Are You An Ostrich? :: By Nathele Graham

An ostrich is jokingly said to hide from danger by burying its head in the sand. The danger may be real or it may be imagined, but instead of facing the danger or looking for a way to avoid it, they hide. That’s just an amusing legend, but that describes the actions of many people. They shut their eyes to truth and ignore what’s happening around them. They stay ignorant; the danger is real and can overtake them as a thief in the night. This should never be a part of a Christian’s life, but many choose to live in ignorance rather than being aware of the danger around us.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away (2 Timothy 3:1-5). 

We truly live in perilous times. All of the things listed in these verses are happening today. If your head is in the sand, you’ll say that these things have always gone on, but those of us who aren’t afraid to look know that it’s never been as perilous as it is today. Biblical prophecy is becoming clearer each day, or at least it is if you don’t have your head in the sand.

There are various ways to be an ostrich, and one way is to watch network news. If you do that, you’ll believe that evil is good and good is evil.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20). 

The liberal agenda is promoted and Godly values are mocked. Deviant lifestyles are pushed, abortion is considered a woman’s right instead of murder, wickedness among politicians is accepted as long as they are liberal, and Christian values are considered hate.

Stop being an ostrich and get your head out of the sand. Listen to conservative radio or watch the many conservatives who are speaking out on You Tube. A couple of programs that will open your eyes are The Hagmann and Hagmann Report and L.A. Marzulli. These men look at what’s happening in the world from a conservative perspective and will open your eyes to just how perilous the times are in which we live. You’ll be amazed that there are Christian voices out there who aren’t afraid to take a stand for Jesus and to uphold God’s word – who aren’t afraid to call evil what it is… evil.

If you still want to be an ostrich, consider ignoring Biblical prophecy. There are many news stories that will bring fear upon you. God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of His power.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). 

By studying Biblical prophecy, you will begin to understand that God knew exactly what would happen and told us about it in order to calm our fears. God’s word also assures us that, no matter what happens, He wins in the end. If you keep your head in the sand and don’t open your Bible, you won’t understand His peace that passes understanding. It’s been jokingly said that, if you can keep calm when all those around you are in panic, you don’t understand the situation. I beg to differ. If you can keep calm in the storms of life, then you know the peace that only comes from knowing Jesus.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

Get your head out of the sand and be aware of what’s happening in the world, but pray and trust Jesus to see you through.

Prophecy is a study that every Christian should take seriously. Most preachers don’t speak about it, but those same preachers usually don’t preach line upon line through the Bible. Those shepherds don’t want to upset their sheep, so they leave them wide open for the wolf to destroy the flock. Prophecy is given by God, so we can be aware of the times in which we live, and to act appropriately.

And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not (Luke 12:39-40).

Good resources to learn about prophecy being fulfilled today are by listening to Amir Tsarfati of Behold Israel, JD Farag from Calvary Chapel in Kaneohe, Gary Stearman from Prophecy Watchers, and Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries. If you’re an ostrich, you just don’t care or are too afraid. If you’re wise, you’ll study prophecy and become a watchman who is able to read the signs of the times and defend your faith.

The wickedness we see in the world is just a sign that the end times are upon us. People say that things have always been bad and each generation has thought they were the last. That may be true, but there has never been a generation that has seen what we are seeing today. A major sign is that Israel is once again a nation in the land that God gave them eons ago. It’s their land, but many nations want to take it away…just as prophecy reveals. The proposed peace agreements will never accomplish what humans want. How do I know? The Bible tells me so. Oh, there will be a pseudo peace, but there’s a very evil man who will come against God and the Jewish nation.

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate (Daniel 9:27). 

There will be a seven-year time period known as Daniel’s 70th week or the time of Jacob’s trouble, which will be the final years of the earth as we know it. The events of that time period are hard to imagine, and the last 3 ½ years will be filled with horrors that an ostrich with their head in the sand denies is rapidly approaching. To find out what that week will entail, read the rest of Daniel, and Revelation beginning in chapter 6.

There are many things that “science” is developing that no previous generation could imagine. These “advances” will make it very easy for the man of sin to use technology to control all people. Technology of today is making way for every human to be tracked. Do you have a cell phone? Find out how it’s tracking you. How can every human on earth be tracked? Look into artificial intelligence. Listen to Pastor Billy Crone and get your head out of the sand.

For Christians, this knowledge shouldn’t be frightening. The Rapture will take place soon. Very soon. Maybe even before you finish reading this. As we see the signs of the times which Jesus as well as Daniel and John spoke about, we can know for sure that the “Church Age” will soon end and God will turn His attention back to Israel. Those last seven years will begin after the Rapture and will eventually turn the nation of Israel back to God. It has nothing to do with Christians. Since we will be raptured prior to that last week, we won’t face God’s wrath.

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:9). 

There will be people who come to know Jesus during that time of God’s wrath, but it won’t be easy for them. No date can be set for the Rapture, but we have the God-breathed promise that we will be saved from His wrath.

And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

The time to accept Christ is now. You don’t want to be here when the man of sin (the Anti-Christ) comes to power.

When Paul wrote to the congregation at Corinth, he had strong words concerning the sin they embraced. They were Christians but weren’t living in a Christian way. Paul confronted their sin. That’s what we are to do. Sinful lifestyles are permeating our congregations today and, like the Corinthian Christians, most pastors, elders, and deacons ignore it.

Homosexuality? Adultery? Fornication? It isn’t judging to use the Word of God to discern sin within the congregation and bring the unrepentant Christian back to a right walk with Christ. It isn’t judging when you take your head out of the sand to help a fellow Christian out of sin. It’s a sign of the times that few people confront sin in themselves or in fellow Christians.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

Paul wrote those words to Timothy who was a young pastor in Ephesus to warn him to stand firm on God’s truth. In these final days, don’t bury your head in the sand and ignore the sin within your congregation.

We all sin, but what if the Rapture happens and finds us embracing sin? When Paul confronted the sin in Corinth, he also gave hope. God sees lying as sin just as He sees murder as sin. People tend to think that a lie isn’t as bad as murder, but Jesus didn’t pick and choose which sins His blood would take away. When you truly accept Him for salvation, all your sins are forgiven, but you need to let Jesus change you and move away from sin.

When Paul spoke of the Rapture to the sin-filled congregation in Corinth, he gave them hope. Behold I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).

Paul says that we won’t all die (sleep) but we will all be changed. Only the blood of Christ takes away all of your sin. If you’re a Christian you’ll be raptured, but if you openly live a sinful life then the first question is whether you have truly accepted Christ; and the second question is will you be ashamed to stand before Jesus? It’s time to get your head out of the sand and understand that time is short. If you’re a Christian then live for Him. If you haven’t accepted Him yet, don’t put it off. Time’s running out.

Are you an ostrich? Brothers and sisters, it’s time to get our heads out of the sand and face the truth. We need to understand the times in which we live and share the Gospel with as many people as you can today. Tomorrow may be too late.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

www.straitandnarrowministry.com

ron@straitandnarrowministry.com

Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html

All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God breathed.

If you’d like to be on my mailing list to receive the commentaries, just drop me an email and let me know.

Reconciliation :: By Nathele Graham

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1). God filled the earth with everything we need in order to survive. There was food, water, and a perfect place for Adam and Eve to live. Then sin entered. Satan twisted God’s words and convinced Eve to take a bite of the forbidden fruit. The only rule God had given to Adam and Eve was not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:17). Instead of believing the Creator of the universe, Adam and Eve chose to believe Satan’s lies.

From the very beginning of all things, God’s love was evident. God has never stopped loving us, but humans moved away from Him. Because God didn’t want people to be robots, He gave us free will. That gift was given in love. Forced love is not love, and God doesn’t force us to love Him. Free will gives us choices. If we choose to disobey, then we choose to suffer the consequences of our own choice.

What’s so bad about disobedience to God? First of all, understand that God knows everything. He knows that if you swipe a candy bar you hurt other people. You didn’t pay for the candy bar, but the store owner had to buy it. He has lost money because you stole his merchandise. A candy bar may seem like a minor offense to you, but to God it is a sin to steal. Sin always separates us from God.

The first of the Ten Commandments says we aren’t to put any god before the one true God. Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3). This doesn’t mean that as long as we don’t worship Zeus it’s OK. A false god is anything we desire more than God Almighty…a candy bar, a neighbor’s wife, drugs, riches, etc. It could also be the denomination you attend.

When I was growing up, my family attended a particular denomination. As time went on, there was an official stance taken by that denomination that was opposed to God’s word. That denomination wasn’t my god, so I stopped attending services there. God’s truth is always more important than a denomination’s interpretation of Scripture.

Scripture is our guide in all things. It tells us how a Christian should live life. Just as God told Adam not to eat the forbidden fruit, He makes it clear to us what our behavior should be in order to be in obedience to Him. When Adam broke that one rule, it shattered into many pieces. There are many sins we commit daily that separate us from God, but it all boils down to lust of the flesh. Jealousy, anger, drugs, alcohol, sexual encounters, and lies are just a few of the things which come between us and God.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever (1 John 2:15-17).

Is John telling us that we should deprive ourselves of everything and become cloistered nuns or monks? No. God gave us things in order that we can function. We need sexual relations in order for humanity to continue, but that is only to be within a one man/one woman marriage. Ignoring God’s way leads to more sin and much unhappiness. Following Satan’s way leads to multiple sexual encounters, homosexuality, AIDS, unwanted children, and abortion; and all of this leads to shattered lives and separation from God.

Wine is not forbidden in Scripture, but drunkenness is. Drugs are forbidden, but the world says “tune in, turn on, drop out;” doctors prescribe mind-altering drugs to children and adults alike. Yes, Adam’s sin shattered into many pieces, and Satan wants it that way. He doesn’t want us to be reconciled to God.

Is there any hope? Has God given up on humanity? God never wanted to be separated from us, and He did the only thing possible in order to make the only way for us to be reconciled to Him. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:16-17).

If people don’t know any other verse in the Bible, they usually know this one. It tells us that God loves us so much that He gave us the only sacrifice possible to take sin away. Go back and read that verse carefully. It says that you have to believe. God wants you to be reconciled to Him, but you have to believe in Jesus Christ in order to find forgiveness. You have to recognize that you’re a sinner. We all sin.

I accepted Christ at a very young age, but I still stumble into sin. When that happens I have to repent and ask God to forgive me. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Then, the responsibility on my part is to try not to keep on sinning. God doesn’t condemn us, but we condemn ourselves by rejecting the only way that our sins can be forgiven.

If you claim to have accepted Christ as your Savior but continue to embrace sin, then you may be fooling yourself. We are saved by grace through faith, but that isn’t a license to continue to sin. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:1-2). 

Accepting Christ should bring about a change in your life. Studying God’s word is the way to know Him better, and you will begin to hate your sin as much as God does. When you read His word, don’t pull Scripture out of context. Don’t twist Scripture to make it look as if your particular sin is acceptable. That was the very ruse which Satan used to hoodwink Eve into eating the forbidden fruit.

“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5).

Satan always calls God a liar, but it’s Satan who lies. Is he whispering to you that God doesn’t really mind if you’re in a homosexual relationship? Is he urging you to go ahead and use those mind-altering drugs even though you might have to steal to pay for them? Rather than believe the lies of Satan, believe the truth of God.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).

One sin leads to another until you’re sure that you’re beyond redemption. That’s just not true. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister” (Colossians 1:21-23).

The sin we commit are wicked and separate us from our Lord, but Christ’s blood was shed to take away those sins so we can be reconciled to Him. When you truly accept Christ for redemption, then the Holy Spirit is sealed within you. You can never sin more than God will forgive, but you can condemn yourself by not accepting His redeeming sacrifice.

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven (Colossians 1:20).

God wants you to be reconciled to Him. He won’t force you, but if you choose to reject His sacrifice, then you choose eternal death.

You can do nothing to earn your way to eternal life. You can’t be good enough because even one little white lie is enough to condemn you. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent (John 6:28-29).

The only works that you can do is to believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You need to believe, repent of your sin, and let the Holy Spirit work in you to lead you along the path of righteousness. It isn’t easy to turn from sin, but the pleasure of sin is only temporary. It lasts a few minutes, then you’re left empty and in need of another drug or another prostitute. Sin never satisfies.

You may be reading this while you’re sitting in a jail cell paying the price for your sin, or you may be sitting in an abortion clinic about to allow your sin to result in the death of your baby. Don’t despair. Jesus loves you. He shed His blood for you. Yes, for you. He will forgive you, but you have to ask Him and you have to mean it. Recognize that you are a sinner and cannot save yourself. Ask Him to forgive you. Then do whatever you need to do in order to turn from your sin. Even if you’re sitting in a pew reading this, if you haven’t truly accepted Christ, then your sins haven’t been forgiven.

Turn to Him right now and be reconciled to God.

God bless you all,

twotug@embarqmail.com

www.straitandnarrowministry.com

ron@straitandnarrowministry.com

Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html

All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God breathed.

If you’d like to be on my mailing list to receive the commentaries, just drop me an email and let me know.