(From God I Believe, But You Be the Judge)

(By: Norm Rasmussen)

If you are at all like me, somewhere along the line in your walk with the Lord, you've been very curious about how end-times are going to unfold in greater detail. That quest for understanding often hits us as we become new believers in Christ Jesus, doesn't it? Then as we mature somewhat spiritually, we discover that's it's pretty safe to conclude that although a lot of Christians have a lot to say about the end-times and ultimately Christ's return, there are so many varied opinions, that we come to the conclusion that some Christians must be wrong in what they are teaching to various degrees. So then questions we ask ourselves are ... Who is right, who is wrong, and who is somewhere in between?

Nevertheless, we can come and remain under what I believe is a false assumption that we're somehow responsible to come up with some sort of solid conclusion about end-time issues, and we are also to make a conclusion whether we're truly pre-trib rapture, mid-trib, post-trib, totally non-trib, (or maybe we've already been raptured and haven't quite figured it out yet, etc.) Christians were told by Jesus when He was alive on earth to be ready day and night, because the Lord would return at a time when they thought not. A seasoned Bible scholar searches ALL the scriptures that address the Lord's return, yet I believe the most important thing said by Jesus was to stay of sober mind and pray with expectancy, and keep watching daily, yet be about your Father's business and your earthly responsibilities, because His return is going to catch many by surprise. Yet Christians who are eagerly and wisely waiting will be continuing to try to help advance His kingdom in the lives of people right up until the last second prior to His meeting them -- they won't be surprised and will be FULL of the Holy Spirit to not be distantly daydreaming when this very special event takes place.  

Bottom line: God clearly tells us to become filled and stay FILLED with the Holy Spirit by making and KEEPING ourselves pure and ready for His sudden return so we'll be qualified to marry Him. Thus don't waste time sitting on our rear-ends and expect everyone else to do Kingdom work deluding ourselves that God wants you and I engaged in "24x7 sky watching" because we think we have a special call of being the first to spot Jesus coming back for His Bride so you can quickly film it and load it on YouTube for it to go viral; thereby assuming nothing more is left to do to help expand His kingdom in the lives of other receptive, needy people.  

The devil delights in getting us Christians so focused on end-time matters (that God isn't all that concerned about, and we're not to fully understand yet anyway most likely), thus getting us overly sidetracked with our time, energy, and possibly finances using most of them up on what will amount to wood, hay and stubble at the Bema Judgment Seat Of Christ (reward time/loss of rewards for true Christians). Satan has many tactics to try to blind us to these two VERY IMPORTANT priorities: Soul Winning and Discipleship.

Please do yourself a huge favor and frequently ask God if you are doing fine regarding what He desires you to give yourself to in the arena of soul winning and/or discipleship of saved souls once lost, and if not, help you to stay focused on the main things ' the eternal things most important to God.

Truly, God has the end-times all figured out. He fully understands what will happen. He has all power to call all the end-time shots, and end-times will unfold exactly the way the Father decrees they will unfold. Satan would love to have the greatest revelation of how end-times will unfold simply to try his best to frustrate the Father's will, but you would think by now Satan would find such a thing a fruitless endeavor. If Satan was not made privy to what he did by killing Jesus until it was too late to undue it, it makes perfect sense that God is keeping the intimate details of the end-times to Himself just like He did the full ramifications of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ to Himself until Satan realized it was too late to do anything about. (Satan still rages every time he thinks back to what he did by allowing Jesus Christ to die: It fulfilled the Fathers plan PRECISELY!) 

True, God doesn't want the Body of Christ to be ignorant indefinitely nor ill-informed regarding the future here on earth, so God will allow certain ones in the Body of Christ to understand bits and pieces of the end-time mystery and pass it along at the appropriate times so the Body of Christ will remain comforted and filled with hope, faith, and obedience as evil expands around the globe. 

Which now allows me to get to the main point of this writing. A lot of unsettling things is going to happen around this planet until Christ returns for His own, and whatever then happens after that ... The Father's will unfolds.  

As the foundations of this earth-system seem to be unraveling around us, and worry and fear eat away at people heavier and heavier like the ugliest cancer, God wants us Christians staying focused on what this life is truly all about from God's perspective: It's about spiritual character growth. Godly character growth in those who choose to pass every trial that is allowed to test their resolve to keep on hanging in there with Jesus Christ--or basically defecting without hopefully someone seeing them defect (or maybe publicly proud that they've defected. In this world, it's getting more and more prominent for spiritual rebels to come out of one's true closet and be proud of their rebellion to God, isn't it?) 

Since Adam and Eve were created down to the very last person to be born on this planet in the future--just a split second before Christ's return back to earth for His own and then what follows, not one thing has changed about God. God is concerned about spiritual character growth in His created beings. I don't have revelation how this may apply to angels with God, but I do have a greater understanding than when I first started being a believer in Christ Jesus to save me from my sins that the Godhead is TOTALLY, 100% focused on our spiritual character growth, and the greatest manifestation of our spiritual character growth is if we'll allow our trials to be instruments to thank and praise Him. In fact, praising and thanking our Lord and Savior will be about the ONLY THING that will keep us following after Jesus Christ. Yes, praying for our abusers and forgiving them will also be crucial to stay walking with Jesus Christ, and these two spiritual disciplines are also to work with praise and thanksgiving to our Lord.

Please allow me to summarize these four spiritual disciplines so nobody misses them:

1) Praise to Jesus Christ and the Father

2) Thanksgiving to Jesus Christ and the Father

3) Forgiving your abusers as the Holy Spirit leads

4) Praying for your abusers as the Holy Spirit leads

You and I may not live long enough to be tried like others will be tried in the end-times, or we may, depending on when you read this. Wherever you find yourself on this planet before you translate to heaven, do yourself a huge favor, ask and keep on asking and trusting God to keep you focused on the REAL reason why God allows trials and hardships to constantly knock on YOUR door: You are being tested ultimately by God. Most likely, Satan will be the one God uses to execute the trial(s), but God moderates the intensity of the trial at the same time. God knows how much pain is required to get each of us to that place where we are tempted to relent and defect from Jesus Christ and the Father in one fashion or another, or cling tighter to Them. If we resolve the matter now when the trials aren't as painful for us as they can and may well become, God may well protect us from trials we need not go through. Even if He should allow us to go through them, we will be able to go through them with peace in our heart as we praise and thank our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, and tell Him that through His help and grace, nothing Satan may be allowed to do to us or a loved one will move us to STOP giving thanks and praising Him because He's God. He's ALL powerful, and He's our LORD that can stop the test and the demons in a New York second if He so decides. 

But if you haven't ALREADY resolutely made up your mind that absolutely no amount of suffering, fear, frustration, pain (probably financial pain to a large degree; physical and mental pain closely following) will cause you to defect from Jesus Christ, and you'll consider the option down the road (later) are walking on very dangerous ground. You are walking in a minefield so to speak and your next step may be on the BIG ONE. You have no assurance when you step on the BIG ONE whether God will bail you out or not.  

It really won't matter once you're in the presence of God if He allowed you to step on the BIG ONE because it will be too late to be saved from your sins, but you only can have assurance of that secure future RIGHT NOW by aligning yourself up in obedience with the Creator before you've taken one too many risky steps without His divine protection. (Jesus Christ is your Creator, Savior from having to pay the penalty for your sins, and your Divine Protector ... among other things).

Yes, the end-times is about the rapture. Yes, the end-times is about the revealing of the worldwide influence of Anti-Christ and the false prophet, and ultimately, the Anti-Christ personified in bodily form. Yes, the end-times reveals what God has in store for the nation of Israel and how other nations ultimately will take orders from Jesus Christ as He rules from Israel. Yes, times are going to get more and more uncertain, especially if we stay glued to the nightly news and stay connected to the Internet to help remind us of just how much trouble this world is in, because the Judge will slam the hammer down on rebels in His time and in His own ways. Yes, we may get caught in some of the aftermath of it as well. Yes, we may experience dimensions of evil that Noah never realized in his day ' but nothing that God causes to happen or He allows to happen will change His eternal purpose for each one of us, which is:

1) What are you going to do about Jesus Christ and your eternal salvation regarding your sins against God and others ... while you still have time? Once you die it's too late.

2)  At what cost ... at what degree of pain...will you quit and defect from Jesus Christ and give into the devil's deceptions, or resolve within yourself as quickly as you can that no amount of evil that you may experience in your life from here on out or how many painful trials God may allow you to experience, NOTHING will cause you to defect and turn as a traitor on Jesus Christ?

3) Are you willing to walk through every trial with Him before your heart stops so spiritual character can be birthed in you and become more perfected, which ultimately will be for His glory and your eternal reward? 

That's about as short and to the point as I know how to write it folks. I toss the ball to you and it's now in YOUR hands. Are you going to keep hold of the ball and run with it or try to find someone to pass it off to as quickly as you can in hopes of dodging potential pain?

Very recently I was privileged to go through a very intense trial. All I knew to do is talk to God in prayer, which included non-stop thanking Him and praising Him. In the early hours of May 24, 2014, the end-times was about the last thing I could think of because the pain in my body (serious heart issues, head & upper spine traumatized; [lower back all the way to my feet]; a filled bladder that wanted to pop before they put an emergency catheter up me to drain some urine out and they claimed they had no reason why it shut down though I believe I knew ... because of my pinched lower spine from having to lie on my back so long and I couldn't lie on my side, but that's an entire story all of its own - let's drop it thank you), though about the only thing the nurses were concerned about was mostly my heart due to my heart wanting to jump out of my chest and get to heaven before the rest of me gets there (heart was trying to peddle in 100th-gear on a 1-speed bike) ... was more than I've ever experienced.

I've never been one of those who have divine visions, but I had one in this trial that God wants me sharing:  

My mind was crying out to God to either remove my head-neck pain (caused from a snow blower accident) or come and get me so I could be in heaven, when I saw a clear yet short snapshot of something going on in the spirit realm. I saw saints of God who had previously died, praying and encouraging me on like you would see people in the stands trying to encourage their home team below them to not stop but keep on fighting to the very end. I also saw angels calling out to me, "Keep fighting and do not give up!" These two groups did not surprise me, so seeing a vision of it wasn't all that big of a deal to me at the time. But here is what brought me to tears as quickly as I saw that vision. I saw Jesus Christ Himself out front of everybody encouraging me to not stop fighting with my praise and worship to Him and keeping my trust in Him to pull me through. Jesus was motioning over and over with His right hand and arm encouraging me to keep pressing on in the trial instead of refusing to praise and thank Him, and keep fighting against the wicked spiritual vessels trying to take my life away by causing me to have a stroke and/or severe heart attack and/or brain damage, and then be put out of commission whereas my wife Kathleen and I would be less effective in ministry for God. Jesus was leading the pack and rooting for me to win in body, mind and spirit! He was more intense of me winning my battle more than the rest of the group rooting me on. Then instantly the vision went away and I was back in my bed in my pain. In inquiring about the vision after that, God told me to share the vision so others around the world could receive hope and encouragement and faith in the midst of their spiritual battle -- their spiritual trial(s). Thus I'm writing what I believe God wanted me to share with the reader of this writing - glory be to God. God so much wants people to be victorious in their trials and not giving up on Jesus Christ and what He has waiting for them in glory.

Least precious prayer warriors praying for me and Kathleen, my precious wife, on this planet at this time think they were and are not important in helping us through my (OUR!) trial, (and the trial hasn't completely passed, because I'm now dealing with continuing heart issues maybe worse than ever before, lower back and now upper back to the neck issues and bladder issues, a banged left knee from mopping up coffee and falling from slipping on it on my wife's kitchen floor, and a brain that is not always processing information correctly like its supposed to) I can only say a HUGE "Thank you for praying for a fellow brother and sister in Christ who needed your intense prayers!" May God richly bless and reward you for it, as He will. I may have the opportunity to pray for you one day either here on earth or it may be from heaven. The spiritual attacks on God's people seems to be ever increasing, so each of us need to work diligently at being useful to the Lord to help fight others' battle and/or make it through their trial(s). God is refining, purging and purifying His people in ways many hoped they would never have to experience, but God is running our life and I'm convinced He has your and my best welfare in mind ... though to make sense of it one has to fast-forward their life into eternity to grasp hold of how important character growth is to God in this life so we'll be equipped to rule and reign with Jesus Christ in the future for all eternity . . . for the glory of God our Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.  

Though many will not see any connection at the present time (Spring 2014), there are people in the future who will make the connection about thanking and praising the Father and Jesus Christ in prayer when all else is pretty much stripped away from them ... becoming their spiritual "Category 7" test. Thus - a companion writing for this writing is:  HOW TO MAKE YOURSELF MORE SPIRITUALLY BULLETPROOF

Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. You can even have that assurance RIGHT NOW! Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you...please don't make such a tragic mistake. 

To get to know God, to be at peace with God, to have your sins forgiven, to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity, to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help you understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life, because in Christ, it is impossible to put a value on the worth of your soul in light of eternity.


JESUS DID IT! and...


Remember:  All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity. (Matthew 6:19-20 is our assurance)