Tuesday, September 2, 2014

LIFE SUCKS; BUT THEN YOU DIE!

EVEN FOR THE BELIEVER, LIFE SUCKS

"And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Gen. 3:17-19).

"Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble" (Job 14:1).

"For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun?  For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity" (Eccl. 2:22-23).

"In the world ye shall have tribulation" (Jn. 16:33).

"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (2 Tim. 3:12-13).

"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away" (Jam. 4:14).

BUT THEN, PRAISE GOD, YOU DIE
 
"Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him" (Job. 13:15).
 
"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints" (Ps. 116:15).
 
"By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh" (Heb. 11:4).
 
"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (Jn. 14:3).
 
"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live" (Jn. 11:25).
 
"And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with Me in paradise" (Lk. 23:43).
 
"We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8).
 
1 Corinthians 2:9!
 


Monday, September 1, 2014

CHOOSE

Life is filled with choices.  Some are very easy to make; some are difficult.  For born again believers, our commitment to Christ limits our options, or at least it should!  Before we received the gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, our life was totally focused on what made us happy.  Our way of life could be described as "if it feels good, do it!"  That is unacceptable for a believer! 

The Apostle Paul described our lives before we came to Christ: 
*     "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6:9-11).  
*     "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:19-21).
*     "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another" (Titus 3:3).

Paul also described the characteristics of the lives of those who have received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and are led by the indwelling Holy Spirit:
*     "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:  against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23).
*     "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:  for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.  For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret" (Eph. 5:8-12).
*     "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God" (Phil. 1:9-11).


"...Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity" (2 Tim. 2:19)!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

THE SIGNS ARE ALL AROUND US

The Word of God clearly tells us that no man knows the day nor the hour of Christ's return.  Jesus stated that even He did not know, but that only the Father knows.  He said, "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father (Mk. 13:32).

And yet, He did tell His disciples that there would be signs of His return.  Jesus said:  "Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:  so ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors" (Mk. 13:28-29).

Most theologians believe "the fig tree" in Scripture, is a symbol of Israel, and that the phrase, "puts forth her leaves," refers to Israel becoming a nation again.  The United Nations declared Israel to be a nation in A.D 1948.  So, the first clue that Christ's Second Coming is very near, occurred sixty-six years ago.  According to God's Word, a generation is approximately seventy years (Ps. 90:10).  Ironically, in the same passage quoted above, Jesus made this statement:  "Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.  Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away" (Mk. 13:30-31).

More clues are found in the signs Jesus called the "the beginning of sorrows."  Jesus said:
"For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows.  Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for My name's sake.  And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.  And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Mt. 24:5-14).
 
If you have a television, you know these things are happening today!
Christ could return at any moment; accept Him as your Lord while there is still time!  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

IT LITERALLY IS HAPPENING!

Still reeling from the disappearance of my dad and dozens of his fellow church members, I went to the grocery store this morning, and I notice there were several police officers standing at the doors.  They appeared to be looking at the faces and hands of the customers as if they were expecting to see something.  Most were allowed to enter, but every so often, the officers appeared to arrest one who did not have the proper marking.  I knew from the news on my car radio that the government had passed some kind of law, the day before, concerning financial transactions, but I didn't really pay that much attention to the report.  As I sat in my car watching, I turned the radio back on, and sure enough, a government spokesman was informing the public that the President had signed into law, Bill 666, and that it took effect last night at midnight.  He said that anyone wanting to buy or sell anything, had to go to the local police station, and register. 

Since I had not done so, and apparently those being arrested had failed to do so, I decided to go back home, and think about what I was going to do.  I remembered my dad telling me, years ago, something about a Bible Prophecy Conference he had attended, where the speakers were warning people of what seemed to be taking place.  Dad said that some global leader would force people to leave their religions, and join his.  Dad said this man would actually claim to be God, and that all who agreed to worship him would receive some kind of tattoo or micro-chip or something, that would enable the person to go about his normal life.

I went to my computer, and "googled" the phrase "a mark necessary to buy something."  Instantly, there were millions of sites which explained what was happening.  They all seemed to refer to the Bible's Book of Revelation, chapter thirteen.  When I found Dad's old Bible, I read the following:

"And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.  And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.  And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.  And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.  And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:  and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  Here is wisdom.  Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six" (Rev. 13:11-18).

I had to make a decision; worship this man, or the God of my father.

Friday, August 29, 2014

THE NECESSARY ESSENTIALS OF JOHN'S GOSPEL

Have you ever given much thought to significance of the word "must?"  It carries within it, an imperative, a requirement or obligation to do something.  "Must" (58 times) is one of the English words which is translated from the Greek δεῖ (dei), which the Blue Letter Bible defines as:  A necessity:
  1. A necessity lying in the nature of the case.
  2. A necessity brought on by circumstances or by the conduct of others toward us.
  3. A necessity in reference to what is required to attain some end.
  4. A necessity of law and command, of duty, equity.
  5. A necessity established by the counsel and decree of God, especially by that purpose of His which relates to the salvation of men by the intervention of Christ, and which is disclosed in the Old Testament prophecies concerning what Christ was destined finally to undergo:  His sufferings, His death, His resurrection, and His ascension!
Some of the other English words translated from δεῖ are "ought" (31 times); "must needs" (5 times); and "should" (4 times).  This Greek word (δεῖ) appears 11 times in the Gospel of John.  These are the things John tells us are of necessity:
*  Jn. 3:7     "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."
*  Jn. 3:14   "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up."
*  Jn. 3:30   "He must increase, but I must decrease."
*  Jn. 4:4     "And He must needs go through Samaria."
*  Jn. 4:20   "Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and Ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."
*  Jn. 4:24   "God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."
*  Jn. 9:4     "I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work."
*  Jn. 10:16  "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd."
*  Jn. 12:34 "The people answered Him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest Thou, The Son of man must be lifted up?  Who is this Son of man?"
*  Jn. 20:9   "For as yet they knew not the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead." 


Jesus had to die that, believing, you might be born again!
          God raised Him from the dead to be both Lord and Savior!           




Thursday, August 28, 2014

BELIEVE AND CONFESS JESUS IS YOUR LORD

Two words in the Bible express God's will for mankind:  "trust" and "believe."  I am not sure of all the nuances which make the two words differ from each other, but my guess is, we "trust" a person, and because of that, we "believe" what he or she tells us. 

The word "trust" appears 134 times in the KJV of the Bible; 107 of them in the Old Testament, and 27 in the New Testament.  The word "believe," on the other hand, is found 143 times in the Bible; 17 times in the Old Testament, and 126 times in the New Testament.

Perhaps the reason the Old Testament stresses one "trust" God, is because much of what His Word promised Israel had not happened yet.  With the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, over 300 of God's promises were fulfilled.  With the Lord's First Coming, God proved He could be trusted, that His Word was truth.  Today, we look back on the Lord's First Coming and His Ascension and we are being asked to "believe" what Christ has already done for us.  We also "trust" that the remaining prophecies, those which address the Rapture of the Church, the Tribulation or Daniel's Seventieth Week, and the Millennium Kingdom, will be literally fulfilled!

If you "trust" God, and "believe" what He has done and will do for you in the future, then call upon Jesus Christ as your Lord, and begin confessing to one and all that He is your Lord and Savior!  Paul wrote: 

"But what saith it?  The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the Word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed

For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him.  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach, except they be sent?  As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!  But they have not all obeyed the Gospel.  For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:8-17).


You can trust God, and believe what He has told us in His Word!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

HOW MANY WITNESSES DOES IT TAKE?

When one's life was in the balance, God told Israel that it took at least two witnesses to convict him or her of a crime.  This is repeated over and over again throughout Scripture.  Here are a few examples:

*  Numbers 35:30.
*  Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:15.
*  Matthew 18:16.
*  2 Corinthians 13:1.
*  1 Timothy 5:19.
*  Hebrews 10:28.
*  Revelation 11:3.

Let's look at the number of witnesses Jesus Christ had, which saw Him after He had been crucified and buried.  If believing two witnesses should convince a jury of the truth of the charges against a criminal, wouldn't the testimony of two witnesses be sufficient to convince someone that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead?  Well, I have some really good news for those who are struggling with believing the Gospel; there are hundreds of witnesses who testified that they saw the risen Lord!

There are at least six books in the New Testament, written by five different men, which tell us about the resurrection appearances of Christ--Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, and 1 Corinthians. At least three of these Bible writers actually saw the risen Lord--Matthew, John and Paul--and thus they wrote from first hand experience.   As we study these inspired documents, we learn that Christ appeared to the following people, in the following order:

*  Christ was first seen by Mary Magdalene (Mk. 16:9; Jn. 20:1-18).
*  Christ was seen by the women returning from the tomb (Mt. 28:9-10).
*  Christ was seen by Peter (1 Cor. 15:5; Lk. 24:34).
*  Christ was seen by two on the road to Emmaus (Lk. 24:13-35; Mk. 16:12).
*  Christ was seen by the ten disciples (Mk. 16:14; Lk. 24:36-43; Jn. 20:19-24; 1 Cor. 15:5).
*  Christ was seen by the eleven disciples (Jn. 20:26-29).
*  Christ was seen by the seven disciples (Jn. 21:1-22.
*  Christ was seen by more than 500 people in Galilee (1 Cor. 15:6).
*  Christ was seen by James (1 Cor. 15:7).
*  Christ was seen at His Ascension (Mk. 16:19; Lk. 24:50-51; Acts 1:3-12).

NOTE:  After the Ascension, Christ was also seen by:
              Stephen (Acts 7:55-56).
              Saul (Acts 9:1-7; 1 Cor.9:1; 15:8).
              John (Rev. 1:9-18).

Now, suppose you are asked, "How do you know Jesus rose from the dead?" 
Hundreds saw Him, and billions have had their lives changed by Jesus Christ!
After all, He said, "I AM THE RESURRECTION!"