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2:06 am est          Comments

Eschatological Thievery & Manifestation (Rapture v. Revelation)…

For you eschatological (end-time) buffs out there. Here we have a chart that notes the differences between the Rapture of the Church (upward call – Phil. 3) and the Glorious Revelation of Christ, occurring seven years later (Rev. 1; 19). Scriptural references are noted where appropriate. Please be aware, this is not original with me, and I am not able to cite the origin, so-oooo, to whomever is the originator, “Thanks.”

Where is the Church found in each event?

• At the Rapture, Jesus comes FOR His Church. (John 14:1-3, 1 Thess 4:14-17)

• At the Glorious Appearing, Jesus comes WITH His Church. (Zech 14:5, Col 3:4, Jude 14, Rev 19:14)

Where does Jesus appear in each event?

• At the Rapture, Christians are caught up to meet Jesus in the air (1 Thess 4:13-18)

• At the Glorious Appearing, Jesus' feet touch the earth (Zech 14:4, Rev:19:11-21)                   

Who is taken and who is left behind?

• At the Rapture, Christians are taken first and unbelievers are left behind. (1 Thess 4:13-18)

• At the Glorious Appearing, the wicked are taken first, but the righteous (the tribulation saints) are left behind. (Matt 13:28-30)

What will Jesus do at each event?

• At the Rapture, Jesus will gather His Bride, the Church, unto Himself in preparation of the Marriage of the Lamb. (Rev. 19:6-9)

• At the Glorious Appearing, Jesus will execute judgment on the earth and establish His Kingdom. (Zech 14:3-4, Jude 14-15, Rev 19:11-21)

When does the Marriage of the Lamb take place?

• The Marriage of the Lamb takes place in Heaven AFTER the Rapture of the Church. (Revelation 19:6-9)

• War on earth comes AFTER the Marriage of the Lamb at the Glorious Appearing when the King of Kings and Lord of Lords lays the smackdown on evil! (Revelation 19:11-21)

How long will each event be?

• The Rapture will happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (Blink. It's over!). (1 Cor 15:52)

• The Glorious Appearing will be a slow coming. Everyone will see Jesus

coming with great power and great glory! (Zech 12:10, Matt 24:30, Rev 1:7)                                                         

Who will see Jesus at each event?

• At the Rapture, only those who are looking for Him (Christians) will see Him. (1 John 3:2, 1 Cor 15:52)                                                    

• At the Glorious Appearing, every eye will see Him and those who have rejected Him will wail.(Rev. 1:7)

Will Jesus shout?

• At the Rapture, Jesus will descend from Heaven with a shout (calling for the saints at the resurrection). (1 Thess 4:16)

• At the Glorious Appearing, no shout is mentioned, although the Lord does slay the wicked with the sword of His mouth. (Rev. 19:11-21)

Will there be a resurrection at each?

At the Rapture, a resurrection will take place. (1 Thess 4:13-18, 1 Cor 15:51-54)

At the Glorious Appearing, there is no resurrection spoken of. (Zech. 12:10, Zech.14:4-5, Rev 1:7, 19:11-21)

What about the timing of each event?

• The Rapture can happen at any time...maybe even now which is why we are to be WATCHING for the return of Jesus Christ! (Rev 3:3, 1 Thess 5:4-6)

• The Glorious Appearing will occur at the end of the seven-year tribulation period. (Dan 9:24-27, Matt 24:29-30, 2 Thess 2:3-8)

What role will the angels of Heaven have?

At the Rapture, no angels are sent to gather the Church.

At the Glorious Appearing, angels will be sent to gather people together for judgment. (Matt 13:39, 41 & 49, Matt. 24:31, Matt. 25:31, 2 Thess 1:7-10)

What about the resurrected bodies?

• At the Rapture, those who died in Christ will return with Jesus to recover their resurrected bodies. (1 Thess 4:14-16)

• At the Glorious Appearing, Christians will return with Jesus already in their resurrected bodies riding on white horses. (Rev 19:11-21)

White horse for Jesus or no white horse for Jesus?

• At the Rapture, Jesus doesn't return riding a white horse.

• At the Glorious Appearing, Jesus will return riding a white horse. (Rev 19:11)

What is the message each event will bring for mankind?

• The Rapture will bring with it a message of hope and comfort. (1 Thess 4:18, Titus 2:13, 1 John 3:3)

• The Glorious Appearing will bring with it a message of judgment. (Joel 3:12-16, Mal 4:5, Rev 19:11-21)

12:01 pm est          Comments

Facebook Avatars…

By now you have undoubtedly heard of the pastor who has forbidden his congregation to use Facebook.  It seems that too many in his congregation were falling prey to illicit relationships that were being forged and fomented through the use of this social medium. Certainly, that is a concern.

As a pastor, I don’t know what it would be like to have the power to command your congregation in such a way, but I appreciate that this pastor identified a real problem and has expressed his concern.  

One of the phenomenons we find in such a social interchange is that it is easy for persons to develop an “avatar” of themselves. Hey, life, work and marriage is hard business (committed to the commitment, as we say) and it is a real temptation to slip into virtual reality, where you can be as you “imagine” yourself to be, and where others can foist themselves off on you as they also imagine themselves to be. There is only one problem with this: There is no reality here. There is no dealing with the harsh, everyday realities of personal shortcomings, financial straights and normal interpersonal struggles and relationships. For the emotionally immature and undeveloped, some of these social interfaces provide a great medium to escape personal responsibility and “life as it really is.” Is it any wonder that John Lennon’s song, Imagine, still sells so well in this emotionally undeveloped age?

So let us be careful of the relationships we develop in such ways. Remember, the potential for deception is very great on this modern stage. And let us also be careful to not find ourselves being discipled in the fine art of gossip, or at least grandstanding, all in the guise of some relatively new phenomena known as “social networking.” I really don’t need to know that you “washed your car” and “kissed your dog” today. Spare us.

The Holy Spirit’s admonition is more relevant than ever to these times:

“and to make it your ambition  to lead a quiet life and  attend to your own business and  work with your hands, just as we commanded you…” 1Th. 4.11. NASB

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you,”  1 Thessalonians 4.11 NIV

1:07 am est          Comments

Be Afraid to be Afraid…

Hey, this is not my writing, but it was a tender encouragement, so I share it. The “Prince of Preachers,” of course.

Fear to Fear

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

"Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD" (Jeremiah 1:8).

Whenever fear comes in and makes us falter, we are in danger of falling into sin. Conceit is to be dreaded, but so is cowardice. "Dare to be a Daniel." Our great Captain should be served by brave soldiers.

What a reason for bravery is here! God is with those who are with Him. God will never be away when the hour of struggle comes.

Do they threaten you? Who are you that you should be afraid of a man that shall die? Will you lose your situation? Your God whom you serve will find bread and water for His servants. Can you not trust Him? Do they pour ridicule upon you? Will this break your bones or your heart? Bear it for Christ's sake, and even rejoice because of it.



God is with the true, the just, the holy, to deliver them; and He will deliver you. Remember how Daniel came out of the lions' den and the three holy children out of the furnace. Yours is not so desperate a case as theirs; but if it were, the LORD would bear you through and make you more than a conqueror. Fear to fear. Be afraid to be afraid. Your worst enemy is within your own bosom. Get to your knees and cry for help, and then rise up saying, "I will trust, and not be afraid."

12:03 am est          Comments

Do Not Give What is Holy to the Dogs…

It was some years ago, I had been going through quite a time of trying to talk reason into some obstreperous types, and, frankly, I was wearied by it all. As they used to say, “I couldn’t win for losing.” They would be satisfied with only one thing (fill in the blanks).

It was in such a setting that I occasioned to talk to a senior pastor who, sadly, had been a casualty in a church “fragging” (for you civilians out there, that’s a mugging). Humorously, he was now selling casualty insurance to churches and working as a part-time politician – there’s some Divine humor here. In the midst of our conversation he uttered this statement of a bloodied, spiritual warrior, something like this:

“With manipulative, legal, antagonistic types you can’t admit any fault or weakness at all or they will use that to justify their evil behavior against you.”

Boom!!! Yea, baby. Lights went on.

News! News! There are some types that really do not want reconciliation or peace at all; they want blood. If even a “nugget” of sin or weakness is sensed, it will become a “boulder” of further attack (I truly believe it is a shock to most men and women to meet such types – most of us simply aren’t raised that way).   

I do not write this to accuse. I write it to free some who have tried everything they can to make peace with others, only to find themselves further accused of “whatever.” These are those who have bumped into types we now call “pathological antagonists.” The Bible calls them “pugnacious,” (gk. Plektes, contentious, quarrelsome, bully: 1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7) and the quicker you distance yourselves from such types the better. That is why Scripture is specific in saying “if possible” live at peace with all men, because, with some, it is simply not possible to have harmony and accord (Rom. 12:18).

This is never to forgive or excuse unforgiveness, bitterness, or contentiousness on our part. Never! But it is to deal with the harsh realities of life, and that reality includes the acknow-ledgement that there are some strange beings out there that actually use guilt, condemnation and unforgiveness as spiritual weapons of seizure, manipulation and control of others. Please do not let accusative types beat you up any longer. Yes, pray for them, all the while avoiding their contagion and feeding them with long-handled spoons.

Is this tragic? In a word, yes. Jesus has come to offer so much more than having to be in control of our own silly, little lives or the lives of others (Psa. 46:10, NASB). But some, still walking in the addiction of their sinful flesh, find more joy in controlling others than in being controlled by the Holy Spirit of God. Rather than find contentment, peace and joy in being “In Christ,” beloved of God, with no Divine condemnation, they find their joy in carnal delights, not the least of which is puffing themselves up by putting others down. God’s Divine Word simply says that is “not wise” (2 Cor. 10:12, NIV).

And for us, little flock? Let us continue on, with the aid of God’s Spirit and Word, removing the giant, sinful logs from our own eyes so that we don’t have so much time to criticize the meager, little “splinters” in the lives of others (Mt. 7:1-6).  Going forth with such humility, and dealing with our own sin, we really will be prepared to help others when they really do request our spiritual aid and assistance (Rom. 8:1-12).

Chesed v'shalom, (Grace and Peace) - pastor M. - Psa. 35:10

 

4:08 pm est          Comments

Who Is This Man?

Christ said of him that there was no one greater born, at least as far as human flesh is concerned. That puts him at the head of quite a list of spiritual achievers: Men like David, and Abraham, and Nehemiah and Daniel. Wow.

He also made some of the most profound “off the cuff” (apparently unprepared) remarks that are found in all of Scripture.

For instance, he was once taunted that he was “losing his touch,” and that men were leaving his ministry for the ministry of some “man” named Jesus. His response: A man can receive only what is given him from above. Total cool; total dependence upon the living God of Israel (s. John 3:27).

In the same setting, when it appeared that his ministry was on a sharp decline and that his part in the play was coming to an end, he responded with, “He must increase and I must decrease.” Not the usual response to watching your life’s dreams go up in smoke.

And at another time, when it looked like he was losing his grip concerning Christ and His actual place in the whole salvatory scheme of things, Christ said that others may be fickle “reeds swayed by the wind,” but NOT the this prophet, he was rock-steady in face of whatever (Matt. 11:7ff).

Of whom do we speak? You probably know the answer by now, or at least I hope you do: The man, the prophet, the Messianic forerunner that we speak of, is none other than John the Baptizer.

Of him, Malachi, God’s final Word of the OT, said simply: I will send my messenger who will prepare the way for You (Mal. 3).

He leaves us with a life of moral uprightness and zero compromise. In our age he stands out as a refreshing man who actually stood for something, a man worthy of our study and emulation.

B’ezrat HaShem, pastor Mike, Psa. 35:10

7:52 pm est          Comments

Strainin' At The Oars…

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

There is a specially comforting and encouraging phrase, occurring right in the middle of one of the “storm passages” of the Gospels:  

 

“Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.  When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He *came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them.” Mark 6.45–48 NAS95

 

Did you catch that? Great events have happened. Jesus dispatches His disciples to the next duty station. While on the way (in total obedience, by the way), they run into trouble - great trouble. A storm threatens to all but totally engulf them. And what does the Divinely inspired text say:

 

Seeing them straining at the oars.”

 

At a time when weariness at the task was about to consume them; At a time when they felt it was all but hopeless; At a time when they felt the Master did not really know what they were going through, or what was really going on - at just such a time - HE SAW IT, AND KNEW IT, ALL!!!!

 

What can we do but bow down at such a revelation. Wow!

 

Are you “straining at the oars” just now? In work? In family? In marriage? In finances? In planning? In vision? In ministry? In WHATEVER?

 

Can you believe the text that your omniscient (all-knowing) God knows exactly what you are going through? Can you believe that at just the right time He will be there for you and supply the need? Can you, in faith, just now, hang on? Help is always on the way, for has He not presently said:

 

Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” so that we confidently say, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?” - Hebrews 13.5–6 NAS95

 

Hagar, destitute in the desert, was seen by Jesus and was given water to keep her alive. She named that well, beer lahai roi: The Well of the Living God Who sees me. (Gen. 16).

 

Nothing, absolutely nothing has changed. He is still that God that sees you; He is still the God who sees you “straining at the oars.” Do not give up.

 

Chesed v'shalom, (Grace and Peace) - pastor M. - Psa. 35:10 - 11/06/10 

 

6:20 pm est          Comments

FaceBook???
 
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As you are probably highly aware, FaceBook has been much in the news of late. Obviously (though I am still a technical holdout), many believers and unbelievers are highly involved in this social networking phenomenon.

Additionally, we continue to receive news of how employers and future employers (and, now, some ex-employers!!!) are scanning these pages to gain additional insight into the profiles/attitudes of persons they are interested in.

With something so public and so full of words (Facebook that is), it would be wise to remind the brothers and sisters to be very careful as to what they are involved with and what they are posting in such global, visible situations. Hopefully, our words in such settings are words of edification and encouragement, and not those of disparagement, gossip, or, worse, useless drivel. Life is too short for such things. A good governing verse for social behavior would be the following:

“Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 3.3 NAS95

I don’t know where we got them from (some wise soul, for sure), but in our home we have tried to honor three questions concerning the words and conversations we use with one another (This would certainly apply to FaceBook as well). I hope you adopt them for your family and your personal life. They are as follows:

• Is It True? – Hopefully what you are is saying is absolutely true and not tainted the least with hidden agendas, envy or slander. After all we serve a God of truth. Let us be such.

• Is It Kind? – While something may be true, that does not mean it is kind. Truth can be used as a bludgeon and a bully. Be kind; Life is hard. Put yourself in their shoes.

• Is It Necessary? – It may be true, it may be kind, but it may not be needed at all. Love is very discretionary, and often covers, and finds additional data unnecessary. I am sometimes amazed at what people say in public and in public settings. So much is unnecessary.

Chesed v'shalom, (Grace and Peace) - pastor M. - Psa. 35:10 - 12/03/10 

6:18 pm est          Comments

Many Sons To Glory!!!

I have noticed of late, because of study time in the book of Hebrews, how many references in this one book have to do with the incarnation (in-fleshing) of Christ. He con-descended to take on our humanity. To me, the sheer number of these in one book is simply stunning. Let me cite these:

• And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM.” Hebrews 1.6 NAS95

• But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. Hebrews 2.9 NAS95

• Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, Hebrews 2.14 NAS95

• Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. Hebrews 2.17 NAS95

• For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4.15 NAS95

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Hebrews 5.7 NAS95

Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME; Hebrews 10.5 NAS95

And the wondrous, Divine goal of it all? 

“BRINGING MANY SONS TO GLORY” Hebrews 2.10.

WOW! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Chesed v'shalom, (Grace and Peace) - pastor M. - Psa. 35:10 - 12/17/10

6:17 pm est          Comments

Saltless Salt

Recently, I was doing some time in God’s Word one morning and I could not get past this passage – it was stunning to me:

 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. Matthew 5.13, NAS

The topic is obvious: Tasteless, powerless salt. The indictment is frightening: We can be salt that is useless, tasteless salt.

Now, I’ve a confession to make: I love a good sprinkle of blood-pressure inducing salt on my food. Nothing is worse than bland, flavorless food. It’s almost as bad as lukewarm water. And you know what the Lord Himself thought of that.

So, when the Lord speaks of flavorless, unpungent, wimpish salt, He has my attention, and how.

Salt is given to make a difference, to lovingly “sting the palate.” Salt is not made to be “like” the bland food it falls upon. Its job is to “stir up” some senses, to flavor and to improve what it touches. In short: TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!

Today, I look about me in the realm of church things and I see flavorless salt everywhere. Lives are so afraid of being labeled as controversial and offensive that they have become weakly irrelevant by their compromising doctrines and lifestyles. They are so busy “relating” to the culture, that they have become like the culture, as flavorless salt – just a “form” of the real salt that stings, challenges and enhances (2 Tim. 3).

Maggie Thatcher used to say: “I smell the stench of appeasement in the air.”

I do to. In spiritual things.

And I am frightened.

For our Lord indicted such an age in saying, “Who can make tasteless salt salty?”  and, “Tasteless salt is good-for-nothing.”

Chesed v'shalom, (Grace and Peace) - pastor M. - Psa. 35:10 - 12/22/10 

6:16 pm est          Comments


Archive Older

 
 
“ALL THINGS FOR GOOD"

We know

 

that all things work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 

(Romans 8:28)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“All the afflictions, and all the temptations, and all the oppressions, and all the oppositions, and all the persecutions which befall a godly man, shall work for his good. Every cross, and every loss, and every disease which befall the holy man, shall work for his good. Every device, every snare, every deceit, every stratagem, and every enterprise of Satan against the holy man, shall work for his good. Every prosperity and every adversity; every storm and every calm; every bitter and every sweet; every cross and every comfort—shall work for the holy man’s good. 

When God gives a mercy—that shall work for his good. When God takes away a mercy—that shall work for his good.

O Christian! What though friends and relations frown upon you, what though enemies are plotting and conspiring against you, what though needs, like armed men, are breaking in upon you, what though men rage, and devils roar against you, what though sickness is devastating your family, what though death stands every day at your elbow—yet there is no reason for you to fear nor faint, because all these things shall work for your good!”

—Thomas Brooks, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, Holiness, the Only Way to Happiness