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APRIL 2017

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Fools

 

Psalms 14:1 The fool has said in his heart,"There is no God."

Psalms 53:1 The fool has said in his heart,"There is no God."

Luke 12:20 But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?'

 

Saturday was April Fool's day.  You didn't want to depend on anything you heard and on only half of what you saw on Saturday.  We needed to wait until Sunday to get any sensible news because on April Fool's day the news one read may just have been part of an April fool's prank.  No one seems to know what the origin of April Fool's day was, but some seem to think that it stems from a change in the calendars that we use today.  Whatever the case, one can be extremely foolish on April Fool's day and most people will just think you are having fun. While good fools are considered to be entertaining on this day, this is a good day to consider the foolishness of thinking that there is no God and of preparing for time and not for eternity.

 

The Foolishness of saying there is No God!

King David says that a person is a fool who says that there is no God.  This is repeated twice because of its importance.  A person may question whether they can know God.  A person may question which god is God.  But to take the position that there is no creator God is just as foolish as saying that my car was not designed by an engineer and made by the Kia company. 

 

Some have translated David's Psalms this way, “No God for me.”    That may or may not be the meaning but it makes more rational sense than saying that there is no God at all.  Rebellion against authority is something that is inbred in each one of us.  From the time we are born, we want to call the shots and do things our way.  But if there is a God, we need to know who He is and what He wants.  Some people think that they can rebel against God and get by with it.  This is the attitude of Satan who continually says, “I will” in Isaiah 14:13 and 14, rather than wanting to know God's will. 

 

Others have translated the Psalms this way, “No to God!”  This is very similar to saying, “No God for me.”  However, these people know the word of God.  They know that the Lord Jesus is the Son of God, and they know that they need to be saved.  However, they simply rebel against the idea that God has final authority over them.  Some argue that God is cruel and they want no part of Him.  Others argue that God is unfair and they want no part of Him.  But even if these accusations were true which they are not, God is God.  I wouldn't want to get on His bad side if I thought he was cruel and unfair. 

 

The Foolishness of Planning for Time and Not for Eternity

In Luke 12 the Lord tells the story of a man much like most of the people I meet today.  This man had worked hard and had his retirement plans all made.  He thought he had enough.  But he had not planned on dying before he had a chance to use his retirement funds.  He apparently had made good plans for his time on earth and had made no plans for eternity.   The Bible tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and the Lord will take care of the retirement plan (Matthew 6:33).  Who really has enough confidence in the Lord to test him on this important point?  Many of us say we trust Him for eternity but we still plan for time as though there were no God in heaven Who loves us enough to take care of us.  But even if our faith is small, that is, if we have trouble putting our faith in all of God's promises; there is one promise that we had better believe and test.  That is the promise that is found in Acts 13:38-39, “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.”

 

The story is told of a king who held auditions for a “fool” or court jester.  He wanted the best one in the land and the person who got the position was to be given the King's staff.    One man finally was given the position and the staff and he entertained the king for many years.  Finally, the king fell ill and was on his death bed.  The “fool” came to visit and asked the King if he had made preparations for the journey he was about to take.  The King said that he had not.  The “fool” then handed him his staff back.  He said, “Your Majesty, you are a bigger fool than I.” 

 

Today I am looking at the news and see that an avalanche of water from three overflowing rivers swept through a small city in Colombia while people slept, destroying homes and killing around 250 unsuspecting residents.  I wonder how many of them were wise and how many were fools. 

 

Lord help us all to remember that we are designed by you for your glory.  Help us to trust you not only for eternity but also for time.

 

Meditation for the week of  April 2, 2017

Is There Really Going to be a Second Coming?

 

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 14:3). 

 

We do Know that The Promise is Sure

The Lord speaking to His disciples says, “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 14:3).”  This promise is just as sure as the promise in John 3:16 which says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

 

There is only one second coming, not two.  But there are many events associated with the second coming.  For the Christian the second coming is one of hope and comfort.  1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 tells us, “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.”  Christians who die before the Lord comes will not be forgotten or left out.  They will actually rise first so that they can be caught up or raptured with the saints who are living when the Lord comes.

 

The second coming is one of dread and judgment for the unbeliever.  1 Thessalonians 5:3 says, “For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.”  One of the signs of the second coming of the Lord is that men will mock the fact that it is going to happen. Peter tell us in  2 Peter 3:3-4, “Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation."  When this destruction comes, it will be unexpected because unbelievers are like those who don't lock their doors at night.  They don't lock their doors because they don't expect a thief to come and rob them.  Unbelievers likewise don't expect that the prophetic events associated with “the day of the Lord” or the “great day of His wrath” will really come.  But the Lord is coming again!.

 

We Don't Know When the Events Associated with the Second Coming Begin

We know that the events that usher in the judgment of God upon the world that has rejected His Son begins with the signing of a covenant with a Roman prince (Daniel 9:27).  The many that confirm that covenant likely refers to the Jewish nation.  We know that the true believer has been delivered from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  So the catching away of Christians must occur before or simultaneously with the signing of this covenant.  But the signing of this covenant ushers in a 7 year period of prophetic years.  The prophetic year based on the Jewish calendar would be 360 days.  So while we don't know when the seven years which is normally called the tribulation period begins, we do know that once it begins  there will be exactly 7 years of 360 days each until the Lord comes back to the Mount of Olives to set up His righteous kingdom.  That kingdom lasts for 1000 years. 

 

We do know that when the events begin, they will take place suddenly.  The Lord say, “Behold I come quickly (Revelation 22:20).”  A better translation would be “Behold I come suddenly.”  An example would be the fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall.  There was a long time between WWII and those events.  But once the events started to happen, they happened quickly or suddenly.  We don't know when the events will start taking place but that when they do take place the Lord is not going to wait on those who weren't ready.  We need to be ready for the Lord's second coming NOW!  (See Hebrews 10:37).

 

So What?

When we see the turmoil in middle east, when we see the potential for nuclear conflict, when we see pollution in our seas from Japan's accident involving its nuclear reactors, when we see the Jewish nation being brought back into Israel in unbelief so that they can sign the peace treaty that we have mentioned above, we should recognize that God in His mercy is warning us to be ready for His second coming.  Men cruelly crucified Him when He came the first time.  For those who repent and believe that He died to save us, His second coming is something the believer can anticipate with joy and hope and comfort.  For those who reject Him, His second coming is going to be much different than His first coming.  . 

 

Luke 17:26-30  says, “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.

 

We all need to be prepared now.  We are accountable to the Lord; He is not accountable to us.  Now is the day of salvation.  We are not given tomorrow.

 

Meditation for the week of April 9, 2017

Supposing vs Knowing

 

John 20:15 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away."

 

My thoughts are not your Thoughts

Sometimes we say in jest, “Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is already made up.”  That is particularly true of things pertaining to our relationship with God.  Somehow the created being thinks he or she is more intelligent than the creator.  Ever since Adam and Eve fell in the garden, men have been deciding what is right and wrong rather than letting God tell them what is right and wrong.  Men suppose that there is no God or they suppose that there are many gods.  They assume that what makes sense to them must be the truth.  However, God says, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).”  We don't think like God thinks and we are not the final authority regarding right and wrong and regarding eternal issues.  God is.  We are not God.

 

Supposing instead of Knowing

The disciples of the Lord were just like us. They had trouble accepting things that did not make sense to them.  One thing that didn't make sense to them was that the Lord had really come to die rather than to reign and that He would rise again from the dead.  That is why when Mary came to the tomb and when she found the stone rolled away, she assumed (supposed) that the Lord's body had been stolen and taken away.  That made sense.  The resurrection of the Lord did not make sense to her.  However, her thinking caused her grief.  She wept at the tomb.  But when the Lord appeared to her and spoke her name, things changed.  Sorrow turned to joy.  Despair turned to hope.  It was almost too good to be true.  But the Lord had been raised from the dead.  It was true.  The angels gave witness to this truth when they said to the women who came to the tomb, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come; see the place where the Lord lay. (Matthew 28:5-6).”

 

Other things that we Suppose

The Jews thought that they knew how to please God because they thought that they knew the Old Testament Scriptures.    But because their minds were made up,  they couldn't be confused with the facts.  Thus, they didn't see the Lord Jesus being the fulfillment of the Scriptures that they taught,  The Lord said in John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”  The Jews had seen the Lord do a notable miracle, but He had done it on the Sabbath and had also said that God was His Father making Himself equal with God. Instead of the miracle opening their eyes to the truth, they wanted to kill a man who wasn't loyal to the party line and who obviously could have made doctors obsolete. 

 

In Mark the Lord begins his earthly ministry by saying,  "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15)."  We can't believe until we repent or get our minds changed because we think wrong and we need an attitude adjustment before we quit supposing.  Once we quit supposing we can accept what God says and we will know.  Sometimes we think we know better than God about the issue of sin, sometimes it has to do with the issue of His justice, sometimes supposing has to do with the issues of eternal punishment.  However, whatever our issues,  we need to settle this in our minds:  God is right even when that makes us wrong.  Until we accept that, we will always be confused about God's way of salvation and we will wonder why there are people that are so sure that they are right. Many of us are sure that what Gods says is right even when it makes no logical sense.  Salvation by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ doesn't really make logical sense to most of us. Surely we must DO SOMETHING to be saved, Right?  Wrong! When we DO SOMETHING we have faith in ourselves.  But what we need to do is to trust the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Thank the Lord!

As we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord at Easter time, we need to remember that just because the resurrection seems unbelievable does not mean that it is unbelievable.  Christ is risen whether we believe it or not.  The angels declared it, the disciples witnessed the living Savior after the resurrection, and we preach it today.  We don't need to suppose.  We can not only know that Christ has risen, we can know our sins are forgiven when we have faith in the resurrected Lord.

Meditation for the week of April 16, 2017