Tuesday, May 31, 2016

How Lost They Are!

After this, I noticed something else in heaven. The sacred tent used for a temple was open. And the seven angels who were bringing the terrible troubles were coming out of it. They were dressed in robes of pure white linen and wore belts made of pure gold. One of the four living creatures gave each of the seven angels a bowl made of gold. These bowls were filled with the anger of God who lives forever and ever.  The temple quickly filled with smoke from the glory and power of God. No one could enter it until the seven angels had finished pouring out the seven last troubles.

Revelation 15:5-8

Why do men get angry?  It is because they were created in the image of God!  Some have wrongly said that all anger is unrighteous!  More than 250 years ago a preacher named Jonathan Edwards delivered a sermon titled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God!”  You can still find the text of that sermon today on the internet, but what you don’t find is many people who are moved by the truth he spoke!  

Many people today say they don’t believe in God, but truthfully what they don’t believe in is Hell!  They don’t believe a “loving” God would throw men and women into the fires of Hell for Eternity.  Believing in God and Hell are both important if you want to be motivated to obey the Words of Scripture that call for you to abandon your self interests for the will of God in your life.

The Devil may indeed seem to leave you alone if you are living as a Christian but are not involved in warning sinners of the Eternal Damnation which is a certainty for those who reject Jesus!  Satan leaves you alone because you are no threat to his evil plans for the world!

Revival will come when the world sees how lost it is, not when Christians see how saved they are!

“Lord Jesus, give me today opportunity and the courage to warn the lost about the fires of Hell and the horror of an Eternity separated from You!  May You, Jesus be praised forever.  Amen!” 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Prayers and Thunder!

When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. I noticed that the seven angels who stood before God were each given a trumpet.

Another angel, who had a gold container for incense, came and stood at the altar. This one was given a lot of incense to offer with the prayers of God's people on the gold altar in front of the throne. Then the smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God's people, went up to God from the hand of the angel.

After this, the angel filled the incense container with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth. Thunder roared, lightning flashed, and the earth shook.

Revelation 8:1-5

If you are one of God’s people and you pray, then your prayer is part of this scene from the book of Revelation.  That is truly amazing!  Prayer is not just “talking to God.”  It is also inserting you into the throne room of Heaven.  Notice from these verses that the angel has a container filled with incense and the “prayers of God’s people.”  The smoke from the incense and your prayers go up together to God.  Incense is intended to produce a pleasing aroma and so should your prayers to God.  God is pleased when you stand before Him with your heart laid bare and not covered by the deceit of this world.  God does not despise a sincere and honest heart!

God wants me to pray without ceasing, so He desires that I continually stand before His throne and put prayers into the incense bowl! Then fire from the alter will be poured out on the earth by the angel who holds the bowl! So when you pray, somewhere on earth there is thunder, lightening and an earthquake!

“Lord Jesus, give me eyes to see the impact my prayers have on the world around me.  And may You, Jesus be praised forever.  Amen!”

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Consequences Both Good and Bad

Trust God, my friends, and always tell him each of your concerns. God is our place of safety. We humans are only a breath; none of us are truly great. All of us together weigh less than a puff of air. Don't trust in violence or depend on dishonesty or rely on great wealth. 

I heard God say two things: “I am powerful, and I am very kind.”  The Lord rewards each of us according to what we do.

Psalm 62:8-12

Some people seem to believe that's since our salvation is based only on the blood of Jesus, there are then no consequences on this earth for the actions of a Christian!  That would be as foolish as a man who believes that he is no longer subject to the law gravity simply because he is a Christian.  That was the same temptation the devil put in front of Jesus when he told him to jump off the temple and prove that he was God’s Son!

Even as a follower of Jesus there will be consequences for your actions in this life, consequences for both good and evil. Don't tempt God by doing something you know is wrong and then “trusting” that you will not suffer the consequences simply because you are His child.  But also never forget that the blessings of God will pour over your life and heart when your actions are ones of obedience and walking as the Holy Spirit leads.

The consequences of doing right are not always material blessings or a big bank account!  But the consequences of doing right always include the peace of God in your heart!  You could be the richest man on earth and still completely miserable, or you might be the poorest man and have the Peace of God guarding your mind and heart!  

“Lord Jesus help me to always remember that there are consequences for the things that I do on this earth.  Give me a Holy Fear of being disobedient to You, my Lord and my God!  Amen.”

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Even Heaven Has a Wall!

I saw one of the seven angels who had the bowls filled with the seven last terrible troubles. The angel came to me and said, “Come on! I will show you the one who will be the bride and wife of the Lamb.”  Then with the help of the Spirit, he took me to the top of a very high mountain. There he showed me the holy city of Jerusalem coming down from God in heaven.

The glory of God made the city bright. It was dazzling and crystal clear like a precious jasper stone.  The city had a high and thick wall with twelve gates, and each one of them was guarded by an angel. On each of the gates was written the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Three of these gates were on the east, three were on the north, three more were on the south, and the other three were on the west. The city was built on twelve foundation stones. On each of the stones was written the name of one of the Lamb's twelve apostles.

The angel who spoke to me had a gold measuring stick to measure the city and its gates and its walls. The city was shaped like a cube, because it was just as high as it was wide. When the angel measured the city, it was about 2,400 kilometers high and 2,400 kilometers wide.  Then the angel measured the wall, and by our measurements it was about 60 meters high.

Revelation 21:9-17

All around the world today there is much attention given to whether or not the United States should build a wall on it’s southern border.  Some say it is heartless and cruel and even racist to physically block access to those who want to come across the border.  Others say it is essential to keep the country from drowning in a wave of desperate humanity trying to escape some form of hell in their own countries!  The fundamental controversy is about whether or not there should be “Open Borders” to a land of freedom and opportunity!

According to Revelation 21, Heaven does not have Open Borders.  It says that Heaven has twelve gates guarded by angels and a wall that is 60 meters high!  Of course, Heaven is the ultimate place of freedom and eternal opportunity and the only escape for those who were destined for Hell, but Heaven is only for those who come in “legally.”  There is only one passport to Heaven and that is the Blood of Jesus!  

Remember, Heaven does not have open borders and it does, most certainly have a wall!

“Lord Jesus, thank You for providing a Passport to Heaven for everyone who gives their heart to You and becomes Your follower! May You, Jesus be praised forever.  Amen!”

Friday, May 27, 2016

You Belong to Jesus!

If you tell others that you belong to me, the Son of Man will tell God's angels that you are my followers. But if you reject me, you will be rejected in front of them. If you speak against the Son of Man, you can be forgiven, but if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you cannot be forgiven.

When you are brought to trial in the synagogues or before rulers or officials, don't worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say.  At that time the Holy Spirit will tell you what to say.

Luke 12:8-12

When you tell other people about Jesus, do you tell them who He is, what He did on the Cross and that He will return?  That is a good summary of fact, history and the future, but don’t forget to tell other men that you belong to Jesus!  If you reject the ownership of Jesus for your life, He won’t tell the angels that you are His follower!

Even if you deny Jesus, like Peter did in the early morning of the day that Jesus went to the Cross, you can be forgiven.  But if you speak against the Holy Spirit you separate yourself from the very one who would draw you 
back to Jesus!

It is the Holy Spirit who not only fills your heart with the fruit that only He can produce, but He also fills your mouth with the Words that will confound those who would condemn you for following Jesus!

Tell someone today about Jesus Christ, but also tell them that you belong to Him!  Then there will be angels today who will hear that you are a Christ follower!

“Lord Jesus, may Your Spirit again today put love in my heart and Your Words in my mouth and may the angels know today that I follow You.   May You, Jesus be praised forever.  Amen.”

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Spontaneous Concert of Praise!

All day long I will tell the wonderful things you do to save your people. But you have done much more than I could possibly know. I will praise you, Lord God, for your mighty deeds and your power to save.

You have taught me since I was a child, and I never stop telling about your marvelous deeds. Don't leave me when I am old and my hair turns gray. Let me tell future generations about your mighty power. Your deeds of kindness are known in the heavens. No one is like you!

Psalm 71:15-19

We often like to say the words “Praise God,” but how often are we specific about the wonderful things that God has done as we praise Him?

To praise someone, anyone without saying the “what for” is really quite strange!  When you attend an awards ceremony the one who presents the awards always tells the audience why the person is being honored!  But when it comes to God we shout His praises, but rarely if ever say why!

Of course, it is not a sin to praise God without saying why, but when you speak the reason for praising Him you will soon be reminded of a thousand other reasons to praise God and your day will turn into a spontaneous concert of praise!

If you praise God for the birds, you will think to praise Him for the trees, and of course the air in which they fly.  And you won’t forget the songs they sing to bring peace to your heart and the list can go on forever!

So when you praise God, open your eyes and praise Him for what you see in front of your face!

“Lord Jesus, I praise You today for hanging on the Cross so that I might be able to love You and look forward to living with You forever!  Amen!”

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Pure Heart and Faith!

We have a great high priest who is in charge of God's house.  So let's come near God with pure hearts and a confidence that comes from having faith. Let's keep our hearts pure, our consciences free from evil, and our bodies washed with clean water.  We must hold tightly to the hope we say is ours. After all, we can trust the one who made the agreement with us.  We should keep on encouraging each other to be thoughtful and to do helpful things.  Some people have given up the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord's coming is getting closer.

Hebrews 10:21-25

Jesus wants you to have a pure heart!  In fact, in the Sermon on the mount Jesus said that if you have a pure heart you will be able to see God!  My understanding of a pure heart is that it has to do with my motives.  If I have secret and self serving reasons for doing the things that I do, then my heart is not pure!  If my heart is pure, then like God Himself, I AM who I AM.  There is no deception in my heart!

So if my heart is pure, can I because of that be confident before the Lord?  The answer is “NO.”  My pure heart enables me to see God, but does not justify me before Him.  It is only Faith in Jesus that makes me able to stand, assured of an eternal future in Heaven.

Be glad if your heart is pure, but put no trust in even a pure heart.  Remember your heart can be led astray in a moment.  Put all your Faith in Jesus Christ and trust Him with all your heart!

“Lord Jesus, thank You for being the reason for my hope for Heaven.  Help me keep my heart pure today, so I can see God.  Praise Your Name forever.  Amen!”

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Free Will and God's Word!

The Lord said: Ezekiel, son of man, you've heard people in Israel use the saying, “Time passes, and prophets are proved wrong.”  Now tell the people that I, the Lord, am going to prove that saying wrong. No one will ever be able to use it again in Israel, because very soon everything I have said will come true!  The people will hear no more useless warnings and false messages.  I will give them my message, and what I say will certainly happen. Warn those rebels that the time has come for them to be punished. I, the Lord, make this promise. Ezekiel, the people of Israel are also saying that your visions and messages are only about things in the future.   So tell them that my words will soon come true, just as I have warned. I, the Lord, have spoken.

Ezekiel 12:21-28

Does God punish nations today, or was that only for “ancient” times?  If you believe that God, today is only concerned about individual people and not about how they live together as a nation consider this:  The end of all things will come just as God has planned it and not as nations and godless people want it to be!  Men and whole nations can rebel against God, but God will either tolerate or wipe out that rebellion according to how it fits into His final plan for planet earth!  

The “free will” of man does not and cannot change even one Word of God’s Will for His creation!

So when a nation rebels against God and is not destroyed it is because God will use even that rebellion to accomplish His Will on earth!  But when a nation rebells against God and crumbles under the power of God’s judgement, that rebellion does not serve His purposes!

As followers of Jesus Christ we must simply listen to the Words of God and obey them, rather than trying to understand His Global Plan for making things ready for the return of Jesus to this earth!  One thing we can know for certain, and it is this:  God will not destroy a nation that honors Him and seeks to know His will for their land!

“Lord Jesus, may I today be one of those that honors You in my nation.  And may You, Jesus be praised forever.  Amen.”

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ready for the Great Suffering!

After this, I saw a large crowd with more people than could be counted. They were from every race, tribe, nation, and language, and they stood before the throne and before the Lamb. They wore white robes and held palm branches in their hands, as they shouted,

“Our God, who sits upon the throne, has the power to save his people, and so does the Lamb.”

The angels who stood around the throne knelt in front of it with their faces to the ground. The elders and the four living creatures knelt there with them. Then they all worshiped God and said,

“Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom, thanks, honor, power, and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen!”

One of the elders asked me, “Do you know who these people are that are dressed in white robes? Do you know where they come from?” “Sir,” I answered, “you must know.” Then he told me:

“These are the ones who have gone through the great suffering. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and have made them white. And so they stand before the throne of God and worship him in his temple day and night. The one who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. 

They will never hunger or thirst again, and they won't be troubled by the sun or any scorching heat.

The Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to streams of life-giving water, and God will wipe all tears from their eyes.”

Revelation 7:9-17

If you are chosen to go through the GREAT SUFFERING, your reward will be much greater than the suffering!  Allow your heart and mind to look beyond the tribulation and pain on this earth and meditate on the "Impossible Truth" that there will be human beings allowed to stand before the throne of God and Praise Him forever! And if you give your heart to Jesus, you will be among them!  

Don't seek the suffering, but don't run away from it if it comes!  Seek the Heart of God and seek Jesus and be obedient to every Word that comes from the Holy Spirit!  Then you will be ready for the Great Suffering and for the Eternity of Praising Him that follows!   

Praise His Name forever!  Amen!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Closed Door Disciples!

This is what you must write to the angel of the church in Philadelphia:

I am the one who is holy and true, and I have the keys that belonged to David. When I open a door, no one can close it. And when I close a door, no one can open it. Listen to what I say.

I know everything you have done. And I have placed before you an open door no one can close. You were not very strong, but you obeyed my message and did not deny you are my followers.

Revelation 3:7-8

How strong do you need to be in order to be successful as a follower of Jesus? These verses clearly answer that question. You do not need to be “very strong,” but you do need to be very obedient and very unashamed to declare that Jesus is your Lord!

In your walk of faith God opens the door for the way that you should go, and He closes the doors to opportunities that are not part of His plan for your life. Sometimes though we stand at a closed door for years hoping that God will change His mind and let us through. Instead of seeking the way that He has prepared for us to walk we may stop and wait at that closed door for a long time!

Are you still standing at a door that God shut many years ago?  Or maybe He shut the door just yesterday? Unless God has told you to wait at that door, you must move on and look for the door He has opened for your life!  I think most Christians spend at least some of their lives waiting for closed doors to open!

“Lord Jesus help me to know if the ‘closed door’ that stands before me now was shut by You, or is simply blocked by Satan.  If the Devil is blocking it, then move him out of the way, and if You have shut it, then move me on to the door You have opened for my life!  May You be praised forever.  Amen!”

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Dipstick of Your Faith!

The Lord gives perfect peace to those whose faith is firm. So always trust the Lord because He is forever our mighty rock.

Isaiah 26:3-4

People who have no faith in God worry a lot. They are prisoners locked in a cell of doubt and fear.  The best they can hope for is temporary relief from the cares of this life. They see no permanent solution to their problems and they have no answers to the mystery of death.

But if you believe in Jesus and that God is who He says He is, then you really have nothing to worry about.  No human tragedy is beyond the reach of God’s loving hand. If you are blessed as a believer to reach old age then your memory will be filled with the times that God worked all things together for your good!

The real measure of your faith is peace in your heart. If your faith is strong your heart will be at peace. If your faith is weak, your peace will not be perfect. Simply stated the secret to being at peace is faith in God. Like the stick that you dip in the oil of a car to see how much is there peace in your heart is the dipstick of your faith.

“Lord Jesus I do not ask for peace without faith, but I do ask for peace that comes from trusting You. And may You, Jesus be praised forever. Amen.”

Friday, May 20, 2016

Broken Believers!

The body of Christ has many different parts, just as any other body does. Some of us are Jews, and others are Gentiles. Some of us are slaves, and others are free. But God's Spirit baptized each of us and made us part of the body of Christ. Now we each drink from that same Spirit.  

Our bodies don't have just one part. They have many parts. Suppose a foot says, “I'm not a hand, and so I'm not part of the body.” Wouldn't the foot still belong to the body? Or suppose an ear says, “I'm not an eye, and so I'm not part of the body.” Wouldn't the ear still belong to the body? If our bodies were only an eye, we couldn't hear a thing. And if they were only an ear, we couldn't smell a thing. But God has put all parts of our body together in the way that he decided is best.

A body isn't really a body, unless there is more than one part. It takes many parts to make a single body.  That's why the eyes cannot say they don't need the hands. That's also why the head cannot say it doesn't need the feet. In fact, we cannot get along without the parts of the body that seem to be the weakest. We take special care to dress up some parts of our bodies. We are modest about our personal parts, but we don't have to be modest about other parts.

God put our bodies together in such a way that even the parts that seem the least important are valuable.  He did this to make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the others. If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honored, the whole body will be happy.

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

A few weeks ago I broke my finger and as it heals I am discovering how important one finger can be for the rest of the body. The splint that keeps my finger immobilized is doing its job, but it prohibits my right hand from opening doors, packages and even a bag of peanuts!  I had no idea how important one finger can be to how my body functions.

When all of the parts of my body are doing what they were designed to do, then my daily tasks are pretty simple.  But when one part, even a small part of my body will not work properly my whole body suffers!

Never forget that what you do as part of the body of Jesus Christ on this earth is critical in accomplishing His will.  Never think of your job in His Kingdom as unimportant!  My broken, but healing finger looks pretty bad with the scars and temporary pins to keep the bones aligned, but I am really excited about the prospect of it 
working again with the rest of my body!

If you know a broken believer who needs to be healed, remember that the whole body of Christ will be blessed when he or she is well again!

“Lord Jesus open my eyes today to those members of Your Body who need to be cared for as they heal!  And may You be praised forever.  Amen.”

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Never Ending Prayer!

My friends, you surely understand enough about law to know that laws only have power over people who are alive. For example, the Law says that a man's wife must remain his wife as long as he lives. But once her husband is dead, she is free to marry someone else. However, if she goes off with another man while her husband is still alive, she is said to be unfaithful.

That is how it is with you, my friends. You are now part of the body of Christ and are dead to the power of the Law. You are free to belong to Christ, who was raised to life so we could serve God.

Romans 7:1-4

These verses present us with some very important insights into our relationship with Jesus Christ. Before we come to Jesus we are married to this world and are obligated to obey the demands it places on us. But when we “die” to the things of this world we are then free to “marry someone else,” and that someone is Jesus!

The only thing on this earth that lasts forever is your relationship with Jesus!  It starts here and goes on throughout eternity.  Death will not end your communion with Christ because He will never die and if you belong to Jesus you also will live forever.  

When you talk to Jesus here on this earth remember, it is a conversation that will go on through Eternity. So your time here alone with Christ might be compared to those amazing “courtship” times when a couple is discovering new things about each other as they share a meal and engage in what might sound like a simple conversation! It may seem ordinary, but they both are aware that it may be the beginning of a lifetime together on this earth.

As you pray, think of Jesus as someone you are learning all about and are learning to love!  Let your heart rejoice because you and Jesus will be together forever!

“Lord Jesus, how amazing that this very conversation with You will go on for Eternity!  And forever may Your Name be praised. Amen!”

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Fear of Hell!

At the end of the 1,000 years, Satan will be set free.  He will fool the countries of Gog and Magog, which are at the far ends of the earth, and their people will follow him into battle. They will have as many followers as there are grains of sand along the beach, and they will march all the way across the earth. They will surround the camp of God's people and the city God loves. But fire will come down from heaven and destroy the whole army.  Then the devil who fooled them will be thrown into the lake of fire and burning sulfur. He will be there with the beast and the false prophet, and they will be in pain day and night forever and ever.

I saw a great white throne with someone sitting on it. Earth and heaven tried to run away, but there was no place for them to go. I also saw all the dead people standing in front of that throne. Every one of them was there, no matter who they had once been. Several books were opened, and then the book of life was opened. The dead were judged by what those books said they had done.

The sea gave up the dead people who were in it, and death and its kingdom also gave up their dead. Then everyone was judged by what they had done.  Afterwards, death and its kingdom were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death.   Anyone whose name wasn't written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:7-15 (CEV)

Yes, there is a lake of fire and everyone who's name is not written in the Book of Life we'll spend eternity in pain, day and night forever and ever!  Jesus Christ paid the price so that you can spend eternity in Heaven with Him. But if you refuse to believe in Jesus and reject Him as Lord of your life you will spend eternity with Satan, the Beast and the False Prophet in constant pain forever.

Once you arrive in hell there is no way to be relieved of your suffering. The Bible never talks about those in Hell being able to repent and and leave that pit of eternal despair. There is no record of any man or woman who was able to repent and be saved after they died!  

Do not take the Word of the Lord lightly! If you do not confess Him here He will not confess you before the Father. Heaven is real, but so is Hell! May the joys of Heaven pull on your heart so that you will desire to live there forever. But may the fires of Hell burn in your imagination so that you will be afraid to walk away from Jesus. When life is very bad someone may say it is like “Hell on earth.” But Hell is worse then anything could be on this earth and Heaven is more wonderful as well!

“Lord Jesus, fill my heart with the joys of knowing You and looking forward to Heaven, but as long as I live on this earth may the “Fear of Hell” guard me from foolishness and sin.  May you, Jesus be praised forever.    Amen!”

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How God Blessed Sodom!

Abram returned after he had defeated King Chedorlaomer and the other kings. Then the king of Sodom went to meet Abram in Shaveh Valley, which is also known as King's Valley. King Melchizedek of Salem was a priest of God Most High. He brought out some bread and wine and said to Abram:

“I bless you in the name of God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.  All praise belongs to God Most High for helping you defeat your enemies.”  Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything.  The king of Sodom said to Abram, “All I want are my people. You can keep everything else.”

Abram answered:

The Lord God Most High made the heavens and the earth. And I have promised him that I won't keep anything of yours, not even a sandal strap or a piece of thread. Then you can never say that you are the one who made me rich. 

Genesis 14:17-23

Abram, also known as Abraham was the FATHER OF THE FAITHFUL, but he was the one who waged war against those kings who captured his nephew Lot along with the people of Sodom.  In the previous chapter of Genesis the people of Sodom were already described as those who “were evil and sinned terribly against the Lord.”  Abraham rescued Sodom because Lot was living there and he wanted to save his nephew.

There are special blessings that fall on “evil people” because the righteous are living among them.  Ultimately God destroyed Sodom because there were not even ten righteous men  living there!

This is a warning for those who want to eliminate Christians from their land.  Even if you totally disagree with those who follow Jesus, there are many benefits for your people  because Christians are citizens of your country!  

Respecting and even honoring Christians will bring no trouble from God Almighty to your land and may be the door through which Eternal Blessings come to all your citizens!  

“Lord Jesus, thank You Lord, that You came to this earth to seek and save those who were Your enemies!  I pray that today “Sodom” will not be destroyed, but will come to know all the blessings of being Your children!  May You, Jesus be praised forever.  Amen.”