Keep Us From Temptation

31 Aug

In my devotions this morning, I was reading Bruce Wilkinson’s book “The Prayer of Jabez”. I had always heard about it but never had read it. It is a small book and I knocked it out in about an hour of reading. I gained a lot of insight into God’s blessings that I will have to think about more, there is just so much to reflect on. But one thing that really stood out for me was the point that we need to ask God to keep us from temptation.

Keeping us from temptation is different from asking God to help us deal with the temptations that will come along every day. We should be asking God to just keep temptation away from us. Some of you are saying, “Yea, right, temptation is always going to be there… deal with it.” I think Dr. Wilkinson’s statement puts it pretty good:

“Without temptation, we would not sin. Most of us face too many temptations-and therefore sin too often-because we don’t ask God to lead us away from temptation. We make a huge spiritual leap forward, therefore, when we begin to focus less on beating temptation and more on avoiding it.” (The Prayer of Jabez, pg. 67-68)

You might still have doubts. Where in the Bible does it teach us to ask God to help us avoid temptation? Actually, Jesus told us to ask God to help us avoid temptation when he gave us an example of how to pray.

Matthew 6:9-13 (New International Version)

9″This, then, is how you should pray:
” ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.'”

Raize UP!

29 Aug

Lately I have been listening to a lot of independent christian artists. One of the songs that I really like is by Ason (http://www.bigsonny.com/home.html) called Raize Up! There is an urgency in the lyrics that just hit me. It is what I feel. We need leaders to raise up and tell others about Jesus. We have a generation of young kids that need to hear the freedom message that Jesus brings. We can’t be complacent and let others define the culture our kids are going to grow up in. We need to give our kids more exposure to artists like Ason.

All My Youngins’ Raize Up
Young At Heart Raize Up
We gon’a send the praise up
Lift His name up.

Don’t save nothin’
Put it all up
Lift the man up
on the third day
[I]s when He came up.

Raize Up by Ason

“I’m calling out to young leaders,” says Ason, “It takes a leader to stand for God these days and we need the influence of anointed leadership to bring change to our troubled communities.”

Holla back preachers…

 

Mouse Pads

25 Aug

Patti just called me with this story. She was at Target today and a new mouse pad for the computer was on her shopping list. When an associate asked if Patti needed any help, she asked the lady where she might find a mouse pad. In all seriousness, the lady directed her to the pet section.

Here’s your sign……

The Throne Of God [Lesson 10.9]

23 Aug

Have you ever wondered what the throne of God looks like? Do you imagine a great big chair all decorated with gold and jewels? In Revelations, we get a good description of the throne of God.

2At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.

The central object of heaven is the throne of God, referred to eight times in 4:1-6 and eighteen times altogether in chapters 4-5. It seems to be a fixed point, with everything else in heaven located in relationship to it. The remainder of chapter 4 conveys to us seven distinct characteristics of the throne of God.

  1. The Triune God
    • Verse 2-3 indicate all three members of the triune God.
    • Christ in His priestly role.
  2. The Twenty-Four elders
    • 24 thrones around God’s throne
    • Most believe the 24 are human brought up in the rapture to represent the total priesthood.
    • Some believe them to be the 12 patriarchs of the Old Testiment and the 12 apostles
  3. The Signs of Judgment
    • lightning
    • rumblings
    • peals of thunder
  4. The Seven Spirits of God
    • the Spirit of the Lord
    • the Spirit of wisdom
    • the Spirit of understanding
    • the Spirit of counsel
    • the Spirit of power
    • the Spirit of knowledge
    • the Spirit of the fear of the Lord
  5. The Sea of Glass
    • Two suggestions on what it represents.
      1. the Church at rest
      2. the Word of God
  6. The Four Living Creatures
    • Seraphim (Isa. 6:1-3)
    • Six wings and cry, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty”
    • Four Forms
      1. A lion – leader of the kingdom of wild animals.
      2. A calf – leader of domestic animals.
      3. A man – leader of the angelic hosts responsible for the human race
      4. A flying eagle – leader of the kingdom of the fowls of the air.
  7. The Heavenly Worship of Christ
    • The Lord Jesus Christ is the object of worship in heaven
    • Celestial beings sing songs of glory and honor to God because He is the Creator of all things.

What a wonderful picture. And to think, when we are taken up to be with Jesus, we will see it all, live and in living color.
That just blows my mind!

Goose bumps

17 Aug

I just had to send this out. I have this saying on my wall in my office. As I wrote the Cornerstone entry this morning, this just seemed appropriate!

Enjoy today, but get goose bumps about the potential for tomorrow!

I hope you have an enjoyable day!

Starin’ At The Sky [Lesson 10.8]

17 Aug

Ok you win, you caught me day dreaming again
About our sudden evacuation
Ok I give in, I can’t help but wandering
But it seems I can’t get enough information

Curiosity has got a hold of me
Tell me how it’s gonna be – when
One day I’ll see you coming back for me
And all together we’ll fly away
One day I’ll hear that trumpet loud and clear
And all together we’ll fly away
O how I long for the day
When we fly away

Don’t ask me why I keep starin’ at the sky
It’s just I’m lost in anticipation
I know it will be in the twinkling of an eye
It’s just I get lost in my imagination

(lyrics to Fly Away by FFH | Windows Audio Clip )


I love the words to the song Fly Away by FFH.  I can relate!  Sometimes I get thinking about Jesus coming back and what it will be like, that I end up wasting time right now!  I need to be telling somebody about this!

So, where would I find the most detailed description of the Rapture of the Church?  Revelations?  Nope! 

Paul was in Thessalonica for only a few weeks before a few irate Jews drove him out of town.  While he was there, he taught the church that Christ would come and rapture Christians out of this world to be with Him.  After Paul left, some members had died and consequently the young Christians were perplexed about the status of their dead Christian members. So, the church wrote Paul a letter requesting an explanation.  First Thessalonians is Paul’s answer to them.  Note 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 carefully,

The Coming of the Lord

    13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words.

 

There, I feel better. I can go back to day dreaming again!

Beam Me Up Jesus! [Lesson 10.7]

16 Aug

[note: This commentary is to be used as a seed for a discussion on the events as written in Revelations. I don’t claim to be an expert! If you want to talk to an expert on end times, ask God.]

When we talk about the end times, we sometimes refer to it as Christ’s second coming.  There are two parts of Revelations that talk about Jesus coming to earth. The first is when He comes and raptures his followers into the sky to be with him.  The next time is when He comes to set up his kingdom on earth.  So which is the second coming?  The answer is both of them.  In his book, Revelation Unveiled, Tim LaHaye says that "there is only one "Second Coming," but it occurs in two phases. The first phase is only for His church, that is, all living and dead believers since the church was founded in A.D. 33.  The second phase is for all those living on the earth at the end of the Tribulation.  In studying the passages that speak about Jesus coming again, he identified 15 different contrasting events that describe the two phases of our Lord’s coming. 


15 Contrasting Events Of The Second Coming

Rapture

Glorious Appearing

1. Christ comes in air for His own 1. Christ comes with His own to earth
2. Rapture / translation of all Christians 2. No one translated
3. Christians taken to the Father’s House 3. Resurrected saints do not see Father’s House
4. No judgment on earth at Rapture 4. Christ judges inhabitants of earth
5. Church taken to Heaven at Rapture 5. Christ sets up His kingdom on earth
6. Rapture imminent / could happen any moment. 6. Glorious appearing cannot occur for at least 7 years
7. No signs for Rapture 7. Many signs for Christ’s physical coming
8. For believers only 8. Affects all humanity
9. Time of joy 9. Time of mourning
10. Before the Day of Wrath (Tribulation) 10. Immediately after Tribulation (Matthew 24)
11. No mention of Satan 11. Satan bound in Abyss for 1000 years
12. The Judgment Seat of Christ 12. No time or place for Judgment Seat
13. Marriage of Lamb 13. His bride descends with Him
14. Only His own see Him 14. Every eye will see Him
15. Tribulation begins 15. 1000-year kingdom of Christ begins

taken from Revelation Unveiled, by Dr. Tim LaHaye

Daniels 70th Week [Lesson 10.6]

15 Aug

The last (70th) week of years as mentioned in Daniel 9 has not been fulfilled yet.  I believe that this last seven years are the events that are spelled out in Revelations which we call the Tribulation.  For the sake of discussion, this is the order of events that I want to discuss in the next two weeks. Remember to email me any questions on specific topics of this period that you want to discuss.  Toward the end of next week, I will go over the Thousand Year Reign of Christ and the events that will take place then.

 


[Time – Before the tribulation]

[HEAVEN] Opening of the seven sealed scroll (4:1-5:15

[EARTH] The Rapture (4:1)

 
Antichrist makes a peach agreement with Israel – Beginning of The Seven Year Tribulation (6:1 – 18:24)
 
[Time – 1st half (3 1/2 years) of the tribulation]
[HEAVEN]
     Vision of the closed book (10:1-11)
     Measuring of the Temple (11:1-2)
     Prophecy of Christ’s future reign (11:15-19)
[HEAVEN -> EARTH]
     The Seven Seal Judgments (6:1-17)
     The Seven Trumpet Jedgments (8:1-9:21)
[EARTH]
     The Great Harvest 144,000 Jewish evangelists (7:1-17)
     The two witnesses (11:3-14)
     Babylon the mother of false religion destroyed (17:1-18)
 
 
[Time – 2nd half (3 1/2 years) of the tribulation]
[HEAVEN]
     Vision of the sun-clad woman (12:1-17)
     Vision of the 144,000 saints and of the Judgment Day (12:1-17)
     Vision of the sea of glass around the throne (15:1-8)
[HEAVEN -> EARTH]
     The Seven Bowl Judgments (16:1-21)
[EARTH]
     Antichrist establishes self-worship (13:1-10)
     The False Prophet and the mark of the beast (13:11-18)
     Babylon the government and commercial capital destroyed (18:1-24)
 
[THE GLORIOUS APPEARING (19:11-21)]
 

Reality Church

12 Aug

Dan Kimball wrote a piece called Reality Church that really spoke to me. I’ve watched people go through all of those stages.  I’ve been through some of them myself.  Being raised a preachers kid, I have always been interested in why people leave churches.  I think it is healthy to always evaluate your spiritual life and to involve others in your spiritual growth.  I live by one rule when it comes to church. If you are getting bored with your church, then look inward to your own spiritual life.  What are you doing to further the kingdom of God on this earth?  I understand that this is a generalization but it is a question that I believe needs to be honestly answered before you look at external solutions.

 

Thanks Dan for your insight.

 

 

Daniel’s Prophesy [Lesson 10.5]

12 Aug

In our study of Revelations, it is important to note that the end times are also talked about throughout the bible.  As far back as Daniel, the events of the end times are talked about.  In the Olivet discourse, Jesus referred to the prophecies of Daniel.  Not only does this support the biblical inerrancy argument, it gives us some indication of what events have happened already and what events are yet to happen. Let’s look at Daniel’s vision which begins with the 20th verse of Daniel 9, and see what has been fulfilled and what has yet to be fulfilled.

1. Jerusalem will be rebuild in times of trouble and then shortly after that the Anointed One would be cut off.

The commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was given in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes (Neh 2:1-8) which was around 445 B.C. and the city was rebuilt in times of trouble. After another 434 years the Anointed One (Jesus) appeared precisely as prophesied.  Biblical scholars have calculated very carefully that exactly 483 years after the decree of Artaxerxes, Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem at the conclusion of His earthly ministry (Lk 19:28-38) Then, within a few days, He was "cut off" by the events of the crucifixion.

2.  The people of the coming ruler would destroy the city and the sanctuary after the Anointed One was cut off.

In 70 A.D. when the Roman army destroyed the city of Jerusalem it broke down its walls, burned the sanctuary and pried apart the very stones of which it was built. The Jewish nation thus ceased to exist as a sovereign nation. Its people were scattered to the ends of the earth.

3.  The coming ruler (Antichrist) will make a peace agreement with the Jewish people that will last for 7 years.  Halfway through, three and one-half years, he will break the agreement, stop Jewish religious practices.  He will set up a desecrating abomination in the temple until he himself is finally destroyed.

 

The events of the last seven years have yet to be fulfilled. Why has there been such a long time between the first two sections of the prophecy and the last?  Our textbook lays out a wonderful argument as to the reason for the separation.  You can read it but I’ll try to summarize.  God made it very clear to the nation of Israel as it entered into the Promised Land that obedience to His laws would bring benefits. He also stated clearly the evil that would follow His peoples’ disobedience.  So, the Israelites disobeyed and so God finally permitted His people to be dispersed from their land.   God then made the land desolate.  The Roman conquest scattered the people and the land was a desert until recently. So, we can assume that it was because of the Israelites’ disobedience that led to the break in the time frame that God established.  So, when will these last seven years take place?  Nobody knows for sure but there are signs that events are coming together nicely for the eventual fulfillment of the last part of Daniels prophesy.

a. Through a series of events that began around the first part of this century, God has recalled his people from the very ends of the earth (Isaiah 11:11-12). God used various means to gather them until eventually, in May 1948, the returned Jews proclaimed the birth of the modern state of Israel.

b. After Israel became a nation again, they stared rebuilding the ruined cities and live in them. They have created a beautiful land out of a desert fulfilling Isaiah 35:1-2. (Also Amos 9:14-15)

c. When the Jewish people started returning to Israel, the Palestinian’s, who had inhabited the land, were displaced to other Arab countries. This had caused a friction between them that will have future ramifications.

 

 

That brings us to our next subject, the "coming ruler" as mentioned in verse 26.  We’ll continue that tomorrow!