Archive for October, 2021

Temptation or Test

There is a difference in temptation and a trial.

Temptation comes from the devil. Trial is designed by our Lord. 

Don Moore, chief test pilot for Lockheed, explained what this means to test a plane. He said it is not like in the old movies where you strap on a leather helmet, throw a silk scarf over your shoulder, and take the plane up to see what it takes to crash it. He said you take it to its known capacity and let it prove itself. Then you push the envelop, and let it prove its ability. With each progressive step the object is to let it prove itself.  That is what God is doing when He allows us to have trials. He is giving us an opportunity to prove ourselves. 

A temptation is to destroy.

A trial is to develop.

A temptation is intended to lead to failure.

A trial is designed to reveal faithfulness.

A temptation is an appeal to use a good God given thing in the wrong way. 

Chris Craft, former head of our space program said, “The best time to make a decision is before you have to.”

Anticipate your response to a certain temptation. When it comes, what will you do?

A lovely young high school senior who had numerous awards sat in my study and while weeping said of her pregnancy, “I don’t know why I did it.” 

I replied, “I know why.” With a flash of anger she replies, “Why?”

I said, “Because a long time before you did it you decided you would do it by the social media you viewed, the movies you attended, the books you read, and the music to which you listened.”

She dropped her head and said, “You are right.” 

Picture your response to temptations you are likely to face and decide your response and the result of your response.  Will your response reveal who you really are? 

Ask, am I willing to live with the consequence of my action if caught? Be realistic and consider the worst case scenario if exposed. Don’t fool yourself into believing you won’t be caught. Every action has a consequence.

Win your victories in advance. Make your decision in advance.

If you sow to the wind you will reap the whirl wind. Hosea 8: 7

The Millennial Reign of Christ-Part 1 1/30/00

Revelation 20:1-4

Jesus Christ ascended into heaven. Two angelic messengers in human form addressed the enthralled observers and said: “…why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

As He literally ascended He will likewise literally descend to reign on earth for one thousand years. The period is known as the millennium. Preceding this He will have come in the air for His saints who will be raptured, taken up to be with Him.

Immediately following this will be a period known as the Tribulation. Daniel, the prophet, identifies this as a seven year period during which the anti-Christ will conduct a reign of terror on earth. To end this prolonged holocaust Christ will descend to the earth with His saints to reign for 1000 years.

First, He comes in the air for His saints.
Then, He comes to the earth with His saints.
Satan will be bound and cast from earth.
This thousand years will feature His actual rule on earth.

After seven years of manipulative rule the charismatic anti-christ will maneuver the nations of the world to come against Israel in a grand final battle known as the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16).

He gathers them together in a vast valley at a place called in Hebrew har megiddo, “the valley of Megiddo,” which is also known as Esdraelon. Here Barak and Deborah fought Sisera. Gideon battled the Midianites. Jehu clashed with and defeated Ahaziah. Saul was slain here by the Philistines. Pharaoh Necho killed the good young King Josiah. The Druids, Turks, Mamolukes, Persians, Babylonians, and Medes waged war here. The battles fought in this lovely valley by armies of the Pharaohs, Caesars, Napoleon, and the British are but a harbinger of the great day of the battle of God Almighty.

The Revelation depicts a rendezvous of the armies of the world poised to strike Israel. Just one of the several armies arrayed to strike has 200,000,000 men (Revelation 9:16). Parenthetically, it is estimated the Chinese army currently has that many men in arms. It appears the destruction of the Third Temple is at hand and the people cry out, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” At that moment Jesus intervenes. “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all” (Jude 1:14, 15).

The battle that ensues is ghastly. The field of conflict is 200 miles long and blood let is as deep as a horses bridle (Revelation 14:20). When it appears all is lost to the dominant forces under the command of the anti-christ the sky burst open:
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white
horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and
True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.
His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head
were many crowns. He had a name written that no one
knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe
dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of
God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine
linen, white and clean, followed Him on white
horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword,
that with it He should strike the nations. And He
Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He
Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and
wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on
His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF
LORDS” (Revelation 19:11-16).

The battle ends swiftly:
“Then the beast was captured, and with him the
false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by
which he deceived those who received the mark of the
beast and those who worshiped his image. These two
were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with
brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword
which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the
horse. And all the birds were filled with their
flesh. Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven,
having the key to the bottomless pit and a great
chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that
serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and
bound him for a thousand years;” (Revelation 19:20-20:2).

Thus ends the era know as the Great Tribulation. It ushers in a 1,000 year reign on earth by Jesus Christ known as the Millennium. He will return as the Conquering King. He will create a world environment as it should be.

A review of the 1991 film “Grand Canyon” an immigration attorney breaks out of a traffic jam and tries to bypass it by taking another route. His new route takes him along a route that seems progressively more deserted and darker. Then the predictable nightmare. The driver’s shiny sports car stalls in an alarming inner-city neighborhood whose streets are controlled by an armed teenage gang. He uses his cell phone to call for a tow truck. Before the tow truck arrives the lawyer’s car us surrounded by five menacing street thugs who threaten him. Just in time the tow truck shows up. Its driver, Simon, begins to hook up to the sports car. The young thugs begin to complain to Simon that he is interrupting their payday. Simon takes the gang leader aside and tries to introduce him to morality.

“Man,” Simon says, the world ain’t suppose to work like this. Maybe you don’t know that, but this ain’t the way it suppose to be. I’m suppose to be able to do my job without asking you if I can. And that dude is suppose to be able to wait with his car without you ripping him off. Everything’s suppose to be different than what it is here.”

Revelation 20, reveals a time when Christ will come on earth and things will be as they are suppose to be.

Imagine! Have you ever wanted to visit the Bible Land. In that day people can go to the Bible land and worship Christ in person. The King will have come. Unparalleled peace and prosperity will reign. Joy and praise are the prevalent moods. Messiah will reign and Satan is bound.

Isaac Watts was inspired by reading Psalm 98 when he wrote of the atmosphere of that hour. We sing his famous hymn at Christmas, but he wrote it with the millennial reign of Christ in mind:
“Joy to the world! The Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow,
Far as the curse is found.
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love.”

There is more written in God’s Word about this future golden age than almost any subject. In the first seven verses of Revelation the thousand-year reign of Christ is mentioned six times. Let’s explore what the Millennial Kingdom will be like. It involves many startling aspects and one above the others at which most are sure to be amazed. In it we will see the reason for the various Biblical ages such as: the age of nationalism, the church age, the rapture, the tribulation, as well as the Millennium.

– Consider the environment in general. The curse placed on nature at the time of the fall of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:17-19) will be removed. The earth will be abundantly productive and the animal kingdom will be harmonious. The lamb and the lion will lay down together.

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The
leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf
and the young lion and the fatling together; And a
little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear
shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down
together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole,
And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all
My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the
knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:6-9).

– The Millennium Kingdom will be the answer of the prayers of God’s people through the ages: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” It will be a time when His is “the kingdom, the power, and the glory” on earth (Isaiah 4:2).

“In that day the Branch of the LORD shall be
beautiful and glorious; And the fruit of the earth
shall be excellent and appealing …” (Isaiah 4:2).

– Those subject to the King will have fuller knowledge than at any time in history. The Holy Spirit will have an even greater teaching ministry in that era.
“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of
Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The
Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit
of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel
and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear
of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:1, 2).

There will be no sickness or deformity and a
supernatural means of preserving life during this
time. (Isaiah 3:24;29:17-19).

An often asked question is who will be the people living in the Millennium. Only believers will enter the Millennium. To end the Tribulation the beast and false prophet who have deceived the masses during the Tribulation, “These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.” Then observe: “And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the
horse” (Revelation 19: 20c, 21).

Only persons saved during the Tribulation will survive on earth and move into the Millennium. They will be joined by two other groups who will return to earth with Christ. These three groups will provide the population that ushers in the Millennium.

No unsaved will enter the Millennium. However, those saved during the Tribulation that are alive at Christ’s coming will enter the era with Him. This is group one: the Tribulation saints. These are they who refused to worship the beast.

The Old Testament believers will participate in immortal bodies (Jeremiah 30: 9). This is the second group.

The third group will be Church Age saints (Rev. 20:4-6). All will be given places of service and responsibilities.

– Remember there will be people to survive the Tribulation and live into the Millennium. These Israelite and Gentile survivors will have children during the Millennium. These “kids of the kingdom” will be born in a perfect environment. That environment will be similar to that of the Garden of Eden. However, even they will need to be born again.

As sons and daughters of Adam they too will need a new nature and will have a free will by which to obtain it.

These generations of “kingdom kids” will grow up without knowing fear, experiencing pain, witnessing hatred, taking dope, or seeing a jail.

This is the primary reason for reinstituting the sacrificial system during the Millennium. It will be a reminder of the necessity of the new birth. It will serve as a reminder of the costly price of salvation and an example of the awfulness of sin.

One of the primary reasons for the Millennium is to illustrate the extreme of the depravity of human kind. Millions who will have been reared in this perfect environment will finally rebel against the Christ who loved them and died for their sins (Revelation 20:7 – 10).

The fact Satan will have been bound and cast out and they still rebel indicates the strength of the old sin nature. It is their nature not Satan who entices them to rebel. It is not their environment, it is perfect, it their very own nature. The importance of one’s personal will is underscored. Of the three enticements to sin two will not be present. The two absent are Satan and the corrupt environment. Only ones very own nature remains as the reason for their rebellion. The same is true of many today. Satan and the world are often blamed for what is ones own rebellious nature.

During the seven periods of Biblical history God will have exhausted every possible means to reach people with His love and bring them to salvation. Even today some say, “If only Christ were here on earth and we could see Him everyone would want to be saved.” The Millennial Kingdom proves this is not true. There are no excuses for rejecting Christ.

“For since the creation of the world His
invisible attributes are clearly seen, being
understood by the things that are made, even His
eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without
excuse” (Romans 1:20).

In the Millennium the promise of the angel to Mary will be fulfilled:
“He will be great, and will be called the Son
of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the
throne of His father David. And He will reign over
the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there
will be no end” (Luke 1:33).

Jesus said: “Blessed are the meek for they
shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

In the Millennium they will receive their inheritance. There will be no U.N. to try to solve problems among nations. This will be a period of Christocracy. He will judge.

“He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke
many people; They shall beat their swords into
plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).

Of this era Isaac Watts also wrote:
Jesus shall reign wher-e’er the sun
Does his successive journey run;
His kingdom spread from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

From north to south the princes meet
To pay their homage at His feet;
While western empires own their Lord,
And savage tribes attend His word.

To Him shall endless prayer be made,
And endless praises crown His head;
His name like sweet perfume shall rise
With every morning sacrifice.

Will you be there in that day? I rejoice to know I will. Someone commented, “I have a one way ticket to heaven.” I rejoice to know I have a round trip ticket and will be coming back with our Lord.

Grit and Grace

Do you ever need a good old fashioned exhortation regarding determination? You know, something that inspires you to show dogged determination in pursuit of purpose, a short course in stick-to-it-ness. The following is such. The Christians in Corinth were subjected to constant difficulty, deprivation, and even death. I have found inspiring insight from this depiction of their situation.

“We know sorrow, Yet our joy is inextinguishable.

We are handicapped on all sides: but we are never frustrated;

We are puzzled, but never in despair.

We are persecuted, but we never have to stand alone.

We are knocked down, but we are never knocked out!”

This is II Corinthians 6:10; 4:8, in the Phillips Translation 

Do each of those original couplets read like your autobiography? What is even more important is do each of those second couplets read like your responses?

To be a productive achiever grit and grace are a needed combo. Pray, God I will provide the grit and you provide the grace. The dictionary defines grit as “courage and resolve; strength of character.” Synonyms: Courage, bravery, backbone, spirit, strength of will, moral fiber, fortitude, toughness, hardiness, determination, tenacity, perseverance, endurance.

It is through God’s grace, we can have grit, and the more grit we show the more grace He provides. His grace always outworks our grit.

During your journey to greater success, you will encounter roadblocks, hardships, and challenges. Inevitably along the way we experience failure. Remember failure is not final. Pray to always fail forward.

You might get knocked down, but not out.

Serve the Lord and keep your eyes on the eternal prize. Rely on the Spirit, read Scripture daily for encouragement, and get alone with God and pray daily. You’re not alone.

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.” Romans 15:4-5

God Has a Job to Finish on You

I saw a lapel button with these letters on it: PBPGINFWMY which stand for “Please Be Patient, God Is Not Finished With Me Yet.”

Jesus gathered His followers on a mountain side and shared with them transforming truths that He can use to continue the task of finishing us. Fortunately those truths have been overheard by the world. They are each noted here with a brief insight:

“Those who are poor in spirit,” those who are mentally humble, devoid of improper pride will be blessed.

“Those who are meek,” those who yield their possessions and self to God without greed will be blessed.

“Those who are merciful,” those who forgive, abandon bitterness and give love will be blessed.

“Those pure in heart,” those whose drives are controlled by God, and who remain morally pure will be blessed.

“Those who are peacemakers,” those who seek to make things right, and refrain from improperly condemning others, will be blessed.

“Those who spiritually hunger and thirst,” those who have a wholesome spiritual appetite, without inconsistencies will be blessed.

“Those who mourn,” that is those who are grieved by what grieves God, and avoid callousness, will be blessed.

“Those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,” those who stand with Him, free from compromise, will be blessed.

Post those on the walls of your memory, and daily measure His progress of finishing you by them. (Based on Matthew 5)

“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

It is the wise and faithful who regularly accept His invitation. He awaits our request for solving a physical or physical challenge.

When you have to take a challenge when the mandate is, “Thus, saith majority,” call on Him.

When exhausted by a physical task and seeing no solution, call on Him.

Don’t wait until the challenge is great. Stay in touch with Him so you can say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 

You can be sure He will work with you in doing all worthy things.

Got an alligator? Call on the gator wrestling Champion, Jesus Christ.

Three Games We Play

Growing up we played three games:

1. You are. 2. I wish. 3. I am.

As children we hear it all the time: you are slow or you are fast, you are dumb or you are smart, you are good looking or you are ugly, etc. Children begin to believe the descriptions they hear most, and their conduct shows it.

We progress with time to play “I wish.” “I wish I were as good looking as Kim.” “I wish I were as smart as Evan.” “I wish I were as rich as Francis.”

We are bound by these self imposed shackles.  

Only when we began to play the third game do we feel fulfilment, contentment, and peace of mind. Only when you accept the fact and play, “I am.” “I am the product of the creative hand of a loving God. I am the only me, an original. I am loved by Almighty God who wants a relationship with me. I accept His terms of identity by faith and trust His will over my life. I am the child of the all knowing, all wise, all loving God.

“I am the wonderful me He created me to be, and I am resolutely committed to becoming all He created me with the capacity to be.” Then, YOU WIN.