“Therefore, be on the alert—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep. What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!’” (Mark 13:35-37)

This is as important and as timely a message as I have ever preached. I believe we are living in the last hours of the last days before Jesus returns. Societal, cultural, technological, and political changes are occurring at such breakneck speed, I cannot hardly take it all in. And thankfully to God, I am not alone in my belief that we are witnessing a massive unfolding of end-time prophecy.

You can watch this video on Youtube: youtu.be/z1POQPtIW2o
Or you can read the more complete text on my blog: thecontemplativecatholicconver

“God helps those who help themselves.”

How often have you heard that maxim? Scores of times in your life, I bet. You might have used it yourself, and think it comes from the Bible.

But it does not.

Neither does the expression: “We are all God’s children.”

I write about it here: thecontemplativecatholicconver

Finding Your Voice

When religious leaders asked John the Baptist who he was, he answered in a way I believe far too many Christians today would NOT answer. Why? They’ve convinced themselves of their inadequacy to say as John said, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ John 1:23

Inadequate? Says who?

Listen to what St. Paul wrote to the Christians at Corinth: [It is not that we consider ourselves “adequate in ourselves . . . but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant . . ..” (2 Corinthians 3:5,6).

Christian, listen. According to the WHOLE testimony of Scripture AND the entire history of the Christian Church through the ages, we do not need to have expert knowledge of God’s word to do what He has called us to do. We do not have to have perfect lives to be useful for the Master. Adequate’ is good enough.”

And why is that? Because God is God, and He is able to take our ‘adequate’ to a supernatural level of fruitfulness for His kingdom. All He asks of us is that we be willing for Him to use us. To say to Him, “Here I am Lord. Send me.”

What a comforting and hopeful promise that is, isn’t it? Whoever you are, whatever you’ve done – our supernatural God is able to take our adequate to a supernatural level. He is able to take YOUR voice, a whisper that it might be, and filter it through His megaphone.

You can read the full text thecontemplativecatholicconver

Or you can watch the message here: youtube.com/watch?v=lpRnuSDc5v

A month or two ago (time slips away pretty fast) I urged my 'friends' to memorize one, two, or three verses each week. For those who took me up on my suggestion, how are things going? If you have not taken me up on the suggestion, hey -- why not start today? Only one or two (maybe three) verses each week. It's not that hard of a task. Really. And it will pay BIG dividends down the road a piece.

I just posted this to my other social network sites. Feel free to copy my idea:
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If you're an atheist or an agnostic, and you consider me an online 'friend' would you humor me? Say to the God who might or might not exist:
"God, if you're there, show me my sin. And, if you do that, I promise to ask you for forgiveness. And I'll ask you what I should do next."
I know what he will tell you, but I will let him do that himself.

Lots of treacherous teaching circulating in the Church that promises health, wealth, prosperity, and safety for every Christian. Someone please show that to me in the Bible within the CONTEXT of the Scriptures -- what the whole Bible teaches, and not what some want it to teach.

The Lord reminded me AGAIN of this text (perhaps especially verse 25). And so I take the opportunity, to remind the rest of us:

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23-25)

How often have you heard people say, “That’s the way I am. I’m too old to change”?

On second thought, how often have YOU said it?

Listen, Christian – if we are not maturing in our walk with Christ, whatever our age, then we are tarnishing our testimony for Christ. If we are not daily striving to better reflect our Savior with our words and our conduct, then beware! We might be losing our first love.

What’s the remedy for a cooling fervor for holiness? It’s plain and simple: Repentance. And asking the Holy Spirit to reignite your passion for Jesus.

Yes, it’s plain and simple – and important to do.

One of my Christian sisters on another FB page wrote this:
"The brokenness and depravity of humanity is the problem. Don’t let the political masks and biases confuse you. This is purely behavior of a lost world and there is more to come. My heart is grieved."

And I responded this way:
"You are so right. And that is why the man and woman of God needs to focus more and more on Jesus. He alone is our hope and safety. This is an evil time -- evil time. But not unlike our brethren are living today, as I type this, in places in China, Russia, Africa, Afghanistan, India . . . etc. etc. How are THEY dealing with it all? Likely on their knees and their noses in the Bible -- those who have Bibles.

And I guarantee that none of them are asking each other what church they belong to. They only want to know if their neighbors are willing to be martyrs for Christ."

Part three
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No wonder St. Paul wrote to the Christians at Ephesus: “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve theunity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Listen, Christian! Jesus said a house divided cannot stand. And don’t think for a moment Satan doesn’t know that verse – and apply that truth to the entire Body of Christ as often as he can.

Oh, may God the Holy Spirit change us all in 2021, so that our brothers and sisters of different churches no longer remain invisible, even as they stand right before our eyes. May the Church, which is the Body of Christ (Colossians 1:24), walk together in unity.

Part two:
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“Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s . . . But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. . . .

Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.” (Romans 14:1-13)

What did the Lord Jesus say to Peter when the disciple pointed at John and asked, “Lord, what about him?” The Lord responded, saying in essence, “Peter, it’s none of your business what I do with John. As for you, “Follow Me.” (John 21:21)

“Oh! How pleasant it is,”the Psalmist cried aloud, “for brothers to dwell together in unity.”(Psalm 133)

Continued part three

Same Substance. Different Packages.

I wanted raisins with my frosted mini wheats this morning, but when I searched the fridge, I couldn’t find the package. I settled for dried blueberries. When Nancy came into the kitchen after I’d finished breakfast, I asked her if we are all out of raisins. She said, “There in the refrigerator.”

“Where? I asked, as I opened the doors again.

“Right in front of you.”

I looked up and down and still couldn’t see them.

“Where?” I asked again, a little louder.

“Right in front of you,” she said again. This time she pointed.

I followed her finger. And there they were. In a box. Right in front of me. Just like she said.

They’d been invisible in plain sight.

Trouble was, I was looking for a BAG of raisins, the kind we’ve been using for years. I couldn’t see the BOX of raisins because they were packaged differently. Same raisins, different package.

Nancy then said something to me that resonated in my spirit. “That’s like how so many Christians are invisible to each other because they’re packaged differently.”

As I thought about what she’d just said, I realized how true is her observation.

Many of us have been taught, in different ways and through various expressions, that Christians ought to believe as we believe. And then we meet someone who doesn’t meet our expectations of true Christian theology. They’re the same ‘raisins’ inside, but because they’re packaged differently, we don’t ‘see’ them.

We would all benefit – indeed, the CHURCH would benefit, if we took the Holy Spirit’s admonition through St. Paul to heart:

Continued part Two

Many students of the Bible know there are multiple stories of creation which pre-date Moses, such as the Enumah Elish. Stories of a world-wide flood also abound, such as the Gilgamesh Epic.

But this should not surprise the Christian. Spiritual darkness smothered humanity as soon as Adam and Eve sinned. Just look how long it took for the first murder to occur.

So, how should the Christian understand ancient myths in the light of holy Scripture?

Before the Exodus, Israel lived in Egypt for four hundred years. They knew the myths. Some had by that time been circulating for half a millennium. Generations of Israelites grew up knowing the myths and, perhaps, many told them to their children.

And then God spoke to Moses from the burning bush.

Moses did much more than bring God’s people out of the physical bondage of Egyptian slavery. He also brought them out of the spiritual darkness of ancient myths. Through Moses, God told His people Israel: “Listen! Pay attention! Here is the truth.”

Fast forward to 2021. Myths still abound, not only those that continue to mock the Biblical record of creation and the flood, but also those that now mock the Biblical record of the virgin birth of our Lord and His physical resurrection from the dead.

No wonder the ancient Hebrew prophet wrote: Who will believe our report? (Isaiah 53:1).

When Joshua stood before Israel in the Promised Land, he challenged them with these words: “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

God gave ancient Israel a choice: Myths, or His truth. He gives us today the same choice: Myths, or His truth.

What will you do with Truth? As for me and my house, we known what we choose.

Through the Heavenly Translator

When Nancy had her hemorrhagic stroke, we impatiently waited for the ambulance to arrive. While we waited, she said to me: “I love you.”

She later told me she knew she was dying, and those were the last words she wanted me to hear from her.

Today is the last day of 2020. During my time with the Lord this morning, I got to thinking of ‘last words,’ and my thoughts turned to Calvary.

As the Lord Jesus hung bloodied, bruised, and dying on that cross, He uttered what theologians call His Seven Last Words, the last of which was this: “It is finished.” And John 3:16 became a palpable reality extending through the millennia, even to this last day of 2020.

“It is finished.”

I can’t explain what happened next, but as I focused on those last words, the Holy Spirit interpreted them for me through the language translator of heaven. And this is what the dying Jesus wanted me to hear with His last breath: “Richard, I love you.”

It swept across my mind, "Richard, I love you."

And now, please, if you have read this far, be assured on this last day of 2020, whatever is your name, the Lord Jesus also says to YOU with His last breath: “I love you.”

He wants you to know, with His last breath, “I love you.”

As voting continues in GA, this company was able to not only hack into the voting system, but would be able to alter votes!!!! If this does not demonstrate election fraud is not only possible, but also LIKELY, then you are not paying attention.
facebook.com/deon.black.967/vi

Fifty years ago, Joe and I were best of friends. Although he was married, the father of two daughters, and six years my senior, we were almost inseparable, most because we shared the same interests: drugs, parties, and women. Joe and I often cruised the bar districts while his wife and children waited for him to come home.

What I remember most about Joe is what I thought of him in my rare reflective moments. His life was a disaster waiting to happen. I knew unless I changed direction, my life would mirror his.

That realization eventually led me to the navy recruiter’s office. I thought if I learned a job skill in the military, I would avoid the life Joe modeled for me. But during my tour overseas I found something much more valuable in the navy than a job skill.

I found Christ.

When I left Japan three and a half years later, I enrolled in a Bible college where I met Charles, a former missionary and pastor. He taught several of my classes and made the Scriptures come alive for me. But what I remember most about him is not his gift of teaching, but his humility. Nearly five decades later I can still see him in my memory weeping at a church altar, pleading with God for wisdom to serve Him more fruitfully.

Charles never knew it, but he modeled for me a heart passionate to serve Christ.

I do not know if God used me Joe’s life during those years of our friendship, but God surely used him in mine. As I watched him manipulate and abuse even those closest to him, God gave me a glimpse of my own future if I persisted on that same path.

Nor do I know if God used me in Charles’ life. But God surely used him in mine. If not for him, my understanding of what it means to truly seek after God might be quite different today. And I might not have learned this important lesson:

You and I have a choice how the almighty and omnipotent God will use each of us for His own purposes – as His tool or as His child, as a Joe or as a Charles.

I know how I want Him to use me.

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