Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Jesus, the Only Way - By pastor Mike Taylor -
1:1 " In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."(John 1:1-5)
The world at large has trouble with explaining who Jesus of Nazareth was and is, Christian and unbelievers, as well. Who was this Man, called Jesus of Nazareth, called the Christ (Messiah) and how is He different than all the other so called holy men of other religions? When asked by non-believers why they believe in this historical Man, many have trouble explaining why they believe except to say "Jesus was the Son of God."
That statement is so very true, but to an agnostic or atheist, it doesn't explain why we put so much trust in a person who lived 2000 years ago. Many of these doubters believe that Jesus was a myth, or that He was something other than what we know and believe that He was who He said He was. As John opened his book in the Gospels, John in five verses encapsulated who Jesus Christ was. John called Him, the Word. Before time began for human beings, The Word was with God, and WAS God. Before Jesus who was God becoming a man and lowered Himself to becoming flesh and empting Himself of His glorious nature and becoming a servant in the form of sinful flesh, the incarnate Christ was God, from everlasting to everlasting. Without time, without the constraints that you and I experience, and was called the great I AM, that I AM when He appeared to Moses in the burning bush.
There is much written about this Man who lived 2000 years ago. Most of it is found in the many witnesses who wrote about Him in your bible. Historically, Josephus wrote of Him, but only to witness that Jesus was indeed, a very real person in his time. First we have to decide, do we believe their witness from different men who saw, touched, and lived with Jesus for 3.5 years during His ministry on earth? Each of these men tell the same story, but from a different perspective. The Bible is a record of the prophecies that concerned a coming Messiah that began in Genesis and runs through the whole of the Bible until the end of man's rule recorded in the last book of the Bible, Revelation.
BY FAITH WE BELEIVE IN THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD
I had a dear brother write me and explain why a believer believes in God the Son, the Savior of the world:
"Can anyone "prove" Jesus lived and died for the sins of the world? No, not any more than one can prove the stuff in the can that says "Campbell's Mushroom Soup" really is mushroom soup. Unless we actually see the soup being made and put into the can (which depends on our senses telling us the right thing) the best we can do is to rely on evidence, either from other people or our own when we bought another can of mushroom soup last week, opened it, heated it up and discovered it was indeed mushroom soup!
This is a very simple example of historical evidence, which is what
we have to use to learn about Jesus because we didn't live in his time
or place. For me, the historical evidence is compelling, and there is,
to my knowledge, more for this than Tiberius Caesar.
There are two key elements which I regard the strongest:
1) The inability of his enemies to "trot out the body" which would have
totally destroyed the Resurrection account and cleared up the matter
once and for all.
2) The totally changed aspect of his disciples who had once fled and hid in terror but boldly and publicly proclaimed Jesus' words and the
accounts of his life and resurrection after the fact.
These men, except for John who was sent to Patmos as punishment for preaching Jesus, died for what they reported. I don't know anyone who will die for something they do not believe is true themselves. (Of
course they might have been mistaken - people have died for lies, but
only when they thought they were true.) But with all the other
evidence, it certainly seems they had good reason - and so do we - to
believe their message.
The "impossibility" of the resurrection and all the other miracles is
dealt with by faith and a very frank assessment that we as human beings are not omniscient, something that our very nature often rebels about admitting.
Two hundred years ago I'm sure that we could find all kinds of expert scientists who would tell you that the flight of human beings in a heavier than air vehicle was totally impossible, too.
Since the complexity of the universe and life itself points to a
"Designer," then why not go the extra step and decide that he can also
decide to step in a change something in the design to allow what we
would call a miracle to happen?
There were two other passages, John 3:1-8 and John 6:53-56, which to this day have led to what I believe is an unresolved debate. John 3:1-8 has been interpreted to mean one must be water baptized as part of the "salvation formula."
John 6:53-56 has been interpreted to mean one must also have Holy
Communion to be saved as well. Unfortunately such entities as the Roman Catholic Church, and even the Anglican Church to some degree, has too often used these interpretations to get a stranglehold over their flocks. You step out of line, you get excommunicated. That means, no communion for you, and you'll end up in hell because of that. Likewise, without baptism, best thing you can hope for is limbo.
The main problem here becomes the evolution of "works-based salvation" which Jesus and Paul soundly refuted over and over again. Paul's letter the Galatians is a wonderful treatise on this topic.
On the flip side, an interpretation I tend to agree with is that John
3:6 is the explanation of John 3:5. To be saved, you must first be
physically born, and then, at the age of accountability, accept Jesus at
which time the Holy Spirit comes to live in you and through you. Now
there is a spiritual baptism that not only surrounds you, but dwells
within you, too.
Regarding John 6:53-54, if literally taken really does sound pretty
extreme. I am sure these verses factor prominently into the false Roman concept of "Transubstantiation." The communion itself becomes an object of "adoration" and, as we saw before, salvation. Sounds like idolatry to me!
Notice Jesus used these words even before instituting what we call
Communion today. That means what he was saying was already true when He said it. If we look ahead, to verse 58, we see Jesus explain what He really meant - that he is the bread from heaven, the sustenance which will last one for all eternity. This actually reinforces what he said back in John 6:28-29 - belief is the key!"(thank you , my brother Ed.)
WHY WAS THE BIBLE WRITTEN?
The Bible was written for one reason and one reason only. It was written as a prophecy and a witness to the coming of the Messiah to redeem man from his fallen state. It's all about Jesus the Christ. It's was God's plan for redeeming mankind from the fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve who chose to believe the lies of Satan and choose their own will, instead of being obedient to the will of God. In Genesis, you will find the first prophecy concerning the coming of a Savior.3:15 "And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel."(Genesis 3:15)
A major theme of the Old Testament is the coming of the Messiah. From Genesis 3:15 through Malachi 4:2, prophecies of the coming of the Savior fill God's Word, the gospel writers show time and again how Jesus fulfilled the prophets' predictions in His actions or in the actions of those around Him. Matthew, especially, makes a conscious point to highlight many Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus' life. Of all the prophecies in the Old Testament account, and there was 250+ prophecies of a coming Savior of mankind, Jesus fulfilled every one of them. The probability of one man fulfilling every prediction and every detail about His birth, His life, His death, and His resurrection have a improbability of infinity of being fulfilled by One Man. But Jesus certainly did fulfill them all..
In our Bible, we have 66 books, written by 40 different authors, spanning nearly 2500 years and all with one theme, the coming of the Messiah and the redemption of mankind. To have such a harmony between books, between authors, the majority of whom never met, gives strong evidence that there is only One author, and that is Almighty God. It was God's love letter to mankind for his salvation and being restored in fellowship to God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
HOW IS JESUS DIFFERENT?
When a person makes a comparison of other "holy men" and compares that man in another religion with the Messiah of the Bible, the differences are striking. Men of other religions, no matter whether it's Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism , Taoism, or whatever -ism, each try to have the person raise themselves to a higher plane of consciousness to save themselves by works of piety or sacrifice. Only Jesus Christ is different. When the disciple Thomas asked Jesus to show us the way to the Father, Jesus stated plainly:
14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him."(John 14:6-7)
Jesus plainly stated that there is no way that a man can come to God the Father, except through Him. No amount of meditation, no matter amount of good works, and no holy man of other religions can make you acceptable before a Holy God.
Why is there no other way to come to be in the same existence as Almighty God and come into His presence? Paul proclaims it and it agrees with what the Apostle Paul declared in Romans:
3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (emphasis mine)
3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (substitution) through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."(Romans 3:22-26)
The bible is full of declaration such as those mentioned above. All profess and proclaim that there is no other way to salvation and enter into the presence of the Ancient of Days, God the Father, but by this One Man, who is God in the flesh glorified.
I call these declarations found in your bible, nuggets of the saving grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Each should be used to introduce the only chance a person has to be forgiven of their sins, and should be shared with all who will listen given by the believer in Jesus Christ, called the Christian. Let's examine just a few of the many, many scriptures that could be shared with that loved one, that co-worker, or that friend who asked you, "Why do you believe in Jesus Christ?"
God's Saving Plan of Grace
2:8 " For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."(Ephesians 2:8-10)
Faith's importance to salvation is accentuated by this verse. Faith plays a role in the entire process until we enter God's Kingdom. It is the sum of what God is doing in our lives: "Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God that you believe in Him whom He sent'" (John 6:29). In the fourth and fifth chapters of Romans, we read Paul mentioning faith a dozen times, almost all concerning justification, being made righteous or having access to grace, and thus, having the hope of the glory of God.
Jesus, when He was speaking to Nicodemus, the Pharisee that came to Him by night, He proclaimed His mission:
3:11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
3:12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: (the cross)
3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."(John 3:11-18)
The root and the trunk of the born again doctrine found in the bible is found in John chapter 3. The other gospel writers do not expressly say it, but provide supporting evidence of this essential truth. In this gospel, John starts by proclaiming the divinity of Jesus Christ, as John the Beloved Apostle talks of light, darkness, baptism, and the Temple of God in the first three chapters of the Gospel of John. Symbolism is used to illustrate the spiritual with the physical. Many of the symbols Jesus uses are understood by the people Jesus spoke to. Nicodemus, was one who could not understand the concept of being "born again." Notice what Nicodemus says when Jesus tells him, ye, must be born again:
3:3 " Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."(John 3:3-8)
Nicodemus was thinking in the physical, not the spiritual application of what Jesus was saying. He did not understand that this physical body must be changed from mortal into an immortal when raised from the dead, or changed at His coming in the twinkling of an eye at the Rapture of the Bride of Christ, the Church. Notice how Jesus says we will be when He changes us in verse 8? We will be like the wind that blows through the trees. Jesus when He was raised from the dead was able to walk through walls, but could eat and drink. So it will be with us. Till we become immortal, we have the promise of the redemption of our bodies into immortality by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Nicodemus did not understand the concept of being born of Spirit and water. Water, being the symbolism of being baptized by immersion into a symbolic grave. We are lowered into the water, as symbol of the grave, buried with Jesus Christ and raised to newness of life, a new creature that we should walk in obedience to the commands of God as spoken by Jesus.
When Jesus proclaimed the spiritual truth in a physical way to the masses in the synagogue at Caperneum:
48 "I am that bread of life.
49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him."(John 6:48-56)
Thinking in physical terms, this idea repulsed most of the disciples and those who heard and many left Him, as they didn't understand the spiritual application of the New Covenant of His death and resurrection and symbolized when we take the bread and the wine at the Lord's Supper and commemorating this act of total surrender for our redemption.
If you want to know the man, Jesus Christ, you need to start at the Gospel in the New Testament that proclaimed His divinity, His earthly ministry, and His death leading to His resurrection, as the first born of the dead. That Gospel is John. John uses the last days of Jesus ministry leading to the cross to illustrate who Jesus was, and what He did for all mankind. If you wish to understand how God the Son came down from glory and became a man with only one mission, to save mankind, then you must start at John and study the witnessed account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ up close and personal. Then read the surrounding gospels that support it, and read into the Pauline epistles of the man who met Jesus in His glorified state and how it changed his life.
Paul continues the story in his epistles when he spoke of Jesus in Romans:
5:6 "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."(Romans 5:6-9)
Paul mentions in v. 6, that we were yet without strength. Without strength means "powerless." Before our justification by Christ's sacrifice, we had no way to appeal to God for vindication. In our guilt, we could not stand before Him. The death sentence was upon us, till we were justified by His blood by believing on God's only Begotten Son.
God made a way, through Jesus that we could be justified:
6:44 "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
6:46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life."(John 6:44-47)
God in His sovereignty draws who He wills to Him via His Holy Spirit. To reject that call is to endanger your spiritual condition. Will the call come again? Will you have a chance to believe on Jesus a second time around? God knows, but we do not. What does it say?
9:26 " For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."(Hebrews 9:26-28)
The time of the open window for accepting Jesus Christ is coming to a close in this dispensational age, the Age of Grace. To enter into the next dispensation of God's wrath has untold amount of suffering and tribulation. Jesus made a statement in John that God has given Him full authority to enact judgment because of His willing sacrifice as was written in John 3:16-18:5:26 "For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
5:27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good (accepted Jesus Christ), unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (denied His invitation of salvation)"(John 5:26-29)
The Holy Spirit convicts each person that He will and knocks upon the door of the individual's heart, as noted in Revelation chapter 3 when addressing the Laodecian church of the last days:
3:20 " Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."(Revelation3:20-21)
Not just a Holy Man, but a Holy God that is different from any "holy man" from any other religion who proclaim as their leader. All others will land you short of heavens door, but unlike as it is with the spokes of a wheel, each spoke leading to the axle, other religions, other spokes of an axle do not lead to that One source (God), there is only one way to spend eternity with God, and that is believing on Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, who lived, died (shedding His blood for the salvation of the world, to all who believe what He did), and rose again to ascend to the right hand of God the Father and has all authority in heaven and on earth to bring men out of their graves, some to eternal life, some to everlasting torment. Which side will you choose?
WHAT WILL YOUR DECISION BE?
I call upon all who read this message, who is Jesus Christ in your life? Is He just some enigma that you find unable to understand with your mind. Do you use His name rarely accept in an expletive? If He is so unimportant to you and the world, why is the world so consumed by Him, unlike other "holy men."? Could it be that He was right, and the Bible is true? If it's not true, why do you not just dismiss it, but see you can't, because He is a part of us all....How you say? He created you and I. He longs for His creation and He longs to spend eternity with you. God has this in mind for all who will believe and who will not believe:
,3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up."(2nd Peter 3:9-10)
He wants you in His family. Won't you hear His voice and make that decision to believe on the "One whom God has sent?" Because Jesus IS the Savior of the world, even you if you let Him.
8 "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;
9 "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.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 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.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."(Romans 10:8-13)
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying God's Salvation in your life. If there is anything I can help you with, pray with you about, counsel you with, or just a listening ear, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, God bless you all, till we meet at Jesus feet.
Perish the Thought - By Jerry McDermott - https://www.raptureready.com/2019/06/04/perish-thought-jerry-mcdermott/
While we do not use the word perish in everyday conversations, the Bible is replete with numerous usages of the word. Perhaps the most familiar is "Whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16). He re-emphasizes this incredible promise in one of his epistles: "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life" (1 John 5:13a). Furthermore, Peter repeats the Lord's will that He doesn't want any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
I want to establish this fact to contradict any belief that death is the absolute cessation of life. There are those who believe this in order to justify a wanton life without any judgment or complications. Sorry, but there is an afterlife; in fact, there are two distinct subsequent lifestyles. More about this later.
For now, let us examine the meaning of the word perish. The number one meaning according to Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary is "to die unseasonably through violence." Since this is an Old English phrase, it is understandable when you consider the numerous wars in England becoming a nation. Another definition is "to suffer spiritual death" which is better suited to our purpose.
Just considering the word perish, a hopelessness arises. Am I to be no more? What about my family? Will my demise erase a legendary life? Rest easy; the entire purpose of Rapture Ready is to generate a wonderful hope, in fact a Blessed Hope. Therefore, perish the thought that you will perish.
God created us with a body, soul and spirit in which only the body can be degraded. The soul and spirit, being immaterial, will endure forever. The question is, where will the eternal sojourn be located? While the answer is twofold, Heaven or Hell, the reality is we, as individuals, make the choice. We have already given a clue above when the Lord expressed His wish for people to confess their sins and choose Him as Lord and Savior, the meaning of repentance.
Geographically, the Lord even gave a picture of the wide road to Hell and the narrow road to heaven. As usual, scripture does not leave us in the dark, but shows us the future: "The Son of man will dispatch His angels to collect from His kingdom all who draw others to apostasy and all evil doers. His angels will hurl them into the fiery furnace where they will wail and grind their teeth" (Matthew 13:41-42).
Paul also explained that, when the Lord is revealed with His mighty angels, He will inflict punishment on those who do not acknowledge God nor heed the good news of our Lord Jesus (2 Thessalonians 1:8). There will be darkness, gloom and total separation from God and love. By contrast, the redeemed of Christ will bask in the heavenly glow of our Lord's glory.
We have examined both heavenly joy and the condemnation of rejecting God. Overall, our major concern should be a life with God in this world as well as the heavenly world of His glory. However, this is not possible without accepting God's plan of salvation. Paul does a masterful job of summarizing the requirement: "For if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). In other words, you are Born Again; you have received salvation, and you will not perish in the depths of Hell.
You know, timing is everything and is especially true of your salvation. This is so true as you do not know when our Lord will return for His Church. Therefore, your decision is definitely time-sensitive. The reason is that your decision to accept Christ is only possible in our earthly lifetime. Afterward is the judgment: up or down!
Something else to consider is called the Tribulation which is the time after the Rapture - the event where Jesus receives His church in the clouds and brings us to heaven. The Tribulation is literally hell on earth for seven years before Jesus returns to earth to rule and reign. Tribulation starts when the anti-christ signs a peace treaty with Israel. You can read the details in Revelation, but a quick summary is war, death, famine, pestilence, beheadings, and every malady possible. In addition, the wrath of God is poured out in this time frame. The time of the start of the Tribulation is unknown. However, the beginnings are indeed known; and in fact, some are happening now.
Our loving Lord does not leave us clueless as He revealed: "I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times what is still to come" (Isaiah 46:10-NIV). Therefore, here are some commentaries about the Tribulation:
"It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since nations began until that time" (Daniel 12:1).
"Those days will be more filled with anguish than any from the beginning of the world unto now or in all ages to come" (Matthew 24:21).
"Those times will be more distressful than any between God's work of creation and now and from all time to come" (Mark 13:19).
"Do not forget this: there will be terrible times in the last days" (2 Timothy 3:1).
These warnings from the Word of God could not be clearer. Now is the time to accept God's plan of salvation.
Obviously, the chance of living through this period is minimal. Therefore, how would you like to be absent before this period?
This is possible by turning to the Lord now before the Rapture happens. The new you will escape as a church member. I don't mean to take this giant step lightly as a "Ho Hum, I guess I'll think about it." I mean a realistic loving acceptance of what Jesus has done for us. Think about the glory of heaven versus the wretchedness of Hell.
Have you ever wondered why Heaven is gloriously lit while Hell is the total aspect of gloom? The answer is very simple as Jesus Christ is the Light of the world, not the deceiver of the world. The latter title belongs to Satan.
We have examined the twofold nature of eternity, concentrating somewhat on the Hellish aspect. The positive aspect has many myths such as sitting on a cloud with a harp. Another one is a gigantic stadium with Jesus in the middle saying something. Some say, "Well, forever is a really long time," but that is not correct as there is no time in eternity. With these in mind, I asked Jesus what is eternity? The answer Jesus gave is so loving and complete. He replied,
"What is forever? It is a moment with me that never ceases. You already know how to praise me, how to love me and accept my love. But forever began when you accepted me; and it never stops, yet it seems like a minute, for we share such oneness. I long for you as you long for me, and yet we are one in spite of such longing and desire. Now I will tell you something: there is so much more of my infinite love that you cannot imagine. You think you know love now. I tell you, it has just begun, for I have so many things planned for my people. You will be amazed at the depth of my love for those who, up to now, are not even aware of my love. Help me build the kingdom to join you as friends and fellow believers. I will help you. Fear not" (November 30, 2008).
I believe everyone should take comfort from these words as Jesus proclaims that our individual eternity begins when we accept Him and that His love is a personal love. For those people afraid of dying, this should provide hope and consolation. Only our Lord, living in a timeless heaven, could answer my question in a way that we who are bound by time could understand.
Regardless of the timing for the forthcoming Rapture, the time for decision is now. Choose Jesus Christ as Lord to become Born Again.
Many naysayers portray the Born-Again event as escapism. Absolutely; nothing could be truer. If we deny Jesus here, He will deny us before His Father. Our faith in Christ has helped us endure the 24-hour modern portrayal of sin in a rancid culture.
The godless, socialistic, left Democratic Party is not the same political party we witnessed years ago. Have you forgotten the abortion statistics we have endured? How about the incessant portrayal of the radiant happiness of same-sex couples or the LBGT bathroom epics? The harangue of women's rights versus the non-rights of future human beings is another fairly popular news item. And how can we explain the number of stars or elites who pose naked for some cause or other?
Perhaps the most annoying daily jab is the Fake News. That sounds too nice. Why not call it the ongoing lies repeated across the airways? As we await the Rapture of the church, we are fortunate that some pastors are revealing the Rupture of the church as biblical truths are being side-stepped or forgotten for political reasons.
The point not to miss is that Christians are now being martyred across the world. Also, the people of the forthcoming Rapture are indeed saints for having withstood an evil counter-culture in a godless society and still kept the faith. If you haven't absorbed this, consider the aspects of a recently U.S. House-passed Equality Act. According to Natural News for May 22, 2019, this bill if passed by Congress will be the first stage to criminalize Christianity (Rapture Ready May 25, 2019). For all these reasons, Born-Again Christians are indeed the Heroes of the Rapture.
Paul reveals the Rapture in a straightforward manner with the dead preceding the living to meet Jesus in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Perhaps the reality could be so much more. No doubt the trumpet blast by an archangel will get our attention to look skyward. Suddenly, there is Jesus seen in all His glory with His eyes ablaze with love, His arms extended, calling believers to Him. Can you imagine the explosion of joy and love in us in the millisecond before we join our Lord?
Our Rapture to glory is also the final loving gesture of Jesus for His church. This is due to the end of the Church Age which is absent from heaven as the glory of Jesus is omnipresent. When we join our Lord for His second coming, we will be part of the Heavenly Host.
The Price of Your Soul - Nathele Graham - email@example.com
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.
What tempts you? We all have our weak points and quite often fail in our walk with the Lord. Temptations can cause us to wrestle with ourselves as to whether or not to give in to the lust or be strong and resist the temptation. If that temptation involves sin, giving in shouldn't be an option in a Christians heart. It's natural for a person to want certain things, but those "things" shouldn't rule our lives. Hollywood is filled with people who want fame and fortune, but are never satisfied and crave more. So many of them commit suicide. I've heard many interviews in which these rich and glamorous people have stated that they had sold their soul to the Devil to gain their celebrity status. Some interviews are even interrupted by the demon who possess the star. How sad. In reality these people have gained nothing. "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Mark 8:36-37. The temporary riches of this life aren't worth the price of eternity in Hell.
To our human minds there are some people who are beyond salvation. Many people come to mind who just seem evil. Maybe they are. Maybe they have lusted after the things of this world, which is run by Satan, for so long that they are consumed by their lust. Satan's lie hasn't changed over the years. When he deceived Eve he accused God of lying and repressing her and Adam. "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:5. Today we see movie stars, rock stars, sports stars, and others who are idolized and worshipped. They have money, fame, and are as gods. When they die, and they will, they leave it all here. Those who lust after the riches of this satanic world have paid the price of eternal death. Is there any hope? Nobody is beyond the love of God. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8. Jesus met a man in Gadera who had a legion of demons possessing him, but cast those demons into swine and released the man from their power. There are only two eternal choices and they must be made on this side of the grave: Follow Satan or follow Christ. Satan wants you to die, but Jesus Christ gave His life for you to live. No matter what you've done and no matter how long you've lived in your sin, the blood of Jesus will cleanse you and give you eternal life. When you accept His sacrifice you need to turn away from your sin and move away from the temptations of lust. Take up your cross and follow Jesus.
What does it mean to take up your cross? Many people think it means to face problems in life without stumbling or grumbling. That could be. Jesus certainly faced the challenges He encountered and didn't stumble or grumble. Maybe it means to take responsibility for what you've done. People who were crucified usually had committed one crime or another and paid the price by being crucified. For instance, the Gospel of Mark says Barabbas faced crucifixion because he committed murder among other crimes, but the people voted to free him and crucify Jesus instead. In that day and time, people saw many people carrying their cross on the way to being executed and were well aware that the cross meant death. Jesus had made it clear that those who followed Him had to take up their cross. "And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me" Mark 8:34. Jesus didn't mean that anyone who follows Him must be crucified, but it does mean that we must deny "self". Denying self is not the same as self-denial. Self-denial is when you choose to fast for a day or deny yourself certain things. Denying self is when you turn the lusts of the flesh that cause you to sin over to Christ and turn away from them. When we accept Christ for salvation all our sins are forgiven, but that's not a free pass to continue in sin. Satan knows how to cause a person to stumble. If alcohol addiction, drug addiction, pornography addiction, etc. is your sin, you'll find strength in Jesus to turn from it. "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." 1 John 2:16. When Jesus gave His life it was a once for all sacrifice for sin. He paid the price to redeem your soul. Take up your cross, deny self, and follow Him.
The longer we walk with Jesus and deny our carnal lusts, the easier it is to stay on that narrow path and follow Him. You have to choose to grow stronger by keeping your eyes on Jesus. Athletes have their eye on the goal of winning a race and train to win. They know what's required to reach that goal and are willing to deny themselves. They go to bed early then rise early to train for their race. They exercise to strengthen their muscles even if they don't feel like it. They eat a diet that's designed to help them gain strength rather than cheeseburgers and fries. This is all part of training to succeed. Christians also need to train. "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible." 1 Corinthians 9:24-25. When a person accepts Christ, their goals in life should change. Instead of lusting after a shiny new car or a prettier girlfriend, the goal should be to honor Christ. Maybe you have a goal to get rich. God doesn't have a problem with a Christian having money, but what if His will for your life isn't that you be rich? Then you take up your cross and deny self and submit to the will of God. His plan is always the best.
You train to walk your Christian walk by knowing Christ. We learn to know Him better by studying Scripture. From Genesis through Revelation we need to study Scripture. Do you have time to study God's word? You do if you take up your cross and deny self. Most people find time to watch TV or spend time with friends. Most of what you watch on television is not of God and can cause you to stumble. Commercials put temptation in front of you...buy a new car, drink that beer, buy those fancy clothes. If you spend time with worldly friends they won't help you walk in the ways of the Lord. "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities." 2 Peter 2:9-11. News programs are filled with people who despise the government and who are self-willed. These things aren't edifying to a Christian and we need to look at all things through the lens of Scripture. Make a habit of praying. Not the "name it and claim it" prayers, but the Lord's Prayer type of prayer. Seek His will in Scripture and through prayer. Then deny self and walk His path. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice , holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:1-2. Present your body and self-will to Christ and don't be swayed by the ways of the world.
You're valuable. No matter who you are, how old you are, or where you live, you are valuable in the eyes of the Lord. When Adam sinned God could have washed His hands of humanity and just let Adam and Eve die in their sin and started over. That's not the nature of God and eternal separation from His creation wasn't His plan. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23. God didn't want Adam to sin but knew he would. He doesn't want you to sin, but knows you will. That's why Jesus took up the cross and shed His blood. Accepting His sacrifice is the only way to gain eternal life. Stop choosing sin and choose righteousness through Jesus Christ.
The temporary pleasures found in the lust of the flesh will never bring happiness nor peace. "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." Galatians 5:16. Jesus paid the price to redeem your soul on the cross. Take up your cross, deny self, and follow Him.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham's previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
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Daily Jot: The fake reasons behind gun control - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
You don't hear more calls for gun control from the Democrat-controlled bosses in Chicago after the city's most violent weekend-not in history, but just this year-where 52 people were shot, and 8 of them died. That's because Illinois and Chicago are among the most gun-controlled areas in the nation. Last weekend's gun-related violence in the windy city is a testimony to gun control-only the criminals get them, and by and large, only the criminals use them. Now in Virginia, it's a different story. Neo Communist Democratic Governor Ralph Northam is calling for stringent gun control after a shooting in Virginia Beach by a disgruntled government employee left 12 dead. The weapons used by the shooter were bought legally, indicating that the background checks, etc., used to control gun purchases don't work. But that doesn't matter.
In fact, a study of gun control laws in the 50 states conducted by researchers at Harvard and Boston Universities indicated that neither assault weapons nor handguns owned by homeowners increase homicide rates. The study analyzed the relationship between 10 state firearm laws and total, age-adjusted (firearm) homicide and suicide rates from 1991-2016, which included 1,222 observations of homicide analysis. The author of the study, Michael Siegel, professor of community health sciences at Boston University, told futurity.org in an interview that "tight regulation of who has access to firearms, rather than the type of firearms that are allowed, differentiates states with the lowest rates of homicides."
Siegel said, "Laws regulating the sale of assault weapons are unlikely to have a large impact on homicide rates, because these weapons are used in only a very small proportion of homicides. The vast majority of firearm homicides in the United States are committed with handguns...About 99.9 percent of all [gun-related deaths] in the United States are either suicides, unintentional shootings, or non-mass shooting homicides-non of which will be eliminated by getting rid of assault weapons...In contrast, laws that restrict access to firearms among those people who are at the greatest risk for violence-namely, people with a history of violence-are intervening among a subpopulation of people who are likely to commit crimes."
This flies in the face of the neo-communist narrative that guns must be banned and the US population disarmed to stop mass murders and other homicides. Yet, they keep beating the drum of disarmament. Disarming America makes the communist coup easier, and that's why they lie about guns. Guns can be used for good purposes, such as protection against the criminal element, or for bad purposes by the criminal element. The study shows that it is the character of the person using the gun, not the gun itself, who is the problem. As Christ said in Matthew 7:17, "Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit." Criminal character and lying politicians are both fruit of corrupt trees.
Daily Devotion: The Original 120 - by Greg Laurie -
They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus. - Acts 1:14
The book of Acts is the story of a handful of men and women who, by the power of the Holy Spirit, did not leave their world the same way they found it. They were ordinary people who, empowered by the Spirit, were able to do extraordinary things.
This was the beginning of a movement that continues to this day, because the book of Acts is the story of the life-transforming move of the Spirit of God changing the lives of those who encounter Him. Thus, it is an unfinished book.
I am not suggesting, of course, that we add new chapters to the book of Acts. But we should not put a period where God has put a comma. God is still working, and in a sense, these acts of the Holy Spirit are still being recorded in our day.
The book of Acts was written to cover a period of church history spanning about thirty years. As we read it, we basically see nonstop action. One chapter ends with a miracle, and another begins with something supernatural taking place. Thus, we might falsely conclude these first-century believers had miracles at every moment.
I don't think that was necessarily the case. I think they, like us, had many days of simply walking by faith and applying biblical principles as they sought to obey God. Yet the book of Acts is the record of the intervention of the Holy Spirit, where He did amazing things here and there as He chose to do them. It is the record of the Spirit of God working through the Word of God in the hearts and lives of the people of God.
And within thirty years, this original group of 120 Christians and their converts were able to change the world.
FROM THE HEART
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