Who loves you the most? It's God! They say that "another name for love is sacrifice." That's true, "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." - John 3:16 (This blog may display affiliate ads. Clicking and buying from those sites will earn me commission. You are free not to click.)
God knew that there will be some people who will reject Jesus and therefore Him. He knew that because of this wrong choice, they will not benefit from the blood that Jesus shed for them on the Cross. Yet He chose to make healing available.to even them (through Jesus being whipped before being crucified) – this, despite knowing that He will never hear “Father!” from their lips, to address their Creator. Oh – how generous and good God the Father is! Truly worthy to be believed in - and worthy of praise from all of His Creation.
"to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?" - Isaiah 53:1 On the judgment day, God would be justified if he adds the words "by you" before the '?' I once heard a preacher rightly say that the Church is notorious for being slow. There are probably tens of thousands of humans dying every day and about 80-90% of them are being consigned to hell because they have died as sinners. Even if no one ever preached the Gospel to them, they are accountable before God (as per Romans 1:20), because if they were really sincere about seeking God and wanting to know Him - their Creator - they could have called out to Him in the privacy of their bedroom or slum or forest/cave and God would have definitely revealed Himself to them. But that notwithstanding, we believers in Jesus have been commissioned by God by default, to preach the Gospel...to evangelize. 'By default' here means that since we have believed in Jesus as the Saviour and repented of our sins, we are automatically supposed to fulfill the Great Commision (or G.C., if you will!), even though the G.C. was given 2,000 years ago. I work in an NGO where we are developing a surgical simulator to train ophthalmologists to perform cataract surgeries using a low cost technique. Someone in my office once said:
"There are 3 major reasons for slow progress: skepticism, lack of communication, and the burden of proof. These factors have contributed to the delayed acceptance of medical simulation.”
I thought about it. The same applies to Christianity. The message of salvation as a free gift through faith in Jesus Christ, has not been proclaimed as well and as speedily as it should have been, due to skepticism, and communication issues. Let's look at each of the 3 points mentioned by my colleague:
The Gospel is not being received universally because there are many skeptics. Skeptics owe it to at least themselves and God, to conduct an objective, unbiased research and find out the Truth. Anyway, Romans 1:20 applies to them: "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." We can overcome their skepticism by overcoming our...
2. Communication Problems
I once heard a preacher or apologist say, that a survey revealed that about 80% of Christians never win even one soul to Christ. Sounds like Jesus gave the Great Commission only to 20% of us! If you start getting comfortable in your church seat, maybe it's time to get un-comfortable! If you shared the Gospel but the hearer did not believe, then it's fine. At least you tried. But before preaching, do pray that they receive the Gospelmessage or tract willingly and that they pray the sinner's prayer with a true repentant heart. Every Gospel tract should have a salvation call, with a model sinner's prayer, in case the person wants to articulate their receiving Jesus. The conversion of heart might already have taken place between the time they hear the Gospel and pray the salvation prayer. But to be certain, it helps to have the prayer included in the tract or as a part of your sharing the message.
Another way of evangelism is to pray for those who are sick. You can tell them that Jesus has paid the price for their healing. Lay hands on them and pray (command healing to manifest in Jesus' name). Once you have done this, you can say, "Just as Jesus paid the price for your healing, he also bore the penalty for your sins and paid the price for your forgiveness." Then go ahead and share with them the good news of salvation through Jesus. In case you do not believe that bodily healing is in the atonement, then right now read the blog post titled Is Healing in the Atonement?
3. Burden of Proof
The Bible says that God is watching over His Word to perform it. "The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times." (Psalm 12:6) God has given us plenty of resources to prove to people that He is who the Bible claims He is - a blesser...always good...His mercy endures forever. Check out site like AllAboutGod.com, AnswersinGenesis.org, etc. If we go out and preach the Gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out demons, God will back up His word with an amazing work. He has promised in Exodus 34:10 even to Old Testament saints:
"And he said, "Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the LORD, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you."
God has already proven His Word. Now it's up to the skeptics to dig out the truth - and up to us believers to help them in this endeavour.
If you are reading the New King James Version of the Bible, you should stop reading it immediately. Here's why: Their logo represents a female goddess trinity - totally the opposite of the Holy Trinity, that comprises the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is an occult symbol. Christians should not have anything to do with it. Watch this entire video for more satanic symbols and their meaning, and especially, first go directly to 1:43:06 (1 hour 46 minutes and 6 seconds) and see it for a couple of minutes:
http://youtu.be/r5vZ14Ozqzw I tore the cover and page across those symbols in my 'The Open Bible' and then tore that Bible too, as I did not want anyone else to lay hold of it. God is strong and generous enough to give me another study Bible. In fact, I now study from the Thompson Chain Reference (KJV) and an ESV New Testament. The decision is yours, but better not to give the enemy any place. P.S.: I have quoted verses from or recommended the NKJV Bible at certain places on this blog. I apologize. Please discount those recommendations.
In the previous post in this two-part series, we saw how the Pre-Tribulation Rapture would affect one's life as a Christian. It is especially exciting to see how your life as a Christian should be (or already is) just in case the Rapture happens mid-tribulation. Mid-Tribulation Rapture Mid-Trib proponents believe that Jesus will enrapture the Church (every human who is born again) halfway through the 7-year tribulation. So we believers will be spared the second half of it - a.k.a. The Great Tribulation. So what happens if the Rapture happens mid-trib? The Negatives:
Believers would have to face the first 3.5 years of turmoil despite being righteous in God's sight.
They would have to try hard to convince unbelievers that the Antichrist is a liar and deceiver. It might be tougher to witness than now.
Many believers might be deceived into taking the Mark of the Beast or worshipping the Antichrist in the temple at Jerusalem.
There could be more martyrs than we are seeing now.
We would get 3.5 years more to preach the Gospel, heal the sick, etc. and improve the chances of getting our loved ones and others into the Kingdom of God.
We would get a better chance to prove from the Bible to unbelievers that the Antichrist is really the Antichrist. Hopefully, many will believe the Bible and be saved from the end-time great deception.
If we have to be persecuted or get martyred, we will receive a greater reward in heaven [ I can sense your reaction to that one! Don't feel condemned :) ].
There are some people who believe that believers too will have to go through the Great Tribulation. If true, this might be the real test of how faithful can you be to God - will you succumb like Eve did to Satan in the Garden, or will you endure to the end and be an overcomer? So, the conclusion to this series is that even if the Christmas of 2013 was not the last one before the Rapture, we ought to be ready. Let us be about our Father's business so that we are found approved in when the Lord Jesus exalts us. Let us be busy so that our whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.And how to ensure that? As you sow, you shall reap. So help others preserve their spirit, soul and body blameless and you should hear the Lord exclaim: Well done, my good and faithful servant!
Wish you and your family a Blessed 2014! For those of you who are (or are not) following my blog, I am currently in the middle of some high priority work, when compared to writing these posts. So there will be some delay in writing and publishing the second part of the blog post "Is This the Last Christmas Before the Rapture?" Please bear with me and God bless you!
"For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night." - 1 Thessalonians 5:2 The Bible says that the day is coming when Jesus Christ will come down (but not step on Earth) and resurrect the bodies of those followers of his who are already dead at that time. These bodies will be given to their respective persons (who are now in heaven) and the bodies will be incorruptible (indestructible). Immediately after that, he will also supernaturally lift up those followers of his, who are alive at that time on Earth. The bodies of these followers will supernaturally be translated into incorruptible bodies. No matter which group we are in, we will be united with the Lord Jesus Christ forever. This event, as you might know, is called the Rapture. And after that, the 7-year Great Tribulation will begin. Those who have not repented of their sins and accepted God's Free Gift of Salvation by then, will be left behind. The Antichrist will appear on the scene and woo the hearts of as many people he can deceive. All this will reach a climax with a war at Armageddon, when Jesus and his forces will defeat the Antichrist and his forces. Some scholars say that Jesus saying in the Bible that a generation shall not pass since Israel will be re-formed, that the Rapture will occur. They say a Biblical generation is 70-80 years. Israel was re-formed in 1948. This means Jesus could come for the Rapture anytime from 2018-2028. Others say the 4 Blood Moons that will occur from April 2014-October 2015 will likely bring this event. Some other people believe not in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, but a Mid- or Post-Tribulation Rapture. They say the first 3.5 years of the Antichrist's wooing the world's people will pass and then the event will occur. So when is it really going to happen? Or is it even important for you if you are a born-again child of God? Well, here is my take on it, with helpful insights from a Christian friend... Scenario 1: Pre-Tribulation Rapture Well, this is what most Christians would want, wouldn't we! Supernaturally airlifted out of the danger zone before the zone turns dangerous like it never has in history. But there is another side to it... This also means you and I have less time to preach the Gospel and do the other works that destroy the works of the devil. So if your loved ones or friends are unsaved, maybe you need to develop a plan soon, to witness to them. Mark 16 says that believers shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. It also says that the disciples went about obeying the commands of Jesus and preached the Gospel everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs following. So if you think you only need to preach the Gospel but not lay hands on the sick or cast out devils or raise the dead, better re-read Mark 16 again a few times. If the Lord needed to confirm the message with signs, and he is the same yesterday and today and forever, he needs us to yield to him so he can confirm the word with signs following today as well. So make yourself available to the Holy Spirit. If the Pre-Trib Rapture is what it's going to be, then you might just have 3.5 years less to get your loved ones into the Kingdom. "The day you realize that who you lay your hands on will live and who you do not lay your hands on could die...from that day, you will start looking at your hands differently." - Curry Blake, General Overseer, John G. Lake Ministries Let your hands and feet be the hands and feet of Jesus. Allow him to continuehis ministry today...this time through you! We will look at the Scenario 2: Post-Tribulation Rapture in the next blog post. Till then, keep witnessing and demonstrating the Kingdom!
"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 That sounds really spiritual, doesn't it? Maybe that applies to you if you are a Jew - but certainly not if you are a Christian. Because if you are a Christian, then the Bible says that you have the mind of Christ: "For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ." - 1 Corinthians 2:16 Do you really think you can fulfill the Great Commission if your thoughts are lower than God's thoughts and your ways are lower than His ways? If that were possible, then why would the Bible say that we have the mind of Christ? Why would we even need the mind of Christ? Praying and reinforcing the idea that God's thoughts are higher than ours and His ways are higher than ours is a good way to try hard not to fulfill all that God has called you to do, as a Christian. Because God's heart is for salvation, deliverance and healing for every human. So if He conceived that plan, only His thoughts and ways can achieve the fulfillment of these goals. If you don't share His vision, think His thoughts and deploy His methods, there is no way to achieve these goals. Maybe I'm preaching this to myself too, but if you want to fulfill the Great Commission, then the starting point is this:
Learn to think (believe) like Jesus did; and
Learn to walk (act) the way Jesus walked (acted).
That's because the Old Testament saints - the Jews - did not have the Holy Spirit living inside of them. So they could not think or act like Jesus. But since we have the mind of Christ, and Jesus Christ and God the Father are one, our thoughts and ways are positionally the same as God's. So the only thing we need to do is enforce that position in our lives. Once we get to doing that on a regular basis, we will be taking big strides to fulfilling God's plan for our lives! Are you on fire for the Gospel? Good, because you should be! Then here's a blog post you might like and find useful: How to Spiritually Capture a City: Download MP3
The picture above is that of Gilbert Hill, Mumbai, India. According to Wikipedia, Gilbert Hill is a 200 ft (61 m) monolith column of black basalt rock at Andheri, in Mumbai (my hometown). The rock has a sheer vertical face and was formed when molten lava was squeezed out of the Earth's clefts during the Mesozoic Era about 65 million years ago. If you are a practicing Christian, you might know that the Earth is not that old, but probably only about 6000-7000 years old. Scientists seem to have proven that all it takes for the Earth to cool down is a fraction of a second (Refer to Josh McDowell's free ebook Reasons Skeptics Should Consider Christianity: http://www.josh.org/resources/free-book-downloads/).
Gilbert Hill is a national level prehistoric heritage site. Many people the world over might be thrilled to learn that the town they live in is home to a prehistoric site like this. I too was, until the Holy Spirit told me that every square inch of ground I walked on is a prehistoric site. It has always been existing since He created Earth! What's more, He showed me another important fact – guess what it was – that I am a prehistoric site myself, being born again! And how? Of course, because as per the Bible, my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and the spirit of Jesus Christ lives in me. The Ancient of Days (God the Father – Jehovah) lives in me through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. So is not my body a prehistoric site? Yours too is, if you are a born again child of God through faith in His Son Jesus. Yet what a joyful irony, the Bible says that when you turn your life over to Jesus, old things pass away and all things become new and all things are of God!
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God…" – 2 Corinthians 5:17,18
If you want to become a prehistoric site (yet recreated through faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God), read this blog post.
Curry Blake - General Overseer of JGLM says in that teaching that they have actually practiced what he teaches and it's worked. If it worked for them, it should surely work for any other church and for any born again child of God. Caution: Jesus sent disciples two-by-two. So I suggest you go out in groups to evangelize the way they recommend. And if there is hostility in the area you live or plan to evangelize, I suggest you speak to your pastor first, because the pastor is responsible for your spiritual well-being and life before God. If all is fine, then try it out and leave your comments here. If I do try out the method, I too will update. Till then, forever, God bless you and use you more mightily as a blessing, in Jesus' name. Amen!