Posted in discern, judgment, prophecy, signs

“Discerning the Signs of the Times” by Pastor Phil Andrukaitis

A pastor-friend from Maine recently wrote this below, what was on his heart. I agree with it. It’s on my heart too.

In Hosea 5:12, the LORD promised to bring moth-like judgment upon Israel.

But I am like a moth to Ephraim, and like dry rot to the house of Judah.

Gill’s Exposition explains this long-slow kind of judgment.

Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth,…. Which eats garments, penetrates into them, feeds on them privately, secretly, without any noise, and gradually and slowly consumes them; but at last utterly, that they are of no use and profit: this may signify the various things which befell the ten tribes in the reigns of Zachariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, and Pekah, which secretly and gradually weakened them

It is not hard to imagine the Lord employing the same kind of judgment on America and other nations as we deepen our apostasy and turn from Him.

Pastor Andrukaitis

The author of the piece below, Pastor Phil Andrukaitis, is senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, South Portland Maine. Please read the below and see if you agree also.

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“Discerning the Signs of the Times”

When hostile, threatened, religious leaders questioned Jesus about His identity and ministry, Jesus responded, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red;’ and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.” (Matthew 16:1-3).

I’m reminded of an earlier time during the initial reign of King David [1011 BC – 971 BC], when the men of Issachar, one of the twelve tribes of Israel, were identified as those “who had an understanding of the times…” (1st Chronicles 12:32).

Question: I wonder how many Christians understand the present times in which we live.

In my devotional reading this morning, my heart was moved by King Josiah’s response when the Book of the Law [God’s Word] had been found in the house of the LORD, while it was being restored by faithful servants.

Evidently, during his grandfather’s 55-year reign as king [Manasseh] and his father’s 2-year reign [Amon], the Book of the Law was lost because these two kings, like many kings before them, had served idols, seduced the nation to follow after other gods, and shed much innocent blood throughout the nation. However, when Hilkiah the high priest found the Book of the Law, he brought it to the attention of King Josiah.

As the Book of the Law was read to King Josiah, the Scriptures says that Josiah’s heart was tender. In addition, Josiah humbled himself before the LORD when he heard what lay ahead for the nation – judgment and desolation because the nation had turned away from God Almighty and had forsaken His Word. And Josiah wept before God and he tore his clothes (2nd Kings 22:1-20). Judgment was on the doorstep of the nation. Judgment was certain. God had set the date.

Questions: First, how do we respond when the Word of God is read? Think about it. Are our hearts tender towards the Word? Do we humble ourselves before God? Do we weep and grieve over the sins in our lives, in our families, in our churches, in our nation? Do we desire spiritual and numerical growth for the body of Christ?

Second, I wonder how oblivious God’s people are towards the events unfolding in our world today. I am not an alarmist who is crying, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” Rather, my cry is, “Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming!”

Consider the sins of our nation for just a moment.

ABORTION: We have slaughtered nearly 55 million innocent infants in their mother’s wombs in the past 42 years, all for the sake of “protecting a woman’s choice.” This is a most damnable grievance before God. God is not going to turn away from the innocent cries of these infants. I praise God that these little ones who have been forsaken are in the presence of Jesus.

GBLT: We have cut loose the mooring lines that held this nation firm to the biblical, moral foundation by forsaking the Bible. The LORD God identifies these lifestyles an abomination in His eyes.

SELF: As sinners, we are prone to demote God in our lives and promote ourselves as “gods,” choosing to follow our sinful passions with a heart full of pride. Consequently, every imaginable sin flows out from our hearts and through our lives.

Listen, America is under God’s judgment. The Lord warned ancient Israel that if His people turn away from Him and forsake His Word, God would bring upon them the following curses (Deuteronomy 28): A state of confusion, diseases, natural calamities, rampant domestic violence, economic collapse, and evil rulers.

While these curses were specifically given to ancient Israel, principally speaking, our nation is experiencing the same type of judgments. Consider the evil rulers throughout our nation, the state of confusion and corruption within government, the growing unrest in our country, and the increasing disrespect for authority in our land.

I believe our nation is on the verge of a global economic collapse. I believe government is waiting for the right opportunity to impose martial law in our country. And I believe the church is on the threshold of her glorious hour, especially when God visits our nation with judgment. May the church of Jesus Christ do away with its stupid, petty fights and truly demonstrate that they are Christians, known by their love for one another and others.

I believe it is too late for America. However, it is not too late for individuals to return to the Lord. Confess your sins and your role in the moral collapse of our nation. Believe that Jesus died for you, paying your sin debt by being crucified on the cross. The Bible says, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22). Believe that Jesus rose from His grave, as this is God the Father’s proof that Jesus’ sacrifice was acceptable and that Jesus has conquered death, sin, and the grave. Moreover, the Lord is willing to forgive the humble, repentant sinner who comes to Jesus in faith. Go on, surrender your life to Him and know the forgiveness and peace that comes with knowing God through a personal relationship with Jesus.

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By Pastor Phl Andrukaitis, Pastor First Baptist Church South Portland, ME. Phil enjoys fishing and target shooting. His passion is making disciples. As a former Marine, his motto is “Honor, courage and commitment are ‘corps’ values that build character. Phil has been married to Sally for over thirty years.

Further Reading

John MacArthur on America: A Nation Abandoned by God

My Utmost for His Highest: Judgment and the Love of God

“What signs indicate that the end times are approaching?”

Posted in discern, holy spirit, jesus, mind, philip, study, understanding

Do you understand what you are reading?

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot. So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.” (Acts 8:26-31)

Above, The Monteleone Chariot is an Etruscan chariot dated to ca. 530 BC. It was originally uncovered at Monteleone di Spoleto and is currently part of the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Though about 300 ancient chariots are known to still exist, only six are reasonably complete, and the Monteleone chariot is the best-preserved. Wikimedia Commons

The above is a tremendous passage, full of meaning and worthy of lengthy study. I’ll mention a few things that caught my eye, but the central lesson at this moment, is this:

The mind versus the heart. Then versus now.

Philip was going along and heard a word from the Spirit. Philip obeyed Him. We have the closed canon now but we obey the Spirit-inspired word.

Here was a eunuch reading the text of the word of God. (Isaiah 53). Philip saw him and was directed to the eunuch by the Spirit. Philip obeyed, more than that, Philip ran. Today we don’t obey, or if we do, we don’t hasten to do so.

When Philip arrived at the chariot, he heard the eunuch reading Isaiah. Philip recognized:
–it was the word of God the eunuch was reading, and
–where within the word of God the eunuch was reading from.

Today, biblical illiteracy abounds so that some people don’t even recognize the word of God when it is spoken, or believe that non-words of God are from Him when they’re not.

Philip asked the Eunuch if he understood what he was reading. This is the key thought in this essay today.

“Do you understand what you are reading?”

Manet, The Reader, 1851.

In today’s world, people don’t ask that. They ask, “How did you feel about what you read?” Or, “How did it make you feel?” It’s considered rude and intolerant to ask a person if they understand. The word for understand in the context used is from Strong’s word concordance, “I am taking in knowledge, come to know, learn; aor: I ascertained, realized.”

People get huffy if they’re asked if they understand. You can just see the reaction, either verbal or mental- “What do you mean, understand? I’m not an idiot. Maybe YOU don’t understand!”

In addition, look at the Eunuch’s reaction. Philip didn’t know the Eunuch. He didn’t work for several years to establish a relationship with the Eunuch before talking of Godly things. He didn’t seek to meet the Eunuch’s felt needs. He didn’t make the Eunuch comfortable. He didn’t give him a donut. He simply asked him if he understood it. The Eunuch’s reaction wasn’t huffy or prideful. The Eunuch responded humbly,

“How can I, unless someone guides me?”

Today’s Christianity is all about experience and feelings. This is thanks to Rick Warren, Brian McLaren, and Joel Osteen, among others in the purpose-driven, seeker sensitive, word/faith movements. Osteen in particular is known for what Osteen calls a ministry of encouragement, but unlike Barnabas’ ministry of encouragement in persevering the Lord through the scriptures, Osteen is simply in the pop psychology biz in making people feel good about themselves through the heart. Osteen doesn’t make people even feel good about Jesus, he strives to make people feel good about themselves, turning their mind away from Him and focusing their feelings on themselves.

The Eunuch provides a good example of a man humbly submitting to the Spirit. He admitted his biblical inexperience and his need for a teacher. He acted on his need by inviting Philip up to the chariot.

Understanding the scriptures always leads to a positive action, either obedience, or salvation, or witnessing (Woman at the Well) or ministry. In this case, we see that the Eunuch was baptized immediately.

Lambert Sustris (1515–1591) The Baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch
by the Deacon Philip

The bible is replete with verses that tell us to learn with our mind. Our minds are being renewed, (Romans 12:2.) Difficulties in understanding parables such as in Matthew 13:11-13, and symbols, such as in Revelation 17:9, call for a mind with wisdom, says the verse. We need to understand with our mind, before we decide how we feel about it with our heart. And even at that juncture, feelings are often murky and misleading. Yet so many of today’s bible studies involve circumventing the mind and going straight to feelings, based on experience. And you see where that has gotten us.

The next time you’re in a bible study group, ask the question that Philip did, “Do you understand what you are reading?” If you don’t want to go that far, then ask “Do I understand what I am reading?” That’s a good question to ask anyway. Don’t let the discussion revolve around feelings launched by questions such as “How do you feel about that?” with responses given through personal experiences, therefore coming to a conclusion that is what the verse means.(I.E., ‘I experienced it, therefore it is true.’)

Luke 24:45 says that when Jesus appeared to His disciples post-crucifixion, “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”. He called the men of Emmaus foolish and slow of heart for not understanding.

How you feel about what you read is of no real consequence. Feelings are temporal, ephemeral, and often faulty. Why, even God allows the wicked to rest in a feeling of security. (Job 24:23). The security they feel is unprofitable for them because it is a false feeling. Don’t trust feelings about scripture, but seek to know, to understand, to comprehend. Feelings aren’t bad, but we learn the word of God through our mind. It is study which renews your mind. After that, you gain more and more clarity.

We all have the same guide that the Eunuch had, and in fact that Philip had: the Holy Spirit. He guides us into all truth. (John 16:13). We must study personally and also study under a guide or a teacher or a pastor so the scriptures will become understandable to us. Do you understand what you are reading? Ask the Spirit to deliver wisdom to you, He will do so without reproach. (James 1:5).