September 16 “The Rapture or the Tribulation?”

sky, sun, cloudsThere will be a day when, “… the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout … we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air …” (1 Thess. 4.16-17). There will also be those who think they’re ok with God because of all the things they have done. They may be religious, but will realize too late that they were not truly saved and that they’ve been left behind. What about you? Will you experience the Rapture or the Tribulation?

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 23 & 24
Psalm 107.10-22
Proverbs 25.17
2 Corinthians 8.1-24

Isaiah 23 & 24:

God will one day judge the world

Chapter 24 changes the pattern in this book. Instead of talking about God’s judgment on specific nations, the prophet begins to speak to the inhabitants of the earth. This prophecy is more general in nature.

It certainly had near future meaning, possibly either the devastation brought about by Sennacherib and his Assyrian army or by Nebuchadnezzar and his armies from Babylon.

But it also has yet future application concerning the period of history called the Tribulation. The book of Revelation talks about the incredible destruction that will take place during those horrible, terrifying seven years: fires, earthquakes like the world has never seen, pestilence and wars, among other things.

shockedThe next few chapters of Isaiah will continue talking about God’s judgment on the world, but there is also comfort contained in many of the passages for God’s people. Even in the worst of times, God cares for His own! And as for the Great Tribulation to come, I don’t believe those of us who have made a decision for Christ now will be around to see that time. I believe that time will be proceeded by the Rapture of the church:

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4.16-17).

But there will also be those who attend church, but who have never made a personal commitment to Christ and who will realize too late that they were not truly saved.

“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Cor. 13.5).

What about you?

If you cannot say that there has been a time in your life where you recognized your need for a Savior because you were utterly helpless to save yourself, a time when you accepted Christ’s sacrificial work on the cross for you personally and surrendered your life to Him, cry out to God now and ask Him to save you.

I’ll be praying for you! If that’s you, please let me know. You can add a comment at the bottom and, if you don’t want it published, just let me know. You may also want to read the article, “If you died tonight … would you go to heaven?” on the “free resources” page.

But what if, you have prayed a prayer or had an emotional experience at some time in your life? What does it mean to “examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith”?

First, there is no magic in praying some prayer. We are saved by God’s grace through faith. So while many are saved as a result of praying a prayer, it’s still a work of grace as saving faith comes alive in your heart.

Second, if you’re saved there will be fruit. Is there the fruit of a changed life? “Fruit” or good works can’t save us, but Ephesians says we were saved by grace through faith for good works (Eph. 2.8-10). Good works should be the result of the inner change brought about through salvation (2 Cor. 5.15, 17).

If you don’t see fruit in your life, talk to a Pastor or mature believer. You also may want to check out the article I mentioned above.

man, prayerPsalm 107.10-22:

He saves those who cry out to Him

If you are still not sure about what I’m saying, look at verses 10-13:

10 Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Bound in affliction and irons—
11 Because they rebelled against the words of God,
And despised the counsel of the Most High,
12 Therefore He brought down their heart with labor;
They fell down, and there was none to help.
13 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.

That is a picture of all of us apart from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. “Bound in affliction and irons,” unable to save ourselves because no amount of good works or religion can save us, only Christ can do that. But “then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses.”

Proverbs 25.17:

Don’t wear out your welcome

“Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house, lest he become weary of you and hate you.”

In other words, “don’t wear out your welcome.”

2 Corinthians 8.1-24:

He gave it up for us

Verse 9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”

Jesus set aside all the riches of heaven to come to earth as a baby, clothed in human flesh, just for you and me, so that we might enjoy the riches of a relationship with Him here and now and for eternity.

BibleMake Bible reading an ongoing habit

I pray many of you are continuing to work your way through the Bible. We are almost three quarters of the way though. I hope you are beginning even now to think about doing this again next year. Each time we do, God opens more and more truth to us, and as we become more and more familiar with the Scriptures themselves, it’s like spending time with an “old friend.”

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The value of reading good, theologically sound books

You’ll notice that I often add links to books and resources at the bottom of my blogs. Maybe you’ve never been a reader or you think you don’t have time to read. I just want to say that no one has extra time these days. And many people I know were not readers growing up, but once they saw the value of reading materials that would help them grow in their relationships with Christ, have better marriages, and be better, more godly parents, they became readers.

It’s been attributed to a couple of different people, but it’s true no matter who first said it, “You are the same today as you’ll be in five years except for two things: the books you read and the people you meet.”

Have a great day in the Lord!
Donna

 

Today’s Featured Resources on Kindle or in Books:

About The Great Exchange: My Sin for His Righteousness by Jerry Bridges:

Believers often take for granted the great act of salvation provided to us by the work of Jesus Christ. Beginning with the Old Testament sacrifices and the prophecies that foreshadowed Christ, authors Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington guide believers through the biblical overview of Christ’s atonement. The Great Exchange helps believers see how the Old Testament practices tie in with the New Testament discussion of Christ’s great work of salvation.

As believers work through these principles, they will begin to recognize that even though we deserve condemnation and punishment from a holy God, he has given us the opportunity to experience his great riches through his Son, Jesus Christ. The clear gospel message presented throughout the entire book offers a great appreciation of Christ for believers and an opportunity for salvation for unbelievers.

Eternal Security by Charles Stanley:

Do you ever find yourself wondering . . .
•Is it actually possible to know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I am going to heaven? Dr. Stanley answers that question.

Agents of the Apocalypse: A Riveting Look at the Key Players of the End Times by Dr. David Jeremiah:

Who Will Usher in Earth’s Final Days?
Are we living in the end times? Is it possible that the players depicted in the book of Revelation could be out in force today? And if they are, would you know how to recognize them?

In Agents of the Apocalypse, noted prophecy expert Dr. David Jeremiah does what no prophecy expert has done before. He explores the book of Revelation through the lens of its major players—the exiled, the martyrs, the elders, the victor, the king, the judge, the 144,000, the witnesses, the false prophet, and the beast.

One by one, Dr. Jeremiah delves into their individual personalities and motives, and the role that each plays in biblical prophecy. Then he provides readers with the critical clues and information needed to recognize their presence and power in the world today.

The stage is set, and the curtain is about to rise on Earth’s final act. Will you be ready?

Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth’s Last Days by Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins

An airborne Boeing 747 is headed to London when, without any warning, passengers mysteriously disappear from their seats. Terror and chaos slowly spread not only through the plane but also worldwide as unusual events continue to unfold.

Yes, it’s a novel, but it is an interesting take on what the Tribulation may very well be like for those who are “left behind.” With the movie coming out, it might be a great time to read or re-read the novel.

 

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3 thoughts on “September 16 “The Rapture or the Tribulation?”

  1. Pingback: September 21 "When life hurts" | Soul Survival