Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Eye Has Not Seen

1Corinthians‬ ‭2:9‬ - ‭But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

God is glorious. His desire is for all to know Him and follow Him. He is not some tyrant as many make Him out to be in the Old Testament. He is filled with love for all people. As with a father to a child, when that child is disobedient, especially when he has done the opposite of what his father has asked him, that father must invoke punishment. It's discipline, for that child's good. What child knows better than his father

So it is with God! When His people, His children, Israel, disobeyed His commands, He had to punish them that they might be disciplined. He had to show all people His holiness and justice. Our God knows better than any of us what is for our own good. The number one thing that we have to understand is that Jesus is not our enemy, but our Savior. God sent Him that all who would believe in Him would not perish. He is for our good! 

In the concluding lessons in Revelation we are talking about heaven. It's a complicated subject in some ways, filled with imagery. But I look at it simply, not wanting to have my brain taxed with things I cannot fully comprehend or wrap my head around. It is what it is and whatever it will look like or be I'm sure it will be more than amazing. While there may be differing views on just about anything, one truth stands out: It will be a glorious place for those who are believers in and followers of Christ.

Heaven will be free from evil and darkness. There will be no pain, sorrow, sickness. There will be no darkness because the light of Christ will be the only light we have. Remember, light exposes darkness, which ultimately hides. Heaven is all about Jesus. There is a description of the great, holy city of Jerusalem (New Jerusalem). It is described with huge walls, amazing foundations. The names of many precious gems are used to describe it. Streets of gold, gates, each one a solid 1500 mile high pearl. Eye has not seen, nor ear heard... 

This is supposed to be a literal description. Today we cherish gold and jewels. It's bling to some. We will walk on streets of gold. Walk on gold! What if...what if...this is a description the Apostle John wrote because he couldn't describe the absolute beauty of Who he saw within that city? What if...John was describing the gloriousness of heaven because Jesus consumed it with His brilliance and light? And all John could describe were jewels. Isn't Jesus what it's all about? I'm just imagining here...because I believe whatever it will be will be glorious beyond imagination...and quite acceptable! 

There is a picture earlier in Revelation 4 of the throne of God. It was surrounded by a rainbow, emeralds and other precious jewels were described and a sea of glass surrounded the throne that was like crystal. My imagination again...couldn't just the radiance of God on that throne cause one to see something like that? 

All the talk of jewels and gems. Jesus is supposed to be our treasure. We are told not to store up treasures on earth but heavenly treasures. Isn't the number one treasure Jesus? Then His Word. If we have Jesus He supplies us with all we really Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:3) The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field or a pearl that is found; we can't help but rejoice in finding it. (Matthew 13) That's what happens when we receive Jesus. And when we are finally His children we are then His treasured possession! (Deuteronomy 7:6)

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard... In our human, limited minds we cannot go beyond human words and descriptions of what heaven will be like. We don't consider it as we should. It will be a real place, eventually. It will not be boring. We will not sit on clouds and play harps. We will not become angels, nor have wings. We are who we are in glorified bodies, transformed by Christ Himself. We will be in the presence of God. We will serve Him. We will have work to do. Perhaps it will be like life in the garden of which case it could be green and lush! But we must be in Christ for this to happen. We must look to God for forgiveness of our sins through Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone. 

An excerpt from Lesson 28, Bible Study Fellowship, Revelation:
People often form their own opinions about heaven to validate simple independence and the self-determined right to live apart from God. Some deny the reality of life after death to refuse accountability to their Creator. People who refuse to believe in eternal judgment logically deny the existence of heaven altogether. Heaven is rationalized as a crutch to comfort the grieving and relieve the fears of children. Others wrongly focus only on God's love for all his creatures, failing to grasp the righteous purity of God's love that required the death of his son. Confidence that is wrong we placed in one's own supposed to human goodness – comparing oneself to those who appear far worse – leads people to imagine scales of justice exist apart from the cross of Christ. This erroneous worldview mistakenly concludes heaven as a deserved destiny for all but a wretched few. 

The truth is none of us deserve heaven. We all deserve hell. None of us are righteous. (Romans 3:10) We are all sinners. My sin is no less than that most wretched person mentioned above. This is why Jesus died for our sins. It's not based our our good deeds or church attendance or denomination. It is based on our wholly accepting Christ's death, His work, on the cross for our sins. Believing, receiving, obeying and living for Christ in the here and now. Becoming disciples and sharing Christ...and heaven...with others. Will you consider believing this? Consider His love for you. He died for you. The offer of heaven is for you upon your acknowledgment of Jesus in your life and your heart. God has put a desire into the heart of every person for eternity. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Seek Him, seek life, seek heaven.

Psalm 31:19 -  Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!

Monday, April 25, 2016


Hebrews 3:12-15 - Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.

I listened to a sermon the other day, presumably for Resurrection Sunday. It was by Alistair Begg. It was about the question of Jesus' resurrection: What If It's All True? If Jesus didn't die and was raised up again, then there is no such thing as forgiveness of sins by our God.  I just want to share a part of this sermon. Throughout there was a word so prominent, like I'd never heard it

If you are a Christian today you believe in the risen Lord or you wouldn't believe at all. But the Jesus who died on the cross is the Jesus who died an atoning death for your sins. 
By His death and resurrection, writes Paul in Romans 4, Jesus has achieved salvation for all who trust in Him. 
He was delivered over to death for our sins, and raised again from the dead to secure our justification. 
He has achieved salvation for those who trust Him.  
He did not achieve salvation for those who say, "Yeah I believe there was a Jesus."
He did not achieve salvation for those who say they think the Sermon on the Mount is a good document. 
He did not achieve salvation for the person who says, "I'm trying to turn over a new leaf and be a much better person than I have the past 20 years of my life."
He has achieved salvation for those who TRUST in Him. 

Here's a question for you: 
Have you ever come to Jesus Christ and trusted Him? 
In the words of an old song from childhood:
He did not come to judge the world, 
He did not come to blame, 
He did not only come to seek, 
But it was to save He came. 
When we call Him Savior,
When we call Him Savior,
When we call Him Savior...
We call Him by His name.

He is the only one who can break us of the bonds of our inherently sinful natures. Only He can set us free from sin and spiritual death. Life is not perfect on this earth. Our physical bodies will still deteriorate and we will still die, we will still have life's struggles, but Jesus asks us to trust in Him, call out to Him and seek Him.

If we put our trust in Jesus now we can have peace. We focus on Him. We learn to trust in Him. We know our eternal security is real and it's those eternal rewards, in Christ, that we look forward to. Then, with others who have done this, as life goes on, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14) 

Begg continued by saying the reason Jesus died, and we've heard this over and over, is because we have sin in our lives. None of us is righteous, nor are we good in our own strength. But when we call on Jesus Christ to become our Lord and Savior, He removes the unrighteousness within us and our sinful natures and He creates a new person. We still aren't perfect because we live in these human, fleshly bodies. We have our own minds, our own wills which Jesus works to transform. But the only way that will happen is by giving our lives to Him today. 

I can only plant seeds of His truth. I cannot turn a person's life over to Jesus Christ myself. That is up to each individual. It is my responsibility to do what Christ would want us to do and that is share the gospel of Jesus Christ, His life, His death and His resurrection for our sins, of which we are all guilty. 

The Bible tells us:
1John 1:8-10 - If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Matthew 11:28-30 - Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

Monday, April 18, 2016

I Have Given You This Land

Joshua 24:13 - I have given you a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.

A reminder...Only God gives us life, both physically and spiritually.

We live part, sometimes all, of this life not knowing God. In fact, we can even go to church and claim to be Christians but still not know Him. He woos us throughout our lives. He brings others into our lives who might open our eyes, even if we are truly reluctant, as I was for many years, to the real Jesus and the most powerful God the Father.

Like when God allowed Israel to be in captivity for a time in the world, He also chose to lead them out, by His strength, power and miraculous signs (see Exodus!), He does the same with each person who is somehow touched by His truth, His words, His love and forgiveness.

Did I believe I was a sinner? Of course not. I was a good person in my own mind. I was fair, pretty honest, only told little white lies, kinda knew right from wrong...I wasn't any worse than the majority of people, and definitely better than others. Um...that's not good enough. None of us ever can be good enough without Jesus. That's why He came. To die that we might have life. But He didn't just do it so everyone could have this life. Only those willing to give their lives to Him that He might "clean us up."

I knew who Jesus was but didn't need Him to operate in my life. I knew what I was doing, most of the time. Who did others think they were trying to tell me I needed Jesus? What I didn't realize was the definition of knowing Him. It's not an intellectual thing. It comes from the heart. I didn't know that the Bible, the true, inerrant Word of God tells us that we must be born again...not of the flesh, which we already are, but of the Spirit. That can only be done by God to a willing individual. I was far from willing. For a long time. I pushed that concept, and God, away. Not a good thing to do. But what did I know?

But one day things clicked. I know I had very little to do with it. I know now God had been doing something for some time within me to draw me to Him. All it took were a few words from someone to completely drain me of myself. The words she spoke, looking back on them, in a normal state of mind would have seemed preposterous. In fact, the conversation we had was causing me to push God even farther away. I didn't want this conversation. STOP!! Stop trying to push Jesus on me.

But in a moment, when those few words were spoken, tears came to my eyes and little did I realize I was done for! And when I went to church the next morning upon her request, I gave my life to Christ. He ministered to me then and there in an area of my life where I so needed help. Only He could orchestrate something like that. And that's the gist of all this. As the scripture above declares, only God freely gives this life in Christ. We cannot earn it or work for it. All we need to do is receive it.

Like Israel crossing over the Jordan River to the land God had promised them, so Jesus allowed me to cross over from death to my hurts, anger, fears, to life in Christ and peace. He gave me my promised land in Christ. We are all offered this promised land, life in Christ. But we need to cross over. We need to receive Christ's hand and allow Him to guide our daily lives.

This all happened for me April 18, 1999. I'm forever thankful for that day. A friend and I don't celebrate our natural birthdays anymore. We now celebrate our spiritual, supernatural birthdays. We have been granted new life and the hope of eternal life in Christ. We will see Jesus face to face some day. We will walk the streets of gold with Him, although I hope there's grass there too! We will be given the privilege of worshipping our God all the time. There will be no more tears, no more pain, no more sorrow. Forever grateful for the life He has given to those who will receive it.

I know there are those who don't believe any of this. Often it is not preached in churches. I wonder if it's because these churches want things done man's way, not God's, or so as not to offend. I know that there is also some confusion about the concept of being born again. But, people, it's clearly started in the Bible (John 3).

My prayer is that others will recognize this. I pray that God will meet you where you are, in a way only He can touch your life. Today is always a good day to cross over from death in the world, to life in Christ. The Word tells us that some day every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. Whether we are born again or not. For some it will be in reverence for God, for others not so much. I'd rather be on the good side, the side of the promised land, the land of milk and honey. The other side offers only the lake of fire.

My words are simple and I often repeat the same thing. It's because there isn't any more I can say. There is only one truth and that is Jesus. No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace. He is the only way, truth and life (John 14:6) We cannot go to the Father (God, not a man) without Him. If anyone pushes these truths away, if they are offensive, or even convicting, he does not know the Lord.

1John 2:15-17 - Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Out of This World

John 17:6,9,15-16 - I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

I saw a picture someone had posted on Facebook. I suppose it was for Earth Day. Not sure. It was a picture of the earth superimposed with these words: Friendly reminder-this is the only earth we have.

Well, a couple thoughts went through my mind. God created this earth, it is His. Sometimes man tries to mess with the natural occurrence of things. Sometimes trees have to be taken down to allow for new growth. Much like what God does with us...needing to do something in us to cause new Him! But man messes with that by determining his ways are better than God's.

Of course we do need to pay heed to how we take care of this land. God has given us the command to be good stewards of it. But going to extremes is not necessary. Saving a whale or spider or snake over a human life? I don't think so. Climate change is a controversial subject. We must remember God is in control...of all things...and that this world is not our home.

Life in Christ is far more important and this is what we should be focused on. This world will end someday. It will be by God's hand, His timing, His seen in Revelation. The saving of souls is what we should be concerned with, not the saving of trees or animals, neither of which have a soul. Saving our own souls if we need Christ, or others' if we are in Christ. God will still cause things on earth to come an go. If he doesn't want something to become extinct I think He can deal with that quite easily! After all, To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven... (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

My initial thought though was how this world is not my final home. I'm just passing through. Scripture tells us we, in Christ, are just sojourners, foreigners in this world (1Peter 2:11-12). We know our real kingdom is in heaven. And despite how beautiful this earth is, heaven will be even more beautiful.

As John points out above, however, we are not removed from this world just yet. We are to be in the world, but not of it. There is a task assigned to us while we are here. The same task as given to the disciples: And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)

That's why I blog. This is my voice...for now. I don't know who I reach. I don't know if I'm effective or not. I don't need to know. God knows. I hopefully plant the seed, someone else might do some watering, but only He brings in the harvest, something I must keep reminding myself. I am to just do as I believe He leads me, to be part of those who would preach the Gospel in love. I'm only called to tell the truth, about the truth...Jesus, the only way, truth and life.

The truth opens our eyes to new things. I may have been in the ranks of an environmentalist before, may have wanted to save whales, definitely was pro- choice, and certainly believed I, as being better than a murderer, rapist or thief, would enter heaven based on the "good" I thought I did. But the truth of Jesus Christ showed me another side. The right side, although some may disagree. My eyes have been opened to greater things, of things above. A transformation has taken place. It is my hope that others will see this also.

Mark 16:16 - He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

Friday, April 15, 2016

From Before the Beginning

Revelation‬ ‭21:6‬ ‭- And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts."

These words never fail to excite me. It's like I can't breathe. 

The First and the Last, Beginning and the End, Alpha and Omega. All encompassing. God has created all things, provides life and knows when life is over. He knew before the beginning of time when we would be born physically. He knew before the beginning of time He would come to earth as a man to offer us the free gift of eternal life because man would royally mess up the perfect life they had in total communion with Him in the garden. He knew before the beginning of time there would have to be an end. And He has carried out His plan. 

Just imagine, walking and talking with God...the God of the universe...the First, the Beginning and the Alpha. What a privilege for Adam and Eve. 

He also knew sin and disobedience would enter and what the outcome would be. He knew we would all fall into sin. But He knew, again, that He would offer us a way to return, by grace through faith, not works, in His Son Jesus Christ...who was in the beginning, is now and who will return some day soon. The Beginning and the End.

He is also the Supreme and ultimate judge and in the end, for some, there will be an end that involves eternal life and for others not so much. 

Jesus made this claim numerous times:
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last..." (Revelation‬ ‭1:11‬)
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” (Revelation‬ ‭22:13‬)
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation‬ ‭1:8‬)

...who is to come. He was in the beginning. He will be in the end. Every part of His existence from Old Testament to New Testament was that we might be saved, that we might see Him and believe, obey. My mind cannot fathom the Alpha and Omega. 

  • In the beginning God...created...and it was good. Completed. Done. Finished.
  • At His crucifixion Jesus said "It is finished." He gave His life as THE way to overcome, as He did, sin, temptation and death. He gave us Himself. It is a done deal for those who call on Him, who follow Him. 
  • Then in a prophetic moment in Revelation, after a time of His judgment upon those who have rejected Him, Jesus will say...again: ...“It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts." (‭‭Revelation‬ ‭21:6‬)  He will have defeated the enemy. All who have remained faithful to Him will finally live a life of peace, no pain, no sorrow. 

Do you believe this? Can you wrap your head around the truth that Jesus was, is and is to come? That He is the only way, truth and life? That heaven is for those who admit they are sinful beings in need of a Savior? Do you hunger and thirst for something only to find when you think you've found it you are not satisfied? In the beginning God...knew you, knew your needs, knew your sins, even knew whether you would seek Him or reject Him. Do you know if you walk closely with God? Do you know that you know Him? You can receive Him and live or put Him out of your mind and...hard word...perish. 

Only Jesus can take your sins away. You cannot do it yourself. His blood washes you of all unrighteousness. His blood cleanses. He will wrap you in a white robe of righteousness. Without Him we are nothing. He has done it to innumerable people. Be counted among them. Receive Christ. You needn't be an addict or hardened criminal. You may believe you are right with God because you go to church or are kind and generous. But if you have not experienced a touch from God and can't say you know you have changed, you may still need to give your life to Him. 

He knew you before the beginning of time. Do you truly know Him?

Isaiah‬ ‭55:1-3‬ ‭- “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you...”

Friday, April 1, 2016

Hallelujahs to God

Revelation 19:1-2 - ..I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her."

In Revelation 19 it starts with praises, hallelujahs, by a heavenly host of people to God for the judgment upon Babylon (the world) and the saving of His people Israel. This is yet to come! 

In our BSF Lesson 24 study this was written:
The multitude shouts, "Salvation and glory and power belong to our God." The word "salvation" here means God's saving victory on behalf of His people. With His sovereign power, God justly condemns Babylon. God alone exercises this awesome control...

When Jesus returns again, He will destroy all who oppose His reign of righteousness. There will be no tears over the deaths of those who have persistently rejected the Savior. ... God's people grieve over those who do not know Him. But no trace of sadness will mar heaven's happiness on the day of Babylon's destruction.

Now, however, is still the day of salvation! Today is the time to repent. ... God yearns for people to "turn from their ways and live." God alone truly grasps how dreadful His justice will be for His enemies. It is the holy and sovereign Judge who pleads, "Turn! Turn fro your evil ways! Why will you die...?"

We are all sinners. None of us can even consider that we are good; that is the way of the world. What we are seeing these days is a total lack of respect for and rejection of God. Because of it we are where we are with evil surrounding us. I know some will smack their lips and shake their heads thinking things will get better, that a loving God wouldn't do this. He is still a loving God, but His justice will prevail on this world. 

None of us can predict our own demise. It might be today or tomorrow or years from now. But the fact is if we don't know the Lord today, should death come swiftly without time to call out to Him, we are among those who will be severely judged...and those who are saved will supernaturally be spared the tears and pain...because we are saved and under the loving arms of our King. So, what stops you from a worldly death, apart forever from God?

It's April 1. Many are playing jokes on others or wishing others a "Happy April Fool's Day." It's supposed to be funny. I used to do it too. Here's what God thinks of fools: 
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one. (Psalm‬ ‭14:1,3‬)

Hmmm, where have I heard similar words? Roman's 3 reiterates this: As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one...And the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes. (‭Romans‬ ‭3:10-12,17-18‬)

That is truth. That is the majority of people. Do I claim to be perfect? No. Do I still fail? Yes. That's why I realized, and still do, a need for a Savior, why we all need Him.

When we have received Jesus we will be among those who glory in what He will do some day. We will see the enemies of God destroyed. As horrible as that sounds, that we would worship Him for removing all those who do not submit their lives to Him, it's part of His justice that can only be understood (and often even that is hard) when we know Jesus and learn of God's ways. We are either on His side or the enemy's. 

I need not say more. The decision is yours.

Revelation‬ ‭19:5-6‬ ‭- ...“Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!” And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty 
thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!”