly right the first time you play it. But after playing the piece many times, you become, near perfect. It is the same with righteousness. 1John 3:7-8, 10 explains, “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.8) Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 10) By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” In my post called The End Will Come: Part Four—Be Ready in Love., I explain why and how we are to love.

Thank you for reading this post, so to respect your time, I will continue this subject in the next post as there is so much more to cover. But before I end, I want to encourage you with what God spoke to Isaiah in Chapter 3. Replace Judah with the United States. Ponder these three verses. Isaiah 3:1, “For behold, the Lord GOD of hosts is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah [USA] support and supply, all support of bread, and all support of water;Isaiah 3:8, “For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah [USA] has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the LORD, defying his glorious presence.” And Isaiah 3:10, “Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds.” What is the fruit of your deeds? The Albert Barnes commentary says, “As a farmer who sows his field and cultivates his farm, eats the fruit of his labor, so shall it be with the righteous. A similar expression is found in Pro. 1:31.”

How are you practicing righteousness? How are you living by faith? What does righteousness look like in your life?

Grace and peace to you in the coming year.



All verses are from the English Standard Bible unless otherwise indicated. If you find my posts and website helpful, please share my website link with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected. No part of the blog or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom and this website.

Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, salvation for non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name, so I know you are a real person making the request.

The Last Days: Part Six—What To Do During Difficult Times.

Our elections did not go as some have prayed, but God’s will was done. Do not worry or be fearful because difficult times is the sign that the end is near. 2Timothy 3:1 states, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.” Please do not dwell on the troubling things you cannot control; you will only become depressed. Instead, dwell on God’s faithfulness to sustain you and provide for you when you fear Him (read Psalm 34 and 103.) Stay in the race, keeping your focus on Jesus, do what God’s will is for your life, and remain firm in your faith.  

I have been writing a series of posts on what we should do during the difficult times in these last days. I pray that everyone who reads this post will seek God’s help to endure to the end. It will be worth it. I just finished reading Revelations, and I am so excited to live in expectation of eternity in heaven. To help us, God has given us gifts and talents to serve others as faithful stewards of His grace. 1Peter 4:10 states, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” Instead of worrying about what will become of our country, use your gifts to help make someone’s life better.

In Part One, I explained why the New Testament writers thought the end was close. In Part Two, I describe how the Apostle Peter thought we are to suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ and how to complete our life’s race in victory. Part Three clarifies why you are to stay alert and sober-minded for the purpose of prayer until Christ’s return. I explain in Part Four why love identifies a real Child of God and how love covers many sins. Part Five explains how showing hospitality is keeping the Bible’s prophecies by doing what God instructs. This post will explore the gifts God gives and how to be a faithful steward of God’s grace.

What are God’s gifts?

Romans 12:6-8 states, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts (encourages), in his exhortation; the one who contributes (gives), in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Prophesy is to make inspired declarations of what is coming or speak as a mediator between God and humankind or in God’s stead.

If you have the prophesy gift, you feel compelled to warn people of what they should do to prepare for judgment or of sin’s consequences. 1Corinthians 14:1 states, “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.”

Service is a helpful activity or aid.

If you have the gift of serving, you willingly help meet a need in the community or church. The Bible says a lot about serving.  Matthew 20:28 states, “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Romans 15:27 states, “For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings.” 2Corinthians 9:12 states, “For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.Ephesians 6:7 states, “Rendering service with goodwill as to the Lord and not to man,”

Teaching is to impart knowledge or skill by giving instruction.

Someone with the gift of teaching loves to tell others about Bible truths and how to apply it to their lives. James 3:1 states, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” Luke 20:21 states, “So they asked him, ‘Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God.’” Hebrews 5:12 states, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food.

Exhorting is to urge, advise, or caution earnestly; admonish urgently.

A person who has the gift of exhortation is ready to advise those making a poor decision and encourage others to do God’s will. Hebrews 3:13 states, “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

Contributing is not just giving of your money, but also of your time, knowledge, and assistance.

Matthew 19:21 states, “Jesus said to him, ‘If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’” Luke 6:3 states, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.2Corinthians 9:7 states, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Leading is guiding and showing the way, especially the way God’s word says to go.

You are to lead with zeal. Zeal is enthusiastic and diligent. Luke 6:39 states, “He also told them a parable: ‘Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?’” Make sure you lead with a zeal to please God and obey His will, so you don’t lead people into a pit. Luke 22:26 states, “But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest and the leader as one who serves.” Are you willing to lead by example? Hebrews 13:7 states, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.Hebrews 13:17 states, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” As a leader you will have to give an account for how you lead so lead with compassion and be an example for people to follow.

Mercy is being compassionate or showing kindness toward an offender, an enemy, or other people in one’s power.

The merciful person has compassion for people and is quick to forgive. Matthew 5:7 states, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.Hebrews 4:16 states, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.James 2:13 states, “For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” Though mercy is a gift, we all should show mercy and not judge.

What are spiritual gifts?

1Corinthians 12:7-11 states, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8) For to one is given through the Spirit

–the utterance of wisdom, and to another

–the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another

faith by the same Spirit, to another

gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another

–the working of miracles, to another

prophecy, to another

–the ability to distinguish between spirits, to others

various kinds of tongues, to another

–the interpretation of tongues.

All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” There are many good books that describe these spiritual gifts, and I encourage you to learn about them. I have heard some preachers say that the spiritual gifts are not for today, but that is like saying, salvation is not for today.

What does it mean to be a faithful steward of God’s grace?

A steward is someone who controls something for another person. In this case, we are stewards of God’s grace as we serve others with the gifts He gives us. Someone faithful is strict or thorough in their performance and is dependable. 1Corinthians 4:2 states, “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.” So a faithful steward is a person who thoroughly serves others with grace, as they would serve God. When you serve with grace, you serve willingly and freely. Colossians 3:23-24 states, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

We cannot control what happens in our country or what people do. We can only control ourselves and what we do. Will you use your gifts to serve others as a faithful steward of God’s grace, knowing He will reward you for the good you do. Let us focus on loving others better and making our part of the world a better, happier place.


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Relationship and World Changing Kindness

What Is Required to Stand Before God?


All verses are from the English Standard Bible unless otherwise indicated. If you find my posts and website helpful, please share my website link with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected. No part of the blog or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom and this website.

Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, salvation for non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name, so I know you are a real person making the request.

P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having the right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).

The End is Coming Soon: Part Five—Why Practice Hospitality?

Revelations 22:6-7 “And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.” 7) “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

In Part One, I explained why the New Testament writers thought the end was close. In Part Two, I describe how the Apostle Peter thought we are to suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ and how to complete our life’s race in victory. Part Three clarifies why you are to stay alert and sober-minded for the purpose of prayer until Christ’s return. I explain in Part Four why love identifies a real Child of God and how love covers many sins. This post will demonstrate how showing hospitality is keeping the words of the Bible’s prophecy described in Revelations 22:7. Keeping the Bible’s prophecies is doing God’s instructions.

Matthew 24:44 states, “Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.How should we be ready for Christ’s return? 1Peter 4:7-10 tells us what we must do until Christ returns.

1Peter 4:7-10 (NIV) states, The end of all things is near.

―Therefore, be alert (ESV says, be self-controlled; NAS says, be of sound judgment) and

―of sober mind so that you may pray.

―Above all, love each other deeply (fervently; earnestly) because love covers over a multitude of sins.

―Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

―Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

What does it mean to show hospitality?

Dictionary.com says hospitality is the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers. Synonyms for hospitality are welcoming, goodwill, generosity, kindness, and friendliness. Many people think that showing hospitality is entertaining people in your home, but can it also mean our church and our lives? Many people have closed their hearts and do not let anyone get close because they do not trust. If this is you, you’re not alone; God wants to heal your heart and give you the courage to trust others and love them as He loves them. I have written several posts on this topic, Pt. 1: Forsaken? Betrayed? How to Trust Again. and Pt. 2: Why You Can and Cannot Trust God? and Pt. 3: Seven Markers of a Trustworthy Person.

Because we don’t trust, we don’t let people into our homes for fear they will judge us. We mostly don’t let strangers in our homes because we fear they will hurt our family or steal from us. What are some other reasons we don’t show hospitality? Please leave a comment.

What does the Bible say about hospitality?

Romans12:13 says, “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”

1Timothy 5:10a says, “and having a reputation for good works: … has shown hospitality….

Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

1Peter 4:9 says, “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

1Peter 4:9 says to show hospitality without grumbling. Most everyone knows what it means to grumble. But for clarification, grumbling is an expression of discontent, complaint, or unhappy murmuring. I don’t know about you, but I complain when I am inconvenienced or have to do something I don’t want to do or am forced to do. Why would Peter admonish the believers to not grumble when showing hospitality?

What was hospitality in the first century?

When the Apostle Peter wrote his first letter, hospitality was not the same as we know it. According to https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/hospitality: “In ancient Israel, hospitality was not merely a question of good manners, but a moral institution which grew out of the harsh desert and nomadic existence led by the people of Israel. The biblical customs of welcoming the weary traveler and receiving the stranger in one’s midst were the matrix out of which hospitality and all its tributary aspects developed into a highly esteemed virtue in Jewish tradition. Biblical law specifically sanctified hospitality toward the ger (“stranger”) who was to be made particularly welcome “for you were strangers in a strange land” (Lev. 19:34 and see Ex. 12:49). Foreign travelers, although not protected by law (Deut. 15:3; 23:21), could count on the custom of hospitality.”

In William MacDonald’s “Believer’s Bible Commentary,” he said that we might need to harbor other Christians in need of shelter and food during the end of times. We may face arrest and imprisonment during this time of persecution, if not death itself, for helping other saints in need. Are you prepared to share food and necessary supplies with your neighbor? Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” MacDonald said, “No matter how slight the kindness, it will be rewarded handsomely; even a cup of cold water given in the Lord’s name will be rewarded (Matt. 10:42).” What are some ways you are showing kindness to strangers or fellow believers? Please share in the comments section so others can learn and be encouraged.

Remember the story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37? Jesus asked in verse 36, “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers? A despised foreigner spent his time and money to show love to a stranger in need. Can you see yourself doing the same?

How does your church show hospitality? How can your church do better?

When Jesus comes back, will He find you showing hospitality to the saints and your neighbor?

___________________________________


All verses are from the English Standard Bible. If you find my posts and website helpful, please share my website link with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected, and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom and this website.

Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, salvation for non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name, so I know you are a real person making the request.

P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).

The End Will Come: Part Four—Be Ready in Love.

1Thessalonians 5:2 states, “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” How should we be ready for Christ’s return? In  Part One, I explained why the New Testament writers thought the end was close. In Part Two, I describe how the Apostle Peter thought we are to suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ and how to complete our life’s race in victory. Part Three clarifies why you are to stay alert and sober-minded for the purpose of prayer until Christ’s return. This post explains why love identifies a real Child of God and how love covers many sins.

Matthew 24:44 states, “Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” How should we be ready for Christ’s return? 1Peter 4:7-10 tells us what we must be doing when Christ returns.

1Peter 4:7-10 (NIV) states, The end of all things is near.

―Therefore, be alert (ESV says, be self-controlled; NAS says, be of sound judgment) and

―of sober mind so that you may pray.

Above all, love each other deeply (fervently; earnestly) because love covers over a multitude of sins.

―Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

―Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

What does it mean to love each other deeply?

To love each other deeply is to love like God. He sent His only Son to be like us in every way and suffer the same temptations so He can help us endure and escape (see Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:14-16; and 1Corinthians 10:13.) God loves us so fervently that He asked His son to pay the penalty for our sin by being the perfect lamb and die on the cross for all humanity’s sins. John 1:29 states, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”  Because God made us in His image, we can love as He does. But we can’t, why not?

How are we to love deeply and fervently?

When you love fervently, you love with great intensity of spirit, feeling, and enthusiasm. How many people do you know that love like this? I know I don’t. Why don’t I and most of humanity love others deeply? I can speak for myself that I don’t love with great intensity because of my soul’s wounds. I have put a guard up around my heart because I endured a lot of hurt from sinful people. Yet, when Jesus comes back, He is looking for people who love others fervently. Why? Because love covers a multitude of sins.

Sin is doing evil when we forsake God and disobey His loving, protective commands. He commands us to love (Luke 10:27 and Matthew 22:37-49.) 1Corinthians 13:3-7 tells us, “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4) Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. 7) Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” The only way we can love as God loves is to purify our hearts from the hurt and offenses imposed on us by those who did not love us and sinned against us. I wrote a post on how to love from a pure heart called Love From a Pure Heart. I also wrote two posts on why and how to purify your heart WHY HEAL YOUR HEART AND PURIFY YOUR SOUL? and Five Steps to Heal Your Heart and Purify Your Soul.

Why do we sin, and how does love cover sin?

Genesis 4:7, “sin is crouching at the door, and its desire is toward you, but you must rule over it.” God is telling Cain to rule over or master his thoughts of anger and jealousy, but he didn’t and killed his brother Able.

Anger is not a sin because God gets angry, and He is perfect.1 Anger indicates you are offended by a perceived unfairness or unmet expectation. The term offended means to feel irritated, annoyed, or displeased because of someone’s sin, negligence, or disregard. Ephesians 4:26-27 states, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” We, too, must master our angry thoughts so we don’t act on the sinful desire to punish. More than that, we must master angry thoughts, so Satan does not influence our thinking. All sin begins in your mind as a temptation to give in to fleshly desires or to seek justice for an offense.2 LOVE COVERS SINS BY FORGIVING AND NOT HOLDING AN OFFENSE AGAINST THE OTHER PERSON. Proverbs10:12 states, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” And Proverbs 17:9 states, “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.” God’s love forgives our sins so that we can forgive others their sins and cover them with love. Read my post called WHY MUST YOU FORGIVE.

Conclusion:

When Christ returns, will He find you loving people by forgiving them and not taking up an offense against them? Love is challenging because it involves sacrificing our right to punish when we think we have been mistreated. 1John 4:8 states, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” God will know only those who love Him and loves other people. Read my short book on this website to begin transforming painful memories that prevent you from loving with fervency, 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories.



1. God’s anger: Numbers 22:22; Judges 2:12; and Revelations 14:10.

2. Hanscom, Joyce, Unseen Battles For Your Mind-not yet in published.


All verses are from the English Standard Bible. If you find my posts and website helpful, please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected, and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom. 

Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, salvation for non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name, so I know you are a real person making the request.

The End is Coming: Part Three—Are You Ready?

Matthew 24:44 states, “Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” 1Thessalonians 5:2 states, “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” How should we be ready for Christ’s return? In Part One, I explained why the New Testament writers thought the end was close. In Part Two, I explained how the Apostle Peter thought we are to suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ and how to complete our life’s race in victory. In this blog post, I will explain why you are to stay alert and sober-minded for the purpose of prayer until Christ’s return.

Why do we need to be sober-minded to pray?

1Peter 4:7 (NIV) states, The end of all things is near. Therefore, be alert (ESV says, be self-controlled; NAS says, be of sound judgment) and of sober mind so that you may pray. The Modern King James Version says, “But the end of all things has drawn near. Therefore, be of sound mind and be sensible to prayers.” A sober-minded person is rational and sensible; who can reason with sound judgment and good sense; thus, they understand and grasp the meaning of what to do. The reason we are to be sober-minded is so we can pray rationally and sensibly.

Ephesians 6:18 states, “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” The Apostle Paul told the Ephesian church to pray all the time and keep alert with perseverance as they petition God on behalf of fellow believers. First, how do you pray all the time? I learned to turn every thought into a prayer. When I think of someone, I pray for them. If I get anxious about something, I pray and give it to God. I ask God for the right thoughts to encourage someone. You get the idea. Praying all the time is a mental discipline, which is why you need to be self-controlled. It is easy to let your mind give in to a pleasurable temptation or complaining. When you are self-controlled, you take responsibility for your thoughts and choose the right views that please God. To learn how to have godly thoughts, read Victorious Thinking to Live a Successful Life and Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without.

Why does praying help us be ready for Christ’s return?

First, prayer keeps your mind on the things above where Christ is seated and not the worries and allurements of this world. Colossians 3:1-2 states, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Why should we not think about the things on the earth? Read What Will Cause You to Lose Your Inheritance. How do we keep our mind on the things above? Read How do you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness?

Second, prayer is how you abide with Christ Jesus so you can produce good fruit. John 15:5 states, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” And 1John 2:28 states, “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears, we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.” When you are abiding with Jesus then you won’t shrink back in shame when He comes back.

Third, prayer is how you stay submitted to God and remain alert to the devil’s temptations and oppression. 1Peter 5:8 states, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” And James 4:7-8 states, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Be alert and aware of when the devil is influencing your thoughts, if you have unholy thoughts, give them to God in prayer then dwell on His truth. You resist the devil through prayer and speaking the truth in the Word of God. To learn how Jesus is our example, read Matthew, chapter 4.

Fourth, prayer is a good way to hide God’s Word in our hearts, so we don’t sin. Psalm 119:11 and 15 states, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 15) I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.” Joshua 1:8 states, “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 good success.” Meditates means to think deeply about and ponder. When we pray the Word of God, we are meditating on them. I recommend writing a verse from your morning Bible reading and review it throughout the day and make it a part of your prayer. In Joshua 1:8, he says to be careful to do according to all that is written, and it comes with a promise. James 1:25 also tells us, “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” The law of liberty refers to the work Christ did on the cross to show His love and set us free from sin’s control. The perfect law is to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength, and love others (Matthew 22:37-40). Praying the Word of God helps you do the Word of God, so you will be blessed in what you do.

Conclusion:

The end was near over 2000 years ago, and we are that much closer, which is why we must stay focused in prayer on God’s Word, loving Him and others, and the gospel message of Jesus. We are to be ready and alert for Christ Jesus’s return because no one knows when it will be. The Apostle Peter said we are to be sober-minded so we can pray. A sober-minded person is someone who is grounded in reality and understands what they need to do and does it. Prayer keeps our mind on the things of God as we daily pray God’s Word into our lives. Praying all the times mean we turn every thought into a prayer to God, which includes praise and worship with a thankful heart.


RELATED POSTS

Posts about Prayer

POSTS on Thoughts


All verses are from the English Standard Bible. If you find my posts and website helpful, please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected, and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom. 

Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, salvation for non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name, so I know you are a real person making the request.

P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).

Is the End Near? Part Two―What Will Happen?

Many times, people have predicted the rapture would happen on this date, but it never happened. Why did they get it wrong? They were so sure they had it figured out. How could they be wrong? The Bible says in Matthew 24:36, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” The next time you hear someone say, I know for sure that Jesus is returning on this date; ignore them, but be ready. Matthew 24:44 states, “Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” 1Thessalonians 5:2 states, “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”

How should we be ready for Christ’s return? Over the next several blog posts, I will explore the meaning of each statement listed in 1Peter 4:7-10, which tells us what we must be doing when Christ returns.

1Peter 4:7-10 (NIV) states, The end of all things is near.

―Therefore, be alert (ESV says, be self-controlled; NAS says, be of sound judgment) and

―of sober mind so that you may pray.

―Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

―Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

―Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

What did Peter mean when He said the end of all things is near? First, let’s review the context of this chapter. Chapter four begins by explaining Christ’s suffering and how our purpose is to suffer in the flesh (also means tempted) until we cease from sin and live for the will of God. Hebrews 2:18 states, “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” God will help you to endure your suffering. The chapter ends by elaborating again on how suffering will test our faith.

These posts explain how to suffer well: Example of Suffering Well and God’s Response: Part 2 of Suffering Well and 7 Ways to Suffer Well: (Part 1).

This next Scripture passage explains how we are to live our lives and how to keep from being distracted from running our life’s race. For me running is suffering, so I think it is fitting that a race is a metaphor for suffering. Hebrews 12:1-2 states, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Each of us is running the race of life in different lanes. My lane may require I suffer persecution and hardships; your lane may require suffering afflictions. We each need to keep our eyes on Jesus and encourage one another to love and do good deeds. Hebrews 10:24-25 states, “And let us consider how to stir up (encourage) one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day (of Christ return) drawing near.

Jesus’s lane was not easy. He was born in a smelly, cold stable only to suffer persecution for speaking the truth that God was His Father. Then He paid the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross to save us from the wrath of God. 1Peter 2:21-23 states, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.   He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”

The next Scripture passage encourages us to entrust our souls to God, who is faithful and to do good. 1Peter 4:16-19 states, “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”

“For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”

“And ‘If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’”

“Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”

Read the posts on what it means to do good. Part 1: How to Achieve Genuine Goodness? and Part 2: How to Overcome Evil with Good.

Jesus warned us that the world would hate us because it hated Him, so expect it and don’t be surprised. John 15:18 states, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” Then John 17:14 says, “I have given them Your Word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” And 1Peter 4:14 states, “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” Finally, Romans 8:16-18 (ESV) states, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Nobody wants to suffer unless you volunteer to join the military. But when you do suffer, keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith (Heb. 12:2), and He will help you endure to glorify you with Him. Matthew 24:13 states, “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

Be encouraged by the truth that nothing can separate you from the love of God explained in the following passage. Romans 8:35, 37-39 stares, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  37) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I hope you will keep your eyes on Jesus and the truth of God’s Word and not be distracted by your suffering, the problems in the world, and the allurements of your sinful flesh. We do not know when Christ will return but we need to be ready and watching. I am praying for you, please pray for me. I would love to know what your thoughts are.

RELATED POSTS:

Is the End Close? Part One―What does the Bible Say?

Unseen Battle With The Secular World

What Will Cause You to Lose Your Inheritance

How the Devil Causes Trouble

Forgiven and Saved? Now Renew Your Mind (Part One)

Three Steps to Renew Your Mind (Part Two)

Is the End Close? Part One―What does the Bible Say?

Why did the Apostles tell everyone the end was near over 2000 years ago? Do you believe Christ’s return is nearer today? James 5:8 states, “You also be patient, establish (strengthen) your hearts, for the coming of your Lord draws near.” Even the Apostle John said in his first letter that we are in the last hour (1John 2:18). Jesus said in Revelations 22:12, “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense (reward) with me, to repay each one for what he has done.” The writer of Hebrews, who they think is the Apostle Luke said in Hebrews 1:2, “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, ….” And the Apostle Peter said in 1Peter 4:7 (NIV), “The end of all things is near.” If the Apostles believed they were in the last days 2000 years ago, we are much closer to the end of the age. Are you waiting and ready?

What are the signs that Christ will soon come?

The Scriptures compare the end of times to Noah’s time and Sodom and Gomorrah because the people living in the world were ungodly and wicked. God wanted to destroy them because of their evil and unrepentant hearts. Noah warned the people of God’s judgment if they did not repent. You know the story of how Noah obeyed God and built an ark to prepare for the flood while the people mocked and ridiculed him. Matthew 24:39 states, “and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Do your friends and neighbors know of the coming of Christ and the wrath of God on ungodly, sinful people? Have you warned them of the coming judgment and how they can be saved?

God rescued Lot and his family out of Sodom and Gomorrah before He destroyed it with fire and brimstone because they indulged in fleshly lusts. 2Peter 2:6 states, “if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked….” God will rescue the righteous before He executes His wrath on the ungodly. 1Thessalonians 5:9-10 states, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.

Timothy wrote about the conduct of people in the last days. As you read this passage, think about the present time. Do they sound similar? 2Timothy 3:1-7,

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.

― For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,

― heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,

― treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

― having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

― For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,

― always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

Does 2Timothy chapter three sound like our world, over 2000 years later? Jesus told his disciples the signs of the end of the age in Matthew 24:10-14. “And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Is your love cold toward God and the people of God? If it is, there is hope when you humbly turn to God in prayer.

Why hasn’t Jesus returned yet? Peter explains why Christ has delayed His coming in 2Peter 3:3-4, “knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’” Verses 89, “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

Are you ready for Christ’s return? Have you repented of your sin? 2Corinthians 5:10 states, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” Look at your life and pretend you are standing before the judgment seat of Christ. What will He say to you about how you are conducting your life while in the body? How does your life line up with this post: Living a Victorious Life.

To learn more about the end of time, read Matthew 24; Luke 17:22-37; 1Thessalonians 5:1-11; 2Thessalonians 2:1-12; and 2Peter 3.

RELATED POSTS

What Will Cause You to Lose Your Inheritance

Why Trusting in Idols Bring God’s Judgment.

UNSEEN IDOLS OF EARTHLY SINS AND NEEDS



All verses are from the English Standard Bible. If you find my posts and website helpful, please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected, and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom at HopeForCompleteHealing.com. 

Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name, so I know you are a real person making the request.

Why Trusting in Idols Bring God’s Judgement.

Making an idol of elected leaders in the church, the community, the country, etc., is a temptation we all struggle with. We think people in positions of power will solve our problems and help us be prosperous. We trust in our physicians and the drugs they prescribe to make us well instead of trusting God to heal us through the physicians and drugs. Do you trust Scientists and think they are all-knowing and know the truth? Why is trusting those with knowledge and power, idolatry? For one thing, God wants us to trust in Him. The Old Testament is full of examples of God’s judgment toward those who did not trust Him but instead turn to powerful people for help.

Here is one example, in 2Chronicles 14, King Asa, the King of Judah, tore down all the idols and places for idol worship in the land of Judah and called the people to worship God. Early in his reign, Judah was threatened by an army of one million men and 300 chariots from Ethiopia. He went out to meet the Ethiopians with nearly 600,000 men. So, King Asa prayed to God for help, and God caused the Ethiopians to flee. Later, in his 36th year, Judah again faces another conquering army, but this time King Asa did not trust God but trusted another King to help him. 2Chronicles 16:7-9 describes what happened.

7) At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, “Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you.

8) Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the LORD, he gave them into your hand. 

9) For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this (not trusting God), for from now on you will have wars.”

Is your heart blameless toward God, and do you turn to God for help first? King Asa became complacent and forgot God, so God allowed a disease to afflict his feet. But instead of seeking the Lord for help, he sought physicians, then he dies. Going to physicians and taking medication is not bad. But trusting the physicians or medications to heal you is idolatry because only God heals. The book of Judges records many accounts of God’s judgment on Israel for worshiping idols.

The New Testament leaders were also idolized. For example, Acts 14:11-15 states,

11) And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!”

12) Barnabas, they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.

13) And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds.

14) But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out,

15) “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.

We are often tempted to make an idol of our pastors or elders by worshiping them and expecting them to meet our needs. Some pastors fall into the trap of desiring to be idolized and worshiped. So, they take on the burden of providing for the congregations requests. And often when the pastor leaves, the people who idolized him or her find another pastor who will meet their needs instead of trusting God. If the pastor does not meet the needs of those who idolize them, then they often fall away from the faith.

Have you made an idol of a politician or a presidential candidate? Instead of trusting God, do you expect the president you voted for to improve your life? How do you feel when the politician you voted for does not get elected? Do you feel hopeless and depressed?  If so, you have idolized that person.


Conclusion:

Idolatry is all around us, and you unknowingly serve and trust in them. Unseen battles with idolatry can be activities, people, relationships, people’s opinions, riches, fleshly desires, and needs, to name a few. All idols must be removed from your life because they will keep you from entering the kingdom of heaven.

You seek idols when you doubt God will provide what you want or need. But when you submit to God and trust Him, you will experience good. God created us to worship Him only and find our refuge and help in Him, and He is jealous when we trust something else. He created us to look to Him to meet our needs. So, what distracts you from worshiping God or finding refuge in Him during times of trouble? Have the worldly things you trust in given you joy, peace, and life? Though you may have temporary happiness, peace, and feel good, it is still only temporary, then comes the emptiness and depression. Only God’s love and presence can satisfy and give you lasting joy and peace.

RELATED POSTS:

What Will Cause You to Lose Your Inheritance

UNSEEN IDOLS OF EARTHLY SINS AND NEEDS

Idolatry and Soul Ties

Fear God, Not People

POSTS Related to Trusting God

UNSEEN IDOLS OF EARTHLY SINS AND NEEDS

Are you unknowingly an idolater? This is the fifth post on unseen idolatry. The first post explains why practicing idolatry will cause you to not enter the kingdom of heaven and how to recognize your idolatry. The second post shows you how people become idols and how you please them out of fear of loss, but why you are to fear God. The third post explains how to break worldly soul ties that control you long after a relationship is over, and how you can find a friend who is devoted to God. In the fourth post, I exposed the problem with getting your identity and self-worth from people and money instead of God. In this post, I will show you the idols you set up to satisfy your earthy needs and sinful flesh.

Colossians 3:5 tells us to, “Put to death what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passions, evil desires, and covetousness (greed), which is idolatry.” The New American Standard Version says, “Therefore, consider the members of your earthly body as dead to….” Something dead no longer exists. So, if you put to death the earthly passions described in Colossians 3:5, then they will no longer exist for you to serve them. Remember, an idol is something you are devoted to and serve, expecting something good in return, but only get disappointment.

      Living by the Spirit of God helps you put to death your earthly passions.  To live by the Spirit is to yield your life to God and be led by Him. Romans 8:13 states, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” And Galatians 5:16 states, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” To walk in the Spirit means yielding to His control through prayer, and allow Him to exert His influence over you. It is the Spirit of God in you who helps you put to death your sinful passions. Read my post called How The Spirit Gives Life. To learn more about how to walk in the Spirit go to https://www.gotquestions.org/Spirit-walk.html

Idolatry of Fleshly Desire

So, how can fleshly desires be idols in your life? Your fleshly desires are self-focused sins that demand you please your sense. Sin is disobedience of God’s perfect will for you. Pray and ask God to show if you have idols of sensual pleasures in your life. For example, a person with sexual sins may have a pornography addiction that controls them. Someone who idolizes possessions may have a problem coveting other peoples’ belongings or has an addiction to wanting things. Hoarding falls under this addiction. A person who hasn’t died to impurity may watch R-rated movies or afternoon soap operas. People with evil desires may hold on to grudges and wish harm to the people who have done them wrong.

      Earthly passions are vises the devil uses to control you and causes you to sacrifice your dignity, peace, and self-control to satisfy your sensual pleasure. For example, you have an earthly desire to go to the bars. The vise of alcohol becomes your idol, and you will sacrifice everything to it. This vise causes you to lose self-control and get drunk and then you sacrifice your dignity and fall into all forms of temptations. Satan uses your vise for alcohol to bring destruction in every area of your life.

Do you see how fleshly sins are demanding and never satisfied? One drink never satisfies the idol of alcohol. One purchase never satisfies a person who gets pleasure from shopping. A person who needs affirmation to feel good about themselves is never satisfied with just one affirming word. If you see you have an idol in your life, humbly acknowledge it and ask God to help you overcome it by loosing the unhealthy beliefs and evil spirit attachments in Jesus’ name.

The key to overcoming unseen idols is to give your life to God’s control and flee the temptations to give in to your earthly passions to satisfy sensual pleasures.  1Corinthians 10:14 states, “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” When you see the word “therefore”, it refers to an earlier thought. The previous verse is 1Corinthians 10:13, which says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is human (common to man); but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able. But with the temptation, He will also make the way out, so that you may be able to bear (endure) it.” Idolatry tempts you to not believe in a faithful God who wants to help you? Next time you are tempted, look up and seek God’s help to show you the way out, then walk by His Spirit’s control.

Idolatry of Needs

The devil will persuade you to doubt God’s willingness and ability to provide what you need. Needs vary from person to person, but some basic emotional needs are to feel loved, accepted, respected, significant, secure, approved, happy, needed, and protected. Satan puts doubts (lies about God) in your mind that God will meet your needs. When the devil causes doubt, he tempts you to turn to self-gratifying idols of people and things to satisfy your needs. However, trusting God and obeying Him is the key to having victory over all the temptations of the demonic forces at work against us. Also, when you are abiding with God, you will have all your needs met and everlasting blessings, love, acceptance, joy, and peace.

Another temptation is to distrust God and act independently of Him. When you distrust or doubt, you believe lies or half-truths about God and His ability to give you what you need. Eve fell into this trap when she was tempted in the Garden of Eden. Doubts cause you to worry that God will not take care of you. As a result, you try to live independently of God, trusting instead in idols to meet your needs. The best way to eliminate idols is to memorize the promises and truths found in God’s Word and to trust Him to meet your needs. Then loose/put off the sin of rebellion.

Grace and peace,

Joyce

Where do You Get Self-worth and Significance?

What shapes your identity? Do people, things, or activities shape how you view yourself? Have you noticed how advertisements appeal to your sense of security, self-worth, and significance? The messages we hear are: “You have to have this to be popular.” Or, “You have to have or do this to be truly satisfied.” Or, “You have to do this to be healthy and fit.” Advertisements appeal to our fleshly desires, doesn’t it?

Idolatry of People’s Opinions

Where do you get your identity, security, significance, and self-worth? Does it come from people’s opinion, or money, your work, secular and church activities, sports, people, material possessions, riches, etc.?

      Review the following questions to realize if you have unseen idolatry of peoples’ opinions and perceptions of you.

  • Are you devastated, depressed, or despaired when the people you admire ignore you?
  • Do you become anxious when people disapprove of you?
  • Do you have an excessive concern about what others think about you, and you try to manipulate their thinking?
  • Do you have a preoccupation with acceptance, approval, popularity, self-image, or pleasing others?
  • Do you avoid being transparent, confront bad ideas, or ask for help because you fear what other people will think?
  • Do you get upset when no one recognizes you for a contribution you made?
  • Because of self-pride, do you want people to confirm your excessive opinion of yourself?
  • Do you cover up your failures or inadequacies so people think well of you?
  • Do you believe that you will be popular and accepted if you wear the latest fashions, are a good athlete, have a fancy car, have a lot of money and possessions, accomplish something great, etc.?

Proverbs 29:25 states, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.” A snare is anything that entraps or entangles you when you are not aware. The fear of man snares you in the trap of pleasing the one you fear instead of serving and pleasing God. Trust the LORD to take care of your needs for worth, acceptance, and significance. As fellow heirs with Jesus Christ, you have tremendous value and significance; read Romans 8:17 and Galatians 4:7. Also, read my posts called Fear God, Not People.

Meditate on and journal the following Scripture: Jeremiah 17:5-8,

5) Thus, says the LORD: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. 6) He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.’

7) ‘Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. 8) He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.

According to this passage, you will receive good things when you trust God, but Satan does not want that, so he will tempt you to trust in idols.

Idolatry of Riches

Do you try to get your worth, security, significance, and value from how much money you have? If yes, money is your idol. The Bible says in Matthew 6:20-21 and 24 to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 24) No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Money is an idol when you devote your time to earning a lot to show your status over others. Trust in your income potential, bank accounts, and investments to meet your needs instead of trusting God is idolatry. A wise person prepares for retirement but also trusts God and not their investments because investments can be lost in a day, but God will never leave you. Hebrews 13:5 states, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”

Do you value money more than God? 1Timothy 6:9-10 explains what happens when you love money more than God. “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

If you realize you love money more than God, then take that thought captive and say a prayer of repentance and submission to Him. Serving money will bring many sorrows. The Apostle Paul also instructs us in Timothy 6:6-8 that being content will bring blessings. “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8) But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” Which do you want; sorrows or blessings? Are you content with what God gave you, or do you want more money?

Wealth is not a sin, and many people in the Bible were very wealthy, yet they loved God, such as Job, Abraham, Daniel, King David, and King Solomon. The worldly desire to be rich tempts you to do evil and fall into ruin and destruction. Living comfortably is not a sin, but remember to tithe and give to those who are less fortunate since what you have was given to you by God. Deuteronomy 8:17-18 states, “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18a) You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the power to get wealth.

You will feel empty and disillusioned when you depend on people or things to give you security, self-worth, and significance. The following questions will reveal if you are trusting God to meet these needs.

  • Is your primary motive to love and glorify God, or are you seeking riches, a comfortable life, personal approval, or acceptance from people?
  • Does God fill the void in your soul, or do you go to food, activities, people, etc.?
  • Do you thankfully pray in every circumstance, expecting God to meet all your needs?

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