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    Are You Happy with this Life or Seeking Real Happiness for an Eternal Life?

    Sunday, May 24, 2015, 4:44 PM [General]

    Do you believe that you were just an accident of evolution and birth?  Do you believe you were created?  If you believe you were created, then do you believe that there must have been some reason behind that creation?  I believe in creation.  I believe this world disrespects its Creator by denying Him.  I believe that even those who confess that there is a Creator disrespect Him by their lives in not living up to the highest ideals of our purpose.  I am not happy that I am so very far from being all that I ought to be and should be.  In that respect, I also disrespect my Creator.  But He knows our nature and is willing to forgive us.  We must believe and accept that forgiveness.  Then we realize that we need to seek what purpose He has for us.

    Our Creator, Yahweh, will only tolerate so much disrespect and His wrath is soon to fall exactly according to His schedule.  People decide whether His will is more important, or their life in this world is more important than His Word.  Satan is the prince of the power of the air and the ruler of this world.  Satan is a liar and the father of lies.  He has filled this world with so many lies that many people not only believe in those lies, but also take them for granted.  Many people think they are serving the Lord by simply going around living what they consider to be ‘fine’ lives, talking about love and peace.  That is not the way to find favor with our Creator.

    I’ve been in plenty of churches.  People go to church to hear God’s Word.  Before church it’s sports or politics.  After church it’s sports or politics.  Some people think all they should hear of God’s Word is while they’re sitting in church.  Some people spend the rest of their time worshipping this world.  They don’t call it worship- but many don’t understand the nature of worship.  True worship involves praise, love and adoration, and service.  People show their worship through what they love and adore, what they praise, and what they serve.  Some devote much time to sports.  Some devote much time to politics.  Some devote much time to entertainment.  All in all, people demonstrate whether they have the time to praise, love, adore, enjoy, and study God/Yahweh and His Word.

    Do you worship God?  How much time do you spend worshipping God, and how much time devoted to other interests.  Jesus said that if you love your life in this world, you will lose it, but if you hate (or reject) your life in this world, then you will save your eternal life.

    John 12:25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

    People seem to have plenty of time for their entertainments and political propaganda, but little time for cultivating their hearts and sharing that eternal life with others.  Many people you can’t share it with, because they don’t want to hear it.  They believe they get enough at their church meetings, and don’t really need any more during the rest of the week.  The Christian lives with a homesickness to escape this world with its cares, its deceits (as the father of lies is the ruler of this world), and entertainments that are only designed to lull people into a sense of false happiness and security that doesn’t have any real lasting value.

    This adds a little more meaning to Paul’s quote, “Oh, death where is your sting and victory?”  (Paraphrased).

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    Satan Knows the Bible and Has Powers

    Sunday, May 24, 2015, 2:51 PM [General]

    Do some people seem to have a Bible verse for every occasion.  All well and fine, but lest we forget, Satan has been around for a long time and knows the Bible well.  Remember, Satan used Scripture references to tempt Jesus.  As Jesus used the Scriptures to refute Satan, we too could do so, but that means we have to study really well, because Satan knows them well and is a master of deception.  Have you seen how many people on Facebook use the pictures with nice little quotes?  My main concern with this is that these ‘little snippets’ seldom paint a whole picture.  If you need motivation, encouragement, or comfort, then don’t look for ‘little snippets’ on Facebook.  Pray and search the Scriptures.  The Bible says that the Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance what Christ taught.  The Lord may lead someone to you with the right answers.  Or the Spirit, through your Bible reading, will guide you to the passage the Lord wants you to consider.  Very often, a ‘short snippet’ that seems to say the right words may not be the words you need to hear, but maybe Satan trying to use the Scriptures or some quick quote to pacify you temporarily.  Sometimes, whether in discouragement or sorrow, there is some deeper truth the Lord wants us to find, rather than some quick phrase that says, “Glory, glory!”  Sometimes discouragement or sorrow may serve a purpose to bring us to consider the full extent of God’s will more deeply.

    Matthew 24:24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

    I have said much about false christs and prophets, but there is one thing that I particularly want to point out from the verse above.  They will “perform great signs and wonders”.  Many people may see “miracles” and “praise the Lord”, but that does not necessarily mean that they really know the Lord.  Satan talked to Jesus face to face, but that does not mean that Satan is testifying on Jesus’ behalf.  Satan is very powerful and grants power to many who have been deceived by the lure of prosperity in this world.  Be very cautious in taking notice of ‘signs and wonders’ because Satan wants you to think more on rewards in this world, which is not the home of Christians, than in Heaven, which is the true home of Christians.

    Matthew 7:22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?'  23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'

    So do not suppose that everyone that you think is a Christian is necessarily a Christian.  Some people may think they know Jesus (Yahshua), but they may ‘know’ Him in a similar sense that Satan ‘knows’ Him, but they don’t necessarily ‘really KNOW’ Him.  Satan can string Bible verses together and people may seem inspired but it may not be the message that our Lord has in mind to be spread.  (Remember, that is what Satan tried to do when tempting Jesus with Scriptures in the wilderness.)  Many are deceived, and I think this is part of Paul’s warning in Philippians 2: 12, “… work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”  Remember, the early church was already doing battle with false teachings.  This is why it is necessary to “search out the Scriptures to see what things are so” (Acts 17: 11).

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    Christ/Elect/Tribulation/Rapture- Epilogue

    Friday, May 22, 2015, 3:43 PM [General]

    The last passage on the rapture closes with the classic, “O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?”  This portion is certainly deserving of more comment.

    1st Corinthians 15:51 Behold!  I tell 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 trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.  53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.  54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."

    55 "O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?"  56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Paul had said in a number of ways that without the law, there would be no sin.  But the law is essential.  Yet we are all guilty of that law and deserving of that death.  Yet there are two forms of life, and two forms of death.  There is this earthly life in which we can choose our own ways or we can choose to seek God’s Kingdom.  Then there is the death of this earthly life, which is due because of sin, but there is also that spirit that God breathed into the clay formation of the earthly man.  That breath of life which is the spirit residing in this earthly body is that image and likeness of God (Genesis 1: 26) that will not expire with our earthly body.  This is that essence of life that will stand before the judgment seat of God facing eternity based on the choices in this earthly life.  We have all failed in living to the standards of our Heavenly Father, and should all be subject to that eternal separation from His kingdom.  That eternal separation would be, according to Jesus (Matthew 8: 11- 12; Matthew 25: 31- 46; Luke 16: 19- 31) a place of eternal punishment where there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  For the elect, the Christians, the saved (pick your name) death is a victory where they escape the restraints of this earthly body bound into this sinful world.

    Romans 7:21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.  22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

    24 Wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death?  25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

    Paul had said that in this earthly, fleshly body dwells no good thing.  We are to strive to live perfect lives, and many are better at that than others.  However, so long as we are tied to these earthly, fleshly bodies, we are tied to the struggles of temptations that can pull people in many directions.  With God’s help, we can overcome, yet many fail.  This failing does not negate the power of Christ to save, but destroys the happiness and effectiveness of the one saved.  But even for those who are better at overcoming the weakness of this flesh, there is still either that painful pull of the temptation, or the attacks of Satan who seeks to destroy those who follow Jesus.  So if life is pleasant in this world, then one should seriously consider the status of his relationship with the Lord.  If you are happy in this world, and knowing that this world is ruled by Satan, then there is something that is not quite right.  We must carefully examine our faith and our standards in this world.  For the Christian, death is to be a joyous occasion.

    John 12:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.  If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

    Can you better understand that if you love this life, you will lose it, but if you hate your life in this world, you will save your eternal life?  Can you better understand the victory of the grave for the believer?  But be very careful in examining your faith.  Many will think they have found the Lord and do good works in His name and even cast out demons in His name, but they are not holding that true faith in Jesus as their Savior.  Many scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, Conservatives, and Liberals may be highly respected in this world, and people may think what fine people they are, but many of those will be turned away at the judgment throne.  Don’t ever be fooled by those who seem to be such fine people into thinking that surely they must be saved.  Be very careful of false teachers, because there are many deceived.

    Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?'  23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'

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    Christ/Elect/Tribulation/Rapture- Part 3

    Friday, May 22, 2015, 1:42 PM [General]

    The word ‘rapture’ isn’t used in the Scripture to refer to Christ calling His followers up to be with Him, but it is a term that is used to describe that event.  This, as we saw in the earlier post, will be with a great trumpet.  Let’s look for a moment at the trumpets in the New Testament.

    Matthew 24:30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

    1st Corinthians 15:51 Behold!  I tell 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 trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.  53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.  54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."

    55 "O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?"  56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Paul speaks of the ‘last trumpet’.  Paul does not mean that there will never be trumpets played in Heaven, so which trumpet could he be referring to?  The New Testament speaks of Seven Trumpets to be sounded during that period of great tribulation.  Jesus had earlier said that the tribulation will be cut short for the sake of the elect.  Now the period spoken of as that great tribulation by theologians is that time referred to in the book of Revelation when there will be the seals, trumpets, and bowls.  There are to be seven seals, and when the first seal is broken, the “Great Tribulation” (as called by the theologians) is to begin.  This is to be followed by seven trumpets, which are signaled by the breaking of the seventh seal.  Then at the breaking of the seventh trumpet, the seven bowls will appear.  These seven bowls are to be filled with God’s wrath.  Christians are to be spared from the wrath of God, and it would certainly seem that the sounding of the seventh trumpet which sets the stage for God’s wrath would be that last trumpet that will sound that Paul spoke of, and that Jesus said would be when His elect would be gathered.

    The Bible tells that Christians may be subject to discipline including chastening, which involves the normal upbringing of a child, but also scourging, which literal translation means flogging.  It is not the Lord’s desire for His children to be flogged, but people who understand discipline know that in the self-willed and stubborn nature of humans, it is sometimes necessary to inculcate proper training.  As to the persecution and tribulations the Scriptures teach that Christians are to endure, this is to be due to the fact that Christians are contrary to the ruler of this world, and this world (under the influence and control of the ruler of this world) will be naturally against Christianity.  If a person finds many friends in ‘this earthly, materialistic world’ ruled by Satan, then that person is not living to the expectations of his Creator.  In other words- if you are an enemy to the ruler of this world, then could you expect this world to be obliging to you?  Christians are to love and pray for their enemies, but how do the people of this world generally respond to enemies?  So then what else could Christians expect from this world?

    This is why you should be careful of false teachers who tell you what you ‘want’ to hear.  If one promises you prosperity in this world, then they are not seeing this world as contrary to our Heavenly Father’s rule.  If you truly believe, as the Bible teaches, that this world is ruled by Satan, and you see politics as ‘running’ the world, then how much trust should you expect to place in politics?  People should be very careful about seeing how what their teachers teach compare with what the Bible truly says.

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    Christ/Elect/Tribulation/Rapture- Part 2

    Friday, May 22, 2015, 11:00 AM [General]

    In the earlier post we asked, “Who do you say is the Christ/Messiah/Deliverer?”  Now let’s consider who those are who are called ‘the elect’.

    Mark 13:19 For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.  20 And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved.  But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.

    21 And then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'Look, there he is!' do not believe it.  22 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.

    Jesus refers to the elect twice in the passage above.  From the original language, the elect are those who are chosen/selected as being apart from the rest.  Jesus taught that those who believed in Him and chose to follow Him become the children of God.  Those are the ones who are separate from this world who is ruled by Satan.  They do not look for science, technology, or politics to transform this world to a New Era, New Age, New World Order, or some paradise that will live in peace, love, and harmony.  They are the ones who pray for their Savior to deliver them from this world.

    There will be that ‘great tribulation’ which will shake this world to the core.  The elect will experience tribulation.  Many times in the New Testament it teaches that we must come through the tribulations of this world.  Jesus taught that we would be persecuted and held in low esteem by the people of this world.  This is a cross we are to carry and a time that we are to overcome the insults of this world.

    Most people don’t want to hear this, so they will heap up teachers that tell them what they want to hear.  These are the false teachers who will seek to lead away, if possible, even the elect, as Jesus said above.  Notice that He said “if possible”.  You see, the truth is, Satan cannot break the bond that our Heavenly Father has between Himself and His children, but Satan will try, and Satan will lead some (perhaps many) astray into confusion, as Lot was vexed in sore derision in Sodom, but yet, Lot was delivered.  This being ‘vexed in sore derision’ leads many to doubt their salvation and may lead them into a life that is not compatible with living as a Christian should.  But the seal of the Holy Spirit on God’s elect cannot be broken, and the Good Shepherd will find His sheep, even though they stray from the fold.

    Notice also in the passage above that Jesus says there will be such a tribulation, but that it would be shortened for the sake of the elect.  This indicates that the elect will be in that tribulation, but that it would be shortened for their sake.

    Matthew 24:30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

    Jesus said that all would see the Son of Man (a reference referring to Himself as being God, yet He came to earth as a Son of Man- this is prophesied in the Old Testament, and Jesus several times referred to Himself as the Son of Man, a descendant of David as was prophesied).  He said that He would gather His elect with a ‘loud trumpet call’.  Next we need to discuss the trumpets in the New Testament associated with that great tribulation.

    1st Corinthians 15:51 Behold!  I tell 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 trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.  53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.  54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."

    55 "O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?"  56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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