Tag Archives: judgment

December 30; What Not To Wear

Revelation 15-18

So often we can become impatient for God to give our enemies what we think they deserve. But as I read John’s vision in the book of Revelation, I realize God is not out to avenge our enemies. But He will certainly deal with His.

His final judgment will be unimaginably awful for anyone who rejected Him during their lifetime on Earth. It is a truly frightening account of their future.

Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments. (16:7)

God isn’t going to arbitrarily torture someone just because He didn’t like them, or because of the color of their hair. But a painful existence is ahead for anyone who has ignored God’s wooing, His hand of correction, His conviction over sin, His constant attempts at winning the world. His judgments are true and just.

Jesus says, “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” (16:7)

So let me ask us this: What are we wearing? What clothes are we hanging onto? Good deeds? Charity? Church attendance? Morality? Good luck with that.

Those are exactly the things NOT to wear. When those filthy rags disintegrate, and they will, you’ll be standing there as naked as the day you were born.

For me, I want to be awake, wearing the righteousness Jesus bought for me on the cross. I want to keep that robe close to me because it is the only ticket into heaven anyone has.

I want that for you, too.

 

December 11-14; And The Winner Is…

Revelation 11-14

When I read the book of Revelation as a picture of life, I see that life is messy. It’s chaotic. There are disasters and sorrow and struggles. Let’s face it. Satan is powerful and will continue to fight God, using us as pawns, until the final day when He who was, and is… has come!

I read about the battles, and Satan’s tactics to take as many of us as he can with him into hell. But then in chapter 14 I see the Lamb! I can almost hear the song of the redeemed, and I know we win! One day the earth will be ripe for harvest. That sickle will swing and life as we know it will end. Oh, how I long for that day!

But if you don’t know the Lamb, if you haven’t accepted the forgiveness of your sin through the blood of Jesus, you should be terrified at the thought of that day. Because you will not win. You will drink the wine of God’s fury.

As 2019 winds down, as we look forward to a new year, and a new decade, I pray you will be on the winning side, worshiping the Lamb who was slain for love of you. May God bless you, draw you to Him, and give you strength in the days ahead. Life’s not easy. We are at war. But be assured…

The winner is you, if you are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!

December 17; The List

I Timothy 3-6

What is sin? Or is there such a thing? Is calling something “sin” being judgmental? Is something a sin only if it hurts someone else? Are there degrees of sin?

Well, first of all sin is anything that deviates from God’s holiness. A thought, an action, a word that isn’t absolutely holy is a sin. That’s not my definition. It’s what God has told us in His Word. And every one of us have sinned.

Sin has nothing to do with whether or not your feelings get hurt, or if you are directly effected by the wrong actions of another. But it has everything to do whether or not you’ve offended God. The Bible is clear – any time we deviate from God’s holiness, He is hurt. It grieves Him to the core.

Is it judgmental if I tell you that?

If I tell a liar his lies are a sin, am I being judgmental? If I tell an adulterer her affair is a sin, am I setting myself up as her judge?

Paul says this: “The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them…” (5:24)

If some sins are obvious, there must be a list somewhere that defines sin. And you would be right to think that. God has inspired men to list obvious sins repeatedly throughout the Old and New Testaments. For instance, I Corinthians 6:9-11. In fact, Paul not only gives us the list, he offers a solution. I hope you’ll read those verses today.

I would rather take the chance of hurting your feelings by pointing out a sin, than having you spend eternity separated from God. If your sin is reaching judgment ahead of you, I’d like to stop you in your tracks, and share with you how you can be transformed. You don’t have to follow your sins to hell.

Changing the definition of sin doesn’t change the reality of the sin. Calling homosexuality normal doesn’t take homosexuality off the list. Justifying an adulterous relationship by saying you can’t help who you love doesn’t take adultery off the list. Believing that spreading gossip under the guise of “you have the right to know” doesn’t take gossip or slander off the list.

And calling sin “sin” is not being judgmental. It’s reporting the obvious.

But, Paul has some good news for us sinners. He tells us, after listing some pretty obvious actions that deviate from God’s holiness, in other words “sins,” that some who have sinned have been washed, sanctified, justified in the name of Jesus!

I hope that is true for you. But if it isn’t, if you haven’t faced your sin and allowed Jesus to do His thing in your life, I pray you will do that today. Sin is sin. The wages of sin is an eternal death separated from God, more horrible than any of us can imagine.

I’m not judging you. Sin has judged you. The list is pretty self explanatory.

But there is forgiveness through Jesus! I’m praying for all of us today.

 

November 17; He Is Coming

James 4-5; Acts 11:19-12:25

My pastor preached from I John 2 this morning. John warned that this is the last hour, that Jesus is coming again, and time as we know it will be no more. For those who know Jesus, it is a day to look forward to!

James, in chapter 5, is saying the same thing. Except he gives a different kind of warning. In fact, he says “weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.” How could John tell us to look forward to Jesus’ return, and James tell us to prepare for misery concerning it?

James goes on to talk about those who are ok with life as it is, who live in luxury, who live by their own rules. The Judge is at the door, he warns.

I don’t pretend to know when Jesus will return. Anyone who says they do are lying. The truth is I might die before that trumpet sounds. Or the clouds may part and Jesus appear before I’m done typing this today. I don’t know. No one does because Scripture doesn’t say.

But Scripture is clear that I – and you – will one day face the Judge. Everyone who has ever lived will be held accountable for the lives we lived on planet Earth. Until the day we stand before God Almighty, we have choice.

We can either align ourselves with God through the blood of Jesus, or we can live by our own rules, then stand before Him on that day on our own. I can absolutely tell you what to expect, without being your judge.

The Bible leaves no room for interpretation on this subject. With Jesus, you will go to heaven. Without Him, you will go to hell. Standing before the Judge, wearing Jesus’ righteousness, will usher you into a glorious eternity with God. Standing before Him wearing your pitiful attempt at goodness (which is nothing more than used menstrual pads) will usher you into an eternity more painful than anything our minds can even imagine.

There is no third option.

Jesus is coming again. When He does there will be no time to change your mind, no time to accept what He did on the cross when He paid for your sin. Oh, you can pay for them yourself with an eternity of hell if you choose. But I can’t imagine why you’d want to, when that debt has already been paid.

Jesus is coming again. It might be today. It might not. You may die today and face the Judge before the sun sets on your town. Or not. But are you ready to meet the Judge? You need to decide right this minute, my friend. Because when it’s over, it is truly over.

August 24; Getting Away With It

Jeremiah 43-44; Psalms 71 and 116

The people heard Jeremiah’s message from God – and they rejected it! They called the prophet a liar, and promised to go on living just the way they were living. In fact, they said that when they worshiped idols in the past, they’d had “plenty of food and were well off and suffered no harm.” They went so far as to say that trouble started only when they’d stopped worshiping their pretend gods.

What they chose to forget were the many times God had sent prophets to warn them, sent plagues or famine to get their attention. Their memory was selective, “We had it good without God.”

We all know there are people who have rejected God as blatantly as these ancient Jews rejected Him. And we are witness to the fact that God doesn’t zap them dead the minute they utter the words, “We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord.” (Jeremiah 44:17)

Many non-believers, enemies of God, prosper in this world. But don’t think for a moment God or some higher power or the universe is blessing them for their sin. Jeremiah tells us in verses 21-22 that God is not unaware of what they are doing. He tells us God endures their sin for a time.

Why? Why would God sit back and let people be wicked? Well the answer is, He doesn’t. God doesn’t sit back – ever. If wicked people prosper it is because God is patiently throwing out roadblocks, conviction, signs, messages, hardship, unrest, whatever… in order to help those people choose Him. You can’t know how God is working in anyone’s heart.

I’m glad the organizers of the NIV One Year Chronological Bible include the two psalms in today’s scripture. This is the testimony God wants every man, woman, and child to have for themselves: God is gracious, God is good, God is righteous, He protects, He gives hope, and He is worthy of praise. And I believe the Bible tells us God will keep working in the hearts of even the most vile offenders, until they die.

But Jeremiah also tells us there is a time when judgment comes. Just because wicked people seem to prosper, doesn’t mean they are getting away with anything. One day they will have to account for their choices. In Jeremiah’s day that involved disasters, sword and famine. But the ultimate judgment is so much worse. It’s eternal.

So, dear Christian, don’t get caught up wondering why wicked people aren’t suffering. God is working. Trust Him. They aren’t getting away with anything. That fact should cause us to grieve for them, to pray for them, and to allow God to use us to save them.

 

 

August 5; On Fire

Jeremiah 22:24-23:8, 49:1-33; 2 Kings 24:10-17; Obadiah 1:1-21

I will confess I was a bit down yesterday after my time in God’s Word, thinking about the persecution of believers in our world, and what that means for the future of the sweet children in my life. I pray that they will be grounded in the Truth of Scripture, believers in Jesus, and His through His precious blood and the repentance of sin. I pray they will be strong to face whatever the future holds.

I read the passages for today and, honestly, my mind kept wandering. I got to the end of it and realized I hadn’t gotten a thing out of it. So I prayed and asked God to speak to me as I read it a second time.

Sigh. There is a lot of destruction and judgment in these verses. Is that what God wants to say to me again today? I wasn’t sure I could handle another day of gloom and doom.

And, because I’ve made a 10 day commitment to keep my commentaries on the shelf, I started to read these passages a third time. This time I prayed, “God, if you are wanting me to address your fierce judgment again I will. But if there is something else you want me to see, I want to see it.

“Jesus,” He seemed to say.

There it was. Jeremiah 23:5-6. Jesus, the righteous Branch, wise, and just. The One who will protect His children. The Lord our Redeemer! Thank you, Lord, for reminding me there is hope. His name is Jesus.

Then, in Obadiah 1:15-18 I heard God speak of that hope. The day of the Lord is near. There will be deliverance – AND IT WILL BE HOLY.

God’s children will receive our inheritance: eternity with Jesus. And not one of those who reject Him will survive. Not one.

So, yes. Things are heating up in the world. Satan is on a roll. But we who know the Savior have hope. Nothing that snake can do needs to cause us fear, because God is on our side. Jesus will destroy His enemies.

It occurs to me there are two ways God eliminates His enemies. One is death – physical and eternal. But that’s not His first choice to destroy His enemies.

The other way God eliminates His enemies is by making them His children. When they repent of sin and accept His grace, they are enemies no more! That’s His plan. That’s why Jesus died. That’s what He did for me and you who were once His enemies. He saved us and made us His beloved.

So, dear Christian, let’s be that fire Obadiah spoke of. Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to set us ablaze with passion and love and boldness. Let’s defeat Satan by leading people to Jesus. Let’s do our part to turn God’s enemies into His children.

Because if we don’t, none of them will survive.

July 31; Time To Check Your Heart

Jeremiah 8:4-9:15, 22-10:26, 26:1-24

I often hear people lament the condition of the world based on what is happening in the US. “God must be coming back soon because Americans have legalized gay marriages,” when the truth is, we aren’t the first country to do that. We aren’t the first country to be “post-Christian.” For some reason, we believe God doesn’t think other countries quite as important as the good old USA.

I hate to break it to us, but it isn’t all about America. Jeremiah reminded me of that this morning. In fact, the prophet reminded me it isn’t about nations at all. It’s not about Congress, or school boards, or Parliament, or police states. It’s about uncircumcised hearts.

It’s about me. It’s about you. It’s about individuals who reject God’s law, who worship pretend gods, who are their own gods.

There are great things happening in Jesus’ name in countries all over this world. Why? Because one man and one woman at a time are giving their hearts to the Lord. Do you think that matters in God’s economy, or does He cancel out that particular work of the Holy Spirit because Americans are rejecting Him?

As I was reading in Jeremiah today, reading about Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Israel, God seemed to remind me nations are not entities unto themselves. Jesus didn’t die to save Mexico, or Israel, or Ethiopia, or the United States of America. Jesus died to save individuals. Nations are made up of people whose hearts are either given to God or to Satan.

Jeremiah 9:25 says, “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh.”

So, dear one, it’s time to check your heart. It’s time for me to check mine. That’s the heart I am responsible for, that’s the heart that will usher me into heaven or hell.

So the next time we are praying for our country and the world, let me suggest we check our heart’s condition before our Holy God. God can’t heal a nation until He heals each of us.