What if you knew?

Copyright Barry Hatch
Copyright Barry Hatch

What if you knew that yes, there will be a Rapture of the Church?
What if you knew exactly when it would be?

(I know… “No man knows the day or the hour.” Just roll with me on this.)

How would that affect your life?

How would it change the decisions you make every day?

What if you knew it would happen next year? Next month? Next week?

If you knew it would be next year, would you slack off in certain areas, comfortable in the knowledge that you “have plenty of time”?

If you knew it would be next month, would you get more serious about your relationship with God because you’ve suddenly realized, “I have hardly any time at all to prepare for the next phase of life!”?

If you knew Hew was coming back in a few weeks, how would you spend your money today? Would you buy that new pair of shoes you’ve been wanting, or would you give that money to missions in hopes of more people coming to know Jesus before it’s too late?

If you knew He was coming back next week, how would you spend your time? Would you be out watching movies, or would you be getting deeper into His Word, sharing Jesus with everyone you could, and hitting your knees in prayer?

If you knew He was coming back tomorrow…

It’s a fact: No man knows the day or the hour.
We sure can judge the seasons, though, and from the looks of things…

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Advertisements

Meditations: Ephesians 1:19-21

Copyright Clarissa Pardue 2014
Copyright Clarissa Pardue 2014

 

Ephesians 1:19-21
NKJV

…and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

 

This very same power is available for me! Why do I have such a hard time getting this revelation?

…the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe…

 This final word is the key: believe. This exceedingly great power is available for us who believe – who believe in Him, in all He’s done, and in the fact that He will do it all for us. Believe. It’s so simple, or should be. Why, good grief! You’d think I would figure it out in my heart as well as my head that if this same all-powerful God gave His only son for me then I am important enough that, having expended so much power already on the “hard stuff,” He will be pleased when I give Him opportunity to share more.

It is clear that He looks for the times when I trust Him and open the door so He can, “…show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” (II Chron 16:9) I love that portion of Scripture. In the New King James the verse reads, “For the eyes of the lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.”

My heart is loyal to my God. I may fail in the area of consistency, but I love Him and I will (I choose) to be faithful to Him. So He tells me in His Word – more than once – that His will, His choice, is to bless me… To bless ME! I hear Him speak it to my spirit over and over. I see Him in action time and time again. So why is it hard to remember that His will is to bless me? Why can it sometimes be so hard to believe that I am worthy of those blessings?

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Meditations: Luke 18:16-17

Copyright Clarissa Pardue 2014
Copyright Clarissa Pardue 2014

Luke 18:16-17
NLT

16 Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 I assure you, anyone who doesn’t have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God.”

 

Matthew, Mark and Luke all share about this event, about how Jesus rebuked His disciples for trying to keep the children away. Mark and Luke both quote Jesus’ declaration that only those who have childlike faith will enter the Kingdom of God. All good students know that when the teacher repeats himself you can be sure that the information he’s giving will be on the test. So what all was Jesus saying, that God ensured it would be repeated to catch our attention?

First, any time His disciples tried to keep people from Jesus they were rebuked. Here He rebuked them and then the event was recorded repeatedly in the Gospels.

Moral: Do not stand in the way of anyone who is trying to reach Him; He does not appreciate it (and may well make an example of you for posterity’s sake).

Then He explains that the Kingdom of God belongs to those children and others like them. We cannot enter the Kingdom of God, He says, unless we have their kind of faith. This is a powerful warning. How do we heed it?

The key, of course, lies in understanding a child’s faith. A child’s faith is, in a word, absolute. The child of a normal father – even one who is only decent, rather than outstanding as a father – tends to trust his father completely. Whatever Daddy gives him he receives with confidence that it is a good thing. When Daddy holds him, he knows the world is safe. Whatever his need, he walks convinced that Daddy will fill it. That is, after all, what daddies are for.

God wants us to trust Him in just this way. He desires…demands…our absolute confidence in Him. He wants us to come before the throne of grace as boldly as any child would run to his father’s chair. He wants us to whisper in His ear, sharing as any earthly child would, telling Him about our hopes, our dreams, our needs and concerns.

He also wants us to love as freely as a child loves, throwing our arms around his neck, climbing up into His lap, playing “I love you most” with him, and in general letting Him know that He is the most important One in our whole world.

Our tendency, in today’s culture, is to rush to grow up. He says, “Come as a child.”

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Lord & Savior

Way back in my AOL days, a lady once emailed me asking if I would be willing to be her mentor as a Christian. I was honored, obviously, but also somewhat unprepared since I’d never been asked that question before. Not knowing what else to do, I answered honestly that I would count it an honor, but the very best advice I could give anyone is to truly accept Jesus as their Savior and LORD – giving Him full control of their life.

Her reply made me sad. She said she wasn’t ready to let anyone else be in control of her life, that she wanted to continue controlling it herself. Looking back, I realize I understand a tiny bit of what Jesus must have felt when talking to the rich young ruler.

We toss the phrase “Lord and Savior” around like it’s nothing, but in fact it is everything – and in my opinion we say the words out of order. First, we accept Jesus as Savior. Until we’ve done that, acknowledging that He has literally purchased us from our slaveholder (sin), we cannot submit to and serve Him as Lord. It’s simply not possible.

But then, to know Him as Lord, we must understand what a Lord is. Modern day life doesn’t help us in this area; we have to look back. In past times your Lord was, quite literally, your ruler. His word was supreme in your life and you owed pretty much everything to him. You owed him all loyalty, all fealty, and a certain percentage of everything you produced on the land he provided for you. Yes, he told you what to do and you did it…or else.

But here is the part most people don’t grasp. He also, if he was a good Lord, took responsibility for you, took care of you. In telling you what to do, he was looking ahead, figuring out what it would take for you to prosper, and setting you up for that prosperity. He understood that for his realm to do well you had to do well, and he did all he could to ensure you did – if he was a good lord, which our Lord obviously is.

My life became EASIER when I moved past merely accepting Jesus as my Savior and into submitting to Him as my Lord. It’s all on Him now. He’s the one responsible for telling me which direction to take; all I have to do is listen and obey. Proverbs 3:5-6 is one of my favorite Scriptures: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” There it is in a nutshell.

I readily admit that I’m a recovering control freak. Those who have fought this battle know what I’m saying when I confess that learning to let God have control was HARD, and I still don’t get it right anywhere near often enough. Even so, it is literally the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done and, though I’d not lie and say life has been easy ever since, I can honestly say I have MORE freedom, MORE joy, and MORE peace than I ever had while trying to run things myself.

What about the lady who emailed me on AOL? Well, I did hear from her again a year or so later, and she seemed an entirely different person. She wanted me to know that she had finally accepted Jesus as her Lord… and had discovered the true freedom and peace I’d promised.

Yes, I was shouting.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

And the Answer Is…

Relationship

For those who wonder how I can possible serve a God I cannot see, this is how. Yes, when I accepted Jesus as my Savior, I did it in faith. I did it because what the minister said made sense, and I liked what I saw in the lives of those I knew served Him.

As I made Him Lord of my life, committing time to get to know Him, we began to build a genuine relationship. This relationship that you can’t see is why I continue to serve Him after all these years.

I explained once, to a friend, that I had never seen her father, had no proof of his existence beyond what she had told me of their relationship. Based on what I could not see, I had the option of choosing to believe he did not exist. I chose to believe he did, because I trusted my friend and believed what she told me about their relationship.

How can you have a relationship with someone you can’t touch and feel? People do it all the time over the Internet. For decades, we’ve been developing relationships with people we may or may not ever meet in person. Sometimes we even feel closer to those distant friends than we do to the ones in our “real lives.”

My relationship with God is like that. I am closer to Him than anyone around me. He’s inside me, knows me better than I know myself. Have I ever seen him? Well, I’ve actually had two visions of Jesus, so yes…but even if I had not it would make no difference, because seeing isn’t necessary to relationship. Feeling isn’t necessary to relationship. Only knowing is necessary to relationship and oh, yes, I do know Him.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

The Passover Lamb

It’s Passover, or will be at sundown.

Yes, we in Christian culture know it as Good Friday, and it is a VERY Good Friday. A few years back, however, I grew hungry for more knowledge of the Jewish Jesus. I had a desire to understand where Jesus and His disciples were coming from, so I began researching more about what it meant to be a Jew. As I learned, Good Friday became even more awesome than before.

Passover isn’t just a celebration of God delivering the children of Israel out of Egypt. It is so much more, and what happens during this feast lies not only at the roots of Jewish culture but that of Christianity as well. The Jews flocked to Jerusalem with their required sacrifices, those spotless lambs they had been keeping carefully for this, The Lord’s Feast. This was no mere offering up of the life of a perfect lamb to them; it was spiritual life and death. Only if they brought an acceptable sacrifice would their sins be covered for the following year – and only for the year.

Think on that a moment. They put forth a massive amount of effort to fulfill their responsibility in this. Whether they counted it labor or honor, it was WORK to preserve a spotless lamb and bring it to the Temple, to wait their turn to actually make their offering in the midst of a chaotic symphony of bleating and talking and prayers and…and the shedding of so much blood. They did all of this trusting God to cover their sins for a single year, planning to return the following year to do the same.

There is much more to Passover, but this is the point to which I wished to bring us. On THAT Passover, THE Perfect Lamb offered Himself up instead. From that moment on, these annual sacrifices became unnecessary because His blood didn’t simply cover our sins for a single year; rather, it washed them away forever.

Oh, how He loved us!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Shut Up, Devil!

Have you ever heard someone argue with their electronic navigator, be it Siri, Tom Tom, or something else, talking back to it as if it’s a reasonable being and they can somehow change its mind? For the onlooker, it can be funny or frustrating, but one thing is sure – it’s pointless. Siri may be giving you completely wrong information, but simply talking to it… or yelling at it… won’t accomplish anything; you have to shut it up.

The same is true in our dealings with the devil. Arguing with him is every bit as productive. It accomplishes nothing but raising your fear level and blood pressure. We have to shut him up too. How do we do that? The same way Jesus did.

Jesus spent forty days fasting in the desert. Fasting is interesting in that it does tremendous things for your faith while challenging your body. The devil knows this, so he comes in right away to try to steal what God is giving you. So here he is, challenging Jesus at the end of this fast, and what does Jesus do? Argue? Not even!

“It is written,” He says, then He hits the devil with God’s Word. The third time He says, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written…” In other words, “Shut up, Devil. God says…”

Here, then, is our example. We don’t argue with the devil, we remind him of what God says. God’s Word is a mighty weapon, and proper use of it by us can shut him up as completely as it did on that day. Of course, this means we must know it, must have the Word hidden in our hearts so we can pull it out as soon as the devil speaks.

If he’s been speaking to you lately, and you don’t quite know how to fight back, get into the Bible. You can even go to sites like www.blueletterbible.org and search by keywords to find what you need.

Here’s one verse for starters. Is the devil telling you that you can’t do something God wants you to do? Tell him that, according to Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”

Yes, you can. You can shut the devil up!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C