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2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
6:17 "For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to
Bible is a book of contrasts. There is light and dark. There is the
saved and the lost. There is good and evil. There are believers and
unbelievers. There is heaven and there is eternal conscious punishment
in hell and the lake of fire. There is grace and there is wrath.
live in the day of grace but we are seeing the world in chaos. This last
year we had devastating tornadoes and floods. We had hurricanes. We have
had an economic meltdown. We have terrorism and wars all over the whole
world. And Just now, at the end of this year, the Israelites and the
Palestinians are at war once again. Is this the "great day of God's
wrath?" Has it come?
personally believe we are seeing things like the the things that will
happen when the great day of God's wrath is come, but I don't think we
are quite there yet. But if the present conditions are so frightful,
what will it be like when God does pour out His wrath on those that have
would like to believe that God always acts in a gracious manner. We know
that grace has been evident in his dealings with mankind since he
created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden. He was
gracious to the nation of Israel in leading them out of Egypt and into
the promised land. He was gracious to David when he sinned with
Bathsheba. But His real grace was shown when He sent His Son into the
world to die on an old rugged cross. That grace is known throughout much
of the whole world. God's desire is to save and not to destroy. He says
that He did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but
that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:18).
wrath is coming. No one likes to be around people who are filled with
wrath. Many people lose control when they get angry, but God does not.
However, His wrath will be terrible just the same. Even John the Baptist
said, "His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly
clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but
He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Matthew 3:12." So
another contrast has to do with wheat and chaff. The chaff which
represents that which is of no value to God is burned up in a fire that
is not quenched.
Bible says that we should fear God, and normally we think of that fear
as reverence. But certainly when we realize that God destroyed the earth
with a flood and promises one day to destroy that which He created with
fire, there is reason to fear God in the sense of fear and trembling.
While the great day of God's wrath is not here, yet; it is certainly
find it interesting that the two nations that seem to be mentioned most
in the Bible are now being constantly mentioned in the news. Those two
nations are Iraq or Babylon and Israel. It is also interesting that when
the Lord comes, every eye shall see Him (Revelation 1:7). At one time
that would have taken a miracle, but today we have the electronic means
for that to happen without any great unusual miracle occurring. We used
to wonder how anyone could give us a mark that would be used to buy or
sell as we read in Revelation 13:17. Now we know that the technology is
there to use electronic chips and to place them in the hand or forehead.
They could be read at the cash register in much the same way that our
current credit cards are read. We now have the means to destroy people
in war in some of the ways that are described in the book of the
Revelation. Certainly the stage has been set for the great day of God's
wrath to be ushered in.
grace is beautiful. It has appeared in the person of the Lord Jesus
Christ. The Lord wants us to enjoy salvation by grace through faith in
the Lord Jesus. In contrast, God's wrath is terrible. I am glad that we
can be delivered from it (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
for the week of January 4, 2009
whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law
and the Prophets."
world would be a lovely place if we all practiced the Golden Rule.
Rather we tend to practice its perversion which says, "Do unto
others before they do unto you." Or sometimes we practice another
revision which says, "Do unto others whatever they do unto
you." Instead of turning the other cheek, we take karate lessons
and boxing lessons. We keep guns in our houses and in some cases in
holsters or purses so that nobody will ever want to take advantage of
us. Nationally we meet force with force, and while we may win the battle
for control of the real estate, we certainly lose the battle for the
hearts of men.
know that heaven in not entered by the good that we do. The reason for
that is that none of us has done good as for as God is concerned. See
Romans 3:12. Since our natures are not Godlike, we are more likely to do
bad than good. A child does not have to be taught how to be bad, but we
do teach children how to be good. Even people who are really quite good
have done some bad. We need a new nature to have the power to even want
to carry out this command.
unto others what we want others to do unto us is probably the narrow
door of the next two verses. It just isn't easy to be like God when we
live in a world of sin and hate. The desire to be loving and to treat
others the way we want to be treated is not natural. It is not the way
we are raised. We are told that if we don't look out for number one, no
one else will. We certainly don't want to be considered weak in a dog
eat dog world. So we learn to take and not give. We learn to fight for
our rights if anyone in any way threatens them. That is why we must be
born again to enter God's heaven.
we are going treat others the way we want them to treat us, we are going
to have to have empathy. We need to be able to understand another
person's situation, feelings, and motives. Some would say we have to
walk in their shoes in order to properly understand them. Then we are
also going to need sympathy when people run into trouble, even if that
trouble is of their own making. The only person I know that has really
exhibited empathy and sympathy for those who didn't deserve His
consideration, was the Lord himself. Instead of destroying a world who
wanted to destroy Him, he literally turned the other cheek and went the
second mile. He bore our sins in His own body on the cross. He didn't
assign blame for bad decisions, He just came to where we were and met
our need. I realize that He died for acting in a loving, kind, and
gracious way, but that is why we who have made many bad decisions love
Him. He hasn't rejected us just because we have failed over and over
our present economy, there are going to be many bankruptcies. What would
have been good decisions if the economy had continued growing have
turned out to be bad decisions in many cases. It is fairly easy with the
benefit of hindsight for us to say now that those who are overextended
financially should have known that this could happen and for us to be
critical of them. But I think most people who won't be able to make ends
meet will need to have their debts forgiven, and then they will need to
find empathy and sympathy from those of us who are still solvent.
are two reasons why we need to be forgiving and not critical. One is
that the Lord tells us that this is the standard by which we should
live. And the other is that before this economic meltdown runs its
course, we may all be begging for the means to feed out families and to
keep roofs over our heads. The Bible says famine is coming. The signs of
the times say famine could be closer than we think. We certainly don't
want to set a standard for others that comes back and bites us before
the Lord comes and straightens this whole mess out.
whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law
and the Prophets."
for the week of January 11, 2009
God (Speaking Irreverently about Him)
great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of
a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since
that plague was exceedingly great.
is a term that inspires fear and awe in people. If you want to sell a
book, make sure it has Armageddon someplace in its name. Armageddon is
the last great battle between good and evil. The first Beast of
Revelation 13 likely leads the charge of those who are against Israel.
According to Zechariah 12:3, ultimately all other nations will be
gathered against Jerusalem. Whether this is a part of the battle of
Armageddon or subsequent to it is hard to know. At some point, if the
Unites States still exists, it will have turned its back on the nation
of Israel and will be fighting against it.
battle will be the culmination of all the judgments of the tribulation
period. We know that all those going into the tribulation period will be
unbelievers since the believers will be caught up to be with the Lord
and to be spared from this day of God's wrath. I personally believe that
anyone who has not rejected the sacrifice of Christ at the cross will be
safe even though they are not saved. They also will go to be with the
Lord. That will leave those who could have been saved but who have
rejected the Lord to be deceived by the great deception that will take
place at that time. They didn't believe the truth so they will believe
the Liar (2 Thessalonians 2:11).
period of time will involve natural disasters, chemical and biological
warfare, as well as nuclear warfare. Every instrument of death that man
has ever invented will be unleashed in that day. But God is also going
to unleash the weapons of his arsenal. I believe that Israel would lose
this last great battle if they were left to themselves. But the Lord
will come on the white horse (Revelation 19) and the remnant of Israel
will turn to the Lord in true repentance saying, "Why He was
bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him,
with His stripes we are healed (Isiah 53:5)." The Lord will then
save them physically for His kingdom and He will destroy those trying to
destroy them. One of the means that He uses is 100 pound hailstones.
the past, when natural disasters occurred or if we got sick or if the
economy failed, we all asked if God was judging us and we confessed our
sins and in many cases came to trust in the Lord for salvation. But this
time it will not work that way. Apart from the nation of Israel, people
will blaspheme God. They will not question the reality of God or His
judgment, they just won't submit to Him. They will be like Pharaoh who
knew not the Lord (Exodus 5:2) and whose heart was hardened every time
the Lord showed His power in the plagues that were poured out on Egypt.
have noticed that in our present day there are many people like this.
They are people who realize that God is speaking to them and even
judging them, but they don't care. They shake their fist in face of God
and blame Him for judging them for living a life that denies the Lord
who died to save them. I don't understand this logic, but it is going to
be the thinking of many in the coming tribulation period and it is the
thinking of many today.
thinking would be to recognize that God is in control and that He has
the ability to save to the uttermost those who come to God through faith
in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is one thing to believe that there is no
God and to assume time and chance accounts for things that happen that
are predicted in the Bible. But to blaspheme God when He is judging sin
and sinful nations is absolutely unreasonable thinking. Why would anyone
blaspheme God unless they were convinced He actually exists? And if He
actually exists, do they think that they are going to be able to resist
Him and get by with it?
is always the final winner, and He always has the last word. We need to
trust Him, not blaspheme Him.
for the week of January 18, 2009
Faith in God
11:22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
recently took a real vacation where we had to fly a real airplane to a
real cruise ship that took us to several spots in the Caribbean Sea. We
had to trust a lot of people for that vacation to happen. We trusted my
daughter when she said she had arranged the trip for us, that she was
paying the bill and was going along to make sure we enjoyed ourselves.
We had to trust my son-in-law to get us to the airport on time and that
meant we had to trust his van to run in below zero weather. We had to
trust the people who designed and built his van. We had to trust a
flight crew to fly a plane to get to Miami which meant that we had to
trust a plane with a lot of moving parts to be able to get about 150
people and their luggage airborne and to the Miami airport. We had to
trust the people who designed the plane and the people who made it. When
we got to the cruise ship, we had to trust the crew and the staff and
the boat and all the people who designed and built and maintained that
boat. When I got to thinking about the number of people and machines we
were trusting, I began to think that maybe we should have stayed home.
Most people cannot or will not follow directions and only one person
would have had to foul up for our vacation to have been a bad experience
instead of a good one. But we had a good experience.
we can trust men and their machines when we know that men are prone to
be undependable and when we know that machines tend to fail, why is it
so hard to trust the designer of this universe who also designed the way
of salvation after the man He had made failed? One day the Lord was in a
boat and storm came up. The Lord was quite content to be sleeping in the
back of the boat. The disciples were afraid the boat was going to sink
so they woke up the Lord and asked Him if He didn't care that they were
about to perish. He was the creator of the universe. He was destined to
die on a cross, not by drowning in a boat. How could the boat possibly
go down with Him in it? But they didn't have faith in Him and as a
result they had a lot of anxiety that they didn't need to have (See Mark
4:37-41). Even those of us who say we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
have trouble trusting Him when the storms of life come.
people build things, they usually write an owner's manual telling people
who buy the product how to use it. Many people throw the owner's manual
away and as a result they never do fully understand how the product
works. Sometimes they have to assemble what they have bought and they
wonder why they have screws left over when they are finished. Sometimes
the product has features that are never used because the owner didn't
read the instructions and sometimes people think the product is
defective because they didn't do what the instructions said to do. But
the designer should know best how to assemble and use the product and it
is nice when the designer has made a manual available.
left us a manual. It is called the Bible. When he got done with
creation, it was very good. But men don't read the owner's manual and
when things go wrong they blame God rather than themselves. Men have
marred that which was very good because they have not been where they
should be when they should be there, doing what God has asked them to
do, because "they want to figure things out on their own." The
problem isn't with God and His manual, the problem is with people who
don't trust God enough to follow the instructions.
others is hard. We tend to think that we know what we are doing even
when it is obvious that we don't know what we are dong. That is why we
have to repent to believe or trust in Christ. Sometimes we act like the
fellow who said, "Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made
up." However, God knows best how to save us and He knows best how
to keep us. Wouldn't it be nice if we were smart enough to read the
instructions and then to believe that He knows what He is doing and He
knows how what He has created works best?
lets us use what others have designed and made. We need to trust God
since He knew what He was doing when He designed and made us.
for the week of January 25, 2009