HOLY Week

“And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robbers’ den.” Mark 11:17 NASB1995 (read verses 11-20) Holy Week. Why is this particular week more Holy than last week, or next week, or any random week? Should we be treating it any differently than the other 51 weeks of the year? Should we be acting any differently this week than any other week? I’ve heard the reasons, and it’s a good thing to focus on the life of Jesus and the events leading to His death and resurrection. Shouldn’t we be focused on His resurrection every week? “Also concerning the foreigner who is not of Your people Israel, when he comes from a far country for Your name’s sake (for they will hear of Your great name and Your mighty hand, and of Your outstretched arm); when he comes and prays toward this house, hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know Your name, to fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I have built is called by Your name.” 1 Kings 8:41‭-‬43 NASB1995 THIS. This verse is what this week, this season, is all about: “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.” John 3:16 NASB1995 As Christians, let’s concentrate on the strangers; the people we don’t know, who we see in our church and in our daily lives. Make them welcome. How many times have you been in a situation where you didn’t know the people around you? That man or woman or child who is there by themselves might not really be ignoring you. They might be too shy or insecure to reach out. Reach out. Welcome them – sincerely – into God’s house, and continue beyond a single service. Help them feel like they have come home. If God loved us enough to send His Son Jesus to die for us, can’t we love enough to reach out a hand in friendship?

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?


ZOMBIES!

“It’s urgent that you get this right: The time has arrived—I mean right now!—when dead men and women will hear the Voice of the Son of God and, hearing, will come alive. Just as the Father has Life in Himself, He has conferred on the Son Life in Himself. And He has given Him the authority, simply because He is the Son of Man, to decide and carry out matters of Judgment. “Don’t act so surprised at all this. The time is coming when everyone dead and buried will hear His Voice. Those who have lived the right way will walk out into a resurrection Life; those who have lived the wrong way, into a resurrection Judgment.
John 5:25‭-‬29 MSG

I was absolutely struck when I read this today. We are surrounded by zombies! So many people are obsessed with zombies, and the coming zombie apocalypse. You can even get Zombie Apocalypse signs for your vehicle. They don’t even realize that they are the zombies! Instead of being afraid of the coming Zombie Apocalypse, we all need to be concerned with the coming Jesus Apocalypse! Listen to the words of Jesus, as they come alive in the Message:

“I’m not interested in crowd approval. And do you know why? Because I know you and your crowds. I know that love, especially God’s love, is not on your working agenda. I came with the authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me. If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms. How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking your rivals and ignoring God?
John 5:41‭-‬44 MSG

This is exactly what we do. We dismiss or avoid Jesus, and embrace the self-important, expansive, all-knowing politicians and so-called leaders of today. Oh, but they are in authority and control. HA! Those people in Washington (I almost said clowns) are not even close to being in control. Our so-called leaders are rife with false prophets, trying to lead the masses away from Jesus. In many instances they are succeeding, sadly. The enemy wants us to think that he and his zombie army are winning, but I promise you, they are not.

God is, has been, and will be in control. Always.

We may have to endure these crazy times for a while longer. Christians, we are charged with sharing the Good News and the Truth of Jesus Christ before He returns. We will survive this “Zombie Apocalypse”! Hallelujah!!

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.

It’s FINALLY Over

“For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the LORD, that he will instruct Him ? But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:11‭, ‬14‭-‬16 NASB1995

What a year this has been. I don’t need to recap it; too many others are already taking that on. Just like every year since Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden, 2020 has been crammed full of deceitfulness, lies, misunderstandings, cheating, backstabbing…. if man could do it, he did. Just because the year is over at midnight tonight, don’t expect tomorrow to be any different. We still live in a fallen world that won’t see any substantial change until our LORD Jesus Christ returns.

Does that depress you? Does it mean that we have no reason to live each day?

Not at all! As Christians, we aren’t constrained within the thought processes of natural man, because through Christ, we are super natural. We are beyond this world! Oh, we still have to live here and deal with the natural world and all of it’s defects, but we don’t need to be bogged down in the details. Even though the enemy has temporary power and control in the earth, our GOD has control over our spirits! The enemy can manipulate our surroundings and events in our lives to try and make us miserable, but it’s all temporary. Our bodies will return to the dust they were made from, but our souls, our very beings, cannot be touched by that snake when we belong to Jesus Christ – Creator, LORD of the Universe, Saviour of all who love Him, and our Friend.

Start the new year of 2021 on a high note by allowing Him into your heart. There is NO better friend! Come as you are, “warts and all”. Jesus is waiting for you with open arms, my friend.

Thank God!

A Psalm of David:

I will give You thanks with all my heart; I will sing praises to You before the gods. I will bow down toward Your holy temple. And give thanks to Your name for Your Lovingkindness and Your Truth; For You have magnified Your Word according to all Your Name. On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.”

“All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O LORD. When they have heard the words of Your Mouth. And they will sing of the ways of the LORD, For great is the Glory of the LORD. For though the LORD is exalted, Yet He regards the lowly, But the haughty He knows from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your Hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your Right Hand will save me. The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your Lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your Hands.” Psalms 138:1‭-‬8 NASB1995

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. Everything is a gift. Be thankful for His Mercy, Pardon, Patience, Lovingkindness, Truth. “It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night,….” Psalms 92:1‭-‬2 NIV

Pray. God delivers His promises in fulfillment of His Word. Don’t forget to say Thank You, Jesus! “….. to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,….” Ephesians 3:19‭-‬20 NIV

Remember God’s Pre-eminence. Eventually, EVERYONE will give thanks and praise the LORD. ALL of Creation will praise Him. He is our protection. Be thankful for all the troubles that have MISSED us. God’s Grace and Mercy will sustain us. He gives us Purpose. He will complete and accomplish His plans for me. God made me and He has a purpose for me!

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.” Psalms 139:13‭-‬14 NASB1995

“….. being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV

Thank God for His fulfillment!

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20‭-‬21 NIV

Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours!

ALL, Not Some

First off, consider this.

“ALL Scripture is GOD-Breathed.” 2 Timothy 3:16a NIV

All of it. Every word. Penned by men, but inspired and written by the Almighty God. He tells us that

“…. ALL have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God,” Romans 3:23 NASB

We are not ‘good’. We can never be ‘good’. Gandhi was not ‘good’. Mother Teresa was not ‘good’. Moses, Peter, Paul, Joseph, Daniel, Buddha, Mohammed were not ‘good’. Any person you can think of is not ‘good’. No matter how great the person or how much good they may have done in their life, no one is ‘good’. We will all be judged against the same standard; against the standard of the only good man to ever live, the only one who will ever live, the God-man, Jesus Christ.


We are all sinners, saved only by the Grace of God, through His Mercy and through Jesus Christ. You can’t get to heaven by being ‘good enough’. You can’t reach ‘Nirvana’ by your sacrifices or good deeds.
This is so important to know! Do you know Jesus? Are you a friend of the Saviour? With all of the absolute insanity, the rampant evil that is trying to overcome our world, now is the time. Look at God’s Word. Read it. Pray about it. Above all else, acknowledge that you are a sinner and accept the Mercy, the Grace, and the salvation that the LORD is even now offering to you.

I don’t want to see America in the state she is in. The violence and the riots, the absolute idiocy that is happening. It’s time – no, it’s past time, for Christian’s to stand up for the law, to stand up for the unborn, and to stand up for our freedom to worship.

LOVE IS / IS NOT:

1 Corinthians 13: What is Love?

Love is not jealousy; a burning desire to have what someone else has, or resentment. Those things are an absence of love. When I have to win, and the other person has to lose, is jealousy. Resentment shows in how we respond to other’s success, just as much as how we handle our own.

Love is not bragging, boasting, or publicizing our own success/accomplishments. When we are full of arrogance and puffed up with self importance, we aren’t able to love others because all of our focus is on ourselves. Have you ever known someone who is truly humble? When someone is humble, you cannot humiliate them.

Love is not acting unbecomingly, it is not rude, or discourteous. It is kind and considerate, it is polite. Love is tactful, saying Please, thank you, excuse me. Do the little things.

Love is not self-seeking; it is not selfish. It is self sacrificing. The root of all problems is selfishness, so love is to be empty of ourselves and to look out for others over ourselves. When we allow ourselves to be provoked (i.e. irritable, sharp, prickly, touchy, grumpy, and quick to take offense), these show our failure to love. They are triggers to anger and a temperamental “blast off”, as opposed to a righteous anger or irritability (remember Jesus running the money changers and those turning His Father’s House into a place of business out of the Temple?) We must be at peace with God to prevent this.

Love does not take into account a wrong suffered. Don’t keep track of grudges and resentments! Love lets the past die, it absorbs the wrong. Good friends are good forgivers. Let it go. Choose to forgive. “I distinctly remember forgetting it.” – Sarah Barton, founder of the American Red Cross Ultimate forgiveness is shown by Jesus and His sacrifice. Knowing we were yet sinners, He left Heaven to die on the cross for our sins. For your sins. For my sins!

Love is not happy with sins or lies. It doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness. Love has boundaries. It is based in God’s Truth. Love doesn’t rejoice in it’s own sins. What of our entertainment choices? Our relationship choices? Are we leading other people into sin through those choices? Love supports the truth, and the TRUTH doesn’t change. It is the same today as it was yesterday or 2000 years ago, and it will be the same tomorrow, and it will still be the same in 20,000 years.

“When love is present, nothing else is needed.” Love is essential to anything I do. Without love, I’m just making noise. Remember this truth – No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. There is no real sacrifice without real love, true love, which is Agape love. This Love is produced ONLY by the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ, Who the church is based on. LOVE personified, the Cornerstone of the church.

Love rejoices with the truth; Love bears/carries, protects, supports, covers or shelters all. Love is everything both for us AND for others. In Genesis 9, when Noah’s sons realized their father was naked and they covered his nakedness without looking at him, that is Love. Real Love offers shelter and protection for our shortcomings and our faults without focusing on them.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NASB

Love believes – not in a gullible way, and not overly suspicious or cynical. Love is encouraging. It takes the best view of people and holds on to it, for as long as it is possible. Love believes in second chances. Love remembers that God isn’t finished with us yet!

Love hopes and doesn’t give up. It has desire with expectancy and it is realistic, but in the dark days it holds hands with Hope. When you get discouraged because life is overwhelming and everything seems to be falling apart, read the end of the Book. I love reading Revelations, because we win!

Love endures and will hold on until there is absolutely no hope left. It is patient and persevering in all circumstances. Love perseveres, it holds on, it endures.

Paul is saying to the Corinthians: “What LOVE is, you are not.” Will we be like the Corinthians, without Love, or will we search Scriptures and study to be more Christ-like and loving outside of ourselves and our own selfishness?

LORD, be with us, Your people during this unprecedented time. Help us all to not just hold on to Your promises, but give us the courage to live your Love and the Truth. Amen.

References: 1 Corinthians 1:26, 29; 4:7, 4:18-19, 8:1; Philippians 2:3, 5-8; Acts 17:16; Romans 4:8; 2 Corinthians 5:9; Hebrew 10:17; Matthew 18; Romans 5:8; 1 John 5:9; Proverbs 10:12; James 5:20; 1 Peter 7; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 15:13; John 13:1

I Waited Patiently. ….. NOT

“I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of Praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD. How Blessed is the man who has made the LORD his Trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.” Psalms 40:1‭-‬4 NASB

“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:2 NASB

Picture two vultures sitting on a branch, hungry, waiting on something to die so they can eat. One turns to the other and says “Patience my ass, I want to kill something.” ….. Yes, it’s crude, but very descriptive of how we often act when God doesn’t deliver WHAT we want, HOW we want, WHEN we want. I don’t like to wait. It’s often painful, and aggravating. We are God’s garden. Ask anyone who grows things, and they will tell you that plants often have to be aggressively pruned in order to get the best fruits and flowers and vegetables. They have to be patient, and wait for that plant to produce and mature. God is patient with us, and He is training us to produce the best. I’M not patient, but I’m very grateful that HE is.

“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NASB

This is so true. I married young because I wanted to. Emphasis on “I WANTED.” There were lots of reasons, but I was in LOVE. God wasn’t in that marriage, and it was a disaster. I spent years trying to “fix” my life without God, using human men as a poor, poor substitute. Ladies, pay attention to those who love God and who love you. Listen to their counsel. Pray about any relationship. If you feel ANY hesitation, STOP. Same for you guys. If GOD isn’t first in the relationship, It. Will. Be. A. Disaster. Might takes years, but without the LORD, no relationship will prosper. It’s no fun, seeing friends in relationships when you/I am not ….. but, back to that “patience” thing. Trust the LORD. He knows. He KNOWS.

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven….” Ecclesiastes 3:1 NASB

God knows. He knows what we want, but more importantly He knows what is best for us. Really. We don’t. As difficult as it is, listen to Him, even when it isn’t what we want to hear. God is in control. Don’t be a backseat driver!