What If It Were Today?

 What if it were today? Have you really thought about this? I don’t mean just thinking in a general way. I mean thinking about details. Just imagine – first, gravity is suspended for all who are His. In the middle of whatever is going on in our lives at the moment, we start to rise! All our activities on earth have just come to an abrupt halt. Before we have time to think, we meet Him in the air. Then, we enter Heaven. While the Tribulation is unfolding on earth, we have two things to experience. There is the judgment of our works to determine rewards or loss of rewards. I Corinthians 3:11-15 explains, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” The second thing to experience is the most outstanding banquet that anyone has ever experienced. “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And He saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” (From Revelation 19:7-9). All of this is merely a prelude to all that is involved. For example: We are told that when we see Him, we shall be like Him (See I John 3:2). Be like Him? What kind of an experience will that be? We hope to look at that tomorrow, Lord willing. Selah! What if we don’t have a tomorrow? What if “itwere today?          Ron

Three Ways to Look at the World-The Third Way

This third way is not a popular subject with many professing Christians. It involves sacrifice, suffering and persecution of one kind or another. There is a price to be paid. It will cost anyone who is serious about Christianity. For some, the cost will be comparatively minimal. For others, it may cost physical suffering and death. For all serious disciples (truly saved people), certain pursuits, pleasures and practises will have to be discontinued. Principles (sometimes strongly believed ones) will have to be scrapped, if they are at odds with Scriptural principles. We, who are born again, are caught in the crossfire of two opposing powers. The world (not the physical planet) but the world system with its beliefs, behavior and interests, is entrenched in its position and resists zealously any threat to its determination to do, think and say what it wants to do, think and say. The Church is on a mission to infiltrate this world and deliver its victims from bondage to sin in all its forms. So the world fights to keep its slaves, while the Church of Jesus Christ shines the glorious light of the saving gospel into the world’s darkness and rescues many prisoners, one at a time and sometimes a number at a time. Now a child of God who has been set free still feels the pull to return to that with which he or she was familiar, usually for a long time. They also feel the pull of their new nature to higher, holier living and they long for Heaven where all “worldliness” exerts no more influence on them. Now, here’s “the kicker:” Any people who claim the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord can only validate that claim when their appetite for the things of this world is fading while their appetite for the things of God is increasingly intensifying. We can’t serve two masters! It’s the world’s way or God’s way. Which has the most sway in our lives? Selah! Think carefully on I John 2:15-17 which says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world and the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” Ron

Three Ways to Look at the World-The Second Way

Yesterday, we considered the responsibility that genuine Christians have to this world in which we live. Today, we want to alert disciples to the dangers of living here. We are in enemy territory and the sooner that we face up to it, the better it will be for our spiritual (and sometimes, physical) safety. When we come to Jesus and receive Him as Lord and Savior, our citizenship is no longer in this world. Colossians 1:13 confirms that it is God, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.” “For our conversation (Lit. citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). However, we still live in the kingdom of darkness. The sin-blinded citizens of this world have no clue that we are no longer citizens, and so we are treated as if we still are citizens here. This gives us opportunities to be salt and light. Nevertheless, our Biblical worldview and their secular, humanistic worldview are bound to collide at times. For some it will be a life changing experience. They will come to understand and will taste and see that the Lord is good. For others, it will bring conviction. For some of them, it will provoke a hostile reaction to us. From their vantage point, we are condemning them for the lifestyle in which they are engaged. They want to run their own lives and continue in sin. They resist, rebel and respond in various ways. They continue in spiritual darkness. Some will come around later and be saved. In the meantime, we may have to pay a price for our witness. Selah! We should be ready to defend Truth, stay faithful under attack and be “….an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (From I Timothy 4:12). Ron

Three Ways to Look at the World-The First Way

First, There is the world that you and I live in. The only way out of this world is death (or, if you are saved, it might be by the Rapture). It is where we function for as long as we are here. It is a fallen world that Satan has a limited control over and one on which he exerts considerable influence. It is governed, with some wonderful exceptions, by those who have a secular-humanistic worldview. This view operates on men’s ideas and beliefs (views and beliefs that largely originate in Satan’s mind). God is almost never considered in their decisions. Mankind is in rebellion against God, His principles and His will. All human activity can be summed up in the words of a popular song from awhile back: “I did it my way.” Christians cannot take over this world and run it. Only God, acting through the Lord Jesus Christ, can do this and eventually will. Meanwhile, what is the role of those of us who are truly saved? Basically, it is to be like salt and light. Salt has a healing effect. God can and does heal lives by working in and through us. Salt has a preserving effect. It wards off decay. In other words, God uses us to retard spiritual and moral decay. Light gives people the ability to see. In a Spiritual application, it gives understanding of God’s Truth as revealed in His word, the Bible. We are to be the channels through which the salt and light touches other lives. More people than we might think will turn from this world’s control to the Lordship of Christ. Selah! If our saltiness has lost its flavor or our light has been obscured, any impact on this world and on unsaved people will be minimal, at best. Ron

Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life.” (From Philippians 2:14-16).

Seeing the Invisible

Blind, indeed, are the eyes that can only see the visible! The visible is fleeting; the invisible things of God last. There is such scepticism today. “I’m from Missouri, show me.” “Seeing is believing.” “If I can’t see it, I don’t believe it.” Heaven is invisible. God is invisible. Love is invisible. Our own inner being is invisible. To limit our vision to only what can be experienced by our five senses, leaves us spiritually poverty stricken. When we have Spiritual enlightenment, we see Jesus with the eyes of faith. By the same means, we can personally appropriate God’s many blessings. The Spiritual Truths in the Bible become more real than anything we can touch, taste, smell, see or hear. The world to come is more real than the one that we presently inhabit. The Spiritual realities change us internally. We see the need of receiving salvation. When we come to Christ, the Holy Spirit, Who is invisible, performs a Spiritual (invisible) miracle of imparting Spiritual life and understanding into our lives. Our values, morals, attitudes, behavior and our motivation undergo profound changes. Some change slowly, others more rapidly, but all who are truly converted do change. Instead of demanding proof, we discover that: “….faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (From Hebrews 11:1). “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7). Blessed, Jesus said, are those who have eyes to see (i.e; Spiritual realities). Selah! One day, faith will give way to actual sight of the eternal. Meanwhile, let’s follow in the footsteps of Moses who, “…. endured, as seeing Him who is invisible .” (From Hebrews 11:27). Ron

An Interesting Comparison

If we enlisted in the military and were accepted, we have voluntarily placed ourselves under a higher authority. We may enjoy being in the armed forces and enter into it wholeheartedly or we may regret “signing up” and having made a hasty decision. However, once we are in, there’s no backing out. Exceptions and discharges are rare. When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we place ourselves (forever) under His authority. Being under military authority and being under Jesus’ authority is very different. Military authority is imposed from the outside. It may or may not be willingly accepted internally. Willing acceptance of God’s authority springs from the new nature given to us at the moment of the new birth. A child of God wants to be led by the Holy Spirit. Why, then, do we respond more quickly to military authority than to our Spiritual authority? We have a fear of consequences, if we disobey a ranking officer. We respond to Jesus’ commands out of love for Him. Does that mean that fear of man is a greater motivator than love for the One Who died for us? I suggest that a major reason for our lack of motivating love is because we “feel” the reality of the military leadership, up front and personal. However, have we spent enough time to sense a Presence that we have far more reason to obey? Being casual about military service could get us killed. Being casual about His service might be an indication that we are not saved.The very least that it means is that there will be great shame and regret for not giving our all for Him, who gave His all for us. Selah! Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (II Timothy 2:3-4). Let’s submit to His discipline, out of genuine love for Him. That’s the bottom line of discipleship.       Ron    

The Supreme Object of Thought

Do we, who claim to love God, regularly think on Him? Do we think on His attributes? A good concordance will list many Scriptures that speak of God. Taking a few of them each day and learning more and more about Him will repay the effort many times over. We become like what we think upon. As our minds and hearts gaze in wonder on this awesome Person, we begin to see His character being formed in us. This mighty God, this gracious and merciful God, loves us! No greater spiritual exercise is available to us than to think on Him. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” The fear of the Lordis the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). (A.W Tozer’s book “The Knowledge of the Holy” is a very good supplemental help). Keep in mind that we are born with a fallen nature that resists God. We must saturate our “inner man” with God’s Truth. This is how we become Spiritually minded which, in turn, is life and peace. Consider Romans 8:6, which tells us that, “…. to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” The carnal mind (reasoning apart from the mind of God) is indeed a dead end. Scripture furnishes us with a vast amount of knowledge about God. Our part is to take it beyond an intellectual appropriation and make it real in our beings, prompting love, gratitude and obedience. Selah! This great and wonderful Godwants to fill our inner being with His glorious Presence. Let’s welcome Him in and gaze with rapt attention, as He reveals more and more of Himself to us.       Ron