THE DAY OF HIS COMING

THE DAY OF HIS COMING

Mal. 4:1-2 “For behold, the day is coming,
Burning like an oven,
And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.
And the day which is coming shall burn them up,”
Says the LORD of hosts,
“That will leave them neither root nor branch. But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings;
And you shall go out
And grow fat like stall-fed calves.

“Thus it will be at Christ’s last coming. The light and glory of his appearance will be intolerable to the wicked; it shall be like the fire of a furnace to their souls, and shall make the day like an oven to them.”

Those are the words of Jonathan Edwards. He described in striking detail the effect of the coming of the Lord on the wicked and the just. The Second Coming of the Lord is unavoidable, He will come suddenly to an unprepared and a ‘caught by surprise’ world. For the lost, it will be the most terrifying of all days. For the saved, it will be the day we have all been waiting for, the day of joy unspeakable and full of glory. Edwards went on to describe this twofold effect of the sudden appearing of the Lord. Pay close attention to his words.

“And his coming (the lost) shall actually be attended with a dreadful conflagration of the fiercest glowing heat in which they shall be burnt. But the appearance of his glory shall be exceeding pleasant, and joyful, and healthful to the saint. The sight of this glory shall perfectly heal them, shall drive away all remains of sin and make ’em perfectly holy, shall drive away all corruptibility and ill qualities of their bodies; and they shall be changed, in the twinkling of an eye, into a state of glorious health, strength, perfection, activity, and incorruptibility. It shall perfectly heal of all trouble and sorrow, and shall forever banish all such things. However, the church of God shall then be found in a very distressed state; so it was at Christ’s first coming. That coming was infinitely for the benefit of the elect, but to the unspeakable misery of the wicked many ways, as might be shown; [it] brought on a glorious state of the church, but a most fearful destruction of unbelievers, as in the destruction of Jerusalem and the whole land. So it was at Christ’s coming in Constantine’s time, and so it will be at his coming at the destruction of Antichrist.”

Today, we are experiencing a foretaste of the effect of the coming kingdom. The lost despise His presence and do all within their power to avoid and condemn it and anyone associated with the Glory of the Lord. For the true Christian, the outpouring of the Spirit just intensifies the longing and expectation of His coming. The Lord is going to return to the earth physically and suddenly. When that day arrives the question I want to pose is this: How will that day effect you?

THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST

THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST

Rev. 22:17 ¶ The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

One of the great works of the Holy Spirit in today’s world is to prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord. Inside of every believer is a growing anticipation and excitement, as the Holy Spirit is witnessing to us of the nearness of the hour of His coming. I recently got home after work and sat down to watch the evening news. I kept hearing a voice coming from a different part of the house (I was the only one at home). When I was certain I had heard something, I went where I thought the voice was coming from and there was no one there. Then the voice spoke out again, “Behold, I am coming quickly” the voice said. Actually Parris’s Bible ipod had been left on that morning, was malfunctioning, and ever so often would play a random verse. What are the odds that that particular verse would be the one played when I walked into the room? I think that would fall into the category of “slim and none”. A.B. Simpson spoke about the Spirit’s role in preparing us for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Check this out.

“The Holy Ghost has given us the predictions of Christ’s second coming. It was He that whispered to Enoch the first testimony respecting the advent in antediluvian times. It was He that gave to dying Jacob his vision of Shiloh’s reign. It was He that revealed, even to double-hearted Balaam, the glory of the latter days, until he longed to have a part in it. It was He that enabled Job to speak of the day when in his flesh he should behold his living Redeemer and see Him for himself and not for another. It was He who inspired the heart of David to sing so often and so sublimely of the Prince of Peace, whose name should endure forever and whose sway should reach from shore to shore. It was He who gave to Isaiah his prophetic fire, and revealed to Daniel and Zechariah the panorama of the ages. Through the lips of the Master on the side of Olivet He foretold the fall of Jerusalem and the end of the Age.”

Every time there is a fresh outpouring of the Spirit, there is a renewed expectancy of the Lord’s return. Why would that be? I think it is because that His return is of utmost importance to the Lord. He wants us to anxiously look forward to His return. In the same way, lukewarmness is characterized by an apathetic attitude about the return of Christ. How is your spiritual temperature? Is there a growing anticipation for the coming kingdom in your heart? Maybe you are reading this devotion because the Lord is actually creating that expectancy in your heart right now. The Lord is coming soon, His Spirit is being poured out on all flesh, it’s time for all of us to join together with the Holy Spirit in His final request, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus”.

A SURE SIGN OF THE END OF TIME

A SURE SIGN- THESE ARE THE LAST OF DAYS

Acts 2:17 ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says,
‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND;
AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY,
AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS,
AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS;

Christians in every generation have thought that the return of Christ was imminent. That is a pretty good indication of someone’s spiritual condition. Spiritual renewal is generally accompanied by an expectancy of the coming of Jesus Christ, that is a distinct effect of the Holy Spirit upon our hearts. As Peter preached on that great day of visitation in Jerusalem, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all mankind was a clear sign of the beginning of the last days. Included in that Pentecostal outpouring in the streets of that ancient city was a brand new gift from God, this gift was an unknown language enabling each believer to glorify God and communicate with Him on an entirely new level. This gift has been increasing in our world in the last century. J. Rodman Williams was a leader in the Presbyterian Church in the 1960’s and 1970’s. He was baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. Here is something he wrote about this gift and it’s relationship to the last days.

“Speaking in tongues is an eschatological sign. We have earlier observed that speaking in tongues on the Day of Pentecost was both a new and peculiar sign of the coming of the Holy Spirit. But now, and climactically, we may view this further as an eschatological sign- a sign of last things. Let us note this carefully.
Peter focused on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and declared that this was an event signaling the end times. Peter also saw this outpouring as an event accompanied by certain signs of the end, for just after words about the outpouring of the Spirit, Peter added, “And I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire and vapor of smoke.” The “wonders” and “signs” probably refer both to the Day of Pentecost- the sound from heaven like a rushing wind and speaking in tongues- and to certain events yet to come: “the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the day of Lord comes.” If “signs” includes speaking in tongues, which seems likely, then it is quite possible that this was not only a sign of the Spirit’s coming on the Day of Pentecost but also a sign to signal the final days.”

Wow, speaking in tongues, or praying by the power of the Spirit, is a sign from God that the end of this age is at hand. I have to admit, it has not always been easy to allow the Holy Spirit to have a prominent place in my life and in the life of the church. To the natural man praying in tongues is a waste of time. To many Christians, it is as if this precious gift is rather insignificant. Many will say they believe it is real, but with their actions, show that it is unimportant to them. As we enter into an unusual time of darkness in this fallen world, the light of the Glory of the Lord will shine brightly. This light will shine out of the faces of His sons and daughters as a sign to the lost all around us. The prayer language is an important part of God’s plan in the last days. He said He would speak to this generation with “stammering lips and another tongue”, maybe He will make you a sign to this generation of the nearness of His return.

THERE’S A STORM COMIN’

THERE’S A STORM COMIN’

And now, finally, God answered Job from the eye of a violent storm. He said: “Why do you confuse the issue? Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about? (Job 38:1, 2 MSG)

As I write this devotion, there is a tropical storm dumping rain on us in New Orleans. Living in Southeastern Louisiana, that is not unusual. I guess you could say we have had our fair share of tropical storms and hurricanes. Several years ago, I had a vision while under the power of the Spirit during a worship service at our church. That vision occurred just before our city was visited with the worst national disaster North America had ever experienced, hurricane Katrina. During that vision, I saw this entire region under water, the levees had broken and the whole region was being flooded with several feet of water. During that spiritual encounter, I can remember having a sense of peace. The Lord was saying to me that this vision was not talking about a natural catastrophe, it was a picture of a spiritual flood that was coming in the years ahead. Ever since that day, every time we encounter some sort of tropical event, I remember the Lord’s promise, “In the last days I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh”.
In today’s scripture verse, we see the Lord visiting, Job “from the eye of a violent storm”. It seems the Lord loves to cloak Himself in storms, many times in the “storms of life”. Remember the story in the gospels where the disciples were stuck in a violent storm on the Sea of Galilee? Jesus came to his band of followers that night, walking on the waves in the middle of that storm. After He joined them in their boat, there was a sudden calm and they found themselves instantly on the beach on the other side of the lake.
The storm was over and they were looking into the face of Jesus.
Years later, the disciples were gathered in prayer at John Mark’s house, when suddenly there came a sound from heaven , like a rushing mighty wind. This was not like the storms they had often experienced on the Sea of Galilee, this was a different kind of wind, this was the wind of God. The whole room was filled with this wind, they were even filled with the wind themselves. “This was that” which the prophets foretold. They had been waiting for this storm all their lives. This was the mighty visitation of the Holy Spirit promised in the scriptures, this was why they were alive.
As I am writing this devotion this morning, our power just went out, just another reminder of our total dependency on the Lord. As I am listening to the sounds of the wind and the rain outside, I remember again that vision from years ago. I can see the rising flood waters in that picture in my mind, reminding me of the impending spiritual storm ready to visit our land in these last days. There is a storm coming, not just a tropical storm, but a mighty storm of the Holy Spirit. It will come suddenly and catch many people by surprise. Just as we see wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and tsunamis, there is another kind of event prophesied in these last days. There is a storm coming like none this world has never seen. This will be the wind and rain of God’s Spirit being poured out on all mankind. There will be an avalanche of supernatural experiences. Healing, deliverance, and miracles like our generation has never seen will become almost common place. It will bring about a harvest of souls like our world has never seen before. Get ready, I hear the sound of abundant rain pouring on our rooftops even now.

WILL JESUS CHRIST RETURN TODAY?

WILL JESUS CHRIST RETURN TODAY?

“Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. “Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.
Lk.12:35,36

Most Christians that I know say that they believe Jesus is coming back in their lifetime. I have always believed that, at least I thought I did. Every few years someone will make a calculation about the date of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. These predictions are usually ignored and if they are not ignored they are usually mocked. This recent prediction by Harold Camping has fallen into the mocking category. All of us, even the non-christians will quote the verse, “No man knows the day or the hour…”, and just laugh about another foolish nut job or make accusations about impure motives. I know because I have done both.
Something happened to me the other day when Parris and I were talking about this recent prediction. We began to say what if this man were right, just pretend he is right, and as I said that something began to happen in our conversation. We began to talk about the “what ifs”, what if this loved one gets left behind, what if one of us gets left behind? What would their life be like if they didn’t make it, what would my life be like if I didn’t make it? Then we began to discuss the possible scenarios with the church and society in general. Suddenly, the coming of Christ became very real in our conversation. As we sat there we became aware of the nearness of heaven and what it would be like, what we would be like in the kingdom of God.
Maybe you say you believe in the imminent return of Jesus, but have you thought about it lately? I mean, have you really thought about it? Have you thought about who will be there and if you will be there? If you think you will make it, do you have a solid answer for why you will be with Him? If the Lord were to ask you today, “Why should I let you into my heaven?”, what would you say? You may technically know the right words to say, but are those words and beliefs real in your heart.
If nothing else, we should be grateful for the insight or the foolishness of Harold Camping. At least he has everyone talking about things that really matter. By the end of the day today we will all know if he was right, hopefully it has caused you to think about eternity, the end of the world, and about your spiritual condition. If one of us don’t make it, it has been good knowing you.

ABSOLUTELY

ABSOLUTELY

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
2 Ti.4:3,4

I keep finding myself returning to this passage of scripture again and again in the last several weeks. There is something quite disturbing to me in these verses, something that seems to be pointing to the very season we are currently living in. Have you noticed the rejection of authority in this current generation? I am not talking about teenage rebellion or adolescent growing pains, I am talking about the rejection of the very foundations of truth that our culture is built upon. We live in a world of no absolutes, everyone’s opinion is just as valid as the next person’s, even the Word of God has been open to “private interpretation”. John Piper spoke about the importance of the written Word of God in his book “God’s Passion for His Glory”. Check out this excerpt from this powerful book.

“Evangelical Christians, who believe God reveals himself primarily through a book, the Bible, should long to be the most able readers they can be. This means that we should want to become clear, penetrating, accurate, fair-minded thinkers, because all good reading involves asking questions and thinking. This is one reason why the Bible teaches us, “Do not be children in your thinking; be babes in evil, but in thinking be mature” (1 Cor. 14:20 RSV). It’s why Paul said to Timothy, “Think over what I say, for the Lord will grant you understanding in everything” (2 Tim. 2:7). God’s gift of understanding is through thinking, not instead of thinking.”

I believe it is time for us to search the scriptures for ourselves. Does this precious book have the very keys to life and the foundational truth for us to build our lives upon or is it just speculative, and not the final authority in all things? Is orthodox Christianity valid in our 21st century, relevant society, or are we going to cast ourselves adrift with the thousands of others who have lost their way in this life? There seems to be a swirl of activity in the world today, people taking another look at the endless stream of recirculated religious filth, the same lies that have been sold for hundreds of years, now being spun with a hip, relevant twist. Without an absolute authority in our lives, we are just treading water in an ocean of human philosophy. Only divine revelation found in the written word of God can provide the anchor for our souls in the midst of the raging storms of life.