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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

Category

Salvation and Grace

Follow Me! Hey! How’s That Pulse Doing?

This is actually a rerun of a rerun; I am cheating big time and slipping this one in again. I was actually going to write about Felix and how he told the Apostle Paul that he would call for him later and a more convenient time. I recalled mentioning Felix in a blog post, so I looked. So, here you have it. This fits with our Follow Me! series. It’s about God calling folks and their responses. He is calling YOU; what is YOUR response?


A while back in a post or a comment(I don’t remember where exactly), my friend ColorStorm, asked a question along the lines of: “Hey, how’s that pulse doing?” I sort of hijacked the phrase, stole it if you will, and now I use it fairly often. It has, as I was told, a certain shelf life.

So, what’s the point?

Thump, thump

We are all born, and we all die. As the saying goes; Nothing is certain but death and taxes. We all hope to live a long, happy, and fruitful life. We also know that is not always the case; tales of unexpected, sudden death are all around us. How many times have we heard the phrase:

Oh…it was just so UNEXPECTED!

Of course, it’s rarely expected, It is, however, coming. Do we know when? What are some things God’s Word has to say about the timing of our passing from this world?

Job 7:1 Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling?

Proverbs 27:1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

James 4:13-15 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

Thump, thump

Many will say: “Well yes, life is short and can end unexpectedly, but death is just all my cells ceasing to function. As long as I made the most of what I had, it’s all good”

Thump, thump

But, we are not just a collection of cells. Read how we were created:

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

We are a living soul; we are a living soul which will live eternally. We were created by God to exists in joyful fellowship with him forever. God was so close with His creation, Adam and Eve, that he walked with them in the cool of the day. God wanted to exist with us in eternal love and fellowship; however, He did not force this love upon us. He gave us the free will to choose love, or rebellion.

Satan showed up in the Garden that fateful day, spouting his damnable lies.

Hath God said?

Ye shall not surely die

It was all downhill from there, Eve ate; Adam ate.  Because of their sin and rebellion

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Furthermore, sin has a penalty, a penalty which must be paid, for the wages of sin is death.

Thump, thump

That’s the bad news. We have all sinned, and we are all under the penalty of sin, for which the only payment possible is death, physical as well as spiritual. We saw that above, but that was not the whole thing. Here is the rest:

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thump, thump

God has promised us eternal life through the atoning work of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. It is available to us all; repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ is all that is required. All we have to do is agree, and ask.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Here is the problem. There are no do overs. The only chance for us to make the decision regarding our eternal destiny is here, and now, and in this lifetime. Once we draw the final breath, we have no more chances.

Thump, thump

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

2 Corinthians 6:2 ……now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation

In the book of acts we see the stories of two men, Felix and Aggripa, both of whom the Apostle Paul shared the Gospel with. they had the following to say.:

Felix: Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.

Agrippa: Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

What we never see, no matter how hard we read and study, is any record that anything ever changed for those two men. They wanted a more convenient season, they were almost persuaded.

Oh…it was just so UNEXPECTED!

It may be expected; it may be sudden. It will, however, BE. The death rate among the general population is 100 percent.

But the choice is ours. We can accept the Grace of God and the payment Jesus Christ made on our behalf….or we can reject it. But, now is the time. There may not be a later.

Thump, thump

Thump, thump

So…..How Is that pulse doing?

 

What a Day That Will Be

Revelation 21:4

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

What a Day That Will Be

There is coming a day,
When no heart aches shall come,
No more clouds in the sky,
No more tears to dim the eye,
All is peace forever more,
On that happy golden shore,
What a day, glorious day that will be

Sometimes, when the trials of life seem to be beating us around, we may exclaim, “Oh, what a day that was!.” Sometimes life seems to just stink. We get sick, we lose jobs, and loved ones die and leave us behind. It wasn’t supposed to be that way friends and is not the way God made it all. At the end of each day, He looked out upon it and declared it to be good; at the end of creation God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. What happened? There was to be no sickness, no death; there was only to be never-ending fellowship with God. What happened was Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God, and do the one thing they were commanded not to do. They had been warned: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. They ate, and death, sickness and pain entered into the world. 

There is coming a day, The day is coming, but we don’t know when. But our Lord cometh as a thief in the night, will come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. He will set foot in the very place He left from and shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof

When no heart aches shall come, No more clouds in the sky, no more tears to dim the eye. If the Lord doesn’t come back first, we all have an appointment with death. The death rate is this life is 100 percent, with no exceptions. We all die, and it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment, Of course, those redeemed by the Lord need not fear that, as we have made our peace with God already.  We can ask, O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? As we know, being absent from the body by death, we will then be present with the Lord.  That will all change in an instant and for those entering His rest, God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

All is peace forever more, On that happy golden shore. In our natural states we don’t have peace with God but in fact we were enemies. But for those is us in Jesus Christ, that has been changed because justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:. If we have believed then we passed from death unto life. Because we have trusted in the Lord, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever

There’ll be no sorrow there,
No more burdens to bear,
No more sickness, no pain,
No more parting over there;
And forever I will be,
With the One who died for me,
What a day, glorious day that will be

There’ll be no sorrow there, No more burdens to bear, No more sickness, no pain. We already learned that all or our sorrows will disappear, as God shall wipe away all tears. But, that is not all, not only will all tears and sadness be gone, but there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

No more parting over there. And forever I will be, With the One who died for me. Knowing in eternity past that we would rebel and sin against Him, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. In our natural states, we sin by birth and by choice, and he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Yet, God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

What a day, glorious day that will be. This is what the redeemed hope for and look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. We will be forever free from the very presence of sin, for the Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;.

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be

Friends, that day is coming, when we each will see Jesus. We will understand on that day that Jesus IS the Lord of our lives. The only question is, will he be Savior or Judge? 

What a Day That Will Be

There is coming a day,
When no heart aches shall come,
No more clouds in the sky,
No more tears to dim the eye,
All is peace forever more,
On that happy golden shore,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

There’ll be no sorrow there,
No more burdens to bear,
No more sickness, no pain,
No more parting over there;
And forever I will be,
With the One who died for me,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

Chorus
What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be

James Vaughn Hill

Scripture References

Genesis 1:31  And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Genesis 2:17  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

1 Thessalonians 5:2  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

Acts 1:11  Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Zechariah 14:4  And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

Hebrews 9:27  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

1 Corinthians 15:55  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

Revelation 21:4nd God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Romans 5:10 King  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Romans 5:1  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

John 5:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Psalm 23:6  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever

Romans 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

John 3:16-18  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

2 Peter 3:13  Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Matthew 13:41  The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

The Devil Knows Your Past, But God Knows His Future

Revelation 12:10-12

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.


As we learn in 1 Peter 5:8:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Satan is prowling the earth, not only seeking to stand in the way of non believers coming to a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, but also seeking to devour and destroy those who do possess a saving relationship with Him. We know this is true, as we see warning after warning directed towards believers by the inspired writers of Scripture. Besides Peter above, the Apostle Paul had some warnings for us too.

2 Corinthians 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

What is Satan hoping to accomplish? Why does he attack believers? Well, we know clearly he does not come after us in order that we might lose our saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ; we are secure in that eternally and nothing can take if from us if it is really ours. Here is a pretty good list of things which can never separate us from the love of Jesus Christ, and His salvation:

Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

That’s pretty comprehensive, right? What can take our salvation away? Nothing can! But Satan wants us to think we can forfeit it. When Paul speaks of the helmet of salvation in Ephesians 6:17, he is likely referring to the assurance of our salvation. That helmet of assurance protects us from Satan’s tactic of making us want to doubt our salvation.

Satan’s primary tool is guilt. Now, understand that guilt is not a bad thing. We all feel guilt arising out of the conscience which God gave us. It is guilt, or conviction, of our transgressions which is the first step in our coming to faith. It is our understanding of our need for a Savior that brings us to the Savior in the first place. So, guilt in and of itself is not a bad thing.

Do we feel guilt, and should we once we are saved? Well, that depends! We certainly do not bear any guilt in terms of concern for impending eternal punishment for the things we have done, or even the things we will do in the future. We are not on, as one writer put it, on “eternal probation” with God, constantly striving to prove ourselves to Him. This mindset might be termed false guilt. Is there true guilt? Sure there is. We call that conviction. On one hand, as we covered, conviction may ultimately lead to salvation. Conviction also matters in our daily walk with The Lord as well. We don’t become sinless, perfect people upon our salvation; our complete sanctification is a lifelong project. We will sin. Our sins, however, are between us and God. Honest confession and repentance for our sins likely will be part of our daily lives until Jesus comes back or we are called home.

If Satan cannot wrest us away from God in terms of our permanent relationship with Him, then what is his goal? Why bother? It’s really very simple. While our sin will never separate us from God’s permanent forgiveness of our sins, that sin can certainly interfere with our daily fellowship with God, our connection to Him, and our work for Him. The solution to even that, however, is simple. When we sin, we must confess it to God and seek His forgiveness; He will then restore us to full fellowship with Him:

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The key here is that this is between us and God, not us and The Devil. Satan desperately wants us to believe he is somehow involved in this process, but he is not. Satan hates God, and he hates God’s people. Even though he knows he can never snatch us from the hands of God, Satan will do anything in his power to hinder God’s work on this earth.

How does he accomplish this? It’s fairly easy to explain really. Satan wants us to dwell on our past sins, and doubt our standing with God because he wants us to remain fixated on ourselves. He wants us to forget about Grace and concentrate on works. And there is nothing wrong with works, as they should be the natural outflow of a born-again person. God expects us to work, but we are not expected to work to save ourselves or keep ourselves saved. Our works should be the plan God has for us and not the things we, or some other person,  think we have to do to stay in God’s grace. The plan is God’s plan. It is not ours, the churches, some pastor’s, or any plan created by any person.

Why is Satan so angry and why does he want to interfere so much? Surely he knows how this all works out, right? Of course he does! Satan has the same information we have, and that is God’s Word as revealed in Scripture. We often like to say we have read the end of the book, and God wins. Well, Satan has read the end of the Book, and he loses.

It has been said that it doesn’t matter so much how one starts the race, but how one finishes. That is certainly a true statement, and one the Devil would love for us all to forget. The past is the past. If we are saved believers, then God has chosen to no longer remember any of the things we have done. In fact, He has also forgotten in advance the sins we may still commit! That makes us free. We are free to no longer worry about the penalty or any eternal punishment for our failure to meet God’s expectations. Now, we can concentrate on fulfilling God’s plan for our lives and communing with Him through prayer, study, and meditating on His Word.

There Is a God and You Are Not Him

Genesis 2:15-17

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

I suppose we could stop with simply the words that were written on that sign, and the point would be made. The words on the sign are true, and they are indisputable.

What we see described above is the root and source attitude for every single thing which is wrong in the corrupted, evil world we live in. The things we see around us which disturb us so greatly are not the result of random chance, or random collections of events. The evil we see around us every day is, simply put, the result of our choice to rebel against and reject God.

This post won’t be some feeble attempt on my part to dissect and explain the difficult subject of the Sovereignty of God and the free will of man; I will leave that subject to the theologians who may be reading. From the standpoint of this post, it only matters that:

God IS Sovereign

We DO possess will

The Bible clearly teaches that Adam and Eve were created in the Garden of Eden in the image of God and lived in innocency until they fell by voluntary transgression from their sinless state and that as a result, all mankind are sinners by birth and by choice. We can see from our key passage above that the two of them had free rein to partake of the entire garden and all of its bounty, with only one restriction. The fact that instruction was even issued indicates that Adam and Even had a choice: why else would have an instruction be issued unless they had the ability to disobey it?

Disobey they did, and we see this story in detail in Genesis Chapter 3. We can see how the pair of them succumbed to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16) and did the one and only thing they had been commanded not to do. Of course, we all know how Eve was tempted by Satan, and how Adam went willingly along with this sin.  Since we are talking about Satan, let’s take a trip back in time and see what happened there.

Before He created Adam and Eve, God had created His angels. He created one angel to be far above all of the other angels, and that angel was Lucifer. We can read in Ezekiel 28 many similarities between Lucifer and Adam and Eve:

Ezekiel 28:13-15 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

Lucifer, however, was not happy with just that. Lucifer wanted to be more: Lucifer wanted to be God. See here Lucifer’s famous 5 “I wills” as his pride caused him to be cast from Heaven so that later he could tempt Eve and lead to the fall of man. Isaiah Chapter 14. We don’t need to review all of them here, but the very last one in Verse 14, where Lucifer proclaims, I will be like the most high. There we have it, the very root of rebellion and evil in the world today.

Not only are there those who rebel against the God they know exists, but there are also those who simply deny the very existence of God. I have no intention of writing a blog post proving the existence of God; there is not enough time, I can’t do it, and it’s not relevant to the issue at hand. God’s Word, however, has a couple of very simple things to say about its author, however, which are quite simple and quite true.

Psalm 19: 1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

And lest we think we can claim ignorance as an excuse, let us take a look at what the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write down and share with us:

Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Without excuse. We can posture and rail all day long; we can create any god we wish in our minds and in our hearts. But in the end, only the God who has revealed Himself in the created world around us is the One True God.

And we are not Him.

Are You Ready?

 

John 14:4

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Acts 1:11

Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.


Jesus is coming back; that is a fact. He told us; God’s angels told us. Scripture is replete with the concept and theme that Jesus will be returning.

There are many, many views about the wheres and whens of Jesus’ return. We aren’t covering those here. It’s really not relevant to this post. We will talk about judgment also; there are many opinions about the wheres and whens of those also. Guess what? We aren’t covering that debate either! It’s not relevant to this post. No matter what we believe about the timing of certain things, there are issues that we all need to think about in preparation for the return of Jesus.

Everybody needs to think about these things. Believers and non believers alike have issues to consider.

Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

We all will bow, we all will confess. All of us, no exceptions.

To the non believers

We are all sinners. I am, you are; we all are. God is perfect and we are not. We all have fallen short and missed the mark of God’s perfection.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

God not only set the bar for what sin is; He set the penalty for it as well.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death……….

Yes, the penalty for our sin, any sin, is death. The penalty is eternal separation from God in a place called hell. Why separation, you may ask? God cannot abide or look upon our sin; it is outside His nature as perfect and Holy.

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

God, however, loves us with a love we cannot even grasp or understand. He loves us enough to literally give Himself to us as a sacrifice to pay our penalty. He loves us despite the fact that we have rejected Him; He knew we would be sinners and loved us enough to provide us a way.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Friends, you can never make yourself good enough to earn your way to God. Our salvation is only by the Grace of God, through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.  It is a gift from God, to us.

Ephesians 2:8,9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What must we do then, to be saved? The answer is repentance toward God and faith in The Lord Jesus Christ. We don’t DO anything, but we do believe some things. We sometimes teach kids the ABCs of Salvation, and they are pretty good for grown ups to.

A  Admit you are a sinner before God. Agree with God about the wrongness of your sin.

B  Believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross and was resurrected in three days, paying the penalty you should have paid.

C  Confess Him. We have to ask God for Salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. We have to ask Him to become Lord and Savior of our lives.

What does Paul say about this in Romans?

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved

It is just that easy. You don’t need to be a theologian; you may not even have a Bible. You don’t have to do anything, so quit trying.

To Believers

Guess what friends? As believers, we face a judgment as well. We do not face a judgement for our sins; we do not face a judgment to determine whether or not we are heaven or hell bound. We make that decision only here on Earth, while we are still living. That is true for us all, by the way. Saved or unsaved, we only have the chance to decide while we are still breathing; the instant we stop that, our eternal destiny is sealed forever.

What then, are believers judged for and what happens? We are judged for the work we have done for Jesus while we were alive and are rewarded accordingly. We are not punished for sins at our judgment but are rewarded for our works. Or, not rewarded for our lack of works. We may very well arrive at the Judgment Seat of Christ and find we don’t get any rewards.

Let’s look at a couple of places where this concept is taught:

Romans 14:10-12 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

2 John 8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

I wrote a lengthier post on the Judgment Seat of Christ in this article,  “Crowns in Heaven-How’s That Work?

As I stated earlier, we may disagree on certain aspects concerning the Return of Jesus; this post was not for the purpose of debating all of that.  What really matters?

Romans 14:11  For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

Philippians 2:10,11 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

That is what matters. Someday all of us, lost and saved will bow the knee and confess Jesus.

Are you Ready?

This post was previously published

Hey! How’s That Pulse Doing?

A resurrected post, based on some of my time and conversations over the weekend. Blessings and enjoy.


A while back in a post or a comment(I don’t remember where exactly), my friend ColorStorm, asked a question along the lines of: “Hey, how’s that pulse doing?” I sort of hijacked the phrase, stole it if you will, and now I use it fairly often. It has, as I was told, a certain shelf life.

So, what’s the point?

Thump, thump

We are all born, and we all die. As the saying goes; Nothing is certain but death and taxes. We all hope to live a long, happy, and fruitful life. We also know that is not always the case; tales of unexpected, sudden death are all around us. How many times have we heard the phrase:

Oh…it was just so UNEXPECTED!

Of course, it’s rarely expected, It is, however, coming. Do we know when? What are some things God’s Word has to say about the timing of our passing from this world?

Job 7:1 Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling?

Proverbs 27:1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

James 4:13-15 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

Thump, thump

Many will say: “Well yes, life is short and can end unexpectedly, but death is just all my cells ceasing to function. As long as I made the most of what I had, it’s all good”

Thump, thump

But, we are not just a collection of cells. Read how we were created:

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

We are a living soul; we are a living soul which will live eternally. We were created by God to exists in joyful fellowship with him forever. God was so close with His creation, Adam and Eve, that he walked with them in the cool of the day. God wanted to exist with us in eternal love and fellowship; however, He did not force this love upon us. He gave us the free will to choose love, or rebellion.

Satan showed up in the Garden that fateful day, spouting his damnable lies.

Hath God said?

Ye shall not surely die

It was all downhill from there, Eve ate; Adam ate.  Because of their sin and rebellion

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Furthermore, sin has a penalty, a penalty which must be paid, for the wages of sin is death.

Thump, thump

That’s the bad news. We have all sinned, and we are all under the penalty of sin, for which the only payment possible is death, physical as well as spiritual. We saw that above, but that was not the whole thing. Here is the rest:

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thump, thump

God has promised us eternal life through the atoning work of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. It is available to us all; repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ is all that is required. All we have to do is agree, and ask.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Here is the problem. There are no do overs. The only chance for us to make the decision regarding our eternal destiny is here, and now, and in this lifetime. Once we draw the final breath, we have no more chances.

Thump, thump

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

2 Corinthians 6:2 ……now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation

In the book of acts we see the stories of two men, Felix and Aggripa, both of whom the Apostle Paul shared the Gospel with. they had the following to say.:

Felix: Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.

Agrippa: Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

What we never see, no matter how hard we read and study, is any record that anything ever changed for those two men. They wanted a more convenient season, they were almost persuaded.

Oh…it was just so UNEXPECTED!

It may be expected; it may be sudden. It will, however, BE. The death rate among the general population is 100 percent.

But the choice is ours. We can accept the Grace of God and the payment Jesus Christ made on our behalf….or we can reject it. But, now is the time. There may not be a later.

Thump, thump

Thump, thump

So…..How Is that pulse doing?

 

Grace Got You

This song, “Grace Got You,” is a rather upbeat Contemporary Christian song by Mercy Me. Okay, look, honestly I am not a huge fan of this song. It is just too, “happening,” for me. It’s actually a great song. It’s Scripturally based, upbeat and quite appealing. My wife loves it; on Sirius SM she listens to The Message(the CCM channel,) and I prefer Enlighten(The Southern Gospel channel with a lot of hymn-based quartet music.) I don’t have any issue with Contemporary Christian music in large part, but it’s just not my style or personal preference. I refer to some of it as, “Jesus is my boyfriend music.”

I digress, though. There is a point here.

Grace Got You

That matters, and it matters a lot.

Ephesians 2:8-10

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:Not of works, lest any man should boast.For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them

Do you see that? Grace gets US; we don’t get grace. Grace is the gift of God, and a gift is never earned. If it is earned, it is no longer a gift, but a payment for wages due. My friends, we DON”T want to get the just and fair payment for wages due.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death……..

That is our just and due wages; that is what we have earned. But, wait, there is more:

Romans 6:23 also says ………but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord

A gift my friends. We don’t get grace, and we cannot earn grace. We don’t earn God’s favor, but we certainly enjoy God’s favor based on the work of His Son, The Lord Jesus Christ.

We don’t get grace; grace gets US.

Does having that gift make some things happen? Do we work, sing, smile and glide? We can, and we should. Because we have not earned but been given the gift.

Left Behind, Will There be a Rapture?

 

rapture cat

Two quick notes.

  1. I am still reworking some older stuff while I work on some future stuff. Thanks for bearing with me!
  2. This is pretty much a bait and switch, because the post actually isn’t about eschatology really, except in a very peripheral way.

The truth is, not all believe the same things concerning the Rapture, the Tribulation or the Millenium. There are many compelling arguments to support different viewpoints on the subject. We can believe differently on these issues without anybody being branded as a heretic. The one thing that remains true, and must remain true if we are to be considered correctly believing Christians:

Jesus is coming back!

I need to say up front, there is nothing wrong with the scholarly study of the Bible. In fact, Scripture is crystal clear that we are to study and meditate on the inspired writings it contains. The study of Scripture, however, is not the end goal; it is simply a tool we use in order to reach the real objective. If our lives are full of study with no application, then it has been wasted time. Scripture is to change us, not just make us smarter and more knowledgeable about it. James taught us this idea clearly in James 1:23,24. If we look into the mirror of God’s Word and do nothing, it is like a man looking in a mirror and seeing what needs to be fixed but walking away without fixing it.

Jesus took one last opportunity to teach His disciples on the Mount of Olives shortly before His ascension; He was asked by them if The Kingdom would be set up at that time. His answer? It is not for you to know the times or the seasons.”

It was shortly thereafter that Jesus ascended into Heaven. Even then, the disciples simply stood there staring until two angels appeared and reminded them that they had work to do, and also that Jesus would return just as He had left.  Read the whole story here.

Now on to the actual point of this article. This quote from the original article I read simply captured me and provided the jump-off point for this article.

“Here’s what matters: Jesus is coming back. No one knows when. We have only today to be ready. Whether he raptures the church before (or during, or after) a Great Tribulation, or returns to begin the millennium, or simply returns to end history and begin eternity, is not the practical question. You and I have no say in the matter. We are on the preparation committee, not the planning committee. Our job is to be ready when he comes, however, he comes.”

What, then, are we to be preparing for?

  • We have a wedding to prepare for. Revelation 19:7-10 describes John’s vision of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. It is here that The Lamb(Christ) will marry His bride, the Bride of Christ. We aren’t going to discuss here who is and is not the bride, as it’s really not important to this discussion. Verse 7, however, does say “His wife hath made herself ready.” How are we to be making ourselves ready? These verses give us some clues.
    • Ephesians 5:27 “Holy and without blemish.”
    • 2 Corinthians 11:2 “A chaste virgin”
  • We have a judgment to face. We all know the judgment of God will pass onto all unbelievers for their unbelief. Believers will be judged also. We will not be judged to determine our final destination; that determination is made only while we are still living. We will be judged to give an account of our lives and how we lived them for Jesus.
    • Romans 14:10-12 teaches that we will all stand before The Judgment Seat and give an account.
    • 2 Corinthians 5:10 teaches the same thing.
    • Revelation 22:12 Jesus told John He was coming quickly and bringing our rewards with Him.
  • We have a world to evangelize. God has not left us here simply to enjoy ourselves. He wants us restored to him and that is why He patiently waits until His chosen time. See 2 Peter 3:9 for Peter’s teaching on this idea. Back in Acts 1, right after all of the questions on His return, Jesus had told them their mission was to “be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

There is a commonly quoted saying, “Some people are so Heavenly minded that they are no Earthly good.” Is that true for us? Are we so busy debating and considering the times, places and events surrounding the return of Jesus Christ that we have forgotten what the real issue is? He is returning, that is simply not debatable. The question is: Are we ready?

  • Are you lost? If you are not saved, you are not ready. Repent today; turn from your sin. Accept Jesus’ payment for your sin and His role as Savior and Lord of your life.
  • Are you saved? Remember what is coming. Are you preparing to be a good Bride? Will you be told “Well done, good and faithful servant” when you face Jesus? Are you reaching out to a lost and dying world with the Gospel?

 

Jesus Paid It All and the Payment Was Permanent (Part Seven)

The Doctrine of conditional salvation, or that one can lose their salvation, is a product of Satan himself. I am not saying that those who believe it are of Satan; I am saying the thought is from him. Why would I say such a thing? Allow me to briefly explain. First, let’s take a look at the following passage:

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

In that passage, Paul was speaking to saved believers. What he was passing along from God was that we are to put on our helmet, and that helmet is the helmet of Salvation. He simply meant that Satan desperately wants us to be in a constant state of doubting our salvation. Paul was teaching us not to be distracted by those doubts, but to live secure in the assurance of our status as reconciled children of God.

Why does Satan care? The basic reason is that if we rest assured that our salvation is secure, then we can move along to the work God really wants us to do.  If we spend our entire lives in a mad scramble to stay saved, then that is all we can do. I hate to sound repetitive, but it’s not about us! It is about our works done to honor and glorify God and not our efforts either to get saved or to stay saved.

As with works based salvation, works maintained salvation becomes about men rather than God. God has laid out the conditions that must be met for salvation: repentance toward God and faith in His Son Jesus Christ. Any other rules are not God’s rules, they are man’s rules. Who makes any such list of rules and conditions necessary to maintain salvation? Some person, of course. When we follow rules set by man, we begin to abandon God’s guidelines as revealed in His Word. When we do that, we begin to follow men rather than God; worse, we begin to follow ourselves. And that is what got us into trouble in the first place way back in Genesis Chapter 3

Are you saved? If you are, rest assured that your salvation is secure for all eternity. Quit worrying about what you have to do to keep it, and get busy doing the works God has actually called you to do.

Are you lost? Understand that this security can belong to you as well. Admit you are a sinner. Agree with God that He is right and you are wrong. Turn from your sin. Believe that Jesus paid your due penalty on the cross, and accept Him as your Savior and Lord today. Then, pick up your cross and follow Him.

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