Journey of Endurance

We have seen in last month’s article that we need to walk circumspectly because the days will become deceptively difficult to navigate. We will examine some of the warnings from the Scriptures that apply to us today and find they are alive with hope. Make no mistake; in order to receive what was promised it will be necessary to run the race with patient endurance to finish our faith journey in this decade:

Heb. 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you havedone the will of God, you mayreceivewhat was promised.

Christians are not meant to run the race alone, but to make every effort to stay surrounded with others of like mind, so that we may stay Accountable, Correctable, Teachable Searchable (ACTS): Remain able in all areas,

Heb. 12:1  Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let usrun withendurance the race that is set before us,

“Critical Junctures” Warning Dream

Recently as I was at the edge of waking up from a nap on the couch, I saw a brief close up image of a Bible opened before me, as if I was reading it. At the same time as I was waking up I heard these two words spoken to me repeatedly, “critical junctures”, ”critical junctures”.

Even though I knew the meaning of these words I looked up their definitions to see if I could gain any more insights from them and realized their significant weighty impact to be heeded:

Critical: dangerous, serious, grave, perilous, life threatening
Junctures: stages, occasions, crises, intervals

I believe the Holy Spirit was indicating to us that the word of God (The open Bible scene would reveal timely warnings, as well as wisdom on how to endure them or in some cases how to avoid them. However, it assumes two things: that we read the word of God daily and we hear His voice, as the dream revealed.

Note: Dreams many times are God’s last resort to catch our attention (Job33: 14-18), so it may very well be wisdom to pay attention to yours. It could be part of your instruction to build your shelter before the storm. Trying to build a shelter in the mist of the storm may prove fruitless.

The following article was mostly written when I received this dream. I believe the phrase “to be forewarned is to be forearmed” applies to the hour at hand.

(Dismissing this warning with a “grain of salt” or with a high degree of skepticism may prove to be one that is unrecoverable during the painful years to come. Please prayerfully consider it for yourself.)

Explicit Warnings to Believers for our Journey Ahead

1Tim. 4:1 – But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits anddoctrines of demons,

The deceitful spirits today are deluding Christians into thinking that things will continue as they are in the world or even get better, and that the Lord’s return is afar off. Do not be fooled or lulled to sleep. Remain sober and keep a firm grip on your faith for the troubled waters are ahead. *“Tie yourself to the mast” if necessary. By this I mean, specifically ask other strong Christians to keep you accountable in relationships and is one way of keeping us from jumping ship back into the world when things get rough.

Have you made your appointment?

Most times vital fellowship does not happen by accident and as we see the day drawing near we will need both accountability and comforting encouragement:

Amos 3:3 – Do two men walk together unless they have made an appointment?

Heb. 10:25 – 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.

Eccl. 4:11 – Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?

When we have a very important life-changing event in our lives (wedding celebration, moved to another location, graduation and alike) everything in our lives is centered and scheduled around that event for its preparation and encounter. We cannot ignore the times we live in because our enemy knows and is always trying to keep us separated or distracted:

2Cor. 2:11 – so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.

Luke 12:35 – “  Be dressed inreadiness, and keep your lamps lit.

There is a very real and present danger if we ignore the above Scriptures which warn us of what can easily happen if we are isolated from the rest of the body of Christ:

Mic. 3:6 – Therefore it will benight for you — without vision, 
And darkness for you — without divination. 
The sun will go down on the prophets, 
And the day will become dark over them.

I believe God has been restoring the prophetic voice in the body because of the times of pending darkness that are increasing. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10). It is manifested in and through all of the Fivefold Ministries and the body itself through the gifts of the Spirit: 

Eph. 4:11 – And He gavesome as apostles, and some as prophets, and some asevangelists, and some as pastors andteachers,

1Cor. 14:1 – Pursue love, yetdesire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you mayprophesy.

1Cor. 14:12 – So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.

Apostasy

Apostasy in Christianity is the rejection of Christianity by someone who formerly was a Christian. The term apostasy comes from the Greek word apostasia ("ἀποστασία") meaning defection, departure, revolt or rebellion. It has been described as "a willful falling away from, or rebellion against, Christianity. Apostasy is the rejection of Christ by one who has been a Christian...."[2] "Apostasy is a theological category describing those who have voluntarily and consciously abandoned their faith in the God of the covenant, who manifests himself most completely in Jesus Christ."[3] "Apostasy is the antonym of conversion; it is deconversion."[1] Wikipedia

2Th. 2:3 – Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the   apostasy comes first, and theman of lawlessness is revealed, theson of destruction, 

Neglect may be the biggest sin in the body of Christ today that is leading many to slowly slip into apostasy. Apostasy is not an event, but a dangerous condition and can be diagnosed by taking a person’s spiritual temperature. Here are three of the major indicators and their causes:
 

1. Disinterest: Drifting from Christ back toward the world: Heb.2 1-3

2. Distraction: Moving away from the gospel back into the world:                     Col. 1 21-23

3. Discouragement:  Falling from Christ back to the ways of the                         world: Heb. 3: 12-19

All of the above are shades of spiritual “Lukewarmness” rejected by Jesus (Rev. 3: 15-16)

Consider, How much spiritual life is left before a person slips into a spiritual coma?

Here are some of the indications or symptoms of apostasy from the book of Hebrews:
•  Unbelief (doubt) unaddressed or resolve
• Excuse of Conduct (nurturing sinful habits)
• Neglect of times of Fellowship and Public Worship
• Weakness in prayer
• Instability or ignorance in spiritual doctrines
• Refusal to share with others
• Neglect of the study of the Scriptures
• Love of the world
• Constantly turning back to traditions

While apostasy is both individual and corporate it always looks worse on others. Therefore we need to examine ourselves carefully for early indictors because, I believe the Holy Spirit is saying we are living in the “Age of Apostasy” and many are slowly being deluded because we are slumbering in the lap of the “Delilah” of this day, virtually unaware of the consequences of compromise:

Heb. 3:12 – Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heartthat falls away fromthe living God.

Tied to the Mast of the Ship

The way I see it, if the Lord really sends me to a Church or Fellowship and things get rough, I tie myself to the mast. The mast of the ship holds the sails and rigging in place, so in this position I am tied in with the life of the Church and what makes it move forward. Come hell or high water I’m not jumping ship, unless the Lord truly releases me.

I take the following Scriptures very seriously: 

Heb. 6:4 – For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been madepartakers of the Holy Spirit, 

Heb. 6:5 – andhave tasted the goodword of God and the powers ofthe age to come, 

Heb. 6:6 – 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.

The prayer I continually pray to God as my Creator is in Psalms. He created me, so I can depend on Him following through because it is not in me to do it apart from Him:

Psa. 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God, 
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Warning Alive with Hope

Heb. 6:18 – so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold ofthe hope set before us. 

Heb. 6:19 – Thishope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one whichenterswithin the veil, 

Heb. 6:20 – where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become ahigh priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

With the safe harbor imagery still in focus from v19-20 the word “forerunner” calls to mind the role of sailors who leave the ship in a smaller craft to carry the anchor to a place inside the harbor where it can firmly hold. Jesus did this for us. That is why holding fast to the fortified hope set before us during times of peril is paramount. “Hope Floats” when it is in Jesus, “All other ground is sinking sand” as the *song goes.
 

*”My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”
by Edward Mote, 1797-1874

1. My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness. 
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, 
but wholly lean on Jesus' name. 

Refrain: 
On Christ the solid rock I stand, 
all other ground is sinking sand; 
all other ground is sinking sand. 

2. When Darkness veils his lovely face, 
I rest on his unchanging grace. 
In every high and stormy gale, 
my anchor holds within the veil. 

(Refrain) 

3. His oath, his covenant, his blood
supports me in the whelming flood. 
When all around my soul gives way, 
he then is all my hope and stay. 
(Refrain) 

4. When he shall come with trumpet sound, 
O may I then in him be found! 
Dressed in his righteousness alone, 
faultless to stand before the throne! 
(Refrain)