Posts Tagged ‘temporal’

The Imminent Return of Christ

October 17th, 2017

Jesus’ promise to return should shape the life you live.

 “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ.”  Titus 2:13 NKJV

My thoughts and comments today are about, “The Imminent Return of Christ.”

I have noticed and become concerned about how seldom the imminent return of Christ is taught from the pulpit or is a matter of joyful conversation among Believers. Much else is taught and talked about from the pulpit it seems, but little is said about eternity and the urgency of our preparedness for that. As a boy, I remember that a congregation singing even a verse and chorus of the hymn, “He’s Coming Soon,” and the altars would be filled.

Jesus’ promise to return should greatly shape the life you live. Jesus chided the religious leaders of His day for their ability to forecast the weather but their inability to, “discern the signs of the times.” Matthew 16:3 NIV. Too many contemporary pulpits are awash with sermons about useful topics but seem silent concerning such a significant Scriptural doctrine as the return of Jesus for His Church and the final judgement of one and all.

Jesus had much to say about the rapture of the Church and the righteous judgement that would follow. Jesus warned, “[At] the coming of the Son of Man . . don’t let Him find you sleeping when He arrives without warning. What I say to you, I say to everyone: Watch for His return.” Read Mark 13:32-37 NLT. For many, the literal return of Jesus for believers and the resulting judgement of the righteous and the unrighteous will be a shocking surprise for which they have not prepared. “Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced Him.” Revelation 1:7 NIV. When the Father chooses, Jesus will return irregardless of your preparedness or lack thereof.

Jesus warned that at His coming, “People [will be] eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building . . It will be ‘business as usual’ right up to the hour when the Son of Man returns . . one sleeping . . one working. .  will be left . .  therefore be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.Luke 17:28, 34-35, 44. Sadly, you may not go up then, if you do not wake up now. Writing to the young Timothy, Paul was certain of this for him, and for us, “There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8 NKJV.

The issue is not the differences of theological opinions about how and when Jesus will come for Christians. The eternally momentous issue is whether you are prepared for that fateful day. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come . . So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” Read Matthew 24:42-44 NIV. There is so much at risk that is more consequential and irreplaceable than your plans and possessions.

Whatever your belief and understanding of the timing of His return in the calendar of Biblical events, this is certain. Jesus will come as He promised and as the Bible clearly testifies. The real issue is: will you and I be ready? The correct answer to that question is whether at that moment you are trusting Christ alone for your salvation, and anticipating His return. “Christ has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” Hebrews 9:26-28 NKJV.

Because Jesus has not yet come does not mean that He will not come – at any day or at any time – for those who are ready and watch for His appearing. In fact, Jesus warned, “Of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.” Mark 13:32-33 NKJV.

How then should we live? “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and Godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us . .” Read Titus 2:11-14 NKJV. Our hearts should longingly reply, “Even so, come Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to not value the temporal above that which is eternal.

A personal note: Ministry responsibilities away from my home and office last week did not allow time or opportunity to write EDL. I am grateful to be writing again today. Blessings! 

Christian Communications 2017

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Health and Holiness

March 23rd, 2017

Care about eternal matters more than temporal

“I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health.”

3 John 2 NAS

My thoughts and comments today are about, “health and holiness.”

Recently, I had my Annual Wellness Checkup, as it was called by the doctor. It was overdue but ultimately reassuring. The practical wisdom of being more health conscious is undeniable, especially as you add years and miles. Living a healthier lifestyle by eating properly, exercising regularly, managing your weight, reducing stress and worry, getting enough rest, and having a medical check-up periodically makes good sense. You are wise to take care of your body. Doing so is a personal investment in your continued well-being and length of life. And I recommend, you are wise to take care of your soul.

Spiritual health impacts physical wellbeing. Deliberately attending to matters that contribute to your spiritual health and well-being is wise. John wrote, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2 NAS.  It is incongruous to prioritize your physical health which only benefits your lifetime, yet neglect your spiritual health which impacts eternity.  

Paul wrote to young Timothy, “Bodily exercise profits a little, but Godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8 NKJV. Jesus’ question was direct, “How do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?” Mark 8:36-37 NLT. The question is clear; the answer is obvious.

Here are my practical suggestions for a Spiritual Wellness Checkup. What you need most is a good report from the Great Physician and Savior of man’s soul. Keep your mind clean and clear, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 NIV. Walk in faith, “For it is impossible to please God without faith.” Hebrews 11:6 NKJV.

Live gratefully, “In everything give thanks, this is the will of God concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV. Forgive generously; “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 NKJV. Pray instead of worry; “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything.” Philippians 4:6 NLT.

Choose trust above understanding; “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not upon your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 NKJV. Practice faithfulness for, “It is required of a steward that he is found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2 NKJV. Pray frequently and fervently. “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” James 5:16 NLT. God’s Word is proven and productive for health and holiness. “Put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:24 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to value and hold fast that which is eternal.

Christian Communications 2017

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Success and Failure

July 31st, 2013

“The Lord was with [Joseph] and gave him success in everything he did.” Genesis 39:3 NIV

Success is found in your capacity to appreciate its blessings fully and honor God humbly.

My thoughts and comments today are about “success and failure.”

There is a lot of confusion about this idea of success. Opinions are as diverse as the individuals giving them. Whatever anyone else says, what you believe about success is of first importance. It is a good feeling when others see you as successful, but ultimately there are only two opinions that really matter, yours and God’s. Only how you view your life and accomplishments and, when you stand before God, whether He can say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” will matter eternally.

The crowd is rarely right. If you are relying on the majority opinion you will be misled. The difference between what is popular or important is vast. There will be big surprises in eternity as to who and what merited applause and acclaim, as well as whose recognition truly mattered. You must answer a simple but important question, “Whose applause do I seek?” Jesus described the sad plight of those who, “loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” John 12:43 NKJV.

As I have grown older I have learned that success is more about who I am and the quality of relationships that I have – with God, my spouse, our family, and our friends – than things I have or have done. The good opinions of acquaintances are appreciated, but the more accurate appraisal of those who have known me – in the ups and downs of life, both mine and theirs – is invaluable. If they speak well of my life, and family, and ministry, then I have had success.Here are some of my observations about success.

Success is related to clear priorities and enduring, eternal values. See Joshua 1:8 NIV. You will not give the effort needed or sacrifice required to anything you do not count as valuable and as a priority above your comfort and convenience. Success is the product of your doing well and doing so consistently for the long term. Many have made a lot of money and yet made a mess of their lives. Some have been praised for accomplishments at work, but left a destroyed marriage or family at home. Too much success, or the wrong kind of success, can destroy so much that is irreplaceable.

Success is not the product of your talent and hard work alone. Others will share knowledge and experience you do not possess, provide opportunities you have not earned, and give you help and expertise along the way and, more importantly than all, God will have been gracious toward you! “As long as Uzziah sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.” 2 Chronicles 26:5. Success will quickly sour if God is not honored as its Source. If you fail, fail at things unimportant. Where you succeed, succeed in things of eternal significance.

Success is found in your capacity to appreciate its blessings fully, share its benefits generously, handle its responsibilities wisely, and honor God humbly. Remember, as with Joseph, it is true, “The Lord gave [Joseph] success in everything he did.” Genesis 39:3 NIV. I pray that you experience the height of success in all you are and do, as the Bible says God desires for you. “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, even as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2. Spiritual prosperity will be your crowning success. See Matthew 6:33 NKJV. Keep first things first; the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. Without God, any success is just another failure.

My prayer for you this day is that you value the eternal above the temporal.

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Ample Evidence

January 25th, 2012

“Abraham . . was strengthened in faith.” Romans 4:20 NKJV

“The obvious evidence for doubt can distract from the ample evidence for faith.”

My thoughts today are about “ample evidence.”

Faith is dynamic not static, ever changing and extending. Faith is either strengthening or weakening. And the difference between those is up to you. Faith is a very personal matter. Someone can have faith with you, but I’m not sure how anyone can have faith for you. Others can set an example for your faith, or even encourage your faith by their words and assurances, but faith is a personal experience and expression. Here’s what I have discovered. It gets harder and harder to believe a promise when delay and circumstances conspire to make you doubt the God who made the promise.

Abraham had a grand promise from God – specific, not vague. Initially, the promise seemed life fulfilling but still naturally possible, “a father of many nations . . seed as numerous as the stars of the heavens.” Genesis 22:17-18 NKJV. I think they probably started planning the nursery and choosing names for a boy or girl. Then years passed, too many years, about twenty-five years really. Now the promise seemed completely and irrevocably impossible, no natural way to accomplish their long-held dream. That’s a lot of time and circumstance to deal with when the first promise came when he was already seventy-five years old! It was a struggle believing the promise until he determined he could fully believe God. God is timeless and eternal; the passing years mean little. He minds neither man’s clock nor calendar. What are you struggling to still believe? Does something that once still appeared possible now seem unlikely?

His and Sarah’s journey had ups and downs, good days and bad, but eventually here is how God described Abraham’s faith and faithfulness, (those two, faith and faithfulness, are inseparably related, you know). Abraham “who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken . . and not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what God has promised He was also able to perform.” Romans 4:18-22 NKJV.

A promise should not be your focus; the Promise Keeper alone is where true faith seeks to rest. See Hebrews 6:17-19 NKJV. Notice carefully the conclusion of faith: “being fully convinced that what God had promised He was able to perform.” Faith does not rest upon His promise to you; faith rests solidly upon God’s faithfulness and character. “For all the promises of God in Him are ‘Yes,’ and in Him ‘Amen,’ to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV.

Abraham was strengthened in faith for two reasons. (1) He did not consider the obvious evidence for doubt“his own body and Sarah’s womb,” which presented a strong case for disbelief. See Hebrews 11:11-12 NKJV. (2) He looked at the ample evidence for faith and found that in God alone. Hebrews 11:1 NKJV. Where you are looking determines what you are seeing – things unseen and eternal or things seen but temporary. Read 2 Corinthians 4:18 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that God’s promises are sure and steadfast in your heart.

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