… Set Apart …

Matthew 24:38-39 “For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”

While checking my online American Express account, I was welcomed by a smiling face and a directory of options. The woman’s face seemed a little unusual and somewhat unnerving. I quickly moved away from the opening page until I realized that Amex had hired a man posing as a woman. Today, you will find these images in almost every corner of commerce.

Taylor-Francis reports that there is a growing acceptance of gay activity in advertisements. Meta-Analysis states that homosexual imagery will soon be as common as all activity. Large companies including Johnson & Johnson, Amazon, Calvin Klein, H&M, Levi’s, Spotify, Volvo, and Jared’s feature men kissing men and various affectionate moments between same-sex couples. Disney Corp. has become a safe haven for the transgender movement. Theme parks have been searching for more gays/lesbians to join their workforce as they promote what they call the Conventional Life.

Media and music have perfected the presentation depicting the LBGT lifestyle. As one activist writes, “the goal is to remove the stigma by making alternative lifestyles ordinary.” The pathway is said to “promote sexual behavior as routine while redefining outdated traditional constraints.” Another advocate said that showcasing the rising divorce rates among heterosexuals gives ample support for all other unions to be justified. He said, “The sanctity of marriage is what we make it.” The confusion over genders is rising and stands must be taken.

The word is “Normalization.” The days of Noah entailed sinful activities as common. The people removed all semblance of God’s order as moral law was replaced by subjectivism. They were “eating and drinking”, meaning they were consumed with pleasure. They were unholy in all manner of living.

Hebrews 12:14 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”

Holiness means “Set Apart.” Yet knowing the aforementioned conditions, some believers still argue against Holiness Standards. The allowances believers give to themselves has diluted their authority to speak to the world. Our authority is founded in Holiness! We are called out and commissioned to be a holy nation. The light that we should show forth depends on our separation. So I say, rise up! Be separate and let your light shine!

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Not Our Home

Proverbs 21:1 “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

Politics: It sounds like mire to me. There is a shifting taking place that will usher in the final season of time. Regardless of our political leaning, there is no doubt that the world has changed forever. The American way of life, which was once so convenient and predictable, is collapsing in rapid pace. While some boast of advances, Christianity is now seen as terrorism.

We should not see these changes as merely dreadful, but necessary. In the last days. . . 2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

The Last Days are displayed in all of the aforementioned attributes. Furthermore, I submit that these things must be. There must be chaos, economic upheaval, wars and rumors of wars, political unrest, and the need for a unifying figure. The stage for the antichrist has been set. The world is looking for a leader to unite the earth and bring order to the nations. The “son of perdition” will oppose all that is holy and will exalt “himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped.” He is called the “little horn” that mandates his number, without which no one can buy or sell. Rev 13:17

I write to remind you that this world is not our home. I pray that you will not get buried in the countdown of time, but rather that we will be about the Father’s business. We have a window of time and Jesus said we must work while it is day, “the night cometh when no man can work.”

National conflicts are necessary for the scripture to be fulfilled. However, the “king’s heart” is still in God’s Hand. The Lord is directing the river. He is in control because the times and the seasons are in His Hand. Our job is to be ready; pure, committed, and consecrated. Our call is to serve and our purpose is to reach the Lost with the Gospel. Nothing else matters.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Maharashtra’s Lonar Lake

When God spoke the worlds into existence, the galaxies shimmered with stars and stones. Astrotnomists confess that the innumerable planets are far beyond their grasp. Most hypothesize about the distant realm. The Earth stands alone in the measure of this time. All that it was meant to be was ordained by the Voice that spoke it into existence. Then upon it came outside forces which created natural scarring which we see today. The great flood of Noah reshaped the tectonic plates; meteorites left other marks. The Earth holds the impressions of both internal and external trauma. Such is the case of life.

Lonar Lake is a mystery to the natural eye. A meteorite from some other time crashed into the Earth’s surface. The depth of water reaches 500ft. casting a pink/blue hue to the water above. The lake has drawn thousands of tourists. The fiery meteor made its impression; the water came second. Whatever lived died upon impact and the scar was set for centuries to come.

I write in reference to our lives. Age and time bears out this truth concerning the wounds of life. No one is exempt. Jesus said that offenses shall come, i.e., you cannot avoid the scar. Hezekiah saw the advancement of the enemy and cried, “This day is a day of trouble.” Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:8-9  “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:  Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.”

No one escapes the stones or the floods. We are all subject to loss. I submit that our response to the trouble tells the real story as to who we are and on Whom we depend. Life is not fair. Being born again of the water and the Spirit (John 3:1-8) is a necessity for salvation, but it will not keep you from trouble or pain. Trials shall come. Loss is inevitable. Therefore, my resolve is to say, The Lord is my Helper. Whether the trouble is something external or if I caused my own conflict; The Lord is my Keeper. Whatever has come our way, we must resolve to Press for the Mark for the Prize of the High Calling in Jesus Christ. We will not die with every crisis, nor be arrogant with gain. Psalms 37:28  “For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever:

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

… Joy …

In a small three-part verse, Paul relays a powerful truth. My many youthful years of Bible quizzing memorizing this book made an indelible imprint on my spirit: 1 Thessalonians 1:6 “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:”

First, the scripture reveals the necessity of being a follower. The people followed the Lord as they obeyed and were guided by the voice of the apostles. It is the pattern which denotes a voice; some pastoral counsel and spiritual direction. Those who reject such authority are out of sync with the scriptures. No one is their own pastor. Someone will give an account for your soul. Hebrews 13:17 “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

Secondly, Paul commends the Thessalonians for receiving the Word. It is one thing to hear, but another to receive. Sadly, many hear sermons and lessons, but do not receive what is being delivered. We can ill afford to dismiss The Bread in our lives. Our very days demand adherence to the preached Word! Paul appreciated their sincere acceptance.

The aforementioned truths are certainly worthy attributes of true Christians. However, it was the context of the commendation that grips my spirit. Not only did they follow and receive the Word, but they did it in “much affliction.” It is always easier to accept the Word and follow the Lord in times of plenty. Life is good when there is no resistance, But when affliction comes, so comes the test.

What I love about this verse is that Paul noticed something beyond the typical attributes of their commitments. He highlighted their disposition. He called out how they received the Word. They received it with the Joy of the Holy Ghost. Yes, they were followers, and yes, they followed in the worst of times. However, they did it all with the Joy of the Holy Ghost.

To this end, we put in practice Joy! It is a decision to make regardless of the conditions which surround us. We shall rejoice in the Lord for He is good. We have decided to receive the Word without consideration of the times. All for the Joy of the Holy Ghost!

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Beautiful Feet

The prophets wrote about the beautiful mountains of Israel. The cascading sunlight spilling over the mountain’s crest . . . it warms the soul. One of the gates to the Temple was actually called Beautiful. We can only imagine its architectural display. From garments to crowns, the scripture points to the beauty of things that surrounded them. They were layered with gold; woven with purple; or reflective of nature’s bounty. Beautiful.

The Bible also introduces another subject rarely included in things so defined: The beauty of feet. Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”

The primary feature is the feet of the person who brings these “good tidings.” Paul follows suit; Romans 10:15 “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

Our missionaries have given up so many things for the sake of this Gospel. How beautiful are their feet. They are searching for people throughout the world. Their children join them in this mission to spread the Gospel. There are no travel sports programs; no weekday softball; no Saturday picnics. The very least the American church can do is give to support those who publish peace. If we would simply reduce just one of our conveniences per week, we would all be able to give. The challenge is in our reduction. We are not given to such things. However, I am asking you to make a sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel. The New Birth experience must find a place in locations we will never go.

Our purpose today is to focus on those who preach the Word and our responsibility to them. We have so much. Nations are reached and lives are changed through the financial support given. Destinies are determined because we invested in preachers and teachers. The greatest need is not food, education, or healthcare. The world’s greatest need is Jesus and the Gospel! And for those who have offered their lives for The Cause, we are honored to pray for them and to offer the means to make that possible. This is our time, our duty, and our obligation to send the Message.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole