“Two Broke Preachers and a Crippled Man”: A Lesson on Giving

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Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

You were most likely drawn to this article because of the title, right? And, I imagine you are thinking that I am just trying to be funny? Well, a little, but there is also a seriousness about the title as well! You will soon see that a valuable spiritual principal is also implied!

Let’s see if any of these real life scenarios apply to any of us. Have you ever been sitting in church, and the Pastor or other minister pounds heartily on the tithe and offering drum? Ever gone into a grocery or department store and someone is either at the entrance or somewhere in the parking lot soliciting “help”? What about being approached while you pump gas into the family vehicle? Another seemingly popular approach is someone standing at the exit ramp as you exit the interstate holding some sort of sign where the writing usually ends with “God bless”. Have you ever experienced that one?

What I describe above is common in the United States, among other practices to obtain a helping hand. I’m not exactly sure how this is approached in other countries, some are the same, and others similar, but I’m sure that there is no shortage of needy people. Please stay with me here, I promise this is not a badmouthing session against needy people or con artists, although they are out there. No, I have a valuable lesson to teach and some of us may even be set free from the old bags of bondage we have been carrying around!

I’m sure that each of us has experienced at least one of these scenarios in our lifetime. Now, with the above scenarios in mind, consider this: you have been confronted or asked to give whether it is in church or elsewhere and you do not have one cent in your pocket! In fact, we may even find that in actuality, our financial circumstances aren’t the greatest either, and we may be the one that is needy. What do we do? Where do we turn? And what about the need that is before us? The choices are several, but for many Christians, the choice seems to be made for us, condemnation and guilt settles in! We really want to help, but the fact is we are broke and can’t help financially.

Why do these guilty feelings rush us like a tidal wave? Do we really have anything to feel guilty or condemned about? Feelings of compassion and concern are normal, but not condemnation and guilt. Some of the reason we feel guilty, is because we have been conditioned to think that the only thing worth giving is money, and sadly we have somewhat been taught this in our churches! Have you ever heard this old secular saying, “money makes the world go around”? Well, money may make the world go around, but it should not make the church go around! There are many treasures in this life greater than money, and some things are simply priceless! What should make the church “go around”, post salvation, is our good works! God the Father has given Christians the ability to give the greatest gift second to the sacrifice of His Son Jesus, the gift of ourselves! Jesus is the only definitive example, of what it means to sacrifice out of love for humanity. Should we offer Him any less as His hands and feet?

In His life giving ministry, did Jesus walk around handing out cash as a show of His love, hopes, and healing for humanity? Not at all, He invested Himself in the lives of others.

I am the father of three children, and like any other parent who loves their children, wants to offer them the stars. Soon after I was born again, the Lord brought to my attention a Bible verse: “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

Already being a father, this verse really struck a nerve in me. I contemplated the verse a little and immediately asked myself a question. What is the greatest gift that I can give my children? One, which will all throughout life, bring them life, peace, joy, opportunities, love, and remain a constant help in times of trouble, and an ever present guide concerning the fragile and difficult walk of life. Right then, I determined that the greatest gift I could ever offer my children was an introduction to the Creator, Sustainer, Savior and Comforter of their life, Jesus Christ! I went home and shared this with my wife and children. We joined hands and the four of them received Jesus in their hearts that moment! At their request, I then baptized them in the bathtub! God has very much honored that day in our lives. Other than the typical growing pains of rearing children, I have not had one moment of trouble from them. God gifted me with them and I presented the gift back to God.

This is a lesson about giving and no one is gift less, ever! We all have Godly gifts to offer humanity and just need to look deep in our hearts and see what we possess. Money is not always the thing that is needed most. Sure, it is most often the desire of the heart to those of us who are needy, but remember, “Give a man a fish and eats for a day. Teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime”. Sometimes what we think we need is not what we need at all!

We all have something to offer; from a kind word to a friendly smile; an encouraging hug or comforting embrace. We can offer a helping hand, or a leg up; a drink of water, or maybe a full meal; a prayer for healing, or a word of praise. We all have something to offer! There is no need to feel guilty about our giving or that we lack a certain gift. These things are priceless! Money can’t and never will outshine the love of Christ!

What did Jesus have to say concerning our giving? “…for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.”

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘ Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? And the King will answer and say to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:35-40)

Every one of the above acts of kindness can be done without having one dime in our pocket! It only requires that we purpose those things in our heart. God has given us all something to give. I’ll let you in a little spiritual nugget; when we give of ourselves, the one receiving the gift is not the only one to benefit. God instantly warms the heart of the giver with His approval, and that too is priceless! Please don’t misunderstand my message here. I’m not suggesting that money is never an appropriate gift, only that it is not the greatest gift, and is often, something we lack and can’t give this way. In all of our giving we should follow the leading of the Lord. He knows what the best gifts and greatest needs are concerning all of us! Being that He uses His people to bless others, it stands to reason that we follow His lead, agree?

“Two broke preachers and a crippled man”: I’m going to share a story with you to reinforce our lesson. A man who had been born lame was carried to the gate of certain church every day. His reason for going there was to seek monetary charity from those that passed by or were going inside the church to worship. I don’t think the man ever really made eye contact with those that passed by and he had been doing this same routine for some time. I can only imagine how many people walked by this man each day. He just sat there hoping someone would give.

One particular day two preachers approached the gate so they could enter the church. Strangely, the crippled man spoke to them and asked for alms, but did not look up at them. He definitely had the attention of the preachers as they intently starred at him. One of the preachers spoke and told the man to look at them. The man looked up at them expecting to receive some money. One of the preachers, realizing what the man wanted, and probably considering what the man really needed, spoke to him, “I do not have any money to give, but what I do have I give you; In the name of Jesus Christ rise up and walk!”

The preacher then extended the right hand to the man and helped him get up. Immediately, the man’s feet and ankle bones received strength. Leaping up, the man stood and walked and went inside the church with the two preachers! The formally crippled man praised God, as he had received exactly what he needed, which could not compare with what he thought he wanted! Everyone around that had witnessed this event or that knew that this man had sat at this gate daily, were amazed. They knew him to be a cripple and now he is not!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful is this story were true, as it could all the more prove that we all have something to give, and it doesn’t always have to be money? This story is true! You can read of this history making event in the Book of Acts, chapter 3. The two broke preachers are Peter and John, and not having money, they gave what they had. Praise God! We all have something to give! We all matter in the body of Christ and can make a difference in the lives of others. Lord Jesus, help us all look deep within our hearts and recognize those gifts we have to give. Help us reach out and give to humanity the gift of life in You. Some of our gifts are to plant and others to water, but we all reap a harvest when we invest in the lives of humankind! Jesus said that the greatest gift of all is love. If we ask Him, he will help us give some love every day!

Lord Jesus, I pray, asking that You fill Your people to overflowing with the gifts of heaven. Put those people in our paths daily that need Your help and reveal to us their needs. Saturate us in the same love You have for humanity. We are Your hands and feet, and ask that You walk and touch through us. Forgive us for our sins and release us from the bondage of thinking we have nothing to give. Remind us fresh that in You we have everything. We love you Jesus and it is with thankful hearts we pray,    ~Amen

A Call to Repentance, Church!

Tough on Sins

Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

Today, as I was reading over my past articles, I had another “epiphany” from the Lord. I read my own writings occasionally, so that I too may learn something from them. I have found in the course of my spiritual walk with Jesus that He often will teach me through the words I speak and the things I write. This is certainly a lovely experience, as I am assured that the words I speak or write are Holy Spirit inspired!

As I reread my latest post, “The Love Trigger: God or Emotionalism”, I had the “church” come into spiritual view. I here refer to the church of Jesus corporately and not individual denominations. After all, if you have accepted the blood of Jesus as the payment for your sins, then we are one big family sharing the same blood line and Father! Therefore the only division needed is the “believers” and the “nonbelievers”, right? “The Love Trigger” article dealt with humanity seemingly only able to come together in times of tragedy.  If you are curious, please read that article, as here I am going to apply the same observations to the “church”.

I will call this writing a “holy spanking”, or at least a little “church correction”. When the “church” was birthed in the Book of Acts, love, unity, and caring for the brothers and sisters was at the very core of its inception. Church in those days was certainly different than the churches of today! Those of yesteryear promoted equal and fair treatment among the brethren, none went without, and unity and love were the virtues of the day. The church creed was clear and understood by all. In those days they truly lived for each other.

Now, let us look at the churches of our day and see the vast differences. We are not unified, our love has waxed cold, and at best some are only “lukewarm”. Our first love (Jesus) has been replaced with works, programs, activities, love of money, coffee shops, bookstores, concerts, bake sales, bible colleges, and I could go on for a while, but I think you get my point! Jesus told us to occupy until He comes, but I’m sure He had different ideas about what we are to be doing!

Our churches have been turned into New Age country clubs and self-help programs. I assure you that you do not need “The Twelve Steps to a Better You”, you only need one step, choose Jesus Christ if you want a better you! Our churches have become banks and our Pastor’s bank presidents. More time is spent on preaching the tithe and offering message than on the meat of the gospel. Some of our churches are producing selfish and gluttonous Christians with the teaching of “sowing your seed for a large return.”  Of course the seed referred to is money. I have read and reread that scripture numerous times. I’ll let you in on some gospel meat; the seed is the word of God! Are we going to take our money and possessions with us when we leave this earth? Certainly not! Therefore, why strive so hard for the things that hold no spiritual or heavenly value? The Old Testament tithe consisted of fruits and vegetables. Take a bushel basket of these offerings to church next Sunday and watch the response. Green is what is desired, but not cabbage and beans! I’m not suggesting not giving monetarily at all, as I am well aware that it costs to keep the lights on. I do have issue with million dollar ministries not producing Godly fruit!

The house of God is not Wall Street and the only investments we should be making are in the lives of others. We have a hateful and evil world going to hell while our churches get rich and fat. What shameless nonsense! Is this the way Jesus wanted His church? The King of Kings and Lord of Lords came to this earth to serve and save dying humanity! He is the example we should be following, serving others! The very word “minister” means “servant”! The church looks just like the world! Sometimes uglier!

Our churches have become institutions of shameless wounding, and we wonder why people don’t want to go to church. Personally, I don’t blame them at all, but there are those that throw around the “do not forsake the assembling of yourselves” scripture to add salt to the wounds. Has it ever occurred to any of us leaders that these Christian non churchgoers have seen some light that we have failed to see? Have they realized that they are safer and freer to worship God in their own homes? I think this deserves some attention before we pass “judgment” on them! Furthermore, Jesus said that where two or more are gathered in His name, there He is also (or in the midst whatever your preference). Would not this be “church”? Jesus is the object of worship and edification is the goal!

We teach Christians not to entertain the “evils” and “pleasures” of the world, but truthfully, these same things have infiltrated our churches! Could it be that those who choose not to go to church are doing as they are taught, forsaking the pleasures of this world? So why do I point all this out? Plain and simple, the church is supposed to be influencing the “world” not the world influencing the church! Because of our wrong teaching, religious hypocrisy, loss of first love, being lukewarm or just plain dead, and our selfish desires, we are producing the wrong kinds of Christians! Remember church, sheep beget sheep! Our “babies” are replicas of us and their behavior is what we have taught!

If your spirit has not been quickened and thoughts of repentance are not in sight, as you read the things I write, and only anger and disagreement has rose to the occasion, then read Revelation, chapters 2 and 3. The seven churches listed there by our Lord represent the history of the church, past, present, and future, and I assure you that every church in every place all over this world falls under either, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, or Laodicea.

Why does the spiritual condition of the church cause me to reflect on humanity seemingly only able to love and come together during times of tragedy? Because presently, the world, outshines the church, in its love toward humanity, even if it is short lived in times of crisis. The church should be leading the charge in love, unity, peace, and selflessness, but has fallen short of its calling! Why do I write so brash and blunt? Because, I love the church, and those that are my brothers and sisters that make it a church, a family unified with the common will to serve and worship Jesus. It is a call to reflection and repentance before Almighty God! It has been prophesied in the Bible that the church will be in deterioration before the Lord’s return. It has been written that there will be a “great falling away”.

We can’t alter or dismiss what God has decreed, but I do ask, do you have to go down with it? Can you not repent and ask the Lord to steer you upon proper course? What say ye Christian, Pastor, Minister, Evangelist, Elder, Deacon, Prophet, and all of God’s people? It starts individually one heart at a time, and as sheep begat sheep, so one clean heart produces another. All is not lost; God is the God of second chances! I pray for our repentance and that God has mercy on His church. Help us Lord to be that salt and light you have called us to be. Help us Lord clean our own house before we clean another’s. Help us Jesus! Help us!  ~ Amen

The Love Trigger: God or Emotionalism?

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Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

I am compelled to write this article in light of the tragedy in Boston Massachusetts, United States. Not because I feel I must “weigh in” with my opinion or to add to the ever present rhetoric that has already flooded main stream media and social networks. I write because I have made some observations that caused me to “think” before the Lord.

The tragic event that took place in Boston yesterday caused me to reflect on violence, hatred, and calamity globally. I must admit that only in the last twenty or so years has the United States been plagued with large scale violence and attack. Sadly, it is not only from those that hate America internationally, but also from those within our country. Yes, sadly, we are domestically attacking and killing each other including our children! Evil has no boundaries and Satan has no conscience!

I am in remembrance of the civil wars that have been fought across the world, Syria to name a current one. I am reminded that Israel receives rocket fire daily, religious and political wars are being fought all across the globe. And, to add fuel to the already uncontrolled burning, we too, in America, add to the senseless and shameful taking of innocent life. These horrendous crimes range from petty theft to a demonically deranged maniac walking into an elementary school and murdering innocent school children. The victims themselves barely potty trained. And we ask why? Some look to heaven and curse God! Others are not even fazed, or use tragedy as an opportunity to promote political propaganda and “campaigning” tasks. And still others see tragedy as an opportunity to mass market violence and tragedy to make fortunes selling t-shirts, souvenirs, and the making movies, which we have the audacity to call entertainment and free enterprise.

The filth and disgusting messages that pours from our main stream media and so called Hollywood heroes has only served to numb us to the tragic realities of our world. Hate and violence are very real problems on a global level and sadly enough there is only one solution, the return of Jesus Christ. Not sad because of the return of Jesus, but sad because mankind has set itself on a course of self-destruction and depravity.

Right now, at this very hour, I offer the cry of my heart before Almighty God and all who read this, and shout wake up world, including America, rise from your slumber and realize your need of a Savior! Not only for our sins individually, also for our sins corporately. None, not even one, are exempt from the need of a Savior. Each and every person on the planet has free will and is free to exercise it as they see fit within the laws of their particular lands. People of the world, you have a choice to make; turn aside my words with a deaf ear laughing me off as a “religious nut”, or heed my words of your need for a Savior and ask Him into your life. In the days of Noah the floods came and the people were living life as usual. We are no different across this world today.

This brings me to my point in writing. Have you ever noticed that when tragedy strikes it brings out love and compassion for each other, even if it is only short lived? Is it, that only tragedy is the trigger of brotherly love? Have we allowed the evil of this world to be the only thing that triggers our love and goodwill toward our fellow men and women? Have we reduced the worth of human life to only expressing love in tragic events? I for one am worn out, with rhetorical comments like “America is resilient”, “United we stand”, and “those responsible will feel the weight of justice”! What political nonsense! Is there really justice for such hate, evil, violence, cruelty, and senseless murdering? Do we really stand united? We fight and disagree violently over various political parties! Is this justice? I think not! Only forgiveness, as given and obtained through the love of God can bring peace and justice! The time has come when the people of the world should listen to the voice of God and not the voices of political leaders and governments concerning the things pertaining to God! “Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God”!

The time has come, when we as a people globally, should exercise this brotherly love and compassion toward humanity always, not only during tragedy, and the truth of the matter, this can only be accomplished in the power of the love offered through Jesus! Don’t misunderstand me! I am all for love, kindness and compassion throughout the world, but we need the “here stay” love and not the “whimsical” kind that seems to come and go upon the clock of tragedy. We need an abiding love, and that is only found in Jesus! When the smoke clears and the tragic events are entered into the history books, we tend to revert back to self-love. This is because although heartfelt, the love we had at “the moment of crisis” played more on our emotions, and as soon as the “high” of emotions wore off, we were no longer emotionally supercharged, and went back to living life for ourselves. We must realize that although love is emotional, it is also a choice that must be exercised or it dies!

I write this article fully aware that “world love and peace” is only an unfulfilled dream that cannot be had through mere human effort. It will only be accomplished when Jesus takes the throne in His Kingdom on the earth. So why write such articles and make such brash statement? Simply because I know, that lives are changed one heart at a time, and as a result, one changed heart and life will breed another changed heart, and so on down the line. With every person we have contact, an impression is given and a difference made in their life for the positive or negative. It is possible to love without Jesus but it is not abiding and with the guarantee of eternity. We must choose to live life daily in the love we find through tragedy and we must have Jesus to make this choice, one of abiding love. So, what is your love trigger, God or emotions alone?

Some will read this article and scoff over offering Jesus as a solution to all problems, and others will take issue with what has been stated. But honestly, if this article causes one soul to rethink their spiritual state and receive Jesus, the abiding love, then the “hate mail” will be well worth it. My heart then, has helped another heart change, and that heart will find another heart in need, and so goes the process of spreading the “love bug”. Truthfully, I believe the expressions of love we see through tragedy, is God’s response and love, through people. Some just don’t realize that God is not just using them to reach out to another, but reaching out to them also. The scriptures reveal that “God is love” and His love must come full circle.

Father God; open our hearts to this abiding love, and let our loving response to tragedy be our response to our fellow men and women daily, in times of quiet, peace, or unrest. And thank you Father for not loving us as you do, out of emotions, because if that were the case, we could not be loved at all. ~Amen

Love of the Brethren

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Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

In our world today it is truly a rarity to find and experience genuine Christian, or Brotherly love. This is shameful considering the masses that profess Christianity throughout the world. We are abiding in evil and violent times, and just watching an episode of our local news seems to sadly confirm this. I’m certainly not saying that Christian love is nonexistent, just that genuine Christian love is a rare find. The selfless, forsake my own desires and convenience, and live for another kind of love. You know; the kind of love as expressed in our Savior, Jesus. A love that richly and deeply testifies, confirms, and bears witness worthy of His attention. If this love is found even in the simplest of acts, it should be cherished and guarded as a gift from God. Godly recognition and honor should be given to the one that allows the love of Christ to so shine from their spirit.

The love I here speak of is not the kind of love the world offers. This love is the manifested love of God through His chosen to another. You see, there is a kind of love available that comes not from the throne of God. One person can love another and remain the enemy of God. The Word of God reminds us that even the heathen can give good gifts, but this love does not have Christ at its center. This love does not flow from the living waters of life. Worldly love, although heartfelt, is still somewhat superficial, and usually has a hidden agenda or some strings attached. Genuine Christian love as expressed from one human being to another is a gift from God and can only be obtained through Him.

I wish to relate to you an experience I recently had, where this Christian love I speak of, was shown towards me and my family.

Several days ago, super cell thunderstorms that were producing tornados moved across the Western to Eastern United States. I live in the State of Georgia and the storms were headed our way! These storms are my least favorite thing about spring in the Southern United States.  Might I add, our home has been struck once, and areas less than one mile from us have had recent tornado touchdowns! Needless to say, I hate these types of storms and over the last several years they have gained frequency and volatility!

Knowing that these storms were coming and already moving across other states, I asked publically for prayer through social networks. Several people responded indicating that they would pray, but one particular “prayer warrior” sticks out from the crowd.

I have never met her face to face and we live thousands of miles apart. She is in England, and I the United States. We have developed a strong spiritual friendship through the Twitter network. In fact, I have come to love her as my Christian sister very deeply, and some day in heaven, will be able to greet her with a holy kiss and hugs. The distance between us is not a hindrance to God. He made sure we met because it was His will. The friendship we share has the foundation of Jesus and through His Holy Spirit we are able to draw close. When God blesses you with a treasure such as this, never let it go! The gift of a person such as this, is valuable indeed!

My friend in England assured me that she would pray for my family and me and even included our entire country! I expected a small prayer to God asking for our safety and wellbeing, but what I received was so much more than that. It is important to point out that there is a five hour time difference between us.

Later that night, I received a Twitter message from my friend. Looking at the clock, I realized it was after three o’clock in the morning in England! She was checking to make sure that we made it through the storms. Her timing was perfect, as the last bands of the storm were moving through as she contacted me. I sent message back letting her know that we had indeed made it through the nasty storms. She replied by thanking and praising God for our safety, sending her love, and telling me that now she was going to bed. She had to be up for work at six o’clock in the morning.

I sat back in awe that my friend was concerned enough to contact me at three o’clock in the morning, her time. As I sat warmly thinking of my friend, the Spirit of God rushed me like a bolt of lightning! She said, “NOW I AM GOING TO BED”! The Ever-Shining Light dawned on me, she has sacrificed her sleep to stay awake and pray for my family and me!

What selfless love! After all, we have never shared the things that most friendships are allowed. Never shared a meal; a quite chat outdoors on a warm spring day, our deepest secrets, or even an encouraging hug. Those things are certainly nice, and I would advocate them to this day, but when Jesus is the founder and the strong root of a friendship they aren’t overly necessary! Through the friendship we share, God has reassured us of His awesome and unending love, gifted us both with a loving friendship, and sealed our covenant through His Holy Spirit, sight unseen.

This experience brought to memory a Bible verse: “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.” (I John 3:14) NKJV

I thank God for the safety and security He provided for my family and me during those storms. But, I am equally thankful to God for my friend in England.

Rosemarie, thank you for your friendship, love, prayers, loyalty to Jesus, and the sacrifice you made for me personally. I love you and you will always have a special place in my heart. You show that you have passed from death into life.

Intercessors aren’t well known and most always go without even a “thank you”, but they are the most important gift in God’s ministry. They are the backbone of any descent and Godly ministry and I believe all fellow Pastors and Ministers would agree. If not, you may have missed your calling! Someone is always behind the scenes praying for the Pastor, ministry, and Ministers. I have certainly come to know my “someone” and again Rosemarie, I thank you from deep within my heart.

Father I thank you for my friend, Rosemarie. I ask that every Christian might experience this love that comes from you and a friendship where words aren’t necessary. In the beautiful name of Jesus, ~Amen

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (Chapter 1)

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Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

Note to my readers: I understand that this study is lengthy and is not digested at one sitting. Therefore, I authorize any that desire, to print or copy this study in its entirety. Also, you are free to share it with the world. If you know someone that would be blessed by it, feel free to share it. What God has freely given me, I freely give to you. I only ask that you do not “profit monetarily” from this study. It is free for the edification of all! 

I pray that you have thus far been blessed by this teaching! Having laid a small foundation, I will now begin a chapter by chapter analysis of Revelation. As I present each chapter and commentary, I will try to remember to alert you to the location that the particular events are taking place. I will label each chapter with “heaven”, “earth”, or “informational”. Remember that some chapters transition midway in the text between heaven and earth. I wish somehow that I could insert my personal bible in here! I have color schemes and notes written within Revelation that makes this transition much easier. I suppose that technology hasn’t advanced that far yet so I will do the best I can.  Some chapters I will detail more than others. This in no way takes away from the significance of the book as a whole.

Again, I ask that you read with an open heart and mind. I ask this of you not for my benefit, as my beliefs are a settled issue, but for your benefit. God loves you so much and wants for us all to know, understand, seek, and have the truth of His Word revealed to us.

He is not an angry God waiting for the right moment to smite any of us. This is one reason for my strong belief in the rapture of the church. I believe that if God intended us harm then Jesus has died in vain. He not only gave His life as payment for our sin, He also secured our future, as displayed in His willingness to share with us the goodness of His Father, including membership in the royal priesthood and His choice of our being His bride.

Furthermore, if we were to face God’s wrath upon the earth then would not that null and void what Jesus has accomplished for us? Would not our “punishment” then be credited toward our works and not His grace? In earthly civil and criminal law, wouldn’t this be considered as “double jeopardy”? God is a just and righteous God and the laws of the land will not out shine the goodness and favor of God. He will not punish us double for the same crime. I thank you for allowing me to share my heart. I believe that it was something I needed to express. Let’s begin in our traditional manner:

Father, I come boldly to Your throne of grace and again ask for Your guidance and Wisdom in presenting this study. Saturate me in Your Holy Spirit as I write the Truth of Your Word. Father, for those that read and study with me, I ask for eyes and ears to be opened, hearts and minds to be filled with Your presence, and a spirit of understanding given. We love you Lord Jesus and with praise and thanksgiving we seek. In Jesus name, ~Amen

”Revelation Chapter 1: Benediction and Cover Letter”

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants —things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. 4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. 8” I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord,” who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” 9 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying, ” I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, ” What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” 12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two- edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. 19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. 20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.

(Revelation Chapter 1) NKJV

        Chapter one is the “cover letter” of the letters to the seven churches. As commanded, John will send three things to each church: a copy of the prophecy, a cover letter explaining how he received the prophecy and reason for sending it, and a letter of instructions to the churches as dictated by the Lord Jesus.

John knew that this letter would travel throughout all of the churches, so he used the opportunity to remind them of the great truths of God’s Word. His greeting is saturated with the gospel message: grace, peace, God the everlasting Father, The Holy Spirit (seven Spirits of God), Jesus, the Faithful Witness, King, God’s love, The Blood Atonement, Kings and Priests, Christ’s return, and Alpha and Omega.

John greets the churches himself and also on behalf of the Holy Spirit as noted in verse four, “the seven Spirits”. I point this out because when I first started studying Revelation, I wondered what was meant by the “seven Spirits”. I knew God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but what were these “seven Spirits”? Further study revealed an awesome scripture and brought me understanding! The “seven Spirits” are a reference to the very character of Jesus Christ: Lord, Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Might, Knowledge, and Fear (reverence) of the Lord, as found in Isaiah 11:1-2. What beauty, these characteristics are carried all throughout the New Testament concerning Jesus, as manifested through the Holy Spirit!

Our attention is now turned to verse seven, as it portrays the “return” of Jesus to the earth. The “second coming” of Jesus is divided into two separate events, His “appearing” and His “return”. Verse seven is portraying the second part of His coming, His return to earth with the saints to establish His Kingdom on earth and fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 9:6.

The first part of His coming is when He departs the throne of God and “appears” in the heavens above earth, to wait for the Holy Spirit to resurrect the “dead in Christ”, then “those that remain” (us, the Church) are all called together to meet the Lord in the air. For further explanation of this I encourage you to read my article “A Jewish Wedding: “Consecrated and Waiting”.

Only the true church will be aware of His “appearing”. The rest of the world will not know about it until after the saints are gone. When Jesus “returns” to the earth to take over all government, “every eye will see Him, including they who pierced Him, and every tribe will mourn because of Him”. In previous books of the bible, Jesus Himself speaks of his “appearing” and “return” as two separate events.

John continues in verse nine speaking of his exile from the mainland. He tells us that he was exiled to the Island called Patmos because he preached God’s Word and testified of Jesus. The religious leaders of that day wanted to kill him and several attempts were made on his life. I want to point out why this information is significant.  Notice in verse ten that John states “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day”. He is saying that although his circumstances are bleak and he no longer has fellowship with the saints, he still has the joy of his salvation and love for God to carry him along! What a beautiful gift of God’s grace!

John did not allow his circumstances and conditions to overshadow his outlook and spiritual well-being. When adversity strikes many Christians allow it to affect their spirituality. Their attitudes, confessions, and testimony become negative, and the problems are portrayed bigger than the solution. Remember, the solution is Jesus and nothing is bigger than him! John’s emphasis remains on Jesus throughout his writing.

John describes Jesus in detail and states that “out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword.” The sword is a reference to, and symbolical of, God’s Word. At the end of this chapter, Jesus introduces the “seven stars” and “seven lampstands” (called candlesticks in the KJV), and explains their meaning. The stars are the angels of the seven churches; and the lampstands are the seven churches. The angel assigned to each church provides angelic assistance to that church in its community.

The lampstand symbolizes representation before the throne of God; and the angel is evidence of assignment in behalf of that church. The lampstands identify the churches and that each is to be a “beacon of light” to its community.

Of the seven churches in Asia, Satan gained a stronghold in six of them. He uses these same tactics to get into our churches today. If members of the churches abandon their first love (Jesus), allow false teachers and doctrines to creep in, and constantly speak negative confessions, the devil can either destroy or divide them. Divisions weaken the influence and ability of the churches.

Beloved this concludes our study of chapter one. Please keep me in your prayers as we continue with the remaining chapters. May God keep us all from the evil one of this world!

Defending the Faith and Promoting Christian Love

Defend2

Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

It is amazing how much Satan hates the Book of Revelation! Since posting the first articles, I have been confronted with attack and resistance from several directions. Yes, as does the Lord, so does “ole sleuth foot”, by working through people. I suppose like the “Hatfield’s” and “McCoy’s”, some feuds just never end. One of the strongest arguments concerning this book is the subject of the “Rapture”! Why this subject?

Not very many people take serious issue concerning the tribulation period or The Battle of Armageddon. Have we become so numb by mass consumption of reality television, Hollywood’s latest gossip, and media filled violence that we have lost focus and view these as the “norm”?  Why not attack the rebukes of the Lord and the symbolism that unites our churches of today with those of Asia Minor. Our churches today have only added to the already serious problems brought to light in the seven churches of Asia Minor. Our church leaders, who remain blind to the infiltration of Satan, have accepted genuine false doctrine and turned the Lords houses of prayer into the dens of thieves. They have become the spiritual version of Wall Street! Invest now for a “Big” return! The throne of God has been turned into a virtual ATM and drive through service! Children are being harmed and abused in our churches and we dispute over the “rapture”?

I personally know more Christians right now that do not go to church than ones that do. To be bluntly honest, I don’t blame them one bit. Many of them have received more serious wounds in the “houses of God”, than what the devil or the world could have shot them with on their best day. Pastors and ministers have shipwrecked the faith of many! Why? Why do we not take up these arguments? Why the “Rapture”?

Beloved, please just let me continue a little longer. It is past time that these things are pointed out. Why the “Rapture” when there are so many other things that deserve our attention and firm rejection? You know, this is “the bottom line”; there are two “basic” opposing sides of the rapture argument. One side believes in a pre-tribulation “catching up” of the church and the other does not believe this, but believes that the church will have to endure the hardships and trials of the tribulation period. I happen to be one on the pre-tribulation “catching up” side. No, not because I fear the mark of the beast, the wrath to be poured upon the earth, or the final Battle of Armageddon, or shall we say World War III, but because of my study, deep relationship with the Lord, and the witness of His Spirit.

Now, consider this, if the believers that believe in the rapture are wrong, all we have to do is rely on the supernatural strength of God to see us through for a short seven years and then forever be in the presence of God, but if those that don’t believe in the rapture are “raptured” before the tribulation period, then praise God we all missed the seven years of hell on earth and will remain forever in the presence of the Lord! In either case I imagine while we all stand in the presence of God, it won’t much matter which was right or wrong, and I seriously doubt that the “right” side will be able to gloat very much. Do you see my point? Either way it is a “win, win” situation! We will all still experience and receive the promises God has given us!

I think we would fare better, if we could agree that the only way to get “home” is through the blood of Jesus Christ and His Atoning work on Calvary’s cross, and not dispute about taking the “high” road or the “low” road, as long as we all meet in the “family room” once we get there. It is also beneficial for us to check our motives and position before we bring correction. Correction is not a bad thing if done biblically.

As I have stated several times before, I teach what I believe and I believe what I teach. I teach what I do as a result of my study and the instruction of God through His Holy Spirit. I only share my beliefs and understanding of the scriptures and each one has the liberty to accept or reject what I teach. No one person, denomination, or group has all the answers. We have to at least agree on the basics of Christianity as the Apostle Paul pointed out. God has the power and resources to give us anything we ask for. My greatest request of God has been and remains, His Wisdom and understanding of the scriptures. Armed with these nothing is impossible within the will of God!

Let us as a church, the church of Jesus, period, give ourselves a spiritual checkup and find out where we register on the “pleasing to God scale”. Let us defend our faith righteously and choose our battles wisely. The only common denominator will always be Jesus.

Beloved of God, thank you for listening and please know that what I shared, I shared in Christian love. I love my brothers and sisters, the church of Jesus, and God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit very passionately. I will resume my teaching on the Book of Revelation very soon as I reject defeat. I will finish my course and win my race and would be honored to have you on my team! Blessings to all, and I pray that the clay remains in the hands of the potter. I have provided a couple of scriptures for us to consider:

“But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.”

(II Timothy 2:23) NKJV

 “But foolish and ignorant questionings refuse, knowing that they gender strife’s.”

(ASV)

 “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.”

(ESV)

 “But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.”

(NASB)

 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

(I Peter 3:15-17) NKJV

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (The “Rapture”)

Rev

Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

I pray that thus far you have enjoyed our study together, and that the Holy Spirit has brought you abundant “revelations” of Revelation. I promised to take a simple and practical approach, but I never promised it would be short! It is my goal to present God’s Word in all its beauty and wonderment and I hope that this is accomplished here.

After this brief teaching of our study, I am going to begin presenting the Book of Revelation in a chapter by chapter analysis. I have contemplated much about presenting another controversial subject here, and have decided that if I am to present God’s Word in full, and in all its wondrous beauty, I am under obligation before God to do so. That said I will briefly touch on the subject of the “rapture” of the church. We shall prepare in our traditional manner:

Father in the beautiful and mighty name of Jesus, I ask that You guide me as I teach according to Your Holy Word. I ask that if I misrepresent or improperly instruct, You will call me on it, and lead me to the proper rendering. Father, provide for me Your Wisdom and fill me with Your Holy Spirit of Truth. For these that read, I ask for their spiritual eyes and ears to be opened, that they read with an open heart and mind, receive the witness of Your Holy Spirit, and are flooded with the wondrous joy, nay rapturous joy, of soon meeting You in the air. Teach us, Your people, oh Lord. We come hungry for more of You. Satisfy our thirst for righteousness, and lead us into all of Your majestic Truth. It is with praise and thanksgiving that we pray and request. In the name of Jesus, ~Amen

“The Rapture of the Church”

I am well familiar that the word “rapture” is not written in the Word of God, but its meaning and implications certainly are. The word means “caught up” or “carrying off” and is borrowed from the Latin Vulgate Bible (Roman Greek). In the King James Bible the English translation of the word is rendered “caught up”. As I have mentioned before, I will not argue over these doctrines. I will however do my best to answer any questions. What I teach is what I believe, and I believe what I teach because of my study of the Word of God and the witness of His Holy Spirit. I am told in His Word that the Holy Spirit will guide, lead, and teach me in all things, and I just simply study and believe Him for His teaching. If one will apply themselves to the study of the scriptures, you are promised understanding and teaching, in His timing of course.

The “Rapture of the Church” is the moment when Jesus will come and take the believers with Him to heaven. The second coming of Jesus is divided into two parts: “His appearing” (rapture) and “His return”. In His appearing He doesn’t actually return to the earth, He remains in the air and receives the believers to Himself. As, I will later show, His return is when He, and we, return to the earth at the end of the tribulation period to bring an end to the Battle of Armageddon and begin the earthly kingdom and reign of Jesus. Therefore, His appearing is our redemption and His return is as Triumphant King!

The entire Old Testament Exodus story is a type and shadow of these events. God, from the beginning, has established a pattern of protecting, providing for, safely delivering, and sheltering His people! Why would this pattern of deliverance and protection change at the onset of the tribulation period? It won’t! God never forsakes a promise and in His own Words, “changes not”. Consider a few other Old Testament types and examples of the “rapture”; the “translation” of Enoch before the flood, the sealing of Noah and his family in the ark to protect them from the flood, the “rapture” of Lot from Sodom, and the “taking” of Elijah in a whirlwind in the early times of Israel.

Now we shall consider some New Testament scriptures revealing the rapture of the church:

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

(John 14:1-3) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.  Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

(Matthew 24:36-44) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

“In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one, who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.

(Luke 17:26-36) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

“…—such a one was caught up to the third heaven.”

(II Corinthians 12:2) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

 

“For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.”

(I Corinthians 15:21-24) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changedin a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

(I Corinthians 15:51-53) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

(I Thessalonians 4:13-18) NKJV (Emphasis mine) 

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.”

(I Thessalonians 5:9) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth”

(Revelation 3:10) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

      Beloved, I will close here with this portion of our study. I have intentionally submitted the above scriptures without explaining them. I want to allow the scriptures to speak for themselves, affording you the opportunity to listen for the voice of the Lord, concerning their accuracy of our subject. Also, I have intentionally avoided discussing the various beliefs and arguments concerning this subject. I am familiar with them in fair detail, but wanted to present the subject here as neutral as possible, as not to cloud or taint your thoughts. I trust that the Lord will minister to you concerning what I have written. As I have stated before, the scriptures support one another, and I believe those presented support well.

I ask your forgiveness as I am being led to comment on one scripture, the last one, Revelation 3:10 and it is supported by 1 Thessalonians 5:9. This scripture is spoken by Jesus Himself (red letter). He states that He will “keep you [the church] [us] from the hour of trial which shall (meaning it has not happened yet) come upon the whole world (globally, everywhere, worldwide)”. What hour of trial will He keep us from? With respect to biblical history what event(s) have yet to take place? Furthermore, how will He keep us from this hour of trial? Beloved, I have searched the scriptures and inquired of God, the only answers to these questions, are that He will keep us, the church (true body of believers) from experiencing the “Tribulation Period” by removing the church before it begins, which is referred to as the “Rapture”! Until we meet again, I pray for continued understanding and peace.