Posted in God, hell, holy, judgment, torment

Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead

By Elizabeth Prata

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 body, glory, God, holy, resurrection

Jesus: O, What a Savior!

Lubec, Maine. EPrata photo

I was asked recently for my testimony. Here are the thoughts of a pagan, graciously drawn to our Blessed Savior

I was not saved by the Lord’s grace until I was 43 years old. Before that, I lived in New England and lived a very liberal life. I’m grateful to my patient and loving Savior who elected me, drew me, and lifted me from the pit of sin in which I was living.

Until that time, during my adult life, I could not understand the phenomenon of Jesus. Oh, I understood it to be a phenomenon, all right. No one can dismiss Him, least of all the unsaved. He is a pervasive presence that simply does not go away. I used to actively wonder about His staying power. Buddha comes and goes as a fad, Allah wasn’t even around until 600 AD and wasn’t popular for a long time after that. Pele the volcano goddess waned and Ra the sun god is passe. And whatever happened to Aphrodite and Mars? But Jesus never waned and He is worshiped in every culture throughout every era.

Continue reading “Jesus: O, What a Savior!”
Posted in christian life, eli, holy, prophet, samuel

Samuel’s retirement as Judge of Israel and the lessons for us today

Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (1621–1674)
Hannah presenting her son Samuel to the priest Eli

By Elizabeth Prata*

Samuel had been a faithful man of God since his mother Hannah had presented him to Eli in the temple when Samuel was three years old. You might remember Hannah’s prayer. The LORD had closed her womb, and desperately Hannah wanted a child. She prayed in the temple, promising to deliver a child that the LORD gives her, back to Him for His glorious service. The LORD was pleased with this. He opened Hannah’s womb, and the child born was Samuel.

Samuel served for many years as Priest, Prophet and Judge.

The day came when Samuel was going to retire as their Judge. The People had clamored for a King instead, and God acceded to this. So Samuel gathered the People, and spoke to them in farewell.

And Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, I have obeyed your voice in all that you have said to me and have made a king over you. And now, behold, the king walks before you, and I am old and gray; and behold, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my youth until this day. Here I am; testify against me before the Lord and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me and I will restore it to you.” They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.” And he said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.” And they said, “He is witness.” (1 Samuel 12:1-5)

I find this profoundly beautiful.

When the LORD called little Samuel into service, you’ll remember the scene. Sadly, old Priest Eli was dim of eyesight, and as we’ll see, dim of hearing also. The visions to Israel were rare in those days. The LORD called to Samuel.

Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. (1 Samuel 3:4-5)

Three times the LORD called and three times Samuel answered “Hear I am!” It took three times for Eli to figure out that it was God who was calling Samuel. Samuel opened his service to the LORD with those powerful three words, ‘Here I am’. As a parallel, when the LORD called Isaiah, Isaiah also responded with, “Here I am!” (Isaiah 6:8).

Samuel ended his service as their Judge with the same phrase he began service, “Here I am.” We know that when we are before the people of the Lord, we are before the Lord. (Acts 5:4, Acts 9:4).

Before Samuel spoke last words to prompt them to remember the LORD and all He had done for them, Samuel did something first. He checked his relationship with the People. He asked them if there was any blight in his behavior to cause a stumbling, to cause an offense, to have come between them and him. He would make amends. The People answered, “No”. Samuel had not defrauded, had not oppressed, had not cheated, had not bribed.

Samuel went on with his message, bringing all the Lord had done to the Israelites’ mind. Samuel closed with this-

Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.” (1 Samuel 12:24-25).

It is such a parallel to us today. Now, the Old Covenant and the New Covenant distinguishes us from the OT Israelites and the NT Christians. Further, there are not Priests, Kings, Judges, or Prophets of Israel anymore. However, the principles are the same. For example,

1. Samuel was a faithful servant of the LORD all his days. He was attuned to God’s will, he was diligent to follow His voice, and he was faithful to God’s people. Eli’s spiritual hearing had grown so dim, he failed to hear God calling to Samuel. Yet Samuel was attuned all his days. Are we attuned to the Lord? Are we available to perform service to Him? Do we diligently and actively comply when we do hear His voice (through the scriptures)?

2. Samuel lived a holy life before His people. We are called to do the same.

Source: Elegant Finishes by Gina

Living holy and blameless before the Lord means living holy and blameless lives before His people, too. I’d said a moment ago, ‘We know that when we are before the people of the Lord, we are before the Lord.’ (Acts 5:4, Acts 9:4). I’d used those two verses from Acts to show the truth of my axiom. When Ananias and Sapphira lied about the portion of money they had pledged to the church, they were not lying to Peter. They were lying to the Holy Spirit (who is IN Peter). When Saul was persecuting Christians, he was not just persecuting some people who happened to be living in the Middle East, he was persecuting the Spirit IN the people. That’s why Jesus said, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”

When we are before God’s people, we are before God.

3. Samuel’s call to charge him so he could make amends, before he got to the business of reminding them of what God had done, is similar to today’s New Testament charge to cleanse ourselves before we approach the Lord’s Table for communion. We are not only charged to cleanse ourselves before the Lord but to clear things with any of the brethren. If there are any outstanding sins, we must rectify them first.

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. (1 Corinthians 27-29)

It is a call to be reverent, holy, and mindful of all Who God is and what He has done. Attempting to be reverent about what Jesus has done for us though a filter of unconfessed sin or through the muck of grudges and bitterness against one in the Body, is not behaving in worthy manner. Samuel cleared the decks first. We must do the same.

Old Testament or New Testament, we are called to live holy lives.

but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16, cf Leviticus 11:44, Leviticus 19:2)

Samuel’s call to the people to charge him with any wrong he had performed so as to make amends was not only holy but humble. In that way, it was a beautiful moment. God, grant me the humility and ability to live a holy life as Samuel did and as You call us to do.

*This post first appeared on The End Time in August 2014

Posted in holy, judgment, prophecy, tongue

"The Tape Recorder Judgment"

Every human will be judged. There are two kinds of judgment. One is for the lost, judgment for their sin. God will judge them and then cast them into hell for all eternity to endure the punishment of His wrath. (Revelation 20:11-15). This is known as the Great White Throne Judgment.

The other judgment is not really a judgment, more of an evaluation. All believers will stand before Christ after the rapture, and He will evaluate their lives based on what they did for Him, and what their motivation was. Christ will judge our works. We aren’t under wrath because as believers we entered heaven through the Door of Jesus, and He already exhausted God’s wrath for us by absorbing our punishment for sins when He was on the cross. So, God is not angry with us like He is with the unbelievers, but we can lose rewards that we would have otherwise earned. This is known as the Bema Seat. (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Hebrews 10:31 says “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Though we have nothing to fear, just thinking about standing before Jesus and having all my works and secrets of the heart exposed is cringe-worthy. To add fuel to the fire, so to speak, our pastor said the following last Sunday. I’ll paraphrase.

He was in a court situation observing a woman who was about to be sentenced for her DUI charge. As the court came together and the judge was preparing to speak the verdict, our pastor said that he could see the defendant begin to shake. Her arm quivered visibly, then her leg. She soon was shaking uncontrollably. A human judge was about the render a verdict in her crime, and she knew she was guilty. Her shaking increased. It is a fearful thing to be publicly judged for our crimes.

Now imagine this.

Imagine that God put a tape recorder around your neck. For the next year, He recorded everything you said. At the end of the year, He took off the tape recorder and played it back. Imagine then, He uses the same level of judgment that you used when talking to other people or about other people…on you.

It makes us cringe, doesn’t it? And if we think that our own words used against us as the benchmark of judgment is harsh, a human standard, what then of God’s holy and perfect standard? One cannot even conceive of being able to stand before Him.

If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? (Psalm 130:3)

And yet those who are in Christ, will be able to stand.

The Psalm verse goes on to show the glorious reason why,

But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. (Psalm 130:4)

If in thinking of the tape recorded judgments you utter make you shrink back in fear of having those same levels of judgment thrown back at you… if thinking of that human standard makes you fear of their exposure before Jesus’ much higher Godly standard, that is the fear of the Lord. It is a good fear. It is a Godly fear. It is the kind of fear that keeps our behavior and our sins in perspective. God’s holy standard of judgment are perfect and unimaginable, and thinking of them rendered upon the lost makes me feel more compassion for them, instead of irritation. Thinking of my own words used against me to judge me, keeps me more honest about my conversations.
And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. (James 3:6).
Posted in encouragement, holy, Lamb

Be ye reconciled to God

And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. (Genesis 22:7-8)

The Sacrifice of Isaac is a familiar chapter to most Christians. We study it in Sunday School, it’s taught in VBS, we read it familiarly as mature Christians, our eyes having passed over the verses many times.

But sometimes the gravity of the moment just grabs you and won’t let go. The Father DID provide the Lamb for the sacrifice. The grandest, most beautiful, most terrible moment in all of history or ever shall be, was the death of Jesus on the Cross at Calvary.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)

Ambassadors have all the authority of the sending nation behind them. As Christ’s ambassadors, we have all the authority of heaven behind us!

Sometimes just thinking about how Jesus died for us and absorbed the wrath that was rightfully due me, is overwhelming. Sometimes thinking of how despite my craven sinful nature, God cleaned me and forgave me. Sometimes thinking of the fact that God uses me, a poor clay vessel, for His glory, is just too immense for my mind to absorb.

The Christian journey is sometimes not easy, and it is always demanding, but it is also the most joyous and entrancing life a person could ever imagine. If you have not turned to Jesus for forgiveness of your sins, sins that incur the wrath of a Holy God against you every minute of every day, please do it. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth split history. The event divided the world into two paths. One is narrow and leads to everlasting life. The other path is broad and many find it, and will descend to hell for everlasting wrath.

The Father did provide the Lamb. And He is exalted.

The Lamb Exalted
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” (Revelation 5:11-13)

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 christian life, eli, holy, prophet, samuel

Samuel’s retirement as Judge of Israel and the lessons for us today

Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (1621–1674)
Hannah presenting her son Samuel to the priest Eli

Samuel had been a faithful man of God since his mother Hannah had presented him to Eli in the temple when Samuel was three years old. You might remember Hannah’s prayer. The LORD had closed her womb, and desperately Hannah wanted a child. She prayed in the temple, promising to deliver a child that the LORD gives her, back to Him for His glorious service. The LORD was pleased with this. He opened Hannah’s womb, and the child born was Samuel.

Samuel served for many years as Priest, Prophet and Judge.

The day came when Samuel was going to retire as their Judge. The People had clamored for a King instead, and God acceded to this. So Samuel gathered the People, and spoke to them in farewell.

And Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, I have obeyed your voice in all that you have said to me and have made a king over you. And now, behold, the king walks before you, and I am old and gray; and behold, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my youth until this day. Here I am; testify against me before the Lord and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me and I will restore it to you.” They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.” And he said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.” And they said, “He is witness.” (1 Samuel 12:1-5)

I find this profoundly beautiful.

When the LORD called little Samuel into service, you’ll remember the scene. Sadly, old Priest Eli was dim of eyesight, and as we’ll see, dim of hearing also. The visions to Israel were rare in those days. The LORD called to Samuel.

Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. (1 Samuel 3:4-5)

Three times the LORD called and three times Samuel answered “Hear I am!” It took three times for Eli to figure out that it was God who was calling Samuel. Samuel opened his service to the LORD with those powerful three words, ‘Here I am’. As a parallel, when the LORD called Isaiah, Isaiah also responded with, “Here I am!” (Isaiah 6:8).

Samuel ended his service as their Judge with the same phrase he began service, “Here I am.” We know that when we are before the people of the Lord, we are before the Lord. (Acts 5:4, Acts 9:4).

Before Samuel spoke last words to prompt them to remember the LORD and all He had done for them, Samuel did something first. He checked his relationship with the People. He asked them if there was any blight in his behavior to cause a stumbling, to cause an offense, to have come between them and him. He would make amends. The People answered, “No”. Samuel had not defrauded, had not oppressed, had not cheated, had not bribed.

Samuel went on with his message, bringing all the Lord had done to the Israelites’ mind. Samuel closed with this-

Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.” (1 Samuel 12:24-25).

It is such a parallel to us today. Now, the Old Covenant and the New Covenant distinguishes us from the OT Israelites and the NT Christians. Further, there are not Priests, Kings, Judges, or Prophets of Israel anymore. However, the principles are the same. For example,

1. Samuel was a faithful servant of the LORD all his days. He was attuned to God’s will, he was diligent to follow His voice, and he was faithful to God’s people. Eli’s spiritual hearing had grown so dim, he failed to hear God calling to Samuel. Yet Samuel was attuned all his days. Are we attuned to the Lord? Are we available to perform service to Him? Do we diligently and actively comply when we do hear His voice (through the scriptures)?

2. Samuel lived a holy life before His people. We are called to do the same.

Source: Elegant Finishes by Gina

Living holy and blameless before the Lord means living holy and blameless lives before His people, too. I’d said a moment ago, ‘We know that when we are before the people of the Lord, we are before the Lord.’ (Acts 5:4, Acts 9:4). I’d used those two verses from Acts to show the truth of my axiom. When Ananias and Sapphira lied about the portion of money they had pledged to the church, they were not lying to Peter. They were lying to the Holy Spirit (who is IN Peter). When Saul was persecuting Christians, he was not just persecuting some people who happened to be living in the Middle East, he was persecuting the Spirit IN the people. That’s why Jesus said, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”

When we are before God’s people, we are before God.

3. Samuel’s call to charge him so he could make amends, before he got to the business of reminding them of what God had done, is similar to today’s New Testament charge to cleanse ourselves before we approach the Lord’s Table for communion. We are not only charged to cleanse ourselves before the Lord but to clear things with any of the brethren. If there are any outstanding sins, we must rectify them first.

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. (1 Corinthians 27-29)

It is a call to be reverent, holy, and mindful of all Who God is and what He has done. Attempting to be reverent about what Jesus has done for us though a filter of unconfessed sin or through the muck of grudges and bitterness against one in the Body, is not behaving in worthy manner. Samuel cleared the decks first. We must do the same.

Old Testament or New Testament, we are called to live holy lives.

but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16, cf Leviticus 11:44, Leviticus 19:2)

Samuel’s call to the people to charge him with any wrong he had performed so as to make amends was not only holy but humble. In that way, it was a beautiful moment. God, grant me the humility and ability to live a holy life as Samuel did and as You call us to do.

Posted in christian living, daily bread, holy, lord's prayer

Be a Daily Christian

Christianity is not a one time moment when we are justified. That is simply the beginning. Our sanctification means we are being continually transformed into the image of Christ.

To that end, we submit to the transformative efforts of the Spirit and speed His work along with deliberate actions of our own. We should be a daily Christian. The bible is replete with admonitions about how to live a holy life. It means doing certain things, consciously and purposefully. These things are not and should not become a prescription for rote legalism, but guides for holy living.

Because the devil is so powerful, so destructive, we need Jesus every day. As the hymn says, every hour. But as we go along in life we often forget that. We begin to believe our own press, that we can handle things…that we’re all right.

No.

We need Him daily. If we are to live according God’s word it means doing certain activities every day. See a few of the biblical admonitions for what to do to be a Daily Christian.

CC, by Rachel Titiriga

The first priority in life is this: Salvation.

For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)

Once we have been saved from His wrath and forgiven of sins, declared righteous (justified), now begins the life of sanctification, living holy.

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile… (1 Peter 1:13-25).

‘Prepare your mind for action’… the verse doesn’t say lay around and wait for inspiration. We must prepare ourselves, ready our minds, and be willing to engage in action. What actions? Some follow below.

hardened clay pebbles, Wikipedia CC

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)

Sin hardens the conscience. We must exhort and encourage each other constantly, so sin does not deceive us or that the church falls into apostasy. The very fact that we must do this daily is the clear indicator of how short a time it takes for us to harden. We humans are fast-setting clay!

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

Pulpit Commentary explains, This readiness to give up ease, this willingness to bear suffering, will be a matter, they must remember, of everyday experience. The terrible simile with which the Lord pressed his stern lesson home was, of course, suggested to him by the clear view he had of the fearful end of his own earthly life

The Lord’s Prayer reminds us to ask for bread, daily. And not only that, but there are other daily admonitions in the prayer as well. To praise Him daily, to ask for help daily, to seek the Kingdom daily, and ask for forgiveness daily.

“The Lord’s Prayer” Creative Commons, art by navalatanjjnn

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:9-13)

We are noble if we search the scriptures daily.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:11)

It goes without saying that if we are to pray ceaselessly and rejoice always, we are doing these things every day.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; & see also Romans 12:12)

Creative Commons, by Eva, flickr

Far from being a burdensome or legalistic rote activity, do these things with gladness. We serve a holy and mighty Jesus, who loves us deeply. What are some things we do daily without even thinking about it, easily and habitually? Give the kids a bath? Cook supper for our husband or wife? Have a drink of water? Yet Jesus is the Living water, how much more refreshing would our lives be if we actually did these things daily as the scriptures and the Father’s will command?

Christianity is not something to trot out once a week in the pew. It isn’t something to fall back on when the dreaded diagnosis comes in. Living a vibrant life submitted to the Holy One is a daily activity. Sin wants to deceive us into thinking we can go a few days, or a few weeks, or a few years without ‘our daily bread’, but we can’t. And we shouldn’t. What joy there is in Him! We abound in His hope! We are filled with peace!

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.” (1 Peter 1:8)

Posted in beer, holy, nadia pastrix, profane, prophecy

Tattooed pastrix and beer church: When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith upon the earth?

The title to this piece is from a verse in Luke 18:7-8,

And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?

Jesus is saying that we should pray for His return, and that He will render justice to evildoers, and He is also warning us that faith in general will wane as the ages go on.

And we do see that faith today is so corrupt that it doesn’t even look like faith. Prophet Jeremiah knew something of corrupt worship. So did Jesus when confronting the Pharisees and called them whitewashed tombs. But the lack of faith in view here in Jesus’s statement is a faith that exists in a few. Gill’s Exposition says,

in the world at the last day: there will then be little of the doctrine of faith, and less of the grace of faith, and still less of the exercise of faith, particularly in prayer, and especially about the coming of Christ; it will be little thought of, and expected, or faith little exercised about it.

We see this today. Here are two examples of the incredible, corrupt faith upon the earth, which is no faith.

Bolz-Weber’s liberal, foulmouthed articulation of Christianity speaks to fed-up believers
Nadia Bolz-Weber bounds into the University United Methodist Church sanctuary like a superhero from Planet Alternative Christian. Her 6-foot-1 frame is plastered with tattoos, her arms are sculpted by competitive weightlifting and, to show it all off, this pastor is wearing a tight tank top and jeans.

The lack of discernment among people who claim to be Christian is astounding. The biblical record is clear, woman cannot be pastors. (1 Timothy 2:11-12).

Profanity for any Christian, but especially for leaders, is  something that impugns the spotless name of Christ. Leaders are supposed to be above reproach. This is a must. (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6-7).

Further, cursing is a sin. (Ephesians 4:29,  1 Peter 3:10, James 3:9-12).

Women are supposed to adorn themselves modestly, not deliberately show off buff arms and flat tummies. (1 Timothy 2:9-10, Isaiah 3:16-17)

And tattoos? Leviticus 19:28 has spiritual significance for Christians living under the New Covenant today.

In forbidding tattoos, God was telling Israel He did not want them to personally possess any physical marks or characteristics that externally resembled the pagan nations. Such a thing would link them visibly to the false religious practices and immoral behaviors of those nations, which ran contrary to God’s standards.” (source)

And in the New Testament we are told that we are not to conform to the world.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2)

This pastrix has said,

I never experience God in camping or trees or nature. I hate nature,” she told the Austin crowd as she paced the stage. “God invented takeout and duvets for a reason.”

Yet the creation is one of the ways He has revealed Himself. I’m not a fan of camping either, but when I am outside I see God reflected in the beauty and complexity of His creation, and I give Him glory for it. If I was a leader I’d never say that I hate one of the main ways He has revealed Himself to us. Romans 1:19-20 says

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it 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.

Why, why do so many follow an obviously false pastor like this one? Why is her church overflowing and her speeches standing room only? Because they like to elevate themselves and/or reduce God’s stature. And with the case of Nadia Bolz-Weber, she is preaching a different Jesus, one that is reduced down to our level.

She said, ““God isn’t feeling smug about the whole thing,” she writes about Jesus’s resurrection and the idea that the story is used as fodder for judgment. “God is not distant at the cross. . . . God is there in the messy mascara-streaked middle of it, feeling as [bad] as the rest of us.””

God is feeling as bad as the rest of us? You mean, the God whose ways are so high above our ways? Whose thoughts are not our thoughts? (Isaiah 55:8). God is in the thick of our petty emotional woes? Not hardly.

I used to dismiss articles like this one which describes a pastrix such as this woman, believing that an apostate as profound as this woman would be obvious to one and all, but it is not so. Hordes flock to hear her, and why not? She is part of the promise of a coming apostasy.

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)

If a profane, tattooed, lusty and buff female pastor is not your style, then maybe the church beer bar is.

To Stave Off Decline, Churches Attract New Members With Beer

Todd Fadel, at piano, leads singers at a recent gathering of Beer & Hymns at First Christian Church Portland, OR

With mainline religious congregations dwindling across America, a scattering of churches is trying to attract new members by creating a different sort of Christian community. They are gathering around craft beer.  Some church groups are brewing it themselves, while others are bring the Holy Mysteries to a taproom. The result is not sloshed congregants; rather, it’s an exploratory approach to do church differently.

Do church differently? Ask Nadab and Abihu how different church went for them. Ask Solomon, who experimented with everything under the sun and found it all vanity. The LORD who sent His Son to tell us what to do and how to do it, laid down how to worship in His word. There is nothing that has changed, that He wants us to now do differently. There is nothing in the bible that says “when looking for a good church, go to a bar.”

These church-in-a-bar folks are giving the gospel with a microphone in one hand and a beer in another. Their churches are literally named “Church-in-a-Pub”. They take communion among the barstools. They advertise “Beer & Hymns”. I am not making this up. And denominations are taking this seriously. The article states, “Last month, the regional council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America named Church-in-a-pub a Synodically Authorized Community.

At one church in a pub, “Between hymns, people can stand up and say anything they want.

Paul expressly wrote to the Corinthians to stop such carousing, communion-insulting, prophesying chaos. He demanded orderly worship. Because God demands orderly worship.

Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” (1 Corinthians 14:29-33)

He demands orderly communion!!

When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.” (1 Corinthians 11:20-22)

This is exactly what the hedonistic, pagan-saturated Corinthians church was doing. Paul got on to them, and came down hard. Yet here we are, repeating the exact things the bible says not to do. How can this be?

“When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith upon the earth?”

These people disregard holiness. Be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). The Lord hates profane worship. Read Malachi 1.

Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand.” (Malachi 1:10)

Stay in the word so you will not be deceived and lured off the path. Stay prayed up like the persistent widow demanding justice. Plead for the lost and straying, and remain grateful that His grace has found us, and that we will be with Him forever, and from what the state of the church looks like today, that time is nearing each day. Soon, my friends.

I hope to be in heaven soon, where I can worship in pure church, in perfect accord with His will, and not a blot or stain in me, but only holy desires to see Him exalted. O what a day that will be!

Posted in God, holy

Holy, holy, holy is God! Evangelism part 1/3

I’m writing two more parts in a series regarding how to evangelize and what to say and not to say, and reactions to true evangelism efforts. To begin, we always remember that God is holy!

“There is none holy like the Lord; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.” (1 Samuel 2:2)

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory’” (Isaiah 6:1-3).

Holy is God!
Holy is Jesus!
Holy is the Spirit!

We serve a thrice-holy God!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Evangelism Part 2
Evangelism Part 3