Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Rapture - Rev 4:1

After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

*Heaven is opened
*The Trumpet sounds
*The Voice calls us up

But first... John looked! As he was looking way back then, so ought we to be looking today.

Note: Where are you looking? The Christian needs to take 3 looks: Inward, to guard his relationship (I Cor 11:28). Outward to look for souls for the kingdom (Jn 4:35). Upward from whence cometh our help! (Ps 121:1)

Don’t ever look down. Looking down strikes fear into the heart.

John was the last of the original disciples, longing for the promise that the angels gave them in Acts 1:And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10  And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11  Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. 
Jesus had said to Peter concerning John:
Jn 21:22  Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. 23  Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? 

If John was looking, anticipating, expecting then, how much closer is His coming today? He could have come at any time in the interim, but there is an appointed season, day and time.

Mk 13:32  But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. 33  Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. 

But the Lord says that there are dozens of signs that do point to that day. And we ought to be able to discern the seasons. See, He said no man knows the day of the hour, but Paul says that we should not be ignorant of the times and the seasons. It isn’t much of a stretch for us to imagine that all we are seeing and hearing portend the coming of our Lord in the clouds to call us home!
Ø No doubt Gabriel is prepared as the announcing angel (to: Mary, Joseph, Shepherds – “Jesus is coming!)
Ø No doubt the Mansions are being prepared as Jesus told Thomas in John 14:1,2 “Let not your heart be troubled…”
Ø No doubt the Bema is being prepared  II Cor 5:10
Ø No doubt the Supper is being prepared   Rev 19:9 (Cooks are in the kitchen, the servants are polishing the silver)
Ø No doubt the Guardian Angels are ready to return home from their earthly deployment   Heb 1:14 “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister to us”
Ø No doubt the Spirit that withholds is prepared to be taken out of the way   II Thess 2:7
Ø No doubt this old world is groaning for the end   Rom 8:22
Ø No doubt our loved ones are gathering at the river bank
Ø No doubt Jesus longs for His own to be home  “So shall we ever be with the Lord”
It all just awaits the Father's command: "Son, go get our children!"
Are you looking for His coming? Luke 12:37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. 
I wonder if, even now, heaven is about to open, if the angel is getting his trumpet shined and lips ready, if the Lord is clearing His throat for the call home…
John was looking, Paul was looking, the martyrs were looking, our parents and grandparents of old were looking, the old time preachers were looking, SO SHOULD WE!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

God is much more concerned about your future than He is your past!

God's Messed up People ..
Heb 11, "by faith, Rahab the harlot..."
Is there a worse intro to a commendation?

We read about the following Bible heroes:
*Sarah the snickerer
*Abraham the impetuous
*Moses the murderer
*David the adulterer
*Samson the MESS!
The list of failures is extensive.

What does this Bible frankness tell us?
1. The Bible tells it the way it really happened. The characters are not sanitized.
2. God uses imperfect people to accomplish His will. I Cor 1:20-21
3. Our past does not necessarily portend our future. Phil 3:13-14
4. His salvation is complete, His grace is sufficient, His forgiveness is thorough. I For 6:11

God wants to use you today. If you are a believer, don't bring up your past when He taps you on the shoulder. He Who knows all things willingly forgets what is under the blood.

Friday, July 12, 2019

What We Are!

Peter, in chapters 1 and 2 of his first epistle, gives believers a number of descriptors. I was blessed by drawing these out of these wonderful chapters. The more we think of ourselves as God knows us to be, the more confidence we are able to resource in our daily walk with and for Him. Here is what we are according to I Peter 1 and 2, bare bones, you add the meat.

We are:   I Pet 1
Strangers 1
Elect 2
Foreknown 2
Sanctified 2
Blood-Washed 2
Begotten to a lively hope 3
Inheritors (benefactors) 4
Kept 5
Tempted 6
Tried 7
Ultimately Saved  9
Obedient Children 14
Holy  16
Sojourners  17
Redeemed 18-19
Purified, Obedient  22
Born Again 23
Targets of God's Word  25

We are:    Chapter 2
Newborn Babes 2
Lively Stones in a Spiritual House  5
Chosen Generation  9
Royal Priesthood   9
People of God  10
Strangers and Pilgrims  11
Do-gooders 12
Free  16
Sufferers  19-21

Three things I take away from this:
We have tests
We are blessed
He is the BEST!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Spring Has Sprung

Finally, since March 20th, the first official day of Spring this year, Spring has arrived in full force. The flowers and trees are budding, the grass is growing, the birds are chirping, and kids are playing outside. Teachers and students alike are getting cabin fever and longing for that last day of school in May.

Those who suffer with SAD, Seasonal Affective Dysfunction, now breathe in  allergen laced pollens to their delight. We have until June 21st to enjoy the renewed freshness of nature as it awakens to fulfill the promise of vitality.

As well, believers, fresh and full of resurrection life and power, can enjoy the sense of God doing a new thing in their lives, families and churches.

Oh, that we might sing praises with the gusto of the birds. That we would blossom for God as do the tulips and lilies. That we would grow in faith as the verdant grass. And that we would shine warmth upon others with the power of the sun (Son).

Spring has sprung, let us cast off our wintry lethargy and terminal dormancy and rise to the vivacity of Christian joy and productivity.

We are called to life – let’s live it to the fullest as God gives us grace and strength.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Stupid Smart Phones!

I meant to read my Bible
And take the time to pray
Just then came a fresh new text
I’d better answer that right away.

While doing that I noticed
Words with Friends gave an alert
I had three friends awaiting
For me to play a word.

New notices soon popped up
It was Face Book letting me know
Face Book friends had posted stuff
I’d better look right now.

I wondered while I was looking there
At cats and deer and such
If I’d even checked my email
I hadn’t been there much.

Oh, and then there was Twitter
I’d better check my tweets
If I missed the latest thing on there
Well, that wouldn’t be so sweet.

Tumblr, Snap Chat, Reddit
Linkedin and 3 or 4 more
I must check in on all of these
Before heading out the door.

Before I understood
What had just come about
I had made contact with all my sources
But left the Lord completely out!

My smart phone, tablet and PC
Have wasted so much time
And now I face another day
Without connecting to the Divine.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Get a hold of yourself!

Proverbs 25:28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

Many are the people we know who are incontinent, that is, they have no self-control. I have watched, in amused befuddlement, as professed believers so easily allow escalations in events to render them out of control.

Whether riding as a passenger and witnessing my driver host lose it over being “cut off” in traffic, or seeing couples or families melt down in the counseling office, or just watching as a teen gradually slips away from all that is holy into the pit of perdition, it is evident that too few have too little control over their emotions.

Paul, the greatest Christian to ever lace up his sandals, had his own battles with emotions. We read of his angry bout with Peter, of his confessed battle with the flesh in Romans 7, and of his determination to keep his body under subjection to his spirit so that the ministry is not blamed in any thing.

In my imagination I can see the demons chuckling at us as they see us, time after time, giving in to those old carnal emotions. They throw out the same temptations and fan the flames until we lose it for the umpteenth time.

How silly it must look to the world to see our hypocrisy when our temper gets the best of us at work, school or in the back yard.

I am reminded of the preacher who was made aware that he had a deacon in his church who was from time to time known to cuss.

In his attempt to help the deacon overcome this terrible habit, the preacher decided he should spend some personal time with the deacon so they could have a long talk about the problem. The preacher decided to ask the deacon to go fishing, thinking that might provide an opportunity to talk.

They were out in a boat and had their lines in the water when the preacher hooked a big one. It put up a mighty fight, but finally he reeled the fish up to the edge of the boat. It was the biggest fish the preacher had ever caught. But, just as the minister started to pull his catch into the boat, the fish slipped off the hook and got away.

Thoroughly disgusted, the preacher looked over and said, "Deacon, somethin' needs to be said here!"

Something really does need to be said, and Solomon said it, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.“

Let’s get a hold of ourselves!

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Resort of the Believer

…and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again. Mark 10:1

Who doesn’t long for a resort in times of stress and trouble? When I hear the word “resort,” I think of either a mountain cabin getaway, a sportsman’s retreat, a beachfront bungalow, or a full amenity lodge nearby popular attractions.

We feel as if a few days away from the grind of life will recharge our batteries and help us to get back in the game. Hopefully, when we make our pilgrimages to these shrines of convalescence, we can experience our much needed rest and relaxation and make some great memories along the way. Too bad, some of these resorts fail to deliver on what their ads promise. A cruise may end up on rough seas and have to be suspended. The fancy resort in the Smokies may turn out to be a one star facility. The hunting lodge may turn out to be infested with inhospitable creatures. And we return to the mundanity of life more drained then when we began our excursion. Life experienced, lessons learned. Been there, done that!

As these resorts hopefully refresh the body and mind, there exists a wonderful resort for the soul.

The Christ-dependent, soul-thirsty believer is wise to make Jesus their resort. Unfortunately, far too many resort to drink, sport, pleasure, work, music, literature, even religion for soul satisfaction. But only in Jesus is found life, peace, contentment, fulfillment, and true joy. When a person resorts to the gods of this world, they will always come away empty, more worn and torn than before. But Jesus has everything a soul would ever need or long for. 

“…As he was wont, he taught them again.” While we are experiencing our soul resort, we should expect to come away with valuable life lessons. They will always teach us the following:
*Our lack, His sufficiency.
*Our limitations, His sovereignty.
*Our need, His supply. 
*Our problems, His peace
*Our pain, His grace
*Our sorrow, His joy
*Our emotion, His love

Perhaps you’d sing this old song with me throughout your day as a reminder of these truths…

Only Jesus can satisfy your soul
Only He can change your heart and make you whole
He’ll give you peace you never knew
Real love and joy and heaven too
For only Jesus can satisfy your soul.

Now, if I could just hum this tune while lounging near the pool pictured above!!!

My friend Alvin Burrell wrote the following several years ago, very apt.

The Resort
(Psalms 71: 3) by
Alvin Burrell
O the place where I am dwelling, Is a land without pure rest -
I am tired of all the labor, Even though I have been blessed; And a spirit touched by worship, Keeps me looking to the Lord -
I am ever looking homeward, How I long for God’s resort.
God’s resort is so inviting, Contentment is the rule up there - Peace that passeth understanding, Where we look it’s everywhere; No one needs to be long-suffering, There’s no need for law or tort - What a blessing when we get to, The fair land of God’s resort.
We can taste of this contentment, Even in our mortal state - And be shielded from the evil, On this earth we all must face; When we lift our eyes to Heaven, Singing praises to the Lord - Pressing upward on our journey, To the land of God’s resort.