“Will you experience the Rapture or the Tribulation?” September 16

 

tribulation

There 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 have 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

 

Will you see the Rapture or the Tribulation?

 

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.

The 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. Continue reading

“What makes you a Christian?” July 10

 

What makes someone a Christian? Is it based on taking certain sacraments or belonging to the right church? Is it based on living a godly life, doing good deeds, or is it based on something else?What makes someone a Christian? Is it based on taking certain sacraments or belonging to the right church? Is it based on living a godly life, doing good deeds, or is it based on something else?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Chronicles 15 & 16
Psalm 81.1-10
Proverbs 20.24-25
Acts 16.1-21

 

What makes you a Christian?

 

Acts 16.1-21:

Do our “good deeds” play a part in our salvation?

Chapters 15 & 16 record two situations concerning circumcision. The Scripture makes it clear that there was no requirement to be circumcised. But here in chapter 16 Paul had Timothy circumcised, not because it was necessary for Timothy, but so it did not become a stumbling block and shut the door on ministry to the Jews they were trying to evangelize.

In another situation, there was a disagreement over eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols. Paul said that though there was no harm in doing it (it was just meat!), he would rather never eat meat again if it made his brother stumble (1 Cor. 8.13).

But in chapter 15, the Judaizers were adding something to the gospel. They were “unsettling” the faith of the gentile believers by telling them they couldn’t be saved if they didn’t meet the requirements of the law.  Continue reading

“Should Christians Drink Alcohol?” June 29

 

Should Christians drink alcohol? What does the Bible say? How do you decide what's right?Should Christians drink alcohol? What does the Bible say? How do you decide what’s right?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 21 & 22
Psalm 78.34-39
Proverbs 20.1-2
Acts 9.1-21

 

Should Christians Drink Alcohol?

 

Proverbs 20.1-2:

To Drink or Not to Drink?

Verse 1, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”

I’m frequently asked what the Bible says about drinking. I usually explain that the Bible does not condemn all drinking, but it does condemn drunkenness, specifically. And it gives us other passages to guide our decisions in this area. Here are 3 from Paul’s epistles:

“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify” (1 Cor. 10.23).

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Cor. 6.12).

“It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak” (Rom. 14.21).

Discerning God’s Will

So we need to ask ourselves several questions as we consider whether or not we should drink:  Continue reading

September 22 “Don’t be disqualified” & LINKUP

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“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).

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 35 & 36
Psalm 109.6-13
Proverbs 25.27-28
2 Corinthians 13.1-14

 

Mans headIsaiah 35 & 36:

The schemes of the enemy

Chapter 36 repeats a story from the life of Hezekiah (2 Kings 19). The King of Assyria had sent the Rabshakeh as his representative to convince the Israelites to surrender. First, he stood outside the city wall and tried to intimidate them into surrendering. He even attacked their faith in God:

“Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, ‘The LORD will deliver us.’ Has any one of the gods of the nations delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria?” (v. 18).

When scare tactics didn’t, immediately, work, he tried sweetening the deal by saying, in effect, “Look, if you just surrender I’ll let you stay here in your own homes and your own land until later when I come back for you and take you to a really nice place, almost like this.”

In other words, see what I can do for you! Don’t trust your God, trust me! Continue reading

June 29 “Christians & alcohol”

drinking alcoholShould Christians drink alcohol? What does the Bible say? How do you decide what’s right?

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 21 & 22
Psalm 78.34-39
Proverbs 20.1-2
Acts 9.1-21

 

1 Chronicles 21 & 22:

Praying for our children

Chapter 22.12-13, “Only may the LORD give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the LORD charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

prayer

This was the blessing that David wanted for his son Solomon. I was reminded of Paul’s prayers and how his primary focus was on praying for spiritual growth for those in his care, something to consider as we pray for our children. Continue reading

January 3 “The fruit of genuine repentance”

fruit of genuine repentanceToday’s Readings:
Genesis 5 & 6
Psalm 2.7-12
Proverbs 1.10-19
Matthew 3.1-17

What does genuine repentance look like? Is it merely a feeling of sorrow or something more?

Genesis 5 & 6:

Total depravity

It didn’t take long for sin to take its toll, did it? Chapter 6.5-6 says, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”

This is sometimes called “total depravity.” Even though sin doesn’t make us all as bad as we could be, it makes us all as bad as we need to be to deserve an eternity separated from Him.

God is still grieved over sin today. All too often we mistakenly believe that when we sin, we are only hurting ourselves, or, at worst, it’s just against another person. But sin is first and foremost against our Holy God! Continue reading