Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Bride of Christ Raptured Before the Tribulation - By Pastor Mike Taylor - https://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2020/09/the-bride-of-christ-raptured-before.html
8" But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him." (1st Corinthians 5:8-10)
9 "For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come." (1st Thessalonians 1:9-10)
The above passages has been used many, many times to support the doctrine of a HARPAZO, or the redemption of the Church when Jesus comes for His own before the Tribulation starts. It is popularly called the RAPTURE. This doctrine has been in existence since the 1st century, but was forgotten because of the rising of a Gnostic church in the Middle Ages, that hid those facts from the people, due to its lust for power on earth. It was not again revealed and re-discovered until the 18th century, and was designed by God for the End of Age, the age we live in right now.
SOME MOCK THAT THE RAPTURE IS AN ESCAPE HATCH
Some take issue with that concept, saying "are we any better than the apostles, or the untold amount of men down through the ages that suffered persecution?" They are referring to the coming Tribulation and why are we exempt from this time? Their mocking of the rapture as being an escape hatch from persecution, but fail to understand that the removal of the church is not an escape but a fulfillment of the promises of God and we have VICTORY IN JESUS over this sinful world.
The answer to that question they propose of course is no, we are not better than than those who have suffered persecution from mortal men, but in these last days of the government of men over their own affairs, God has promised us something they did not have. We are separated from the coming wrath of God by time and space. That is the difference between them and us. Down through the ages, there have always been men who would bring harm and even death to other men over religious beliefs. Men have always persecuted other men, and that doesn't mean we won't see some form of persecution before Jesus comes, but we keep our faith that Jesus will protect His own, based on the clear meanings of Psalms 91, which I proclaim to all who are His own.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling."(Psalm 91:3-10)
TIME WHEN MEN PERSECUTED THOSE WHO WOULD NOT BOW
I am reminded of the Dark Ages, when a ruling theocracy slaughtered untold amount of people for the quest and lust for power over other men, and destroyed all who would not bend the knee to its rule. But down through the ages, you cannot find, or point to in the Bible an instance where those who follow after our God, our Lord and Savior, have experienced the wrath of the Almighty falling on their heads. Many Biblical stories chronicle how God has a Divine habit of removing His chosen people out of the way, when His wrath against rebellious mankind falls on them.
Speaking of the Dark Ages, this same church came up with a blasphemous doctrine that all who die must pass through a "temporary" state of punishment in fire to rid them of unforgiven sins. They called it venial sins. If Jesus did not die for the whole earth, and those who believe in Him are not cleansed TOTALLY from past, present and future sins, then to pass through the wrath of God during the Tribulation is akin to this hideous doctrine of purgatory, that the blood of Jesus just wasn't quite able to save a man totally from His sins. Which any truly washed in the blood of Calvary Christian knows is not true. But let's return to the stories of the Bible that speaks of this removal from God's wrath.
SHORT EXAMPLES OF REMOVAL FROM GOD'S WRATH
Some of the more obvious aspects of that fact are the children of Israel during the Egyptian enslavement and the plague after plague brought about to the rebellious Pharoah who defied God and His commands and wouldn't let God's people go. These plagues were isolated to Egypt and never came close to the land of Goshen, where the Hebrew slaves were living.
Then there is Noah and Lot, who both were removed from the wrath of God, one by an ark, the other fleeing to the mountains before the angels of God were sent to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Springing off these well know Biblical stories, I find no account where God has subjected His people to His own righteous wrath. Can you? Some will say that they went through, not out of the wrath of God, but are they missing something? I think they are. These stories are local examples of God's wrath, such as in Egypt or Sodom, but speaking of Noah and the flood, this was an example of the remnant of Jewish people being saved from wrath of God that covers the whole earth. Before this, Enoch was an example of the rapture of the church that he was removed before the flood even came. Such was the symbol of the coming of destruction coming upon the earth, and God's Church being removed and protecting God's elect, most likely in the Jordanian fortress of Petra.
But let us explore briefly what the Bible says we can expect as this Age of Grace draws to a close. There are many verses scattered about that supports that when God's wrath falls upon this planet, the Church of the Living God will not be present.
EXPLAINING THE CONCEPT TO A FRIEND
I was having a conversation with an online friend, who was an admitted post-tribulation believer, and as we conversed back and forth, I brought up a well know verse found in your Bible:
10 "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." (Revelation 3:10-11)
Here our Risen Lord speaks to the apostle John and tells him, that because those who have kept His Word and followed His commands, our Lord promises us that we will be kept from this hour of temptation. Our God and Savior gave us commands to follow, and a way back to God our Father and He is the only Way.
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man cometh to the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)
In speaking with my online friend, who is a student of the Hebrew and Greek translations concerning Bible text, I pointed out to him that the original Greek shows that this passage speaks of the Church being taken out of, not through the tribulation.
Many people debate this verse and make assumptions that like Lot and Noah, or even the Hebrew slaves in Egypt, that they were brought through the wrath of God. But even my friend didn't realize that there is one word in the Greek that is in this passage and changes the whole meaning of the passage, and he had read it many times, and passed right over it. The passage that tells us "I also will keep thee from the hour of Temptation", that the words "I will keep thee from" in the original Greek centers on the Greek word (εκ [ek] ) that here denotes out of not through the wrath of God. My friend was flabberghasted, that the original Greek spoke that the Church is taken "out of" the coming wrath of God that falls on the whole world. I believe I changed his mind, as he confessed it as so.
We continued our discussion as I told him that even in the Old Testament that there is proof of the Church being removed from this earth and put into "our chambers" Needless to say, as we talked, the friend got real quiet.
19 "Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
21 For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain." (Isaiah 26:19-21)
Notice that it speaks of the dead rising and being taken to chambers that they are to shut the doors behind them, because the wrath of God, or indignation is going to punish the inhabitants of the earth. It speaks of what I believe was revealed to the Apostle Paul, when being taught by revelation by our Lord Jesus while living in the Arabian desert for three years, before he even came to the disciple of Jesus in Jerusalem. Paul prophecies it even further than Isaiah in his prophecy.
51 "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1st Corinthians 15:51-55)
Paul reaffirms this prophecy when speaking to the Thessalonians and adds more visual information about our change that we will experience:
13 "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1st Thessalonians 4:14-18)
In your mind, if you visualize what Isaiah wrote and what Paul repeated twice in his epistles, you can see that those who are in the dust of the earth, asleep in their graves (that being their mortal bodies, as the spirit is not there), they are suddenly changed, reunited with their physical bodies and changed into immortal Spirits into what Jesus is right now, a Glorified Man of flesh and bones. This is the same type of body that Jesus revealed to His apostles in their closed room and sat and ate fish and honeycomb in their presence to prove to them He was not a ghost or phantom. Jesus was an entirely flesh and bone being, that they could handle and feel, and ate before them, BUT could vanish from their site, and walk through walls. Notice that Jesus was flesh and bone, no blood, as His life force was the Spirit of Almighty God.
These immortal Spirits that we will be are commanded to enter their chambers and shut the doors behind them, till God's wrath is spent and the blood will be disclosed on the earth and will not be hidden.
But what bodies are we talking about here when we speak of being changed in the twinkling of an eye?
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." (1st John 3:1-3)
Till that day overtakes us and we are transported so much like the Star Trek episodes used to do, and many who read this can identify with a very objective visual about "beam me up, Scotty" and being transported from one place to another, we look for our Blessed Hope.
11 "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works". (Titus 2:11-14)
Ok. My friend asked, so where are these chambers that this passage speaks of? Isaiah has a sister verse, I believe, that adjoins what even Paul wrote and it was spoke of by our Lord Jesus when comforting His disciples.
1, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 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.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." (John 14:1-4)
This Jesus spoke to draw off their minds from an earthly kingdom to an heavenly one; to point out the place to them whither he was going, and to support them with the views and hopes of glory under all their troubles. By his "Father's house" is meant heaven;
10 "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." ( 2 Corinthians 5:1 )
We are taken to His Father's house and receive rewards based on our service for God. This is His Father's Glorious heavenly home, where he has, and will have all his family. Note that Jesus is coming to bring us to Himself, and to "receive you unto myself, that where I AM, there you may be also". Jesus is in heaven's realm at the right hand of the Father on His Throne. Jesus will bring us to His Father's house, not come to us, but we come to Him. Another clue to the HARPAZO, the rapture of the church coming sooner than anything even imagines.
The visualization of these verses brings home to those who look for our Blessed Hope, that there is a glorious future where we will be Kings and Priest to our God and we shall reign upon the earth. John sees a symbolic representation of this truth that the Church is in God's presence, that John sees in a vision of the future.
4 "And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold."( Revelation 4:4)
Note that the description of these elders? Many have tried to hypothesize who they are. Some say angels, some say they are not human, and others have no idea, so they just pass over without discernment. Angels have never been given crowns, and these saints are entirely human. They are seated, so their work is over and they are at rest. They are on thrones, so they are rulers along with God. They are clothed with white raiment, which is a symbol and sign of the saints of God. They are crowned with gold crowns, so they have been exalted to a high position in the government of God.
This vision shows John that the Church here is symbolized by 24 elders, which is a multiplication of the number 12, which in the Bible, is a sign of government. Half from the Old Testament saints, and half from the New Testament Saints, is my belief...all comprising the Church, each look either forward or back at the sacrifice that Jesus made on the Roman cross of His crucifixion for the sins of the world by faith of both groups. The first group of saints were taken to someplace in the heavens, as Jesus emptied Paradise of Old Testament saints when He was resurrected.
7" "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things." (Ephesians 4:7-10)
Here is a vision of the combining of the two sets of saints..the Old and the New Testament .The Church will be rule with Christ for a thousand years as the Bible attest to.
8 "And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. (this would be tribulations saints, my emphasis)
9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." (Revelation 5:8-10)
Our destiny is to be Kings and rule with our Lord Jesus on earth and to point those who are born during that Millennial Reign of Christ to the sacrifice that Jesus paid on the cross over 2000 years ago, as priest to the Living God who is ruling from Jerusalem. Note that you will not find the word "Church" mentioned again through the whole of Revelation past chapter 3 of this book. We are not mentioned again until we are spoken of in chapter 19 of this apocalyptic book of the start of the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ. It is another clue that the Church is not on earth for the whole of the 7 years of the reign of the Anti-Christ.
6 "And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." (Revelation 19:77-9)
Notice that the bride is clothed with fine linen, clean and white, for fine linen is a symbol for the righteousness of the saints, which is the Bride of Christ...Immediately, John gives the vision of Jesus returning with His armies from heaven.
11 "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, CLOTHED IN LINEN, WHITE AND CLEAN. (totally my emphasis to draw your attention)
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords." (Revelation 19:11-16)
Of these two passages found in Revelation chp. 19, I want you to focus on one thing. I know who both are, but I want you to see it...note what the Bride is clothed with? She is clothed with linen, white and clean. Then in the next passage quoted we see the armies of heaven coming to witness the final defeat of all rebellion on earth by our Great God and King, Jesus the Christ. Note what those who come with Jesus are wearing? Exactly, they are wearing linen, white and clean, which in both instances are a sign of the saints. The Church has been taken to the marriage supper of the Lamb as written in previous verses, where we receive rewards for service and are joined to our Lord Jesus, and become part of the Family of God our Father, by the marriage covenant and we come back with Him, riding on white horse dressed in the same apparel.
16 "'The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." (Romans 8:16-19)
From the Old Testament into the New Testament, God has revealed that "we are not appointed to wrath" from God, "but to receive salvation"...being saved out of the coming Tribulation that refines Israel as silver is refined in the furnace, and to extinguish all rebellion and lawlessness on this earth where if the time were not shortened, "no flesh would be saved, but for the elect, those times will be shortened"...That is how near total this earth is purged of all sin and only those who have survived the near complete destruction of planet earth, and have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior of their souls, will enter into the Millennium as mortals.
THE INTERNET IS ABUZZ WITH PROPHECY
Many people all over the internet are sensing that the time of the return of Jesus Christ is close at hand. Some take liberty and make predictions of what date that glorious event will be, but we cannot know, BUT, we know the season, and from the words of the Bible, we are bumping right up to the time of the return of our Lord Jesus..why? Because Jesus told us in no uncertain terms that when Israel is made a nation again, then that generation will not pass till all thing be fulfilled..and the amazing part, the generation of those who saw Israel born again in her own land, is 73 years old this next year in May of 1948-2021. That my friend, is the number of a generation, and as Psalms 90 tells us:
" The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." (Psalms 90:10)
Yes, my friend, the time of our departure grows close at hand. I have complete trust in the Words of my Omnipotent God, who knows the end from the beginning..the Alpha and the Omega, Jesus Christ.
Question? Will you be among those who witness His glorious return for His Bride, at the removal of God's Church someday soon...maybe sooner than anyone thinks? Or will you be in total astonishment, or sincere remorse that you missed this greatest event that ever transpired on humanity, second only to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead? Don't let this time get away from you.
"We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2nd Corinthians 6:1-2)
Today, if you hear God's voice through His Holy Spirit, do not harden your heart, as God is calling a remnant that will believe in their heart and mind, that Jesus is who He said He was, and did what He did so long ago...
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.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
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 3:16-18)
If you believe those words that I have just quoted, in your heart and your mind...then ask Jesus to come into your heart and life right now..Repent of your sins, and make that commitment to walk with Jesus, to read His instruction manual for the rest of your lives, your Bible, and to confess the Lord to others the hope of your salvation.
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." (Romans 10:8-10)
Don't let this opportunity pass you by. Believe by faith that Jesus loves you, and died for you and the sins of the whole world. Don't be subject to the coming wrath of God, as it will be the most horrific time in all of mankind's history. Make that decision for Christ, today.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying for your salvation. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a friendly ear, email me at email@example.com, , God bless you all
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET.
Suddenly - In the Twinkling of An Eye! - By Jan Markell - www.olivetreeviews.org
Last days' events happen quickly. Even suddenly. The word "quickly" (Greek word: tachos) is used eight times in Revelation. Think of an automobile tachometer which measures the working speed of an engine typically in revolutions per minute. And it revs up.
We often see sudden destruction falling upon the wicked in the Bible. The unrepentant living during Noah's time, experienced a sudden and catastrophic flood (Gen. 6-9). They had 120 years to repent as Noah preached to them, but they chose to ignore him and judgment suddenly fell (Gen. 6:3-7).
Have you noticed that in 2020, everything has happened suddenly?
Is there a message in all of this? Something else will happen suddenly-the Rapture of the Church. It will take place in the twinkling of an eye. That is so fast it can hardly even be measured.
When God begins to move, He doesn't waste a moment. But He does take time to warn before He judges. And He seems to be telling us that things are going to
Lives Matter - By Hal Lindsey -
"Black Lives Matter" is a statement of fact. I have a problem with the primary organization that carries that name. It is a communist-led group bent on the destruction of many of the human institutions God ordained for our protection - such as police and family. But the idea that "black lives matter" is rooted in scripture.
Genesis 1:27 says that human beings are made in the image of God. "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."
The Bible teaches that every person from every race comes from Adam and Eve. Acts 17:26 says, "He has made from one blood every nation of men."
Jesus said that human beings matter so much that God knows how many hairs we have on our heads. He said that God pays attention to even minor details of our lives. In Matthew 12:36, Jesus said, "For every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment."
But we can thank God that we are not stuck under judgment. John 1 tells us that Christ is the Second Person of the Godhead. And our lives matter enough that He died for us - taking our judgment on Himself. Romans 5:8 says, "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Philippians 2:6-8 says, "Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."
God the Son did all that for every person on the face of the earth. Yes, black lives matter, and yes, all lives matter. We matter to God!
And we matter even while still in the womb. Psalms 139:13-15 says, "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. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret."
At the moment of conception, your body consisted of a single cell. And that cell carried the genetic code that all the cells in your body still carry to this day. You were not an appendage of your mother. From the very beginning, you were unique from her and every other living thing that had ever been made or ever would be made.
Some say that while in the womb, the person is not yet fully human. If you don't think the fetus is human, then ask yourself this. What species is she?
When we talk about abortion, I'm always aware of those who have had abortions. I'm not trying to make anyone feel guilty. If you are in Christ, He has freed you of guilt. And if you are not, He waits for you with open arms. If you are His, He has forgiven you. So, follow His lead and forgive yourself.
But this topic remains huge. With a presidential election looming and a battle over a Supreme Court vacancy, we should not forget abortion, and what it means. Black lives matter. They matter from the moment of conception. Your life matters. It matters now and mattered while you were still in the womb.
All Sins Are Forgiven - Nathele Graham -
We all have it. Baggage. Memories of failures in our Christian walk that we lug through life that can weigh us down. These memories stumble us in our walk with Jesus and steal our joy. Sin is a part of human nature, and once we have come to Jesus, sin should be as abominable to us as it is to Him. Quite often we remember past sins and the guilt of what we did can stop us from serving our Lord. That guilt is not of God. Satan uses our failures to discourage us. "Do you remember the time you swiped that candy bar?" he whispers. "You can't be a Christian and steal." Maybe it's not a candy bar, but you committed adultery. "You lied to your wife when you were with your secretary instead of going to the business meeting", he hisses into your memory. Maybe it was murder that you committed. "You had an abortion. God will never forget that sin," he lies to you. Oh yes, Satan will be sure you remember your sins. Those are all sins, but the good news, if you have given your life to Christ then all sins are forgiven and God has forgotten them. When you truly accept Christ for salvation then you're a new creation in Him. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17. Those words should bring joy, relief, and comfort to everyone who has come to Him for salvation. There's nothing you've done that's so horrendous that the blood of Christ won't forgive. Praise God! You have been forgiven, but that doesn't mean it's okay to keep sinning. Temptation will come your way, but you need to resist the urge to fall back into the sin that separated you from God. You are a new creation in Christ and you need to live to honor Him.
When Adam sinned, his sin brought a curse upon all of creation. It wasn't just an "oops" moment that would correct itself in time. Sin comes between humans and God. Adam knew the one rule God gave to him (don't eat the fruit of knowledge) but chose disobedience by knowingly eating the forbidden fruit. Satan was at the bottom of this plot to destroy all that God had created and he thought he had won. Don't be deceived. God never loses. His plan may take time to fulfill, but it is perfect. God's love is deeper than sin. "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross;" Colossians 2:13-14. In ancient times, when a person owed a debt to society, it was serious. When they were tried for their crime and the judgment went against them, there was an official document stating how much time in prison they would serve in order to pay their debt. Humanity has a sin debt that could only be paid by a blood sacrifice. Animal blood wasn't sufficient because it was still tainted by sin and animals don't have human blood, so humans couldn't be eternally forgiven. Animal sacrifice could only cover sin, not remove it forever. Human blood couldn't be used because God never requires human blood sacrifice, and it's still tainted by Adam's sin. Only God's pure blood can take sin away and pay the debt which you and I owe. Jesus, God incarnate, paid that debt. His final words from the cross made that clear. "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." John 19:30. It is finished. What precious words from our Saviour! The debt was paid, the curse was broken, God won.
Although Jesus paid our debt, it's a free gift that has to be accepted. The forgiveness of sin is there for anyone who understands that sin has come between them and God. Forgiveness is there for anyone who believes that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus has paid the sin debt in full. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." John 5:24. When a person hears God's truth there's a decision to be made. Does that person accept Christ's free gift of salvation, or reject it? Many people have heard the Gospel and intellectually know it's true. Unless there's conviction that moves the knowledge in their head to faith in their heart, there's no salvation. "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." Romans 10:9-10. That faith should be evident in a changed life. The sin that had a strong hold upon your life shouldn't rule any more.
When we have truly accepted Christ's free gift of salvation, a miraculous re-birth happens. "...old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17b. At that moment, sins are forgiven and the Holy Spirit is sealed within you. That seal cannot be broken. In speaking of faith in Christ, Paul wrote "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." Ephesians 1:13-14. Your faith is precious to God and He will never turn you away. If you have placed your eternity in the hands of God, then you are eternally safe from the second death. Jesus said "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one." John 10:28-30. If you think you're stronger than God then you've got a pride problem. No matter how hard you struggle to escape, if your confession of faith was sincere then you are sealed forever. You can lose rewards, but your salvation is secure. I can't imagine why anyone would regret accepting eternal life with Christ. The alternative is to spend eternity in the lake of fire with Satan and his minions. If you're having second thoughts about giving your life to Jesus, then you need to pray and speak with a mature Christian who can help you through your time of testing.
While we live on this side of Heaven we will stumble. It's those stumbles that cause us to question our salvation and steal our joy. The sin in our life needs to be confessed to Jesus and dealt with, because it hurts our fellowship with other Christians and our fellowship with Christ. "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John 1:7. Too often we justify our own sin and tweak Scripture in order to make our sin seem acceptable. Pride, anger, jealousy, even thinking wrong thoughts are all sins. These attitudes cause us to be out of fellowship and usually one sin leads to another. If you're not walking in the Light of God then you're walking in the darkness of Satan. You need to recognize the sin in your life, confess it to God, and ask Him to forgive you. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." 1 John 1:8-10. All sin, past, present, and future, was forgiven the moment you truly recognized that you needed forgiveness and salvation that only comes from faith in Jesus. We still sin and need to take those sins before Jesus and ask Him to forgive. "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: for all have sinned, and come short of the Glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:" Romans 3:22-24. Take your sin to Him. He will help you overcome it. Study Scripture and apply it to your life. God doesn't change, so what was written so long ago still applies today.
Faith in Jesus should have changed your life. Although we can always find forgiveness, we aren't to continue to embrace our sin. When a prostitute was brought before Jesus for condemnation, she found forgiveness instead. "...And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more." John 8:11b. He forgave her but He also told her to move away from the sin she embraced. There are many "secret" ways to sin today, what with the internet that can bring much perversion into our homes. Remember, you may be able to hide sin from your spouse, your parents, or your friends, but you can't hide it from God. Make life choices based upon Scripture and not on what the world says is acceptable. Music, movies, and video games can allow evil thoughts into our minds and hearts. "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Romans 8:5-6. Fill your life with songs of praise and other activities that glorify Christ.
God has forgiven all your sins. Now, forgive yourself and move forward in a closer walk with Jesus.
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: Just the facts, ma'am - Bill Wilson -
There were a whole bunch of words flying around the first presidential debate. It kept the fact-checkers busy all night. As the left-wing news media gives Joe Biden a break, and soft sells his inadequate answers to reasonable questions, it might be good to look at a few of the mud slings Joe "here's the deal" Biden threw up to see what stuck on the wall. How about starting with the longstanding debate on President Trump's taxes. To be honest, I do not know why this is an issue. Tax returns are private. It's nobody's business how much a person pays in taxes. And that is a constitutional underpinning of the Fourth Amendment, protecting the right to privacy. But these days, the Constitution doesn't seem to matter.
For the record, President Trump said that he paid millions in taxes. Biden said that Trump only paid about $750 in taxes. The New York Times, which claimed in a sensational hit story that it had Trump's tax returns, reported that Trump said that his liability should have been $750 because he had overpaid his taxes. That is the story that the Democrats and Biden focused on rather than the truth-go figure. The NYT actually reported: "Mr. Trump paid alternative minimum tax in seven years between 2000 and 2017 - a total of $24.3 million, excluding refunds he received after filing. For 2015, he paid $641,931, his first payment of any federal income tax since 2010." See how they twist the truth?
Debate moderator Chris Wallace and Joe Biden double teamed Trump to demand he condemn white supremacism, as if Trump had never done so. Two days after the Charlottesville, VA violence in August 2017, President Trump said, "Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups." A month later, he signed a congressional resolution condemning white supremacy. In 2019, following shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Trump said, "In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy...These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul." Both Wallace and Biden repeated the "very fine people" hoax as well.
There were many more lies that were allowed to stand during the debate: Antifa is an idea not an organization; Biden left Trump a booming economy; Biden didn't call military members "stupid bastards"; Biden's son didn't receive $3.5 million from the wife of the former mayor of Moscow; that Biden didn't support the Green New Deal; and on and on. The problem was that the "debate" was so visceral that the normal person couldn't digest all the lies fast enough. Ephesians 5:6 says, "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things comes the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience." There are consequences to believing lies and falling prey to deception. Let's not let this year's election be one of them.
Daily Devotion: In Good Company - by Greg Laurie -
Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. -Hebrews 12:2
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/in-good-company/ - Listen
Have you ever been worried and discouraged in your soul? Maybe you're feeling that way today. Perhaps you're discouraged or spiritually lethargic, and you need a jump start. You're wondering how to get back on track.
In Hebrews 12, we read, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (verses 1-2 NKJV).
This chapter begins with the word, therefore. And what comes before Hebrews 12? Hebrews 11, of course, which has been called the Hall of Faith. It's where we read of all the great men and women of God who persevered despite overwhelming circumstances and massive obstacles. They lived their lives by faith.
In light of Hebrews 11, since we're "surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses," let's run this race with endurance. I'm not naturally an athletic person, but in this race, we all must be athletic, so to speak. We must all be very committed.
It's also great to have an example to follow. The men and women of Hebrews 11 were amazing people. They opposed Pharaoh and passed through the Red Sea on dry land. They shouted down the walls of Jericho and shut the mouths of lions. And they called down fire and also walked through fire.
So the author of Hebrews is effectively saying, "Look, they did it! In light of that, you can do it, too." We should run our race well, knowing we're in good company.
Most importantly, we should run our race, looking to Jesus. Keep your eyes on Him, and that will keep you going in the race of life.
FROM THE HEART
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