Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Day Sunday 2014


Memorial Day, which many of us will observe tomorrow, is the time we set aside to commemorate those who died while in military service to the United States of America. It is an important holiday to those of us who have lost family members, friends and comrades in arms. Beginning in 1775 with the American Revolution until today, our proud nation has championed causes of freedom and justice in every generation, offering our bravest and our best in defense of our chosen causes.

To give you an idea of the numbers of our brave men and women from the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, who have lost their lives while serving in defense of our freedoms, allow me to show you these figures:

US Casualties of War 1775 – Present
(A total of 65 declared wars, conflicts, and deployments)
(Source: Wikipedia online )
Wounded 1,531,036
Killed In Action 1,321,612
Missing In Action 38,159

Average US Military Deaths per Day 1775 to present:

1775 – Present 239 Years 87,235 Days
Total US Military Deaths Since 1775 1,321,612 Deaths
Average Deaths per Day 1775 - Present 15+ Deaths per Day

Since 1775 until today, the United States of America has averaged deploying its military forces to fight at least one new war or armed conflict every three and one half years. The need to process war has always been and will always be present in every generation and without the brave men and women of our nation who stand willing and ready to defend our freedoms, the United States of America, along with the values we so dearly hold and the benefits we so greatly enjoy would long ago have ceased to exist.

War has been a big part of our nation’s history and will no doubt continue to be for as long as time remains. Those who imagine a utopian society where war and famine, sickness and disease, poverty and stupidity no longer exist are fooling themselves.

Greed, lust, envy, hatred, wickedness and other base carnal appetites of man existed long before there was a United States of America and in fact since the beginning of mankind on planet earth, men have been involved in war … war as a result of something man did not start and a war which man cannot end.

For the most part, war is always between good and evil – the good guys and the bad buys … you know the stories, you’ve seen the movies, you’ve read your history. In every age there are evil men, destitute of common good and bent on destruction of one sort or another. However, these men are but puppets on the world’s stage, playing the parts they are given by the forces of evil which hate good and hate righteousness and hate God.

Placing Our Trust In God

A little history and some reasonable dates for those of us who like such:
  • The Apostle Paul was most likely born around the year AD5
  • He became a believer in Jesus as Messiah at about 26 or 27 years old when he had his Damascus Road conversion experience.
  • Near 35 years later Paul is in prison in Rome and knowing he is about to be martyred writes a last letter to his spiritual son, Timothy.
  • About AD 67 Paul is beheaded by order of Nero, Emperor of Rome.
  • The Book of 2 Timothy contains the last words God spoke to us through the Apostle Paul. Each word of the Bible is sacred, holy, powerful and true. However, last words seem to hold added weight.

2 Timothy 1 NKJV
6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,
9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.

This morning God is encouraging us to have and hold on to our confidence in Him and His plan for all mankind. Life does not unfold nor are we rewarded according to our own works but rather according to God’s own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. You can afford to be confident because it is God who works in you.

Seeing that we have such a purposeful God who has saved us and called us with a holy calling let us hold fast to the faith we place in Him. Trust the Lord in all things and remember that:

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. These things combat and overcome fear.

If a messenger from heaven miraculously appeared to us right now with all of his splendor and glory, shinning with the brightness of God’s eternal light, most likely the first thing he would say to us would be: “Fear Not!”

When God looked for a man whom He could anoint to be King of all Israel he found a young boy named David. The Bible records God accounting that He found a man after His own heart. David wrote a Psalm concerning the trust and confidence he had in God. In all of Psalms 91 David encourages us to put our trust in God. He testified:
  • God will be with you in trouble
  • God will give His angels charge over you
  • God will hear you when you call
  • God will deliver you and cover you
  • God will satisfy you with long life
  • God will show you His salvation
  • If you will simply love and trust Him …

Let me ask you right now:
  1. Do you love Him?
    1. The scriptures tell us that we love Him because He first loved us.
    2. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son and whosoever believes in Him shall never perish but shall have eternal life.
    3. Perhaps that’s the long life King David was referring to in Psalm 91. Only eternal life can fully satisfy the soul of man.
    4. God is willing to show you His salvation right now through Jesus Christ, His Son.
    5. Jesus said:
      1. If any man thirst let him come to Me and drink.”
      2. If any man comes unto Me I will in no wise cast him out.”
      3. If you love Me you will obey Me.”
    6. The first question: Do you love Him this morning?
  2. The second question: Will you trust Him?

God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind

Even on this Memorial Day Eve, while our nation remembers the costs of freedom and values the lives given in sacrifice so that we might in pursuit of the great American dream– let’s also remember the ultimate sacrifice of life wherein Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, freely laid down His life so that we might live forever and embrace God’s great plan throughout eternity.

Whether in this life or in the life to come …

Place your trust in God!

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Shavuot – is a Jewish festival in which the book of Ruth is read and remembered
God wants to speak to some of you tonight.  Let’s open His word to the book of Ruth and glean the truth from these scriptures.
Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
1 Timothy 4:13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.
Let me set the stage for tonight’s reading.  We see a man name Elimelech with his wife Naomi and two sons Mahlon and Kilion leaving Israel due to a drought in the land and settling in Moab.  Moab was a son between Lot and one of his daughters.  Because of that, Moabites were considered unclean and were not to be consorted with, but Naomi’s sons take wives for themselves; Ruth and Orpah.  After some time Elimelech dies, and 10 years later so do both of his sons leaving these three women widows and alone. 
Ruth 1:6-17  Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread. Therefore she went out from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.”
This is an interesting situation to be in.  Without knowing the context one could imagine that Naomi doesn’t want her daughter-in-law’s to come with her or to be blessed.  But understanding the culture at the time is important.  People from Moab were dirt in the eyes of the Israelites.  Because of this, she realized that there was no future for them in Bethlehem and wanted them to at least have a good life with their families.  
So she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10 And they said to her, “Surely we will return with you to your people.”
11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters, go—for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, if I should have a husband tonight and should also bear sons, 13 would you wait for them till they were grown? Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, my daughters; for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me!”
14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
It is here that each of these girls’ greatness is defined.  The word kissed here is the same root word use for the word worship.  It can be related to how some approach God.  They come in every week and kiss God in worship but don’t ever truly commit to clinging to Him as Ruth does in the next few lines. 
15 And she said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said:
“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
17 Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”
This the right heart to have when things are bad.  Ruth shows us how to use the greatness we have for God and not the world. It is by the only thing that God wants; true relationship with Him and fellow believers.  He desires us to seek this above all else.

·         Bitterness can cause us to miss God’s best

The stages taught that when Naomi blessed the two girls the kiss she gave was transference of blessing to them for greatness.  Orpah returns the kiss and leaves to go back into the world, but the blessing of greatness doesn’t leave. It just changes from great for good to great for bad.  We can read historical sources that reveal the rabbinical beliefs regarding these two women.  It is well established that the Jews regard Orpah as the mother of the giants.  It is even mentioned in the Hebraic Bible in 1 Samuel. 
      We all have greatness in us

So we find Ruth in the field of Boaz working to find grain for her and Naomi.  Boaz, being a righteous man, is following the law about not reaping to the edges of his fields so the poor will have some grain.
9 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God
Let’s skip to the end of Ruth and look at Boaz and their interactions as they relate to redemption for the believer today. 
Ruth 3:1 Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you that it may be well with you? 2 Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. 3 Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.”
5 And she said to her, “All that you say to me I will do.”
6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law instructed her. 7 And after Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was cheerful, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came softly, uncovered his feet, and lay down.
8 Now it happened at midnight that the man was startled, and turned himself; and there, a woman was lying at his feet. 9 And he said, “Who are you?”
So she answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing,[a] for you are a close relative.”
10 Then he said, “Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.
God looks us the same way.  Christianity isn’t always the popular choice or the way in which the world can use to get ahead. Boaz understands that this beautiful young woman is virtuous and righteous.  She could have used that to her advantage to entice someone or get something from a man, but instead she submits to Naomi and does what is right and the Jewish custom of redemption calls for her to do… Ask!
Since God had assigned each family of each tribe a section of land, this land was extremely important (and still is) to Israel. In order to make sure it stayed in the family, the kinsman redeemer law was instituted. If a man died and left a widow and no sons, his nearest relative would be given the opportunity to buy his land and marry his widow so that she could have sons to carry on the deceased’s name. This relative would be obligated, at his own expense, to buy back the property and give it back to the relative who had sold it. If the nearest relative refused, then the next closest kin would take on the role of the redeemer.
The kinsman-redeemer couldn’t make the decision to redeem on his own. He had to be asked by the widow to buy back her husband’s land. He must be a blood relative and able/willing to redeem. 
Jesus took on flesh and dwelt among us so He could relate to us.  He is our redemption. 

·         We have to ask to be redeemed

Even with all that Ruth did and learned, from clinging to Naomi to submitting to her wisdom, learning about God, to living in the Promised Land, she would have missed redemption if she had not have asked. 

·         Have you asked?

In closing,
Have you surrendered to God’s Sovereignty? 
Have you looked at what God is doing to and through you in spite of your circumstances?
Is your bitterness causing others to stumble?
Is someone else’s bitterness causing you to only kiss God? 

Have you asked Jesus to redeem you?

Sunday, May 11, 2014



Psalms 113:9 He makes the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise the LORD.

Today’s message goes out to all of you ladies who:
  • loved us for no other reason than you just loved us
  • who took care of us when we were unable to care for ourselves
  • helped us to see ourselves when there was no other light around
  • knew us better than we knew ourselves
  • and who carried us in your heart and guarded us with your prayers

Today’s message goes out to all of you ladies who are our mothers. Whether:
  • Biological Mothers
  • Adoptive Moms
  • Foster Mothers
  • Surrogate Moms
  • Spiritual Mothers – or simply – Mother’s At Large …

First and foremost we want to say
  • Thank You …” Thank you for all you do and for who you are - and
  • Happy Mother’s Day!”

If you have your Bible with you this morning or if you are following along on the big screen, I’ll ask you to go with me to the:
  • Book of Judges
  • Chapter 5 – where we will read a song written by a Old Testament Judge and Prophetess
  • The Prophetess Deborah

The account of Deborah is somewhat unique and holds a distinct place in the Bible, especially in this particular Book of Judges. I expect you’ve noted that Deborah is a woman. What is so unique about Deborah being a woman? Well that in itself is not all that rare seeing that reasonably half or better of the population of the world were women at that time.

It’s not the fact that Deborah is Female that is uncommon, but rather the fact that God chose, and the people accepted a woman, any woman, as a Prophet, much less as the ordained Judge of all Israel. The role of Judge was always before and always afterwards held by a man … usually a very strong, male dominant, type-A kind of guy. Men like:
  • Gideon
  • Shamgar
  • Samson
  • Samuel

These were men of renown … strong, capable leaders … almost all of the Judges were warriors – Shamgar for example killed 600 Philistines with nothing but an ox goad. (A wooden plowman’s tool measuring about 8 feet long with a sharp pointed iron prick on one end used to spur the ox and a flat iron paddle or spade on the other end used to clean the mud from the plow) – These were no ordinary men who were called to be Judges of Israel. These men protected and delivered and sat in ultimate counsel over the Twelve Tribes of Israel, each in their turn, for more than 400 years.

But, amongst these men there was one lone woman … the Prophetess Deborah. God called, anointed and appointed her and the people accepted her and followed her … Deborah is the exception and Deborah is exceptional … God’s choices always are!

So, here we are in Judges 5, it’s 1400 years Before Christ. Joshua is long gone and the Tribes have inherited in the land of Canaan but they have not successfully defeated all of their sworn enemies because they just would not do what God told them to do. It was simple, yet they simply needed help. Over and over again the Children of Israel found themselves in need of real help and real leadership. They just kept going astray.

You can read the account of Deborah and how she counseled, encouraged and led the Children and the Armies of Israel to a great victory over the Canaanites. It is an amazing story of not only the Prophetess Deborah but also of another remarkable woman, Jael who singlehandedly killed the supreme leader of the Canaanite army with a hammer and a tent peg … one of my favorite women in the Bible. I have a granddaughter whose middle name is Jael … You just have to read the story …

Judges 4 gives the account in prose and Judges 5 tells the story in song. Let’s look at Chapter 5 and see what Deborah believes brought the victory.

Judges 5:6 In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied, and the travelers walked through byways.

Even though there were mighty men and mighty women of God …
  • The right ways were abandoned (good & straight paths)
  • People chose a hard, dark and dangerous path of life (byways)

Judges 5:7 Village life ceased …
  • No community
  • No family, friends or social life
  • Everyone afraid or skeptical of everyone else
  • No common bond with others
Judges 5:7 Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, Until I, Deborah, arose, Arose a mother in Israel.

Life was on the downhill until God called a mother to arise and mother Israel. --- What happens when a mother’s job goes undone???

Proverbs 29:15 The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

Some good things might have been happening and people were seeing some victories but by and large, until God caused Deborah to arise as a mother in Israel, things were really going south …

Judges 5:8 They chose new gods; Then there was war in the gates; Not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel.

Can you hear? I believe God is saying that without a mother’s influence:
  • People abandon the right way for the wrong way
  • Family, community and eventually society will cease to have meaning
Where there are no mothers making their voices and their demands heard:
  • Our children will choose new gods
  • Fussing, fighting and all out war will divide our neighborhoods and our own homes
  • And ultimately, people will grow defenseless (this happens to children who are without a mother’s protection and to others when they have no mothers to protect)

Mothers, we need you … Arise … Take your place!

It has been said: “When God wants a job done, a child is born.”

That’s right … however … no child was ever born without a mother and God entrusts all of His children to Mother’s first! (Including His own Son)

We often remember that God gave His only Son … but we must not forget that Mary also gave her firstborn and even Moses’ mother gave her son … However, both Mary and Jochebed raised their sons to do God’s will …

So, Mothers
  • Teach us the right ways of life – not to lie, cheat, steal, loose our tempers, be dishonest; teach us to respect our elders and honor our parents; to keep our commitments and pay our just and honest debts
  • Give us family and give us community relationships – you have the grace for intimacy … the pattern for family is imprinted in your lives
  • Introduce us to God – tell us the stories and let us hear you praying
  • Keep our homes free of fussing and fighting and all out war – make us a peaceful people and teach us to value others, even those who are not like us as well as those who do not like us
  • Arm us against our enemies – teach us how to defend ourselves and how to conquer our enemies … both defense and offense, The Shield of Faith and the Sword of the Spirit – arm us with prayer (Ephesians 6:16-18)

You can do this … perhaps you are the only ones who can do this!!!

God bless you ladies – Thank you … and … “Happy Mother’s Day!”

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

LifeShape Prayer & Discipleship Module 4 – The Future Block 5 – The Devil and Hell

LifeShape Prayer & Discipleship
        Module 4 – The Future
        Block 5 – The Devil and Hell

The Old Testament was originally written in the Hebrew language while the New Testament was primarily written in Greek. A serious study of the scriptures will at some point necessitate a reference be made to the original meaning of some word as it was spoken and meant to be understood in its mother language.

The Bible you know and read is a translation of the best manuscripts available at the time that particular version was translated. As languages evolve with time and words take on different meanings, translations of the scriptures, although closely guarded by both God and man, can offer the comparative reader with shades of meanings and at times a studious challenge to understand the Holy Spirit’s original intent.

Thankfully we have the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth as we read the Word of God. Whether reading the King James Version, the New King James Version, the English Standard Version, the New International Version, the Amplified Bible or the New Living Translation, or one of the many other versions translated into a different language, we can still gain a consistently accurate rendering of the scriptures from simply reading each verse as it fits into context with the one message the Bible is telling.

Anyone who has access to a commonly approved version of either the Old or New Testaments can come to know and be skilled in God’s Word. Although some versions may use one word in a scripture and a different version use another, the choice of those differing words are current day attempts to best convey the truth and the original meaning to its readers.

Tonight we are going to survey the scriptures and discuss both the devil and hell. Some of the verses we will cover may use differing words to describe our topics. Whether your Bible chooses to use the word “hell” or “Hades” or “Gehenna” or “Sheol” or simply, “the Pit” – these are all references to the same place and the same predicament – separation from God in a place of torment after death, reserved to, and awaiting the final judgment of the soul. Hades is a place of thick darkness where the worm never dies and the fire is never quenched. That’s hell …

Jesus gives us a glimpse of both heaven and hell prior to His death, burial and resurrection in the account of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16. A simple reading of this passage reveals that the souls of men are received into either heaven or hell immediately after death and there will be no changing places after that point. Eternal decisions are only made on earth.

Hell is the place you do not want to go. It is real! God would not have crucified His only Son to save you from a place that did not exist!

Hell was not created nor intended to be occupied by the souls of mankind. Eternal torment in darkness forever was created for the devil and his angels. Jesus spoke concerning the final judgment of the souls of man in:

Matthew 25:41  Then He will also say to those on the left hand, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

The devil, satan, that old serpent, the enemy of your soul, is a rebellious, pride-filled fallen angel who was once a trusted servant of God. The devil no longer wanted to serve and support God and decided that he had rather do things his way. The devil sowed discord among the angel servants of God and drew many by deception to follow his mutiny. God cast the devil out of heaven along with those angels who supported the rebellion. This divided heaven and a war has ensued ever since.

As if it was not bad enough to have rebelled against the One who had loved him and cared and provided for him, the devil further brought division to the family of God in the earth. This sneaky serpent began to talk directly to God’s children in the Garden of Eden and succeeded in deceiving Eve. She stopped trusting God and His Word and rather decided to do her own thing and she rebelled. She further divided Adam and others from the loving and caring relationship they could have had with their Father.

God hates rebellion and all rebellion is of the devil. God decided that the penalty for causing this division in His family was eternal damnation in a lake of fire and brimstone that would burn forever and ever. One day the devil and his angels will be cast into that lake that was prepared for them and unfortunately, so will all the souls of mankind who have refused to trust God and accept the forgiveness and salvation that only comes through Jesus the Messiah. Until then the souls of these men wait in hell.

Today the devil is still deceiving people. He hates God and he hates God’s human creation. The greatest deceptions he can master is to lead people to believe there is no God, or no devil, or no hell, or no penalty for sin – especially for the sin of simply doing things your own way – rebellion!

One day there will be a final judgment – we will talk about that in a few weeks – but until the final judgment … there is hell. Hell is a temporary holding place where the lost souls of man and hordes of demons reside awaiting the final judgment. Hell is a place of great torment.

2 Peter 2
4  For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;
5  and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;
6  and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;
7  and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked
8  (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)  — 
then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,

Jesus admonished us:

Matthew 10:28  "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Sad to say, hell has enlarged herself and the pit which has gotten bigger will never be satisfied. It will burn but will never be consumed.

Isaiah 5:14  Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

At the final judgment hell itself will have fulfilled its purpose and it will be cast into the lake of fire forever. That’s what the book of Revelation says:

Revelation 20
13  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

There is “Good News” however! God has not left you without a Savior.

Key Scripture: Revelation 1:18  I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Important Points
1.  There is a devil and he does not like you.
1 Peter 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (deceive & divide)
2.  There is a hell but it was not designed for you.
3.  Upon death, the soul of a person goes immediately to heaven or to hell.
4.  Once in hell, a person cannot get out.
5.  Good News, people don’t have to go to hell!

Supporting Scriptures
        Revelation 12:9&10     Genesis 3:1ff      Matthew 4:1ff
        Matthew 13:39           1 John 3:8         Hebrews 2:4

        Revelation 20:13         Isaiah 14:15       Matthew 16:18

LifeShape Prayer & Discipleship Module 4 - Block 6 The Rapture

LifeShape Prayer & Discipleship
        Module 4 – The Future
        Block 6 – The Rapture

The word “Rapture” is not found in the Bible. However, the concept is clearly taught throughout the scriptures and embraced by Believers in every generation of the Church beginning with the Apostles. Rapture is that future moment when suddenly and without warning, Believers are gathered from the earth to make way for the judgment of God.

The rapture is often spoken of as a “catching away” or a “gathering together” or a “harvest” of the souls of Believers from the earth. The fact that a future rapture of the Church will occur is not the question which most often divides people along doctrinal lines. Rather it is “when” or at which scriptural juncture the rapture will take place that is in dispute.

The intent of this Life Block is to discover the facts and leave the disputes to those who are better given to debate those things which God has evidently hidden in plain view. Let’s stick to the indisputable facts & future:

In some of His last words during the last week of His earthly life, Jesus told His disciples that He was going away but that He would come again for a very specific reason. Jesus clearly and finitely stated what He would do and why He would do it. This is what we will call:

Important Point #1: The Indisputable Promise

John 14
1  Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
2  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

No one disputes the fact that Jesus went away with a purpose and is coming again with a purpose – to gather His followers unto Himself and take them away to the place He has prepared especially for them.

Important Point #2: The Undeniable Expectation

The early Church possessed an undeniable expectation that Jesus would return soon, any day, at any time. Many imagine the reason it seemed easy for those Believers to sell their possessions and give all the proceeds to be distributed was because they expected the imminent return of the Lord and felt they would soon have no need for worldly possessions.

The Apostle Peter even spread a rumor which caused the brethren to believe Jesus would return within the natural lifetime of the Apostle John.

John 21
21  Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, "But Lord, what about this man?"
22  Jesus said to him, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me."
23  Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?"

The Apostle Paul clearly expected to be present and living on earth when the Lord returned. He included himself in that number who would be caught up in the rapture of the Church from the earth.

1 Thessalonians 4:15  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.

Important Point #3: The Irrefutable Confirmation

Acts 1
9  Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
10  And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,
11  who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."

What better confirmation can you get than angels suddenly appearing and repeating the same words Jesus had spoken to you just a few days earlier!

Important Point #4: The Unquestionable Explanation

How is the rapture going to happen? We have been given the details …

1 Thessalonians 5
1  But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.
2  For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.

1 Corinthians 15
51  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

1 Thessalonians 4
16  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.
17  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.
18  Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Important Point #5: The Venerable Interpretations

There are so many diverse and yet well respected interpretations of scripture concerning the timing of the rapture. Some believe in a:

·        Pre-Tribulation Rapture
o   Either for all Saints
o   Or only for a select few saints deemed worthy, holy and pure
§  The Bride verses The Saved
·        Mid-Tribulation Rapture
o   3 ½ years after a peace treaty is offered to Israel
o   Just before the great tribulation period
o   Opening the way for the anti-christ to be revealed
·        Pre-Wrath Rapture
o   Saints will be kept from the tribulation which shall come upon all the earth
·        Post-Tribulation Gathering
o   Some believe the gathering will be on the earth
o   Others believe it will be in heaven

I believe Jesus is coming sooner rather than later and I hope it is tonight. As well, I believe He is coming to get me in my lifetime. Will it be pre-trib, mid-trib or post-trib? I don’t know! I am what many people before me have called a pan-trib kind of guy. I believe Jesus is coming and when He does, it will all pan out. Until then, all we can do is work and wait.

James 5
7  Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.
8  You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Important Point #6: The Unquenchable Anticipation

There is a longing for to be with Christ that nothing else can satisfy …

Revelation 22
17  And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
20   He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

21  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.