Sunday, December 27, 2015

Forecast for Hope

Blizzards, fires, floods, tornadoes -- disaster forecasts are looking mighty grim on the weather channel today. A terror-alert has just been announced for major cities in Europe between Christmas and the New Year. Life on this planet seems more fragile than ever.

Many have lost loved ones this year and no doubt that paints their emotions as this year comes to a close. If the LORD tarries - there is still the consolation that 100 years from now all of us will have departed from this life. 

It is hard to fathom how people can walk around thinking that there is no God and no life after death. How depressing is that? That's even sadder than the Christians who do not believe that Jesus is coming back to rule and reign on earth for a thousand years. Those Christians must despair as well as they watch the birth pangs increase and see no purpose to it.

What a disappointment life must be for Christians who think that we are now ruling and reigning in the place of Christ. It is hard to believe there are such believers -- but Post-Millennialists/Preterists have such a defeated worldview. 

And the signs and wonders followers -- how do they feel when the feathers stop falling and the gold glitter fades away? Where can they go to find the next spiritual high? From Toronto to Lakeland to Redding -- all of that is empty thrills and chills.

But we who wait for our Savior to come for us His church have the comfort of knowing His Word is being fulfilled before our very eyes. We have a Lifeline to hold onto while we wait and a Hope for rescue before God pours out His wrath upon those dwelling carelessly on the planet. His supernatural power makes the weak one strong.

We must keep lifting up Jesus to this hurting world and pull as many as we can from the fire. Time is short and the window of opportunity to turn to the LORD is closing.

I showed the film, The Nativity, to the women in the prison on Christmas and had the opportunity to share the Gospel with inmates I had not seen before. I told them that we might envy those who lived when Jesus came who got to see with their own eyes His miracles and touch the hem of His garment. There were those who looked for the coming of the Messiah 2,000 years ago, but we are living in the time that will most likely see His second coming. 

Monitoring the birth pangs, as we do in this class, we can anticipate His return and bring joy to a place that seems joyless. Please pray for Sunny, Starla, and Cindy -- that the LORD would give them good soil where the seed planted can grow.

Spread the hope, joy, and good news while there's still time.

“Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” -- John 12:31-32

"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure." - 1 John 3:1-3

Sunday, December 13, 2015

"It Is Written . . . "

This is certainly a time of famine for the hearing of the Word of God. Even in places where Scripture is being quoted, it is not being applied with spiritual understanding, but with mere human reasoning. Some preachers might get further in using quotes from Dickens or Aesop's Fables to make their sermon points.

Having been raised Catholic and hearing a bit of an Epistle or the Gospels read briefly at Mass every Sunday, I knew first-hand what it was like to hear God's Word while not really hearing it. The bulk of Catholic practice and theology is based upon human reasoning.
The idea of Limbo, for instance, was conceived when their belief that one must be baptized in order to get into heaven clashed with their idea that babies are pure but have Original Sin. The Bible never taught any such thing, but Limbo sounded sensible to them and resolved the conflict.

The Catholic dogmas of their priesthood, transubstantiation, baptizing babies, confession, penance, the papacy, mariology -- and more -- came about with unspiritual human reasoning.

Before I was born-again, I could read the Bible and appreciate its wisdom and ponder on its deep thoughts, but the words did not penetrate my unregenerate spirit. Immediately upon my repentance and being filled with His Holy Spirit, the Bible came alive to me. The blinders had been removed. For the first few months of my new life in Christ I could not read the Word without tears welling up in my eyes. The Spirit breathed life into every passage and gave deep understanding -- even from the same passages I thought I already knew.

I'm studying the Book of Nehemiah and read about how the people responded after Jerusalem was restored and the people gathered to rededicate themselves to the LORD. When Ezra the priest read Scriptures aloud, they reacted thusly, "For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law."

Today, I see many using their own human understanding to figure out the Bible. High Church goers justify the use of vestments and ritual since, after all, these things were done historically in the past 1,800 years and there are parallels in the Old Testament. Or, die-hard post-tribbers saying, 'well, the early martyrs suffered persecution so why should we not suffer under the antichrist, we're no better than them. Or Dominionists reasoning that believers are going to rule with Christ, so we need to take all seven mountains for Jesus now since He does rule from heaven.

We will see more and more human reasoning coming from professing believers who will find ways to get along with other religions under the human desire for tolerance, peace, and emotional stimulation. 

Our reaction must always be - "it is written . . ."

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths."
- Prov 3:5-6

"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." - 1 Cor 2:12-14

Rapture Wars

The Post-Trib Brigade is really on the rampage lately. And the Pre-Trib side is digging in their heels. All accuse the other of not having Scripture to back their views. The Pan-Trib view is looking at all the verses and determine that we cannot know the exact timing - we must be ready for every eventuality.

This snippet from Jim Bakker's program is a peek at those who have run to the mountains to hide themselves. They are accumulating stuff and everyone knows it, so when all hell breaks loose, the bad guys will know right where to go. Is Bakker building an arsenal needed to protect what they have stored? Quite the dilemma trusting in the arm of the flesh.

Here are some verses all must rectify - praying for spiritual understanding.

Fear side (Post-and Intraseal Tribbers) -

"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet." - 1 Cor 15:51-52b

"Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed" - 2 Thes 2:3

"But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection." - Rev 20:5 (also used by A-and-Post-mills )

Hope side (Pre-and Pan-Tribbers)

“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth." - Rev 3:10

"Come, my people, enter your chambers,
And shut your doors behind you;
Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment,
Until the indignation is past.
For behold, the LORD comes out of His place
To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity;
The earth will also disclose her blood,
And will no more cover her slain.
Is 26:20-21

"For God has not destined us for wrath" - 1 Thes 5:9a

" I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." - Matt 16:18b


I point this all out - not to cause more of a rift between believers -- but to exhort all of you to please stop fighting over this. I know how to argue every position - I've studied this for over 30 years -- so I know every position has some good arguments from Scripture. This guy here is trashing those who take a different position. I know of NO Pre-tribber who thinks they will never see persecution or war and all the birth pangs Jesus lists in Matt 24. We should ALL make provisions for our family in the case of any potential hardship. This sort of rhetoric -- demonizing those under the Hope banner -- does nothing to communicate his position - since it is a false accusation.

Keep your lamps burning - and oil in your flasks.

Mark 13: 33-37  -- "Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is... Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming--in the evening (Pre-Trib), at midnight (Mid-Trib), at the crowing of the rooster (Pre-Wrath), or in the morning (Post-Trib)-- lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!’"

Sunday, December 6, 2015

We Are His Witnesses

We are His witnesses until He calls His Bride home. That is a comforting thought at a time like this when we see the birth pangs transition into heavy labor.

The recent terror attacks here and in Paris have left many people not wanting to leave their homes to go to any public place. But we must not forget the Great Commission -- don't let any threat of terror slow down your witness -- in fact, it should light a fire under you to get this Word of Salvation out to all the lost while there's still time.

Since we ARE His witnesses, and we know God always has a witness on this planet, we can have confidence that God doesn't need to replace us in our role as His ambassadors. So what does He need with 144,000 or the two witnesses in Jerusalem or an angel flying in mid-heaven while we're still around? They are raised up as His witnesses when our testimony is complete.

That is one of the best arguments for a Pre-Trib rapture -- once the Church is gone, God must have a witness to the Truth here to represent Him. He is faithful to always hold out a hand of mercy to humanity who were made in His image.

Persecution of believers is a historical certainty, and as things heat up, more and more professing Christians will fall by the wayside and reveal their true natures. The time of the mega-church will soon be over as congregating will become a gamble for one's livelihood. Persecution always helps separate the real from the fake. So be encouraged.

Pressing on to the Goal -

“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel,
And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
‘I am the First and I am the Last;
Besides Me there is no God.
And who can proclaim as I do?
Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me,
Since I appointed the ancient people.
And the things that are coming and shall come,
Let them show these to them.
Do not fear, nor be afraid;
Have I not told you from that time, and declared it?
You are My witnesses.
Is there a God besides Me?
Indeed there is no other Rock;
I know not one.’ ”
-- Is 44:6-8

"At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!" - 2 Tim 4:16-18