God Posts

The Time of Your Life

time_of_your_lifeWe often don’t understand and appreciate the time of life we’re in, or we make choices that make our time of life harder than it needs to be. It’s true that we are all individuals who can’t be pigeonholed into a set grid, but there are also some generalized times of life for people. Even though it’s different for each of us, God has designed now to be the best time of our lives. We just need to look at things through His perspective.

Your life is not a sprint; it’s not even a marathon. It’s more of a cross-country race or a steeplechase. There are ups and downs, curves and straightaways, rivers to ford and meadows to meander, times that are fast paced, and times of coasting, pacing yourself and catching your breath.

Each time of our life morphs into the next; it doesn’t usually happen abruptly, although there are times it may feel sudden and unexpected. When we stop and reflect, there are almost always little changes we’ve adapted to that are leading to the next time of our life. They were just gradual and not very noticeable. For instance, a mom may feel like her last child going to school all day was sudden, and may wonder what she should do now. She may feel like her identity as Mom is slipping away, never to return. But the reality is, those little ones have been moving toward independence, day by day, since they were born; they were made for that.

Just like there are seasons of the year that signal change and difference, there are seasons of our lives. Just as there are places where there are distinct changes in the weather and climate, so there are also changes in our behavior. For some, summer is a time of being outside, with activity and fun, whereas winter may be a time of slowing down, staying inside by the fire and reading a good book. We need to recognize and get in step with our life seasons to make the most of the varied times of our lives.

Rather than trying to get back to the last season of life, we need to recognize the values of the new season and take advantage of them. Even the Proverbs speak of the ant that gathers in the summer for the times in the winter when there is nothing to gather (Proverbs 6:6-8). There are seasons of our lives that are fast paced, crazy busy and almost maddening. We will be much better prepared for those seasons of life if we have relished in and taken advantage of the slower paced season when we could charge our batteries and recharge our emotional strength.

Lastly, a bit of advice (from someone who has not always practiced this), no matter what season of life, no matter what time of life you are in, take time to lift your head and look for two things.

One, look for what is ahead of the immediate “right now.” It’s so easy to put our head down and forget that this is just a season, or to just coast and forget that the hairy, busy time will come. Two, look at what the Lord is doing in your life, your marriage, your family and your community of friends, and get in step with Him and what He is doing. Ask Him, “God what are you doing? What do you want me to learn? How can I get in step with you in this time of my life?” By doing so, you can live life to the fullest now, the way He intended you to live it.

Socratease: On the Existence of God

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The famous philosopher Socrates lived in Greece from about 470-400 B.C. Stories of his teaching are plentiful in students like Plato and Aristotle. Socratease is my fictional, modern-day version of a Socrates-like character using his same ironic, dialogic form of teaching and applying this method of teaching to today’s issues.

Ben is an acquaintance of Socratease who likes to think of himself as a thoughtful and deep person.

Ben: Socratease, I’m wrestling with whether I believe in a God or not.

Socratease: Who or what are you wrestling with? Are you wrestling with God, the existence of God or with the implications for your life if there is a God?

Ben: Hmm. Not sure I’ve thought about it like that. What’s the difference?

Socratease: Does your wrestling with the existence of God change the reality of whether there is a God or not? Doesn’t He either exist or not exist, no matter if you wrestle with it or believe it? It seems like your wrestling is futile, since it doesn’t change the reality one way or another.

Ben: Yes, that makes sense.

Socratease: How do you explain our existence?

Ben: I’ve always been taught about evolution. We came from a single cell life form that crawled out of the primordial ooze, and then we eventually evolved into human beings.

Socratease: If that’s what you were taught, then it must be true, of course. So the single cell life form came from the primordial ooze. That makes perfect sense. One question. Where did the primordial ooze come from?

Ben: I guess it evolved as well.

Socratease: Of course it evolved. From what?

Ben: Guess I never heard about where the ooze came from.

Socratease: That’s rather foundational, don’t you think?

Ben: Well, yes, I guess it is. I have been taught that the universe banged into existence from what they called infinite density.

Socratease: Yes, I’ve heard that too. What is infinite density exactly? I’ve known some people who are infinitely dense, but I doubt that’s what you’re talking about.

Ben: The way I’ve heard it described, the universe is expanding outward from a central point. If we could rewind the expansion of the universe, eventually it would all be condensed back into this infinitely dense mass.

Socratease: Infinitely dense mass. Could you explain that?

Ben: Well, I’ve heard that at some point all the universe was compacted even smaller than a microdot, not even visible to the human eye. Other scientists have said infinite density is a cloaked way of saying “nothing.” The universe banged into existence out of nothing.

Socratease: Very interesting. So if it banged into existence from something smaller than a microdot, where did the dot come from? If it banged into existence out of nothing, doesn’t that defy the natural science belief about cause and effect, that everything is an effect that comes from an equal or greater tangible source or cause? Isn’t something out of nothing supernatural?

Ben: Either way, something doesn’t match up, does it?

Socratease: So how do you explain the existence of the universe and everything in it now, Ben? Would the existence of a supernatural God be a plausible resolution to your logical dilemma?

Ben: I guess so. Maybe.

Socratease: Well that resonates with confidence. Why do you seem so hesitant, Ben?

Ben: It just seems like a big leap of faith to believe in a supernatural God.

Socratease: A big leap of faith, huh? But believing a single cell life form crawled out of some primordial ooze, that we can’t explain how it got here, as part of a planet called earth, that we can’t explain by natural means how it got here, isn’t a big leap of faith?

Ben: OK, sure. But there isn’t any proof for the existence of God.

Socratease: So you want proof. What kind and how much proof would you need, Ben? Again, is the issue that there isn’t enough evidence for the existence of God, or is it that you don’t want to believe in a God you would be subject to?

Ben: I want to say there’s not enough evidence. But down deep inside I also know it scares me that I would be subject to such a powerful, absolute authority like God.

Socratease: So how much have you searched for evidence for the existence of God?

Ben: Well, not at all, I guess. Why do you ask?

Socratease: From my experience, I rarely find what I haven’t even looked for. If you haven’t sincerely searched for evidence, why are you so surprised you haven’t found what you haven’t looked for? Which brings me to my original question: “Are you wrestling with God, the existence of God or with the implications for your life if there is a God?”

Meet Socratease

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The famous philosopher Socrates (pronounced saw-kruh-teez) lived in Greece from about 470-400 B.C. We actually have little to nothing written by him personally, but we have many stories about Socrates through four other philosophers, mainly Plato and Aristotle. Socrates is consistently portrayed in their stories as a particularly skillful teacher who took dialogue and questions to an all-new level of effectiveness.

If Socrates were alive today, dealing with current issues and events, he would assuredly use his teaching method to make people think more reasonably and logically about their beliefs. His dialogic questioning, salted with irony and sarcasm, would surely bring a smile to many a face, while making us think deeper and more profoundly about life and God and many other issues.

Since Socrates is not alive, and I don’t want to put words and beliefs into the ancient philosopher’s mouth, I am creating a modern day caricature to employ his same method of teaching to today’s world. Meet Socratease[1] and get to know him in the following interview.

Bob (the Interviewer): Good afternoon, Socratease.

Socratease: Is it?

Bob: Well, yes I think it is a good afternoon. I was just trying to be friendly.

Socratease: So how do you determine if something, like this afternoon, is good or not?

Bob: Well, I’m not sure I’ve thought about that before exactly. I guess since nothing bad has happened today, it must be a good afternoon.

Socratease: So you’re saying good is the absence of bad?

Bob: Well, I guess so.

Socratease: And I suppose you would define bad as the absence or opposite of good?

Bob: Sounds like I really haven’t thought this through very well. How would you define good and bad?

Socratease: It seems they are relative ethical terms the way we use them today. But relative to what?

Bob: I’m not sure I understand your question.

Socratease: Good and bad, the way I hear people using those words today, speak to the ethical value of something or someone. But what if I think you are bad but you’re friends think you are good? What was the basis for me saying you are bad, and what was the basis of your friends saying you are good? What is the standard for saying anything is good or bad?

Bob: Isn’t that relative to the person and situation? Depending on how someone looks at something.

Socratease: So what you are saying is each individual person determines what is good or bad, based on their own, individual perspective.

Bob: Well, yes. I mean, that’s what everyone I know says today. Everything is relative.

Socratease: So let me make sure I understand you. If I as an individual think you are bad, and I think your badness is deserving of death, then it is good if I kill you?

Bob: That’s crazy. Of course not! You’ve got to take the whole of society into account as well.

Socratease: So it’s really not the individual that determines good and bad, but each individual society?

Bob: I guess that right.

Socratease: That’s interesting. That being the case, the German society of the 1940s, under the leadership of Adolph Hitler, would have been correct in killing over 6 million Jewish people from all over Europe, because they as a society determined Jewish people were bad. Is that right?

Bob: That’s crazy talk. No, that’s not right. It can’t just be individual societies that determine good and bad; it must be the human society as a whole.

Socratease: So the human society of the world determines good and bad?

Bob: Yes, that must be right.

Socratease: You have red hair, Bob. Are you saying that if the human community could somehow agree on something and decided red-haired people were bad, and needed to be eliminated, that it would be good for them to kill you?

Bob: OK Socratease, it’s obvious there has to be another way of determining what is good and bad besides individual people and societies, or even the whole human society of the world. So what else is left?

Socratease: If there is no reasonable and equitable way we can determine what is good and bad as humans or societies of this world, then could there be someone beyond this world, who might be responsible for this world, who could determine that?

Bob: I don’t know, Socratease. That’s a pretty antiquated belief, there being someone like a God, who created this world and sets the boundaries of good and bad.

Socratease: So you’re saying old ideas and things are bad?

Bob: Oh, I can’t keep going on like this. My brain is getting tired.

Socratease: Your brain? Or is it your logic and beliefs that are getting tired? Have a “good” afternoon, Bob.

1 ©™ Dr. Rick Taylor, 2008.

Love Letters

Love-Letters

Before Judy and I were married, we had a long distance dating relationship for a while, where Judy was in California and I was in Texas. We had to get creative, so we wrote letters – real hardcopy pen and paper letters – almost daily, and talked on the phone once a week. Even though we wrote daily letters, we didn’t always receive letters every day. Sometimes it would be three to four days between letters, and then I’d get several in one day.

No matter when I got a letter from Judy and no matter how many I received at a time, I always cherished them. I recall treating each one like a prized possession. I’d carry it from the mailbox to my apartment, put everything aside and prepare to relish every word on the pages I was about to open. The anticipation was always exhilarating.

I would take my letter opener and carefully open the top of the envelope to reveal the words on the pages that Judy had personally penned for me. I’d carefully pull the pages from the envelope and open them to reveal Judy’s heart and mind in ink – for me.

My mind and heart would race with anticipation of what I was about to read. Why? It was from Judy. A million different people could have written me a personal letter, but none of them would have steeped my expectancy like these words from Judy.

As I read the words on the pages, I savored every one. I analyzed each word and phrase. I wanted to make sure I drew out every nuance and meaning that Judy was thinking and feeling when she wrote this love letter to me.

I found myself pouring over the letter over and over again. I would read it again and walk away pondering the thoughts, the feelings, the meanings once again. There would always be a line or two that would particularly grab my heart or mind. I’d repeat it over and again in my mind. So many of Judy’s words spoke life to me, and gave me inspiration and determination to face the day ahead.

Today, Judy and I have been married for more than 44 years, but I will never forget those letters. And as I remember all that those letters meant to me – the anticipation, the pouring over them for meaning, the encouragement, the challenges, the words that spoke life and inspiration to me – I’m reminded of someone else who has written letters to me.

The God of the universe has spoken to me in the form of letters in the Bible. They are from the heart and mind of God to me – because He loves and cares for me. God did not put me here and say, “Good luck. I hope you can figure it all out.” He has given words of life. Do I cherish His words like I did Judy’s? Do I keep pouring over His words searching for meaning and intent? Do I long for the next time I can read His words? Do I keep rolling His words over and again in my mind?

If I truly love God as I have loved Judy, shouldn’t I treat His words to me with at least as much anticipation, joy, excitement and urgency as I did Judy’s letters?

Biblical Families: Headship

Headship from The Well Community Church on Vimeo.

God designed men and women differently. So what roles should a husband and wife have in a marriage? Rick and Judy talk about what the Bible says a husband’s role of headship really means and how that looks in a healthy marriage.

 

Prophecy: Jesus

Prophecy

We see prophetic glimpses of Jesus all the way back in Genesis 3:15, where God promised a singular man in the future who would deal a deathblow to Satan once and for all. Throughout the prophets of the Old Testament period we see pictures of a Messiah, the Promised One, of whom Isaiah makes these predictions:

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:6–7 (NASB)

Just over 2000 years ago, that child was born (Luke 2:11). This Messiah, the man Jesus, is a wise counselor and teacher, a King of an endless kingdom, the very God and eternal Father Himself.

The prophecies of Jesus do not stop there. More promises concerning Jesus are clear in the Scriptures. Mainly, He is coming again. But when and how will He come? What will He do?

Jesus made a promise to His disciples with these words:

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 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 (NASB)

As we study the rest of the New Testament, we see two “comings” of Jesus. One is when church saints, believers, go up to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1). This is referred to as the rapture (“caught up”) of the church. Jesus is going to come and take His church to be with Him one day, both living and those who have died before this rapture.

But there is another “coming” of Jesus. He is coming to the earth and will establish Himself as that Prince of Peace who will build a kingdom here. We see this beginning and developing in Revelation 19:11-20:6.  As seen in this passage, Satan and his demons will be removed from the earth until the very end of the 1000 years. This will be a time to fulfill promises of a kingdom to Israel, including dead Old Testament saints who will rise to enjoy this kingdom under the perfect rule of Jesus, just as Isaiah predicted in Isaiah 9:3-7.

After this 1000-year period is complete, there is yet more that is predicted about Jesus. See these words of John as he describes the new heaven and earth that will be refashioned, indwelt only by those who had trusted in God and His promises, and particularly in the new Jerusalem that will come down out of heaven:

I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb (that’s Jesus) are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb (Jesus again). The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. – Revelation 21:22–24 (NASB, parentheses added by author)

Jesus has come, and is presently the Lord of His church, as predicted.

But He is coming again to rapture His church, to establish and reign over an earthly kingdom for a thousand years, and to be the Light of the World.

Lord, come quickly!

The Tension of Joy & Pain

The Tension of Joy and Pain

Our son died on April 7, 1979. Kyle’s death was totally unforeseen. Never in my life would I have thought Kyle’s time on earth would last for only five and a half years.

My joy fled when Kyle was gone. But James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” Joy? With Kyle dead and my heart broken? How could I ever be joyful again? It didn’t make any sense at all.

Before losing Kyle, I would have been more likely to define joy as the lack of pain. How could these two apparent opposites be reconciled? But James understood a truth that I desperately needed to understand: pain and joy can coexist. In fact, they go hand-in-hand.

When we use the word consider today, we usually mean “to think about” or “regard” something. But when James says to “consider it pure joy,” he means to account it as joy. It is a function of the mind rather than the heart.

Joy is the emotion you experience when you have been set free. It is the lifting of your soul in the midst of pain. It is far more than just being happy; it is the excitement that comes with being liberated. It is the enthusiastic spirit that results from receiving an unexpectedly pleasant surprise.

James doesn’t say we should experience joy “because of” the painful trials we are going through. Rather, he says we need to use every opportunity to experience pure joy because our Father is sending us something that will set us free from pain’s downward pull. We need to have the eyes of our heart open so we don’t miss His surprises.

Many people think that if they can accumulate enough things and avoid enough pain, they will experience joy. But that is not how it works. Only as we learn to live in faith, in a relationship built on trust and dependence on God, are we able to experience His joy and blessing. Only then can we discover all that He has designed us to be.

I knew it in my head, but I had not put it into practice in my life on a daily basis. I simply had not given it enough time to sink into my heart. The more I understood that truth, the more God was and is able to be all He wants to be in my life.

One of the many things God wanted to do for me was give me a greater freedom in the expression of my personality. I now laugh more, cry more, love more and feel more anger when I see injustice.

I still miss my son’s presence and aliveness with our family. Dealing with the loss of our father-son relationship has proved to be a difficult journey. But going through that process has brought me so much closer in my Father-son relationship with my heavenly Father. As I’ve come to know the Father better, and as our relationship has become more alive and intimate, I’ve come to enjoy my wife, my family and my own aliveness in a richer, fuller way.

I am freer to live without worrying about “what if” and “what might have been” that used to stifle me. I have a greater sense that God is in charge. And when new circumstances come into my life unexpectedly, instead of being overwhelmed, I know God has a way to help me through every one of them.

 

 

(Portions taken from: Dr. Rick Taylor, When Life Is Changed Forever, Harvest House Publishers)

Prophecy: The Great Tribulation

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Imagine someone who has never seen a football game before coming to America in January and hearing one conversation after another about the Super Bowl. They don’t understand, so they ask you to explain what the Super Bowl is. You begin by telling them a little about the game of football and how it is played. They stop you and then say, “Oh, I’ve seen the Super Bowl. I just didn’t know that’s what it was.” “When did you see the Super Bowl?” you ask. “I saw some young boys playing that game in the park on the way over here today.” Then you say, “Well, there are many football games played by many different players. But there is only one Super Bowl each year.

People have faced many tribulations over the centuries, but the Bible makes it clear there will be only one “Great Tribulation” that will yet occur, and it will be unlike any other tribulation the world has ever seen.

The prophets of old first introduce this Great Tribulation in the Old Testament:

For thus says the Lord, I have heard the sound of terror, of dread, and there is no peace. Ask now, and see if a male can give birth. Why do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale? Alas! for that day is great, there is none like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s distress…. – Jeremiah 30:5-7 (NASB)

Later Daniel writes about this time, and talks about the complete destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. He records that it will be a desolate time (see Daniel 9:24-27).

Referring to this period as “the day of the Lord,” Joel chimes in with this:

The Lord utters His voice before His army; Surely His camp is very great, For strong is he who carries out His word. The day of the Lord is indeed great and very awesome, And who can endure it? – Joel 2:11 (NASB)

Daniel tells us when this period will begin, what will happen (in a nutshell) and how long it will last (Daniel 9:24-27). Many other passages from the Old Testament also allude to and/or describe this yet future period of great tribulation.

This Great Tribulation will be a 7-year period (Daniel 9:24-27) that will have two halves. It will start on the day the leader of the western coalition of nations signs a 7-year treaty with the nation of Israel.

In Revelation 4-18 we get a graphic depiction of what this period will be like. We are told that halfway through the 7-year treaty period, this leader of the western coalition of nations, called the beast or antichrist, will break the treaty with Israel, and will unleash his fury on the Jewish nation and any believers in Christ who have come to faith in Him after the church was raptured. We are told there will be a great revival of the people of Israel and 144,000 of them will be sealed and sent as missionaries all over the world. The response will be multitudes of people beyond counting that will receive Christ.

While the antichrist is carrying out his reign of terror on believers, God will unleash His judgmental fury on the whole world. God’s motive is to get as many people as will to turn to Him and away from this false impostor of Christ, the antichrist.

God’s judgment, this Great Tribulation, will see disease and plagues affecting the world, all sea life will die, all fresh water will be contaminated and sun bursts of energy will fry the flesh of people and animals, along with ongoing darkness as well as unrelenting earthquakes, volcanoes and 100-pound hailstones all over the world.

And the response of the people of that world in that day who have not already received Christ? It paints a picture of people climbing to mountaintops and shaking their fists at God, cursing Him, and crying out for Him to just kill them and get it over with. Not repentance. No pleas for mercy. Just get it over with.

By the end of this time, over half of the world’s population will have died, the planet will be an ecological disaster and the world will be on the brink of a world war that includes all the nations on the planet, converging on the Middle East to do war with God.

According to Revelation 19 this Great Tribulation will end with all the armies of the world gathered under the command of the antichrist, with the goal of defeating God and His angelic army, the hosts of heaven. But it will not end well for the antichrist or any of his followers. They will all be slain in one fell swoop by Christ, as the Lord of hosts, in the Valley of Megiddo of northern, modern-day Israel.

Some claim this tribulation has already taken place. Some say it just represents hard times in life. But you can’t truly study all the passages of Scripture that deal with this period of time and claim it has already happened – unless you are willing to fudge on a normal, literal interpretation of the Bible. But if the Bible does not speak authoritatively on this and other prophecy, then we have undermined the Scriptures from being the final authority and made ourselves or our theology the final authority.

There are many football games but only one Super Bowl. There are many tribulations in this world, past and present, but only one Time of Jacob’s Distress, Day of the Lord: The Great Tribulation. And it is yet to come.

Prophecy: The Church

Prophecy-The_Church

The church is referred to with various images in the New Testament. It is called “the body of Christ,”[1] “the bride of Christ,”[2] “the gathering,”[3] “the flock,”[4] “the household of the faith,”[5] “the pillar and bulwark of the truth”[6] and “the Way.”[7] But there is another expression used in the New Testament to describe the church: the Mystery.

Different things are labeled a mystery in the Bible, but clearly in Romans 11:25 and Ephesians 3:3 Paul reveals the mystery that God has set the nation of Israel aside for a period of time until the time of the Gentiles, His church, is finished.

The reason the church is called a mystery in the New Testament is because the full extent of God’s plan to set aside the nation Israel for a period of time and work in and through Gentiles all over the world was not so clearly revealed before. Paul explains:

By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel…. – Ephesians 3:4-6 (NASB)

In this same passage Paul goes on to explain that he was called by God to preach to the Gentiles “and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden…so that the manifold wisdom of God might be known through the church…” (Ephesians 3:8-10, NASB). Paul also says, “Of this church…that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints…” (Colossians 1:25-26, NASB).

Just as the nation Israel has been and will be part of God’s prophetic message, so the church is living out its prophesied role in God’s plan. The church is living in the prophetic present right now. This is the first prophecy regarding the church. But there is more foretold about the church.

Regarding the prophetic future of the church, there are certain promises yet to come. In another prophetic promise we are told the church will be raptured, caught up to meet the Lord in the air – both living and dead church saints – to be with the Lord forever:

But we do not want you to be uniformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep 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 not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up (raptured) together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NASB, parentheses added by author)

Here Paul is writing the church at Thessalonica informing them there will be a time when those who are part of the church – both those who have died and those who are still living at the time – will be raptured up to meet the Lord in the air. This is distinct from other resurrections. (More on those later.) It is not the picture we will see later of the return of Christ to the earth. This is meeting Him in the clouds. This is a promise to the church, unlike any promise to anyone else.

There is no little amount of debate about when this rapture will take place. I will not delineate all these positions and their arguments. However, I will say most biblical students who hold to a normal, literal historical and grammatical interpretation of all the Scriptures agree the text seems to point to this rapture taking place before the Great Tribulation described in Revelation 4-18. This is the view I believe best takes into account all of the Scriptures on the subject.

A third prophetic promise regarding the church, after we are raptured, is we will stand before the Lord to receive our rewards, as athletes stands on a platform to receive their medallions. Notice these words of Paul to Timothy:

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done…. – 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NASB)

The church is presently living out the past prophetic promise that it would come into existence as a mystery revealed. But it is promised yet in the future that it will eventually be raptured to meet the Lord in the air, be rewarded, and in their glorified bodies, they will reign with Christ forever (2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 22:5).

 

[1] Ephesians 4:12

[2] Ephesians 5:24-27

[3] Acts 1:15

[4] 1 Peter 5:2

[5] Galatians 6:10

[6] 1 Timothy 3:15 (NRSV)

[7] Acts 24:14

Learning to Cherish Jesus

Cherish-Jesus

After many years of being married to Judy, I could say I loved her, truly loved her – with my words and actions. However, I did not cherish her. That was something new to me. It was new territory.

I would love her by telling her I loved her. I would love her by doing the laundry some, doing the dishes some, bringing her flowers occasionally.

But to cherish her, that was another story. Cherish involves tenderly caring for her, creating an intimate, tender atmosphere where she feels loved and cared for, where she feels very special. It’s amazing to me how much deeper and more intimate my relationship with Judy became when I started growing in my desire and ability to cherish her.

As this new world was opening up to me, I also realized that I loved Jesus, truly loved Him – with my words and actions. But did I cherish Him?

I had taught Matthew 28:18-20 many times, but the end of those verses took on new significance for me. After commissioning His disciples, Jesus says, “and behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Another way of translating that is, “I am with you every step of the way.”

It humbled my heart to seek to increasingly cherish Jesus – knowing that He cherishes being with me.

Jesus has promised to be with His disciples every step of life. You and I have the incredible opportunity to walk through life with Jesus.

When you feel at a total loss or in over your head…

Remember, He too had to grow in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:52). He understands. Ask Him for help.

When you get frustrated by the religious culture all around you…

Remember, He reasoned with Jewish teachers at age 12 (Luke 2:46-47) and cast out money changers from the temple (Matthew 21:12). Seek His wisdom.

When you feel like your circumstances are impossible…

Remember, He walked on water and helped Peter back out of the water (Matthew 14:28-31). Reach the hand of your heart out to Him. He will lift you up.

When you are wrecked with fear…

Remember, He spoke and the storm was calmed (Mark 4:39-41). Share your heart and fears with Him. He cares. He can calm the storms in your life.

When you are weary to the bone…

Remember, He promised to give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30) and not to keep piling it on. Relax and rest in Him. You don’t have to do the work alone.

When you are falsely accused…

Remember, He faced His accusers with power, not words (John 19:9-11). He’s still there. Cry with Him. Count on Him and His power to sustain you.

When you are betrayed by others…

Remember, He was betrayed by all the disciples (Matthew 26:56). He will never betray you. Count on Him. He will stand with you, even all others desert you.

When your heart is hard and calloused…

Remember, He forgave Peter. He forgives you (John 21:15-19). Allow your heart to be softened and even broken by Him. He is a gentle, effective heart surgeon.

When you feel life isn’t worth living…

Remember, He felt your life was worth dying for (Mark 10:45) and He’s right here with you (Matthew 28:20). Draw near to Him. Walk with Him – every step of the way.

When you rise in the morning, walk through your day, and go to bed at night…

Remember, He’s right there with you, every step of the way.

No matter what your circumstances,
no matter how joyful or sad you are,
no matter how long you have been dealing with hard things…
Remember, He’s right there with you, every step of the way.

Remember, and never forget.

Cherish Jesus every moment you walk through life with Him.