Is America in Bible Prophecy?

Those who dare to think, and to dip their toes in the river of prophecy eventually end up scratching their heads and muse, “I wonder where the United States is in the end times? Are we even mentioned in the book of Revelation? Why don’t we hear more about America when prophecy is taught?”

Those are natural questions to ask, given that our country is one of the world’s largest superpowers and (at least in the past) has enjoyed economic prosperity among developed first world nations. But if we are so big and powerful, why wouldn’t John’s apocalyptic vision mention us? There are several possible reasons, some more plausible than others. Here are a few theories that some Bible teachers, authors, and prophecy scholars have proposed

1. America didn’t exist in the first century, therefore not a known world to John, and he would have no reason to mention it.

2. America is no longer a superpower or “player” on the world stage in the last days.

3. Related to #2, given the fact that the United States is currently teetering on the brink of a financial meltdown due to unwise leadership, out of control spending and plunging us deep in debt to China (to the tune of some 14 trillion!), we may indeed implode in an economic meltdown from which there is nor recovery. This would make the Great Depression look like a trip to Disneyworld by comparison. In this scenario, The USA would possibly be on life support from a conglomeration of European nations. “America the great” would be no more.

4. Some have postulated that Russia will launch a nuclear attack on The U.S. as a preemptive strike to get us out of the way before it attacks Israel.

5. There are other theories as well, but perhaps the most biblically plausible is that Jesus Christ will return to snatch away His Bride (genuine disciples) before a seven year season of catastrophic judgments are released on planet Earth. Imagine the chaos and calamity that would follow as tens of millions suddenly disappear from our country. Think of the mortgages that would go unpaid, the collapse of banks, people who are in leadership and public positions are gone, heads of companies and corporations vanish, entire families are missing (or perhaps only certain family members), widespread panic fills the streets of literally every city in the country, birthing an epidemic of looting, violence with perhaps many thousands taking their own lives out of desperation.

America crumbles. Martial Law is enacted and new governmental regulations are passed in an attempt to restore civility. Terror and uncertainty fill the hearts of those who remain. Grocery stores have no food. Suppliers have no way to meet the demand. Phone service is inoperable and internet servers crash due to traffic. Highways are clogged as terror-filled travelers scurry to locate loved ones. Inflation skyrockets prices of food and provisions. It becomes a survival of the fittest. And man’s sin nature is unleashed – violent crime and unrestrained immorality exponentially increase. Religious leaders are left to concoct yet another unbiblical theory why this is happening.

Atheists become extinct as even the most hardhearted fool now needs someone to blame for their ruined lives. They finally concede and admit what creation, conscience and Christians had been telling them all their lives: God exists. And worse, He’s the Christian God.

But amazingly, instead of repenting of their sin, they furiously shake their fists at Him, cursing His name (Revelation 9:20; 16:11).

Could this scenario really happen? And if so what’s preventing all this from occurring?

I believe the true church (those individuals who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit – not necessarily organized churches) is what currently restrains immorality and holds back a global tsunami of evil (2 Thess 2:6-7). Once the Rapture occurs, the Holy Spirit will effectively remove Himself and His restraining influence through believers. 

Literally, all hell will break loose.

So how close are we to all this? Are there any biblical or cultural clues? What hope is there for us right now? Is there any good news? And what should I be doing in the meantime?

Interested in knowing more. Click HERE to get your copy of As It Was in the Days of Noah today.

 

What’s Your Faith Made of?

Christians talk a lot about faith. A lot. But have you ever stopped to consider what your faith actually is? Ever wondered what your faith is really made of? In other words, if you were to dissect your personal faith, what would you find? And when your time here is over, what will others discover when they eulogize your life, specifically as it relates to your faith?

Some people’s faith is more sentimental than solid. The enjoy the romantic ideal of “having great faith”, of being thought of as a “good Christian”. But just like the transition from courtship to marriage, they quickly realize it’s not all that fun at times. Reality sets in, and they find out that real “love” goes way beyond that nice feeling you get when you’re with your love interest or spouse. Love means processing wounded relationships, giving even when the other person doesn’t and demonstrating forgiveness even when it hurts. Love can be hard work.

Other people’s faith is sort of like a fireworks display – big, loud, impressive, but short-lived. I’ve known hundreds like this. They come on like a storm, and they talk big about what they’re going to do for Jesus. Like Peter, their mouths write checks that their faith (and life) can’t cash. “I’m not going to let my boss make me work on Sundays anymore.” “I’m only going to date people who are as committed to Jesus like I am.”  “You can count on me to be at church every week, Pastor!” 

Yawn.

Honestly, people like these bore me. And I can usually identify them before that promise to God is finished leaving their lips. I don’t doubt their sincerity. It’s just that those who don’t understand the nature of true faith in Jesus are blind to how empty such promises really are. It would be like me saying, “I’m going to RUN in a marathon.” Nice thought, Kinley, but you and me both know that’s not going to happen anytime soon…if ever. 

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These faith “professors” are the first to crumble under the slightest pressure. That’s because their faith is more facade than fact. And it’s built on emotion and good intentions, not founded on the Rock of Jesus Himself (Matthew 7:21-27).

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Their faith-boasts produce quick “fruit”, but it quickly withers in the blazing heart of the sun. It fails to take root because it was faulty from the start. And as James so eloquently put it, “Faith without works is dead (faith) – James 2:26. On the contrary, 

Real faith lasts.

Real faith perseveres through opposition.

Real faith pushes through times of confusion and drought.

Real faith triumphs over feelings.

Real faith does it’s talking with action, not mere words.

Real faith does whatever it takes, no matter what the cost or sacrifice.

Real faith isn’t pretty and neat, but bloody and messy.

Real faith believes when there seems to be no reason for it.

Real faith risks.

Real faith is daily.

Noah was a man with real faith. His deep trust and dependence on God was a rare jewel, and something we need more of today. Can you even imagine what would happen if we had more “Noah-like” faith in the church?

What about you? How’s your faith? What does it look like today? What’s it really made of?

For more on how to have a faith like Noah’s, dive into As It Was In the Days of Noah

Cactus Christians

Ever wonder what people think about you? Sure you do. But you tell yourself it doesn’t really matter, right? I mean, who cares what people think? We tell ourselves, “It only matters what GOD thinks about me,” simultaneously affirming ourselves with an emotional pat on the back. Usually when you say something like that to yourself, you’re thinking about people who don’t treat you right, or who have an unflattering opinion of you. Some people just “don’t get” you. Others are stupid and clueless. (I see you nodding in agreement) After all, if you let what others think of you sink in, you’ll be so busy trying to please everybody that you’ll never really know who you are. So, yes, what God thinks about you actually is the only opinion that ultimately matters. 

But the question is, “What does God think about you?”

The answer is not as simple as you might think. We’re programmed to proclaimed “God loves me unconditionally!” and rightly so, and then we move on our merry way. But God also has other thoughts about you. He loves you just the way you are. That will never change. But He also loves you too much to let you stay that way. He doesn’t jut think about the “You” you are today, but He is actively planning the “You” you’ll be in 5 years if you keep faithfully following Him. He thinks about you growing. Changing. Becoming. Being better than you are now. Stronger. More mature. That’s because He’s not finished making you yet.

na- construction stat- body

Bottom Line: He wants you to be like His Son, so much so that He has ordained it from eternity past! (Romans 8:29). In reality, God thinks lots of thoughts about you. For example, He wants you to show amazing, unusual, countercultural love to His children – your brothers and sisters in Christ (John 13:35). He says this is even more important than feeding the hungry, serving in the community or caring for an orphan (Galatians 6:10). It’s a matter of priority. We begin with the family and move out with love in concentric circles from there (Matthew 22:37-39).

Being a loving person first means knowing you are deeply loved. It means you His love in you overflows to other believers.

Is that what others think about you?

Some “Christians” I know just don’t give love. It’s not one of the tools in their toolbox. They’re rough and “prickly”.

Gimme a Hug

Others are so insecure, they insulate themselves, preventing anyone from really getting close to them.

Insulated

These people are also difficult to spiritually hug.

It makes me wonder if they have ever truly experienced God’s love.

So what does God think of you? If we could interview Him, would He say you’re becoming a loving person?

After all, you can’t give away what you don’t have, right?

7 Ways to Know You’re in the Right Church

 People often share with me their struggle to find the right church for them. Typically, these people are either unchurched or “formerly” churched, meaning they bailed on the idea years ago. Their reasons are varied, but include:

A) It was intellectually/spiritually uninteresting. “The pastor simply couldn’t hold my attention.”

B) It was shallow. “I got sick of ‘How To’ sermons and messages to make me feel good.”

C) It was too impersonal. “I got lost in the crowd and felt like cattle shuffling into the pen each week.”

D) It was too “entertaining”. “If I wanted a concert venue, I’d go see a real band perform. Plus, the pastor tries too hard to be funny and ‘hip’.”

E) It was small, but nobody there my age. “I had trouble connecting, and the people weren’t that friendly.” 

E) “I hate mornings. Period.”

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There are other reasons, of course. But those are some of the biggies I hear. I’ve never heard anyone say, “I left because those people were just too loving. They cared about me personally. The messages were just so biblical and relevant to my life, I had to leave!” 🙂

So what’s a person to do? Should you give up on church altogether? Just sit at home and worship God for 5 minutes and then go walk the dog? Keep in mind, there are no perfect churches, because after all, it’s just people coming together, right? It’s also not about how BIG or SMALL a church is. You can find community in a big church and you can stand in the corner alone and be ignored in a small church. That said, I understand the dilemma. But I still think its worth the long search. My wife and I attended a church while in grad school that gave us a chance to serve, but the pastor (though a great guy) was a sleeping pill in the pulpit. We weighed the options, and since it was temporary, stayed there. Another church we attended for a year had awesome preaching but was a bit too liturgical for my spiritual taste buds. They did the same ritual every week. But it was good for us at the time.

confused-girl“So what’s a girl like me to do?”

Obviously you don’t want to become a serial “church hopper”, either due to your inability to commit or your eternal search for that perfect place of worship. So here are a few things to think about. Seven ways you can know you’ve found the right church for you.

1. You gladly lay aside other (good) priorities and fun pursuits to faithfully be there each week.

2. You call them ‘family’ because that’s exactly what it feels like to you. You find yourself not “going to church” anymore but rather coming together with other believers out of a real need to do so.

3. You are excited and motivated to tell your friends (who need a church) about yours.

4. You look for ways to uniquely serve others in that body with your gifts and personality (doesn’t have to be in an official “ministry”, either).

5. You don’t think twice about regularly sacrificing a portion of the finances God has blessed you with, so that the work there can survive and thrive.

6. The “church service” truly enlightens, deepens and challenges you in your relationship with Christ.

7. You are confident that Jesus and His Word are honored above all else (programs, ministries, presentation, music, pastor, etc)

If you identify with these 7 things, then there’s a really good chance you’ve found your church home. If not, then keep looking. You’re in the wrong church. There’s a group of people out there who need you! There is a church for YOU! If you find yourself in a search right now, go beyond just “visiting” a church this Sunday. Stick around for a while to get the full effect. Give it time. Come back a few weeks.

Keep seeking God and go find your spiritual family this week!

How to Take Criticism

  Anytime you write a book that gets national attention, people contact you. Sometimes those who’ve read the book and are impacted by it send you an encouraging note or even a small gift. A very nice cattle rancher from New Mexico sent me a CD he’s recorded. He’s a cowboy singer and had a song about the Flood. I appreciated his kind gesture and music. Another man sent me a copy of a book he had written and self-published. I really enjoy feedback from my work. It’s nice to know that what I do with my life makes a difference in people’s lives.

  Then there are those who write me with not so nice things to say. One man wrote to inform me that I had no idea who Jesus was and that he hoped me and my “followers” would burn in hell (but what do you really think!). He hadn’t actually read the book, but rather stumbled on an online article/interview. I usually don’t respond to hate mail, but this guy needed some special love, so I wrote him back, and included an excerpt from AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OF NOAH that contradicted what he thought was true about God’s truth (and me).

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  There are also religious people who occasionally write to me or post comments on my Official Facebook Page. Sometimes they just want to point out what they see as a minor “mistake” in the book, but a few have taken the opportunity to let me know how wrong I am about the end times and Jesus coming back. Some have quirky views about the last days, and of course, theirs is the only “correct” interpretation. While I acknowledge in my book that there are other viewpoints held by sincere believers, mine didn’t come to me just because it made me “feel good”. A few of these guys try and hair me into the boxing ring to debate minutia about the end times. Again, most of these guys haven’t actually read the book, but rather collect their info from sound bytes or online articles. But either way, I’m not interested, nor do I have the time to waste, arguing with all the Post-tribulationists or A-millenialists out there. It’s not my job to correct the world.

  But this doesn’t mean I don’t ever need correcting, or even an occasional rebuke. In fact, I received one last week that I’ll share with you. BTW, raw, anonymous criticism is generally useless, and you should file it in the “water off a duck’s back” category. The internet is crawling of mean-spirited trolls who get some kind of self-righteous buzz from drive-by verbal stonings. It’s the nature of the internet, and you shouldn’t get drown into it (maybe that’s why they call it the worldwide “web”) It’s just verbal noise pollution. So ignore. On the other hand, you constructive criticism is beneficial if it comes from those who genuinely know you and care about you.

  Case in point: I have a friend in another state. He’s a businessman who is a dedicated Christian. He loves Jesus. He’s also a smart guy. I also like him. We laugh a lot together. The other day he said something to me that moved me (and rebuked me). The conversation went something like this:

Him: Hey Jeff, can I give you some constructive advice?

Me: Sure, fire away.

Him: As I’ve watched you and gotten to know you, I’ve come to believe that God has placed you as a very special spokesman for this generation. You are God’s man for the hour, and He is using you greatly. But your problem is that you need to embrace that. You are just too self-deprecating and overly humble. I think you need to accept God’s big role for you, and move forward with more confidence and faith. Stop asking God for merely the little things or the “next step”. He’s a big God who is honored when we launch out and ask for huge things in His Name. Things that are “God-sized”. So quit with the “golly-gee, I’m so humble” routine and step up to the throne in confidence.

Me: (Silence)

Those are precisely the kinds of things you need somebody ELSE to say to you. And his words struck a chord in my heart (they also stung a bit! – see Proverbs 27:6). But he was right. I do think about myself too much, and in the wrong way. Humility doesn’t mean you’re unimportant. It just means seeing yourself as God does, and submitting to Him. I needed to be reminded that when I ask big, it’s not really for me (though I do benefit, and there’s nothing wrong with that). So I took his words to heart. It was “iron sharpening iron”.

Me: Thanks, brother. I needed someone to say that.

After our conversation, I immediately sat down to write out some goals – big things on my heart I desired God to do for His glory and my good. I ask for “Noah” to break into the Top 100 Best Selling Books in America, and it happened. I ask for the book to reach the #1 Best Sellers spot in Prophecy, and it did. I wrote down that I wanted to appear on a certain show with a massive viewing audience, and within the hour my phone rang. It was that show’s producer calling to ask me to be on the show!

God’s not showcased by lame prayer requests. He wants to do stuff in our lives that display His power and glory

I still struggle a bit with “self-promotion”. But I’m getting better, thanks to a gentle rebuke and someone who believed in me and really wanted to help.