Wednesday, July 31, 2019

AN UNSPOTTED LIFE BEFORE CHRIST

An unspotted life before Jesus Christ


The  Apostle James starts out writing that whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues into being a quickened hearer and a doer of the work this person will be blessed in all his or her deeds. I think it is interesting that James uses the verb "Work" because when we read the Bible there is labor in us applying the precepts of the word of God to our life. We as Christians are not supposed to be spectators merely sitting on the sidelines of the otter perimeter on the work of God. There are no unemployment lines for or in the kingdom of God. Notice we can not apply this labor for Jesus Christ unless we read the Bible with open ears and a willing heart because verse twenty five is in the context of the word of God. If you do not have access to a Bible or portions of the word of God try and surround yourself with fellow believers in Jesus Christ. 

James also talks about people that say they are Christians but can not control their tongues. This unfortunately deceives their own heart and his or her faith is in vain. These are strong words that revolve around our speech but I will expound on this later in the article.

The Apostle explains what genuine faith in Jesus Christ is in an undefiled form before God. One example would be to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction. This true believer in Jesus Christ is also supposed to keep him or herself unspotted from the world. God really does not desire us to blend or conform in with the world because our message will be compromised and we will probably fall into some kind of sin.

We are to have faith in Jesus Christ who is described as the Lord of glory and has no respect of persons.

Let us say for example you are the pastor of a congregation and someone rich comes in with a Godly appearance but next to him comes a poor person who is not dressed very well. James is saying do not show favorites. Special attention should not be giving to the rich nor should lousy treatment be giving to the poor. 

Let me quote the original text so you can read the passage and perhaps make reference to it in this particular study of the Bible.

(25) "But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, But a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (26) If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. (27) Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (1) My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. (2) For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; (3) And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool. James 1: 25 - 27, James 2:1 - 3.  

The ceremonial law although perfect was first introduced in the Old Testament. It was a burden of bondage to the souls of men because nobody was perfect. The is why the Apostle James writes about the gospel is the law of liberty which is liberation to a believer in Jesus Christ. When we read the Bible Christians hear the perfect law of God or the law of liberty but then we must continue to travel in the proper path of obedience to God.

Our ultimate objective is to be blessed in our deed which is not only hearing the word of God but a doer of the work. It is good to know the Bible but that is not where the connection is made in us as believers in Christ being blessed. The hand of approval only comes when we do the will of God. If you hear Christians say, "Talk the talk but walk the walk remember the second part of the saying is far more important than the first. Walk the walk.

We have to discern between a vain faith in Jesus Christ and a pure belief that is truly approved by God. According to this passage the vainness is seen by a Christian that can not control his or her tongue. This person is in self deception and his or her faith is in vain in their relationship with Jesus Christ. It is is merely a show because this individual is far more concerned in appearing religious so truth gets thrown away and there is no real authentic relationship with Jesus Christ especially if you see them speak of the faults of others and make themselves look wise with God. People that have a deceiving tongue can not be humble and gracious in their hearts to God. We want strength and power in our faith through Jesus Christ, not a bunch of chatter lies about other people. You would be best just praying for them and getting back into the yoke of Jesus Christ. If these people continue to engage in this erroneous activity their self deception will grow greater and the amount of people that will be mislead usually multiplies.

If we as Christians have true faith in Jesus Christ our belief will be pure and undefiled in our devotion to God. Jesus Christ loves to see a holy life and a charitable heart not gossip today. It is interesting that James uses words like pure and undefiled because this is one of the attributes of God. This means that we should do everything with the presence of the Holy Spirit working through our hearts.

James gets more specific when he talks about compassion and love to the poor or distressed in life. This evolves into a tremendous necessary part of our faith in Christ if we were for example visit the fatherless or the widow in their afflictions. We are to have a special love for those who are helpless and are suffering. The person in this context who can not control his or her tongue and desires self admiration would not even care about these issues. On the outside which comes from the inside we are to show love and receive the downtrodden in our life. 

Part of living an unspotted life is to have a big heart for love and charity. Look at the word "Unspotted." I can not resist telling you this story. A very Godly man had a dream and he saw people waiting in line to be judged before they went to hell. He explained to his audience that God allowed him to see the spots in their hearts. I am not even sure he made the connection in the Bible from James 1:27 to his vision but I did not even think about this verse regarding that particular dream until now. This verse says ... "And to keep himself unspotted from the world." 

There is only a certain point that we as Christians can get involved in this world. Of course to some degree we have to go to work, pay our bills but the more we as believers in Christ get immersed in worldly things our soul will become blemished and defiled but the degree will depend on the intensity of our involvement in worldly pursuits. Our constant endeavor must be to live pure and holy because this is undefiled faith in Jesus Christ.

I would rather live a little boring and be right with Jesus Christ as opposed to living in the drama of sin and having all kinds of spots on my soul. There are so many false doctrines of compromise in Christianity that I actually feel sorry for the participants because usually they are fed a couple of lines and they accept this as doctrine for their theological paradigm as they walk through life. They usually fall into some kind of sin / sins. They often stand very strong on their false convictions and are extremely big on taking verses way out of context.

James changes his tone and actually shows how much dishonesty there is in sin due to respect of persons. James cautions against this because the character of the Christian is at stake. Our faith in Jesus Christ is a trust and treasure so he refers to the Son of God as the Lord of glory. We really should not have any special respect for Christians unless they are truly being conformed to Jesus Christ. If we show this favoritism to people our glorious Lord will for all practical purposes be pushed off to the side when He should be in the center of our hearts. Once again sin will take center stage if we engage in the practice of showing respect for persons.

In verses two and three the Apostle James gives an example of the folly of this sin. The problem with looking at who has the better appearance is God has His remnant of all sorts of people both rich and poor. A Christian's poverty does not put him at a distance with God. If anybody has the disadvantage in this area it is a believer in Christ that has a lot of money. It is not wrong to be rich because God is looking at your heart nor is it wrong to be poor because God is looking at your heart. I could expand on this issue but I can not believe an internet audience is not getting the basic idea of what the Apostle James is writing about in this passage.

If you do not know the Lord it does not matter if you are rich or poor. God loves you and you are precious in His sight. Now may be a good time to accept Jesus Christ into your heart as your very own personal Savior and Lord by repenting of all your sins and inviting the Son of the Living God in your life. I hope and pray  you just made that choice.

God Bless you,
Bob D.         

Monday, July 22, 2019

HOW DO WE HEAR FROM GOD AND PROCEED?

How do we hear from God and proceed?


James starts out in verse nineteen with one of the most popular verses in the Bible. First he refers to the Christians that he is writing to as my beloved brethren. It is comforting to know and understand that a fellow believer in Christ has a Godly affection for me. Then the Apostle says such incredible words of wisdom. He writes be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath. In a world where people by and large think they know so much James comes in and refutes this by saying be fast to hear but this does not mean gossip.

How many people do you know who are slow to speak? If we can train ourselves to respond slowly people will listen to us more because there is a large amount of humbleness in not knowing everything. The real truth of the matter is we know very little and this should help us to be slow to wrath. I try and love people as much as I can and leave the wrath for God. The Bible does say vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord so this has never been my role as a Christian. The wrath of man will never produce the righteousness of God. We were not made to have wrath in our hearts and at the same time have the love of Jesus Christ in our spirit.

The next statement James makes is phrased kind of strange but in essence he is telling his readers to lay aside all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness and then receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your souls. Since the Apostle is talking to believers in Christ he is writing about the present tense of our salvation in Jesus Christ. There was the past tense (when we became born again in and through the regenerating work of Jesus Christ). There is the present tense of our salvation which means we have to be constantly lead by the Holy Spirit and His empowering work through us as Christians. Then finally there is the future tense of our salvation which is when we will be in heaven with Jesus Christ himself and unable to sin.

James does not stop there because the first part is to receive the engrafted word but we as believers in Christ must then become doers of the Bible which always has to be taken in context. James says do not just become hearers of the word because we will be involved in self deception.

James then compares a hearer to a doer of the word of God. A hearer is like a person looking at his own face in a mirror. This sounds boring and vain but this human being will go his or her own way and forget what manner of faith this Christian has in the Person of Jesus Christ. When we read the Bible or hear a true message of God our responsibility is to allow the Holy Spirit to impart the biblical precepts to our hearts and apply this in our life. Let me quote the original text so you can read the passage and perhaps make reference to it in this particular study of the Bible.

(19) "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: (20) For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. (21) Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. (22) But be ye doers of the word , and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (23) For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: (24) For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetheth what manner of man he was." James 1:19 - 24.

To be ready to hear probably for the most part means what does the Bible teach. James may have been referring to the afflictions and temptations that he wrote about in the beginning of chapter one but in combination of being very fast to listen to the word of God. The basic tone of the first part of this chapter is restraining the works of passion if it is in the category of sin. James is urging his readers not to censure God in our problems but to open our hearts to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to us as Christians.

The church was running into disputes which is obviously differences of opinions that Christians were bumping into each in a bad way among their members in the congregation. This fast to hear was also meant for believers in Christ to listen to all sides so they could be slow to speak. When we do talk there is never to be any wrath in our speech because this does not produce the righteousness of God. In general James is saying keep a guard on our tongues and passions because we can not trust our emotions. Just because we feel something does not mean we have to respond especially if it is sin. It only stands to reason that if we are quick to hear and slow to speak then wrath is not our final result. Love should be our response to God and people. 

If our anger is within us there are great reasons for suppressing this bad emotion. The very last thing we want to do is allow our discontent to come out in a theological controversy. Wrath is of man but it goes deeper than this because it stands directly opposed to the righteousness of God. This "Debate" starts out as a cause for God but if the wrath comes out it becomes evident that they are not associated with Jesus Christ or any of His concerns. It is like saying I do not like anyone wearing the color blue but all the while he has blue clothes on his body. He is contradicting himself and if we throw wrath in our disagreements we are contradicting the word of God as true representatives of Jesus Christ. Never try and win an argument because it is an exercise in futility.

It is not just anger that we as Christians are to suppress but other corrupt emotions. We as believers in Christ are to watch and lay aside all of our transgressions of a corrupt heart. If we do not do this we will not be able to follow the precepts of the Bible. Most people would agree that there is a lot of evil in us by nature because that is the way our heart is without the presence Jesus Christ; therefore, we must watch against superfluity of naughtiness. Restraining evil afflictions is good but we must take it one step deeper and cast them from us because sins have to be separated from our heart. This means everything --- outward sins, bad thoughts and speech. It is all considered filthy to God so if we struggle with any of these things at the very least talk to the Lord about your transgressions with sincerity because God is indeed looking at our hearts. He understands there is going to be a struggle in all of His children but consistent earnestly everyday pleases Jesus Christ. If we do our part God will certainly accomplish a good work in us which includes giving us wisdom and making us clean before Him.

We need to ask God to prepare our hearts so we can hear the word of God. In verse twenty one James says we are to receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. The first thing we need to do when we hear the word of God is receive it in such a way where good righteous fruit is produced according to the reality of the gospel of Jesus Christ which is engrafted in our souls. The Apostle James is saying yield yourselves to what the Bible teaches with a submissive temperament because we need to receive the word of God with meekness. If we see faults in our life be patient but with a thankful heart that we have a Savior who can help us correct those sins which tend to haunt us before Holy God. In our hearing of what the Bible teaches we allow the Holy Spirit to point out sins in our souls and become more aware of what happened to us when we became born again in the Person of Jesus Christ.

After we hear we must do because being attentive and applying the biblical promises of the Bible go hand in hand. The worst thing we could do is hear and then walk away living in our own world and eventually falling into a downward spiral in our life. These people will not remember what they learned but self deception will be a the center of their hearts.

James writes about the proper use of the Bible. He compares this to a glass in which a man may behold his natural face. This person sees the imperfections on his or her face but the Bible shows us our sins. The word of God shows us the emptiness in our souls because of the world, flesh or the devil influencing our lives. The Bible inspires us as Christians to go in the opposite direction. Laws get amended all the time but our journey on this earth must also be amended through the ongoing work of Jesus Christ in our lives.

When we read the Bible believers in Jesus Christ need to see themselves in whatever condition we are in at that moment. Be honest because we are to dress ourselves in the righteousness of Jesus Christ by the glass of the word of God.

This is an account in James chapter one of people that do not use the glass of the Bible like they should because in vain these people do hear the word of God but they observe it like glass because they are going away, forgetting their spots and as a result there is no solution for their anxious circumstances. They just made a decision to do their life on their own without God. It would be better if they hear the word of God as they should and use the glass of the Bible to convict them of any sins and get their life right with Jesus Christ.

If you have never come to know Jesus Christ and feel the Apostle James was somewhat blunt to his readers remember he had to be because there was much discard and many broken lives. One thing I learned the hard way is it is primarily through the word of God with an earnest spirit before the Triune Godhead that changes our lives. If your life is in shambles or you just find it very difficult to find true contentment then consider the Son of God. Now may be a good time to accept Jesus Christ into your heart as your personal Savior and Lord by repenting of all your sins and inviting the true Messiah into your life. This will be a decision for your life and eternity. I hope and pray you just made that all important eternal decision. 

God Bless you,
Bob D.

Friday, July 12, 2019

GRACE OR SIN

Grace or sin



The Apostle James changes his tone about the subject of temptation. If we are tempted with a sin --- an enticement as it were according to James 1:14 we can never say "I want to sin" is from God.

First of all God can never be tempted with evil nor does He ever tempt any person for any reason. This does not come from God. The first truth we as Christians need to understand is when demons tempt us that is not a sin but it is a test. The only time the enticement becomes a sin is when that person is drawn away because of his or her lust. This is the only way the enticement will be effective so the obvious answer to not committing transgressions is to not be drawn away with our own lust. The choice is up to us but the command is from God to not let this happen which means we have to be on guard all the time.

The second step is when lust is conceived we sin. A basic principle in the Bible is sin brings forth death. James urges his readers not to be deceived but then James once again changes his tone and says every good and perfect gift is from above. Let me just stop there because when demons tempt us with sin that is from below. These good and perfect gifts come from the Father of lights and there is no variableness in God; however, this is in demons. There is no shadow of turning in God and yes I have heard many heaven testimonies where they all testified that when they were traveling down the streets of Paradise they never saw their shadow. 

Whenever God does something it is of His own will and He decided to give us the word of truth. The reason why the Triune Godhead did this is because we as Christians are to be a kind of first fruits of His creatures. It would only stand to reason that if we listen to the enticement of demons and allow ourselves to be drawn away of our own lusts we are for all practical purposes second fruits of sin that leads to death. James is making a comparison of us being tempted and perhaps caving into the transgression against Jesus Christ or keeping our focus on the Father of lights. I am going to expand on this passage but first let me quote the original text of this passage so you can read it and perhaps make reference to it in this particular study of the Bible.

(13) "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man: (14) But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (15) Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (16) Do not err, my beloved brethren. (17) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (18) Of His own will will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures." James 1: 13 - 18. 

God is not the author of any person's transgressions but some Christians may fall in their hour of temptation. The Bible warns believers in Jesus Christ not to live a life of sin. Whether we sin every once in a while or give ourselves to a lifestyle of transgressions the blame of this conduct lies entirely on the Christian that made a choice of being drawn away of his or her own lust. If you feel you are living a lifestyle of sin / sins do what you have to do to stop. The believer in Jesus Christ that constantly transgresses against God is in serious trouble before divine authority. Pray that Jesus Christ gives you the conviction in your heart that sin is wrong. There is nothing in the nature of God where we can say, "God made me do this transgression against Him."

The Bible clearly says that God can not be tempted with evil so it would have to be obvious that Jesus Christ will not be a tempter to other people. Sinning is bad enough but to blame it on God as opposed to taking responsibility for our transgression / transgressions is not only incorrect but the real problem is we do not have strong conviction in our hearts against something destructive in our life. When God sends afflictions and pain in our life the end result is to trust Jesus Christ and rely on His grace, not go the other way into corruption.

We need to ask ourselves a question and that would be where does the true cause of evil lie or where should the blame be put from a biblical prospective? When it comes to temptation, evil and sin it is originally in our hearts. It is born in us but outward causes may tempt us to be enticed into a full blown episode. First it is in us, then it draws us away and finally entices us into sin. This whole process carries us from good to evil. We could literally have a strong fellowship with God through His Son Jesus Christ and then fall into sin which is usually measured in degrees if we allow the temptation to draw us away and entice us into a transgression against God. The term drawn away is to be forcible compelled so at certain points of our life it will be very hard to abstain from sin. The word enticed means to be beguiled so the power of sin could never have victory unless something cunning takes place from the corruption of our hearts. 

Sin excites desires in us and then we consent to the transgression but at this point it is conceived. Unfortunately this brings forth death. First this death takes place in the soul and then it is manifested in the body. The moral is we need to be careful with what goes into our minds and hearts. I can guarantee you that we will be tempted at our weakest moments so in advance Christians may desire to pray for those inevitable times when enticements will come into our life. If we know we sinned it should be obvious that repentance should take place before God through His Son Jesus Christ.

I like the way James changes his tone and says God is the Father and fountain of all good. If we have a wrong misconception of God this can be very dangerous to our spiritual walk with Jesus Christ. Sin is evil but we serve a good God. When James says do not err or wander we need to remember God is not the author of anything that is evil. Just the opposite is true because Jesus Christ is the cause of everything that is pure and holy. God does not change but our off course directions are not altered by God. If this happens in our walk with Jesus Christ we must look inside ourselves and even be more determined that we are going to do the will of God.

When we look at the Father of lights with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning understand that every good gift is from Jesus Christ. He is the only one that can give us as believers in Christ the light of spiritual reasoning. This is a vast contrast from temptation and sin but James understood that unless we on a regular basis seek the Father of lights that gives spiritual reasoning we will fall into transgressions. This "Light" teaches us biblical principles and divine revelation which we desperately need because our sin nature will take center stage if we as Christians do not position ourselves before God in a proper way to receive this gift through His Son Jesus Christ. The bottom line is we will receive nothing good unless we as believers in Christ get this pureness from God. We were redeemed by Jesus Christ and certainly do rejoice but the benefits of being born again Christians is His "Light" which involves spiritual reasoning, learning and as a result comfort. 

When we accepted Jesus Christ into our hearts we became a new creature in Jesus Christ but we must remember this was not because of our skill, power or good works. This happened to us because of the goodwill and grace of God through the redeeming power of His Son Jesus Christ. This is why we as Christians are able to proclaim the word of truth or the gospel of Jesus Christ because His resurrection Power conquered sin and we or anyone who desires to come to the Lord has power over sin through the Son of God who died for our sins. If you feel deep down that you have not made that all important eternal decision now may be the time to accept Jesus Christ into your hearts by repenting of all your sins and inviting the true Messiah into your life. This decision will produce real and lasting effects in your life. 

If you just made this decision rely upon the renewing grace of God through His Son in the empowering work of the Holy Spirit. Like the passage says in this article if we do not then we are far more susceptible to fall into sin. Remember Jesus Christ died for our sins so we could be set free from our transgressions.

James also talks about that we should be a kind of first - fruits of His creatures. Without getting to deep into this subject Jesus Christ is the first - fruits of His children. He is the head and we are His body. The most popular interpretation is Christians are the first - fruits of creatures. Our primary focus should be Jesus Christ is the first - fruits of His children. Praise the Lord because we serve the head who is sinless and pure and desires to impart this in our hearts.

God Bless You,
Bob D.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

STANDING STRONG FOR JESUS CHRIST WHEREVER YOU ARE IN LIFE!

Standing strong for Jesus Christ wherever you are in life



In my last article I explained that if we ask God for wisdom He will bestow this in our spirit. I had to stop the writing at James 1:5 but in verses 6 - 8 the Apostle gives the conditions for receiving wisdom. If we ask Jesus by faith without wavering this is indeed what God desires to see in our hearts and minds. I believe one bit of practical advice would be we should ask God for this faith without wavering so our conviction is strong when we make intercession for this wisdom in our trials. When the average person goes through something they usually get angry or upset but this lacks the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit working through our hearts.

If a Christian does not have the conviction of faith without wavering then he or she is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. If you ever observed that it is very unpredictable to say the least.

Then James in verse seven writes very bluntly in essence do not think that a believer in Jesus Christ will receive anything from the Lord. This is pretty heavy duty language to not even be the recipient of even one thing in this particular context. This is not to say we did not receive anything from God in other areas of our life but when it comes to wisdom and trials that we are presently facing faith without wavering compliments God through our spirit of belief. If we are double minded the bottom line is we are unstable in all our ways. Does this sound like faith without wavering ? The latter says God I know you love me and you are a good Father and desire the best for me but being double minded is putting God in a position where He can not give us a definitive blessing which includes wisdom from heaven.

The Apostle James talks about the brother of low degree and rejoice that he is exalted. This was the way of James phrasing that a born again Christian should be humble in their bad circumstances approaching Jesus Christ in faith and asking for wisdom in the middle of hardships. We think it is more spiritual to be taken away from our trials but for the most part we learn so much more trusting God during our sufferings.

James also writes about the rich person and says he or she is made low because as the flower of the grass he or she will pass away and die. We were born with nothing and we will die with nothing. Of course I am talking about earthly riches. Being rich is not a sin but the "Love" of money is a transgression against God. It is not a good idea to get attached to anything in this world. James goes into another analogy about the sun with it's burning heat withers the grass and the flowers die. The beauty perishes and the rich person will die in his ways. In context James is talking about the corrupt wealthy person that does not care about God but is depending on his money to save him.

In the last verse that I will be going over the Apostle James goes back to the person that has sincerity for God. He switches his tone from hardships in trials to enduring temptation. If said Christian is tempted with sin and is in the habit of refusing to cave into transgressions this believer in Jesus Christ will receive the crown of life as a reward in heaven. The connection most Christians do not seem to understand is abstaining from sin is loving God. Let me just quote the original text so you can read this passage and perhaps make reference to it in this particular study in the Bible.

(6) "But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (7) For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. (8) A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (9) Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: (10) But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. (11) For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. (12) Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receice the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him." James 1: 6 - 12.

There is one thing essential to be understood in our asking God for His wisdom. No wavering or staggering at this promise of God through our spirit of unbelief. Our intention must be sincere and our mind should be steadfast in our Lord Jesus Christ. This is our responsibility in our afflictions because we will be like a wave tossed by the wind. Faith can lift us up but distrust can bring us down. If you ever read the entire Bible God places a high degree of having faith in Him. If a believer in Christ changes from unbelief to doubt in God this Christian is not going to have favor with God. In this context he or she can not expect wisdom from Jesus Christ in their distress which is the plan of God. If our spirit wavers and we do not have true faith in Jesus Christ this will influence our conversation in our prayer life. It is true because some intercession can be destructive. We will even be unstable in life and our responses will be evident as people observe us walk in our journey and this will reflect bad on the Person of Jesus Christ.

James makes it clear that it does not matter if you are rich or poor because both are directed on how to receive this joy and comfort from God in times of affliction. When James writes about Christians that are of low degree they are just as important as believers in Christ who have money. The only things we do that are going to last for eternity are that which we do for Jesus Christ with the right motive. I have seen some of the poorest Christians extremely rich in Jesus Christ. I have seen rich people very unhappy. There is no condition in life that puts us out of reach of rejoicing in God. If we are made low in life we are in a greater position to receive the grace of Jesus Christ through the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. If we are low that just gives us an opportunity at our prospect of our exaltation because God has a heart for these types of people.

If anything rich people according to James 1:10 -11 should be humbled because they along with their wealth are going to die. Just as the flower fades so will the rich man unless he lived his life for Jesus Christ. The rich person should rejoice but not in what God allowed him or her to possess but in the grace of Jesus Christ that keeps this person humble even or should I say especially in their high status of life. A rich powerful person in pride will be destroyed in his or her soul and will probably ruin other lives in life for eternity. I have never seen so much big money running around in the history of all mankind and with equal measure I have never seen so much sin and corruption on this earth.

There is a special blessing that is promised to those who endure their duties for the Lord along with trials. A person that just got redeemed through the shed blood of Jesus Christ right before he dies can not expect to receive the same reward as the Apostle Paul. It is not the person that grows in the Lord only when he is blessed but endures in hard times and remains faithful to God. James 1:12 says there is a crown waiting for him or her that rejoices in good times and endures in bad times. Afflictions may cause us pain but a blessing usually arises from them. It can sometimes be very difficult to keep our devotion to Jesus Christ at horrible set backs when humanly speaking in our circumstances there is just no hope but sufferings and temptations are the way to eternal blessedness.

Verse twelve says when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life because when the grace of God is found in this Christian to be authentic this is of very high worth to heaven. To give you a human analogy earthly metals are tried to their excellency by fire but in like manner the tried believer in Jesus Christ shall receive this particular crown. This is referred to in this passage as the crown of life. We only bear our cross for a season on earth in these fleshly bodies but this reward is for eternity. This is promised to a Christian living a righteous life in trials enduring to the end. When we endure trials and temptations we must continue to love Jesus Christ. To phrase this another way the crown of life is promised to believers in Jesus Christ who have the love of God reigning in their hearts. Good and bad times will come because this is the way life is but we must remain faithful to Jesus Christ.

If you are one that does not know the true Messiah who created you now may be a good time to accept Jesus Christ into your heart by repenting of all your sins and inviting the Son of God into your life. We are all going to go through good and bad times but there is something about the person that does this with allegiance to Jesus Christ. The person who does not care may get drunk but his or her problems still lie dormant in life with no real solution. Having an eternal perspective through the Person of Jesus Christ is the plan of God and according to James 1:12 we will receive a heavenly reward.

God Bless you,
Bob D.          

Monday, July 01, 2019

The Rapture

THE RAPTURE {CATCHING-AWAY} OF BELIEVERS

MEANING OF THE WORD "RAPTURE"

The "Rapture" is the name given to a Biblically revealed event in which Jesus Christ descends from Heaven, accompanied by the spirits of all the saints who have passed on prior to this event, and then the bodily remains of these saints are transported from the earth to meet the Lord and be rejoined with their corresponding spirits in the air. Immediately after this, all Christians alive on the earth are simultaneously transported to meet the Lord and those who have preceded them in the air. All are transformed into immortal bodies like Jesus' body, referred to as the "resurrection body".

"Rapture", when used in eschatological terms, is an English word used in place of the Latin word raeptius, which is taken from the Vulgate version of the Bible, which in turn is a translation of the Koine Greek word harpazo, found in the early Greek New Testament manuscripts of 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

In many modern English translations of the Bible, harpazo is translated; "caught up", or "taken away". The meaning of "harpazo"[ har-pad'-zo Koine Greek;] is= "forcibly snatched away", "taken for oneself".

THE RAPTURE WAS A HIDDEN MYSTERY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

(Gen 49:10 KJV) The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the GATHERING of the people be.

*Note: this is the only occurance of the word "Shiloh" in the OT, and means "peace". Shiloh={Heb=an epithet for the Messiah; tranquility, prospering, peace,} Also, the name "Melchizaderk", who is also a type of Christ or a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ , means "the King of Peace".

(Gen 14:18 KJV) And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.

(Heb 7:1-3 KJV) For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; {2} To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; {3} Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

THE FEAST OF "IN-GATHERING"... AN OLD TESTAMENT HINT ABOUT THE RAPTURE

(Exo 23:14-16 KJV) Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. {15} Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) {16} And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast GATHERED* in thy labours out of the field.

* The Hebrew word for "gathered" means " to receive, to take away, to take up. Jesus said:

(John 14:1-3 KJV) Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. {2} In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. {3} And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and RECEIVE you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

THE NEW TESTAMENT REVELATION OF THE RAPTURE- WHAT WAS HIDDEN IN THE OLD TESTAMENT IS CLEARLY STATED IN THE NEW

(1 Th 4:13-18 KJV) But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. {14} For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. {15} 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 {precede) them which are asleep. {16} 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: {17} 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. {18} Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

(1 Th 5:1-6 KJV) But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. {2} For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. {3} For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. {4} But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. {5} Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. {6} Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

THE RAPTURE IS ASSOCIATED WITH A CHANGE TO A HEAVENLY BODY

(1 Cor 15:49-58 KJV) And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. {50} Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. {51} Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, {52} In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. {53} For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. {54} So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. {55} O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? {56} The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. {57} But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. {58} Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

THE RAPTURE IS GOD'S PROVISION TO PROTECT BELIEVERS FROM COMING JUDGEMENT. THIS DEMONSTRATES A CONTINUING PRINCIPAL THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE

(Gen 18:25 KJV) That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

(Exo 12:7,12-13 KJV) And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses,... (12} For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. {13} And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt.

(Psa 11:4-7 KJV) The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. {5} The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. {6} Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. {7} For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.

(Psa 26:8-12 KJV) LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house and the place where thine honour dwelleth. {9} Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men: {10} In whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes. {11} But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me. {12} My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the LORD.

(Luke 17:26-30 KJV) And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. {27} They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. {28} Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; {29} But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. {30} Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

(Luke 17:34-36 KJV) I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. {35} Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. {36} Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

(Rev 3:10 KJV) Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

THE RAPTURE IS IMMINENT. ie, LIKELY TO OCCUR AT ANY MOMENT

(Mat 24:36-39 KJV) But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. {37} But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. {38} For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, {39} And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

(Mat 24:42-44 KJV) Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. {43} But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. {44} Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

(Mark 13:32-33 KJV) But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. {33} Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.

(Acts 1:6-7 KJV) When they, therefore, were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? {7} And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

(1 Th 5:2-6 KJV) For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. {3} For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. {4} But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. {5} Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. {6} Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

(Rev 3:2-3 KJV) Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. {3} Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. 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 16:15 KJV) Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

(Rev 22:20 KJV) He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.