Sunday, October 28, 2012

I Will Cause It To Rain

"For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made."
Genesis 7:4 NKJV

Guess who controls the weather? It doesn't “just happen”, as many might believe, but is a process put in place by God and obviously by His own words does as it is told by Him. There are many examples in the word where we are shown that God controls not only the weather, but all of creation, and that it takes but a word to cause this earth to do as He commands.

It appears I left New York yesterday just in the nick of time, as they are bracing for the arrival of a storm many have described as being of “biblical” proportions. I have read many commentaries in the past couple of days where the subject of the timing of this storm has been discussed in light of the coming election and also the approaching anniversary of Noah's flood.

Whatever your thoughts on this, I believe it is safe to assume that most, if not all of us as believers will acknowledge the fact that God is in control. I will let others decide for themselves if God is trying to send a message, but one thing is very clear and that is that a time of judgment on the entire earth is rapidly approaching.

Below is a link I wanted to share with you today about that coming time in the hope that you will find it profitable as I sit here and try to recover from flying clear across the country.

You may also find the following article and the events it details rather interesting if you believe as I that an attack on Dimona is very likely to be the event which results in the fulfilment of the Isaiah 17 prophecy.

Keep watching.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Never Forget the Gospel

I am gone this week visiting my daughter and son in law who have presented my wife and I with our first grandchild.  So I thought I would leave you with a link to something that it always close to my heart, which concerns the importance of the gospel of Christ.  Something I fear is steadily being pushed to the back, as it were, in the minds of believers today.  Enjoy.

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Encourage the Discouraged

I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God.                                                                                                                                 Psalms 69:3 NKJV

How do you cope with waiting? We live in a world that embraces and often demands instant gratification, so it comes as no surprise that even believers have difficulty waiting. Yet when we study the scriptures, a reoccurring theme from God is often our need to wait upon Him! Obviously God in His wisdom has decided there are lessons to be learned from waiting, and I'm sure most of us have cried out much as David did because we are weary from waiting. But are we alone in this? Look at what Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans.

For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only [that], but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.                                                                    Romans 8:22-23 NKJV

Why does the entire creation groan? No doubt because of the changes brought about by the fall in Genesis where even the shape of this world was altered by the introduction of sin. Notice that Paul is telling us here that both nature and man are waiting for the exact same event; the return of Christ! And the reason we groan? We as believers know what we will receive when Christ calls us home to be with Him forever. The anticipation of leaving this earth grows every day as we watch the events around us which give evidence that the world is, like in Noah's day, moving farther away from God rather than towards Him.

I have noticed lately that many believers are becoming weary from waiting for the return of the Lord for His church. Although we as believers know without a doubt that what we are seeing today are the labor pains leading up to our Lord's return, it is still difficult to watch what is occurring all around us, and patiently wait for His return. Is it no wonder we find it difficult to wait upon the Lord? We watch as our nation experiences anger, protest, and even violence. Yet that it what is expected of us as believers, so I think it important that we understand what God wants from us as He asks us to wait for His return.

Let us hold fast the confession of [our] hope without wavering, for He who promised [is] faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as [is] the manner of some, but exhorting [one another], and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:23-25 NKJV

I find myself continuously returning to this passage whenever I consider the nearness of Christ's return because it specifically tells us what is expected of us as we “see the day approaching”. Paul's message to us here is actually a very simple one, but also a very important one. The first thing he does is encourage us by reminding us of the fact of God's faithfullness. God has promised that He will deliver us from this world and He will be faithful to do exactly that. The second thing Paul does is tell us to do is pass this encouragement along to others who believe.

As I thought about this passage one of the ideas that came to mind was that discouragement means our focus is inward. We get discouraged because our concern is about what we have yet to receive, impatience that we are being asked to wait, and probably a little doubt about the validity of the promise. I think that is why Paul's first advice to us concerns God's faithfulness. We often need to be reminded that God is always faithful to deliver on His promises. It's never a question of “if”, but of “when”.

He who calls you [is] faithful, who also will do [it].
1 Thessalonians 5:24 NKJV

Of course, if we stop looking in and start looking out, we then see that there are others who will benefit from the encouragement we can give by sharing the message of God's faithfulness. How often have we thought that we were alone in being discouraged when in fact there are so many others within the body that deal with the same problems we do. Becoming discouraged while being made to wait is something we have all felt at one time or another, and what better way to cope than to get together with other believers who can empathize and encourage? Sharing the encouragement of God's faithfulness to others in the body is Paul's advice to us especially at this time.

and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” I think that this phrase is also Paul's way of saying that the closer we get to the rapture of the church, the more the need for encouragement. I read more and more every day of those in the body who are going through hard times and facing attacks from the enemy and are in desperate need of encouragement. I have no doubt that Noah and his family felt their share of persecution in the time leading up to the flood, and how difficult it must have been to not get discouraged as they waited for the Lord. Yet I believe the key once again is to look forward to the promise we have from God with the knowledge He is faithful to do as He has promised.

  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory,
2 Corinthians 4:17 NKJV

The more we must endure down here increases the joy we will find when we finally experience the glory of life with God in the place He has prepared for us. The longer the wait, the stronger the anticipation and the greater the appreciation. We know what is expected of us here on this earth, and it should come as no surprise that the opportunities to share our faith will increase dramatically as the end draws near. In a way, you could say this is our time to shine, and God has promised to give us the strength necessary to succeed.

For the LORD [is] good; His mercy [is] everlasting, And His truth [endures] to all generations.
Psalms 100:5 NKJV

 Are you discouraged today? Does it seem like what we are waiting for will never get here? Let me encourage you by reminding you that our hope is in the Lord. He is always faithful to do as He has said. God has never failed to fulfil a promise, and of course He never will. Take the time we have left by sharing this promise with others and encourage them to receive the gift of eternal life if they have not already done so. 

At times, waiting can be agony. I won't deny that and neither will you. It's easy to become discouraged when we are asked to wait when our expectations are so high. How long? I have no idea, but it certainly doesn't look like it will be much longer until the labour pains will be over and we will be delivered to glory with Him, and the world to it's tribulation. There are reasons for making us wait, and it goes without saying that every day the Church remains is another day that we can share the promise of salvation that is available because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Look to God for strength, and be busy making the most of the opportunities we have in the short time we have left.

Keep watching.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Invitation

Then the LORD said to Noah, "Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen [that] you [are] righteous before Me in this generation.
Genesis 7:1 NKJV

I am often left feeling somewhat embarrassed, if not a little dense, when I study a portion of scripture I have studied before and find there is so much that I missed the first time I read and studied it. Today is a perfect example of that and I want to take a little time and share with you what God showed me about this passage from Genesis, and the account of the flood of Noah.

We talked last week about the Days of Noah, and Jesus' reference to the rapture in the context of it being similar in many ways. As I read the story again God brought to mind something I had not noticed before, which if you think about it, should be very obvious at first glance. What is that? Well, until this last week I have always been under the impression, and some translations of the Bible state, that God told Noah to enter into the Ark. Yet if we look at this verse from Genesis we plainly see that God said “come”.

Now as I thought this through several things became rather logical to me which totally changed how I look at this account. First of all this is obviously an “invitation” and not a “command”. God never forced Noah into the Ark, rather He simply invited him to enter and it was up to Noah and his family to choose to do so. Just as no one is forced to choose to accept the gift of salvation offered by the sacrifice of God's Son for our sins, God never forced Noah and his family to accept the deliverance from the coming judgment God had planned for a sinful world.

Now if you follow that train of thought, the next thing that came to my mind was the invitation itself and the use of the phrase “come into”. Why? Well, think about the last time you used the phrase “come in” to someone else, and then tell me where you were? Inside right? So where was God when He invited Noah to come in? If you think about it that way, it's not only logical, but it makes perfect sense that God was inside the Ark when He made the invitation. I also can't help but wonder what Noah's reaction was when he heard God's voice come out from inside the Ark when he probably thought it was empty!

Lastly I began thinking about the invitation itself; “come”. When Jesus was teaching about the rapture and referenced the days of Noah, I wondered just how many “similarities” there might be? The most obvious to me was the fact that if you adopt the pre-tribulation view of the rapture, the Church will be taken into Heaven before that time of judgment begins. It also follows that Jesus will be giving the invitation to come to join Him in Heaven where He already is, just like God inviting Noah into the Ark.  Jesus also taught that salvation begins with a response to His invitation to accept the sacrifice He made for us by His death and resurrection. Quite often as well, Jesus used the word “come” as His invitation to become believers.

"Come to Me, all [you] who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28 NKJV

Then He said to [them] all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
Luke 9:23 NKJV

So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
Luke 18:22 NKJV

However, there is one more thing that I found very interesting as I was following the “invitation to come” in the life of Jesus. It is found in this passage in John.

On the last day, that great [day] of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
John 7:37 NKJV

Now by itself, you might see this as just another of Jesus' invitations to come, but the thing that jumped out at me was not the invitation, but the time that it was given. You see, we are told that Jesus gave this particular invitation to come at the last day of the feast. Considering as I do that everything we are told in scripture is there for a reason, it follows that God wants us to know exactly when this invitation was given. So if we look back at the beginning of the chapter we can find which feast was being celebrated when Jesus said these words.

Now the Jews' Feast of Tabernacles was at hand.
John 7:2 NKJV

Now let's consider the following points;

Jesus told us that the rapture of the Church would be “like the days of Noah”. In the Days of Noah, God invited Noah and his family to “come in” to the Ark and escape the coming judgment. Jesus invited all to “come to Me” in order to escape God's future judgment on an unbelieving world, which many believe could happen at any moment. God made a point to tell us this occurred on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles.

Last week we discussed the fact that the anniversary of the flood of Noah is less than a month away, and suggested that since God seems to repeat events on the same days that they occurred in the past, it seems possible that the future Tribulation could begin on the same day that God's past judgment of the world in Noah's day began. If so, then it's a given that the rapture of the Church, our “invitation” to come in, would occur before that date. Could the invitation by Jesus on the last day of Tabernacles be a clue as to when the Church might hear the invitation to come to the wedding?  There has been a lot of speculation lately that the rapture of the Church will happen on the last day of Tabernacles, and if you study the subject you would have to agree there are many logical reasons why that might occur.

If so, it might be wise for us to be aware of when the Feast of Tabernacles is celebrated and most of all when it ends. So in case you were wondering, depending on which calendar you wish to use (civil or lunar), this year's Feast of Tabernacles ends today or tomorrow. There has been a lot of very good scholarship done on the Feast of Tabernacles and how it might relate to the rapture of the Church, and I believe much of it is very accurate and worthy of study. Yet even though we as a body are anxious to hear that call, we should never forget that our purpose here is to share the “invitation to come” with those who may not have yet heard.

If you are reading this and have never made the decision to accept Jesus Christ into your heart and accept the free gift of eternal life He has offered you, I urge you to do so right now. You can do that by praying this prayer and accepting the gift of eternal life God has offered you by the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.

Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and I believe You died for my sins. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and life to you. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you for saving me. Amen.

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