“For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel and with the [blast of the] trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain [on the earth] will simultaneously be caught up (RAPTURED) together with them [the resurrected ones] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord!” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 AMP
In theological terms, the word RAPTURE is defined as: “the experience, anticipated by some fundamentalist Christians, of meeting Christ midway in the air upon his return to earth.”
While the exact word “RAPTURE” does not occur in the Bible. The term comes from a Latin word meaning “a carrying off, a transport, or a snatching away, or caught up. The concept of the “caught up” or the rapture of the church is clearly taught in Scripture.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 tells us that at God’s command, with the voice of an Archangel and the trumpet call of God, believers that have already died (the dead in Christ) will rise from their graves. Then the believers still alive on the earth will be “caught up” in the air with the dead in Christ to meet Jesus in the air. Together we will be taken to be with the Lord. These believers – both the dead and alive are called the Church.
“Now I say this, believers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit nor be part of the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable (mortal) inherit the imperishable (immortal). Listen very carefully, I tell you a mystery [a secret truth decreed by God and previously hidden, but now revealed]; we will not all sleep [in death], but we will all be [completely] changed [wondrously transformed], in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at [the sound of] the last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead [who believed in Christ] will be raised imperishable, and we will be [completely] changed [wondrously transformed]. For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable [nature], and this mortal [part of us that is capable of dying] must put on immortality [which is freedom from death].” 1 Corinthians 15:50-53 AMP
The Power of the Cross: One Man Sinned and All Men Died – Another Man Died So All Might Live by James Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“The Catholic Church believes that when Adam sinned (Genesis chapter 3) his trespass caused a reign of death that ruled over all men. That view is correct (Romans 5:17). The Christian churches do not believe God would hold blameless men accountable Adam’s sin, therefore they do not believe Adam’s trespass caused death to reign over anyone. That is why the Christian churches refuse to teach that little babies must be baptized to take away Adam’s sin. That view is absolutely reasonable, true, and correct. How can both views be valid?” Continue reading
This is part two – in continuation of last week article “The TRUTH of False Teacher, Preachers and Prophets”
We all want to think that the preacher we sit under is an anointed man of God and he is there to teach and speak the TRUTHS of the Word of God. But sometimes things happen and that person (man or woman) stumbles or falls. Somehow they begin following the wrong path. Perhaps it is greed, the allure of notoriety, the attention, or the perceived worship of an entire congregation of folks wanting to hear what they alone have to say… perhaps it is arrogance or pride… whatever it is; sometimes our leaders fall. Sometimes they take on the mantle of being the singular authority in all things Biblical. Their interpretation and understanding becomes TRUTH; and while it is acceptable and palatable to those listening, it may not be the TRUTH of the Bible.
Accurate and sound doctrine is fundamental to our salvation and increase in spiritual development. God warns us many times in the Scriptures to be alert and watchful of false teaching. As Christians, we need to be able to identify counterfeit teachers in order to know when we are being led down a wrong path. As an individual, we should be already in tune with the urgings, or promptings of Holy Spirit. Call it intuition if you want, but you know when something just isn’t right. You recognize the small voice inside telling you to be warned. When that feeling deep in you starts to stir, what then?
2 Peter 2:1 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”
Matthew 7:15-20 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
Our first responsibility as followers of Jesus Christ is to the TRUTH. We are called to speak it, teach it, write about it, and if annointed, preach it… but most of all we are to live it. And we aren’t to do this for a season or when it’s easy and comfortable – we’re called to do it until. Until when… until the Word of God is spoken to the four corners of the globe… until every ear has heard the TRUTH of Salvation through Jesus Christ.
Early in February 2018, the Holy Spirit woke me in the very early hours of the morning and impressed these words onto my heart… “Speak the TRUTH to the whole world”. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do next. So with an open mind and heart and with pen in hand, I prayed. I prayed for guidance about “TRUTH”. This is something which has been on my heart for quite some time. My desire to write an ongoing series of articles was born from a story I wrote in my book – “Refined by the Fire” – called “TRUTH”. The book was published in September 2017; it has taken me until February 2018 to begin the “TRUTH” series. And while I’ve hit some snags… I am discovering the articles which had the most impact were ones that flowed easily from my pen. The difficult articles took days and days to write, while struggling over words and defining the direction of the article, they did not flow as easily as I wanted, they were a clumsy and awkward read. It didn’t take long to realize that I had to take me out of the decision making process of what to write. I have taken the direction and subject of the articles out of my hands and now pray for guidance and let the Holy Spirit lead.
Speaking the TRUTH isn’t always popular, but… are we called to be popular… or are we called to speak the TRUTH? The TRUTH of the gift of eternal life and salvation offered only through Jesus Christ… to speak the TRUTH of good news of the Kingdom to a dark and dying world?
“Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in Him” John 12:27
During His three-year ministry on this earth, Jesus had performed so many miracles, signs and wonders as witnessed sometimes by a few and other times thousands, yet the people wouldn’t, or couldn’t, believe in Him as the Messiah – the Son of God.
In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John there are over 30 miracles documented. Yet, despite the eye-witness evidence of the lame raised up able to walk, the eyes of the blind opened to see, the lepers healed, the 5000 fed from 5 loaves and 2 fish, the dead raised to life, demons cast out at the mere sight of Him, enabling the mute to speak, turning water into wine, healing at the simple touch of His robe, life-long paralytics restored to complete health, house servants healed by only the words of His mouth, raging storms on the sea clamed by His command, and walking on water just to name a few, and let’s not forget His resurrection from the dead as witnessed by hundreds. Yet, despite all of the evidence, so many people in Jesus’ time would not believe either during His earthly ministry or after His resurrection.
Perhaps some had only heard about the miracles and did not witness them personally. With a skeptical mind, they could not, or would not, believe in what they didn’t see first hand. Perhaps they thought someone was exaggerating the event. Continue reading
The Power of Right Thinking: Transform Your Thoughts, Transform Your World by Kerry Kirkwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“Let the Holy Spirit Transform Your Thoughts. Is your life everything you would like it to be? Do you feel like you are fulfilling your destiny or do you constantly fight against thoughts of condemnation, fear, hopelessness, or self-doubt?
Many quote the Bible proverb, “As a man thinks, so is he.” Your thoughts direct your words, shape your future, and ultimately determine your destiny. Kirkwood shows you how to let go of destructive thought patterns and exchange them for life-producing thoughts!”
Praise Is My Weapon by Dan Willis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“”I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High. When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.” Psalm 9:2
Life is hard. Even as believers, we are constantly barraged by challenges, sickness, attacks, and tragedies. Loved ones die. Good people get hurt. The faithful are besieged. It is no wonder we are often plagued by questions that plant seeds of doubt in our minds.
And yet, we are not powerless or empty-handed in the battle for our faith. As children of God, we are legal authorities in the kingdom of heaven, charged with taking control of our circumstances and enlarging our territory. And one of our greatest weapons in the war is praise.”
The Country Road through the Book of Matthew by Mike Lovett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Country Road through the Book of Matthew is just that, a road that travels through the entirety of Matthew with stops along the way where the reader can pause and explore on their own. Desiring to live out Paul’s admonition to Timothy that all scripture is inspired by God and useful to us, Mike keeps the reader on the road in hopes that each day will bring new growth in their relationship with Christ as they read about His birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection.
Unmasking the Devil: Strategies to Defeat Eternity’s Greatest Enemy by John Ramirez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Satanist-Turned-Evangelist Gives You the Inside Strategy to Defeat the Devil’s Plans!
Many people, even Christians, deny the devil’s power. John Ramirez doesn’t have that luxury—he experienced the prince of darkness up close and personal.
In the impoverished streets of the South Bronx, John Ramirez found “acceptance” from a family of witches and warlocks. These practitioners of dark arts trained him to be a high-ranking satanic priest—a story told in his first book, Out of the Devil’s Cauldron. However, everything changed when he met the living Christ.”
Give Yourself a Break: Turning Your Inner Critic Into a Compassionate Friend by Kim Fredrickson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“It’s time to start treating yourself the way you treat others. As children we’re taught to treat others the way we would like to be treated. But as adults, we often need to turn that old maxim around. We’re good at showing compassion to other people–but many of us have trouble showing that same compassion to ourselves. We say things to ourselves we would never say to a friend. And all this negative self-talk can have a devastating effect on our lives and relationships.”
Why is it that we can overflow with love and care and compassion for those around us, even those on the fringes of our lives, yet when it comes to ourselves – well we are our own worst critic? We rarely show ourselves the love and care that we show others.