In Union With Christ

Is the hope for Jesus’ return close to your heart and mind as much as it was on those first century disciples who also believed that Jesus would return in their lifetime?

Living in this world, however, we also recognise the power of distraction that can so easily take away our focus from Jesus. The devil would love for Jesus’ followers to love Him less, to become lukewarm, to get distracted, or to get overly busy. After all, the devil is an expert in beguilement and deception. But, when we’re close to God, in intimate covenant relationship with Jesus, when Jesus is the focus of our waking thoughts, prayers, all our actions (spontaneous or premeditated) then there’s little threat for any serious distraction.

One of the hardest things for us to do is to openly proclaim our love for Jesus. It may have not been in our culture. It might not be in our “personality”. Excuses in that area are often aplenty. And that, in some ways, is a sad reflection. Thankfully, a faithful few have responded to their calling and continued growing in Christ despite perhaps the “lots of head knowledge” and little “love of Jesus” in their previous “non-church” experience. On that note we can be glad that the times are changing within our church fellowships and in our own personal lives; after all, Jesus is the good shepherd and we must not deny Him that honour. We can be glad that more people are coming to a knowledgeable faith in how Jesus works in our lives: that He knocks on the door of our world, but doesn’t push in. It is for us to reach for the handle and only when we swing open the door, does Jesus intimately come into our lives. And that is important to understand. We are called into a responsive relationship with Jesus – a covenant relationship that is bound by both expectation and responsibility. We’re discussing a relationship that becomes a deep, intimate and accountable friendship.

So although God the Father calls us, and Jesus knocks on the door of our lives, Jesus will not push in where He’s not invited. He did not perform any miracles in the towns where unbelief existed when He ministered in Judea some 2000 years ago. And so it is with us. God has given us freewill. We are to choose life. We are to bring our lives completely in surrender to Jesus, and only we can volunteer this. We are not puppets. The detail of our life’s journey is not completely foreordained. To Abraham, God said, “Now I know…” only after Abraham’s faith was displayed by his actions, tested to the very last moment. The future is changed and mountains are moved only by the fervent, effective prayers of the righteous.

For all the mistakes we’ve made in our lives, we can never blame God for them. For if we believed that our entire lives were preordained and that we had no choice in anything, then we could also easily pass the blame onto God for our sins. Not so. Jesus paid for my sins and your sins. God has entitled us to free will, beginning with the very choices he gave in the Garden of Eden. It is liberating to understand that we do have choice – a grace that stems from a God-ordained freedom – from which we don’t have to be clueless. We can ask for wisdom. Wisdom is something God eagerly awaits to grant to those who ask Him – so that we may be equipped to make better choices that reflect God’s righteousness.

“A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps”, is a scripture that seems to indicate that while we may dream and have aspirations, it is only when we willingly submit to God that these dreams begin to have any substance to them. That’s why we go to God in prayer multiple times each day. We invite God into our lives, in every passing moment, and in every desired outcome.

Today, in this age, our lives are being “tested”. God will never tempt anyone, but He will test us. This testing happens over a lifetime. The seed of the Holy Spirit is planted at baptism with the laying on of hands. As the years go by, the Holy Spirit grows and flows mightily, working with us and through us. When it comes to covenant relationship, baptism is the touchstone of all relationship standards, because it brings us into marriage communion with Jesus Christ Himself – sealed with the Holy Spirit. And to truly enter into the depths of that communion and covenantal relationship that will transcend and transform us into the very image of the Son of God, we, then, desire nothing that this world can offer, with our eyes exclusively fixed on Jesus and His Kingdom. Every other relationship, every other offer, and every temptation pales into insignificance. Even our immediate families, spouses, parents and children on this earth must come secondary to the relationship we have in Christ Jesus.

That is why as a collective community of believers, we have been given different gifts but the same Spirit. In union with Christ, in love with Jesus, His word, His faith, His Majesty, His righteousness, His will and purpose, His love and attention, His awe and Glory – to which nothing compares.

Thus, we find ourselves talking about Jesus all the time. He’s the head of every table. He is the Lord of our hearts. We openly confess our love for Him. His wisdom and presence adorns every grey hair – which the Father numbers. He is in our inner thoughts. His word, and will, moulds our days and shapes our lives. We approach His throne of Grace in all areas of our lives and our family’s lives, especially, for example, when it comes to matters of finding Godly spouses for our children, and praying for their spouses decades before they meet finally meet. We ask God for His help and guidance in all areas of our lives. Because of that covenantal relationship, we want Him from that moment onward to shape our destiny, and this is only achieved by willingly surrendering our will.

And each day, He wants us to innovatively look out and beyond to find ways that glorify Him. He wants us to be creative, to trust Him. He wants to bless the work of our hands. He wants us to live the surrendered life to Him. Many times God will answer our prayers when we’re totally out of any other options, when we’re “hemmed in by the Red Sea”, or watching the “setting sun” on some experience, or when we’ve struggled with a trial sometimes for decades – God wants us to confess our love for Him, our faith for Him, our trust in Him.

Those in the world who choose a different path become deluded and blinded, of course, by the god of this world. Those who have left the faith, who broke covenant with Jesus, made various choices – in a similar way perhaps to Judas. Did God cause them to leave the faith? No. God forbid! Their life’s path was formed by lots of little choices, day by day, moment by moment. Freedom and consequence walk hand-in-hand. The hosts of heaven cheer when one sinner repents. In one sense, we are indeed the centre of the universe’s attention, for what God is doing and how he is doing it – through us, inviting us into more than just a partnership, but inferring on us as joint heirs with Christ Jesus.

As the love of God grows in our lives, and we increasingly become the new creation, the new person in Christ, we become creatures of love. We’ll then tell all those around us how much we love them. Our actions will “speak” of love. That’s our testimony. Our children will “feel” loved as well as be loved. Our motives will be understood through the lens of love. Discipline will not be harsh, but loving, with kindly eye-to-eye contact. And people around us will feel and experience that love (and ultimately attribute it to God’s glory). We will truly be Jesus’ disciples when we love each other. Love has to grow for it to thrive. It has to come from God’s Holy Spirit. It has to be in everything we say. Even the truth must be spoken in love! And because of love we will listen intently to those in our families, our church and those in our communities. And those who oppose us, we will also kindly entreat them. We will also be wise to the devil’s ruses, the attractive distractions that can if momentarily confuse us – should we, God forbid, take our eyes off from Jesus. The fruits of our love in Christ, when tested, will unite families, and always bring people together who are also in Christ.

May our focus at this time, perhaps more than ever before, be open and transparent before Christ firstly, and then to each other. May we be accounted worthy, worthy to stand before Jesus. May there be no straw or chaff in our lives, but only grain – good fruit. May we be people of the Book, and use it wisely. Too many have manipulated the scriptures to suit their choices. May we be people quick to bless, quick to forgive, easy to entreat, eager to please. May the righteousness of God in us speak louder than the “rights” of this world’s life. May our lives, in every detail, reflect the union we have with and in Jesus Christ.

John Klassek

 

John Klassek

 

Luke warm fence-sitter

It’s surprising how many of us are mediocre when it comes to God. We’re just lukewarm, feeling quite safe on the fence.

Fence-sitting means we can allegedly have the best of both worlds. If God is true, then we’ll be on His side, but for the most part, we’re happy to go along with the crowd. Pity we forget just what Jesus says about being lukewarm!

These latest two short films challenges this indifference. It is our prayer that you’ll join us in responding to God’s love with all our heart and mind and soul and strength.

Part 2

Written and produced by John Klassek
(Elder, Film Producer, IT Support)

The Rise of Islam

There’s no disputing it. Islam is on the rise. And the face we’re seeing, but trying not to believe, is an ugly one. One written in anger and in blood, in ominous moon and black flags, slavery and conquest.

So why now? What has held the forces of Islam in check – since four centuries ago, when they had advanced beyond the gates of Vienna and were beaten back – that their desire to conquer the world with their own brand of government, religion and ethics is finally gaining momentum?

It’s a good question, and one that probably has its roots in the strength and ethics of our formerly Christian-rooted societies. Our grandparents grew up in a West that was distinctly flavoured by the Bible. “Love thy neighbour” was an undisputed truism. But today, are we not, more proud of our “secular society” than of our heritage? And therein lies the heart of the issue.

Have we not lost our moral compass, evidenced by the social issues that are on the agenda today? For example, our grandparents would shudder to know how we’re bent on embracing homosexual marriage. They would weep over the shocking abortion statistics. And they would groan that we teach our children “evolutionary” garbage while conspicuously abandoning any reference to God and faith values.

So, where are we headed? In a year’s time from now, how will we see 2015? More bloodshed? Heightened terror alerts? Stronger Islamic aggression, near and far? Will our military efforts to stop Islamic extremism and expansion fail? Will indecisive foreign policy, in hindsight, have been grossly inadequate?

Democracy has the potential to collapse, the signs of which are already apparent in Europe, where large immigrant families (of Islamic origins) are outnumbering generally low western birth rates. So given enough time, Sharia law quite easily could be democratically voted in. And should that happen, Islam’s rise to world domination would be unstoppable.

Imagine seeing a strong and capable military leader emerge, and with him a powerful and charismatic religious imam – some call him the Mahdi. It’s not hard then to imagine the widespread and “legal” beheading of innocents – whose only sin is to deny the validity of Mohammed.

With eyes on the comparatively small state of Israel eventually becoming militarily overrun by its larger neighbours; when the missiles and rockets are let loose, it might be hard not to think that what is called Armageddon is upon us.

The irony is that we can’t say we weren’t warned.

Did you know that the Bible (the same book our grandparents read) warns about just that kind of scenario, a time of world domination by a ruthless and brutal world leader edged on by his “religious” counterpart? A time of intense solar activity leading to global warming? That a third of mankind is brutally killed? And, did you know that unless divine intervention occurred (that’s what Jesus taught), humanity would utterly destroy itself?

Jesus spoke about a coming conflagration on earth that has never happened before, nor He said will ever happen again. Jesus stated that He is coming again – this time on a rescue mission and this time claiming Kingship.

Of course, the incumbent leaders won’t go without a battle. Can you imagine that day?

Most people today hardly think about Jesus, let alone His coming. Do you? Do you believe that our only hope in this age, in any age for that matter, is the saving work of Jesus Christ?

It was Christian ethics and morality that has held Islam in check now for almost 1300 years (just read the annals of history). And it is Christ who will bring Islam to an end – there is no other way, for secularism is already falling prey to its terrible power.

John Klassek

Written by John Klassek

Ride Across Australia

We’re leaving early next Sunday morning to ride our bikes across this great country.  Pictured earlier this year is daughter Hannah and myself on the Avon Valley Black Dog Ride. Hannah is riding her Hyosung 650 and I’m on the Suzuki GSX-R1000.

BlackDogDadHannahNo, we’re not going “just for fun” (although it will certainly be fun). It will also be long, hot and tiring; having said that, it’s especially nice to sleep under the stars, far away from civilisation. It’s called TAWG. Google the acronym.

Mission: We’re taking as many copies of Hope of the Resurrection with us as we can carry, giving autographed copies to people we meet everywhere. We’ve even freighted a box of books to Adelaide, so we can restock!

So, log into this blog again, and see how we’re progressing! And if you’re really game, meet us on the road somewhere.

John Klassek

- John Klassek

Timely Advice

We have lived in a time of unprecedented wealth, peace and prosperity. The phenomenal rise of Western success, dominance and affluence is really quite unmatched historically. However, things aren’t as they seem anymore. Ask the man in the street, and he’ll probably agree that we live in a troubled world with terrorism high on the agenda, above disease, climate change and other concerns.

We must be prepared to openly admit the truth. We must find the strength of voice of love and impartiality to speak out against rising secularity and political correctness. Otherwise, we in the West will largely fail to understand and respond to perhaps the greatest threat the world has ever faced.

Islam is an unmistakable and brutal political force, driven by religious ideologies. Their stated will and ambition is to overtake the host nation, no matter how long it takes – be it through migration or direct assault. Are not the greatest migrations of peoples today Islamic in origin? There is plenty of shocking rhetoric and evidence, for example, that threatens to turn Buckingham Palace in London, UK, into a mosque. Thus Britain is now struggling with an identity crisis, as are other places elsewhere throughout Europe. Perhaps, God forbid, in a few years we’ll see “Euroarabia” – Europe under sharia law simply because the voting population is greater in numbers than the original inhabitants.

Don’t think it can happen in Australia, or anywhere else in the “free” world? Feel such comments are unnecessarily alarmist? Think we ought to be more politically sensitive?

Given the fact that our nations, including the USA, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand were founded on a Christian heritage and ethos, and given that by our own admission we here in Australia no longer see ourselves as a Christian country, the words of the God who in the first place blessed us ought to urgently resonate in our national conscience.

Some 3500 years ago, as recorded in Deuteronomy 28 (known as the blessings and curses chapter) the One we know as Jesus said:

Deuteronomy 28:15 GNB “But if you disobey the LORD your God and do not faithfully keep all his commands and laws that I am giving you today, all these evil things will happen to you: (33) A foreign nation will take all the crops that you have worked so hard to grow, while you receive nothing but constant oppression and harsh treatment. (36) The LORD will take you and your king away to a foreign land, where neither you nor your ancestors ever lived before; there you will serve gods made of wood and stone. (37) In the countries to which the LORD will scatter you, the people will be shocked at what has happened to you; they will make fun of you and ridicule you. (43) Foreigners who live in your land will gain more and more power, while you gradually lose yours. (44) They will have money to lend you, but you will have none to lend them. In the end they will be your rulers. (45) All these disasters will come on you, and they will be with you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the LORD your God and keep all the laws that he gave you. (49) The LORD will bring against you a nation from the ends of the earth, a nation whose language you do not know. They will swoop down on you like an eagle. (50) They will be ruthless and show no mercy to anyone, young or old. (51) They will eat your livestock and your crops, and you will starve to death. They will not leave you any grain, wine, olive oil, cattle, or sheep; and you will die. (52) They will attack every town in the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and the high, fortified walls in which you trust will fall.

Jesus is always right. History has a way of repeating itself. It’s called the natural law of “consequences”. Nations who turned their back on God ended up suffering catastrophic misfortune, before simply vanishing into the ignominious sands of history.

It’s time to wake up, change from our indifference towards God, and seek forgiveness, the results of which lead to healing and blessings abundant.

After all, Jesus also prefaced his warnings with powerful and encouraging motivation:

Deuteronomy 28:1-2 GNB If you obey the LORD your God and faithfully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, he will make you greater than any other nation on earth. (2) Obey the LORD your God and all these blessings will be yours: (7) The LORD will defeat your enemies when they attack you. They will attack from one direction, but they will run from you in all directions. (10) Then all the peoples on earth will see that the LORD has chosen you to be his own people, and they will be afraid of you. (13) The LORD your God will make you the leader among the nations and not a follower; you will always prosper and never fail if you obey faithfully all his commands that I am giving you today.

Prophets, pastors and preachers – please heed the call and stand up for Jesus. After all, it is His words alone that lead to true peace, power and prosperity.

John Klassek

 

Written by John Klassek

World War III

The Pope this week mused on the beginnings of World War III. He seemed concerned that we had entered that fateful and apocalyptic time of “great tribulation”. Why might this be significant?

World War III will certainly be quite different in scope and scale from anything that has preceded it. As terrible as the previous world conflagrations have been, according to Jesus, this will be the worst of all – and thankfully never to be repeated again.

Today it seems we’re edging closer to a state of confrontation and strategy that protagonists label as “mission” or “counter-terrorism”. Can we avoid the ongoing escalation and mission-creep that will inevitably follow? Should we censor the horrific atrocities paraded via the internet and news media, and console everyone that “everything is fine”?

Mass beheading, indiscriminate executions, and widespread destruction will increasingly dominate the news headlines in the world’s cancerous “hot spots”, while in other places commerce and industry will continue as per normal yet with the mandatory security of biometric RFID tagging. Agriculture will no doubt suffer from warming weather conditions attributed to intense solar activity.

The unanticipated rise of Islam with its jihadist underpinnings will shock a morally weakened and traumatised West unable to give impetus to its former military dominance. Within two or three years, Islamic political and religious fanaticism, emanating from the Middle East and sustained by its oil wealth, will have killed 2.5 billion men, women and children! That’s roughly a third of humanity.

These are not idle musings of some doomsday peddler. Rather, these prophetic warnings cry out to us from within the pages of the Holy Bible, the veracity of which is signed by Jesus’ own words.

And unless you’re committed to Jesus, unless you’re under His care, unless your eyes are on Him, and unless His Spirit is in you, no one will be able to adequately deal with the terrors of the “last days” of this age.

Listen to Jesus some 3500 years ago:

“Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you. The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favour to the young… They shall besiege you at all your gates until your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you at all your gates throughout all your land which the LORD your God has given you.” (Deuteronomy 28:47-52 NKJV)

Listen to Jesus’ revelation 2000 years ago:

Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them… By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths. (Revelation 9:16-18 NKJV)

Listen to Jesus, one more time:

“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” (Matthew 24:21-22 NKJV)

Are we able to heed the warnings? Do we know who to trust? Is there any reason for hope?

Jesus is the saviour of the world, which he accomplished by paying for our sins on the cross. All authority and power in heaven and on earth has now been given to Him, and so Jesus’ return as “King of kings” will also herald his saving work on a scale that only He can accomplish.

Until then, it seems we have a hard road to travel. Nothing is certain, except for the words of Jesus.

John Klassek

Written by John Klassek

Your free copy of Hope of the Resurrection

Perhaps the three greatest questions we could ever ask are:

  • Does God exist?
  • Why was I born?
  • Is there any reason to believe in hope beyond this life?

It’s the sort of question we just can’t escape. Most of the time we simply put it out of our minds. But being dismissive won’t resolve it. To that end we’d like to give you a free book that specifically addresses the last question. Is there any hope, any reason to believe in a great purpose in life?

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Now in its third edition, Hope of the Resurrection explores perhaps those important questions, and focuses on the hope beyond this life.

Order your free copy online now, and we’ll get it in the post to you.

You may also download Hope of the Resurrection in eBook PDF format. No cost. No follow up. Our gift to you.

John KlassekWritten by Western Australian author and Church of God (Seventh Day) elder, John T Klassek

3rd edition, 154 pages, paperback, free

The rise of Islamic State

Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. (Revelation 9:13-15 NKJV)

Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. (Revelation 16:12-14 NKJV)

Revelation chapters 9 and 16 refer to the work of the sixth angel, where spirit beings bound at the Euphrates River were kept for this very time to “kill a third of mankind” and prepare for great battle.

Now there’s been a lot of speculation over Revelation’s “those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God” (Revelation 20:4) - could we be living on the threshold of those very days? The rise of militant Islam in the form of IS seems, at this time, an alarming fit for the spirit and momentum of these prophecies.

Are we sufficiently awake in Christ to correctly discern the times in which we live? Jesus’ parable, after all, seems to indicate that all ten maidens (picturing the faithful) slumbered and slept prior to His return. (Matthew 25:1-13)

Are we in for a rude awakening? Or is this just another blip on the eschatological time-line?

John KlassekWritten by John Klassek