“3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:3-14 NIV
Dear Heavenly Father – Let you message quickly grow roots in us that we are able to do your will. Open our ears to hear and eyes to see and open our understanding so we may obey you. in the name of Jesus – Amen
The passage above certainly describes the world we live in. Every day things are getting more and more evil, and more and more unbelievably crazy. I keep hearing people say they want things to go back to normal – that will never happen. Prophecy must be fulfilled.
I woke up with a bunch to do and a message on offenses strong in my heart. I immediate wrote down my thoughts and now I have time to compose them into a post. You see, everyone seems to be offended. Everyone seems to go out of their way to be offended. It’s crazy. But as we see above, offenses will actually be a sign of the times. Let’s read it again in a different version:
“10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” Matthew 24:10-12 NKJV
But, have you ever actually been offended? Of course. We all have. Being offended isn’t new. Being offended to this extreme is new – offended to the point where we are cancelling television shows in mass, boycotting products in mass, and re-writing offensive history – this degree of offense is new. There is an evil spirit behind it. So we must keep our wit about us and be guarded again falling victim to offenses.
“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11 ESV
Once upon a time, a group of men in a church I was a member of – rallied against women, particularly single mothers (which I was one). They claimed we were evil and sinful or men would not have left us alone to raise the children. We were evil because we had to work, therefore we couldn’t be godly women staying home, keeping the house and raising the children. Well – I was offended. I went to the pastor who said, well, they are right because you aren’t keeping your home and raising your child, but you are leaving your child with someone else to raise and you are working. If you were Godly, God would provide a man to provide for you and your child and you could stay home. Well, I told him to take that up with God, as He has not yet provided for me that way and has provided for me a job so I can feed my child and God provided a godly woman to help me raise my child and God provided in His way (and His ways aren’t our ways). I was then, even more offended. If I was right or wrong – it doesn’t matter anymore, my child is an adult and God still had not yet provided a Godly man to head my household – Jesus is the only man running it. And I was offended.
Now don’t be offended, Christian sisters, who have careers – I am not saying you are wrong. I have had a good career and only recently have had struggles, but we have discussed these things already. I am not saying they were wrong or I was wrong – I am not sure the either of us were right or wrong.
I look back and strongly believe there was a spirit of division and offense running around that church – I left and the church split. I was obviously not the only one offended. From it birthed four or more churches and some members went to other existing churches and to this day all of these churches have hurt and animosity for each other.
“Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. 3 Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” Luke 17:1-4 NKJV
Jesus said offenses will come. Here He tells us how to deal with them. Now, I came back to God and had the dilemma of which church to attend as I was still acquainted with so many people from that original church and knew I would offend some if I went to another church and visa versa. God lead me to a church that is an hour away. That is where I get fed and grow.
The body of Christ is still the body of Christ and although I found a spot in a shoulder, I know the fingers on the hand where I came from are not working together and hold bitterness against each other. It is heavy today in my heart. Especially since how to resolve these things is in the Bible multiple times.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” Matthew 18:15-17 ESV
Forgiveness. I have popped different verses and thoughts on forgiveness in this blog many time. Of course we cannot be forgiven if we do not forgive. We all immediate think of the things the world has offended us with. I try to remind everyone to think and remember all that need forgiving.
Forgive your Pastor. Forgive other Pastors. Forgive your brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. Forgive yourself. And forgive God.
Offenses lead to demonic foot holds in your life. If the enemy owns a foot of you – are you then completely God’s? Can the Holy Spirit fill you completely if you have reserved for the enemy own a small part?
“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3 ESV
Offenses cause unforgiveness; unforgiveness causes bitterness; bitterness breeds anger; anger builds pride. The chain reaction continues if it is not addressed and suddenly the enemy has more than a foot hold. Slowly the spirit of the Lord is pushed out of us. Therefore examine your heart – see if there is any offense you must forgive. Repent of your unforgiveness (literally means say to God that you are sorry for harboring unforgiveness and ask for help to uproot it from your life – and ask God to use you to bring unity to Christ’s body). It is time to build up the kingdom of God. No one will be drawn to becoming a Christian if Christians are all bitter, angry, and unforgiving.
If you have a relationship with Christ – ask him to reveal to you if there are any areas of unforgiveness in you. Ask even if you think there aren’t any. Then ask if you have offended others. As we read above – there is a woe pronounced on anyone who has offended. Let the Lord reveal it and repent to have that woe removed from your life – go apologize. Now is the time, today is the day of salvation – so do it right away. It is time.
If you don’t already, and today you would like to have a relationship with a God who can communicate with you and be part of your life (and protect you) – one who is full of mighty power and tender love, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**
Thank you for reading ~ Grace be with you
Be healthy and blessed ~ Love one another
~ Watch and Pray ~
Seek God & keep your eyes on Jesus!
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!