Don’t Panic Chapter 9 – Choose A Side

This is part 10 in a 14 part series entitled Don’t Panic – Survival Guide to the Apocalypse.  Full PDF Download available free here: Don’t Panic – Survival Guide

Choose A Side

I understand that your thoughts are likely centered around survival.  How will you make it through this day?  Will you have enough food and clean water for yourself?  For your family?  What about medications and healthcare?  Will you be safe?  Will you come through this time of chaos alive?

My friend, even if you can meet your basic needs for today, you will not be satisfied.  Without a deeper understanding of the war that is going on for your soul, you will continue to feel fear and panic.  You see, God made humanity for his pleasure, and it was always supposed to be a mutual relationship.  We messed it up, on our end.  And ever since, God’s been reaching out to us with His solution.  Perhaps He has reached out to you before this.  Perhaps many times?  He still is reaching out – right now.

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster.
Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain offering and a drink offering
for the Lord your God?

(Joel 2:12-14)

There is an appointed time for humanity’s reign over the earth to be complete, and that time is almost up.  You live in a very unique time period – the very final warning of God before the “end of this age” closes.  The world isn’t going to end, at least not yet, but the world as you knew it has, and will.  There is a purpose for you in this big overarching story – this purpose is wrapped up in your being reconciled to God.  If you miss this, you miss the entire point of your existence. 

Your primary purpose isn’t survival, it is finding God.

We were meant to live in harmony with God, our Father.  His Spirit is meant to comfort us, to guide us, to bring us love, joy, peace, and hope.  Apart from Him, everything is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

We are born into this world as spiritual orphans.  We remain that way unless we listen to God’s call and find our way home.  God wants to restore relationship with you.  But you have to want to restore the relationship too.  Relationships go both ways!

If you do not know Him personally, then right now, God is calling you.  He has chosen you for this time, and for this purpose.   Your soul is never going to die.  While your body lives, you have the free will to choose your eternal destiny.   If you follow Jesus, He will help you and direct you through the rest of your days.  When you die, you will go to an eternal place called “heaven” and be with Him forever.  No one can truly comprehend how wonderful heaven is!

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”  (1 Corinthians 2:9)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”  (Revelation 21:3-5)

If you choose not to follow Jesus, you will go to an eternal place called “the lake of fire” and live in suffering and loneliness forever.  No one can truly comprehend how horrible the lake of fire is.

…their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur… (Revelation 21:8)

The time that you have now entered will be the most challenging time humanity has ever faced.  God’s escape hatch has closed, and there is no longer a possibility of being sheltered from what is to come.  There will be natural disasters and a shortage of essential survival items – food, water, shelter, and medical care.  The world will be violent and spiritually dark.  Satan will be actively targeting and suppressing the Truth of Jesus Christ.  In our humanity, it will be impossible to follow Jesus.  But with God, all things are possible.

Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”  (Luke 18:26-27)

God is offering you salvation by His grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.  The price has already been paid; the gift has been purchased.  God is offering it to you – will you take it?

Know How God Sees You

God loves you, and has known you from before the creation of the world.  He knew there would be a “you”.  You were created specifically to be in His family.  So, what’s wrong?  Why does it feel like God doesn’t care – that He is absent?  Or even worse, why does it feel like He is allowing – or even causing – misery and suffering?

The answer is sin.  Sin separates us from God.  Sin is anything we think, say, or do that goes against God’s laws.  This world is broken because people are trapped in sin.  Our sinful choices affect ourselves, each other, and even entire generations and societies.  God has given us free will to choose to do as we please, and many times, people choose sin.

sin separates.jpg

What are the laws of God?  In the Bible, God has given many instructions for living right before Him. These include the 10 Commandments among others. But apart from the Bible, God has written His commands on human hearts, which we refer to as “conscience”.  Our conscience is what tells us that murder is wrong.  It is what makes us angry at injustices, abuses, and crime.  We know we violate our consciences.  The telltale signs are lying about it, hiding it (doing it in secret), or covering it up.  This is how God can hold us as being without excuse (Romans 2:14-16).

Above all, God tells us to love Him with all our soul, heart, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  If you love anything in your life more than you love God (or a fellow human being), you have broken this command.  Whenever you do anything you know you shouldn’t (lying, gossiping, pornography, stealing, cheating, sleeping around, saying “Oh my God”, disobeying your parents, etc), it is “sin”.  We hold ourselves up to God’s standards and see that we fall hopelessly short.  We’ve blown it, many times, and we know it.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)

You may ask – “What if people choose to be good?”   There are many non-religious and religious people who are “good” and kind, by human standards.  But no matter how “good” we are, we aren’t perfect.  God’s holiness requires us to be perfect (Matthew 5:48).

God’s laws are a mirror, to reflect back to us where we have failed.

Know Where You’re Headed

You know you’ve sinned, you’ve broken God’s laws.  So what does that mean?

Our physical bodies die someday.  However, God created humans to be eternal.  That means the part of you that’s “you” – your spirit – is going to live on forever.  God says that He has “placed eternity in the hearts of men” – deep down, we know that physical death is not the end (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  When you die, you will stand before God and give an account of EVERYTHING you have done while alive (2 Corinthians 5:10).  Everything done in the darkness and secret will be brought to light before Him (and perhaps before the angels and the rest of humanity as well – Luke 8:17).

According to God, breaking even one of His laws, once, results in the death penalty.

“For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23)

Death??  Isn’t that extreme?  God, as a supreme holy and righteous being, cannot tolerate any sin (breaking of the law) in His presence. God sees one sin as the same as being guilty of all sins.  That’s how high His standard is.  Unless we repair our relationship with God we will “die” for eternity.  Eternal “death” is eternal separation from God and others, in “hell” and then the “lake of fire” – places of torment and suffering.

eternal death.jpg

While your physical body is alive, you can choose the eternal destiny of your spirit.  Once your physical body dies, there are no second chances (Hebrews 9:27).

There’s Only One Way Out

A change of heart, seeing ourselves as utterly lost/sinful and wanting to do something about it, is called repentance.  Just recognizing that we do bad things (as defined by God), but not having a desire to stop, is not true repentance.  We must truly want to be changed, to be restored to right relationship with God, to be saved.  Are you wanting to go to heaven, are you wanting to be spared from suffering, or are you wanting to be saved from your sins?

Following Jesus isn’t about religion.  Being a true Christian comes down to a heart transformation.  We can never be worthy of a “heart transplant” from God.  In fact, all our works are as “filthy rags” in trying to earn it.  Going to church,  reading through the Bible, acting morally, these count as nothing – even worse, they are as soiled menstrual garments (what filthy rags means) towards salvation.

There is nothing *we* can do to fix our “wrongness” – no good work, no sacrament, no penance.  But because God our Father loves us, He has provided a way to restore the relationship.

Jesus says “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:6)

God does not want you to be separated from Him for eternity.  He created hell and the eternal Lake of Fire for satan and the fallen angels, NOT for humans (Matthew 25:41).  But you will go there if you reject God’s rescue plan. He wants you to come back to His family.  So He sent a part of Himself, Jesus Christ, to die for you. The Bible makes it clear that every sin has to be punished by death and paid with innocent blood.  Jesus lived a perfect life on Earth – though He lived as a man under God’s Law, He never broke the Law.  This qualified Him to take our sins upon Himself to become a perfect sacrifice.  Jesus died on the cross to take our punishment for us.  His blood paid the price required by God for our sins.

But God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  (Romans 5:8)

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)

the cross.jpg

It doesn’t end there, though.  On the third day, Jesus was raised to life, to a new eternal body.  When we join God’s spiritual family, we, too, will get a new eternal body someday.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…  (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

“the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord” (Romans 3:23)

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,  who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.  (Philippians 3:20-21)

Turn From Yourself Towards God and Believe

We chose to sin and Jesus chose to be a “sin-bearer” and take God’s wrath for us.  God offers an all-inclusive “forgiveness slip” to every human on earth.  If we believe what God has said about us (we are totally lost and have no hope of saving ourselves), and what He has done to fix it (Jesus is the only way as a Savior), we can obtain this “forgiveness slip”.  We can ask God for Jesus’ payment to be applied to our account.  This allows us to be declared innocent and sin-free in God’s eyes – the debt we owed for our crimes is paid.  Salvation is a change in legal standing before God – from “guilty” to “not guilty”.  Jesus didn’t just pay PART of our debt, or even MOST of it, leaving some on the tab for us.  He paid our ENTIRE debt.

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  (Romans 10:9-10)

When you say Jesus is Lord, this means you believe He is God and He deserves to be Lord of your life.  When you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you accept that what the Bible teaches about Jesus is true and that His death paid the price for your wrongdoings.

For many years I didn’t “get” the simplicity of salvation and tried to “earn” it, be “worthy of it”, and “prove it to myself” by repeating the sinner’s prayer, trying to live morally, reading the Bible, and doing other good works.  My dear ones, salvation is not about anything we DO, but about what Jesus has already DONE.  We must truly rest in faith.  Faith in Jesus’ provision.  Faith in His completed work for us on the cross.  That’s the beauty of God’s grace – “It is finished”.

For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God;  it is not from works, so that no one can boast.  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Asking for Jesus’ sacrifice in our stead results in immediate salvation.  That’s what being “Born Again” means (1 Peter 1:23).  We are forgiven (1 John 1:9).

Salvation Prayer

Repeating certain words or saying a specific prayer won’t save you.  There is no formula for salvation – it’s a heart change!  You don’t even need to say any words at all!   Maybe you have reached this point and your heart’s desire is truly in agreement that you want to fully surrender your life to Christ.  Maybe you’ve never heard anyone pray (talk to God) before.  If this is you, here is an example of what you can say to God in your own words:

“God, as I am reading this through I know it to be true.  Open my mind and my heart fully to your Truth today!  I realize that I have broken your rules and I’m so, so sorry.  Please forgive me.  Apply the blood of Jesus to my heart, and wash away my sins.  Grant me saving faith, change me, and make me new!  Help me to walk with You until my very last breath.  I understand that I may well lose my life for You.  Give me boldness and courage to walk out my faith in You.  Strengthen me by Your Spirit.  Give me the words to say.  May I bring You glory for the rest of my days and even in my death, if it comes to that.

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen.”

Allow your heart to open towards God, mentally and emotionally releasing all that you are to Him.  I really want to emphasize that it’s the desire and authenticity of your heart that matters, far more than any specific words you use.  Jesus tells a story about that here:

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’  But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  (Luke 18:9-14)

Take My Life and Let It Be

Take my life and let it be

Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

Take my moments and my days,

Let them flow in endless praise.

Take my hands and let them move

At the impulse of Thy love.

Take my feet and let them be

Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing,

Always, only for my King.

Take my lips and let them be

Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold,

Not a mite would I withhold.

Take my intellect and use

Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it Thine,

It shall be no longer mine.

Take my heart, it is Thine own,

It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour

At Thy feet its treasure store.

Take myself and I will be

Ever, only, all for Thee.

If you asked God to forgive you, and have truly chosen to follow Him, you are now part of His family.    It’s time to learn more about Him, grow your relationship with Him, and choose to obey Him.   It’s like any relationship – it takes time and dedication!

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

Specific Warnings!

I do not wish to paint a false rosy picture for you.  Jesus Himself called this time period in human history the time of “greatest tribulation”.  Synonyms include persecution, affliction, anguish, and distress.

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.  (Matthew 24:21-22)

In this time of global disaster, over half the population will die within a few years’ time from famine, disease, war, natural disasters, and various other causes.  So no one’s prognosis is good.  Following Jesus Christ will put a supernatural target on your back, and you can be sure that satan and his horde will go after you with all their vicious might.

Is it worth it?  Well, of what value to you is absolute truth?  Of what value to you is your purpose and your destiny?

Act on Your Faith

You are required to act on your faith.  Anything you do for other believers is done for Jesus Himself.  Anything you don’t do for other believers you are withholding from Jesus Himself.  You will be held accountable – judged – for what you do, or what you do not do.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.  Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,  I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’  Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’  Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’  And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”  (Matthew 25:31-46)

Mark of the Beast

Also [the “false prophet”] causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.  This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.  (Revelation 13:16-18)

At some point you will be required to take a certain mark on your right hand or forehead to be able to buy or sell.  It might be a microchip, a tattoo, a vaccine, or it could be none of these.  It may be something that affects DNA.   They may say it offers health, longevity, or even spiritual evolution – I do not know.  What I do know, is that it will be tied to allegiance to someone who sits in the Jewish temple and claims to be “god”.  In the Bible, this person is called the anti-Christ, the beast, or the lawless one.  This person will be indwelled (possessed) by satan himself.   If you take this mark, you will be eternally lost to God.  Your soul will be tortured forever in the eternal lake of fire.  You must surrender your life if necessary rather than take the mark.

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”   (Revelation 14:9-13)

 

Holding Fast to Faith

Now that you have entered into this time of trouble, it seems from a few passages in the Bible that you will be able to lose your salvation.  There are different interpretations on this point, so I do not know for sure.  God may provide further instructions through His two Witnesses, or Prophets, who are to come.

What I do know is that you will be responsible for remaining faithful to Jesus in the face of severe deprivation and persecution.  You will have to choose faith, even when everything around you is falling apart and looks for all intents and purposes that the enemy is winning.  You are required to hold firm in your faith until the end.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.  And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.  And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.  And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”  (Matthew 24:9-13)

Plead with God not to take His Holy Spirit from you.

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.

(Psalm 51:1-12)

It’s going to be extremely difficult, but you need to admit to your faith in Jesus before others, even if it means physical death.

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”  (Matthew 10:28)

God may have called you exactly for this purpose, and the witness of your death may plant the seeds of salvation in others.

“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”  (Mark 8:35)

Remember that God’s viewpoint is one of eternity.  Our viewpoint is often limited to the here & now.  Be encouraged:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.  Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.  So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.  (2 Corinthians 4:7-18)

Do not give up!  Do not despair!  Cling to God with all your might, no matter how things look, no matter what others are believing, no matter how you feel.  There is a very high possibility that you will lose your life for Jesus Christ.  Remember that He gave His for you, first.  Here is His promise to you:

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  (Revelation 20:4)

Jesus will raise you up to reign with Him when this time of trial is complete.

What if I STILL Don’t “Feel” Saved?

Let’s say you’ve gone through the steps to salvation above.  You agree with them all.  You’re not holding back from God, and you truly desire to follow Him with all your heart.  You’ve examined yourself, have found that you have faith, but you still doubt.

Listen, there’s a difference between being plagued by doubts and never having had assurance of faith at all.  Do you find you sometimes have assurance, and sometimes not?  Have you ever had a moment where you KNOW you’ve turned your life over to God?  If you’ve had a “light bulb moment”, where everything has clicked, and you surrendered your heart to Jesus, it’s time to consider that the enemy is attacking you through fear and confusion.

Far be it from me to give anyone false assurance in this ear-tickling generation – that’s why this section is at the bottom.  However, there is biblical precedence that there are some who are truly in the faith, who doubt.

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  (John 20:29)

My dear ones, Jesus wants you to have faith and not doubt.  For you, we are going to prescribe several exercises:

  • Stand on the Promises of God
  • Take Thoughts Captive
  • Put on the Armor of God

Stand on the Promises of God

I want you to memorize these verses.  Read and repeat them over and over, whenever you doubt your salvation.

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.  (Jeremiah 29:13)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.  (John 1:12)

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.  (Hebrews 11:6)

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  (John 10:28-29)

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.  (John 6:37)

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.  (Revelation 3:20)

True assurance of salvation comes from the objective truth of God’s word, not from our subjective experiences.  God promises that we will find Him if we seek Him with all our hearts.  He promises that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.  He promises that ALL who receive Him will become His children.  He promises to reward those who seek Him (I would suggest the greatest reward is Himself).  He promises that NO ONE can snatch us out of His hand.  ALL who come to Jesus, He will never cast out.  Jesus will come in to ALL who open the door of their hearts to Him.  These are promises God has made and He MUST honor them, for He is Truth.

Take Thoughts Captive

In addition to keeping in mind the promises of God, you will need to take every thought captive that opposes these promises.  When we focus on our doubts, we have taken our eyes off of Jesus.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.  (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Practically speaking, whenever doubts of salvation enter your mind, you are going to acknowledge them and reject them.  It’s more effective to do it out loud, even if just a whisper, because then you hear yourself saying it.

“Doubt, I command you to STOP in the Name of Jesus.”

“I will NOT fear.  I gave my fear to Jesus.”

“Jesus will NOT lose me.  He has promised.”

“I WILL find God, because I’m seeking Him with all my heart.”

“No, I will not entertain doubt.  Be gone in Jesus’ Name.”

Once you have commanded the thought to leave, recite the scriptures you have memorized above.  Repeat until the thought has left.  In my experience, it sometimes takes three or more repetitions.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. (Psalm 46:1-3)

When you take your thoughts captive, you make them submit to God in the Name of Jesus.  You use the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, to do battle.  Which brings us to our next exercise – examining the Armor of God.

Put on the Armor of God

If you have a sincere heart that is seeking God, but you continually struggle with assurance of salvation, you need to consider the very real possibility that you are prone to doubts and worries.  Satan’s forces recognize this weakness, and will use it to seize your attention – tearing your eyes off of Jesus, and placing them on your own fears and insufficiency.  The remedy for this is to stand strong in the armor of God.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.   (Ephesians 6:10-18)

He put on righteousness like a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing And wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.  (Isaiah 59:17)

Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist.  (Isaiah 11:5)

Helmet of Salvation – When we are sure of our salvation, this belief protects our mind.  We use the helmet to keep out ungodly thoughts and lies from the enemy.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… (Romans 1:16)

“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”  (Revelation 7:10)

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  (Philippians 4:8)

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.  (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Breastplate of Righteousness – When Jesus comes into our hearts, He clothes us with His righteousness.  We use the breastplate when we guard our hearts.

Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flow springs of life.  (Proverbs 4:23)

I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.  (Isaiah 61:10)

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.  (Romans 6:18)

Belt of Truth – Wrapping ourselves with the Truth of God’s word enables to spot the enemy’s lies.

We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. That is how we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception.  (1 John 4:6)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  (John 14:6)

Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.  (John 17:17)

However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.  (John 16:13)

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  (John 8:31-32)

Sword of the Spirit – Hiding God’s word in our hearts makes it accessible when we need to wield counter attacks against the enemy.  Reciting scripture during an attack is how we use this offensive weapon.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  (Hebrews 4:12)

I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.  (Psalm 119:11)

Shield of Faith – Holding unswervingly to the hope we profess is how we use the shield to ward off attacks from the enemy.  We choose to stubbornly, resolutely cling to faith – no matter what.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  (Hebrews 11:1)

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  (Hebrews 10:23)

According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  (1 Peter 1:3-5)

For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”  (Matthew 17:20)

Feet of Peace – Staying in a state of attentive readiness is how we use the shoes of the armor.  We flee from sin, we are ready to share the gospel, we wait on the Lord actively.

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22)

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7)

...but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect… (1 Peter 3:15)

Wait patiently for the LORD; be strong and courageous. Wait patiently for the LORD.  (Psalm 27:14)

No matter what – do not give up!  Do not despair!  Cling to God with all your might, no matter how you feel.  Hold on firmly and stubbornly to your faith until death.  Refuse to allow thoughts of giving up to creep into your mind.

Assurance Prayer

If you are struggling with assurance of salvation, are “losing faith”, or need to come back to God, consider praying along with me, in your own words:

Jesus, I want to love you, more than anyone and anything else!!!  I believe I am a sinner and that You are my Savior.  Help me in my unbelief!  Help me, Holy Spirit!  Intercede for me now I pray!  I plead with You for the assurance of salvation that I so deeply crave.  Give me wisdom and understanding of the scriptures!  Open my eyes to see you!  Open my ears to hear you!  Open my heart to receive you.  Flow through me!  Flood my heart with Your peace, and confirm in my soul that I am a child of God!  From this day forward, I choose to stubbornly cling to faith.  When I have doubt, I will choose to stand on the Truth of Your Word.  Give me a burning, passionate love for you!   Make me like You, Jesus!  Take away my desires for the things of this world that don’t please You.  I acknowledge that they cannot satisfy.   Lead me and guide me.  I surrender my heart, my life, my love to you!

In Jesus’ Name I pray,

Amen

 

Finding God is a Process.

It doesn’t happen overnight, nor is there a magical formula.  We seek Him, and we will find Him, IF we seek Him with all our heart.  That means we don’t give up.  We press on and search as we would for a lost child, for our entire lives if necessary.  He’s that worth it.  And He wants to be found.  But He wants to be found by people who are willing to give their all to pursue Him.  Until the very end.

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.  (Jeremiah 29:13)

 

Proceed to Chapter 10 – Why Wasn’t I Taken?

 

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