Encouragement

What Does Jesus Tell Us to Do in Light of His Coming?

What Does Jesus Tell Us to Do in Light of His Coming?

Though only a small child at the time, I remember the sight of a large old farmhouse with a peculiar small room on top of it with windows on all sides. The farmer told my dad that the previous owner of the homestead had the lookout post built on the pinnacle of the roof so he could watch for the return of the Lord.

While we admire this man’s confidence in Jesus’ promise to return for us, is this really what Jesus meant by watching for His appearing? Although our English word for “watch” fits such passive behavior as looking out a window, the word in the original implies much more than that.

What does Jesus tell us to do in light of His imminent return? What do His instructions tell us about our expectation of His appearing?

How Do We Respond?

How Do We Respond?

If you are like me, you find it difficult to maintain your sanity as you watch the growing apostasy in the church and look on as the world descends deeper into wickedness and violence seemingly every day.

One morning this week I read the story in Luke 9:51-56 about a Samaritan village that would not accept the presence of Jesus. In response to the city’s rejection of Jesus, James and John said “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” There are days, I confess, when I have sentiments that are far too similar to these two disciples than not.

END TIMES BIBLE PROPHECY -- IS IT IMPORTANT? by Ruth Brentner

END TIMES BIBLE PROPHECY -- IS IT IMPORTANT? by Ruth Brentner

Here's what Bible prophecy does for me:

• IT EXALTS GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY by revealing it on a global scale. I see the nations coming into alignment, and the prophesied one world religion, one world economy, one world government. This commands my worship and awe and thanksgiving as few things can.

The Twinkling by Terry James

The Twinkling by Terry James

You and many others who have chosen to read this commentary are likely in agreement. We find ourselves at a time in which the future is indeed murky. The very fact makes it a time of uneasiness–of profound uncertainty.

With so many existential threats (factors portending possible, even probable, future disruption for our lives), many look to the 2020 presidential election with a shadow of oppressiveness clouding their thoughts.

From Patmos With Love

From Patmos With Love

Believers who do not know how to defend the message of the book of Revelation can become easy prey for those who seek to rob them of its message of comfort and hope.

Why do I make such a seemingly outrageous clam?

It’s because even some pastors of Bible-believing churches relegate much of the book of Revelation to allegory.

What Does the Sunrise Mean for Israel?

What Does the Sunrise Mean for Israel?

Today, many Bible-believing pastors ascribe to replacement theology, which asserts that God has replaced Israel with the church. They preach that Israel no longer has a place in God’s prophetic program for the future.

Is this true? No! This doctrine contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture in so many places! In Romans 11:1-2, Paul leaves no doubt as to the continuing place of Israel in prophecy, “I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. . . .”

Courageous Hope

Courageous Hope

I know “courageous hope” sounds like an oxymoron. After all, does it really require courage to hope for a sunny day, a successful job interview, or a speedy recovery from an illness?

Biblical hope, however, differs radically from what typically comes to our minds when we hear the word “hope.” For those of us in Christ, Jesus’ resurrection provides absolute confidence that His promises for our tomorrows will not fail.

Although our desire for the weather to cooperate with our plans may not happen, we can trust the words of Jesus regarding our future.

5 Reasons to Talk about Prophecy

5 Reasons to Talk about Prophecy

Does the study of prophecy add value to the lives of believers they could not receive apart from it? Is it worth the effort talk about our future hope despite the controversy that rages over it today?

Yes, absolutely! The Lord provided us with prophecies regarding Israel, the rapture, and Second Coming throughout Scripture; the last book speaks almost exclusives on future things.

Here are five key reasons for talking about our future hope

Where is the Hope?

Where is the Hope?

According to the Center for Disease Control, the life expectancy in the United States has declined for the third year in a row. The last time this happened was a century ago, 1915-1918, when our country entered World War I and 675,000 Americans died because of the Spanish Flu.

This time it’s not war or a flu pandemic contributing to the decline in life expectancy, it’s hopelessness. The key contributors to the current decline are drug overdoses (at least 90,000 in 2018), suicides (45,000 in 2017), and alcohol abuse. Researchers Anne Case and Angus Deaton have dubbed these as "deaths of despair.”

7 Reasons to Regard the Rapture as a Unique Event, Part 2

7 Reasons to Regard the Rapture as a Unique Event, Part 2

In my last post, I began listing reasons why we should regard the rapture as a separate event from the Second Coming. Much confusion exists today over this mater.

Because so many today fail to make the distinction between the two events, or fail to even believe in a rapture, it’s important to understand why it is different than the Second Coming.

My Battle With PTSD: The Rugged Path to Healing

My Battle With PTSD: The Rugged Path to Healing

My hope of forever also keeps my perspective balanced between now and forever by reminding me that eternal realities are so much more valuable than the fleeting things of this life. That, however, was a lesson I learned the hard way!

It took the Lord working through much pain and chaos in my life to change my earthbound outlook on life and through that to put me on the path of healing in my battle with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Note: This is a repost for those new to my blog!

If in this Life Only

If in this Life Only

No one would ever accuse the Apostle Paul of neglecting the Great Commission; I cannot think of anyone else who worked harder to take the Gospel to a lost world. Would he agree with those today who say that the preaching of the cross excludes teaching about prophecy or the signs of the last days?

Would he emphasize the benefits of the Gospel for this life only and ignore our hope of imperishable bodies, our future reign with Christ, and the unbounding joy of heaven? I don’t think so.

If the apostle were alive today, I believe his excitement would bubble over as he viewed all the current sign pointing to the nearness of the tribulation and hence to Jesus’ imminent return for us.

The Biblical Basics of Our Hope

The Biblical Basics of Our Hope

We hear so many differing viewpoints today regarding our hope of forever. Some reject the notion that anything physical can be spiritual or godly and on that basis deny our hope of reigning with Christ in a physical kingdom. The Bible, however, flatly rejects such thinking.

As believers seeking God’s wisdom, what does the Bible say about our future? What are the basics that can place us on firm footing amidst the myriad of false teaching that surrounds us today?

Below I list five items that I believe are the rock bottom basics of our biblical hope. For each, I start with the words of Jesus and then provide support from what He also revealed about our future from other places in Scripture.

3 Lessons from the ER

3 Lessons from the ER

I never imagined I would spend much of my birthday in the emergency ward, but that is what happened this past week.

I called my doctor's office this past Wednesday to make an appointment as I had been experiencing dizziness and numbness on my right side on New Year's Eve and Day. The nurse feared I might be having a stroke and said I should go to the ER as soon as possible.

Morning Coffee with Habakkuk

Morning Coffee with Habakkuk

Pull up a chair, pour some coffee (or your morning beverage of choice), and let’s spend some time with Habakkuk. I believe he can ease our burden in the light of several current events.

“Haven’t we already done that?” you might ask. Yes, but if you are anything like me you need a fresh reminder of not only the prophet’s complaint, but the Lord’s response as well. I am again wondering why He does not respond to all the violence and perversion of justice I see everywhere I look.

What's Next for the Church?

What's Next for the Church?

Since my seminary days, I have heard people say the church should endure at least a part of the tribulation because of its need for persecution. But is more suffering really what is next for us? Are we to expect persecution or perhaps greater oppression in case of many believers worldwide? Or, are we to expect Jesus’ appearing to take us to His Father’s house (John 14:2-3)?

I firmly believe it is the latter. The church at Thessalonica illustrates the difference between an anticipation of tribulation conditions and further persecution versus that of the rapture.

A Man, a Wheelchair, and Overflowing Joy

A Man, a Wheelchair, and Overflowing Joy

He was perhaps the most joyous and Spirit-filled believer I had seen up to that point in my life. Though it was decades ago, I remember the joy that beamed from Paul Lundgren’s face as he sang.

I also recall the sight of Paul, bound to his wheelchair, sitting on the platform at my church. A traffic accident while delivering a piano had left him paralyzed from waist down. This did not deter him, however, from singing and talking about his expectation of walking on streets of gold.

What's God Doing in These Last Days?

What's God Doing in These Last Days?

Have you ever wondered what God is doing during these last days? Why does wickedness abound all around us? Why do believers endure so much personal sorrow and even persecution?

The Lord spoke to my heart about these things through JD Farag’s special update on October 7, 2018. Farag emphasized that the things causing us so much distress today are in reality preparing us to leave this world. That which upsets us the most, the evil around us and the frustrations we personally experience, help us release our grip on the things of this world grab onto our hope of eternity.

Life's Illusions

Life's Illusions

If you have followed the news regarding Brett Kavanaugh Senate hearings, you likely feel the same frustrations I do. The false accusation of a woman, who has no proof whatsoever of her claims, could derail his confirmation to the Supreme Court.

It feels as though the wrong is winning and perhaps for a moment it is. However, Scripture tells me that any success that some may have in discrediting Kavanaugh is not the end of the story. God will have the final say in the matter.

3 Ways John 14:1-3 Comforts Us

3 Ways John 14:1-3 Comforts Us

When I think of Jesus preparing a place for me, I visualize a majestic chamber within a gigantic castle, much like the one pictured above. Whether I’m right or wrong about this, I know the place Jesus has for me will be magnificent and spectacular beyond all we can imagine.

Once with Jesus, we will have no complaints about the accommodations or the timing of His return to take us home. Instead, we will revel in His great mercy, grace, and exceeding kindness.