THE SOON RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST

THE SOON RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

1Cor.15:52 & 1Thes.4:16

Do you ever think about the end of the world? Do you really think Jesus Christ will return physically to our world? What about during our lifetime, are the end of all things as, as we know them, at hand? I believe the end of all things is right at the door, the return of Christ is imminent, His kingdom reign on earth is certain. The strange thing about the fulfillment of prophetic events is their timing, it seems like they are delayed and may never be fulfilled and then, suddenly, they are dramatically in place. In the today’s verse we see this dynamic displayed. Paul uses the phrase, translated in English, “the twinkling of an eye”. This is describing a sudden, supernatural fulfillment of God’s prophetic plans, here is Dick Mills thoughts on this beautiful Bible word.

“Paul had in his vocabulary the following words to indicate time: millennium (1000 years), century (100 years), decade (10 years),year, season, month, week, day, and hour. (These are all Bible words. Paul did not have the words minute and second; these came later.) Yet when describing the return of the Lord, none of these words would suffice. The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write “in an atomos,” “in the twinkling of an eye.” Jesus is coming in an atomic second. A second can be calibrated to a half second, a tenth of a second, a hundredth of a second, even a thousandth of a second. But an atomic second is a unit which is incapable of being further divided. ”

That is incredible! The Lord will suddenly appear, literally in “an atomic instant”. How should that effect our lives? First, it produces a joyful anticipation in our hearts knowing our reward is at hand. Secondly, it fills our hearts with an incredible sense of fear and awe, our incredible Lord Jesus will suddenly appear. I want to be ready for that moment, how about you?

FROM THIS DAY FORWARD

FROM THIS DAY FORWARD

Consider now from this day forward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid – consider it. Is the seed still in the barn? As yet the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have not yielded fruit. But from this day I will bless you.
Haggai 2:18,19

All of us are looking for increase, especially in the area of finances. Face it, life is a lot easier when you don’t have to worry about money. In today’s scripture, the prophet Haggai is giving a word from the Lord to the exiles who had returned to Jerusalem from the Babylonian captivity. The Babylonian captivity was a very difficult season for the jewish nation, it had all come upon them because of bad decisions that flowed out of cold hearts having departed from the Lord. The Lord brought them back to their land after seventy years with clear instructions to rebuild His temple in Jerusalem. Upon their return, they ignored the instruction of the Lord and gave their attention to the building of their own houses, things continued to go badly. After receiving correction from Haggai, they gave the their attention to the construction of God’s house. This is where the awesome word came into play, “From this day, I will bless you”. What day was he referring to, the day they turned their attention to the work of God.
How has it been for you recently? Before the jews turned to the Lord, the Lord had brought blight, mildew, and hail upon them, not very good. Do you feel like you have been going through one of those “blight, mildew, and hail” seasons?
What has your relationship been like with the Lord? How about your relationship to your local church?
In the Old Testament times the Lord revealed His manifest Glory from within His temple, in these last days the Lord has chosen to reveal Himself through the local church. This is God’s plan for reaching the world today, the local church is His only plan. When you turn your heart, your gifts, your work, and your finances to the support of your local church, you qualify for Haggai’s word from the Lord. “From this day, the day you turned your heart to the house of God, I will bless you”.

SPECIAL MIRACLES

SPECIAL MIRACLES

Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.
Acts 19:11,12

This is a very unusual verse of scripture, it has always been very special to me. Miracles, by their very nature are special, but Luke is describing another level of unusual. Dick Mills spoke of this verse saying, “A miracle is always special, so what does Luke mean here when he speaks of special miracles? Other versions of the Bible translate this word as “unusual”, “extraordinary”, or “uncommon”. Since by definition a miracle is always something unusual, extraordinary, or uncommon, this verse is almost a play on words: “God wrought ‘special specials’, ‘extraordinary extraordinaries’, ‘unusual unusuals’ by the hands of Paul”.
What made these miracles special? Mills goes on to say that it had something to do with where these miracles happened. They happened in Ephesus, along with Corinth, one of the most depraved of all the cities at that time. Today we would think of San Francisco, Las Vegas, or New Orleans, in those days it was Corinth and Ephesus. Brother Mills continues by saying, ” There is a spiritual isometric that states, …’where sin abounds, grace did much more abound’. The greater the sin, the greater the need of a Saviour.”
In the same way, great troubles, and great problems provide the atmosphere for these “special miracles”. Maybe you are facing insurmountable odds in your circumstances of life, rejoice, it is time for one of God’s “special miracles”.
The climate for these kinds of miracles is described best by the word, saturation. Paul was conducting daily meetings for two years in Ephesus. In that atmosphere created by spiritual saturation, these special miracles began to appear. Maybe you are in a season where only a special miracle will do, if that is the case, take desperate action. Saturate in God’s Word, saturate in His Presence praying in the Holy Spirit, create a miracle atmosphere through worship, and then, get ready. I think a season of special specials and unusual unusuals is headed your way.

RECOVERY

RECOVERY

You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
And My people shall never be put to shame.
Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel:
Joel 2:25,26

Many of us have lost precious things over the years. Lost time, lost relationships, lost houses, lost loved ones, we could all make a list. Some of these things have been lost because of bad choices we have made, some because of sinful lifestyles, and others simply because we live in an imperfect world with trouble everywhere. The good news is that there is recovery and restoration available to us in Christ. Dick Mills has some awesome thoughts about this, check it out.

1. Restored physical soundness (Jer. 30:17.): We are told by doctors that some ailments leave people with no hope of recovery. This word from the Lord says that lost health can be regained.
2. Restored happiness (Ps. 51:12.): Upon confession of wrongdoing and receipt of God’s forgiveness, joy returns to the soul. If you have lost your joy, search your heart to see if there is something you need to confess and repent of.
3. Restored paths (Is. 28:12.): During times of spiritual declension, the path of service is not always easily discerned. When revival comes, the plan leading home to the Father’s house is always clear.
4. Restored life (Ruth 4:15.): Here is a promise of rejuvenation despite the aging process. The Lord promises us that our youth shall be renewed like the eagle’s. (Ps. 103:5.)

If you have been discouraged over past losses and failures, this is good news. There is recovery and restoration available for you in the Lord. Your time of recovery can begin today. How can that happen? As soon as you call, He will answer. He is here now, drawing you to a new beginning. Actually, He is drawing you to Himself.

MIRACLES

MIRACLES

while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will.
Heb.2:4

The Christian life is by nature supernatural. We are not expected to make things happen, we can only yield and watch things happen. We are witnesses of His work, not really the author of anything. That takes the pressure off of us, who amongst us can perform a miracle anyway? This verse of scripture describes the incredible way the Lord bears witness to our testimony with His amazing display of the supernatural. Dick Mills has some good insight on this verse.

“The Greek word translated bearing witness here is a triple compound: sunepimartureo (soon-ep-ee-mar-too-reh’-o). It is composed of three elements: sun (“alongside”), epi (“in addition to”), and martureo (“to witness and testify”). Thus this verse says that if you will give your testimony to an unbelieving world, the Lord will come alongside and add His witness and testimony to yours. When the Lord bears witness, it will be with signs, wonders, diverse miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit. Supernatural confirmation is thus promised to you.”

I will never forget the first sermon I preached when the Lord brought me to pastor in New Orleans. That first service only had a handful of people present, but there was a group of young people who came to my first meeting. The Lord displayed His Glory that first day, to my amazement, several of them gave their hearts to the Lord that morning.Thirty five years have passed since that day, I know of several of them who are still serving the Lord, one is pastoring in a nearby congregation. The Lord bore witness to my inexperienced preaching, with signs, wonders, and miracles. The work of God is exactly that, the work of God. All He is looking for is yielded vessels. Are you one of those yielded vessels? What does it take to be used by the Lord in miracles? All it takes is yieldedness, a willingness to look foolish as you testify to what you have seen and heard, the rest is up to Him.

LIGHT AND TRUTH

LIGHT AND TRUTH

For You are the God of my strength;
Why do You cast me off? Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!
Let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your tabernacle.
Ps.43:2,3

Our world is hungering for light and truth, without the revelation of light and truth, or the reality of God, we all drift like a ship at sea, tossed to and fro by the waves and the winds of life. The Word of God, or Christ Himself is the light of the world and the ultimate and final word of truth. Building our lives on Christ is like having a strong foundation underneath us, without that foundation we have no pattern or boundaries to build our futures upon. The truth of God, revealed in His written word, brings this truth and light, this reality, into our lives. J.M. Neale had some interesting insight into this verse of scripture, pay close attention to what he says about this verse.
“Here He sets forth the only way of His liberation, and what way is that, but by the Incarnation. Thy Light, as it is written, ‘That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’
Thy Truth, as He said Himself, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life.’ And therefore the Master of Sentences uses this verse formally, when writing of the benefits of the Incarnation. Light indeed, after so many centuries that darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people! Truth indeed, when those things were concealed from the wisest philosophers of Greece and Rome are now revealed to babes and sucklings.”
Every generation, the natural men seems to think they have advanced philosophically and intellectually, but actually they are blinded by the same deception that man has fallen into since the time of Adam. Man thinks he can navigate his life by his own wisdom when actually he is just stubbornly rejecting his need for Christ and His Word. How should we respond? Like the Psalmist, in humility we must cry out, “Oh, send out your light and your truth”. As we cry out to the Lord, He always responds. He will give us the light of the revelation of the knowledge of Him and the truth or reality found only in Him. Today can be the day of light and truth in your life, when will it happen, as soon as you call, He will answer.

THE ALTAR

THE ALTAR OF GOD

Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.
Ps.43:3,4

What an amazing passage of scripture, David is praying for light and truth and instantly the answer comes from his own mouth. What is the hidden mystery of the ages? What is this light and truth that he is speaking of? Of course Christ is the Light of the world and the ultimate truth, but when David speaks of the altar of God we begin to glimpse the greatest of all mysteries. What is the altar of God, of course it is the place we call Golgotha. The most precious place on earth, the place where Christ Himself was offered as the sacrifice for man’s sin. J.M. Neale has some wonderful thoughts about this verse, listen to his insight into the altar of God.
“Never, surely, more glorious and comforting verse than this. To see the Man of Sorrows, now His warfare almost accomplished, now the sin He bare for us almost pardoned, approaching the great altar of the evening sacrifice of the world. And yet, drawing near to offer Himself to the Father, that Father is the God of His joy and gladness.”
This is where David’s cry for light and truth is met, at the place of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Actually, this is the place of all revelation, God has revealed Himself to the world through the death of His Son. Today, all of us are crying out for the reality or truth of God. We might not verbalize it as such, but all of mankind has a longing in his soul for the unveiling of the mysteries of life that are hidden away in Christ. When we come to the crucified, resurrected, and glorified Savior, we finally catch a glimpse of what life is all about. In His Presence, we discover this joy, this exceeding joy, that characterized David’s life. Today, all of us have access to this incredible life found only in Christ. How can I tap into this life, by coming to the altar of God, the place of His accepted sacrifice, by calling on the Lord in humility. Before long, you will join in with David before God’s altar dancing with all your might, lost in the joy of the Lord.

FORGET ABOUT IT

FORGET ABOUT IT

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.
Phil.3:13

I remember hearing a sermon about this passage of scripture as a young Christian many years ago. The preacher said something that has stuck with me all of these years, “forget the bad things and the good things from my past”, because they can both hinder God’s plan for my life. Forgetting the hurts, offenses, disappointments as well as the victories, accomplishments and breakthroughs of the past are part of what Paul is describing in this verse. 2010 may have been a great year or a horrible year for you, forget about it. Embrace Christ today in this moment leaving behind everything of the past. Albert Barnes had some powerful things to say about this passage, listen to his thoughts about Phil.3:13.

“Forgetting those things which are behind – There is an allusion here undoubtedly to the Grecian races. One running to secure the prize would not stop to look behind him to see how much ground he had run over, or who of his competitors had fallen or lingered in the way. He would keep his eye steadily on the prize, and strain every nerve that he might obtain it. If his attention was diverted for a moment from that, it would hinder his flight, and might be the means of his losing the crown. So the apostle says it was with him. He looked onward to the prize. He fixed the eye intently on that. It was the single object in his view, and he did not allow his mind to be diverted from that by anything – not even by the contemplation of the past. He did not stop to think of the difficulties which he had overcome, or the troubles which he had met, but he thought of what was yet to be accomplished.”

Paul often spoke about the discipline of the Olympic athletes, he said that they labored for a perishable crown, we for the eternal. Where does the supernatural perseverance come from? It obviously comes from divine revelation. The beauty of Christ has a profound effect on our actions, perseverance comes from the perception of the matchless value of spiritual things. The athelete gives his all because he values the reward, the same can be true for us as we perceive the true value of the heavenly reward. As we set our heart and passion on Christ alone we forget those things behind, at the same time we embrace the present and the Glory that lies just ahead.

COUNTING ALL THINGS LOSS

COUNTING ALL THINGS LOSS

“Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ.”
Phil.3:8

In this verse of scripture Paul is making a comparison between the two lives available to us. The natural life which is the choice of the carnal person, having no concept of spiritual things. The other life is the secret life of the Spirit that becomes the choice of those who have discovered the beauty of Christ.
Jonathan Edwards spoke of the comparison of these two lives in his observations on this passage of scripture, obviously Edwards had drunk deeply of the heavenly cup.
​ “The saint prefers what he hath already of God before any thing in this world. That which was infused into his heart at his conversion, is more precious to him than any thing which the world can afford. The views which are sometimes given him of the beauty and excellency of God, are more precious to him than all the treasures of the wicked. The relation of a child in which he stands to God, the union which there is between his soul and Jesus Christ, he values more than the greatest earthly dignity. That image of God which is in stamped on his soul, he values more than any earthly ornaments. It is, in his esteem, better to be adorned with the graces of God’s Holy Spirit, than to be made to shine in jewels of gold, and the most costly pearls, or to be admired for the greatest external beauty. He values the robe of Christ’s righteousness, which he hath on his soul, more than the robes of princes. The spiritual pleasures and delights which he sometimes has in God, he prefers far before all the pleasures of sin.”
What gives us the ability to make the right choices when it comes to spiritual matters? The answer lies in the mystery of divine revelation. Once our eyes have been opened, the choice becomes easier, the heavenly world becomes strangely attractive to us, the natural world fades into a distant shadow of life. As we begin this new year, what are the things in life that you truly value? What are you living for, what is your purpose in life? To answer these questions we have to drink from the cup of divine revelation, with our spiritual eyes wide open, we can “count all things loss in view of the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ”.

ONE

ONE

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and l all, and in you all.
Eph.4:4-6

This spiritual unity is central to revival in the last days. All of us say we want a move of God, but there are many different thoughts of what the last great revival will look like. This passage of scripture describes one of the necessary ingredients or descriptions of this last great move of the Spirit of God on the earth. Paul was describing a spiritual unity, a unity birthed by the Spirit, that has been rarely seen since the day of Pentecost. Remember Luke’s description of that great day, “they were all with one accord in one place”. That spiritual unity was short lived but played a major role in the outpouring of the Spirit on that great day. It was what David called the “place of commanded blessing” in Psalm 133. In that atmosphere of oneness the Holy Spirit began to be poured out on all flesh.
We believe 2011 will be a critical year in the Lord’s prophetic plan, unity will play a key role in what happens in the days and months ahead of us. With that thought in mind, how is your relationship with the body of Christ? Are you vitally connected to His church? Are you connected to a local church? Are your gifts being used effectively for the advancement of His kingdom?
If not, now is a good time to start. Offer your body to the Lord as a living sacrifice. Offer your giftings to be used in a practical way in your local church, allow yourself to be connected to this spiritual oneness that Paul believed was critical to His advancing kingdom.
As we begin this new year we should remember that incredible scene at the dedication of Solomon’s temple. The priests were all together in one accord, offering themselves in worship to the Lord. As they worshipped, the Lord came down in His cloud of Glory. They could not stand to minister because of the heaviness of His Presence. Will He do it again? Will He do it here in our church? If so, will you be there drinking in His goodness? I believe we live in the times just before the last great move of God’s Spirit on the earth. Determine in your heart to humble yourself and join together as we become “ONE” waiting in His Presence.