Tag Archives: end times

Revelation; No More Tears

I don’t often sit down and read straight through the book of Revelation,  but I did today. I wanted to read John’s vision as he describes it without looking for hidden meaning in it. I discovered that the book of Revelation is a pretty accurate description of life.

And life for followers of Jesus comes with particular hardships. Sometimes it seems as though we are fighting against monsters and demons, and it is easy to get discouraged. But God assures us through John’s vision that He’s got this.

There is no demonic monster that is too powerful for Him, no false doctrine, no phony preachers, no anti-Christ theology that can change the Truth that is God. There is nothing that happens in this life that He didn’t see happen before Creation. And He wants us to know He is coming again to take His children home.

That’s the glory of John’s vision. That home-going! A place beyond human words where God is in all His glory. A place where He Himself will dry the tears of His children, no more sorrow, sickness, discouragement, anger, hurt feelings, or drama. Our past troubles will be forgotten forever, and we as His Bride will look into the eyes of our Bridegroom and know for the first time what true love is all about.

The book of Revelation is a book of hope. We win. And the victory celebration will be beyond imagination.

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I trust you had a blessed Christmas as we celebrated the birth of Jesus, the One who made our home-going possible. And I pray that 2019 will find you growing  in grace and knowledge of our Savior, and that you will have many opportunities to share our Lord with people in your life who need him, that you will be blessed and a blessing.

I’m going to take a break from blogging for the next few days. Starting January 1st I am going to start to read through the Chronological Bible in 2019. I haven’t decided if I’ll post my thoughts every day, or not. I want to honor God with this thing, so I’ll be praying for God’s leading.

Thanks for going on this journey with me. I’m praying for you.

Ezekiel 21-25; What We Deserve

One thing about God is, as patient and loving as He is, there is a limit to what He will take from us. Sin in our world, in our country, our homes, our churches, our hearts will not go unpunished. And God, through Ezekiel’s example, tells us to quit whining about it.

God is a righteous Judge. And we’re only getting what we deserve:

“I the Lord have spoken. The time has come for me to act. I will not hold back; I will not have pity nor will I relent. You will be judged according to your conduct, and your actions,” declares the Sovereign Lord. (Ezekiel 24:14)

Yes, I know this was written to the flesh and blood nation of Israel during Ezekiel’s lifetime. But what makes us think God has changed His position concerning sin in 2018?

Another thing about God is, as right as He is to pass judgment, as justified as He is to punish us, He is still willing to forgive. Not just willing, but longing to forgive. And He Himself took on His own severe punishment so we wouldn’t have to.

If we repent.

Repentance isn’t just a quick, “I’m sorry,” to hear, “Oh, that’s okay.” It’s not an apology with no intention of changing. Repentance involves drastic change.

It’s not just putting idols in a closet, but destroying them never to bring them out ever again. It’s denying sin in any form, resisting the devil, fleeing youthful lusts. It’s living without even the appearance of evil. It’s a choice every day to die to self and live for God.

Doesn’t it feel as though our world is on the brink of a great disaster? The examples in the Bible tell me that’s not what God wants, but what our sin demands.

So, dear one – QUIT SINNING! Quit condoning sin, or ignoring it. Quit giving lip-service to worship and start obeying God with every step you take.

If we don’t, and judgment comes, we’d best not cry about how hard life has become. It’s only what we deserve.

Isaiah 54-59; The Truth Hurts

Before we get into these chapters in Isaiah, I want to share a few other verses with you.

Hebrews 4:12 –  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thought and attitude of the heart.

2 Timothy 3:16 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

James 1:17 and I John 1:5 are only two of many verses in the Bible that tell us that God never changes. Yesterday, today, and forever He is the same.

With that being said, I believe there is something vital for us in 2018 in the living words this unchanging God inspired men to put to paper thousands of years ago. So, dear Christian, have a seat. God’s got something to say to us today through his servant Isaiah. And it might hurt.

Read chapter 57 and see if you don’t think life in the USA in 2018 sounds very much like Israel in Isaiah’s day. I hear God say, “How dare you! Who do you think you are to do what you want, think what you want, believe what you want, then expect Me to be your servant. Ain’t gonna happen.”

Isaiah 58:4b says:

You cannot fast as you do today, and expect your voice to be heard on high.

Dear one, He’s talking to His children. He’s talking to you and me.

I often hear Christians lamenting over the state of the world, but I hear God say we need to clean up our own individual acts, and let the state of the world up to Him. Sometimes, when people observe how bad things are they seem to sit back and say, “Oh well. God told us this was going to happen.”

He did tell us what will happen, but He didn’t say it had to happen in 2018!

58:9 is one of many verses in the Bible with messages like this:

Then you will call, and the Lord will answer, you will cry for help, and he will say; Here am I.

He goes on to tell us to get right with Him, then get out there and do what He’s told us to do, go and make disciples. He’ll guide us. He’ll give us what we need to get the job done. We’ll produce fruit which is what He planned for us to do all along.

Do not… I repeat: DO NOT throw your hands up in defeat because you think the world is too far gone. This same unchanging God is still not willing that any should perish. That includes your neighbor. YOUR neighbor. MY neighbor.

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save. (59:1)

Do you believe that? Then get off the couch and get out there. Greater is He in you than that liar who is in the world. Let’s examine ourselves, confess sin, stand for the truth of Scripture, and be the Church God needs us to be to keep this thing going. We can’t honor God if we give up.

Father, I am convicted. I can get pretty discouraged reading the paper, and hearing how the insanity of the world is becoming truth for way too many people. But I am reminded that my mission field is here on this island where I live. It’s the people on this street, in the grocery, or as I walk on the beach. You’ve asked me to be faithful, but sometimes I think what little impact I actually have. Forgive me if I convince myself it’s not worth it, or not important. You promise that when your people call on You, and ask for Your help to accomplish Your will, You are right there. God, I’m asking.

 

 

 

 

 

2 Kings 1; Who’s To Blame?

I’ve heard it said a lot lately, that this world is corrupt, and it’s only going to get worse, that evil people will continue to gain momentum. I’m telling you it doesn’t have to be that way.

Did you read about how Elijah spoke to the men King Ahaziah sent to get him? A captain and fifty armed soldiers told Elijah, “The king says, come.” Seems harmless enough. But remember who Ahaziah’s parents were. Ahaziah knew exactly who this man of God was: the prophet responsible for the death of his parents, Ahab and Jezebel. I doubt their offspring wanted to invite Elijah to tea.

Elijah would have nothing to do with Ahaziah or his men. In fact, to demonstrate that Elijah was a man of God, he said fire would come down from heaven and consume them. Fire from heaven came down and consumed them.

Ahaziah sent another fifty soldiers to go get Elijah. They died, too. It wasn’t until the third captain humbled himself before Elijah, and in turn before God, that God told Elijah to go with them. Then, standing before the king, Elijah did not back down. He stayed true to God’s Word. No compromise here!

Thirty or so years ago, there was a trend for churches to hire outsiders to come into their fellowship, survey members, talk to people in the neighborhoods, learn the “demographics,” then recommend changes the churches needed to make to grow their attendance. As a result we’ve got “contemporary” worship styles, the removal of pulpits, altars, hymns, and organs. We’ve come up with clever little names for our fellowships because being identified with a denomination “turned people off.” We’ve adopted a casual approach to worship so everyone feels comfortable, a laid back atmosphere so people don’t feel threatened, entertaining worship services so people go away feeling good, and Starbucks in the foyer.

We’ve also seen the word, “sin” replaced with “lifestyle” or “tolerance,” “acceptance,” and of course, “God’s love.”

Many churches did see a marked growth, more bodies in the chairs each Sunday, or Saturday night if that’s more “convenient.” The mega-church was born. We may have compromised a bit. But numbers don’t lie.

Or do they?

Let me ask you this: Is our world better than it was thirty years ago? Is there less crime, less evil, a mega turning to God since the church implemented these changes? I’m not asking if there are people coming to your church. I’m asking what impact your church has had on our world. Are drug dealers, thieves, child molesters, drunks, soccer moms, and CEO’s coming to the Savior because your church is out there actively winning souls?

I would say, after reading the news, I doubt it. Now, if you are involved in a church that IS making a difference and seeing people repent of sin and come to the Lord, understand I know I’m preaching to the choir. But, from what I see in our country and the world, the Church is failing in our mission to go and make disciples.

Here’s why my thoughts went here today. Read what J Vernon McGee had to say about 2 Kings 1, and Elijah’s firm stand:

There is much talk today about the fact that we should learn to communicate and learn to get along with everybody. May I say to you that this is not God’s method. The compromise of the church and its leaders has not caused the world to listen to the church. As a matter of fact, the world is not listening at all. They pass the church right by. Why? The world will not listen until the church declares the Word of God. If the church preached God’s Word, there would be communication. (p 157, Through the Bible commentary, I & II Kings)

Dr. McGee wrote those words in the middle of the trend I spoke about earlier. His words were prophetic. If the world didn’t listen to the Church back then, it laughs at the Church today.

Do you know why I believe what Dr. McGee said is true? God has said that His Word would not return void. (Isaiah 55:11) Our world is not in the shape it’s in because Satan is so strong. It’s because the church is so weak. We refashioned ourselves to look like the world, to the point they don’t see their need to change. We have neglected God’s Word, and in turn, have harnessed His power to save souls. And we read about the result of this in the news every day.

And don’t even tell me it’s God’s will. Jesus didn’t tell us to go into the world and preach the gospel until things got tough, then sit back and let evil take over because He’ll rapture the church before things get really bad. We’ll dodge that bullet, too bad for everybody else. If that theology makes me mad, I can imagine God’s opinion of it.

Our world is in bad shape. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. I pray that the Holy Spirit will revive the Church, that Christians will see sinners through Jesus’ eyes, that we will stand firm on the Truth of Scripture, and proclaim it from the mountaintops, in our churches, and in our neighborhoods. I also pray that Christians will live lives that attract people to their Savior.

Oh, dear Christian. Don’t sit back and blame Satan, or the media, or a president for the state of things in our world. We have the God of the Universe ready and eager to step in. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

 

December 10 – Coming To An End

Romans 11-13

Many Christians look to Jerusalem for signs of the times. It’s reported that God is moving in the hearts of Jews there so that many are coming to accept Jesus as their Messiah. There is great rejoicing in the Church, as there should be.

Some see that as a sign that the last Gentile is close to believing, and that “all Israel will be saved” (11:26) before Christ returns. And “all Israel” must mean the physical Jewish nation.

That confuses me, because Paul also just got done talking about the branches on the olive tree. When a branch is grafted in, it becomes a part of the tree. Even natural branches, when grafted, become part of the tree again. It’s one tree.

In 10:12 Paul tells us there is no difference between Jews and Greeks, that salvation is the same for both. In 2:11 he says God shows no partiality between Jews and Gentile.

I’m sitting here trying to get a handle on it, when I feel God say, What does it matter? If I choose to favor a people, I will. It has nothing to do with you, Connie. YOU follow me. YOU share the Gospel with people in your life. YOU do your part, and I’ll do mine… perfectly.

So I will not get into a debate over the part the physical nation of Israel plays in the big scheme of things. It doesn’t matter. What matters to me is that I am doing what God is asking of me. If it’s true that at some point a last Gentile will come to know Jesus before He returns, I’d love to be the person who introduces him or her to the Savior.

December 3 – A Twinkling Eye

I Corinthians 15-16

Can you read these last chapters of I Corinthians and not get excited about “the twinkling of an eye,” the trumpet sound that will announce Jesus’ return, when “we will all be changed”? This broken down body of mine will be replaced with an unbreakable one. This mortal will put on immortality.

And I will finally see Jesus face to face. I want to shout, Hallelujah, just thinking about it!

For Christians, that day is something to get excited about, like children looking forward to Christmas morning. We will be swooped up into heaven, either from the grave, or while going about our day. And we’ll find ourselves in the most glorious place, at the throne of God!

But if you haven’t accepted the Savior as your own, you have reason to fear that day. The sound of that trumpet will cause terror to those who don’t know Jesus. Seeing Jesus descending from heaven, gathering up your neighbors, friends, and loved ones, will leave you utterly alone. You’ll look into Jesus’ eyes and see rejection, and know you have no one to blame but yourself.

Jesus is coming again. That’s a fact. I pray that you will be counted among those who welcome Him, because you’ve placed your sins at His feet and allowed Him to cover every one of them with His blood.

I pray that the twinkling eye will be yours when that trumpet sounds!

November 7 – The Many

Matthew 24

Jesus’ disciples asked Him what the signs would be announcing His second coming, and the “end of the age.” The Lord told them there would be people claiming to be Him, wars, famines, earthquakes.

He said life will be hard for His followers. They will experience tribulation, will be hated and killed because they follow Jesus. Some of His followers will fall away and turn on each other. They’ll be mislead by false teaching, and lawlessness will increase.

Was He describing 2016?

But then He said half of a verse that broke my heart. 24:12b:

most people’s love will grow cold.

The word “most” makes me sad. Makes me wonder how many of the people who attended church yesterday would be able to say their love for God is the burning passion of their lives? Or is their love like that for a buddy? Comfortable, warm, but not consuming?

Also makes me wonder about the temperature of my own love of my Savior. Is it the driving force behind my every thought and action? Is it a passion that burns every minute of every day, that ignites me to serve Him with purposeful enthusiasm?

Jesus said that before He returns, MANY of His people’s hearts will turn cold toward Him. I do not want to be counted among the “many.”