Tag Archives: eternity

Dear Jesus, Please Don’t Come Back Today

Amos 1-6

I know many well-meaning Christians wish Jesus would just come back today, end this evil world and get the party started. Yet I hear God through Amos say:

What sorrow awaits you who say, “If only the day of the Lord were here!” You have no idea what you are wishing for. That day will bring darkness, not light. In that day you will be like a man who runs from a lion – only to meet a bear. Escaping the bear, he leans his hand against a wall in his house – and he’s bitten by a snake. Yes, the day of the Lord will be dark and hopeless, without a ray of joy or hope.” (5:18-20)

Yes, I know we who know Jesus as our Savior will be caught up with Him in the air and will be ushered into a glorious eternity in heaven. I am looking forward to that day, for sure! But there is another reality to consider, a dreadful, horrifying reality we can only imagine.

Do you care? Or are you just satisfied with your own destination? Read on and hear what God has to say about that:

I hate all your show and pretense – the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living. (vv 21-24)

If you continue reading this portion of Scripture you will hear what God has to say about people who sit back and get fat on their blessings while the rest of the world is in serious danger. He’s not too pleased.

If you call yourself a Christian, may I suggest you stop praying for the second coming of our Lord, and start being that endless river of righteous living, representing our coming King and drawing people to His saving grace before it’s too late?

If you call yourself a Christian, you ought to have the mind of Christ who is not wanting anyone to perish without Him. You ought to hear Jesus tell you to go, make disciples today, tomorrow, and the next day.

Do any of you remember timed tests in math class? The teacher would pass out the tests face down. When everyone had a test in front of them, she would say, “Begin,” with her eye on the second hand of the clock on the wall. You would frantically do the math, with the goal of getting an answer for every question before you heard her say, “Stop. Pencils down.”

How many times did you get to that last question, and run out of time? I remember the closer I got to the bottom of the page, the more intense I became, the more focused I was, so that I could complete the task. Ugh! I hated it when time ran out before I was done.

I hear God telling us time is running out. We may be at the bottom of the page, but our task is incomplete.

If you call yourself a Christian, maybe you should pray, “Dear Jesus, please don’t come back today. I’m not done. I have too much work to do for your kingdom right now.”

Signs of Repentance

Jonah

The King of Ninevah sent a decree out to the citizens of his city. He had heard Jonah’s warning and believed God was angry enough at their sin, to destroy the city. At that realization, the king repented and put on sack cloth and ashes, a visible sign of his repentance.

This is what the king said to the Ninevites:

No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.

So they did, and God didn’t destroy them.

Should the Church come together in repentance? Should Christians fast, put on visible signs of mourning? I wonder if we all wore black arm bands to signify our own turning from sin. Can you imagine the conversations we would have, the opportunities we’d have to share Jesus?

We might not be 40 days from God’s judgment on our nation and the world. But God’s judgment is coming. Are you satisfied knowing at least you’d go to heaven? Or do you share God’s burden for all those who will not, all those who still need to surrender to Him before it’s too late?

The only thing that will stay His hand is repentance, obedience, surrender. Are you wearing visible signs of your own repentance? How you look, what you say, where you go, how you treat people, how you stand for God’s truth are visible signs I hope you are wearing.

Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.

Everything We Need

Psalm 34

Sounds like another health and wealth gospel. But don’t let that fool you.

In reality, there are Christians who are sick and starving, homeless and without means to provide for their families. So how can we make sense of verses 9-10 which clearly say if we fear God, we’ll have all we need. If we trust God, we will lack no good thing.

Tell that to the Christian living on the streets with a cancer diagnosis.

But why is it people who truly fear, worship, stand in awe of God, and people who trust God and submit to Him are some of the most joyful, most contented people around? It’s because God is true to His Word.

God does give us everything we need. The Apostle Paul expressed that beautifully in Philippians 4:11-13, and again in 2 Corinthians 12:9. I hope you’ll take time to read those verses and hear what someone who had a tough life says about what God gives.

Matthew Henry, on page 610 of his Bible Commentary published by Marshall, Morgan & Scott in 1960, that if we look at this psalm as merely promising physical comfort we miss the most important thing. God not only works FOR us, He works THROUGH us. To me that means God is right there with the Christian, leading, directing, comforting, strengthening, and revealing Himself in marvelous ways.

The psalmist encourages us to “taste and see that the Lord is good,” and there is joy when we attach ourselves to Him in all circumstances. God is a personal God, intimate, present.

Romans 8:28 tells us that God works things out for our good if we love Him. 2 Corinthians 4:17 reminds us that our troubles today are leading toward an eternal glory that far outweighs any hardship we face in this lifetime.

So yes, God does give us all we need, and we lack no good thing when we taste and see that He is good!

It’s Worth About A Penny

Leviticus 9

When I read God’s instructions for the various sacrifices, I try to picture the scene. I am often struck by the gruesome death of one animal after another; blood splattered layer upon layer on the altar, then poured on the ground at the base; Aaron and his sons wearing blood on their ears, hands, and feet.

So much blood everywhere.

But God, in His Sovereignty determined before the creation of the world, that blood would be required for the forgiveness of sin. Without the blood no one could have a relationship with Him, no one could be saved from the consequences of their sin.

Friend – blood will be required when you face the Holy Judge, God Himself. And like it or not, believe it or not – you WILL face Him when this life is over.

We who have accepted in this lifetime what Jesus did on the cross will stand before the Judge wearing Jesus’ blood on our heads, hands, and feet because Jesus’ blood covers our sin. God will look at the blood of His precious Son and say, “Debt paid in full.” Our eternity will be in God’s sweet Presence, too amazing to be described by words.

But if you stand before God expecting to pay for your own sins with your own blood, you’d be putting about a penny toward your billion dollar debt. Far, far from paid in full. And owing the cost of sinning against God will be an eternity of horror you can’t even imagine right now, too painful to be described by words.

Our Holy God wants each of us to know Him, so He Himself came to earth, lived, died, and rose again to make a way for that to happen. You are a sinner. You are piling up a debt of sin against God that you cannot pay. So Jesus paid it for you.

Have you accepted it? He’s offering His blood to cover your sins. Personally, I think it’s a no-brainer. But God has given you the privilege of choosing for yourself. If you think your penny will cover the cost of your sin, then take the gamble and choose that.

I’m praying you’ll choose Jesus.

Do The Wicked Really Prosper?

Job 24

It’s tempting to believe that wicked people prosper and good people struggle. Only the good die young, right? In our minds, people should get what they deserve, and we, like Job, complain and question God when we think life is unfair.

A dear lady in my church got a cancer diagnosis this week. She is a godly, sweet, hard working member of our church family, involved in Bible Studies and serving on committees. She sings in the choir and is someone who radiates God’s love. We might think she doesn’t deserve the struggle ahead. I think she’d tell us we would be wrong to think that.

She deserves much worse. And so do I. So do you.

I for one am glad we don’t get what we deserve in this lifetime. Because we all have sinned. We all have offended and rejected our Holy God who is very plain to tell us His standard for us is holiness. What is man, dear God, that you would even give us a thought? We are broken and disobedient and self-centered. We deserve your anger.

But Psalm 145:8 tells us:

God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.

One day we will get what we deserve, but don’t start keeping score in this lifetime. One day I, and my friend, will face God wearing the holiness of Jesus because we have accepted what Jesus did on the cross to save us. Our sins, though they are many, are forgiven by God and He won’t remember them ever again. On that day, we will get what Jesus deserves: our presence with Him forever in paradise.

But some of you will also get what you deserve as a result of rejecting what Jesus did. Try standing before a Holy Judge and rationalizing your sin. It can’t be done. And your “goodness” won’t come close to meeting His standard of holiness. The consequences you receive will be what you deserve, and it’ll be worse than you can imagine.

While you are living this life on planet Earth, be thankful we have a compassionate God who is not wanting you or anyone to face Him on their own. He wants you to accept the forgiveness that is yours through His Son, if you’ll just turn from your sin and live for Him.

Oh, you might get a cancer diagnosis. You might face loss and hardship. Some good people struggle, and some good people don’t. Some wicked people struggle, and some wicked people don’t. But it’s not a matter of fairness.

It’s a matter of grace. It’s a matter of a God who is slow to anger, and loves you with a steadfast love.

Do the wicked prosper? Some perhaps, according to the world’s standard. But this life isn’t the end. And the prosperity they enjoy here will not go with them when they die.

Don’t compare your bank account with someone else’s, or your health against another’s. Are you God’s child through the blood of Jesus? That’s the only question that really matters. And God is faithful to forgive anyone who comes to Him in repentance.

That’s what’s fair.

Don’t Be Ridiculous

Genesis 44

The other day I was having lunch with a friend, and she picked up the tab. I wasn’t expecting that. I argued for a minute, but she held the bill. I thanked her, and she paid for lunch.

It looked like Benjamin would have to be a slave as punishment for stealing a silver cup. Knowing how devastated their father would be at the loss of his youngest son, all ten brothers volunteered to give up their freedom and become slaves, too.

Joseph the governor of Egypt (whom they didn’t realize was actually their long lost brother), insisted that because Benjamin was “guilty,” Benjamin would have to serve his own punishment.

Then Judah, one of the brothers responsible for selling Joseph into slavery, offered himself. The punishment had to be paid, and Judah wanted to take on that punishment for Benjamin.

It’s a picture of grace, isn’t it? Unlike Benjamin who was actually innocent of stealing that cup, you and I are guilty. We are sinners. We have disobeyed and dishonored God more times than we could count. The wages, or the just punishment of sin is death.

We deserve to die an eternal, painful, unrelenting death for the sins we have committed. But Jesus stepped in, picked up the bill, went to the cross where He died, and paid our death sentence.

Now, wouldn’t it have been ridiculous for me to go to the cashier at the restaurant the other day and pay my portion of the bill after my friend had already paid it? No one in their right mind would do such a thing.

It’s as ridiculous for anyone to pay their own death sentence, too, because Jesus has already paid it in full! I had to accept my friend’s generosity at the restaurant. And because I did, I was able to walk out of there without it costing me anything.

If you haven’t accepted what Jesus has already paid, I urge you to do that today. It would be ridiculous not to.

Death at the Hand of God.

Genesis 38

Does God lie in wait to take out evil people like an army sniper? That seems to be the case with Judah’s sons Er and Onan. Scripture is very clear: these were bad men – and God killed them.

So are we to assume this is God’s MO? That if you are bad enough He just mows you down, gives you cancer, or a bullet in your head?

Yes. And no.

God wants us to know death is a part of the curse handed down because of Adam’s sin. God causes death for every human being because all have sinned and the wages of sin is death. But common sense – and life – tells us there are some very evil people in the world living to a ripe old age.

So no, God doesn’t make it a habit of killing sinners, Aren’t you glad? We don’t know why God chose to kill Er and Onan like He did. And He doesn’t owe us an explanation. But what happened to them is not a blueprint for God’s dealing with people.

In fact, Scripture repeatedly shows us how patient God is with us sinners, how quick He is to forgive a repentant heart, how He longs to save whosoever believes. Look at how many chances God gave the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. Read in the New Testament what Jesus did for sinners when He went to the cross.

I think the lesson here in Genesis is that all of us will die at the hand of God. Some will die young, others will live to be 100 years old. Our deaths won’t have as much to do with whether or not we were good or bad, as it will have to do with God’s Sovereignty.

Death will end life on Earth for all of us unless Jesus comes back first. That is His Sovereign will.

I see Er and Onan dying in their sin, because I believe had they repented we would be reading about that. That makes me want to warn us all. Because we are going to die.

My prayer is that we will be ready to die by accepting the forgiveness of sin through the blood of Jesus. Your death could come today. My death could come today.

The question is: are we ready?

(Matthew 7:13-23) It Is Narrow

As I read these verses this morning, I was reminded of a post I read the other day, written by a woman who would tell you she’s a Christian, condemning a Christian University for discharging a female professor planning to marry a woman. The writer, who proudly identified herself as “a woman married to a man,” reeled against the University for having a narrow world-view, something she said she herself had at one time being raised in a Christian home, going to a Christian school, and attending the very University she now condemned.

It was at that University, she said, where her eyes had been open to the broader world-view she now holds. In her opinion, the University’s stand against same-sex marriage was a step back, and she was angry.

Dear One, watch out for false teachers who come to you in sheep’s clothing. The post this woman wrote, and other “woke” views seem right, and logical, and accepting of all views. Watch out.

Like it or not, the road to God IS NARROW. I didn’t make that up. Read these verses for yourself. I didn’t build the road. But I will tell you it exists, and I’ll pray you walk it. All other roads lead to destruction.

All other roads.

I applaud the bold stand this University has taken for the Truth of Scripture in this day and age when that is a stand that could have serious repercussions. So many people are looking for this fight and would love to see the University taken down, as I believe the writer of the post I read would like to see. “Punish anyone who disagrees with me,” is the attitude of our sin-sick world, the attitude of people who will in one breath tell you not to judge, while judging you.

Would you pray with me for this University and others like it that are being faithful to the Word of God? They don’t have it easy. And I don’t see it getting easier any time soon. May God be glorified even in this.

A Scripturally based world-view is both broad and narrow. Broad in the sense that we are all sinners. All of us! Broad in the sense that “whosoever” believes in Jesus’ death on the cross as a substitute for the penalty of their sin, will be saved. Narrow in the sense that Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME.” Narrow in the sense that the Bible is the Word of God, and stands as the only Truth.

Broad in the sense you can believe what you want to believe. Narrow in the sense that everything you believe might not be true.

The fact is, the plan of God from the beginning is a narrow road. It doesn’t matter if that hurts your delicate feelings. Walk it, or don’t. Just know the destination of each road is very, very different.

Is it time you narrowed your own world-view?

(Daniel 8-12) Is It Time?

If God sent an angel to interrupt prime time regular programing with a message that the world would end in 1,290 days – what would you do? How would you spend the next 3 1/2 years? Would you live it up with partying, sex, and drugs? Would you marry your sweetheart (or maybe divorce your spouse)? Would you buy a yacht and sail around the world, or would you climb Mt. Everest?

Maybe you’d live the high life for the first 2 1/2 years, then clean up your act just in time for the end. Or maybe you’d hit your knees, repent of sin, and spend the remaining 3 1/2 years of life on earth praying that people would turn to God. Maybe you’d be more bold when speaking to your friends and loved ones who need Jesus.

Would you take the angel’s warning seriously if you were sure he really was sent from God?

Well, my friend. That angel HAS appeared. That message HAS been sent from God. We don’t know if we are living in day 1,289 and have years and years before the end, or if we are actually living day 0002. But God, through the vision he gave Daniel, wants us to understand the day of the end has been set. It’s going to happen. There is no doubt, no alternate plan.

Many people are looking for signs of the end. Many try to figure out who or what the “last days’ will look like. I mean, you don’t want to get ready too soon or too late, right? I think their focus is misdirected.

The point is: it’s time. Now. Today. It’s time to clean up your act and get busy because the day is coming when the last chance to be saved will be past. Jesus IS coming again. And when He comes, judgment will follow. And eternity will be set.

Heaven? or Hell? There is no third option. And there will be no change of address a few millennia down the road.

Quit looking for signs. Quit postponing a decision to submit to God. He has spoken. The end is much nearer today than it was last week. You have this lifetime to make a decision that will determine your eternity, an eternity where you will be conscious of your every moment. A very real heaven or a very real hell await each one of us, depending on what we do with Jesus in this lifetime.

Friend, it’s time to choose. Choose wisely. Eternity is a very long time.

(Daniel 1-3) Do You Believe In God?

King Nebuchadnezzar believed that the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego was God above all gods. How else could it be explained that the three men were thrown into a blazing fire which killed some soldiers, that four men were seen taking a walk inside the fiery furnace, and that the three came out of the fire unharmed? They didn’t even smell like smoke!

Nebuchadnezzar shouted praises to God, and made it a law that no one could say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Saying anything offensive against God resulted in a death sentence, according to the King’s new law.

I think Nebuchadnezzar really believed. But Scripture tells us even demons believe. And believing God is who He IS, has demons shaking in their boots! (James 2:19)

Acknowledging God is God, believing Jesus God’s Son died on a cross and rose again, just isn’t enough. What you do with that knowledge has everything to do with salvation, with eternity. Without surrendering to God, your knowledge of Him has no more to do with the forgiveness of your sins than believing the earth is round, or that Thursday follows Wednesday.

King Nebuchadnezzar makes me sad. But my heart breaks at the thought that some of my family and friends are satisfied with the fact they believe in God. It’s not enough.

Hear Jesus’ own words:

Except a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

Do you believe in God? I hope so. Now, what are you going to do about that?