Archive | June 2013

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on Mark 13:32-37

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”                     NKJV

History is filled with examples of people attempting to pinpoint the date of Jesus return.  William Miller, founder of the Millerite movement, predicted that Jesus would come on March 21, 1843.  Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, announced in 1835 that Jesus would return within 56 years.  Of course, it did not happen.  The Watchtower Society (Jehovah’s Witnesses) have variously predicted Jesus return in 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, and 1994.  Obviously none of those predictions came to pass.  Edgar C. Whisenant wrote a book titled 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Happen in 1988.  Needless to say, that the book is no longer on the best seller list.

Jesus plainly states that no one, other than God Himself, knows when He will return to rapture His church.  There are no signs given in Scripture that must precede the rapture (the first phase of His second coming).  All of the signs given in the Olivet discourse (i.e. a world war, the abomination of desolation, the flight of the Jews from Jerusalem, the great tribulation, and the global blackout) all precede the revelation (the second phase of Jesus’ second coming).  Prior to the rapture, life will be proceeding normally (Matt. 24:36-42).  The Bible exhorts us to look for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, not signs (James 5:8; I Thess. 1:10; Phil. 3:20; Matt. 24:44; Luke 12:40; Rev. 22:7, 12, 20).  The timing of the rapture can occur at any moment, on any day, in any year.  No one can predict when it will happen.

“Watch” in our text does not mean to look for signs.   Jesus said, “An evil and adulterous generation looks for a sign.” (Matt. 12:39, 16:4).  Rather “Watch” means to be ready; not to be caught unaware.  How can we be ready?

First, be sure that you are saved; that you have repented of your sins and by faith, received the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Second, if you already saved, live your life as though the rapture will occur in the next moment.

I John 2:28 exhorts us to abide in Him (Jesus), that we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.  When the rapture happens, where will you be, and what will you be doing?  We should strive to live every moment of every day so that we may say along with the Apostle John in Revelation 22:20, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on II Samuel 13:13-15

And I, where could I take my shame?  And as for you, you would be like one of the fools in Israel.  Now therefore, please speak to the king; for he will not withhold me from you.”  However, he would not heed her voice; and being stronger than she, he forced her and lay with her.  Then Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her.  And Amnon said to her, “Arise, be gone!”               NKJV

Amnon, David’s oldest son, was lustfully desirous of his sister, Tamar.  His friend, Jonadab, helped him hatch a plot to get alone with her.  While he pretended to be ill, he asked for Tamar to come prepare a meal and feed him.  When she brought the food to his bed, it became evident what he was really after. Tamar responded wisely in refusing his advances.  If he would act honorably, then she would marry him. She asked him the question we should ask ourselves when faced with any form of lust.  Who will this affect?  What will be the consequences in their lives?  What about our own reputation?  What will be the full consequences in our own life if we give in to that desire?  Amnon and Tamar had seen their father make this same mistake with Bathsheba, and they had seen the consequences of his sin.  Now Tamar appealed to Amnon to face the truth of what would happen if he went through with his plan, but he had already determined what he would do and refused to consider the consequences of the sin.

After raping Tamar, Amnon despised her.  Our fleshly desires will paint a picture of fulfillment that is a lie; far from reality.  Tamar’s honorable questions showed how wicked Amnon’s heart really was.  He wanted to be as far away from the truth as he could get.  His sin of lust resulted in hatred and death within the family.

Is some desire capturing your imagination?  How will it affect the people involved?  How will it affect you? Sin must be stopped before it shifts from thoughts to actions!

But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.                                   James 1:14-15          NKJV

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on Psalm 78:70-72

He also chose David His servant, And took him from the sheepfolds; From following the ewes that had young He brought him, To shepherd Jacob His people, And Israel His inheritance.  So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.                      NKJV

When God sets our hearts on fire, He usually does so in normal natural ways.  Of course some have been set on fire as they fasted and prayed in extended times of solitude.  But in most cases, God does His work in our everyday lives.  A burning passion is lit and kindled in the midst of our work day; dropping our kids off at school; paying our bills; making home repairs; toiling at work; recreating with others; courting the opposite sex; working our way through problems—all the sheep pens of life.  It is in the midst of these daily ruts that God chooses us, as His children, to follow hard after Him.  It is from these ordinary routines that God calls us to higher levels of meaning and significance. That is what happened to David.

God called David to from the sheepfolds to the palace.  It was while he was carrying out the humble job of shepherding that God ignited his heart.  He learned the art of overseeing sheep and then transferred the lessons he had learned to people.  A heart of integrity developed when no one was looking, and it was that same heart of integrity that led the nation of Israel to greatness.  The skill in nurturing, protecting, and leading sheep became the skill in leading a people to worship God; but remember, God developed David in the sheepfolds.

Maybe you feel like you are living and working in the sheep pens.  It stinks.  It’s not particularly pleasant.  It’s not where you want to be or thought you would be.  You feel alone and maybe even abandoned.  Let me remind you that God is not wasting your time.  Don’t waste His.  Let Him prepare you for your future.  Remember: He does His best work in the pens.         Ron Moore