Be ready, look up!

Look up…

When the trumpet of God sounds, what will you be doing? Are you working for His Kingdom or just working to pay your bills? Well…it depends on what time of day that He blows the trumpet. If it is in the night, most of the world or at least half of it will be asleep. If it is the early morning, like right after sunrise, then many will be getting up and preparing for the day to come. Whether it is getting ready for school or work, that is what they will be doing, regardless of their age.

What about the people who don’t know Jesus yet? Truthfully, they will be doing mostly the same things that we are, except some of us will be reading God’s Word and doing our daily Bible study, if we are in the habit of doing that. It is a shame that many Christians miss out on the freshness of God’s Word in the morning simply by NOT studying His Word before going to school or work. Why do I say this? Because reading and praying for God to reveal His wisdom for you from His Word is just a good way of starting the day off on the right foot.

Are we commanded to do so? Well, no, God doesn’t tell us that it is a commandment but He did say “Meditate on the Scriptures day and night”; so in a way, He did say that we should read His Word daily. Whether we choose to do it in the early morning or in the afternoon or evening is our choice, but it would get the day started better if you would begin your day by being in His Word.

God loves us beyond our measure and yet we don’t usually seek Him out until something is wrong or something is going wrong in our lives. Many people seem to be brought up with that sense of not needing God until ?. It isn’t good for us to try to live our lives daily, let alone throughout the year, without Him as part of our lives. What good does that do you?

Your Father in Heaven is the Creator and if you don’t want anything to do with Him don’t you believe that hurts His feelings? I know there are some who don’t believe in God or Jesus or a Creator and that is fine, but it is foolish. Our universe did not just create itself and it didn’t organize itself without God’s hand guiding it to be what He intended it to be and to do His will.

On that day when the trumpet sounds, will it be audible for all to hear or will it be audible for only those who have given their hearts to Jesus? Honestly, I have no idea! It could be the loudest trumpet blast in history or it may be only audible to the ears of those who have been waiting for it eagerly. Either way, it is going to happen soon and by that, I mean within my lifetime.

So, look up expecting to hear or see something beyond amazing but also terrifying. Why? Because, if you see it happen or hear it and you are not part of it, then you will need to seek out God fast! Because the world is going to go into a tailspin and there will be a delusion, sent to the Earth, which will allow people to believe the lie that they will be told about what happened. This is what the Bible speaks of in 1 Thessalonians 4, about being taken up in a moment: 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.

This is the rapture of the Church, of those who believed in Jesus and His message. No matter the denomination, those who have truly believed and have been changed by the Holy Spirit will be taken up into Heaven, changed into our immortal bodies and be with Him forever. Jesus told the thief this while they were on their crosses before Jesus said: “It is finished.” He said, “Today, you will be with Me in Paradise”. No waiting for the end of the age when all will be awakened to their punishment or their reward,  and when you die you will be taken from your body to be judged to receive your reward or your punishment.

Make sure of which one it will be while in this life, because after death there will be no second chances.

Is your faith no better than Satan’s?

heaven-or-hell-eternal-destinyKinda sounds a bit weird, doesn’t it? Does Satan have faith at all? Well, yes and no. He believes that Jesus is the Son of God, but not through faith. The demons which Jesus told to come out of the man in the tombs called Him the Holy One of God, so they knew Who He was. What is interesting is that many people in the church know Who Jesus is and they believe intellectually that He is the Son of God, but that is not a saving faith in Jesus. Consider someone who has read the Bible from cover to cover, but they did not read it with an attitude of faith or belief and they didn’t believe in the God Who inspired the writing of it. How do you think that they would see the information that they took into their brains?

Mostly the information which they may have learned will be just knowledge, head knowledge not saving or believing knowledge. Satan knows the Scriptures because he was around when it was written but knowledge and faith are two different sides of a coin and they never meet! If you didn’t feel a compulsion to repent or a call of the Holy Spirit, it wouldn’t matter if you memorized all of the gospels! The knowledge in them would be just words from a rabbi or teacher and nothing more.

Faith and belief are part of being a Christian but if you can’t joyfully proclaim that He is your Savior and be truly happy about that news, then you may not be any closer to Jesus than Satan is. Our Creator and our Savior is Jesus the Christ and being glad that He is your Savior is part of the proof that the Holy Spirit gives you! If your knowledge of Him only goes to the point of being in church and hearing the sermons, then you truly need to get to know Him better!

God loves each of us and doesn’t want us to be punished in hell because we didn’t give our hearts to Him. The message of salvation and the love that God expressed through Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross is the most excellent way of showing that love to all of us. Life is more than just living here day by day because your life doesn’t end when you die! Jesus spoke of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob because they are alive in eternity and we will be too…if we believe in Him and accept Him as our Savior. We can enjoy meeting and get to know the people that we have only read about in the Bible in eternity!

Those in the world who only know Jesus as a prophet or a teacher and don’t want to know Him as their Savior will not enjoy eternity. They will be in hell with Satan and the demons because of rejecting the Savior in this life. There is no party and no kingdom to rule with Satan, so eternity will be punishment and absolutely no fun at all.

Will you come back?

Many people seem to be leaving the church today, for one reason or another. They are either too busy or tired of the same old sermons being taught over and over, or at least that is what they think it is being done. The message of the Bible, from the Genesis to Revelation, is salvation through Jesus the Messiah. So, yes it does sound a bit like the same message over and over again but that is what God had to do in the Old Testament to get Israel’s attention. He still has to do it today, even with grace and mercy and Jesus’ atonement for our sins. If the message weren’t repeated then many people wouldn’t hear it.

God loves each of you and He has made salvation easy but it seems that it is too easy. It seems that many look at something which is free and easy isn’t worth much, but that kind of thinking is wrong. Jesus did all of the work necessary to accomplish your salvation and mine, the only thing we have to do is realize that we need it then ask Him to come into our lives and change each of us from the heart outward!

Why should you come back to church?

Because, God’s Word is being preached there and because your home church needs you! We want you back because when Jesus comes back we want to all go up there together! This isn’t something which is dependent upon your location though. If you belong to Jesus, you will be caught up in the air to be with Him forever. The alternative destination is not one that you want to look forward to at all.

Why is that? Because, being in “outer darkness” and away from the love of God is the place you will be in. It is hell because the Presence of God is not there and your loved ones who know Jesus will be elsewhere. At the end, at the White Throne judgement you will be cast into the lake of fire with the other angels and humans who have decided to follow their own path and not the one of following Jesus.

God doesn’t put you into hell or the lake of fire, your decisions in this life do that all by themselves. It is your decision to walk and live one way or another. The end results are very different but eternity still lingers in front of you, make sure of your eternity before it is too late to change your mind.

So much anger

angerIn today’s world, on the news, in your home town even, it seems that there is a lot of anger. You see the effects of it every day on the news and in your neighborhood. You see it and hear it sometimes in your own home. But…everyone seems to brush it under the rug and ignore it until, one day something blows up. Frustration with our government or with your family builds and builds until one day it is in the news on television. A couple kills each other over supposed infidelity, whether true or not the end result is that two people are dead. Someone straps a bomb to themselves because they were taught to hate other people who worship differently and they go to a marketplace and blow themselves up and kill as many people, men, women and children, as they can. What did that accomplish?

It is hard to understand these things because we don’t know what happened to cause them. Sometimes, it is a senseless thing which is happening, at other times it seems that there is a reason for it. Outside the culture or the neighborhood or even the family, the reporters and the rest of the public just don’t understand what caused this? Why did it happen the way it did? Is anyone responsible?

We don’t understand the reason even if one is given via email or post on social media, so how can we help? Can we help? Is there anything that someone could do or say to help in these situations?

The truthful answer is: we don’t know. I can’t understand the mindset of a person or a group of people whose intent is to do these things. Is there a way to help?

The only answer that I can come up with, comes from God’s Word: Love your neighbor as yourself. So, why aren’t people being taught this instead of hate? Because the world and those in it don’t like to hear the truth from an indisputable source. The world and its religions, besides Christian religions, doesn’t want to hear this and they can’t come back with a saying or a truth from their religions which is better!

The advice and love and mercy which comes from God’s Word can be disbelieved and thrown in the trash but you can’t find better wisdom and knowledge because it came from Him. God is the ultimate Creator and King of all and His wisdom is beyond our understanding. His wisdom is above us as we are above an ant or a snail, yet each of those is wise in their own way. The ant does his gathering for when things are tough, the snail does what God designed him to do because he is a snail.

We are created in His image to be like Him and in order to be like Him we should learn about Him and walk with Him daily. Not weekly or once every month or just a couple of times in the year, but every day that you wake up thank Him for that day and be thankful for the opportunities that you may have during that day. Living daily with Him and through Him is not something which is easy, you have to purpose and decide to follow Him daily. Christians all over the world, those who are saved by their belief in Him Who saved them, neglect to do this even though they belong to Him. Why?

Because, after their salvation they feel that they have all that they need from God until something happens and then they call on Him to give them help and healing. It is something which you see in the Old Testament from one chapter to the next, following God while they are without enemies or without drought. Then, they forget the One Who saved them from their enemies or from a drought and go back to living as they wish to until some other calamity comes upon them.

I am not saying that living with God daily, reading His Word and praying to give Him praise for His grace and mercy will give you a life without problems, it will not! We are not perfect, we will all fail in our faith at some point, but God is gracious and will forgive us if we will confess it and turn back to Him again. Life, even the life of a Christian, is not easy but as a follower of Christ, Satan will attempt to cause you to fall in the sight of all so that your witness to them is taken away. Sometimes, your witness will be stained not by Satan but by your past. If you are called to be a minister in an area where people have known you for most of your life, like Jesus when He came to Nazareth, many won’t hear the Word of God that you preach but will be listening to you as you were when you were younger.

Do not fail to deliver the Word in your calling, regardless of their view of you or their opinion, because that is what God called you to do. If they accept it and repent then God brought it about, if not then they weren’t listening with their spiritual ears to begin with.

Are you sure about that?

I think many people are asking this question or they are being asked by those who are going to give them something for Christmas. Have you thought about it yourself? There are so many “deals” out there today because it is Cyber Monday and of course last Friday was Black Friday! I try not to participate in either one if I can help it. Go one step farther than just a gift at Christmas and think about a gift that has been provided for us all…and it doesn’t cost us anything!

Jesus came down from Heaven to be born as the Christ-child in a human body and from the very beginning, before the Earth was formed, He was chosen to be slain on a cross to pay for our sins! Blood from animals paid the price before He came, yet they were an imperfect payment because their sacrifice had to be performed each year, every year. His sacrifice was perfect, since He did not have a sin nature and didn’t sin during His life, yet He gave His life to the Father’s will so that we can come to the Father through belief in Jesus the Christ!

As Hebrews 7:27 says:  27 Unlike the other high priests, He does not need to offer daily sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people; He sacrificed for sin once for all when He offered up Himself.

Jesus gave His life so that we might have eternal life with Him. It is a gift which cannot be bought by us, but it had a high price. The price of the Son of God and His life, death and resurrection to purchase our pardon if we will believe in Him. This is a story which has been told through thousands of sermons over the years since His ascension to be with God, a story which many have believed in and on for their salvation.

Today it seems that we have many who have been in the church all of their lives, hearing this message, sitting in the church week after week, who have not taken the steps to finalize being a Christian! Many believe wrongly that because they have been in the church and heard the message and read the Bible that they are saved. They may even be fine upstanding members of the church, volunteering for all kinds of selfless positions and committees in the church. But…are they saved? Are you saved?

Are you sure?

Why do I bring this up now? Because, you and I need to be absolutely sure of our salvation! Why? Because, there are no second chances! If you left the church one Sunday morning or evening and just before you get home, you had a terrible accident which took your life. How would you feel standing before God and seeing your life and your opportunities shown before you, yet you are not saved. You didn’t act when the Spirit moved you in the revival meeting or when you felt Him touch you during a service because you thought you were OK. What a terrifying feeling it will be to hear, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.”

Your eternity lies before you, but it won’t be an eternity in Heaven. It will be one where you feel the burn of loss and the frustration and anger which can only be turned upon yourself because you thought that you already had something and you really didn’t. Nothing can change that now because your decision was made before your death.

Have you decided which direction that you want to go? Most everyone you ask on the street thinks that they have been a good person and they deserve to go to Heaven. How will you feel if your righteousness is not covered by the Blood of Jesus? Is your righteousness better than that of the Pharisees or about the same?

Think about it and consider doing something about it! If you felt the call of the Spirit and didn’t act, make sure that you do…soon!

Life is worth…Living!

I just finished reading one of the last entries on a blog which was written by an atheist. I didn’t know him personally, but then I read a post from a few days later which his wife wrote and he passed away four days after writing the post that I read. It was…a post which showed the thoughts of someone who was giving up on life. He was depressed and had seemingly decided that it was his time to go. I don’t know for sure if he killed himself, but he knows for sure, where his eternity is. He had asked me before to prove the existence of God and whether the Bible predicted WWII, I told him that I could not prove the existence of God and that the Bible did not predict WWII.

You cannot prove the existence of God because He is. It is a question of faith and if you don’t have faith or you don’t believe anything in the Bible, then there isn’t any proof which would prove that God exists. Even if He came to us today in human form like He did when Jesus walked with His disciples, nobody today would believe in Him except for those of us who already believe. The problem with this is, of course, that He said in the book of Revelation that He would come back as a King of Kings and with the armies of Heaven. Jesus would not come as He did 2,000 years ago.

God loves each of you, and if you can open your mind a little and read the Bible for the history and culture that is there then you will see Him. Although, reading it as a history book is good, that is not all that is in it. There are so many things which God can reveal to you if you will have faith and believe. The problem with this is that there are many people who only read it as a book which has history and poetry and lots of stories in it, reducing it to just words.

The problem with doing this is that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Inspired by His Spirit so that the history and the stories told in it would have a line which winds from the beginning of the Earth to its end. It doesn’t go into detail about every nation or every war which happens, but it does point to your Savior and the only way to salvation and eternal life! Give your heart to Jesus, the Spirit will touch you at some point in  reading His Word, then you have to listen and open your heart to Him.

That place where you have always felt…empty. That is where the Spirit is supposed to live in you! He is the only One Who fits in that space and once you realize this and ask Him into your life, then you will finally feel whole! No more time alone. No more feelings of incompleteness. Satan will come and try to steal your joy at finding this, finding Him, but if you lean on Jesus and seek His strength to get through it then you will!

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem and since life itself is temporary make sure that you ally yourself with the Creator and your Redeemer, Jesus the Christ!!

Faith…do you have enough?

When we are saved and we are accepted into the family of God, we are granted a measure of faith. Even though many of us feel as if we don’t have enough faith, it is because we aren’t using our faith in our lives. It isn’t that we don’t have enough, because Jesus said if you have as little faith as a mustard seed, you can do all things and more BUT you have to use your faith in order for it to work!

Faith is like money in that regard. We are given a measure of faith when we become Christians but if it is not used then it just sits there and eventually it gets dimmer and less effectual than it could be. Just as with money, you can have thousands of dollars but until you use it for either paying bills or investing it in something to make it grow, it just sits there doing nothing.

Being a Christian takes faith, which today seems to be in short supply in all areas of life but especially in the church. The church is where you come to worship God and learn of Him and His Son, Jesus, but it is only a building until the people, who make up the church, come in and begin to worship and praise God. If there is no spirit of praise, no spirit of God coming with those who come to the church, then the gathering is just a group of people listening to a speech.

Sadly, in America today many churches are in that shape. The fire of the Holy Spirit has gone out or it is smoldering at a point that it couldn’t be brought to a flame without a fuel being poured on it, like gasoline or alcohol. Our churches and the people of America have come to this point because even though over seventy percent of people in America claim to be Christians…once you get to the point of proof like attendance and Bible study on a regular schedule, the figure drops drastically to around fifteen or maybe twenty percent.

We have walked away from God, turned our backs on Him and decided that we would have to take care of our own problems without any help from Him. Our independent spirit at work and at home is killing the church and many people are celebrating. God will not strive with us forever, He will take His hands and His blessing away from our country and then we will find out exactly what it feels like to be without God. I have prayed that day would never come, but it seems that it is happening right now.

Pray for our nation and our leaders because they need God in their lives and our nation needs Him in many other areas too.

What is success to you?

Have you ever thought about that? Today, money, fame, and all of the toys which go with them signal success to many people. The problem with this is that all of those things is that they are temporary. Although, it seems to many people, these temporary things are far more important than an eternity that is out of sight and in their future. This is another lie or deception which Satan has made so important and prevalent today. It is almost as accepted as the theory of evolution because all of the things which I mentioned at the beginning are tangible and they can be felt and seen!

The biggest problem with those “rewards” is that you can’t take any of it with you when you die! You can be buried in a tomb or a casket which is very expensive, but what good will that do you? Your spirit is gone into eternity and no matter how luxurious your casket or tomb or vault may be, the body that is left behind will eventually turn to a moldy husk and in about a thousand years or so, there will be little left except maybe some bones. Your life on Earth is over when you breathe your last breath, that much is certain, but your spirit is eternal and it or rather you will stand before God to give account for your life’s accomplishments.

If you are a Christian, then your reward and your eternity is certain, particularly if you did very much for the Kingdom of God during your life here. Your salvation brought God’s Spirit to live inside your temple, your body, until the day that your work here was finished. If you did not give your heart to Him and ask for Him to bring His Life into yours, then you still have eternity ahead, but it will be one of regret and anguish because you left Jesus out of your life.

I know that many people say that “My God would never send anyone to hell”, and they are absolutely right! God doesn’t send you to hell, your choices in life send you there and if you have chosen to live without Jesus and to live life according to your whims, then that will be your destination. It saddens God to see us refuse His gift of salvation, when it costs us nothing to embrace it and accept it. Jesus did all of the work necessary for you to have an eternity in Heaven, and yet there are millions, maybe billions of people who have chosen another way. One which doesn’t include Him, and that pathway doesn’t lead to Heaven, although many think that it does.

Success and a successful life is one lived in accordance with God and His Son. It may not include riches or houses or cars, but your eternal home is on a street paved with gold! Your home is made by the Creator of the universe and it is there for the asking, all you have to do is accept it through belief in Jesus and His atonement for you. Won’t you consider it?

Are you a follower?

Of the many people who attend church on a fairly regular schedule, how many are really following Jesus in their daily lives? The answer may shock you. According to a study done recently, eighty-three percent of the people in the United States said they were Christians. But, when they were questioned further and asked about their relationship with Jesus and their belief about salvation coming through faith in Him alone and about the authority of the Bible and its inspiration by the Holy Spirit, the numbers tumbled to around eight to ten percent.

What happened?

Many people think that if you are a good person and you attend church once or twice a year, then you will go to Heaven. Not true.

Do you believe that Jesus was and is the Son of God? That He lived a sinless life and died for the atonement which is given to every person that is called by God? Do you have faith in God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit or the Trinity of Almighty God? Can you discern truth in the Bible and in your everyday life?

Or is there another pathway to get to Heaven through your works and donations? Jesus said that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no man comes to the Father except by Him. Believing in Him and giving your life to Jesus is the ONLY way to get to Heaven. There is no broad road to walk on with no holes and no rocks and other obstacles along the way. It is a path to follow by giving your heart to Jesus and asking for His forgiveness of your sins, repenting of them and turning your life around to follow Him.

This doesn’t mean that you can say those things, get baptized, and then go back to your old life. If you do this, then your heart was not changed at all and you are still living like you did before you heard about Jesus. Your heart hasn’t changed therefore you have not changed. It isn’t a magic formula, but you have to realize that you NEED Jesus in your life before something happens and you stand before God without Him.

God loves each of us and wants us to have a relationship with Him and the entire body of believers, and the only way to do that is by giving your heart to Jesus by believing in Him and asking Him to forgive you and make you whole. Why do I keep telling ya’ll this? Because, it is my job! Because the numbers shouldn’t fall from over 80 percent down to ten percent. Deception and lies are being spread abroad all of the time, even inside the church today, yet there are many who don’t see it or can’t discern it because they are not in God’s Word enough to be able to see when something is taught and taken out of context.

God sent His Son to Earth to purchase your pardon through His blood. He went through a scourging which left Him bloody and bruised, then He was nailed to the cross and withstood the shame and scorn of His people for six hours and then surrendered His Spirit into the Father’s hands. All of this was done to purchase us, our pardon for eternity and for our forgiveness. Would you turn away from something which is given to you without cost to you, but which Jesus paid for with His blood and His life?

Everything that could be done for each of us in order to purchase our souls and our place in eternity, has been done. It doesn’t require anything from you except that you believe in the One Who gave it all for you and that you repent of your sinful life and follow Him. Telling others with your life and your witness because we are supposed to tell others! Why? Would you be satisfied in Heaven without your children or your parents? Then tell them! Tell your friends and your co-workers, your students and anyone who will listen. If they won’t hear or refuse to accept Jesus, their blood is on their hands, not yours. It is God and His Spirit which will bring them to Himself, if they refuse then there is nothing else you could have done.

Be a follower of Jesus and tell others about what He has done for you. Satan will try to convince you to not follow Him, to go back to your old life, your comfortable life and your friends. When you stand in front of God after your life is over, which one of your friends will be there to help you? Will Satan stand there and say that you didn’t know what you were doing? No, he will be waiting for you to exit the room because he has a place for you…in hell. it necessary?

Some religions require you to pray a certain number of times each day, but is that enough? Are we praying for the right things or are we just reciting prayers that we learned as children? Prayer is a two-way communication not just a request line! Saying the same prayer over and over again doesn’t work, because you aren’t speaking to God if you are just repeating words which have no substance or meaning.

God is our Creator and He is interested in your life every day, not just when you are in trouble or you feel the need to get in touch with Him. Prayer is like talking to your Dad or your Mom, except that God can actually do something about a problem no matter what it may be!

The reason that I am writing about this is that it seems that many people use prayer as an emergency line. When something happens that they can’t handle, they cry out to God for His Presence right then! God hears these prayers, and He will answer them in His time not yours. He is God, not a bell boy or a genie and He doesn’t do your bidding regardless of how much money you gave to the church last year!

God loves each of us and He hears our prayers, what we don’t understand is that He wants a relationship with us. One that is in communication on a regular basis, not just when something in your life is going wrong! As it says in Numbers and Exodus, when you teach your children His statutes at rising, when you are walking along and before bed. God desires to hear a word or prayer from you when you get up, thank Him for your rest and for allowing you to get up, as your day progresses thank Him for your success during the day and when the day is through thank Him for strength to get through another day.

These prayers don’t take long to say and they don’t have to be complicated, they can even be as simple as “Thank you, Lord, for today” or “Thank you for waking me this morning, Lord.” It sounds like a trite, simple prayer but isn’t that the kind of prayer that you hear your children saying when they are young? God likes those prayers too, even if they are coming from you and me.