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Sunday, May 20, 2018

II Corinthians 5:9

Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

For further study - II Corinthians 5:1-9

Paul is writing a word of encouragement to those in Corinth about what the time of death will bring to each of us. Most of us look at death as something to be dreaded, something to be avoided at all cost.

As I remind myself, as well as reminding you also, those who are reading this devotional, that death is not the "end all". It is actually the beginning, the beginning of "eternity future". The Apostle brings to our attention that in our present "tabernacle" our present body, there is groaning.

Let me stop right here. Everyday, as I become aware of another ache or pain that I never have experienced before, I usually spend several minutes or sometimes even several hours worrying about what the discomfort may be and what it could become.

Paul is telling us that we will one day put on a new "tabernacle", a new and wonderful "heavenly body". Paul talks about confidence and he reminds us of where the confidence comes from.

The Holy Spirit has sealed each of us into the "Body of Christ". It is the "earnest of the Spirit" that gives us the confidence of where we are and where we will be one day. As we are alive on this earth we are absent from the Lord and we know this by faith, not by sight.

Paul then speaks of another confidence, the confidence that when we die on this earth we go directly into His presence, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, verse 8. At death all born again Christians are transported by angels, Luke 16:22, into the heavenlies, and into His presence.

Now re-read our key verse. Until that victorious time of death when we go into His presence, Paul says He would be ambitious and so should we be the same. Paul wanted to live a life, do the work of the Lord, so that when he saw Him he would be accepted of Him. That should be the same for us, when we see Him we might be accepted of Him.

The very next verse, verse 10, speaks of us then standing at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Paul says he wants to be "well-accepted" of Christ at that time. This is a Godly ambition, because at the Judgment Seat we are given "crowns" for those works we have done for the Lord, in His power and for His glory.

Then we take these crowns and lay them at His feet as He sits upon His throne, Revelation 4:10, in thanksgiving for all that He has done for us. We must join Paul in this "Godly ambition", so that we can give Him the glory.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord to live a life that will receive reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ so I can show thanksgiving to You, for all You have done for me, as I cast my crowns at Your feet.
Saturday, May 19, 2018

II Corinthians 4:5

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
For further study - II Corinthians 4:1-18

Each day as I come to my time in the Word of God, devotionally, I am continually amazed at how practical the Bible is for my every day experience of living out my Christianity in the days in which we live.

Today's passage for our devotional is no exception. I won't be able to elaborate on everything in our passage, but let me challenge you to spend time in this passage and "dig deeper" for the "treasure" in His Word.

Paul begins this chapter with the fact that his ministry compels him to not be dishonest even in secret, verse 2. The apostle sets the standard for every person in ministry, and I must remind you that each of us do have a ministry in this life, thus we must follow the standard that Paul sets for us, until He calls us home.

We must walk honest, not in craftiness, not handling the Word of God deceitfully, as related to us in verse 2Verses 3 and 4 reveal how the "god of this world," that would be Satan, is today blinding the  minds of the lost people of our world to the "gospel".

The "gospel", I Corinthians 15:1-5is the death, burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This "gospel" is the "power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth", Romans 1:16.

Paul exhorts us to not allow the "gospel" to be hid from the lost. That "gospel" is being hid today from lost people by false teachers, pseudo-ministries and unresolved sin.

I mention "pseudo" or "false ministry" which would be a ministry that allows the "things of this world" to direct how we perform ministry in the "church". Many churches are moving in that direction in order to build a "large" church. The "things of this world" distract from the "purity" of the "gospel" and dilutes the "gospel" so that it is of none effect.

Let me skip over some great "meat" in this passage, some of the "treasure" that you can dig out for yourself in verses 6-16.

The last two verses of our devotional passage for today, verses 17-18, look to the future. They speak of the "hard times" we may be facing today and into the future. Paul encourages us to look at these times as "light afflictions", verse 17, which are but for a moment.

Paul even mentions that the "light afflictions" are the "training ground" preparing us for the future. Paul concludes with a word of encouragement for the church at Corinth and for those of us in churches, worldwide, today.

Verse 18 
says, don't look on the things of today, "things seen", because they are "temporal", for a short time. We should "look upon those things not seen", they are eternal.

See how practical the Word of God, and prophecy are for our daily lives. The current events of this world, our afflictions for today, must not be our focus, we must focus on the "things to come", as revealed in God's prophetic Word, the "hope for tomorrow".

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord to keep my focus not on the things of this world but instead on the truths of Your Word as I move through these days and into the future.
Friday, May 18, 2018

I Corinthians 15:52

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

For further study - I Corinthians 15:51-58

In my King James Scofield Reference Bible there is a "headliner" above verse 51 in our extended text for today's devotional. It reads "All believers will not die." This is what I call a "blessed hope".
I've often said I don't want the "undertaker" to take care of me, I want the "upper-taker", Jesus, at the Rapture, to deal with me at the time of my departure from this world.

In other words I want to be in the group of believers who will not die but instead will be "translated" into the heavenlies as Jesus shouts and I am called up to meet Him in the air at the Rapture of the Church. This is my "blessed hope", and yours as well.

The Rapture is the focus in these last seven verses of I Corinthians 15I Corinthians 15 opens with the focus on the "Resurrection" of Jesus Christ. The chapter closes with the "Rapture". I must remind you that it is because of the "Resurrection" that we have the "blessed hope" and assurance of the "Rapture".

I Thessalonians 4:13-18 tells us of the procedure of the Rapture. The "archangel" shouts and the "trump of God" sounds and "Jesus shouts". Then the "dead in Christ" rise first and we, which are alive and remain on earth shall be caught up to join Jesus in the air, as we enter the heavenlies.

Paul writes the Church in Corinth about the Rapture about five years after he introduced the subject to those in the Church in Thessalonica, I Thessalonians 4:13-18.

In our devotional passage for today we are given more details about this "blessed event". Paul tells us it will happen "in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye", verse 52a. Remember, the "twinkling of an eye" is much, much faster than even the "blink of an eye".

The "dead in Christ" are raised, incorruptible. We that are alive at the Rapture are changed. We put on incorruption and immortality. This all happens faster than you can blink your eyes, and that is fast. We can all then join in the chorus singing in harmony with Jesus, "O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?", verse 55.

We'll also join together to sing the "thank you chorus", "Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.", verse 57.

Paul concludes this passage with our "marching orders". He tells us to "Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord", verse 58. We do this because we know that our labor for Him is not in vain.

Prophecy is so very practical. As we better understand the next event on God's timetable for the future, the Rapture, we see how then we should live until He calls us to join Him in the heavenlies. In fact, the Rapture could happen today. Even so Lord, come quickly, even today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for the promise of the Rapture. Help me to live for You today knowing how close we may be to the Rapture.
Thursday, May 17, 2018

I Corinthians 11:26

For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

For further study - I Corinthians 11:23-30

One of the blessings we have as the member of a local church is to join with others to partake of the Lord's Supper, or the Communion. Paul tells the church at Corinth that they must observe the Lord's Table properly and with no un-confessed sin.

Those who come to the "Lord's Table" without having confessed all of their sins to the Lord are in danger of a serious illness or even death. The Lord wants those who come to His table to be clean before Him.

Paul exhorts the people of the church at Corinth to examine themselves before coming to take of the Lord's Supper. Each of us must look "inward". We must look in at our own lives, starting from the point of our salvation till today, to see if their is any need to be reconciled to God. Then we must be ready to restore our fellowship with God.

Paul also tells us that at the Lord's Supper we must look "backward" to what Christ did on the cross for each of us. We must look back to His death, burial, and resurrection as the means for eternal life.
Then Paul tells us to "look upward". This is the part I really like. We are to look up everyday, awaiting the return of Christ.

We "look in" to see our relationship with Christ.

We "look back" to see what Christ has done for us.

We "look up" in anticipation of the Rapture of the Church.

The Rapture is when we get to be with Christ forever, which could happen at any moment. We are to anticipate His return each and every time we sit at the Lord's Table. Remember, prophecy is very practical.

As you look up continually, eagerly awaiting the Lord's Return, it will help you to be pure, productive, and prepared for the gathering of God's people to be with Him forevermore.

PRAYER THOUGHTThank you, Jesus, for Your death, burial, and resurrection. Please allow our knowledge of this great event to motivate us to live for You, as we anticipate Your return.
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

I Corinthians 10:31

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

For further study - I Corinthians 10:23-33

Paul, in his letter to the Corinthian Church, lays out the guidelines for the use of the liberty that the Lord has given to us for our Christian life. The apostle writes to a very "carnal church," the church in Corinth, that everything is lawful for him, verse 23, but He gives them then four guidelines for living by the "law of love" in the liberty that God gives.

Paul says that though everything is lawful, everything is not expedient. In other words, everything is permissible but it is not always beneficial. Then Paul sets another standard for what he does. It must edify - it must build up those around him, verse 23.

Paul's lifestyle is not to promote himself or to do those things that bring attention, glory, or advancement for him, verse 24. Paul's goal is to promote the good of others. This type of lifestyle, serving others, is chosen by Paul so that he might bring many people to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, verse 33. Paul's standard sets the bar high for each of us to set as our goal for the life we lead daily in front of others.

These principles in our passage from Paul's writings are worth our reading for today. But before we leave, let me share another principle, a "prophetic principle" as well as a "personal principle". Paul says in verse 32, in light of his chosen lifestyle, that he will not be an offense to the Jews, the Gentiles, or the Christians. This verse goes along with the theme of our reading for today but it also is a key component as you start to study prophecy.

Paul divided humankind into three members of the "human family", Gentiles, Jews, and Christians. Every person on earth is one of these family members. For the first 2,000 years of human history, from Genesis 1-12, there were only Gentiles on the earth.

When God brought Abraham to the Promised Land, He made this Gentile, Abraham, the first Hebrew, Genesis 14:13, and started another people, the Jewish people.

Then, for the next 2,000 years from Genesis 12 to Acts 1, there were Gentiles and Jews on earth, but no Christians. A Jew or a Gentile that believed God for righteousness was a believing Jew or Gentile.

On the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2, the Lord started the Church and there then was a third member of the human family, Christians. All these members of the human family are in play from Acts 2 to Revelation 22.

This information is key to understanding Bible prophecy. As we read the Word, the prophetic Word, we must keep this "prophetic principle" in mind. It will help us to know who the Lord is addressing in His prophetic plan and for what time in history.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, help me to approach my study of Your word with the principles that will give me understanding of Your prophetic plan.
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

I Corinthians 3:8

Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
For further study - I Corinthians 3:1-15

The apostle Paul, who wrote our reading today, also wrote to the Thessalonians about the Rapture of the church, I Thessalonians 4:13-18, and he told us of the sound of the trumpet, the shout of the archangel and at our Lord's shout, we will enter His presence. It is at that time in the future that the "Judgment Seat of Christ" takes place.

The Judgment Seat of Christ is when every Christian will be judged by Jesus Christ, John 5:22, for his or her labor for the Lord. It is at that time that we will receive either rewards or suffer loss of rewards.

The procedure for this awesome time before the Lord at the "Judgment Seat" is found in our reading for today. The reality that we will one day stand at the "Judgment Seat" is awesome as we consider the events that will unfold on that day.

Verse 12 tells us of the two categories of works that we will be judged for at the Judgment Seat.

There are the "wood, hay and stubble" works and the "gold, silver, and precious stones" works. Those wood, hay and stubble works are works we did after becoming a Christian. These are works that we have done in our own strength and for our own glory. The gold, silver and precious stones works are those works we did in His power, for His glory.

Let me remind you that works are not for salvation, but a result of salvation. Salvation is by grace through faith, Ephesians 2:8-9. Works are what follows because we are "created unto good works" after salvation, Ephesians 2:10.

All of our works from either category will be judged, actually by fire, and what remains will be that which indicates whether we gain rewards or suffer loss. Naturally, those wood, hay and stubble works will be burned up.

The gold, silver and precious stones works will be purified in the fire and bring us rewards for the works we have done for Him and for His glory and in His power.

These works are the "righteous acts" we do during our lifetime as a Christian. The righteous acts then become our "wedding garments" that we, as the bride of Christ, will wear when we are married to Jesus Christ.

This "marriage ceremony" will precede the "marriage supper of the Lamb," Revelation 19:7-9. It is exciting to consider the wedding garment we will wear at that ceremony for our groom, Jesus Christ.

However, it is a bit concerning to realize that one day, possibly very soon, at the Rapture we will stand face to face with Christ and have to respond at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This should motivate each us to get things in order so we will be ready to face Jesus. It could be today!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to do all works in His power and only for His honor and glory.
Monday, May 14, 2018

I Corinthians 2:9

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

For further study - I Corinthians 2:1-16

I love our key verse, verse 9, it is a promise of things that God will give me and you, if you know Him as Lord and Saviour, things that I can not even imagine. My eyes have not seen them, my ears have not heard them and my heart is void of what these things might be that will come to me in the future.

What we do know is that God has prepared these things. Because I love Him they will come to me. I feel like a little child who has the prospect of receiving "something special" from someone special. In order to receive from God this "something special" we must not only love the Lord, but we must be "born again," become a "new creation".

Verse 14 states that the "natural man," a lost person without Jesus Christ, will not be able to know about God's gift. Whatever God would count as special, the lost person would consider it all foolishness. The gifts coming from the Lord will be better in focus as we study through the Word of the  Lord, the Bible.

Paul explains in this passage the ministry of the Holy Spirit in communicating to the believer what God wants him to know. The first method that God uses to communicate to man is "inspiration", verse 13.

Paul says it wasn't his words and his wisdom but the Holy Spirit breathing into him, as He did into some 40 men over 1,500 years, 66 books, the Bible; with God's message for humankind, II Timothy 3:16.

These "truths" or "revelation" were also God-breathed and given to men, men the Lord Himself chose. None of the prophets received these truths by his own will but were Holy men of God and were able to speak prophetic truth as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, II Peter 1:21.

Maybe the most exciting thought in this passage is that we as Christians have the Holy Spirit living in us to not only empower us but also to teach us through "illumination", a third ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus told His disciples that He must go, but He promised that when He had gone, He would send the Holy Spirit to teach us. And notice, the Holy Spirit would not only teach us but teach us things to come, John 16:7-14.

I must admit that after over 50 years of studying God's Word there is much more than I can imagine that the Lord has in store for me, in the future.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you, Lord, for breathing into Godly men, Your Word, and then sending the Holy Spirit, the one who gave men Your Word, to dwell within me and teach me Your Word.
Sunday, May 13, 2018

I Corinthians 1:18

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
For further study -I Corinthians 1:18-31

In the passage for our devotional reading today we see how those today who exalt "human wisdom" will one day come to an understanding that man's wisdom is "foolishness in the things of God".

That's how Paul begins our devotional passage, which is an excerpt of his letter to the very "carnal church" in Corinth. What a powerful truth, that which seems to be "foolishness" to those of the world today who are not saved, not believers in Jesus Christ for eternal life, how they consider the "preaching of the cross" foolishness.

But Paul tells those of us who do believe that we came to that belief by the "preaching of the cross" which is to those of us who believe, the "power of God," verse 18.

If we take a closer look at the philosophy of this world today, and its people, they are bound up by "human wisdom," the knowledge and intellect of man. Even the "church," the institution ordained by God on Earth, has appropriated that "humanistic" philosophy, that "human wisdom," which they have made key to their "pattern of life".

Paul uses this letter to the Church in Corinth, who had bought into this philosophy and he revealed to them that man's wisdom was "foolishness". God's wisdom is what we should long for. It is very evident in what is termed "post-modern Christianity" in the Church today that they have allowed for "man's wisdom" to take control of leadership and ministry.

In fact, Paul even said that the foolishness of God, verse 25, is wiser than men. Verse 27 reveals God's plan for this matter. God has chosen the "foolishness of this world to confound the wise".

Paul realizes that many in this world must have "signs" to believe what is of the Lord, verse 22, especially the Jew. If one has to have a "sign" to believe, "faith" will not then spring forth.

Hebrews 11:1 says that "faith" is the substance of things "hoped for," the evidence of things "not seen". If we must have a "sign" before we believe then we don't have "real faith".

"Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God," Romans 10:17. The Jew and some others require a "sign" and the Gentile craves for wisdom, the wisdom of man, verse 22. Both are the opposite of God's design for the Church and it's ministry and worship.

Paul sets the standard, verse 23, "we preach Christ crucified". Not only crucified, but resurrected, ascended into heaven and one day coming again. Now that is "real wisdom," God's wisdom.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to stay in the Bible for the Godly wisdom that will carry me through life and into eternity future.
Saturday, May 12, 2018

Romans 14:10

But why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
For further study - Romans 14:1-13

Paul is writing to the church in Rome, in chapter 14, at least the first part of the chapter, about a problem among the people of the church.

There are those who are saying, "We can eat this or that but we must not eat the other." Then there are those who say, "We esteem this day more important than any other and you don't do that." Paul addresses these issues in several ways.

Paul says whatever we eat, if we are Christians, it's unto the Lord, verse 6. Also, what day we esteem, that will be done unto the Lord as well. In fact, Paul says, if we are alive we are living unto the Lord, or we should be doing so, verse 8.

Then Paul exhorts the Romans, as well as each of us today, to stop judging one another any more. Paul says what must be judged is that we must not put a stumbling block or occasion to fall in our brothers way, verse 13.

Paul then asks the question, "Why doest thou judge your brother, verse 10, especially in light of the fact that we are all going to stand before the "Judgment Seat of Christ" one day.

This is not a judgment to determine whether we are saved or lost. That will be determined before we ever get to the "Judgment Seat of Christ". There will be only "saved" people at the "Judgment Seat of Christ".

Verse 12 states that "Every one of us shall give an account of himself to God". The "Judgment Seat of Christ" takes place right after the Rapture of the Church. When we leave this earth at the time that Jesus shouts to call us up to join Him in the "air", I Thessalonians 4:13-18, we stand before the Lord right at that moment, in the "twinkling of an eye", I Corinthians 15:52.

After departing earth we are "face to face with Jesus", in order that we can give an account of ourselves. It's at the "Judgment Seat" where we are judged to determine that our works are those which qualify as our "righteous acts", Revelation 19:8. These "righteous acts" make up our "wedding garment" for the "marriage ceremony" and the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb".

Also at the "Judgment Seat" we will be given "crowns" as rewards, crowns for bringing our bodies under subjection, I Corinthians 9:27; for being soul-winners, I Thessalonians 2:19; for not yielding to temptation, James 1:12; for helping young believers grow in the Lord, I Peter 5:1-14; and for eagerly looking for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, II Timothy 4:8.

We will then take these crowns to the throne, where Jesus is seated, and we cast them at the feet of Jesus in thanksgiving for what He has, is, and will do for us, Revelation 4:10.

Paul has a great question for each of us as we close our time in the Word for this devotional, why do we judge our brothers and sisters?

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to live today, Lord, knowing I will stand at the "Judgment Seat of Christ", to receive crowns to cast at Your feet in thanksgiving. Help me not to judge others, but to make sure I am not a stumbling block.
Friday, May 11, 2018

Romans 11:25

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
For further study - Romans 11:7-25

Romans 9, 10 and 11
 are very prophetic in their nature and they speak of Israel Past, Present and Prophetic. Romans 9 is "Israel past", Romans 10 is "Israel present" and Romans 11 is "Israel prophetic".

The phrase in our key verse, verse 25, is an accurate description of Israel today. They are a people that are blinded to the truths of the true Messiah, Jesus Christ.

This description of the Jewish people, however, sets the playing field even for those who are not Jewish to be a part of the end time scenario that will unfold leading up to the returning Messiah. By that, I mean that both Jews and Gentiles are able to come to Jesus Christ as the Messiah and their Saviour.

The phrase "fullness of the Gentiles" is referring to those Gentiles who have been saved since that first Gentile came to Christ, Cornelius, in Acts 10. God at that time set in motion the opportunity for all Gentiles to get saved.

Jewish people will have an opportunity to be saved today, because there are some Jews that will understand the gospel and get saved since it is only "blindness in part". However, the mass majority of the Jewish people are, by choice, blinded to the truth of the gospel.

The good news for the Gentile is that now the gospel message will be focused on them "until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in". That "fullness of the Gentiles" is a term that is defined as the time when the last Gentile gets saved to make it the "fullness".

When is the "fullness" completed, I do not know, only the Lord knows that number of Gentiles who will get saved. However, when it happens, the Lord will return and Jewish people, all of them, will hear the Gospel and have an opportunity to respond to the gospel and get saved.

Can Jews get saved before the "fullness"? The answer is yes. In fact, in our reading is the way to lead a Jew to Jesus Christ, verse 11. It tells us that we can provoke a Jew to turn to Jesus because he or she is jealous for what we have in Jesus.

That is the reason that God turned to the Gentiles, so He could use the Gentiles to provoke the Jews to jealousy and then bring them to Himself. In fact, leading Gentiles to the Lord actually helps hasten the return of the Lord, as well, 2 Peter 3:12.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Make my life in Christ that which provokes others to jealousy so that they might come to Jesus Christ and thus bring the Lord back sooner.
Thursday, May 10, 2018

Romans 10:12

For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: For the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
For further study - Romans 10:9-21

Romans 10 is a very important passage as it relates to someone coming to faith in Jesus Christ, and in fact, the passage also reveals how each of us develop faith. As you read through the extended reading I am sure you will recognize the verses that are used when leading someone to faith in Jesus Christ, as Lord and Saviour.

In verse 9 we see the gospel, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the power of God to all that believe, the Jews first, and also Gentiles, Romans 1:16, which is confirmation of verse 9.

Verse 13, states the phrase, which is used by those who want to be saved, inviting Christ into their heart. I can remember the day I quoted Romans 10:13 and asked Jesus into my heart. The verse is not only an invitation for Him to save us, but a guarantee that He will do so if we call upon Him. What a blessed promise.

By the way verse 12 says that this is the method of salvation, confessing and believing that Jesus rose from the dead, verse 9, and calling upon Him to save us, it is the method of salvation to the Greek, the Gentile and to the Jews.

Some today say that Jews do not have to come by the way of the cross and through Jesus Christ to be saved. That is heresy. All must come to salvation, only through Jesus Christ.

There is so much I could share with you from this passage, let me notice with you two more great truths.

Verse 17 says that we are able to obtain faith by the Word of God and our hearing of the Word of God. We can help others have "faith" by speaking the Word of God so that they hear it and attain "faith". We must go and speak the Word to those who need Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

Romans 10 
is a message that is technically focusing on the Jewish people, as is Romans 9 & 11.   Notice that we who come from a Gentile background, instead of a Jewish background, God has given us salvation so that we might be able to provoke Jews to jealousy, that they might want what we have in Jesus.

Even though God has a plan for the Jews in the future, we can be used of the Lord today to bring the message of salvation to His chosen people, the Jewish people. This work of bringing the "gospel message" to Jewish people must be done even as we watch the Lord preparing the Jews for His future program for them.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord, please use me to speak Your Word of salvation to those who need it, both Gentiles and Jews.
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Romans 9:13

As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
For further study - Romans 9:6-14

Tucked into the doctrinal teaching of Paul in this prophetic ninth chapter of Romans we find an example of the sovereignty of God as well as a very significant prophetic truth that will be played out in the end times.

Our key verse is a quote from an Old Testament prophet, the last of the prophets, Malachi. The quote is taken from the first chapter of Malachi where the Lord is speaking through "His messenger Malachi" to the Jews and the Palestinian people of today. I'll get into more on that in just a moment.
Malachi had told Jacob and the descendants of Jacob, the Jews, that he loved them, Malachi 1:2.

Then in verse 3, Malachi records the words of the Lord that He "hated" Esau. This is the quote that Paul wrote to the Romans and in particular the Jews in the church in Rome.

Remember, Romans 9, 10 & 11 are a message to the Jews about Israel past, Romans 9; Israel present, Romans 10; and Israel prophetic, Romans 11.

Verse 14 of our extended reading for today is an answer to anyone who might question the Lord as to whether He was unrighteous in His statement that He "hated" Esau. This word "hate" is not expressing an "emotional experience" of the Lord.

Reading verses 10-12 will help us to understand that this is an example of the "sovereignty" of God, not a "hatred" of Esau and his descendants. Notice in verse 11 how that before the twin boys of Isaac and Rebecca were even born, "neither having done any good or evil," that the Lord, through "sovereign selection," selected the younger twin to be born Jacob, to be served by the elder brother, Esau.

That was contrary to tradition. The eldest son was to receive the "birthright" and the "blessing" given to  him by his Father so that he would continue the heritage of his Father. God changed that and while the boys were still in their mother's womb God determined that the "elder" would serve the "younger".

This act of "hatred" had nothing to do with salvation, but "selection", selecting the elder son to serve the younger son. This is a significant selection by the Lord. It put in place a 4,000 year old conflict that will only be settled when Jesus returns to earth.

A study of a number of passages will reveal that Jacob, the second born, "selected seed," would become the nation of the Jewish people, Israel. The elder son, Esau, would be the father of the Edomites, the Palestinian people of today. (See my audio series, "Esau and the Palestinians".)

Ezekiel 35Malachi 1 and the little Old Testament book of Obadiah reveal that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict started over 4,000 years ago and will only be resolved when Jesus Christ returns to Jerusalem, Obadiah 15-18.

All the efforts of world leaders today will not completely resolve the Israeli-Palestinian (Jacob-Esau) conflict. Only Jesus can do that when He comes back.

By the way, the prophecies of this conflict between the Jews and the Palestinians have never been as intense as they are now, or at any other time in history. The prophetic resolution of the conflict could be very near to fulfillment.

The stage is set, all the actors are in place and the curtain is about to go up on the final act of this prophetic drama. Keep looking up, because before these prophecies are fulfilled, the Rapture happens and it could happen, today!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, please help me to recognize Your prophetic scenario, playing out in current events, and help me to live my Christian life in light of Your soon return to settle all conflicts.
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Romans 1:20

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
For further study - Romans 1:19-32

The extended portion of the reading for today is very difficult to read and then apply to our understanding of the Lord's way for us during these days.

The first two verses of our reading for today, including our key verse, reveal to us that all of "mankind" is without excuse, if they reject Jesus Christ. You might say, what about those who have never heard the gospel, the un-reached peoples of this world.

My first response has to be what Paul wrote to the Romans and, in fact, to all of us. All of humankind has the "light of conscience" and the "light of creation".

We are all born as sinners but until we sear our conscience we know right from wrong. Also, in God's creation we can see His glory made manifest, Psalm 19.

After these un-reached accept the "light of conscience" and the "light of creation" the Lord will get the message of salvation to them. By the way, this is a great passage for worldwide missions. There are people out there who need to hear, and how can they hear unless we go?

Verses 21-32 discuss a lifestyle that is prevalent today, "man leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their flesh, one toward another, men with men", verse 27. This is referring to a sexual relationship. The passage tells us that woman would do the same, "change the natural use into that which is against nature," verse 26.

Paul explains why this happens in verse 25. It's because mankind "changes the truth of God into a lie and worships and serves the creation more than the Creator." Because of these activities against God and against nature, He will give those who do so over to a "reprobate mind", verse 28.

Please notice also that Paul warns those who allow this to continue, they are actually sinning against God and nature, they are in a position of receiving judgment as well, verse 32.

Before we conclude our thoughts on this passage I am reminded of a passage of prophetic truth recorded by Dr Luke who wrote the record of the Lord's message, which refer to these days.

The passage in Luke, chapter 17:28-30, speaks of the coming of the Lord back to the earth. The passage describes a day when He comes that will be similar to the "days of Lot". Remember, Lot was one who lived in Sodom.

Remember, the sins of "Sodom", described in our extended reading for today, brought judgment upon the people and Sodom and Gomorrah, which were both destroyed, forever.

We must pay attention to society today, as we study God's prophetic word, ie: Luke's record of the words of Jesus. We must realize where we are in God's time. These days are as it was in the "days of Lot".

It seems that we are quickly approaching the day when Jesus will shout and call us to join Him in the heavenlies. Today could be that day.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord, help me to discern the times and to realize that your coming is very close. Help me to live my life in light of this knowledge.