Tuesday, February 20, 2018

DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE SECOND ADVENT OF JESUS?

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First, in order to honestly answer this question, you need to know what the second advent (second coming) is, and based on that knowledge be able to say why you do or don’t believe in it. With that said, what is Jesus’ second advent, and do you believe in it? Second, classifying something as second implies there has been or is a first.

Jesus’ first advent happened when He was born, and that season is celebrated worldwide as Christmas. He lived as a carpenter’s son for about thirty years. At age thirty, He went into public ministry (see Luke 3:23). He preached the need for repentance: “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near” (Matthew 4:17 NLT). He selected disciples, healed the sick, raised the dead, challenged the religious leaders of His day, and demonstrated the power of God, proving He is God. He commissioned the disciples to go and preach the gospel: “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach … the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT).

That era ended with Him being envied by the authorities, falsely accused, tried, condemned, and crucified. He died, was buried, and rose again; He revealed Himself to different individuals and groups to prove He was alive (see Matthew 28:9-10; Luke 24:25). Forty days after His resurrection, He ascended into heaven. On different occasions before His ascension, He promised to return and take those who believe in Him to heaven, where they will live with Him and the Father forever. On one such occasion, He said to His disciples, “When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am going” (John 14:3 NLT). At His ascension, angels encouraged the saddened disciples who witnessed the event by saying: “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go” (Acts 1:11 NLT).

As a reminder for believers regarding their future with God, the apostle Paul writes, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT).

The second advent, therefore, refers to Jesus’ return to earth, bodily, not as a baby, but as God in the same way in which He ascended into heaven, and the Scripture says every eye will see Him on His return: “Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him—even those who pierced him” (Revelation 1:7 NLT).

It’s very clear from Scripture that Jesus is coming back from heaven. In the book of Revelation, He announces, “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book” (Revelation 22:7 NLT). Just as His first advent was prophesied and fulfilled to the letter, even so will His second advent be fulfilled. Did you know that? If not, do you understand it now, and do you believe it?

While Jesus came alone as a baby the first time, His second coming will be with a lot of glamor and fanfare; He’ll be accompanied by His holy angels and the Christians who have been raptured seven years earlier (see Matthew 25:31; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Jude:14-15). Oh, wow -- it’ll be amazing for those who have been expecting His return, but for those who haven’t, it’ll be frightening. The Scripture says, “… all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?’” (Revelation 615-17 NLT).

Jesus’ mission at His first advent was to seek and save the lost (see Luke 19:10). What is His mission when he returns? His mission will be to rule and reign, and judge the world (unbelievers); “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons’” (Matthew 25:31-34, 41 NLT).

What should one do with such knowledge? In other words, Jesus is coming back: so what? That question could best be answered if we knew the implication of that return. Just as He promised blessings for those who believe in Him, He’ll have wages for those who wanted nothing to do with Him, and they will be judgment and sentencing. The Psalmist says it this way: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17 KJV).

Jesus stated clearly during His lifetime what man’s problem was (and still is): “The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me” (John 16:9 NLT). Those who refuse to believe in Him are the ones categorized as the wicked; they will face judgment and condemnation. The author of the Book of Hebrews poses a very important question that every person should ponder sincerely. He asks: “The message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself?”
(Hebrews 2:2-3 NLT). The inference of this question is quite obvious: anyone who ignores Jesus’ offer of salvation will undoubtedly suffer the consequences—judgment and condemnation.

If you have knowledge of how things will be at Jesus’ second advent, and you still refuse to repent, you cannot blame anyone else for the consequence of your unbelief—hell. The apostle Paul, writing to encourage the Christians in Thessalonica, wrote: “God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He (Jesus) will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the good news of Jesus Christ. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 NLT).

Once He is back on earth, it will be too late to repent and place faith in Him; the grace period is over and it will be time for the final judgment. It will be like a bus driver closing the doors just before you get on board: too late. It is wise to repent and place your faith in Jesus as soon as you hear the gospel, because no one knows when that advent will be. If you die and haven’t repented, your situation will be the same as if you were alive at His second advent, and haven’t repented—too late!

Now, back to the title: do you believe in the second advent of Jesus? Praise the Lord if you do! If you don’t, please don’t waste any more time; repent today, and ask Jesus (pray) to come into your heart and make you His child. Then you can claim His promises, including eternity with Him in heaven. Also please note that what God says is what’s going to happen, whether or not you believe it. He has the power, and He calls the shot; you don’t. If going to heaven matters to you, I encourage you to settle that issue now. Jesus hasn’t come yet, because He is being patient; He does not want anyone to perish (see 2 Peter 3:9, 15), but one of these days, life will be going on as usual, and suddenly, He’ll appear (see Matthew 24:37-39), and it will be too late.

If you believe Jesus is coming back, how are you living your life now? Are you ready? The Scripture teaches us to be in a state of readiness at all times, “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming … You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected” (Matthew 24:42-44 NLT). Are you living according to His Word, or are you doing your own thing, haphazardly? Are you growing in your knowledge of Him; is your mind being renewed? Are you sharing your faith, fulfilling your role in the Church? Here’s an admonition from the apostle Peter: “Dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight” (2 Peter 3:14 NLT). Remember, Jesus is coming soon -- sooner than you might think!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

GOD LOVES YOU



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In order to appreciate another person’s love for you, it is important to know who the person is
and what value they bring to your life. If they bring no value to your life, their love will make no
difference to it one way or the other. Therefore, in order to appreciate God’s love for you,
you’ll need to know who He is, why He loves you, and how that love can impact your life.
So, who is God? God is the holy Creator of the universe, including both the visible and unseen
things. He has ultimate power and wisdom. He owns everything and everybody (see Psalm
24:1), and has the right to do with each person as He chooses. He created man in His own
image, so humans have the character of God, and just like God, we are eternal as well as
emotional beings. Being emotional, we have the ability to love, hate, forgive, create, and
admire beauty.

When God created man (Adam and Eve), He enjoyed a relationship with them; He visited and
talked with them often (see Genesis 3:8), until that relationship was tainted and interrupted by
sin, the result of Satan’s doing and man’s disobedience. Sin ruined the relationship, not only in
the present, but also for the future--eternally, because God is holy and cannot co-exist with sin,
in this world or the next. Out of love for us, and the desire to resume an ongoing relationship
with us, God put into motion the plans He had since the beginning of time to restore the
relationship. The only solution to the problem was for sin to be punished.

Did God punish sin? Yes! How did He do it? He became Man, in the person of His Son Jesus, to
take on the punishment for the sin of mankind: the only way back to God. What this means is
God the Creator left His holy dwelling place in heaven with all the pomp and worship of angels,
to live among sinful men on earth. God, the giver of life, died willingly. By His death, Jesus paid
the penalty for sin, thereby restoring the relationship between God and man. This is the
demonstration of God’s love for you and me.

Do you know of any kings, leaders, masters, or lords willing to trade places with their servants
or subjects? How many of these dignitaries would want to serve a one day jail sentence for any
criminal in their jurisdictions, let alone die for one? Without interviewing any of them, I can
accurately answer this question. None of them! The point is they all enjoy the honor, respect,
and power that come with their positions. They’ll not consider giving all that up for anybody—
whether it is for a friend or foe -- but Jesus did! The Scripture tells us, “God showed how much
he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life
through him” (1 John 4:9 NLT).

If God set His glory and majesty aside, became human, suffered, and died when He didn’t have to, we should equate it with love. He did all this out of love for us; it should mean something to us. He knows what our lives would be like without His death. For His love to mean anything to us, we need to respond to His love and the salvation He’s offering through His death. We are not automatically saved by His death; we have to ask to be saved, because of the onetime death He died in our place. We’ll be doing ourselves a disservice if we turn our backs on Him. The Bible says, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:13-14 NLT).

That’s as good as it’s going to get. The only way to get into a personal relationship with God is to accepting Jesus’ death as your own. No amount of arguments you pose about salvation through Jesus will change anything; He is God and the buck stops with Him. His Word says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31 NLT). “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3 NLT).
God loves you! Before you were born, He had plans in place to redeem you from the sin nature you inherited from your fore-parents, Adam and Eve. How are you going to respond to this demonstration of love? Please embrace it. Call on Jesus today, repent of your sins, and ask for forgiveness. He will forgive you and start the work of transformation in your life that will begin to restore the loss of His image in you.

Being aware of God’s love does amazing things in one’s life. You can approach Him anytime, anywhere, in any situation with confidence. After all, He is your Father and has promised never to leave you or forsake you, and to give good gifts to those who ask Him (see Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 7:9-11). I encourage you to fall in love with Him today!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

MERCY SEAT VS JUDGMENT SEAT, PART II



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Appearing at the Judgment Seat is just like appearing at a ticket
counter to pick up reserved tickets for a scheduled event. There
will be no family or group reservations. Each individual has to
make their own reservation, and pick up their own ticket.

Remember that each one makes a reservation to where they
want to go. The tickets usher people to one of two places. There
are no in-between destinations. So where are people headed? One
group is headed to claim their inheritance, the kingdom prepared
for them since the creation of the world (see Matthew 25:34). The second
group is headed to hell, a place prepared for the devil and his
angels. (see Matthew 25:41).

The ticket to the first destination remains good and ready for
pick up at the right time with one piece of identification, the blood
of Christ. “When I see the blood I will pass over you” Exodus 12:13 NIV).
“Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more
shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!” (Romans 5:9).

The ticket to the second destination is good only on the day of
pick up; in other words, it can be cancelled before maturity. “Let
the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him
turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God,
for He will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:7 NIV).

The practice in hospitals these days is to have patients and
or their families sign all kinds of consents on admission. One of
the consents is about resuscitation. Patients are allowed to turn
down interventions that will keep them alive or prolong their lives.
Belonging in the second group means the same thing. People are
signing their own death warrant. By not choosing life, they are
choosing death.

After giving the life of His Son, God has every right to use
this declaration against the unyielding, “This day I call heaven and
earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and
death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your
children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV).

How are you going to respond to God’s loving call? Are
you still digging in your hills? “Seek the Lord while He may be
found; call on Him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6 NIV). Speaking before the
Sanhedrin, Peter the Apostle said of Jesus, “Salvation is found
in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to
men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 NIV). Don’t wait any longer!
Believe in the name of Jesus and be saved.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

MERCY SEAT vs JUDGMENT SEAT, PART 1


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The seats refer to the two separate encounters man is going to have
with God, now and later. Each person has the option to appear at
one or both seats. It is important to note that the seats are available
at different times, under different circumstances and for different
reasons. Going to the Mercy Seat (MS) is strictly by choice, and
is for one reason only, to obtain mercy. Going to the judgment
Seat (JS), will be for one of two reasons. For the Christian, it will
be to give an account of himself to God, and to receive a reward
(see Romans 14:12). For the unbeliever, it will be to hear the verdict for not
accepting God’s offer of salvation. “No one can see the kingdom of
God unless he is born again” (John 3:3 NIV). It matters, very much, which
seat one goes to first.

The Mercy Seat is available to all, for as long as they have life,
and as long as they are capable of making decisions. The invitation
to the Mercy Seat is simple; it became available with the death of
Christ, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and
only Son that, whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have
eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV). At the MS, there is forgiveness, cleansing,
new life now, and eternal life in the life to come. At the MS, all
who want to, may come!

The JS comes after this life, and is not so much by choice. It
is the way God has set things up. For those who never appeared
at the Mercy Seat, the JS is by default. They have indirectly and
gladly made a choice to accept without complaints, the verdict
that is pronounced at the JS. They’ve missed the opportunity to
receive pardon. There will be no second chances there, how sad, “Man
is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ
was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He
will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to
those who are waiting for Him” (Hebrews 9:27-28 NIV). As misused as the
word is, hell is really a place. It was prepared for the devil and his
angels, but “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of
life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” Revelation 20:15 NIV).

The book of Matthew puts it this way, “When the Son of man
comes in His glory, and all His angels with Him . . . all the nations
will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one
from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats . . . .
then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who
are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom
prepared for you since the creation of the world.’ . . . Then He will
say to those on His left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into
the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels’” (Matthew 25:31-41 NIV).

God is not interested in anyone going to hell, and that was
the reason He sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sins. He
wants people to stop in at the MS and be forgiven; the price for
sin is already paid. Christ died for sins, once! He is not going to
do that again. Of course He would, if it were necessary, but God
is completely satisfied with the one sacrifice, for all time. Don’t be
expecting any other way by which to escape hell. The ‘good works’
(kind deeds) route won’t work, because He has already said, “All
our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6 NIV), and please don’t
say, “There isn’t only one way to heaven.”, because there is only one
way to heaven, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one
comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NIV).

Choose life while you still have the opportunity. Tomorrow
might be too late. Disbelief won’t help; turning up your nose at
God won’t either. In humility, please go to the MS, believe in Jesus,
and find forgiveness and the assurance of eternal life. Refusing
to go to the MS means, one has elected to gladly live with the
pronouncement from the JS. Please go to the Mercy Seat, today.
This could be your last call to believe in Jesus!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

AT THE TRAFFIC LIGHTS OF LIFE



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Our journey through this life is like being on a highway, and taking
our cue from the diff erent color traffi c lights. We are always at one
of three lights. We are either at a stop (red), getting ready to stop
(yellow), or in motion (green). Th e color changes determine how
long we are supposed to stay at each light. In order to ensure our
safety and the safety of other travelers, we cannot ignore any of
the indicators for change.

If we stand still at a green light, travelling time is prolonged,
we arrive late at our destination, and we delay other travelers,
and can potentially be the cause of an accident. If we choose to
stay in motion when the light is red, we run the risk of accidents,
getting hurt and or hurting other travelers, be it pedestrians or
other drivers. If we try to avoid the red light by rushing through
the yellow light, we risk going through the red light, and possibly
causing an accident. We need to respond to each color traffi c light
appropriately and in a timely manner. In order to do that, we need
to be alert and watchful so we don’t miss any of the prompts.

When God gives the signal to move (green), we need to
move prayerfully and in faith trusting that He knows where He
is leading, even when we are not sure. Moses didn’t know the
solution to, “Tell the Israelites to move on.” Ex 14:15b, when he
and the Israelites were sandwiched between the Red sea in front
and the Egyptian soldiers behind. Have you taken matching orders
not knowing where you are headed? If your orders came from the
Father, you don’t have to worry; He has it all under control. Let us
be on our guard so that we don’t miss any orders for change when
He issues them.

Please let’s not speed up when God says, “Slow down” (yellow
light). Speeding up to escape or shorten pain and suffering
won’t accomplish God’s purposes for us. God through Joshua,
commanded the Israelites to match around Jericho once a day for
six days, then seven times on the seventh day (Jos 6:3-5). Th ey
could have decided to speed up things by walking two or more
times per day or marched thirteen times the fi rst day to get the
job completed sooner than later, but they didn’t. God had a good
reason for this seemingly strange military strategy; the Israelites
didn’t have to know the reason why, all they needed to do was obey.
Had they not followed His orders to the later, the outcome could
have been very diff erent, most likely not in their favor.

Then, there comes the most dreaded time when God says,
“Wait!” Waiting is not easy, especially when we don’t know what’s
supposed to happen next; we can get restless, tired, inpatient,
and whinny. But charging ahead of God always messes things
up. Let us wait! During that waiting period, we need to exercise
patience, faith, and be prayerful, and expectant. Sometime after
Jesus’ resurrection, before His ascension, He gave the apostles
this command, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my
Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” Acts 1:4
That gift was the Holy Spirit! When He came, He filled them
with power to be His witnesses. They were no longer afraid of the
authorities; they preached with boldness in His name and healed
the sick in His name. Had they not waited expectantly, patiently,
and prayerfully, the outcome might have been different.

Th e toughest part of knowing which light we’ve come to is the
ability to hear God’s voice distinctly. We definitely cannot heed
God’s direction, if we cannot hear Him, and we don’t hear Him
because we don’t wait on Him enough to hear Him speak to us.
We are always on a move, in a rush, and our minds wonder, and our
enemy, the devil likes it that way. In Revelation 1:10, John who had
been banished to the Island of Patmos because of his faith says,
“On the Lord’s Day, I was in the Spirit, and I heard . . .” In order
to hear the Lord’s voice we need to be prayerful.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

ETERNITY



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Quite often when people die, you hear their loved ones say, “he or
she is in a better place” Th is is a comforting thought, and I am sure
everybody will like to think that about their deceased loved one.
Before we go any further, we need to ask ourselves, “Where is this
better place, and how do people get there?”

The Bible talks about eternity, either in heaven or in hell.
There are no neutral places, so when people talk about a better
place they most likely are referring to heaven. However, heaven is
not an automatic destination for the deceased. When people die,
their loved ones can comfort themselves any way they want, but
that does not guarantee their loved one is in heaven. The biblical
truth is, only those who believe on the name of Jesus will go to
heaven; only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book
of life.

People who do not believe on the name of Jesus Christ before
they die cannot be wished or prayed into heaven by loved ones, not
even by the church.

Eligibility into heaven is not based on gender, age, social or
political standing. It is also not based on good works or anything
else people do. It is based solely on the sacrifice Christ made on
the cross, making Himself a bridge between God and man. Christ
died to pay the penalty for sin, making the way for sinners to come
to God by faith in Him (Jesus).

This is your opportunity. Ask Jesus to forgive your sins now.
He will forgive you, take away the guilt of your sins, fi ll you with
His Spirit and give you peace and the assurance of salvation. He

will also write your name in His book of life. Don’t count on your
loved ones or your priests to wish or pray you into heaven after
your death. It just does not work that way.

If you refuse Christ’s off er for salvation, you have automatically
and personally decided to go to hell after you die. Remember
nothing can be changed about that decision once you are on the
other side of dirt. So while you are on this side of dirt make the
decision that guarantees you will spend eternity in heaven. Your
loved ones can then say confi dently, at your passing, “he or she is in
a better place.” Please make this decision soon, hopefully today.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

THE ROAD MAP




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A map is a great tool for getting to unfamiliar places
If you were trying to get from point A to point B
And had no idea how to get there,
Most likely, you will ask another who knew,
Or get a map and follow it closely

As long as you are in this world, you are on a journey, you are going
somewhere.
It doesn’t matter how long it takes, you will get there, eventually
But where are you going, and do you know how to get there?
I suggest to you, it will be one of two places, heaven or hell
You can’t go to both places, it has to be one or the other.
Where you go is your choice.

To get to heaven, the road map you need is the Bible
It is God’s word, written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit.
In it, you learn that you are a sinner, deserving to die
But you also learn that God’s Son, Jesus Christ died in your
place.
What you need to do then, is acknowledge your sins before God;
ask for forgiveness, and
Place your faith in His Son, Jesus.
He will wash your sins away and send his Spirit to dwell within
you.
He will help you through his Spirit and the Bible to travel this
life,
And most assuredly, at the end, bring you safe into heaven
Where mansions have been prepared for you
And for ever you will be in His presence.

To get to hell, you just have to ignore the map that directs to
heaven.
Live as you please, have no regard for God, your creator and His
Son Jesus Christ,
And you will undoubtedly end up in hell

But why would you want to end up there?
It is a place of torment and sorrow, with weeping and gnashing
of teeth.
The torment never ends.

You most likely don’t want to go to hell, you’d rather go to
heaven,
But you are trusting your good works (the acts of kindness and the
like) to take you there.
The Bible says you are saved by grace, not by works lest any man
should boast.
Your good works are simply not good enough,
God has made only one provision for salvation, the blood of Jesus
Christ.
Choose the road map that leads to life eternal by believing in
Jesus.

On the other hand, you probably don’t even know you are
traveling,
Let alone have a destination in mind
But as long as you are in this world, you are traveling
And will end up somewhere, sooner or later.
Make sure you are following the right road map!