Thursday, July 31, 2014

MIDDLE C


When Lloyd Douglas, author of The Robe and other novels, attended college, he lived in a boarding house. A retired, wheelchair-bound music professor resided on the first floor. Each morning Douglas would stick his head in the door of the teacher's apartment and ask the same question, 'Well, what's the good news?' The old man would pick up his tuning fork, tap it on the side of the wheelchair , and say, 'That's Middle C! It was Middle C yesterday; it will be Middle C tomorrow; it will be a thousand years from now. The tenor upstairs sings flat. The piano across the hall is out of tune, but, my friend, that is Middle C.'

You and I need a Middle C. Yahweh is my Middle C.

[Excerpt from Traveling Light, by Max Lucado]

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

REPENTANCE & FORGIVENESS





Repent...metanoeō...[met-an-o-eh'-o]...to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction)

Forgive...aphiēmi...[af-ee'-ay-mee]...to send forth, lay aside, leave, let (alone, be, go, have), omit, put (send) away, remit, suffer, yield up.


Many have come to the altar and sought forgiveness. Many have been forgiven. However, many of those same individuals who asked and received forgiveness did not repent. How do I know? Their lifestyles did not change. Lifestyle is chained to our heart, mind, and attitude and so is repentance. Proverbs 23:7 (KJV) says, For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...

There is repentance and forgiveness in Salvation. I changed my mind, heart, and attitude about my thoughts, actions, and words when I encountered Jesus. Then when I confessed with my mouth that "Jesus is Lord" and believed that God raised Him from the dead - I was forgiven (Romans 10:9). The whole package is commonly called getting "Saved".

This decision to activate this lifestyle allowed God to birth the new spiritual, mental, and physical creature I was meant to be in Christ. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17) "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you...that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19:21) Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24)

Continuing on in my life as a Christian, living in this imperfect body, mind, and world, I will stumble and rebel or make a mistake within my relationship with God. This does not call for me to seek Salvation once again. Making a mistake once I am a follower of Christ does not mean I have lost my Salvation. This does call for me to seek God's forgiveness of reverting back to my old ways AND then re-engage my repentance or thinking differently about my situation, confirming my stance on it with Scripture. And I have done so, a few times.

If there is something in your life you need forgiveness of, for, or from....then by all means seek God's gracious mercy and His loving kindness where you will find forgiveness, especially if you also forgive (Luke 6:37). However, don't neglect repentance after acquiring your forgiveness. Change your mind, heart, and attitude about what brought you to this point (turning 180 degrees) and you will be on your way to better understanding and better balance of Repentance & Forgiveness.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

THE CHECKLIST


What I affectionately call The Checklist is a Biblical study of a schedule of events that is to begin with the Tribulation Period in history-future. The Checklist also includes signs of the times leading up to that starting point. The Checklist is a means of reminding myself and others to continue The Watch"Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back--whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!' " (Mark 13:35-37) Matthew puts it a little more succinctly - So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:44)

Some may say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." (2 Peter 3:4) - to which I reply, "Wait for it (Him), wait for it (Him)." I know that a whole lotta waitin' has been goin' on. However, even with the Doctrine of Imminency - no signs needing to be fulfilled for the Lord's return - the frequency (number of times) and intensity (strength/overwhelmingness) of The Checklist is daunting. Entire books have been written about how close believers in Christ are to the next major, spiritual event in human history. Many Christians believe in and call this next major event the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. And as you can probably deduce from the description of The Checklist, according to Scripture, the closer we are in history to the start of The Tribulation Period, the closer we are to the Catching Away of the Saints (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). The Rapture being an event that happens suddenly and at any time (Matthew 24:36). The Tribulation Period being an event that is said to begin with the signing of a covenant with many (Daniel 9:27).

As I witness the many things, especially in Matthew 24, that I can check off my Checklist and study the Old Testament prophecies that also can be checked off, the Lord's words about the nearness of His coming start getting louder in my mind and spirit. Words like Mark 13:30 - "I tell you the truth, this generation [1948 Israel] will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened." Also Luke 21:28 comes to mind for many people - "So when all these things begin to happen, stand straight and look up, for your salvation is near!"

So, while Believers wait and watch I have a question for you straight from Christ Himself. "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. (Matthew 24:45-47)

Now was that really a question? Have you ever been asked a question, especially by your parents, that the questioner knew the answer to? Here we have a classic example of that. Plus, God provides the answer within the question as well as supplies an actual answer. I can clearly hear the Lord clearing His throat and saying something like "Ahem" before asking this question. A verbal cue to pay attention - He wants us to be that faithful and wise servant in charge of the Body of Christ (servants in his household) to give them edifying words, teaching, encouragement, and support OR "food" at the appropriate time [Pritchard Paraphrase]. The Lord continues in His actual answer - The things I just mentioned, would be good for you to be doing when I return. For if you are a faithful and wise servant administering edification at the proper time then I will put you in charge of all my possessions [Pritchard Paraphrase]. A serious responsibility with an awesome reward - promotion of responsibility. We are in His Service and should desire to give back with every waking breath we have.

It is great to be on The Watch, but I encourage you to be busy about the Lord's work while you check The Checklist.

Monday, July 28, 2014

CHRISTIANS, DO YOUR PART


I encourage you brothers and sisters in Christ to fulfill your role in the Great Commission - "Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)

For me this verse is loaded with encouraging, juicy tidbits. So, I would like to pass them on to you. For instance, right out of the gate Jesus took the time to actually come to them and love, encourage, teach, and instruct the disciples - "Then Jesus came to them and said,..."

Then it gets even better, the Lord started off His highly encouraging Commission with the Why for the rest of His instruction - "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." This statement was and is very comforting and reassuring no matter what follows and I feel sure that was the intention.

After this there was a "Therefore" and anytime there is a "Therefore" you must ask what is it there for? In this case, because of the victory believers have in Christ's authority through Calvary and The Resurrection, followers of Christ are to go into all the nations of the world and make disciples of Christ, "baptizing them [as an outward and inward sign] in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,". Plus, we must have some teachers in the Church teaching these new disciples because Christ continues - "teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you". Teaching what? Things that the body of Christ should already know and practice - "everything I have command you"

The last juicy tidbit of this passage from Jesus ends with Him encouraging believers that we will never be without His presence in our lives - And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

I want you to also notice that Jesus did not commission any well-learned Pharisees or Sadducees or teacher of the law. Jesus did not wait for His disciples to earn a degree in theology from King Solomon's Temple University. To common men and women, with common life issues, and a need for the Messiah in their life - Christ came, they believed, and were then sent out to spread the Good News.

If you are common like I am and the disciples were, then in your witnessing to others, whether it is using your testimony, the prophetic events of the day, or the salvation message straight from the hip - remember - If they choose not to [accept Christ as their Savior], that is their decision. And they are not really silencing Christians or silencing God in their lives, they are silencing themselves at the Judgment....If they don’t listen, it is their decision and it is not your fault. Don’t think of them as though they are going to die in the future. Think of them as though they are already dead and God is really giving them a chance to live. When they stand before Him there will be no acceptable excuses for ignoring His will. [http://www.raptureready.com/featured/duck/dd127.html]

I would add to this comment by Dr. Daymond Duck a perspective I have mentioned before. All the souls of the world were lost, but through Christ they have been found, saved, and/or redeemed. The world is saved, they are just walking in blindness to it. You have got to see something in order to reject it. So, I encourage you expose people so that they at least see Jesus. Tell or at least show your family, friends, co-workers, and divine appointments The Good News and as Christians, you will have kept up your end of your Godly relationship to Do Your Part.

Excerpt From THE AMAZING BOOK OF NUMBERS

The saga of Balaam and Balak is a prophetic tale of the gentile church. Balaam is a gentile. He is a spiritual man; in fact he's a God-fearer; that is he absolutely believes in and pays attention to the God of Israel. He hears from the God of Israel and knows the God of Israel. Yet he cannot bring himself to dismiss his long heritage of gentile traditions and customs that are so at odds with the Torah and other Scriptural commands of Yehoveh.

Balaam is an amazing model of the gentile dominated Church. Do you see it? The mainstream institutional Church says that Israel no longer has a glorious future, instead that glorious future now belongs to the gentile Church. The most ubiquitous and accepted Church doctrines say that God has abandoned Israel, rejected His people for all time, cursed them and blessed we gentile Believers in their stead. And the Church is so horribly wrong on this.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is utter self-destructive foolishness to think that we can do anything but work to actively bless Israel. Believers have not always had a clear-cut opportunity to do so, but we do now. Israel was not reborn as a nation until a mere 60 years ago, so there was no nation of Israel to love and defend. Obviously during the centuries of Jewish dispersion (especially prior to the rebirth of Israel) it should have been the Church's unequivocal duty to stand with them and befriend those Jewish families when they needed us the most, but we did not.

We must never assist or lend moral support and thus strengthen Israel's sworn enemies (as Balaam intended to do) and call it even handed or loving and kind, and think that somehow this is not cursing Israel. Balaam wasn't going to personally harm Israel, he was merely going to assist Israel's enemy (Moab) and then go home. God told him that if he did, He'd have to kill him.

We can't send supplies and money to the Palestinians, or apply political pressure upon Israel on their behalf, and then somehow claim that the God of the Bible sanctions this as a worthy and holy cause. We must not join with the secular word to push Israel into dividing the land that was covenanted to them by the Lord, or insist that Israel deed to the Muslims as their capital the very place our Messiah will again set foot when He returns from Heaven, or allow Islam to maintain a pagan shrine and worship center where the Temple of God once existed and will again, and then say that because our heartfelt intent is peace therefore doing all these things must be right in Our Lord's eyes.

If Balaam can wake up and see the light, then so can the Church. If Balaam can finally understand that Israel is not like the gentile nations, that God is not a human who changes his mind, that when he makes a promise or a covenant He will fulfill it and that the Lord Himself will curse anyone who curses His special people, Israel, then so can our brethren finally understand that. Let's do our part to see to it that it happens, soon.

Source:  http://www.raptureready.com/soap2/sylvester42.html

Thursday, July 24, 2014

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE


Pride has increased over the years in humanity to the point where boasting about something doesn't mean we need to be right, just seen - vanity. To some being right is the point of the boast. To other people if they are right, great, but they just want the spotlight - if for just a moment. 

I have only heard and read one thing that is worth boasting about - salvation through Jesus Christ. Of course there are many other benefits to boast about after deciding to follow Christ that are still because of Him, but the first is the actual acceptance of His sacrificial, redemptive gift of life by grace through faith.

Paul was inspired to write, in particular, something on this topic twice - once in his first letter to the church in Corinth and second in his second letter to the same church.
  • Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:31)
  • But, "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." (2 Corinthians 10:17)
Actually, Paul had much to say about this subject. However, I will limit it to a handful of key verses. Staying at the church in Corinth, I like how Paul gets right to the spirit of boasting and giving it a spiritual black eye
  • What makes you better than anyone else? What do you have that God hasn't given you? And if all you have is from God, why boast as though you have accomplished something on your own? (1 Corinthians 4:7)
Paul mentions the most important thing that he should ever boast in is his salvation through Christ.
  • May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14)
The plan of salvation was set up so that humanity would recognize "no one can boast". The Old Testament in short is a testimony to laws and regulations that God laid down for perfect, righteous living, but that no one could ever fulfill. The New Testament in short is about a person, Jesus Christ, who came from God and as God's Son to fulfill that impossible lifestyle of perfect, righteous living and be sacrificed for believers to live a new lifestyle - a way of the Spirit.
  • For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
However, not only did Paul speak to the root of boasting and the most important thing we should boast about, but he also added a certain boast that keeps believers moving forward in the faith and intrigues many others - the Lord's return. In this next verse it is described as "the hope of which we boast". What else does the Christian have to look forward to? The Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). The Translation of our bodies (1 Corinthians 15:51-55). The hope of which we boast.
  • But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. (Hebrews 3:6)
Although at first it does not sound logical, there is one more thing that boasting is good for - our weaknesses. I know, right? I don't exactly go around to everybody saying, "I am so weak in that area or this area of my work/home life." Yet, just these kinds of things are going to be our testimony. Our weaknesses come after the "Therefore" in this next verse. Beforehand we have the promise that God's unmerited favor, His grace, is sufficient or adequate for the purpose and the display of His power perfectly showcased in our weaknesses. Paul says, 
  • But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthains 12:9-10)
The Christian music group - Phillips, Craig, and Dean - sing a song entitled "How Deep The Father's Love For Us". The second half of the song goes like this - 

"I will not boast in anything
Nor gifts, nor power, nor wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom"

Christians, when you start speaking to others, start some of your sentences with "The Lord has...." instead of "I......" and practice knowing thy source, boasting in The Lord, and giving Credit Where Credit Is Due.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

AN EMOTIONAL GOD (The Emotions of Jesus Christ)

Of all the emotions I could rattle off to begin describing God like - joy, happiness, wonder, closeness, patience, appreciation, and hope - there is one that comes to my mind first. Love. 1 John 4:8 identifies God as love and goes even a step further and tells us that - "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." 

The Holy Spirit reminds me to emulate this loving existence through the penmanship of Paul.
  • If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.......And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 13)
However, there is another emotion that is often associated with God, in particular God's Son. The Son of God was thoroughly familiar with grief. Christ Jesus had such a grasp on this emotion that He was labeled as "a man of sorrows" in Isaiah 53:3. In that same verse, right after those words we read that Jesus would have and did have personal experience with suffering. The rest reads - "and familiar with suffering". Some versions use the word "acquainted" for familiar. Suffering came to Him to find relief through healing and deliverance. Then suffering came to Him when He was beaten in the Praetorium and laid down His own life upon the Old Rugged Cross. However, grief and love were not the only emotions that Jesus experienced and I thank God for that.

Jesus was passionate or excited in Matthew 4:10 and 16:23 as He addressed Satan. If you couldn't tell it by the words He used, just take a look at the punctuation - an exclamation mark - and you get the emotion. In Matthew 8:10, Matthew actually records Jesus being astonished or amazed at the display of such great faith. Then over in Mark 6:6 Jesus is amazed at the exact opposite - their lack of faith. Jesus expressed compassion (Matthew 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; 20:34), sarcasm (Matthew 15:16), thankfulness (Matthew 15:36), disgust (Matthew 16:17), irritation (Matthew 21:18-19), appreciation (Matthew 26:10-13), sorrow or distress (Matthew 26:37-38), holy anger (Mark 10:14 and Matthew 21:12-13), betrayal (Matthew 26:20-25), being forsaken (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34), approved (an inferred emotion in Mark 1:11), aggravation or frustration (Matthew 17:14-18), love (agapo style - to love in a social/moral sense in Mark 10:21), and not pleased (Mark 16:14). And of course He was grieved or moved from time to time. One instance being the death of His cousin, John the Baptist (Matthew 14:13).

I show you Christ's emotions, who is one with Father God, to set before you Father God's heart which was on display some two thousand years ago in the flesh and now dwells within each true believer. Why do I grandstand Father God's heart through Jesus? Because no other god of any other faith has come in human form and experienced all the emotions that all of us have....and did not sin. Jesus Christ experienced these emotions perfectly and responded to them perfectly SO THAT we might find help in Him when they come our way. He is not just a man of sorrows. Yes, He was familiar or acquainted with grief but He knows and is the Master of all the other emotions as well.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

AUTHORITY


Authority - it is a position for the disagreeable to blame and the rest of us to trust. When something is wrong in the world many point the finger at the Authority Figures of the World. For the trusting souls the authority on a matter is someone who can supply truth, advice, fix something, and/or heal something or someone. When things have gone wrong in our society many times we say "The Authorities are working to resolve the situation."

Authority has power and responsibility that carry with it a weight behind it's purpose which declares it possesses a Seal of Approval from a Higher Power. This is my own definition I managed as I viewed Jesus in His role of authority.

Authority in the original Greek is the word exousia (ex-oo-see'-ah) meaning privilege, that is, (subjectively) force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (objectively) mastery (concretely magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence: - authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength.

Authority has to come from someone greater than yourself. Even though Jesus said He was one with His Father, The Word of God, as flesh, said, "the Father is greater than I." (John 14:28) This is confirmed in Philippians 2:6-8 and Hebrews 2:9.

As I studied authority in the life of Jesus, I noticed He taught as one who had the right and jurisdiction - meaning no-one else could and it was Right in His Ballpark. 
  • the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. - Matthew 7:28-29
I also read where He healed with authority (Matthew 9:6), delegated with authority (Matthew 10:1), rebuked with authority (Mark 1:27), declared with authority (Matthew 28:18), and was certainly questioned about His authority (Matthew 21:23-27).

However, what made Jesus special to me was that He proved His authority and subsequent authentic relationship with Father God through self-sacrifice and self-resurrection.
  • Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?" Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple [meaning His body], and I will raise it again in three days." - John 2:18-19
  • No one takes it [His life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father." - John 10:18
Jesus had and stills has the right, strength, power, liberty, freedom, and privilege to do anything. However, His authority will always be lined-up and supported by the will of God the Father.

Where does your authority lie? The Holy Spirit of Christ is promised to dwell within the Believer who asks for that dynamite power to live within. And with the Holy Spirit's leading and proper lifestyle Believers should be able to really capitalize on Ephesians 2:6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus... Wow! Believers have a seat of strength, of power, of liberty, of freedom, of privilege, and righteousness of Christ - with Christ to take Authority. Christians spiritually bear His signet ring wherever they go.



The enemy does not want you to hear/read this today. He desires with all of his black heart for you to stay defeated. Don't believe the lies of defeatism. Christ Jesus paid too high a price for His believers to wallow in a cistern of unbelief, weakness, and ineffectiveness. Believe in His Victory! Believe in Your Redeemed Relationship with Him! Believe in His Authority! Believe in His Authority in you and through you!

Monday, July 21, 2014

THE LESSER BEING

Daniel's Visit from Gabriel

I can understand a healthy study of the Holy angels of Scripture. I should, I have sensed their presence in my life and have even written a book about them - Angels:  More Than Messengers.  However, it baffles me sometimes to see the sheer amount of fascination with angels as opposed to the Creator who created them. John, while he was on the Isle of Patmos, experienced this challenge. Twice John had to be instructed by the visiting angel not to worship him but God alone (Revelation 19:10 and 22:9). But it is not only John. I have witnessed non-Christians and Christians alike who over-emphasize the glorification of these beings in their life instead of God. "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen." (Romans 1:25

Contact with these beings should only be one direction - them to us. Prayer is a sacred, powerful form of communication for the believer in Christ to pray to Christ, not angels. Humanity's salvation was not purchased by an angel but redeemed by Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Son of the Most High God. If Christ Jesus, the angelic Captain, Commander, and Master decides to use an angel to answer prayer, then that is His prerogative. For instance, Daniel was told twice upon angelic visitations that "As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you,..." (Daniel 9:20-23 and 10:10-13). Notice, however, Daniel was not praying to Gabriel who visited, but to His God from whom all blessings flow! Prayer to God is fuel by which an angel moves only by the command of the Captain of the Hosts should He decide the situation warrants an angelic touch.

Before The Word of God put on flesh and became Jesus the Messiah, one of His titles was and now continues to be - Lord of Hosts. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for Hosts is tsaba tsebaah (tsaw-baw, tseb-aw-aw) and is found in 1 Samuel 1:3 among other places. In the New Testament, the Greek word for Hosts is sabaoth (sab-ah-owth) and is found in Romans 9:29. Both of these words mean many armies. So the phrase could be interpreted as - Master of many armies!

In Joshua 5:14 there is another phrase that is used to describe Christ's supremacy over the angels - Captain/Commander of the host of the Lord/the army of the Lord. In Hebrew the word for Captain/Commander is sar meaning head person or master of any rank or class.

So, why would anyone, especially the believer in Christ, desire to contact, pray, or worship a lesser being than God? That is the question.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

AN OPPORTUNE TIME

Temptation and persecution, they are a sure thing especially if you are a true believer in Jesus Christ. Matthew 4:3 mentions the devil by one of his many names - "tempter". Christ was tempted. With a fallen angel that does nothing but go around stealing, killing, and destroying God's people and creation - Christians will be tempted too. Christians will also be persecuted because Jesus said, If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. (John 15:20)

Studying the Temptation of Jesus in Luke 4:1-13 there was something that jumped out at me today that spurred this warning. In this account, having just been filled full of the Holy Spirit, Jesus approaches His 40-day fast in the desert with the enemy of our soul as company. It was not a social call. For our sake Jesus was lead there to be tempted (v.1).

Jesus overcame every obstacle the devil threw at Him with The Written Word of God, which was really the Word of God Himself in flesh - Jesus. So, Jesus was basically quoting Himself (catch that one?). With this Jesus exemplifies how Christians are to combat our times of temptations, whether in a desert or not. We are to declare what God inspired Scripture has said about a certain situation praying that we do not take it out of context.

The other shoe that I am going to drop now comes in the form of the last verse of this passage on the Temptation of Jesus - When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. (v.13)

Allow me to bring to your memory some of those other "opportune times" the devil visited Jesus. 
When Jesus spoke to Satan in or through Peter.
  • Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." (Matthew 16:23)
When Jesus told Peter that Satan had asked to sift him.
  • "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. (Luke 22:31)
When Judas Iscariot was in-dwelt by Satan himself to betray Jesus.
  • Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present. (Luke 22:3-6)
Notice how in the last sentence of this last passage (Luke 22:3-6), Satan, now in Judas, is still watching for another opportunity. With all my heart, I encourage you with Peter's penmanship - Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) Scripture is filled with charges to guard yourself, especially against the devil's schemes, which in the original Greek is mind games (Ephesians 6:11). So, don't be the one the devil is "looking for someone to devour", don't be An Opportune Time.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

THIS WICKED GENERATION.....MAKING A DIFFERENCE

It really is interesting how after the umpteenth time that I read the Scriptures a fresh idea jumps right off the pages and hits me square in the brain and spirit. Reading all four Gospels the other day I noticed that as soon as Jesus stepped on the scene with the starting of His ministry many people flocked to Him for healing. His heart of compassion was absolutely incredible! However, what really stood out to me was the sheer amount of demon-possessed individuals that were either brought to Him for healing or that Jesus encountered and healed on His journey.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke made sure that I got this image. Mark and Luke retell some of the same accounts as Matthew. Luke, being a physician, describes the events in a little more detail for us who desire more specifics. So, with these three harmonizing on this subject I concluded this was a confirmation of a great study.

References that can be looked at for this topic are - Matthew 4:24, 8:16, 8:28-33, 9:32-33, 12:22, 15:21-28, and 17:14-20 [which was a lesson taught to His disciples on this subject].

Now I would like to mention some things that caught my attention in those passages above.

In Matthew 4:24 I was amazed to find just how far people were coming with their sick, demon-possessed and their faith to seek healing from Jesus in the area of Galilee. Syria is a big chunk of land and a long way to travel. This verse says, News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them

In Matthew 8:16 the scene is a visit by Jesus to Peter's house. After healing Peter's mother-and-law the Scripture records that the amount of demon-possessed which were brought to Jesus at one time were "many". I thought physical conditions were bad back then, whew, the spiritual climate was worse than terrible. But Jesus "healed all" and the next verse states another reason, besides compassion, He healed - This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases." (v.17)

The accounts of Matthew 9:32-33 and 12:22 are interesting. Both, at face value, associate not being able to speak with demon-possession. I wonder how the public or at least Matthew could tell the man was demon-possessed ASIDE from not being able to talk. Was the man violent? Was he murderous? Scripture is silent. What is pointed out - "when the demon was driven out [by Jesus], the man who had been mute spoke." And in the 12:22 verse the man could both speak and see after Jesus healed him.

Jesus' encounter with the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:21-28 was almost a time when a healing of a demon-possessed person did not happen. This woman had evidently been pestering the disciples and finally caught up with Jesus and cried out to Him for mercy, which in the original Greek is translated compassion. Interesting reaction by Jesus - He doesn't say a word. That is when His disciples jumped in and encouraged - You gotta do something about this yellin' woman, Master. [Pritchard Paraphrase] Jesus finally decides to speak and says to the woman, "I was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel." When we are desperate and we are parents, we drop to our knees quickly. The next verse pictures the woman as such - The woman came and knelt before him. And persisting with her plea she cries out again - "Lord, help me!" The Lord then goes on to describe a social, cultural, and spiritual gap between the Jews and the Canaanites which questioned His aid for her in the first place - He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." Wow! Jesus equated, at the least, the Canaanite women as low as the Jew's dogs - "their dogs"! The woman's response is seasoned with faith and because of that Jesus said He would grant her request to have compassion. The woman had responded - "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."

The thing of note for Matthew 17:14-20 was why the disciples could not perform the healing of this demon-possessed child. Matthew records Jesus saying, "Because you have so little faith." (v.20). In Mark 9:29, the same story has Jesus blaming it on the use of prayer - "This kind can come out only by prayer." Two different words used for the explanation of this occurrence, even in the original Greek - faith and prayer. You have to combine the two. The disciples evidently tried to work this out on very little faith, but needed to have had great faith and prayer saturation in this situation.

There is a message that the enemy does not want you to hear or even moreso does not want you to live out. As true believers in Christ we are empowered to make a difference physically, mentally, and spiritually in peoples lives, SO THAT all people are drawn unto God through Christ. Here are some encouraging and empowering Scriptures to lean and/or rely on for this lifestyle of making a difference:
  • ...greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
  • I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)
  • But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)
If you are worried about what to say to our own wicked generation, recall Jesus' encouraging words in Luke - "When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say." (Luke 12:11-12)

Alright, it is time to be a vessel of healing. It is time to be a minister of God's favor. It is time to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, and to release the oppressed, because you have been anointed in This Wicked Generation to Make A Difference (Luke 4:18). Therefore, Go.

Monday, July 14, 2014

SELF-PRESERVATION vs. SELF-SACRIFICE

Samuel Butler said, "Self-preservation is the first law of nature." I add, it is a personal mechanism used to protect one's chances of advancing in life. Society calls it survival-of-the-fittest. This mentality and strategy places the burden squarely on the one seeking the preservation and leaves no room for God and His self-sacrificing strategy of life.

There are times in the life of Jesus that He taught about self-sacrifice. Then Jesus went on to be the perfect example of what He taught. Meanwhile, He saw self-preservation reveal itself many times until His last breath. For example...

A teacher of the Law and a disciple approached Jesus on the cost of following Him (Matthew 8:18-22). To the both of these men Jesus explained in other words that they were waiting for what seemed to be that just right moment to follow Him. What was needed was a self-sacrificial decision to follow Jesus no matter the family situation, travel accommodations, or housing arrangements. Then with their heart and attitude in the right place He could help them better with all of their burdens. Self-sacrifice is best served right now. I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. - 2 Corinthians 6:2

A rich, young man learned the cost of eternal life and was not willing to sacrifice his self-preservation (Matthew 19:16-22). The rich young man had no issue with the commandments Jesus listed (v.18-19) The rich, young man probably did not have a problem with following Jesus. What he did have issue with was the first part of Jesus' equation for his situation - sell your possessions and give to the poor and you will have treasure in Heaven. Even with the reward of treasure in heaven, the cost of eternal life was not worth his self-sacrifice, especially not worth sacrificing his wealth. When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.(v.22) Let us decide to make financial self-sacrifices where appropriate while following the Lord and store up treasure in heaven, then we will be "perfect"(v.21) or complete according to the original Greek.

I know if my focus gets off of my Savior and into the self-preservation mode of things I start to worry. And I know I am not the only one because the Lord taught about the cost of worrying in Matthew 6:25-34. Jesus raises one question in particular that is enough to calm me down - Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? The Lord's ways to a healthy appreciation for things is to first - do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' (v.31). Instead, sacrifice worry and - seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (v.33) There is such a thing as a healthy concern for something. However, the Lord's instruction is to stop being overly concerned, anxious, or worried about self-preservation and develop an attitude of self-sacrifice to Jehovah Jireh, The Lord Our Provider by seeking Him first.

Talk about a bold individual, talk about family and self-preservation and we are taking about - the mother of the Zebedee sons. She requested of Jesus - "Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom." (Matthew 20:21) Among about four responses Christ gives, Jesus says, "You don't know what you are asking" (v.22) and "These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father." (v.23). Plus this upsets the other ten disciples greatly. I don't know much, but humility and/or self-sacrificing of one's goals and dreams to God is what the Holy Spirit taught me through her story.

The leaders of Judaism in this day had long-been in the condition of self-preservation. They used Yahweh as a "cover" for their social, political, and religious position in the community for the sake of honor, prestige, and pride. A real big indicator that God's Priesthood, Temple included, had become a Social Club was when "the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue." (John 9:22) Individuals were disassociated from an association (the synagogue) because of an association (with Jesus). They corrupted their wisdom due to the reasoning of their splendor. Sound familiar? Somebody else had that problem too - Lucifer. Noted in Ezekiel 28:17, God explains the details of Lucifer's mistake to the fallen angel - Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. 

In the end, self-preservation personified (Caiaphas) met self-sacrifice personified (Jesus Christ of Nazareth) in a secret Sanhedrin trial. Caiaphas asked Jesus one important question - "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" (Mark 14:61) Jesus replied, "I am" and then elaborated, "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."  Caiaphas tore his robe, labeled Jesus a blasphemer, and called for Jesus' death after receiving his "I am" answer from Jesus. Why this adamant about Jesus? Reportedly, there were many prior to Jesus of Nazareth who called themselves the Christ, the Messiah, Savior of Israel, but their actions did not amount to anything Jesus had accomplished. Little would Caiaphas know that he could not stop this Jesus of Nazareth from fulfilling every letter of prophecy about the Christ, especially His resurrection. However, up to this point the last three and a half years, Caiaphas has heard nothing but wonderful things from God pouring from Jesus to the local community. And Caiaphas and his buddies wanted to kill this Goodness? Self-preservation in full motion.

As the saying goes - "Misery loves company." - and the Pharisees, Sadducees, and teachers of the Law were certainly miserable concerning Jesus. So, they shared their misery with Governor Pilate. At this time in Jewish history, Jewish law forbade the people from executing anyone (John 18:31). So, they used the political side of things to activate Pilate's self-preservation mode of operation. ...Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, "If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar. (John 19:12) Ah, politics, one of the many tentacles of self-preservation.

Even before Jesus stood before Caiaphas and answered The Big Question, Jesus had responded to the inquiry earlier (John 10:24-26; John 10:38; John 14:11). But it was not time to sacrifice Himself yet and the Pharisees were scared of the people's response. True, the Pharisees were not Jesus' "sheep". Because they loved their own positions and traditions they viewed Jesus' power and popularity as a threat. Interesting that of all people, the "priests" were not ready for God to be in their lives - literally or spiritually. Not a good combination for self-sacrifice, but excellent ingredients for self-preservation. Read as Jesus explained to the Pharisees and teachers of the law their problem.
  • "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men." And he said to them: "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.' But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban' (that is, a gift devoted to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that." (Mark 7:8-13)
Switching gears...there were a few examples of self-sacrifice that Jesus witnessed. The scene involving the woman with the alabaster jar in Mark 14:3-9 shows Jesus a little upset at His disciples as He says - "Leave her alone....She did what she could." Self-sacrifice gets honored with Christ's protection and approval of her personal expression.

Mary and Martha. Here is my take - it is not that Martha did not like, possibly love, listening to Jesus, even spending most of her time just hanging out in His presence. However, Jesus was visiting her house and the the Scripture says - Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.(v.40)  Martha, herself, confessed - my sister has left me to do the work by myself. Evidently Martha was so distraught that Jesus had to call her name twice and then explained what was wrong with her, what the answer was, that Mary had chosen correctly in this instance and it will not be taken away from her
  • "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
Sometimes our definition of self-sacrifice does not line-up with what God has in mind at the time. Sometimes what to sacrifice is a learning process (Martha) other times we will know (Mary).

John the Baptist with his life of serving as "a voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.' " (Mark 1:3) paints an awesome picture of self-sacrifice. Here is a life dedicated to God's kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. A special child since before conception, God had his hand on this life in order to usher in or properly introduce the life of His only Son - Jesus. Even though John's self-sacrificing service cost him his head, Jesus said about His cousin - I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (Matthew 11:11) Wow! Do you want your praise to come from God? A self-sacrificing lifestyle is in order.

The widow's offering in Mark 12:31-44 is another great example of self-sacrifice. a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins [into the temple treasury], worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others [the contributing crowd, especially the contributing rich]. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on. Jesus is watching. I could just end it there, but He is watching what we sacrifice and how we sacrifice - everything about our self-sacrifice - and He understands.

Saving the best for last - The Word of God as Jesus, the ultimate self-sacrifice! The Word of God, the creative agent of the Trinity has always been a part of God. God's Word became Jesus when He put on flesh. I struggle grasping the full measure of Christ's sacrifice. An eternal God placing His Word in the form of something He created. But the Scriptures grant me a peek at the top of the iceberg called Christ's Self-Sacrifice.

Philippians 2:6-8
being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

Hebrews 2:9
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Isaiah 53 (look it up and read the whole chapter)

Michael English wrote an appropriate song for this message - "There's Not A Crown Without A Cross". Jesus promised that if you choose the benefits that come with following Him, there will be a cross for you to bear first (Matthew 10:38). Self-sacrifice means entrusting your life and self-preservation to God. Jesus said it like this - whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:39) Humans are not self-sacrificial by nature, we look out for number one - ourselves - self-preservation. So, in this battle of self-preservation verses self-sacrifice, I encourage you to place self on the shelf daily and God will see and honor that decision.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?

What’s The Meaning Of This?

At first glance, having a 1000 year interlude between the Age of Man and Eternity doesn’t make sense. But on reflection, I think that it may be natural man’s last, best, chance to prove himself to God.

Through out history we’ve had the evil workings of the devil to contend against, but all during the Millennium the devil will be imprisoned [Rev.20:2]. Without him to tempt them can man behave in a manner pleasing to God?

We’ve also had the bad influence of unbelievers, but at the beginning of the Millennium all unbelievers will be taken away [Matt. 25:41-46]. Will that make it possible for man to please God?

For the last 2000 years the Lord has been absent from the planet. When He returns to become their King [Eze. 43:6-7] will His presence among them enable man to please Him?

Sadly, the answer to all these questions is a resounding no. Even with Satan bound, no more unbelievers, and the in person rule of the Lord Himself, there’s still enough sin in the hearts of natural man that as soon as Satan is freed, man will join him in a final rebellion against God. The Millennium is the seventh and final test, proving that there is no circumstance or condition in which natural man can behave in a manner acceptable to a Holy God.

If you haven’t done so lately, give thanks to God that you came into the world during the Age of Grace, where the righteousness of God has been imputed to you by faith (Romans 3:21-24) making you forever perfect in His sight (Hebrews 10:12-14). Your inheritance of eternal life has been guaranteed (Ephes. 1:13-14) as the example in ages yet to come of the incomparable riches of God’s Grace expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:7), with no other requirement than to believe in the one He has sent (John 6:28-29). Such a thing has never happened before and will never happen again. 

07-05-14

(by Jack Kelly - http://www.raptureready.com/featured/kelley/jack324.html)

Monday, July 7, 2014

THE ORCHESTRATIONS OF A SPECIFIC GOD

The orchestrations of God are specific for His Glory. Christians serve and are friends with a specific God.

Some examples of God being specific with His children are -
  1. Abram's departure from home
  2. Ananias used to heal Paul
  3. Philip enlightens the eunuch
  4. Cornelius and Peter receive preparatory words
Abram's Departure From Home
In Genesis 12:1-3 The Lord tells Abram - (1) leave your country, (2) leave your people, (3) leave your father's household, and (4) go to the land I will show you. Thankfully, the Lord gives Abram the why right behind this direction. God says, (1) I will make you into a great nation, (2) I will bless you, (3) I will make your name great, (4) you will be a blessing, (5) I will bless those who bless you, (6) I will curse those who curse you, and (7) all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

Notice God does the work, He does the "making into a great nation", the "blessing", the "making the name great", the "cursing", and the causing to be a blessing. All of this because of the next nine words -
  • So Abram left, as the LORD had told him. 
Obedience. Kudos to Abram. Just because there was a plan in place does not mean it was not hard on him to follow-through. However, with a specific plan we at least know where all parties stand.
Ananias Used To Heal Paul
In Acts 9:10-12 Scripture records that - (1) God calls Ananias by name, (2) God tells whose house He wants Ananias to visit ("the house of Judas"), (3) God supplies the address ("on Straight Street"), (4) God then tells Ananias what to do at that location by supplying him with gender, hometown, name, and what his target is doing at that moment. ("ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying"), (5) God informs Ananias that Saul knows he is coming, what he is going to do, and the reason for his coming ("In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.")
Notice once again that God arranges everything and notifies Ananias that He wants to activate him into service. However, in this instance the response is not an immediate act of obedience. In fact the response is a careful pause and inquiry to the Lord about this Saul person who has been persecuting the Christians to the point of imprisonment (Acts 9:13-14).

But God is patient and understanding of Ananias and his concern and supplies a respectable answer (Acts 9:15-16). The only thing left to do for Ananias, for any of us at this point, is to "Go" or obey. Ananias did just that. Saul was healed, baptized, regained his strength and a wonderful, powerful man of God started his Christian journey (Acts 9:17-19).

Philip Enlightens The Eunuch
In the testimony of another man, Philip was in northern Israel, in the city of Samaria proclaiming the message of Christ (Acts 8:5). He was visited by an angel of the Lord who said to him - "Go south to the road--the desert road--that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." (Acts 8:26). The next verse is the declaration of obedience through Philip's actions and a continuation of the story -
  • So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch,.....This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it." Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. 
All Philip had to do was place one foot in front of the other - "he started out" - and God orchestrated a specific encounter that resulted in the Ethiopian eunuch becoming a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and being baptized (Acts 8:36-38). First, Philip heard the specific instruction from an angel of where to go and he began his journey. Then not long after Philip started he heard The Holy Spirit speak to him about next steps and notice what Philip's response was - "Then Philip ran...". How much more should we execute God's commands to us with haste when we hear His voice of instruction.

Cornelius And Peter Receive Preparatory Words
In Acts 10:3-6 Cornelius, a God-fearing centurion in the Italian Regiment was visited by an angel and given specific guidance to - (1) What - "send men to Joppa", (2) Why - "to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter", and (3) Where - "He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea."
Meanwhile, in Joppa, Peter has a revelation of who the Good News is for - the Clean/Unclean Vision (Acts 10:9-16). After Peter's vision and encounter with The Holy Spirit, the men from Cornelius arrive at Peter's house and because of God's specific orchestrations Peter and Cornelius meet a couple of days later with the result of Cornelius's household being saved, baptized with the Holy Spirit and with water (Acts 10:23-48).

Concluding Thoughts
The image of Father God as a puppeteer in our lives is weak. The strings are not there because we have free will. Instead God supplies strong encouragement, instruction or outright commands to move His "chess pieces" or us. The thing with God is that it is all about relationship(s). We relate to other "chess pieces" as God aligns us with them. God arranges the specific meeting and sooner or later His glory is revealed through the result.

All of the examples above showcase God's intimate involvement in the lives of people He wanted seen placed together. Abram with his land and a larger family. Ananias with Saul/Paul to provide healing and start Paul's ministry. Philip with the Eunuch to enrich the eunuch's reading of the Scriptures, which had become history. And Cornelius with Peter to supply Cornelius with the Good News of Christ and adjust a mis-perception held by Peter.

Christians have been encouraged to be specific with God, especially in prayer (Matt. 5:44; Eph. 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17; James 5:13-14; Matt. 6:6; Matt. 6:9; Luke 18:1). However, God is also specific with us. The reward is great and often comes in the form of a lesson in maturing in the Lord. When He is specific, we need to listen and obey for we are living with The Orchestrations Of A Specific God.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

UNTIL THE FULL NUMBER IS IN

I have to be honest with myself and with you - just as Islam has the notion of desiring chaos to reign in the world SO THAT their Messiah or Mahadi will arrive on the scene, I desire to do what I can, even though I know it makes no difference, to speed the coming of My Lord and Savior - Jesus Christ!

Like I stated, I realize Christ's return for His church, body, bride, or true believers is Not Dependent on anything I or anybody else does. We all know this thought as the teaching of Imminency - an impending action likely to occur at any moment. However, there is still part of me that wants to help fulfill Mark 13:10 and/or Matthew 24:14.
  • And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14
For the sake of Christ and the extension of His Kingdom, I have shared The Good News abroad in the world, abroad in the United States, and locally. The note of interest here is that the majority of those times Matthew 24:14 nor Mark 13:10 and it's promise came to mind. Just the fact I was pouring out God's compassion as Jesus once did by the lakes and on the mountainsides of Israel many years ago - is what I found driving me at the end of the day.

When I look at the life of Jesus, He was the same. He knew His death, burial, and resurrection was coming but He allowed that to happen in Father God's Timing. Men tried to take His life several times before He reached Calvary, but to no avail. When God has a plan for your life and you are dialed-in to it, God will see you and the plan through to completion (Philippians 1:6). Meanwhile, Jesus loved on people. He had compassion on their circumstances and situations and many times ALL who sought healing were healed.

As one who is an End-Time enthusiast, watcher, and lover of Christ's coming - I have found myself lately with an increased burden for the eternal souls of those who are not on the Heavenbound Train. I imagine my God of Justice - eternally blessing the Redeemed wherever He is and eternally punishing or torturing the Damned. To ponder eternity damned to an existence of torture, punishment, and banishment from God's presence - does anyone need anymore fuel for the preaching/teaching of The Gospel? 
  • And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur,where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)
  • If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)
The timing and fulfillment of prophetic events is exciting! I watch! Meanwhile, I try to show God's unyielding love "until the full number of the Gentiles has come in." (Romans 11:25)