Thursday, September 21, 2017


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. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

                                                                     I Corinthians 15: 51-52

Surreal, the times we live in are surreal. The definition of surreal, according to Webster's 7th New Collegiate Dictionary, is: "having the intense irrational reality of a dream."

Doesn't the thought of the rapture of believers in Jesus Christ seem surreal? Like a dream that it even could happen?  The fact that we will hear a trumpet, the dead in Christ will rise from their graves and we will be changed in the smallest amount of time, doesn't it sound "preposterous"? (As Chuck Missler states when talking about the rapture.)

But that is the "blessed hope" of the Church, and as my pastor says, "Don't mess with my blessed hope!" Churches that teach there is no rapture, or that we must go through the tribulation are in fact doing that, messing with our hope. I just read in Titus about the blessed hope:

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself [His] own special people, zealous for good works." Titus 2: 11-14

Jesus told us that we would not know the day or the hour, but He did say we can know the times and the seasons.

Many might say that people thought they were in the times and seasons throughout the Church Age. Like during World War II, people thought surely that Hitler was the antichrist, especially when the Jews were being eradicated in the ovens of the concentration camp in Germany.

Or in the year 1666, I read that many people thought that was the end of the world, being that it was the year of triple sixes. Even many people thought in 1988 that we would be caught up then.

Now many believers are  talking (and arguing!) about the Revelation 12 sign in the constellation of Virgo. This Saturday, September 23, on the Feast of Trumpets the planet Jupiter will exit the womb of the constellaton Virgo. All the features of Revelation 12: 1-2 will be in place in this particular sign from the heavens.

"Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.
Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.
And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.
His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.
She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne."
                    Revelation 12: 1-5

So many, many in the Body of Christ believe that possibly this might be the day that the Church, whom they say is the Child, (not the male Child, who is Christ) will be caught up to meet the Lord. Even the word for "caught up" is harpazo, the same Greek word used in I Thessalonians 4:17:

"Then we who are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord."
The point of this blog is not to argue that this is going to happen this weekend. But the surrealities among us with hurricanes, monsoons, people losing their minds, artificial intelligence, Israel being back in the land and so forth sure sounds like the end of the end times. In Luke 21: 25, Jesus described these end times and they sound just like today's headlines:
"And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;
"men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
"Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
"Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."
Oh, and by the way, today, September 21, 2017 just happens to be the UN's International Day of Peace. No matter that it says I Thessalonians 5:2-3:

"For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape."
Though there have been many arguments about this Revelation 12 sign, and what it means, it seems the Body of Christ has become polarized over this very issue. I have not wanted to say much about it, for fear of others scoffing at me, if the truth were known. 

With all that, I believe that the catching up could happen this weekend. Or it could happen later this fall. Maybe even later than that. God Himself knows the perfect time, and that is enough for me.

I am not going to stake my claim on a particular day, but I do want to be ready. For even though this seemingly absurd event called the Rapture is scoffed at by the world, it is going to happen. My greatest test is overcoming the lukewarm test, being blase or consumed with arguing with others about the whole thing.

The only way I can do this is to keep looking to my gracious Lord and Savior. Though there are millions of distractions: books, movies, tweets, facebook posts and snapchats, He calls me simply to bear His yoke daily. Bearing it is the most wonderful and gracious thing I ever get privileged to do. The yoke that Christ asks me to wear is, in the Greek, chrestos (5543 Strong's). 

"Christ's yoke is chrestos, as having nothing harsh or galling about it." (page 2327, Hebrew Greek Key Word Study Bible, ESV, 2013)
Let's just work on being ready for that Day.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Jesus: Don't Leave Earth Without Him

"And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,
people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken." Luke 21: 25-26

Do you remember the credit card commerical jingle: "Don't leave home without it?"

I was thinking today of our brief stay on this planet, and then the moment of our death. Right now, it seems like we will be here forever. But think of those who went before us who thought the same thing, and now are no longer here. They made an exit from this life, and according to God's Word,  have gone to only one of two places: heaven or hell.

Much in all as people don't like to talk or even think about hell, it seems Jesus talked more about hell than He did heaven. So, as I mused this morning, what will it be like when we have our final heartbeat on this planet? We will go to one of those places.

JESUS: Don't leave earth without HIM! Yet, there is this:

On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' Matthew 7: 22-23

 So sobering. To whom was the Lord referring? I mean, these people claimed to know Him, but He tells them He never knew them!

I can't help but think that these people were so called good, upstanding members of their community. But they did not know Jesus. They somehow counted on their own good works to give them credit with God. They thought that perhaps they were better than some that were criminals, and somehow that would give them the ability to cite their own good works before God.

But in Revelation 20, Jesus, though the Apostle John,  talks of a throne, not of mercy but of judgment. At this throne, those that thought somehow they had done enough good works will have them measured in the light of God's justice. And no one, no one at that throne will be found to have enough good works to save him..

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.*
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.
And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.
Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.     Revelation 20: 11-15 (* my emphasis)

To me, these are the somberest words in the Bible. They say nothing of "universal reconciliation." Why are they in God's Word if  not true?

Look at all the chaos and destruction swirling around us. Signs in the heavens, signs in the oceans, men's hearts failing them from fear, people losing their minds. Maybe this will continue to go on for years, but then again maybe it will not. Maybe it will all come down, and come down soon. 

If it does, do you know for a fact that your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life? Have you trusted in His free and irrevocable gift? You can, right here and right now. This is really good news!

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.
For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.
And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.
Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice
and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.  John 5: 24-29

I am rereading a great book called Earthquake Resurrection. The author, David W. Lowe, contends that the sixth seal of the book of Revelation will occur when the resurrection of all dead believers  will suddenly be snatched out from their tombs.  Then we who are alive and remain will meet them together in the air and then forever will be with the Lord. See I Thessalonians 4:16.

The earthquake will be as no other earthquake, as the shaking will be from every part of the earth. It will occur (though much larger) just as there was an earthquake when our Lord was risen by the Father from the dead.

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised,
and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!" Matthew 27: 51-54

Today, if you only are willing, you can take Jesus' water of life freely and without cost. (Revelation 22:17) The price of this great salvation has been completely borne by Him in His love for you. He won't force you, but while it is still called Today, you can make the choice to believe on Him.

Then when you leave this earth, whether by resurrection or by death, you will be sure not to leave without Him. You will not have to stand in terror at the Great White Throne, for your name will be in the Lamb's Book of Life. You will be counted among the glorious saints of God. Amen.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Harvey's Overcomers

The LORD [is] your keeper; The LORD [is] your shade at your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. Psalm 121: 5-6

A gem of wisdom from the pulpit caught my attention: "If you're not happy just where you are with just what you have you will never be happy no matter where you are or what you have."

 That one little thought has saved me many times. The lie is that if I just had that one more thing I want, then I could then be happy. But we all know that even the richest people, the ones that have everything still are not satisfied. If I have the Lord, then I have what I need, no matter what I apparently lack in comparison with others. 

 The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. Psalm 23:1

I realized today that God has seen fit to order my life in just such a way that is perfect for me, to keep me leaning hard on God. God took all the quirks of my personality and temperament and came up with a plan that is optimal so that I could keep seeking Him. Even my infirmities add up to help bring about something good.

Friends,  relatives, and acquaintances did not have the same need I did, and God worked in their life a different way. How intimately God knows and deals with each one of us, His children.

Years ago I talked with a godly man with a premise that God does everything He can in each person's circumstances so that they might cry out to Him and be saved. That does not mean that all mankind will, but that's God's heart toward them. Some might need to endure persecution, others might need to realize the emptiness of riches without Christ. But God knows what each one needs, and if He went to the utmost to give His Son for us on the cross, then why wouldn't He  work in the backgrounds of all of our circumstances to try to get our attention?

O earth, earth, earth, Hear the word of the LORD! Jeremiah 22:29

If this is true, then  if there are things in my life that I don't like, I rest, somehow knowing He uses these things for my highest and best purpose. They can draw me eve closer to Him in this little entity called time.

I watched a beautiful news clip from some of the survivors of Hurricane Harvey. Gathered in a shelter together, they spontaneously began singing a praise song to God and even calling out to God for revival. Now, that's trusting Him to have control of things, even when their homes were destroyed and they lost verything but the clothes on their backs. Instead of becoming contentious and angry, God's promise made them content, even surviving a once in a millenium type of flood. They witness to us the preciousness of God's promises:

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
 So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" Hebrews 13: 5-6

Before the watching world, Harvey's overcomers displayed God's truth:

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;  Psalm 46: 1-2: