Why Are You Still Here?

In the span of just a few days I heard expressed the thought that the reason we, as believers, are still here in this world now is because God is not finished with us (each of us as an individual), and that He still has some work for us to do here for His purpose, to His Glory. It was stated by two different people in two different contexts, and not within the hearing of each other. Looked at with slightly different perspectives, but the same essential thought, that if there wasn’t something that God had for us to do here in this life, He would have taken us home to Him already.

For the believer in Jesus Christ, having this attitude is a faithful and obedient way to live. As the Apostle Paul describes himself in the opening of his epistles, we, like him, are bondservants of Jesus Christ. The Greek word used here, doulos, has the meaning of slave or servant, on either an involuntary or voluntary basis.  But in the context of Paul’s self-description (or those of Peter in 2 Peter or Jude in his epistle), one need use it in the context of voluntary servitude; for these are men who came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ and sought to serve Him, even unto death. And as privileged, by the grace of God, as we are through our faith in Christ to be in a place to serve Him, I believe any disciple of Jesus should view it in the voluntary sense of service to the Lord.

And now to the heart of the matter; I chose the word disciple instead of believer because I feel that if you are a true bondservant to Christ, you are a disciple. As a disciple you are a faithful follower of the Risen Lord, and not just simply a believer who has trusted and believed in Him as the only way to one’s salvation. As disciples, we should live our lives as if the Lord has work for us to do, living as if there is something He would have us do today for the Glory of His Name and the Growth of His Kingdom. If not, there truly is no earthly purpose to our lives. If His plans and purposes for us are complete, (or if we no longer actively serve the Lord; for we must remember we still have a sinful nature which rebels against Him at times), we might as well be called home to be with Jesus. He is a loving God, He wants us with Him for eternity, so why not start that life today?

But He has not called us yet, and we are still here. So let us serve the Lord. We may wish to be with Him (nothing wrong with that), but we should want to do His bidding first. As Paul noted in Philippians:

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again. – Philippians 1:21-26

Paul even goes on in Philippians 1 to talk about letting one’s conduct be worthy of the Gospel of Christ; so Paul is looking for service to the Lord in a way that is honoring to the Lord. Good words to follow for the true disciple of Jesus.

Scripture has more guidance for us:

…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. – Philippians 1:6

The Lord is doing a work in each of us, and is doing a work through each of us. If you are still here among us there’s something God has for you to do, and it may be something that someone, somewhere needs to experience in their life.

In our work for Christ we each have a race to run.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2

Running with endurance while looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher (italics mine) of our faith. We are to run until He decides our race has finished and His Will has been done. This is why we are still here, Jesus hasn’t decided our particular race is over. It is a race which involves obedience to Him, bringing glory to the Father, and growing the Kingdom by reaching others with the love of Christ and the good news of His Gospel.

You are still here and I am still here. Our Lord has not yet stepped out on the clouds to call His Bride up to meet Him, so for now we all remain here. There is something for each of us to do for the Lord today. We need do it with the love of Christ; not hating others (He didn’t hate anyone although He took false teachers and religious leaders to task), not complaining about life (He didn’t do that either, instead He encouraged others to live godly and obedient lives), and with a lot of prayer, even for those who are doing evil (He did a lot of that type of praying).

We remain, to proclaim Christ and speak His Gospel into a world that desperately needs it.

Let’s get to it and be about our Father’s business.

Why President Obama Won’t Say Islamic Terrorists

No one doubts that Pres. Obama knows that most of the terrorist attacks in the world are caused by Islamic terrorists; that Christians and others are being persecuted, enslaved, robbed, shot, burned, beheaded, buried alive and driven out of their homes all over the Middle East by Islamic terrorists.

Pres. Obama is fully aware that women are second class citizens in Muslim countries; that CAIR is a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood; that the terrorist group Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood; that the Muslim Brotherhood has often aligned itself with Al Qaeda, other Islamic terrorist organizations and more. Pres. Obama can’t help but know these things.

He also most certainly knows that he has two dozen or more Muslim Brotherhood operatives (called terrorists in Egypt) in his administration; that he has promoted some of these operatives/terrorists to high positions in his administration; that his CIA Director is a Muslim; that Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff was the daughter and sister of Muslim Brotherhood leaders and more.

These things have been reported many times but I mention them here because they could have a bearing on why Pres. Obama won’t say, “Islamic terrorists.” It could be that he won’t say it because he has given Muslim Brotherhood members/terrorists the keys to the White House.

It was recently reported that Pres. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, said, “ISIS and all other Islamic extremists descended from the Muslim Brotherhood.” When he was asked which terrorist group is the greatest threat, ISIS or the Muslim Brotherhood, he replied that they are essentially the same because “they share the same ideology.” Pres. el-Sisi went on to say that all of the terrorist groups in existence today (including ISIS) have their beginnings in the Muslim Brotherhood.

Along these same lines, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the United Nations where he said that ISIS and Hamas (an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood) are “branches of the same poisonous tree.” He said they share the “same fanatical creed.” This confirms what Pres. el-Sisi said: ISIS and Hamas are offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood and the theology of all three groups is the same.

Furthermore, on Feb. 16, 2015, it was reported that retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Tom McInerney “is mystified by the lengths to which the administration goes to avoid references to radical Islam.” This famous high-ranking General reportedly said, “I don’t know. Maybe we have some Islamists embedded in the White House.”

Then on Feb. 17, 2015, K. T. McFarland, a highly respected Fox News contributor and former official in Pres. Reagan’s Administration, said the Muslim Brotherhood is “the mother ship of radical Islam.” She added that “Pres. Obama welcomes them into the White House.”

Based on these and many other facts, I believe the Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic terrorist organization that is just as guilty as ISIS. What would happen if U.S. citizens suddenly realized that Islamic terrorists, or Islamic State sympathizers have offices at the White House where they influence our foreign policy, and influence Pres. Obama who is the commander of America’s military, etc.?

The Muslim Brotherhood has to deceive people into thinking that there is a difference between Islam and Islamic terrorism. Why would the Muslim Brotherhood terrorists in the White House want Pres. Obama to speak against Islamic terrorists when they are the beginning of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hamas and more? He won’t say Islamic terrorists because he is trying to protect his cronies in the White House. They believe the beheadings, burnings, slavery, etc. are their responsibility to Allah and not terrorist attacks.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com

A Life of Unchanging Joy

Excerpted from “Grace and Power” – W. H. Griffith Thomas (1916)

“In Your name they rejoice all day long” (Ps. 89:16). We must not forget, though it is often repeated in our ears, that there is a vast difference between joy and happiness. Happiness depends upon what happens, upon circumstance, the “hap” of life. Joy is independent of circumstances and is connected with our relationship to God. Happiness is very much like the surface of the sea, sometimes turbulent, at other times calm; joy is like the bed of the ocean, which is untouched by anything on the surface. Joy, referring to our relationship to God, is threefold. There is joy of retrospect, as we look back at the past; there is joy of aspect, as we look around on the present; there is joy of prospect, as we look forward to the future. There is the joy of memory, the joy of love, and the joy of hope. There is the joy of the peaceful conscience, the joy of the grateful heart, the joy of the teachable mind, the joy of the trustful soul, the joy of the adoring spirit, the joy of the obedient life, and the joy of the glowing hope.

“In Your name they rejoice.” That is where we get our joy – “in Your name,” in the revelation of God. The name of God is all that is known of Him. Wherever the word name occurs, it never reveals a mere title or epithet but a character, the revealed character of God. In proportion as we get to know this “name” and what it means in all the fullness, we shall have joy, which will thus depend not upon ourselves but upon God.

“In Your name they rejoice all day long-“ in other words, under all circumstances. That is what Paul meant when he said, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4). He did not say, “Be happy in the Lord always.” He knew very well it was impossible. We cannot be happy always. If we have anything troublesome in our circumstances, if we have any bodily pain, if we have any mental or social anxiety, we cannot possibly be happy. The apostle Paul was not very happy when he called himself sorrowful, but he said, “Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Cor. 6:10). While we cannot be happy always, we can rejoice always, because we rejoice in the Lord always. Our joy is independent of happiness, of what happens, it is associated with God.

This, too, is a need of the Christian life, one that ought to be considered again and again, the need of unchanging joy. If in our daily life we do not realize what this means, we are lacking in one of the essential features of biblical Christianity.

Words of Grace for Strength

If there is anything we forget to do as members of the body of Christ, it is to be joyous in all things. We are often so caught up in trying to stay happy or become happy again that we do not have the time nor inclination to be joyous. Yet it is to joy that we are called, no matter the circumstances of life. In fact, we are called to joy especially if the circumstances of life are working against our happiness.  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials – James 1:2. It is because of what we have in Christ that we can call up unlimited reservoirs of joy, for what we have in Him, who we are in Him and where will one day be with Him overcomes the present troubles of this world. There is joy in knowing we can show the love of Christ, and our faith in Christ to others during times of trials and trouble. To Him be all the glory, and we have joy in knowing Him and saying this.

But to be joyous requires a focus on Jesus, or the unhappy circumstances of this world will sweep you away. It is no wonder Paul calls himself sorrowful in 2 Corinthians 6:10. Just read of his trials in the passage in 2 Corinthians 11:22-33 to see what he had to be sorrowful about. Yet he endured, because he had joy in the Lord. Paul finished his race running as to win; he fought the good fight because he was focused on Jesus, the source of his strength and the reason for his joy. Too often today people in the Church forget the joy (which is eternal) because they are chasing the happiness (which may only be in the here and now). There will be pain, suffering, hatred and persecution of believers by an angry and unbelieving world. Jesus told us so. And that is nothing to be happy about, so isn’t it better to focus on the joy and let the happiness come as it may (as He wills)? The circumstances of happiness can shift from moment to moment, but our joy in the Lord is unchanging if we just embrace it.

A fool can be happy (and fools often are) without realizing the feeling can be momentary and fleeting. We can know the rock solid foundation of Jesus Christ on which we can build in joy, knowing the lasting nature of that which the Lord blesses and accepts as His own. Our joy is knowing that through the merits of Christ we are clasped firmly in His and the Father’s hands, and nothing can pry us from that for all eternity. Nothing can change that, so our joy is unchanging. Come what may in this world, we will stand in His eternal presence one day for ever. The song is called “Joy to the World” but the joy is only in those who know the risen Christ and have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. Joy everlasting, joy unchanging.

Are you considering it all joy today?

 

You Are Worthless

So am I. All of us are worthless in and of ourselves, for by our sin nature we fall short of God’s holy standards and He cannot have us in His presence. It is only through Christ and in Christ as the perfect sacrifice that allows into God’s presence for eternity. The only things of lasting value are those the Lord deems so, and only in Christ do any of us have any value, any worth in the eyes of God.

So we are all worthless when taken into account on our own account. Now that may sound like horrible news, but it is actually incredibly good news. Our worth, our sustaining, eternal worth anchored in Christ and not in ourselves, allows us not to worry about losing our worth through anything we do (or fail to do). Our talents, skills and abilities (which by the way are God-given) are not being used of themselves to measure our worth, our standing with God. Measured in Christ alone and found worthy of eternal redemption and presence with the Lord. Yes, we need use those God-given gifts of talent, skill and ability in ways that are God honoring and seek to grow His Kingdom, but they will not save us, being designed to allow us to work for Him to His glory.

The reason so many rage against the name of Jesus is self-pride (one of the truly great worthless attributes of sinful humanity). To be expected to accept one’s own worthlessness and complete dependence on Jesus grates against the self-pride and self-will of the sinner, which means of all of us (for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God – Romans 3:23). Believe in God’s existence, that’s OK for many, the concept of a supreme being (which many in their sin make and model into something they can tolerate and live with and under) is fine. But to accept Jesus as God Himself, and to acknowledge one’s sin nature and helplessness, one’s worthlessness and need for Jesus as the only means of salvation really sets a lot of people off. It makes Jesus offensive in their eyes, it makes Him intolerant and exclusionary. They choose to ignore just how inclusive Jesus is. Yes, He is the only way (John 14:6), but He is available to any and all who seek Him (Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28). But the rage stoked by sinful self-pride that can fester in all of us is what requires that the Holy Spirit draw us to Christ (because we are truly worthless and incapable of turning to Him otherwise; the dead can do no deeds to bring them to the land of the living).

It is so easy to get, just believe in Jesus (faith and trust) and accept the gift of eternal life freely offered. But look around the world today (and I do believe it has been true for just about any day since Jesus offered Himself in sacrifice for our sins) and see how few are willing to reach out and grasp what is freely given. In this case, we shouldn’t feel that something freely given is worth what we paid for it, because God paid a tremendous price for that free gift. The Son freely offered His life, innocent yet willing to bear all sin. The Father sent His Only Son to die and left Him alone on the Cross to be crushed by the weight of the world’s son. A tremendous price paid, so dear that only God Himself could bear the cost, which He counted and willingly paid.

The God of infinite worth is Holy and Just and is Merciful and Gracious. He paid the price for all of us worthless beings who only have to reach out and trust in faith in Him. For that is how much God so loved the world (John 3:16). Only a truly loving and gracious God could cherish the worthless and would seek to redeem them at such a cost.

Israel and Islam: 2 Lost Nations

You cannot be almost saved – you are either trusting in faith that Jesus Christ is your Savior and the only way to eternal salvation or you are not. As of today, both the nation of Israel and the nation of Islam are lost. For the most part the members of both of those nations do not having a saving faith in Jesus Christ and most certainly, their leaders do not profess to have one, nor do they encourage those under their leadership to do so. Either you are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ or you are not.  To be fair, I feel that America is pretty much a lost nation too. We do not have leaders that profess a saving faith in Christ nor encourage others to come to Him, and it looks like each day that there are less and less of the people following hard after the Lord. Almost saved doesn’t work, as a business colleague of mine once said “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades”.

We need remember that sin is sin and a holy God cannot tolerate or be in the presence of sin. All of us have and continue to sin, even those of us who have turned to Christ in trust and faith as Savior.

As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one – Romans 3:10

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God – Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord – Romans 6:23

But those who have Christ as Savior are in Christ and of Christ, and the Father sees not us but Christ in us as a result.

Now there are vast differences between Israel and Islam but one thing they have in common today is their desperate need for Jesus. However, the nation of Israel has the covenantal promises of God that He will fulfill one day, Islam does not. The nation of Israel are His chosen people, those of Islam are not. A major purpose of the Tribulation period detailed in the Book of Revelation is about God bringing judgment and ultimately redemption upon the nation of Israel. It is a program for Israel not Islam. Romans 11:25-27 talks of the partial hardening of Israel (which they are under today, living in defiance of God and rejection of the Messiah) and the fact that all Israel will be saved. It does not mean that every Jewish person who has ever lived will be saved. It does not even mean all Jews entering the Tribulation will be saved, for as Zechariah 13:8-9 mentions, a significant portion of Israel will not. There will be Old Testament Jewish saints, there will be New Testament Christians who were of Jewish heritage who came to a saving faith and became members of His Church. There will be Tribulation saints of Jewish roots that come to accept Messiah during the Tribulation through the efforts of the 144,000 sealed for the Lord and delivered through the wrath of that judgment. But that will not be every Jew who has ever existed. There are Jews dying every day who do not know Jesus and are lost, just as there are lost dying from every tribe and nation in the world daily. None of us are horseshoes or hand grenades but living, breathing and eventually dying people, all of whom need Jesus. Close is just not good enough.

God promised to bless or curse those who blessed or cursed Abraham and his descendants when giving the unconditional covenant of land, seed and blessing in Genesis 12. I know of no better to bless someone who doesn’t know Christ than to pray for their salvation, pray for it to happen this very day. The promise is unconditional to the nation of Israel (and hence a remnant of Israel is always preserved by the Lord), but to the individual within the nation, it is conditional based upon obedience. Everyone must accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth – 1 Timothy 2:3-4

We should seek to stand by Israel, but remember who they are (God’s chosen people), what they are (living in defiance to their Messiah today) and who ultimately will deal with them (God).  Remember that, and spend more time praying for their salvation than worrying about the state of the world. The current state is bad and getting worse, and according to the Bible it will get a lot worse before it gets better. But remember, God has never said, and never will say, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming!” Seek to support Israel, encourage our leaders to be faithful allies, but by all means pray for their salvation.

Those living in defiance of God are in sin, it doesn’t matter if they are of Israel or Islam or anywhere else. To be alive today and not have Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is living in sin and living lost, possibly for eternity. Lost, whether it be at a national level or the hardened heart of an individual. Lost, as a heart either hardened by one’s own sin activity or hardened because God has had enough and hardened the heart Himself. And in that is the urgency of reaching someone with the Gospel, the possible loss for eternity of one who could leave this earth today with a heart hardened and unaccepting of Jesus as Lord and Savior. For the individual dying today lost to Christ, it matters not one whit if the Rapture was to happen tomorrow, next month or in a thousand years. Yes, Jesus is coming soon, but in the here and now lost is lost, with no second chances offered to any after death.

I think it is an imperative of the Church to pray for all the lost, whether they be in Israel, in Islam or anywhere else in the world. We called to love as Christ loved, and to rejoice in each and every person who comes to a saving faith in Christ, no matter when in their life, no matter what they may have done in their lives up to the point they accept Jesus as Savior. That is where we should be as a Church and what we should be doing until His Soon Return for us.

In Christ There Is No Wrath

Our Excerpt today is from a paper authored by Dr. Mal Couch which was presented to the Pre-Trib Research Study Group at its annual conference a few years ago. The paper is titled: “Major Rapture Terms and Passages” and is focused on the major New Testament terms and passages that support the Pre-Tribulational Rapture of the Church. For our purposes today we wish to focus on one passage from this work which emphasizes the fact that the Church, which is the Bride of Christ, will not experience the Wrath of the Tribulation because of the Rapture.

Our excerpt begins:

The rapture has to do with the dispensation of the church or those “in Christ.” The church age is a unique period with special promises. Those with Him now by faith will not face the coming wrath (1 Thess. 5:9). There was nothing like the rapture for Old Testament saints, and there will be nothing similar for Tribulation believers.

Most of the rapture passages mention the believer’s relationship to Jesus. Paul speaks of “our Lord Jesus at His coming” (1 Thess. 2:19) and of the dead as those “who have fallen asleep in Jesus” (4:14), who are now called “the dead in Christ” and who will rise first (4:17). The reason for the rapture, Paul says, is so we might escape the coming wrath and obtain salvation “through our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:9). Awake or asleep we will live together “with Him” (5:10). The apostle continues to punctuate this relationship with our Redeemer when he reminds the confused Thessalonians of this “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him” (2 Thess. 2:1).

In Paul’s great resurrection and rapture section, 1 Corinthians 15:12-28, both events are tightly tied to our spiritual position in Christ. “In Christ all shall be made alive,” he says (15:21). Jesus is the first fruits of the resurrection and then those who are Christ’s “at His coming” (15:23). And following the apostle’s great description of our “change” at the rapture and the resurrection of the dead, he concludes with this triumphant statement, “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory because of our Lord Jesus Christ” (15:57). In Titus, Paul calls the Lord “our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2:13). He “gave Himself for us,” and thus redeems and purifies “a people for His own possession” (2:14).

These statements are important because they reveal the unique position the church now has with its Savior that spares it from the coming wrath.

Words of Grace for Strength

Today the subject of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture of the church has come under fire from many directions. There are now those who deny the Rapture altogether, those who support a Post-Trib Rapture, a Mid-Trib Rapture, and the latest variation is a teaching suggesting a Pre-Wrath Rapture in which the church will endure Satan’s wrath but not the Wrath of God.

We agree that the purpose for the Rapture is to keep the Church from the Wrath of God. Paul tells us this very thing in 1 Thessalonians 5:9; “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” however a distinction between the wrath of Satan and the Wrath of God during the Tribulation is tenuous at best. A true understanding of the Tribulation period places every event of that time in the context of God’s purposes and God’s Wrath. Satan has no power except that granted by God. Therefore, any wrath meted out by Satan is in fact God’s as He accomplishes His purposes during the Tribulation.

What is God’s purpose for the time of Tribulation as He inflicts His Wrath upon the world? We believe there are four things He intends to accomplish.

First, Satan will be given every opportunity, during the Tribulation, to make his rebellion succeed only to fail. Revelation 19 describes the defeat of Satan’s army and the destruction of the Beast (Antichrist) and his false prophet, and chapter 20 describes Satan being bound and cast into the pit. Thus, God will use Satan to accomplish His own purposes. The depravity  and sin nature of man will be seen through these last rebellious events, leaving no doubt that without the redemptive blessings through Christ, all would be lost for no man resists sin without salvation through Jesus.

The second purpose of God during the Tribulation is to bring Israel into a position of obedience and redemption. The scriptures teach us that God will use this time to bring His chosen people to Faith in Jesus as their Messiah. God will use Satan, the Beast (Antichrist) and the wicked gentile nations to persecute and punish Israel for her unfaithfulness to God. Zechariah prophesied that during this time two-thirds of Israel will be destroyed; ‘“And it shall come to pass in all the land,” Says the LORD, “That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,”’ (Zechariah 13:8) but one-third will declare; “The Lord is my God” (Zechariah 13:9). With this having been accomplished the prophecy will be fulfilled; ‘“And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “THE DELIVERER WILL COME OUT OF ZION, AND HE WILL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB; FOR THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.” (Romans 11:26&27) Notice when Paul says “all Israel will be saved” he is speaking of the believing remnant of one-third because the Scripture in Zechariah 3:8 has already acknowledged the two-thirds which are cut off and die. Israel, coming to terms with Jesus as Messiah, and as a result, coming to Messiah, brings the covenantal promises of God to the nation of Israel to their ultimate fulfillment.

The third purpose we see God accomplishing during the Tribulation is to punish the world and the gentile nations for their sins against God and His chosen people Israel. (Deuteronomy 30:7; Isaiah 13:9; Isaiah 24:19&20) This purpose is retribution for the unrepentant during this time, and has nothing to do with the Church. And we of the Church need to see our blessed position in Christ and give praise that we are kept from enduring this purpose of God in these end times events.

The fourth purpose of God during this time is to evangelize the world. This is prophesied by Jesus Himself in Matthew 24:14; “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” We see the fulfillment of this in Revelation 7:1-17 through the preaching of the 144,000 Jews, the Two Witnesses and Angels. We see occurring during these most terrible of times the very thing we ourselves are now commanded to do, during our daily times in our daily lives.

So, in conclusion, we do not find evidence of the Church in any of these events during the Tribulation. Let us give one last common sense example. Since the Church is the bride of Christ, does it not make sense that Christ would protect His Bride from God’s Wrath? Realistically, what groom would beat his prospective bride before their wedding? It is our hope that this common sense evidence borne out by the Scripture should be enough to put this subject to rest. The Rapture is Pre-Tribulational… and imminent. Jesus is coming soon!

EvenSoCome

The Word of God Tenderizes and Toughens

Scriptures, the very Word of God contained within the Bible, are an amazing thing, inspired by God; written by men under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As such, the Holy Scriptures are like no other written word, even commentaries and other writings of godly men and women over the ages. For only the Scriptures were God-breathed. No matter what you think of other writings, no matter what impact they may have had on your life, or the lives of people you know, nothing has the impact of the words contained in the Bible. I would argue that those other books may be excellent, but are as effective and life changing due to the counsel, guidance, wisdom and inspiration those writers pulled out of study of the Word of God. But that is not I would have us focus on today. What I find as one of the truly amazing things about the Bible is how the Word of God can change us. I find it can tenderize us while at the same time it can toughen us.

The tenderizing effects of the Word of God:

Deep and thoughtful study and reading of the Bible, and meditation on the Word of God can tenderize your heart for the things of the Lord:

Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh – Ezekiel 11:19

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart – 1 Peter 1:22

The Word of God can tenderize our hearts by turning them to the things that the Lord loves, turning them to consider doing things that are within the Lord’s will for our lives. The Word of God can make us see the world as Christ sees it, and make us want to be more Christ-like in our approach to the world. His Word can make our hearts break for those who do not know the Lord, those who are living in defiance to the Lord, either willfully or oblivious to His purposes and desires. A heart which is broken for the lost is a heart tender in the Lord and in His Word. Someone who is in the Word regularly, studying it, wrestling to understand it and apply it in their life will have a heart tenderized to the deep things of God, with a desire that mirrors His, concerned for the world and for His children within it.

The toughening effects of the Word of God:

While the Word is tenderizing the heart of those who immersed in it, a toughening of that heart is occurring at the same time:

Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. – Hebrews 13:9

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.  And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. – 1 John 3:16-23

The heart strengthened and toughened by the Word of God. Not toughened in the sense of being inured to the sufferings and needs of those around us, but toughened and strengthened to be bold in sharing the Word, in proclaiming the Gospel; bold in showing Christ to the world and living in the world as He did. Being bold as the apostle Peter was in Acts 2:14-39, Acts 3:11-25 and Acts 5:29-32 (this time with other apostles); bold as the apostle Paul was proclaiming in Romans 1:16-17 and preaching in Acts 17:22-34. These were instances of preaching and proclaiming Christ with toughened hearts, with hearts that were bold enough to speak the Truth, hearts that toughened enough not to quail at the possible consequences of doing the Lord’s will and speaking the truth in love.

Let the Word of God tenderize and toughen you:

While none of us should think of ourselves as a Peter or a Paul, we have the very Word of God, some penned by these two apostles inspired by the Spirit. It is available to us to draw upon and tap into, to give us a love for the things of God and the boldness to go about our daily lives unafraid to speak of our love of God, our love of the things of God and our desire to know nothing among others but Christ, and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Tenderized and toughened, in Christ and working through the power of the Spirit, by study and living out the Word of God.