Simplicity & Sausages

Life can get so complicated. So many things pulling us in all directions that we actually lose our direction at times. Social media, friends, school, family, hobbies, job, career…they all bring out a different part of who we are, often diluting us. Weakening us. At times we can become disoriented and wonder what in the heck we’re even doing with our lives. That’s why it’s important to regularly re-calibrate ourselves to what matters. To focus on the really good stuff. To become centered.

To simplify.

Not so long ago, I met a man on the street in Colchester, England. He sells hot dogs. That’s it. Just hot dogs (or sausages, as the English say). Regular or extra large. With or without cheese.

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Some may look down on a grown man who runs a hot dog stand for a living, but I actually found myself admiring the man. This smiling vendor had found his niche, and that’s what got him out of bed each day – to offer his best to the world. 

One of the keys to personal fulfillment is finding that one thing you love and then to go do it with all your heart. In fact, the people who make a difference in this world are those who harness their gifts, passions and personality, directing them at what they feel is God’s destiny for them.

Admittedly, that can take some time and energy. But it’s one quest that is abundantly worth it.

Noah was a man with ONE major mission in life. One. Thing. To. Do. His singular, simple task was to build an ancient aircraft carrier and preserve a remnant of humanity for the new world.

He kept his eyes on the end goal for 120 years. He hit the bulls-eye with his life.

And so can you.

For more on how you can reach your goal of living a faith-filled life, get a copy of As It Was in the Days of Noah. Available at Barnes&Noble, Amazon, or wherever books are sold.

Are You “Over the Rainbow”?

You’ve probably seen them. The cute little rainbow stickers on the back window of the car in front of you proclaiming “gay pride”. The idea is that many colors (i.e. sexual preferences and orientations) are all a part of big, beautiful collage of colors. But from where did this rainbow thing originate? Was it dreamed up by some graphic artist sympathetic to the homosexual community? As a matter of fact, yes! According to this website, the Rainbow Flag was designed in 1978 by Gilbert Baker, a San Francisco artist, who created the flag in response to a local activist’s call for the need of a community symbol.  Each color represented a different tenet of gay rights (pink = sex, orange = healing, yellow = sun, a sort of new age approach to sexuality). The design has changed a few colors over the years, but remains essentially the same. Starbucks proudly flew an 800 sq. ft gay pride flag over its headquarters in Seattle. Silly us, we thought they were a coffee shop.

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The original gay pride rainbow flag.gaypride2-200x200Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 11.23.13 AM

Starbucks headquarters

According to the Bible, the original rainbow (along with the ones we see refracted in the sky today) were birthed, not from Gay Pride, but from God’s Promise. Following Noah’s Flood, which destroyed every violent and immoral person on the planet (estimated in the billions), God placed a first-ever rainbow in the sky, made possible by the rupturing of the water vapor canopy which previously filtered out the sun’s ultraviolet rays in the antediluvian earth (Genesis 1:7). God created the light and water particles that uniquely make up what we now know as the “rainbow”. But the reason He did it was to communicate something to all creation – that He would never flood the earth again by water. This is known as the “Noahic Covenant”.

God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; andnever again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”(Genesis 9:12-17)

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Gay people didn’t intentionally invent the rainbow flag as a snub to God and the Bible. Though they have embraced this symbol as their primary logo, I doubt seriously that Genesis 9 was even remotely a part of their original motivation.

Even so, we see a lot more homosexual rainbow symbols than scriptural ones. When’s the last time you saw a rainbow sticker on a back windshield with the phrase “Remember God’s Promise” emblazed across the bottom? Rainbows aren’t going away – either on flags, stickers OR in the sky. So maybe we should get over how people use (or misuse) them and get back to why God gave them to us in the first place.

Every rainbow that appears in the sky (you know, the one we Instagram and Pintrest to death) is meant to comfort, remind and warn all humanity.

Comfort – God will never flood the whole earth again to wipe out humanity.

Remind – God rescues the righteous prior to global judgment.

Warn – God is patient, but His wrath will eventually be unleashed on sin. Therefore, run to the Ark!

You can believe that the gay rainbow symbol is an innocent design or some subversive Satanic plot to undermine and replace God’s definition of the rainbow. But I believe we should go a step further. The God of the Bible invented colors and God made the rainbow. So, at least in your own mind, why not steal this symbol back and redeem it for Him, returning it’s meaning to the rightful Owner. Every time you see a rainbow, whether pasted on a windshield, waving in a gay rights parade or shining in the sky overhead, remind yourself about it’s original meaning. Thank God that His promises remain true, even thousands of years later.

And that the God who floods also forgives…

…you.

For more clarity about what the Bible says about homosexuality, forgiveness, love and the flood, check out As It Was in the Days of Noah.

For the most beautiful rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, here’s one of my favorite guitar players, Tommy Emmanuel.

 

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

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.

What Can Prophecy Do for Me?

Someone has said, “Knowledge is power”, and when it comes to studying prophecy, most assuredly so. Knowing about prophecy as revealed in Scripture enables your mind to engage “history in advance”. This influences your thinking, which affects your decisions and emotions. As you become more familiar with what God says is going to take place on planet Earth, you’re equipped and able to move forward just like Noah, realizing your purpose and fulfilling your destiny! So what does knowing about prophecy do for you? Here are 15 benefits to get you started!

  1. Helps you understand the times in which you live (I Chron. 12:32;
  2. Calms your fears about the future (Matt. 28:20; John 14:1-3, 27)
  3. Gives you confidence, courage and comfort in the present (I Thess 4:13-18; John 16:33)
  4. Increases your faith in God who’s in control of earth’s story (Isaiah 40:12-26; Psalm 115:3; Daniel 4:35)
  5. Helps you see the relevance of your Bible to life, both for now and the future (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
  6. Builds expectancy and anticipation for what is to come (Rev. 22:10; Matt. 6:10)
  7. Gives you positive hope in a hopeless world, rescuing you from despair (Titus 2:13-15)
  8. Keeps you centered in an age of doctrinal error, heresy and apostacy (1 Tim 4:1; 2 Tim 3:1-17)
  9. Blesses you as you listen and obey Scripture’s prophetic words (Rev 1:3)
  10. Motivates you to be urgent about your mission here on earth, not wasting your time on worthless pursuits (Eph. 5:15-16)
  11. Fuels the fire of your desire to see others know Jesus (2 Cor. 5:10-13; 6:2)
  12. Gives you perspective on the temporary nature of suffering (John 16:1,4; Rom 8:18)
  13. Helps you prioritize spiritual things over physical things, living wisely (Psalm 90:10-12)
  14. Purifies your life as you prepare yourself as Christ’s Bride (I John 3:2-3)
  15. Helps you know what to expect as you live for God in an increasingly hostile world (John 15:18-23)

When asked by His disciples, “When will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”, Jesus spoke directly to them,  prophesying many of the events found in the book of Revelation (Matt 24:1-39). Then He took their minds back to another ancient prophecy regarding the days of Noah. For them (and us) understanding the past is key to making sense of the future and navigating the present.

I encourage you to reject the passivity that prevents many Christians from living with confidence, direction and hope by engaging in what God says about your future!

To get you started, I’d like to offer you a Free Sample Chapter Download of As It Was in the Days of Noah.

To purchase the entire book for yourself go to Amazon.com or your favorite local or online retailer.