Posted in encouragement, end of all things, Father, God, jesus, love, Trinity

At the end of all things, love

Nestled in the middle of the next-to-last chapter in the first letter to the Corinthians, we find the consummation of all things.

But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:23-28)

The Spirit in me was moved by this passage and it moved me. I cannot explain it, but you know the feeling you get when your indwelling Spirit is moved by the outdwelling inspired Spirit, and the grand picture that comes to mind cannot be expressed but only tears can approach the grandeur of the moment you’re reading about.

The scene where Jesus bows to the Father and gives the Kingdom back to Him…redeemed, purified, holy, beautiful…all that Jesus has fought for, died for, rose again for, bloodied His garments for, He now bows in Divine Love and presents it to God…it is utterly astonishing in its holy love that exceeds our capacity to understand. Yet we will be spectators to it. Even more than spectators to this coming act of Divine love and submission, we ARE the kingdom that will be presented to God. Do you ever just fall over thinking of the wonder that we worms have been elected, justified, redeemed, glorified, and will be the gift of love given back to our Father?

Sometimes I get thinking of my own self, my sanctification, my sins, my repentance, that I forget it is not about me. The inter-trinitarian love of our God-head is eternal and ongoing. The struggles of Jesus on the cross, the grief the Spirit sometimes feels in us, the anger of the Father, all this is ongoing and this is what it really is all about- God’s plan, God’s redeemed, God’s desire. This wondrous plan started before the world began. But it is recorded in the first moments of history in Genesis 1:26 so that we may know.

John MacArthur on the Corinthians verses:

This is such a powerful, powerful statement. What it says is this, when the Son has received the redemption, when the Son has received His redeemed humanity, if you will, His bride, when all enemies are destroyed and He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, sovereign of the universe, when everything is under Him, except God Himself, He will then take the Kingdom, all that the Father has given to Him, and He will give it back to the Father in a reciprocal act of divine love that God may be all in all. Here in a wonderful inter-Trinitarian way beyond our comprehension, the Father who ordained redemptive history to gather a bride for His Son, a Kingdom for His Son, when the Son receives that Kingdom which is a gift of the Father’s love, in a reciprocating act of love, the Son hands the Kingdom back to the Father. The grandeur of this crowning event can hardly be fathomed.

Sometimes we think about salvation in very personal terms. But it’s better for us to think about salvation in these vast and almost incomprehensible terms, that salvation while you’re involved in it by the grace of God, it’s really not about you, it’s about the infinite love, the limitless love of the Father for the Son and wanting to give to the Son a gift of His love which is a redeemed humanity that will love Him and adore Him and worship Him and praise Him and serve Him forever. And the Son recognizing that all the redeemed are gifts from the Father, even says, “All that the Father gives to Me will come to Me.” The Son when He receives them all, gives them back to the Father. Everything is restored to God that He may be all in all. The Son has come as a servant of God into the world to take back to God souls redeemed. He has conquered death, He has by His own resurrection provided a full resurrection for all who believe. And when all are gathered into His arms, as it were, He will take them all and present them to the Father and will Himself subject His own life to the Father.

Our God is three-in-one, something we know but don’t understand. One God but three Persons, each with a distinct personality and tasks but in complete harmony with one another because He is one.

What a privilege it will be when we see Jesus present the Kingdom to the Father. It is an inexpressibly beautiful moment of joy, exquisite in holiness, perfect in love. The culmination of the moment we read about in 1 Corinthians is described aptly above by MacArthur as “inter-Trinitarian love” is also described by him in Genesis 1 as the deliberations of the “divine executive council”. The goal to redeem the earth was set from time immemorial, but we are privileged to read about it in Genesis 1:26.

He says, “Let us make man in our image.” God is one god and yet He is three persons as we know. What you have here then is the council of the Trinity engaged in the purpose of creating man and now the time is right.

I have to stop at this point. I wouldn’t be faithful to the intent of Scripture if I didn’t do this. Through the years, I have tried to show you that God had a divine purpose before the world began and that that divine purpose was to take a bride, as it were, for His Son. That God the Father desired to give to His Son an expression of love in a bride that would be a redeemed humanity to be given to His Son to love and adore and praise and glorify His Son forever and ever and ever and also to serve Him. That eternal purpose of God unfolded within the executive council that is God within the Trinity. (source)

The Godhead’s love for one another within the Trinity is eternal and had been ongoing since before that moment of human consciousness was created and awakened in Genesis 1. But aren’t we blessed to be able to watch this amazing love demonstrated in the gift-giving of the Kingdom at time’s end.  We will be there. We ARE the gift.

Whenever you’re feeling small, or marginalized, or persecuted or woeful, just think of the grandeur in which we will be allowed to participate at the conclusion of the monumental plan of God, to watch our Jesus bow and say, “Father, the Kingdom is Yours.”

Posted in comforter, encouragment, God, orphans, spirit

We are not orphans

I was thinking of how wonderful God is. The Trinity, Three-In-One, Father, Son, Spirit are intimately involved in our lives. The Father’s Providence, bringing all things to pass at the good will and pleasure of Himself. The Spirit, dwelling inside us as a deposit of the guarantee to come. The Son, Priest, interceding for us on our behalf in heaven. Each Person of the Godhead intimately knowledgeable of each one of us and loving us and leading us and providing for us. It is amazing.

The Bible’s treasures are limitless. Each time we open it to read more of what God will reveal to us about Himself is a journey into love, wonder, and awe. I was reading and listening to a sermon on Saturday. John MacArthur’s “What the Cross Meant to Christ.” It was a terrific sermon as usual. In my reading and thinking about that section of John there is this verse:

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18).

The word orphan here means fatherless, bereft, desolate. In the context of the entire passage, Jesus is comforting the disciples, because He is going to leave them. They are lost, confused, heartbroken. They don’t quite understand but they sense something bad is about to happen and they are upset. Jesus is reassuring them. He is explaining that He is going to prepare a place for them and will return. He says He will not leave them as orphans, He will come to them.

Alexander McLaren’s commentary is excellent in explaining this beautiful moment. Imagine, the God of the Universe, softly and reassuringly comforting His little children. That was how Jesus began the conversation in chapter 13:33- “Little children.” he IS our Father, and He will not leave us Fatherless as orphans. See McLaren on the unification of the Christ and the Spirit. One says He is leaving, but One is actually present.

Then, note, further, that this coming of our Lord is identified with that of His divine Spirit. He has been speaking of sending that ‘other Comforter,’ but though He be Another, He is yet so indissolubly united with Him who sends as that the coming of the Spirit is the coming of Jesus. He is no gift wafted to us as from the other side of a gulf, but by reason of the unity of the Godhead and the divinity of the sent Spirit, Jesus Christ and the Spirit whom He sends are inseparable though separate, and so indissolubly united that where the Spirit is, there is Christ, and where Christ is, there is the Spirit. These are amongst the deep things which the disciples were ‘not able to carry’ at that stage of their development, and which waited for a further explanation. Enough for them and enough for us, to know that we have Christ in the Spirit and the Spirit in Christ; and to remember ‘that if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.’

“Christ is the only Remedy for the orphanhood of the world” ~McLaren

What a mystery the Trinity is! How tremendous His care of us in sending the Spirit! I can hardly contain myself. McLaren again-

Then, note, further, that this present Christ is the only Remedy for the orphanhood of the world. The words had a tender and pathetic reference to that little, bewildered group of followers, deprived of their Guide, their Teacher, and their Companion. He who had been as eyes to their weak vision, and Counsellor and Inspirer and everything for three blessed years, was going away to leave them unsheltered to the storm, and we can understand how forlorn and terrified they were, when they looked forward to fronting the things that must come to them, without His presence. Therefore He cheers them with the assurance that they will not be left without Him, but that, present still, just because He is absent, He will be all that He ever had been to them.

Wonder of wonders! He is good. He is so good!

And the promise was fulfilled. How did that dis-spirited group of cowardly men ever pluck up courage to hold together at all after the Crucifixion? Why was it that they did not follow the example of John’s disciples, and dissolve and disappear; and say, ‘The game is up. It is no use holding together any longer’? The process of separation began on the very day of the Crucifixion. Only one thing could have stopped it, and that is the Resurrection and the presence with His Church of the risen Christ in His power and in all the fullness of His gifts. If it had not been that He came to them, they would have disappeared, and Christianity would have been one more of the abortive sects forgotten in Judaism. But, as it is, the whole of the New Testament after Pentecost is aflame with the consciousness of a present Christ, working amongst His people. And although it be true that, in one aspect, we are absent from the Lord when we are present with the body, in another aspect, and an infinitely higher one, it is true that the strength of the Christian life of Apostles and martyrs was this, the assurance that Christ Himself-no mere rhetorical metaphor for His influence or His example, or His memory lingering in their imaginations, but the veritable Christ Himself-was present with them, to strengthen and to bless.

Please know dear brethren, no matter what you are going through, no matter how trying the hardship, no matter how difficult the circumstances, your Comforter is here. He has not left us as orphans.

Posted in God, god is a gentleman, sovereignty

Is God a gentleman? The illusion of a Gentleman God

Facebook, blogs, and Twitter are interesting to me as a Christian. They are forums where I can read which doctrines fellow believers are thinking, saying, accepting and promoting. These forums afford me greater exposure to the believing, professing church than I ever would be exposed to otherwise. And it works in reverse too, anything I post will also be transparently exposed for other professing, believing church members to see and either accept or reject.

In one way it’s great to see and experience the wider church, and in another sense it’s sad. It is great for the obvious reasons. We tend to become myopic in our local assemblies. Visibly experiencing the wider church keeps us linked. It’s a pure comfort to share the victories and Godly successes of others, even at a virtual distance.

On the sad side, I read abominable things. Many people believe and profess in “another Jesus”, an altogether different Savior than the One revealed to us in scripture. Other people say ridiculous things on social media. That is the focus of this essay. People say the strangest things with a straight face. One of the ridiculous things I’m reading more and more often now is the following:

“God is a gentleman. He would never interfere with our free will.”

People who say this obviously never read their bible much. On the face of it, this wrong-headed statement is easy to refute. God is certainly not a gentleman. He is God, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:5). He drowned the entire world for sin. (Genesis 7:21). He killed Uzzah for touching the ark. (2 Samuel 6:7) He Threw Jonah into a fish. (Jonah 1:17). He killed Ananias and Sapphira on the spot in front of the church, for lying. (Acts 5:5, 10).

In the less visible example, it is still easy to refute. Our minds are blinded.

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4)

Worse, we are dead in our trespasses and sins. (Ephesians 2:1, Colossians 2:13).

We cannot freely “choose God”. We should be grateful that He doesn’t politely stand aside, never interfering with our free will, otherwise no one ever would be saved!

I searched for a credible and doctrinal essay to make the point about God not being a gentleman. I found a great one in Robert Bernecker’s wonderful book, “Who’s Your Father: Returning to the Love of the Biblical God.” His Chapter 2 especially makes the point, gracefully, biblically, and firmly. PLEASE read the entire essay!!

For now, here are a few excerpts.

The Illusion of a Gentleman God
by Robert Bernecker

We sing songs such as the popular “Our God Reigns” with great enthusiasm and joy, and then we turn right around and teach that God does not in fact reign over the wills of humans, perhaps even in the very same church service. Do we believe he reigns or do we not?

From Genesis to Revelation, God freely interferes with human will to accomplish his own eternal purpose. Even the great sinful rebellion seen in Revelation 17 is said “to carry out God’s purpose” (v. 17). In regards to the choices and actions of the ten sinful, rebellious kings described in this passage, we are told explicitly that “God put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose” (v. 17), which in this case will be his inevitable conquering of these rebellious kings and people (v. 14).

The collective preponderance of these many Scriptures thoroughly dispels the notion that God is somehow a “gentleman” that is either unable or unwilling to turn the hearts and wills of humans (and thereby their choices) to accomplish his own purpose. In fact, Psalm 33:10 (NASB) teaches us the exact opposite: “The Lord nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples.” We do not read that the Lord honors the counsel of the nations and carefully respects the plans of the people. Instead, we are told, “The Lord reigns, let the people tremble!” (Psalm 99:1). We should learn from Jeremiah, who declared his awareness of this glorious truth in Jeremiah 10:23: “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.”

Contrary to much popular teaching of our day, our Father clearly can and regularly does interfere with human free will. To our great loss, we have drifted far from the historic confession of God’s sovereign involvement in every facet of his creation. In fact, Augustine made no effort to conceal his disdain for any such suggestions that would artificially limit God’s ascendancy, and he wrote bluntly that it was “blasphemous” and “foolish” to assert that God does not change the wills of men whenever and however he chooses.4 We must repent of such foolishness, and we should instead praise our God that he does change our will! Many who profess that “God is a gentleman” have probably never considered the consequences of a world where God, for whatever reason they may assert, did not actually influence, change, and interfere with humanity’s fallen will. How horrible indeed that would be!

Posted in earthquake, God, mighty, nepal, prophecy

Nepal’s large quake: a tragedy and an opportunity

The large earthquake in Nepal is saddening to the extreme. As of 1:00 today there have been over 27 aftershocks. It is shocking and upsetting to see a headline like “Everest shaken.” Our earth’s tallest mountain, solid, strong, stalwart against all storms, it is shaken like a toy in a moment of time. Yet we know in the Tribulation, all the mountains will be thrown down.

The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. (Revelation 6:14)

O, Nepal, your dead idols cannot help you now! Turn from them and repent to the True and Living God!

Source
And behold, here come riders, horsemen in pairs!” And he answered, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon; and all the carved images of her gods he has shattered to the ground.” (Isaiah 21:9)

This warning given in Isaiah regarding the fall of Babylon was fulfilled in 689BC when Babylon fell to the Assyrians, and again in 539BC to the Persians. Yet there is one fulfillment left, the future when by Revelation 18 Babylon the city, the spiritual Babylon and Economic Babylon all fall at the mighty arm of God. No more idols! No more prayers to dead Vishnus or Ganeshas or Shivas.

Our Lord God is alive. Every single person on earth has a “relationship” with Jesus. Either they are His enemy or they are His friend. The difference is repentance. Have you turned from your sin and appealed to Jesus for forgiveness of sins, acknowledging the resurrected King as the only One who can forgive? He is perfect, holy, and just, and He will demand an account of every life lived.

The tragedy is that with a thousand dead and more to be discovered, hell is receiving many who worshiped the dead gods of Hinduism and not the Living God of all. (81% of Nepal is Hindu, second is 9% Buddhist). May those who are in Nepal and those who are watching Nepal’s tragedy unfold, give glory to God in heaven. Is now the time to press for honor and glory to God, with so much death and strife? Yes. Look what happens in the future Tribulation when there is a great quake:

And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. (Revelation 11:13)

The God who can shake Mount Everest is the God who holds in His hand life and death of all who dwell on the earth. You can have everlasting life in Him, by repenting and giving Him glory.

I pray that those who are affected repent and understand the might and patience of the True and Holy God. I pray that those who by going there to participate in humanitarian aid bring with them the TRUE Gospel to share with those who are homeless, hurt, and spiritually lost.

Pray for Nepal


Posted in full number, fullness of the Gentiles, God, prophecy

The precision of prophecy

The lord God is great. His Son Jesus, Immanuel, God With Us, is great. His Spirit is great. I praise Him and all His ways!

He set for a plan since before the foundation of the world. He is the architect of history. He elects people to salvation according to His plan, in the fulness of time He sent His Son, (Galatians 4:4) and now He is drawing to a close this era of history as we or the next generation prepares to go through the next phase of His perfect prophetic plan.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, (Ephesians 1:11)

We all know the marvelousness of the Scriptures being fulfilled in Jesus. For example, He was praised as He entered the holy city on a colt. (Mark 11:3, Zechariah 9:9). We know the precise amount Judas was paid to betray Jesus, for that was prophesied (Zechariah 11:12). We know the scriptures were fulfilled when Jesus cried out, “I thirst”. (John 19:28).

And many more.

I particularly enjoy these following two prophecies. They have not been fulfilled yet, but they will be.

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, (Romans 11:25, NIV)

Other translations say the “fullness of the Gentiles”. The word fullness according to Strong’s is from the Greek plḗrōma meaning “sum total”.

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. (Revelation 6:9-11)

Again, the Greek word is from pleroo, meaning fulfilled or completed.

Since before the universe was even created, the LORD our God had a perfect number in mind of those who will fulfill the number or quota of people who will be part of His Bride, the church (Romans 11:25). And He also had a perfect number in mind of the number of Tribulation saints who will be martyred. Nothing is out of control with God. He isn’t looking down and thinking, “Yah, the church looks big enough, let’s cut it off here.” Or He is not looking down at the people being beheaded during the Tribulation and saying “Whoo, we better put a stop to this.” Nothing is a surprise to Him because He planned it down to the very last inch…the very last dust mote…even down to the last person.

The Church will be full when His number is reached. Only He knows what that number is. For the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Not only because He loves His children but because He knows the certain, exact, precise number of martyrs He will allow. When that number is reached, He will return and end it at Armageddon.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that He has everything so meticulously mapped out? Not that it absolves us of doing our duty, of working diligently among the brethren and for the lost, and studying His word. But whatever happens, He is in control, and so precisely, that when the 5 billionth, 3 hundred millionth, 6 hundred thousandth, and third person is saved, (or whatever His number is) we will be raptured. He knows what the number is, who will fulfill that number and when that number will be reached. He is worthy to be worshiped! His mind, His plan, and His ability to manage all things in heaven and earth makes Him worthy.

Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen. Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.’” (Isaiah 44:7-8)

Posted in discernment, encouragement, God, prophecy, sovereign, spring

3 Bad Reasons to Leave your Church, How cults begin, Spring has sprung

At the Millennial Evangelical blog, Chris Martin wrote a piece on 3 Bad Reasons to Leave Your Church. Chris is 24 years old, feels called to be a pastor and currently works as a Social Media Facilitator at LifeWay Christian Resources and is pursuing his M.Div. at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

I have not read a great quantity of articles at his site, but I did enjoy this piece. At the bottom of it, he has a link to a companion piece called 3 Good Reasons to Leave Your Church. Here is 3 Bad Reasons’ opening paragraph:

Stop treating your local church like your high school girlfriend, and start treating it like the bride of Christ.

You don’t leave the church when it doesn’t share the same musical interests, when it hurts your feelings, or when a newer, more popular one catches your eye.

The people of God, the Church around the world, is the bride of Christ, and the bride of Christ deserves the faithfulness of a bride, not the summer crush you bailed on when you were a jerk in college.

Your church is broken because it’s made up of broken people, including yourself. Abandoning the local church is only acceptable under a few extreme circumstances we’ll address on Friday. Other than in certain circumstances, the people of God have the responsibility to sacrificially love their local churches as Jesus has.

If anyone has the right to abandon the adulterous, idolatrous bride called “Church,” it’s God, and he hasn’t, so we need to be careful how quick we are to bail when the going gets tough.

Here are three bad reasons to leave the local church:

Read more by clicking the link above

This is how cults begin.

False teachers generate followers for themselves, not for Jesus. If the teacher is beloved more than the object of her teaching is, then there is a problem. Like this:

The tweeter could have meant to say “I’ll read her inspiring piece later” but given the amount and fervency related to Mrs Moore, I doubt it. Moore so often repeats the mantra that she talks with God and He gives her things to say, that it is no wonder her followers mistake her blog essays for inspired writing, no different than the truly God-breathed words given to the 66 writers of the bible.

Or this:

Manic women from Houston do not have the power to awaken a soul. That is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. Even creepier, is the reference to ‘mama Beth.’ it couldn’t be any closer to the verse in Revelation 2:23 where the LORD promises to strike the metaphorical false prophetess Jezebel’s spiritual children (of her second generation of false teaching) dead unless they repent.

I did not have to cherry pick these. It was a day where Mrs Moore had written some drivel on her blog and the followers were discussing it in droves. There was a lot of chatter. There was SO MUCH of this kind of adulation and worship of Beth Moore it was actually hard to narrow it down to these two.

These tweets and the thousands just like them aimed at Moore, and the millions just like them aimed at Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn and others, fulfill the promise made via the Spirit by Timothy:

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, (2 Timothy 4:3)

These women are heaping up false teachers to suit their passions. Whatever passion you want to fleshily indulge, there is a false teacher to fit.

Spring has sprung, by the weather (for us here in GA) and by the calendar. My yard has a burst of color, a chorus of tweets, and two new baby lambs added to the farm family. When I arrived home at 3:30 after a long week of school, the warm sun and bird song drew me to the swing, and not to the front door. I dumped my stuff, dug out my camera, and walked the yard taking photos. Then I simply sat in the swing and gently rocked in the sun, listening to birds, the sheep, some children playing next door, the occasional car, and the trees in the breeze.

I stayed there until the sun went behind the house, almost two hours. I thought about the regularity of the cycles, the silent march of invisible seasons gracing the earth for a time and then wisping away to make room for the next season’s turn to touch the earth. The time now is for new life, buds, birds, bushes.

I thought about the majesty of our God, ordaining each and every day under the sun. There is nothing new, but then again every year it is all new again. The dogwood blooms. The forsythia blooms. The baby birds explore. The lambs are born.

He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. (Psalm 104:19)

You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you
. (Nehemiah 9:6)

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:16)

We are truly blessed to worship the one true God. He alone is worthy, for the earth is His and everything in it. What a beautiful world. What a beautiful God.

Posted in earthquake, end time, God, last days, sovereign

Unusual quakes in CT, TX, Smoky Mountains

We haven’t had a good old earthquake update for a while. I think that nothing expresses His sovereignty over the earth as much as when He shakes it.

who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; (Job 9:6).

People will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from the fearful presence of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth
. (Isaiah 2:19)

There was a small quake in the Smoky Mountains. What is notable is that it is only the third earthquake in that region, ever.

Earthquake strikes the Smoky Mountains

Early in the morning on Wednesday, February 26, 2015, a minor earthquake shook up the Smoky Mountains. For a little over a week, the Smoky Mountains have been covered in snow and ice, but that didn’t stop the earthquake that rumbled in the mountains sometime between 4-4:15 a.m. on Wednesday morning. The earthquake registered at a 2.1 magnitude about 7 miles south of Gatlinburg, closer to Clingmans Dome. According to local news station WATE, this is only the third earthquake that has been recorded within national park boundaries. The first was in 1979 and the second in 2011. Thankfully, no earthquake in the Smoky Mountains has been powerful enough to cause any damage.

Another location has been experiencing quakes: Connecticut

Connecticut’s quakes unusual

Geologists are trying to make sense of about a dozen small to moderate earthquakes that have peppered eastern Connecticut in and around Plainfield, a sleepy town that hasn’t seen much excitement since its textile industry moved out in the 1920s. The largest of these was a magnitude 3.3 quake that was felt at 6:36 a.m. on Jan. 12. “We’re getting a swarm of earthquakes, which is a little unusual for Connecticut,” said Susan Long, professor of geology at Yale University who specializes in earthquakes.

2.2 Magnitude Quake Is the 12th in a Week

The ground shook again in Eastern Connecticut on Thursday morning as the area experienced its 12th earthquake in a week. On Friday local and state officials will be holding meetings to inform residents and discuss how prepared the state is should a damaging earthquake strike here.

Plainfield gets another quake

PLAINFIELD- Earthquakes, no matter how minor, can rattle one’s nerves, not to mention pictures and plates. Still, the people of Plainfield appear to be settling into their new existence. The Quiet Corner has morphed into the Quake Corner. Tuesday morning, at approximately 9:30, the Plainfield Police Department fielded roughly a dozen phone calls, most from Green Hollow Road, reporting yet another earthquake. This one was a 2.1 magnitude. “And, that’s nothing like the hundreds (of calls) that we were dealing with earlier when this was all occurring,” said Plainfield Police Capt. Mario Arriaga. … Dr. Long says seismologists worldwide remain interested in the state’s recent rumbles.

Jeepers! New Look at ‘Creeping’ San Andreas Fault

A small part of the San Andreas Fault that was thought to quietly slide without shaking its neighbors may actually be capable of strong earthquakes, including magnitude-6 shakers, a new study finds. The San Andreas Fault is divided into three legs. The middle leg has long been treated as a benign barrier between the more seismically active northern and southern segments. That’s because the central section “creeps” — rocks on either side of the fault slip past each other without snagging. On the other two legs, rocks lock together, building up strain that is unleashed as powerful earthquakes. … Scientists had thought that San Andreas Fault earthquakes primarily struck in the locked zones, so it was a surprise finding locked patches big enough to trigger sizable earthquakes in the creeping zones, said lead study author Romain Jolivet, a geophysicist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, who conducted the research as a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech in Pasadena, California. … Scientists have recently raised the possibility that an earthquake could rupture the entire length of the San Andreas. The biggest recorded earthquakes on the fault either started or stopped in the transition zones.

Earthquakes in Texas…Again

In the relative calm of an early morning where North Texas was bracing for a rare snow storm, the Dallas suburb of Irving got a wake-up call, literally, on Friday, February 27, when a small 3.1 magnitude earthquake struck at 6:18 AM, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). This was the first temblor felt in a month. The City of Irving has been the site of “roughly two dozen quakes to hit since the beginning of 2015, and more than 40 earthquakes have hit since April of last year,” CBS DFW reported. They stated that the USGS located the epicenter as just east of the former site of the Texas Stadium off of State Highway 193. … Although the team has not yet been able to provide an answer as to what has been causing all the seismic activity, it does indicate “there is a narrow two-mile fault extending from Irving into Dallas, running 3 to 5 miles deep,” also according to CBS DFW. … Dallas residents are not used to having earthquakes and their nerves have been frayed by the constant seismic activity of late.

You have made the land to quake; you have torn it open; repair its breaches, for it totters. (Psalm 60:2)

Posted in God, hell, holy, judgment, torment

Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead

The Glorious Return

29“But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30“And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. 31“And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31)

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: (2 Timothy 4:1)

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, (Hebrews 9:27)

But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. (1 Peter 4:5)

The Judgment of Babylon

God will judge all people for their lives. No one these days likes to think about the LORD as judge, not even some Christians. Of course, the difference between Christians and non-believers is that though our lives will be examined and assessed, we will not be judged in wrath. Jesus exhausted God’s wrath for our sins while He was on the cross. There is no condemnation for us now. (Romans 8:1). Even at that, it is still excruciating to think of Jesus staring at our heart and soul with His piercing eyes (Revelation 1:14) and know all our words, deeds, and even motives as He sends our works through the fire to either become silver and gold, or burn away as hay and stubble. (1 Corinthians 3:12)

For those who are not in Christ, the judgment will be terrible. Who can stand?

The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong; (Psalm 5:5)
The LORD reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. (Psalm 9:7)
He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity. (Psalm 9:8)

God is holy and He judges. He knows each and every word the unsaved say. He sees all their deeds. He knows motives in the heart. Nothing is hidden from Him.

Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD, How much more the hearts of men! (Proverbs 15:11)

Make no mistake. Jesus is a loving God, but He is a holy God who judges all men.

As a part of his sovereignty and authority, God is executor of his righteousness within the created order. Jesus Christ shares in this ongoing work.

(Source: Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes)

He judges individuals, nations, rulers, families, cities, and His own people. The eternal punishment of the ungodly is sure. (certain Ro 1:18 See also Pr 10:24; Isa 13:11; 26:21; 66:16; Jn 5:28-29; Eph 5:6; Col 3:6; 1Th 5:3; Heb 2:2-3. Source: Manser). It will be everlasting,(2Th 1:8-9, Isaiah 33:14), and the wicked will be forever separated from God’s presence.

God is serious business. He means what He says, that all rebellion will be judged and punishments meted out accordingly. I am firm on this today because as I said earlier, man does not like to think of God’s judgments. But we must.

They diminish His holiness by vain talk and babblings about visions, as Beth Moore does when she says God calls her “Honey” and “Babe” in her alleged visions. They besmirch His majesty and His wrath by writing books about erotic encounters, as Anne Voskamp did in her book One Thousand Gifts (“I fly to Paris and discover how to make love to God.” etc.) They blaspheme Him like in The Shack by William P. Young, by portraying God as a female pancake making Aunt Jemimah who says “Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it.”

Oh, but God does both.

God is a MAJESTIC JUDGE, potent in holiness and coming in wrath to judge all the living and the dead.

The following verses speak to judgment

JUDGMENT.
The General: 1 Chr. 16:33; Job 14:17; Job 21:30; Job 31:13–15; Psa. 9:7; Psa. 50:3–6; Psa. 96:13 Psa. 98:9. Eccl. 3:17; Eccl. 11:9; Eccl. 12:14; Ezek. 18:20–28; Dan. 7:9, 10; Amos 4:12; Matt. 3:12 Luke 3:17. Matt. 7:22, 23; Matt. 8:29 With 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6. Matt. 11:22 Matt. 10:15. Matt. 12:36, 37, 41, 42 Luke 11:31, 32. Matt. 13:30, 40–43, 49, 50; Matt. 16:27 Mark 8:38. Matt. 22:13 vs. 11–13.; Matt. 23:14; Matt. 25:1–14 [Luke 19:12–26.] Matt. 25:15–46; Mark 4:22; Mark 13:32; Luke 10:10–14; Luke 12:2–5; Luke 13:24–29; Luke 20:45–47; John 5:22; John 12:48; Acts 2:19–21; Acts 10:42; Acts 17:31; Acts 24:25; Rom. 2:5–10, 12–16; Rom. 14:10–12; 1 Cor. 3:13; 1 Cor. 4:5; 1 Cor. 6:2; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Thess. 1:7, 8; 2 Tim. 4:1, 8; Heb. 6:2; Heb. 9:27; Heb. 10:27; 1 Pet. 4:5, 7; 2 Pet. 2:4, 9; 2 Pet. 3:7, 10–12; 1 John 4:17; Jude 6, 14, 15, 24; Rev. 1:7; Rev. 6:15–17; Rev. 11:18; Rev. 20:11–15; Rev. 22:12.

According to Opportunity and Works: Gen. 4:7; Job 34:11; Prov. 11:31; Prov. 12:14; Prov. 24:11, 12 Psa. 62:12; 2 Tim. 4:14. Isa. 3:10, 11; Isa. 5:15, 16; Isa. 24:2; Isa. 59:18; Jer. 17:10, 11; Jer. 32:19; Ezek. 7:3, 4, 27; Ezek. 9:4–6; Ezek. 16:59; Ezek. 18:4 [vs. 5–9.] Ezek. 18:19–32; Ezek. 33:18–20; Ezek. 39:24; Hos. 4:9 Hos. 12:2. Amos 3:2; Zech. 1:6; Matt. 10:14, 15 Matt. 11:24; Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5; 10:12–15. Matt. 12:37; Matt. 23:14 Luke 20:47. Mark 14:21; Luke 11:49, 50 v. 51.; Luke 12:47, 48 [See parable of the vineyard, Isa. 5:1–6. Of the farmer, Isa. 28:24–28. Of the wicked tenant farmers, Matt. 21:33–36. Of the talents, Matt. 25:14–30.]Luke 13:6–9; Luke 19:12–27; Luke 21:1–4; John 3:19, 20; John 5:45; John 9:41; John 12:48; John 15:22, 24; Rom. 2:5–12, 27; 1 Cor. 3:8, 13–15 v. 12.; 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Cor. 2:15, 16; 2 Cor. 11:15; Gal. 6:5–10; Eph. 6:7, 8; Col. 3:25; 1 Tim. 1:13; Heb. 2:2, 3; Heb. 10:26–30; Heb. 12:25; Jas. 2:12, 13; 1 Pet. 1:17; 2 Pet. 2:20, 21; Rev. 2:23; Rev. 20:12, 13.

(Source: Swanson, J., & Nave, O. (1994). New Nave’s Topical Bible. Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.)

Why am I writing about judgment? Because it is infrequently discussed these days. It is an unpalatable topic for too many people. But our God is holy and He is glorified in judging the wicked. Judgment in Holiness is one of His sovereign attributes and as such is is profitable for men to ponder His great and mighty decisions.

Anyone not in Christ has not been forgiven of their deeds, which are hostile to God and against Him as enemy. He will judge them and they will then endure eternal torment in hell forever to pay the penalty for those sins. DId you know that…

And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” (Isaiah 66:24)

Matthew Henry Commntary speaks of that verse from Isaiah-

But our Saviour applies it to the everlasting misery and torment of impenitent sinners in the future state, where their worm dies not, and their fire is not quenched (Mk. 9:44); for the soul, whose conscience is its constant tormentor, is immortal, and God, whose wrath is its constant terror, is eternal. (3.) What notice shall be taken of it. Those that worship God shall go forth and look upon them, to affect their own hearts with the love of their Redeemer, when they see what misery they are redeemed from. As it will aggravate the miseries of the damned to see others in the kingdom of heaven and themselves thrust out (Lu. 13:28), so it will illustrate the joys and glories of the blessed to see what becomes of those that died in their transgression, and it will elevate their praises to think that they were themselves as brands plucked out of that burning. To the honour of that free grace which thus distinguished them let the redeemed of the Lord with all humility, and not without a holy trembling, sing their triumphant songs.

Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1218). Peabody: Hendrickson.

Oh, yes, the gratitude that we are spared! The humble thankfulness with which we sing His praises. Our Redeemer! We are a blessed group, never forget His lovingkindness to those whom He chose for Himself. We are His trophy of grace, and looking upon the wicked in torment, how much more will be fall to our own knees in crushed and broken contriteness and relief to worship such a God!

Why we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear (Hebrews 12:28)

Posted in encouragement, God, grace

So much grace and good gifts from the Father

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11)

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

For the Lord God is a sun and shield,…. Christ is “the sun of righteousness”, and it is in the house of God that he arises upon his people with healing in his wings, Malachi 4:2 he is like the sun, the great light, the fountain of light, the light of the world, that dispels darkness, makes day, and gives light to all the celestial bodies, moon and stars, church and ministers; he is a “sun” to enlighten his people with the light of grace, to warm them with the beams of his love, to cheer and refresh their souls with the light of his countenance, and to make them fruitful and flourishing and he is a “shield” to protect them from all their enemies; he is the shield of faith, or which faith makes use of, against the temptations of Satan; he is the shield of salvation, and his salvation is a shield which shelters from divine justice, and secures from wrath to come:

The graces of our Lord are manifold. He bestows grace upon grace to His children who believe in Him. What joy we have in worshiping and loving our Jesus.

He gives us the sun and our shield, as Charles Spurgeon says,

“A sun above, a shield around. A light to show the way and a shield to ward off its perils.”

His good gifts don’t stop there, He gives favor and honor, too. Grace upon grace. As T. Guthrie says of Psalm 84:11-12,

Mountains have been exhausted of their gold, mines of their diamonds, and the depths of ocean of their pearly gems. The demand has emptied the supply. Over once busy scenes silence and solitude now reign; the caverns ring no longer to the miner’s hammer, nor is the song of the pearl-fisher heard upon the deep. But the riches of grace are inexhaustible.

Turn to sweet Jesus today, pray for Him to comfort you, enliven your weary heart, to strengthen your legs and straighten your arms for the days ahead. Draw His grace around you as a blanket of eternal love from our wonderful God.