Friday, April 30, 2010

SPACE THE FINAL FRONTIER

Space – The Final Frontier



“Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:” Isaiah 40:21-22.



I know mankind, for the most part, doesn’t consider the Bible as truth, but simply an antiquated book filled with myths and legends all contrived by men with an agenda. And that fact in and of itself is becoming more and more apparent even throughout the evangelical community. So what is the basis for truth if not God’s word? Is it man’s knowledge now seen as truth based on fabricated evidence, changing almost daily, which most of humanity has been inundated with for the past few hundred years? Why is it that even many believers today find it so difficult, if not impossible, to believe every word that proceeds from the mouth of our God?



“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2 Timothy 3:16. There should be no doubt in a believer’s mind of the validity of scripture. Alas, that is not the case. Like I said, even many Christian believers would rather believe man over God. I know this for a fact because I’ve spoken with them.



God’s word, in relationship with those He has made new creations “in Christ”, is to be trusted implicitly. The plain fact is the Bible is God’s truth, period. You either believe His word or you believe man, there is no in between area to where one might reside and feel vindicated. “Well I believe the Bible is God’s word, but I believe He’s speaking in allegories and metaphors.” NO, you believe man over God.



Scientists would have us all believe that the edge of the universe is billions of light years away, which means that by traveling at the speed of light man wouldn’t reach the edge of the universe for at least 18 billion years. I submit to all those enthralled by man’s fabrications that the heavens are simply rolled out as a scroll just as the Bible states. I’ll even take it a step further and say that all we humans see in the night sky, as far as deep space is concerned, is only a wonderful holograph, an illusion if you will. Well, my theory is no more farfetched than that of the proponents of billions of years.



Is God sitting on the circle of the earth? God encompasses all things, and as such He is as likely to be setting on the circle of the earth as He is dwelling in the very heart of every believer. There is nothing outside of the realm of possibilities for God. It’s only man who attempts to constrains God.



What amazes me about God is that God is thoroughly amazing. God’s intellect is so far above man’s that man has had to lower God down a few trillion notches as he tries to explain God, who is unexplainable. Man, in all his acquired knowledge, will never even come close to remotely comprehending just the minutest aspect of who God is.



We’re told by the scientists that there are trillions of stars out there in that huge expanse of space, God tells us that for man they innumerable. Interestingly, God has counted them all and even given each star a name. “He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.” Psalm 147:4. That’s right, He calls them all by name; He even knows your name and every little detail of your life.



Man cannot possibly get his finite mind around that concept so he’s had to make up his own idea of what the universe is all about. To man, the size of the universe is only conjecture; no human being could possibly know what was involved in creating such an expanse or what holds it all together. God tells us He rolled the heavens out like a scroll, scientists tell us it all occurred with a big bang. God was there in the beginning, where were the scientists?



All of man’s obvious conjectures are only useful for one thing, to take man’s mind off his final destination. Man’s final frontier is not space as most astronomers, and scientists sucked into the lie of evolution, promote with all tenacity. Obviously man is preoccupied with space and all its seemingly endless vastness. But where does that preoccupation lead? As man speculates more and more about what lies impossibly out of his reach (space), he loses sight of his Creator who’s standing right next to him.



Man, in his lifetime, will never physically reach destinations that he has placed at light years distances out into space. To travel to Proxima Centauri, our closest neighboring star apart from our own sun, would take 4.22 light years; a person would need to travel at the speed of light to reach that destination. No human being could live through traveling at the speed of light.



Telescopes have afforded some interesting looks at our nearest neighboring planets and even exciting views of deep space, but that’s all it will ever be; anything more is simply conjecture on man’s part. But if we read God’s word we learn a lot about the truth of what the Heavens are all about, they make a declaration.



“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” Psalm 19:1-3. God’s glory is declared to all who look to the skies. It’s His handiwork that man sees as he gazes into space. God is everywhere and there isn’t one single word that is uttered by man that He does not hear.



When man proclaims there is no God and decides to exalt himself above God and His word, God is painfully aware of man’s ignorance and rejection. He hears every word spoken and knows every thought that’s thought before we think it. He understands every language, fluently. Especially hurtful to God is when God sees His children (believers in Christ) accepting man’s explanation over His of how everything was created.



The stars and planets and all the expanse of the heavens are God’s domain. Man was never meant to travail the vastness of space, nor were we to eliminate God from an arena that declares His glory. There is nothing out in deep space that man must be preoccupied with to the exclusion of God. God tells us to look to the skies for signs. God has placed everything we see in the night’s sky for His glory not ours.



Astrology is a satanic corruption of what God has purposely designed into the heavens. These signs are there solely to assist man in seeking the truth. God gave man every opportunity to fully grasp the knowledge of who He is while establishing a foundation for our faith. There’s nothing evil about looking to the stars for pictures of the Gospel, such as the Mazzaroth indicates, but there are huge problems with contriving the things associated with the stars which the new age astrologists promote.



Looking to the cosmos as man’s final frontier is a satanic deception. Man’s final frontier is eternity and there are only two locations for man to consider. Ultimately man will end up in one or the other. And no matter what, man must choose which one to occupy. Sending men and women to the moon or to a docking station out in space is a huge waste of taxpayer funds and there is a bigger need for those funds right here on earth.



When we gaze at the night sky with a telescope we are defeating God’s purpose. We don’t need a telescope to gaze into space; we can take in all God’s signs with the naked eye. The signs are plastered across the expanse not in just one star.



“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:” Genesis 1:14. We’ve just read God’s purpose for placing the lights in the firmament of heaven. Believing God placed everything exactly where it is should bring peace to every believer. Knowing there is no space that God does not occupy should be a joy and wonderfully comforting for those of us who are born again; only the nonbeliever remains perplexed by the vastness of the universe.



“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:3. Jesus Christ is who the Apostle John is speaking about as he refers to Jesus as the Word, or in the original Greek language the “Logos”. Our Creator God is none other than Jesus Christ the only begotten of the Father.



“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Colossians 1:16-17. Here Paul also refers to Jesus Christ as being the Creator of all things.



Conjecture about the stars and the planets, and galaxies far far away, has led men to write incredible stories of fiction, jam packed with mind boggling, phenomenal adventures as well as incredible strange creatures from other planets which has created much wealth for those in the book writing/movie making business. All of which are only fanciful tales created out of the minds of men who for the most part have no use for God.



God’s word tells us the reason for all the stars in the heavens; they are for signs and for seasons, lights for illumination. The Christian Gospel is there in all its glory to be seen by all who have eyes to see. But the enemy of God has perverted that vastness and turned it instead into a wasteland of astrological nonsense, the only purpose being to create a void in men’s minds and hearts where God should be. What do you see when you look to the stars? God or satanic deceptions.



The cosmos is not man’s last exploration, nor is it his final frontier – man’s final frontier will ultimately be his final destination. That old antiquated, but completely true book, the Bible, tells us so. What we all need to ask ourselves is which final destination do we chose? Heaven or Hell. Belief in Jesus Christ means you’ve chosen Heaven over Hell. By believing there is no God your choice has also been made and Hell will be your final frontier.



So, who ya gonna believe?



God bless you all,



Ron Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

All scripture is from the KJV

Thursday, April 22, 2010

THREE STEP PROCESS

Three Step Process



“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9. There is a three step process which all believers in Christ will ultimately traverse; two of those steps come after salvation. Many believe salvation is all there is, but not so, in all actuality salvation only begins the process.



Justification or salvation – is the act of God declaring men free from guilt and acceptable to him. When we first believe we become justified in God’s sight. Believing in the selfless act of the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, who died for the sin of the world. Jesus is the propitiation for our sins.



The Bible teaches that only by the death of a perfect man, God Himself, could man ever hope to be justified. God had to place Himself in the role of Kinsmen Redeemer, as such He became the propitiation for mans rebellion. For this reason Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, became a human with flesh and bones, to be the perfect sacrifice for sin and make atonement or “propitiation” for the entire world.



When we place our faith and our trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, in the blink of an eye we are born again, which means we are justified. It’s not difficult, or painful, or even costly. And God wants all to come to this realization, to believe, and by doing so to become His children (sons of God).



When we first believe we go through what is commonly known as a change of mind. This new mindset leads us away from our past reprobate life. The question that many ask is: “Is a person completely saved at the point when they first believe?” My answer is this, if that person truly believed in Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross and humbly confessed to God that they recognize that they are a sinner, then yes they are completely saved at the point when they first believed. “...no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” 1 Corinthians 12:3b. It’s the Holy Spirit which always points to Jesus Christ and convicts the lost of their need for a savior. When we confess that Jesus is Lord it’s only by the Holy Spirit that that confession is possible.



Reading the account in Matthew 13 concerning the parable of the sower gives us an answer to the question above. The first soil that Jesus speaks of refers to those who hear the word of truth but don’t understand it. Those who fall into that category, or soil, make no commitment to Christ and have no revelation that they are sinners, they make no profession of faith in Christ, they do not refer to Jesus Christ as Lord, consequently there’s no repentance of sin. They’re not saved. This, by the way, is a weekly occurrence in our Christian Churches today. Many hear the message but never respond.



Once we become born again it’s not difficult to see a part of ourselves represented in all four soils (which should actually be the parable of the grounds). All believers spend a little time in all four soils.



Like the wayside, sometimes even believers allow the word no room in our lives. Studying God’s word becomes a chore and ultimately is relegated to an insignificant position in the believer’s life. Neglect Bible study and face a lack of understanding which can lead a Christian into defeatism.



Like the stony places, we sometimes have "hot flashes" of enthusiasm in receiving the word but which is quickly extinguished. The enemy takes away our joy and before long we can become apathetic even lethargic towards our faith.



Like the soil among thorns, the world is constantly threatening to choke out God’s word and our fruitfulness. The cares of living in the world becomes so burdensome that believers begin to get discouraged, or disillusioned. Our positive Christ-like attitude becomes diminished. God’s word takes another negative hit.



Like the good ground, the word becomes very important and we begin to bear fruit. Finally we get it. This new revelation leads to an aggressive pursuit of God’s will for our lives, and Bible study becomes a pleasure as God opens up more and more of its meanings to us.



Truly a believers security can be found in the following verse “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” Ephesians 1:13. God has just made us a promise that none of us can deny. Once we believe and trust in Jesus Christ we are sealed with His Holy Spirit, which is a God sealed promise that cannot be removed, ever, by anyone or anything. Justification is complete.



Sanctification – looking at each one of the soils in Jesus’ parable as I’ve just pointed out indicates God’s participation in the three step process. This Godly involvement is referred to as sanctification. Believers go through all sorts of ups and downs and occasionally we might fall down some rather slippery slopes. But God is always there to lift us back up and give us His assurance that He will never leave us or forsake us. This is the ongoing process of sanctification, God initiated, God fulfilling, lifelong work of God in every believers life.



When I first accepted the Lord Jesus as my Savior and was baptized I felt nothing had changed in my life. Oh sure I went around bragging that I had been baptized all the while thinking that that experience was the pinnacle of my salvation and that I was now a member of some elite group. It wasn’t until a few years later that I realized I had actually been re-born, and knew precisely what that meant. I was a new creation “In Christ”. When that realization hit me, like a ton of bricks, I knew I was saved, (justified in God’s eyes). Before that I continually had doubts. And prior to coming to that understanding of my eternal security I made little or no effort to live my life differently than before I made my confession of faith, or at least I thought I hadn’t. But looking back I see God was and is totally involved in every aspect of my then, as well as now, new life in Christ.



What I’m saying is God takes control once we become new creations in Christ. Our eternal security is God’s responsibility. His hand is what moves us from the very beginning of our new life in Christ through that process of changing us into the exact image of His Son. We actually progress in our walk with Christ, through God’s intervention, right up to the point in time when we leave planet earth for our heavenly home.



There are, on occasion, times when we will look at another person with wonderment as to their position in that three step process. We may not see any fruit in another’s life. We can’t really see what God is doing in that person’s life, can we? Remember, God is in control of the sanctification process, not us. Each person is different and each person comes to an awareness of the undeniable importance of salvation (justification) at different levels of that sanctification. Eventually the fruit that comes after being saved will appear in every true born again believer’s life. If they are not really born again the fruit will never materialize, at least not until they make that true profession of faith.



If a person tells me they are born again, that they believe Jesus Christ is Lord, that they believe His Gospel, then that is good enough for me. Like I’ve already mentioned, the Apostle Paul tells us that it’s only through the Holy Spirit that we are able even to confess such a belief. Each believer is in God’s hands, as such, He is responsible for keeping each one saved, not me or my perception of another’s salvation.



Many people get confused when it comes to these two concepts, born again and fellowship with God. Two entirely different perceptions but they go hand in hand. We all want to be in fellowship with God but each time we sin we are removed from that fellowship until we repent. There are many very adept Bible teachers who are still confused in this regard. Being born again is not an on again off again state in a person’s life. Sin is an on again off again part of every born again believer’s life. Fellowship with God, as much as we’d like to think otherwise, is an on again off again relationship because of sin.



Justification – done deal once we become born from above, from God. Sanctification – ongoing for the remainder of our lives, this is God’s exclusive domain.



Glorification – this is the last part of this three part process. Glorification occurs at the moment a believer in Christ dies. “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Romans 8:16-17. We are called joint heirs of the Kingdom of God with Christ. Suffering is a part of being children of God. Even though our flesh may not want anything to do with any type of suffering, sooner or later suffering for Christ will become apparent.



Suffering for Christ is only a natural progression of things, like death and taxes. This will become even more evident as we get even closer to Christ’s return. For many around this planet suffering for Christ is nothing new. “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.” James 5:10. It’s important to remember we will be glorified with Christ at our immediate release of these earthly vessels. If we must endure a little suffering along that journey, then rejoice knowing you suffer for Christ.



Glorification, being the final stage coming just after death, should be looked forward to with a high degree of anticipation. While we’re alive, we go about our Fathers business, witnessing, and spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, but we are also eagerly but patiently anticipating our Savior’s imamate return.



There’s even a crown righteousness tied to that anticipation. “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8. This crown of righteousness is given to all who love the idea of Jesus’ soon arrival.



When we go home to be with the Lord, at some point just after that homecoming we will receive our glorified bodies. And like Jesus after His resurrection, we too will have the ability to traverse all the different dimensions without hindrances.



“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8. It won’t be long now. Keep looking up.



God bless your all,



Ron Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

All scripture is from the KJV

Thursday, April 15, 2010

CHRISTIAN HATE

Christian Hate



“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Proverbs 6:16 – 19.



Human beings commit the aforementioned abominations all the time. They are nothing new, neither to man nor to God. The writer of the above proverb makes it abundantly clear that God is not at all pleased with these seven weaknesses attributed to us humans. Quite matter-of-factly we’re told God hates them. Strong word hate, especially when attributed to a loving and merciful God. We might be confused after reading such an account about God our Savior; it just doesn’t seem to fit who He is. God hates? I’m perplexed. Yet most Christians know that God’s word is true, and as such we can, and should, realize He does hate all He considers abominations.



Equally puzzling for the non-believer that is, is a reaction of hate or even borderline hate from a follower of Jesus Christ. The analysis of a Christian’s hateful attitude by nonbelievers whenever they encounter said hateful Christian would be one that would most assuredly condemn the whole of Christendom.



Christians should also find all that God refers to as abominations just as offensive even admitting to “hating” all that God abhors. But never are we to hate the people whose lives are consumed with committing these abominations. An attitude of hate displayed by a believer in Christ would certainly be offensive to God.



Was there ever a time during Jesus’ ministry when He exhibited hatred toward another person? What about Jesus’ enemies? “And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary , there they crucified him..., Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do...” Luke 23:33a-34a. Jesus, during His ministry, was intent on leading everyone He could into an understanding of what the Kingdom of God was all about. During His ministry Jesus encountered hate everywhere, but since He is God he never displayed the slightest hint of hate. He was adamant about forgiveness even to those who nailed Him to that cross.



What then should we do when people display hatred towards us? “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” Matthew 5:43-44. If Christian’s haven’t learned this simple truth by the time they are off milk and have moved on to the meat of the word then they had better go back and start again. The command to “love thy enemy” is one of the foundational tenets of our Christian faith. It’s one of the first things we learn as a new believer in Christ, never to be forgotten or half-heartedly adhered to. We don’t go around murdering abortion doctors because they are murdering babies in the womb, that would be repaying evil for evil. We should pray for them and ask God to convict and change their hearts.



Shedding of innocent blood can certainly be referring to the wholesale murder of babies in the womb. Just imagine how this atrocity must grieve God; followers of Jesus Christ should be just as incensed at this evil. We should hate this atrocity and be involved in movements that are trying, through peaceful means, to stop such action. But we should never take such desperate action against a fellow human being as to kill them for their participation in these atrocities. Such an extreme response would mean we were allowing hate (Satan) to have authority over our minds and bodies instead of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.



Hate is ugly, it’s an ugly word and it’s an ugly reaction. Hate will permeate the body of a believer and destroy their very soul if it’s allowed to fester like an open sore. Many people hate Christians, nothing new in that statement. But how should a Christian react to hatred when it is aimed explicitly at them? The knee jerk worldly reaction is to strike back with everything we have as we defend ourselves.



As believers, if we are being physically harmed or attacked we should defend ourselves and our families; we would be remiss if we didn’t. But hatred expressed verbally is only words, and if that be the extent of our harassment our reaction should be one of piety accompanied with prayer. Even if we find ourselves capable of outwitting an antagonist through superior intellect, love for that person should be expressed through whatever actions we display. Nothing good can be accomplished through an attitude that even remotely resembles hate.



Over the past few years we’ve probably all become painfully aware of a Christian cult based in Kansas which can’t seem to keep their church and its members out of the news. Why? Because they seem to be filled with hate. This group of individuals, who erroneously stake claim to the blood of Christ, continually spew hatred at funerals of fallen military personal as they are being laid to rest. They actually turn up at these funerals of our fallen hero’s and chant and wave ugly hateful signs while disrupting the service and offending the loved ones who are of course grief stricken. This Christian Cult has taken hatred to a whole new level, all the while denying the love of Christ through their deplorable actions. If one can call these folks Christians then they would be the embodiment of Christian hate.



God watched as man beat, spit upon, humiliated, and then murdered His only begotten Son. Most humans would retaliate against those who participated in that horror of hate, but not God. God doesn’t hate His creation, He loves us. People who promote hate towards others are not of God. As a matter of fact they can’t possibly even have read and understood God’s word and still spew hatred. It’s not possible for born again believers to follow God’s precepts and hate anyone. To love our enemies is a commandment not a suggestion.



Some people hate for no reason, others have a ton of reasons yet none of them valid in God’s eyes. If God tells you to love those who hate and persecute you then love must be the key. Have you ever tried to hate someone you love? It’s not possible. Yes you can have arguments, even long disagreements, you can become discouraged and even get mad and frustrated with them, but if you love them you can’t hate them. God knew that simple truth and that’s why He commands us to love our enemies. Hate cannot grow or even survive in an atmosphere of love.



“Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.” Psalm 34:21. God is our defender and protector and as the verse above states, God will take appropriate action against those who hate us. There can be no continual blessings from God for those who hate the righteous. If they hate us they must also hate God. Imagine the horrible eternal punishment they will receive if they stay in that mindset until death. They need our prayers not hate.



“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven:...” Luke 6:22-23. Here Jesus tells us it’s a blessing to be hated for His name sake. Rejoice and leap for joy? How is that possible? By knowing your reward is great in Heaven. God Almighty promises you and me great rewards when we get to Heaven. That should be worth enduring all the hate people can throw at us.



“Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” 1 John 3:13. The Apostle John is basically saying it should come as no surprise that the world hates those who belong to Christ. Why do they hate us so? Because they hate being convicted of sin and just hearing the word Christian or Jesus Christ convicts them. People want to be able to wallow in the muck and the mire of sin without any consequences. They especially don’t want to be told they are doing something against God.



Without a doubt Christians are being killed every day for one reason, many people hate Jesus the Messiah so much that they need a release for that hatred and Jesus’ followers make for a perfect release. Until they come to realize Satan is behind their hatred manipulating their actions they will remain in that murderous mode.



“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:17-18. Love and hate make impossible bedfellows. Hate in a Christians heart will nullify the precious Gospel of Christ. Get rid of hate before it festers. Christians are to live peaceably with all men. How is that possible if we allow hatred toward our fellow man to rule our hearts? Besides that the enemy will build his stronghold in a Christians life where hated is allowed to dwell.



My dad had a great way of contending with people who displayed hatred toward him. I would say “Dad are you going to let that guy get away with that remark?” My dad’s response was always “Just consider the source and forget it Ron”. Great advice but I would go a step further. Consider that that person is probably not saved and pray for them.



“Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.” Romans 12:20. In other words, by loving your enemy you might just help bring him to the Lord. It’s all about loving others the way God loves us, unconditionally. People, for the most part that is, will respond to loving kindness with kindness. What’s that old adage? “You can attract a lot more flies with honey than with vinegar.”



The cult I mentioned above would do well to embrace loving kindness instead of spewing hate. There’s no way for Jesus to be found in the middle of such an outlandish attitude. What those folks are doing is convincing the unbelieving world that Christians are full of hate. Witnessing, as we are commanded to do, is our opportunity to promote the Gospel of Christ by sharing it with unbelievers.



Using a false gospel (one filled with hate) as a witnessing tool as the aforementioned cult provides is, simply put, folly. If hate is the message, non-believers will stay away. They already live in the world, which is full of hate, why would they want to jump from the frying pan into the fire? The lost are searching for something different, something set apart from that which they already have.



To feel anger or entertain thoughts of resentment because someone has horribly wronged you is a normal worldly response, but Christians are no longer in that category. For Christians to take a harsh stance against another person who belittles them, even during a fleeting moment of frayed emotions, is wrong. We should pray about any such situation then submit those emotions into the Holy Spirit’s most capable hands and allow Him to take control. Recompensing evil for evil is contrary to God’s word. A believer’s life is to be filled with a loving and caring attitude toward our fellow man, evil hateful attitudes are worldly. We believers have been born from above, from God; we are no longer of the world.



Is there such a thing as Christian hate? Should there be hate in a Christian’s heart? As I’ve just laid out, hate disrupts lives and destroys the love we hold for one another, even our enemies. My answer then is no. If you are a Christian today and you have hate in your heart, repent and ask the Lord for His help in removing that hate. It is God’s good pleasure to fill you with His love and joy, and in doing so He promises you peace, a much greater possession, in lieu of hate.



My final thought is this, even using that offensive word to describe something that you detest should be discouraged. Jokingly proclaiming I hate this or I hate that can give rise to an attitude of condoning instead of condemnation of a more severe and less jokingly hateful attitude. There are plenty of other ways to express one’s self without using that particular offensive word. For example, I love this and I love that. Allow love run supreme in your vocabulary.



God bless you all,



Ron Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

All scripture is from the KJV

Monday, April 05, 2010

OUR BLESSED HOPE

Our Blessed Hope

Often Christians will talk about the rapture and only quote a few verses, but to my amazement there are a great number of verses that describe our blessed hope. Most of the verses that speak of the return of Jesus Christ are referring to the second advent. This is an event that happens at the end of the 7 year tribulation when Jesus Christ rescues Israel in all of His Power and Glory. The rapture is an event that takes place about 7 years before the second coming of Jesus Christ.

My purpose for this article is to list all of the verses referring to the rapture from the book of Acts all the way through the book of Revelation, so readers will understand how to watch for our blessed hope with more clarity.

I did not include Matthew through John for two reasons. There is too much conjecture in the gospels because some experts will say the verse is the rapture, and others will say it is the second advent (second coming). The other reason is there are 69 verses from Acts through Revelation. Wow!

The more verses we know, the more earnest our watch will be for Jesus Christ. For true Christians, this is not an event to be feared but anticipated with joy. This is why the Bible tells us to be watching for the rapture at all times. It is not a dreadful event. This is our blessed hope. The fear is on the other side when people will be left behind.

"This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." Acts 1:11. Immediately after Jesus was taken up into heaven through a cloud, two Angels told the people watching that He would come again in like manner.This verse is referring to the rapture.

" For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God."Romans 8:19. This verse promises that our body will be redeemed in heaven after the rapture.

"Waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." Romans 8:23. This verse promises that our body will be redeemed in heaven after the rapture.

"For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." Romans 14:10. After the rapture all Christians will have to give an account of their life.

"Waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1st Cor.1:7. The Apostle Paul was urging fellow Christians to be faithful to Jesus Christ as they watched for the rapture. In fact he even went as far to say that watching for the rapture is a motive for faithfulness.

"Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1st Cor. 1:8. At the rapture true Christians will be blameless before God through Jesus Christ.

"If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward." 1st Cor.3:14. Only our works that abide in Jesus Christ will be rewarded and last for eternity. This judgment will begin sometime after the rapture in heaven.

"Until the Lord come, who shall bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts." 1st Cor.4:5. Jesus will reveal and judge His children after the rapture.

"Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible." 1st Cor.9:25. We can either strive for some reward on earth or lay our treasures in heaven. After the rapture, the faithful in Jesus Christ that are living for Him will receive an incorruptible crown.

"Ye do show the Lord's death till he come." 1st Cor.11:26. One of the truths we are respecting when we take communion is the rapture, because this verse says..."Till He come."

"But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."1st Cor.13:10. Don't get too excited about this world because we are only in part. When Christians are raptured, we are going to be with our perfect Savior and Lord. We are also going to a perfect place called heaven in full, not in part.

"Christ the firstfruits,afterward they that are Christ's at His coming."1st Cor.15:23. Jesus Christ rose as the Firstfruits, so His children will also rise in the rapture to get their resurrected body.

"So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption. It is raised in incorruption."1st Cor.15:42. Right now our physical body is in a state of corruption. When we get raptured our resurrected body will be incorruptible.

"It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power."1st Cor.15:43. When we get raptured our resurrected body will be glorious.

"It is sowed a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body." 1st Cor.15:44. Our resurrection body will be immaterial.

"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.1st Cor. 15:51. There will be a generation of Christians that will never die in a physical way.They will be raptured.

" In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump... the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."1st Cor. 15:52.The Christians that passed on to be with the Lord will get their resurrection bodies first, then we who are alive will get our resurrection bodies after we are raptured.

"For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."1st Cor.15:53. When we get our resurrected bodies at the rapture they will be incorruptible and immortal.

"Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory." 1st Cor.15:54.The resurrection will defeat death.

" If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha."1st Cor.16:22. When Christians would pray Maranatha, that was a prayer for the rapture. In this verse watching for the coming of the Lord is connected with loving Jesus Christ.

"Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you." 2nd Cor.4:14. There will be resurrection at the coming of Jesus Christ.

" For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ."2nd Cor.5:10. Our motives and works will be judged by Jesus Christ Himself.

"Our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." Phil.3:20. This verse describes our real home being in heaven, not on earth. Just like the verse says, Christians are to be looking for the rapture.

"Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body." Phil.3:21. We will be changed from vile to glorious. That sounds great to me.

"Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand." Phil.4:5. Godly temperance is urged with patience as we look for the return of the Lord.

"When Christ who is our life, shall appear,then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." Col.3:4. Jesus Christ should mean everything to us. True Christians will be glorified with their Savior at the rapture.

"And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus." 1st Thess.1:10. This verse has us waiting for Jesus Christ. Of course with a patient spirit.

"For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?"1st Thess.2:19.There seems to be a special crown for Christians that win souls for Jesus Christ.

" For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep." Those that die before the rapture will get their resurrected bodies before those that are alive and caught up in the rapture.

"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first." 1st Thess.4:16.Jesus Christ will physically descend from heaven. The trumpet will sound and those that died in Christ will rise first.

"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1st Thess.4:17.True Christians will be caught up together, not separate. At this point we will be with Jesus permanently.

"But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." 1st Thess.5:4. True Christians will not be overtaken by the darkness to come in the 7 year tribulation because they are in the Light, who is Jesus Christ.

" For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." 1st Thess.5:9. Christians will be physically delivered from wrath through the rapture.

"I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1st Thess.5:23. Anybody who is sanctified in Jesus Christ will be preserved as blameless and have their part in the rapture of the Church.

"By the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him." 2nd Thess.2:1. True Christians will be gathered together after the rapture in heaven.

"Only He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way."2nd Thess.2:7. The restraining Power of the Holy Spirit will be removed first and then the rapture will take place.

"In the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." 1st Tim.4:1. This is a sign that the rapture is at hand.

"Until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew." 1 Tim. 6:14. Jesus will return in His time.

" The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day." 2nd Tim.1:18. When true Christians give an account of their life after the rapture, it will be according to the mercy of God. It is not an account for condemnation. It is the faithful deeds that we did with the right motive that will be rewarded.

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come." 2nd Tim. 3:1. The world will be in a form of insanity right before the rapture.

"God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom." 2nd Tim.4:1. Jesus is going to judge all Christians.

"There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day.And not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing." 2nd Tim.4:8.The Apostle Paul was expecting a crown of righteousness after the rapture. This crown will be given to Christians who look for and love His appearing.

"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ." Titus 2 :13. This verse was written to motivate fellow Christians to pure Christian living.

"Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Hebrews 9:28. Our salvation will be complete at the rapture.

"For yet a little while, and He shall come will come, and will not tarry." Hebrews 10:37. Some Christians say that the rapture is long overdue but this verse says Jesus will rapture His children at the proper and exact time.

"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him."James 1:12. This crown is promised to all those that allow the love of God to be manifested in their hearts. This person endures suffering and temptation with a pure heart because he or she loves God.

" Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord." James 5:7. James urges Christians to have a patient spirit as they watch for the rapture. There are no biblical principles in the Bible that involve our spirit being passive. Even turning the other cheek involves application. This includes a patient spirit.

"For the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." James 5:8. James may have been referring to the imminent return but at the very least he was saying that each and every day draws closer to the rapture.

"To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you." 1st Peter 1:4. When we get raptured our inheritance will be incorruptible and will never die.

"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." 1st Peter 1:7. Our suffering for Jesus Christ will be the most precious experiences we can give to Jesus Christ at The Judgment Seat for Believers after the rapture.

"Be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1st Peter 1:13. Being sober is thinking sound in a biblical way. We are supposed to have faith and hope in Jesus Christ until the rapture takes place. This special grace that Peter is talking about is revealed at the rapture of the Church. After the rapture we will not need faith or hope in heaven.

" And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."1st Peter 5:4. In this verse The Chief Shepherd who is Jesus Christ seems to be giving a special crown to those who were faithful as they taught the Bible in a sound way to fellow Christians. They looked after those that were under them and made sure they were feed through the Word of God.

"There shall be false teachers among you, who prively shall bring in damnable heresies." 2nd Peter 2:1. This is a sign that the rapture is at hand.

"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts." 2nd Peter 3:3. This is a sign that the rapture is at hand.

"And saying, where is the promise of His coming?" 2nd Peter 3:4. There will be many mockers right before the rapture that don't believe this event will happen.

"The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night." 2nd Peter 3:10. Jesus will come unexpectedly.

"Seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless." 2nd Peter 3:14. The rapture of the Church should be motivation for pure living. The other point is that the peace of God should be resting in our spirit. We should give it our best to keep peace with people in our surroundings.

"When He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming." 1st John 2:28. The rapture of the Church should be motivation for pure living. John also seems to be saying that at the rapture we do not want to be doing something foolish.

"When He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." 1st John 3:2. True Christians will be like Jesus Christ but I must say we will all have different faces. Some people believe we are all going to have the same face in heaven.

"And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure."1st John 3:3. The return of Jesus is a motive for purity.

"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment."1st John 4:17. If the love of God is made perfect in us or manifested in our spirit then we will truly have confidence at the judgment seat after the rapture.

"That we lose not these things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward." 2nd John 1:8. It is the desire of God that we receive a full reward, not a partial reward.

"Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." Jude 1:21. It is hard to keep ourselves in the love of God. It is where we should be in Jesus Christ. We look for mercy because this is how we became saved. It was not through our merit. Jude says we are to be living this way as we look for the rapture unto eternal life.

"Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy." Jude 1:24. As Christians live their life, Jesus Christ should be their true strength. After the rapture, we as the glorious Bride will be presented holy and blameless before God.

"That ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." Rev.2:10. A crown seems to be promised to Christians for their fidelity and conflict through their faithfulness. Martyrs seem to get a special crown after the rapture.

"But that which ye have already hold fast till I come."Rev.2:25. Christians are urged to endue in holy living until the rapture.

"If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."Rev.3:3.Jesus seems to imply that He will catch some Christians unprepared because they are not watching for the rapture.Of course there are different interpretations regarding this verse.It is interesting when I hear Christians say in one way or another, that to watch for the rapture is foolish. If you know somebody like this, show them this verse. Jesus wants us watching.

" I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world." Rev.3:10. This verse clearly says that the rapture will take place before the tribulation.

"Behold, I come quickly." Rev.3:11. The rapture will take place fast and sudden. This is the event that I am looking for. I am expecting our blessed hope to take place at any moment. I am very excited!

Bob D.