It’s a GOOD Day!

“…. and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
Revelation 21:4 NASB1995

Good Friday! The day Jesus went to the cross. What makes it good? He went to the cross, and He took upon His shoulders the sin of the world. My sin; your sin. He died, yes, but it was an incredible death! Unlike when we die, Jesus didn’t go on to heaven and call it good. He took on sin and death and defeated them. How much more glorious can it be? He died, and He fought sin and death – and what a battle that must have been! – and then, He walked out of His grave! GLORIOUS!

Jesus said “I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:28‭, ‬33 NASB1995

Because of His death, I am free to live. Are you? Have you accepted Him as your Saviour? Do it, today, before it’s too late!

End Times – Are We There Yet?

Many people, with Christians increasingly included, are saying that we are going into the Tribulation. While I agree that we are having tribulations, we are not in the Great Tribulation as described in Daniel and in Revelation. I’m happy to say that none of these pertain to Christians today! We will have been caught up with Him in the Rapture. Isn’t that the greatest news?

Our pastor just concluded a study of the book of Daniel, and it has been very interesting. I encourage you to read the entire book of Daniel. It was written over a course of some 8 decades, beginning when he was just 16, a captive of King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians, and ending when he is in his late 80’s, still in captivity. Imagine spending almost your entire lifetime as a hostage! As Daniel has stood alone from age 16 in Daniel 1 to 87-88 years old in Daniel 12, God sustained him and He will sustain us. We need to have perseverance to the end, whether it is death or Christ’s return. Daniel stays strong in the faith of his fathers, despite the temptations offered him to turn from it. Would I be that strong? Would you? Sometimes I envy Daniel for the strength of his faith and his conviction. How did Daniel do it? He recognized One Master, One King, and it was the LORD. As we study God’s Word, our understanding will increase.

1 “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. 2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 4 But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.” 5  Then I, Daniel, looked and behold, two others were standing, one on this bank of the river and the other on that bank of the river.  6  And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be until the end of these wonders?”  7  I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.  8  As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My Lord, what will be the outcome of these events? ”  9  He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time.  10  Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.  11  From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.  12  How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!  13  But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age.” Daniel 12:1-‬13 NASB1995


Daniel’s vision has had many interpretations, but this is what I believe.  The first three verses refer to the Rapture. Israel is in a “time of distress” and has been since it was reestablished as a nation in 1948. The Middle East remains in turmoil, and every day it seems to get worse, but we know that it will get much worse, because none of this passage will occur until after the Rapture of the living by Jesus.

The multitudes “who sleep in the dust of the ground” will be the second resurrection. Not their souls, but their bodies, because at the moment of death, our souls go immediately to either heaven, if saved, or to hades/hell, if unsaved. The first resurrection was Jesus, when He rose from the grave. As the Rapture gives the living their new bodies, then during the second resurrection the bodies of the saved from the church age will be resurrected, when the Old Testament believers and those saved during the tribulation will be resurrected. The last resurrection will be for those unsaved, who will be resurrected to everlasting shame. Remember, HELL IS EVERLASTING AND ETERNAL.

“And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Revelation 20:10 NASB1995

Much is said about the 1260, the 1290, and the 1335 days. The 1260 days = 3 1/2 year period of tribulation. For the best explanation of these days and what happens, listen to Dr. Mark Hitchcock’s sermon, A Happy Ending, http://www.faithbibleok.com. Read Jeremiah 30 and Revelation 16, if you want to know what it will be like for the second half of the Antichrist’s reign in the Tribulation. I don’t have any more of an inside scoop than anyone who reads the Scriptures, but I’m glad I won’t be here for all this.


What is my takeaway on this? Keep on living until the end, do your business, then you will die. What is our business? Promote our Saviour: Where is my focus, my money, my time, and my efforts? On the trivial and the trifling, or on Jesus?

We will rise in a glorified incorruptible body in Jesus ‘ new kingdom!

JESUS is the RESURRECTION and the LIFE. Do you believe it?


His Grace

I need His Grace every day, every minute. What is it I am talking about, this Grace? Grace is the forgiveness we receive with our acceptance of Jesus Christ. Recognizing, acknowledging, that He is the Christ, Messiah, Son of God. He is of God, and He is God. He is the manifestation and personification of Grace.

“The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world! This is the man I’ve been talking about, ‘the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me.’ I knew nothing about who he was—only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize him as the God-Revealer. That is why I came here baptizing with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God.” John clinched his witness with this: “I watched the Spirit, like a dove flying down out of the sky, making himself at home in him. I repeat, I know nothing about him except this: The One who authorized me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One on whom you see the Spirit come down and stay, this One will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ That’s exactly what I saw happen, and I’m telling you, there’s no question about it: This is the Son of God.” ” John 1:29‭-‬34 MSG

“Jesus said, “You’ve become a believer simply because I say I saw you one day sitting under the fig tree? You haven’t seen anything yet! Before this is over you’re going to see heaven open and God’s angels descending to the Son of Man and ascending again.” ” John 1:50‭-‬51 MSG

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:5‭-‬6 NASB1995

Have you opened your heart to Him? Just like James says, ask. Only a tiny bit of faith will open up a whole world of Grace.

“And now I commend you to God and to the Word of His Grace – the GRACE of the LORD Jesus Christ – which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” Acts 20:32 NASB1995

AMEN.

Starting Anew

For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness.

But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows….. that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:5‭-‬6‭, ‬9‭-‬11‭, ‬13 NASB1995

It’s a new day; a new year! Embrace it!

What Are You Chasing?

“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.” Isaiah 55:2 NASB

I’ve spent my life chasing something, or someone. Lots of money and energy expended trying for the perfect partner, job, house, clothes; friends, family. The “perfect” church. Know what I’ve discovered?

They don’t exist.

What? Of course they do! Don’t try to tell me my searching, my life, is futile! ……. And yet, that’s the truth. Most of us spend our lives trying to have the perfect life as we imagine it, when the reality is that all of these things, and all of these people, won’t satisfy us. Sure, we can achieve momentary satisfaction, but it’s fleeting. I think that’s why our world is rife with ruthless people, in business and politics and in their personal lives. Business takeovers. Public lies and shaming. Affairs in the shadows, and affairs in the open, blatantly flaunting themselves. Desperate people everywhere, searching for nirvana.

It doesn’t exist.

We are a created race. Yes, one race, created by a Creator God, and we are created to worship Him. Nothing else can fill that hole. We can search and scrape and fight trying to find anything else to fill it, and that’s what we spend our lives doing. One thing fills that hole in your heart. One thing fulfills your search. ONE thing.

Jesus Christ.

Son of the FATHER GOD. Second, but equal, member of the Trinity, God, Son, Holy Spirit. Saviour of the world. The One; The Way.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16‭-‬18 NASB

In 1670, Blaise Pascal published Pensées, in which he writes:

What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 NASB

Change your focus. Look for Jesus. He will fill your heart in a way you could never have imagined. Not only your heart, but He will fill your life, your mind, your soul, if you will just let Him. He will give you Life Abundant. Even if you struggle financially, even if you are on your own, without a partner, or out of work, Jesus can bring a contentment that is beyond this earth.

LORD, I pray today for that person who is searching, that he or she will open their heart to You and realize real peace and contentment today, right now. Amen.

Now to Him

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NASB

It is so easy to be judgmental based on how a person looks. We can look at someone on a street corner & think “Get a job! Quit begging!” But do you know their circumstances? Personally, I find it difficult to understand how – and why – anyone is homeless with all of the resources available now… And yet, I spent several months living on the street years ago because of my own bad choices. I was too proud to reach out for help, so God used others to help me out of that pit. Not with money, because He knew that wouldn’t help me, but with a place to stay and food to eat until I got my health back, and I could get a job and my own place. We look at the outside, but thank God that He looks at the heart!

“I thank Him who has given me strength, CHRIST JESUS our LORD, because He judged me Faithful, appointing me to His service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received Mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief*, and the Grace of our LORD overflowed for me with the Faith and Love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received Mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:12‭-‬17 ESV

*Unlike Paul, I was not ignorant of God, nor was I an unbeliever. Still, in His infinite Mercy and Grace, the LORD of the Universe forgave me and took me back into His arms. How thankful I am for His Mercy and my wholly undeserved forgiveness! I remain convinced that of those people who helped lift me out of the muck, some had to be angels in disguise. Take time today to thank God for what you have, and do something good for someone. We never know when we might be entertaining angels!

“Now to Him Who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20‭-‬21 NASB

Forgiven

“If You, Lord , should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.” Psalms 130:3‭-‬4 NASB

This reminds me of this phrase: Because I say I am a Christian doesn’t mean I’m perfect (far from it!); it just means I am forgiven.

There’s a song the Newsboys sang called You Are My King, and this is the beginning verse.

I’m forgiven because you were forsaken
I’m accepted, You were condemned
I’m alive and well
Your Spirit is within me
Because you died and rose again

If Jesus hadn’t voluntarily left heaven and accepted living as a human, and then died as our sacrifice for our sins, where would we be today? If Jesus hadn’t voluntarily hung on that cross, forsaken and condemned, where would we be today? If Jesus hadn’t conquered death and hell, and walked away from the tomb, where would we be today?

It is because of His sacrifice that we live.

Have you accepted that? Because of Jesus, all of my sins are forgotten! Without Jesus, there would be no peace in my life. I pray that you find that peace today!

Stand Firm

“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” 1 Timothy 1:15 NASB

Do you feel like a prisoner? Sometimes, since we’ve been in this pandemic, I feel as though I’m under house arrest. Honestly. I get 2 or 3 days a week to go to my job for a few hours, and I’ve gone to the drug store to pick up prescriptions twice since this began. Twice, I’ve gone to a big box store for a couple of items, and once to a grocery store for basics. In some ways, it doesn’t bother me at all. I’m an introvert, so not being “allowed” to be surrounded by people is wonderful….. but to be told that I can’t go if I choose to….. that’s different!

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 NASB

I confess to having some real hard feelings towards some of those in government, especially the ones who sit in their huge houses purchased with our money, refusing to return to work, as millions of Americans aren’t allowed to work and support their families. Then I read this verse from Matthew, where Jesus tells the parable of the slave who was forgiven his debt to his master, but refused to forgive the debt a fellow slave owed to him:

“My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.” Matthew 18:35 NASB

I need to stand firm in the knowledge that GOD is in control of this mess. Instead of anger and disgust (or maybe fueled by them), I need to be lifting up these people in prayer. When I raise my head and my hands to the One Who created the world, I find the freedom the LORD wants me to have. When I turn my head away from Him, thos negative feelings rush back into my heart and my head.

Thy will be done, LORD. You alone can Stand Firm and hold us up. Thank You for Your Mercy and Grace upon me, a sinner of the worst kind. I believe that You are a GOD of the Highest kind; in fact, You alone are GOD.

“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My Name humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:13‭-‬14 NASB

Anxious Thoughts

“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.” Psalms 94:19 NASB

In 1872, a young wife and mother named Annie Hawks penned these words:

I need thee every hour,
most gracious Lord;
no tender voice like thine
can peace afford.
I need thee, O I need thee;
every hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to thee.

In times like today, when so many people are frightened and worried, these words offer Christians the comfort that we are safe in the arms of Jesus. For those of you who want that comfort, it’s within your reach. I know how it feels to believe that you’ve done something that can’t be forgiven. I know what it means to be standing on the outside looking in, deep in sin and wondering how He could possibly reach me – and thinking that there was no way the LORD would even want to reach me.

Please, listen.

No matter what, God knows you and loves you.

He forgives, no matter what. Liars, cheaters, adulterers, thieves, even murderers. Don’t take my word for it! Read the Bible! The greatest people in it are sinners. Moses was a murderer. King David was greedy and an adulterer. Rahab and Mary Magdalene were prostitutes. Peter lied. Paul persecuted the early Christians! There are many, many more, too. Nothing can separate you from the Love of the LORD, once you have accepted Jesus as your Savior. He is our salvation. No one, and nothing, here on earth can save you. Not Buddha, not Mohammad, or Joseph Smith, or any of the other thousands of imposters.

“For GOD so Loved the world, that He gave His ONLY Begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have ETERNAL LIFE. For GOD did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16‭-‬17 NASB

Believe it. Believe HIM.