Daily Archives: April 14, 2015

Meeting Christ In The Air

 

1 Thessalonians 4:16 – For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Revelation 3:10 – Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

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Matthew 24:29-31 – Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

Matthew 24:42 – Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

 

Inner Invincibility

From: Utmost.org

“Whom the Lord loves He chastens…” (Hebrews 12:6). How petty our complaining is! Our Lord begins to bring us to the point where we can have fellowship with Him, only to hear us moan and groan, saying, “Oh Lord, just let me be like other people!” Jesus is asking us to get beside Him and take one end of the yoke, so that we can pull together. That’s why Jesus says to us, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). Are you closely identified with the Lord Jesus like that? If so, you will thank God when you feel the pressure of His hand upon you.

“…to those who have no might He increases strength” (Isaiah 40:29). God comes and takes us out of our emotionalism, and then our complaining turns into a hymn of praise. The only way to know the strength of God is to take the yoke of Jesus upon us and to learn from Him.

“…the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Where do the saints get their joy? If we did not know some Christians well, we might think from just observing them that they have no burdens at all to bear. But we must lift the veil from our eyes. The fact that the peace, light, and joy of God is in them is proof that a burden is there as well. The burden that God places on us squeezes the grapes in our lives and produces the wine, but most of us see only the wine and not the burden. No power on earth or in hell can conquer the Spirit of God living within the human spirit; it creates an inner invincibility.

If your life is producing only a whine, instead of the wine, then ruthlessly kick it out. It is definitely a crime for a Christian to be weak in God’s strength.

 

No Hassles At The Border

From: Getmorestrength.org

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20

American citizens flying to and from neighboring nations like Canada and Mexico used to get by with carrying a birth certificate or, in some cases, just a driver’s license as a travel document. Not anymore! Now we’re all required to carry a valid US passport. Without that document, you don’t get out, and you don’t get back in.

You know, a passport is an interesting little book. In the opportunities I have had to travel internationally, I’ve noticed that your passport and the visa stamped inside dramatically impacts your arrival experience. If you’re arriving in your home country, your passport usually enables you to bypass the long lines of visitors. Instead of a series of questions when I land back in the States, I’ve often been greeted by a hearty “Welcome home!” from the immigration officials.

But that’s not always true when you’re away from home. A friend of mine, Dr. Erwin Lutzer, the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago, has often traveled in countries closed to the gospel. He has some very interesting stories of how, upon arrival in these countries, he is usually hassled and questioned extensively because the guards think he’s an agent for the CIA or, better yet, a Bible smuggler! Well, after an excruciating experience at a border crossing, he said to me, “You know what I love, Joe? I love the thought that when I get to heaven . . . with Jesus on my passport, there will be no hassles at the border.”

Wow, what a great thought! Over and over again in Scripture we are reminded that, although this world is our temporary home, we’re not to get too comfortable here. Our true home is in heaven where our citizenship resides. You may be hassled at work, with friends, or on a trip to a third-world country, but when you get home, Jesus guarantees no hassle at the border!

In Paul’s day, citizenship was a huge deal. In the Roman Empire there were major privileges linked with being a Roman citizen. Things like land ownership, access to the judicial system, and protection from certain punishments all depended on your status as a citizen. Paul, as a Roman citizen, occasionally tapped into these advantages for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom, but he certainly didn’t depend on them. His encounter with Christ had changed everything, to the extent that he said, “Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:7). He knew that his new status as a citizen of heaven carried far greater joys and privileges!

You and I are invited to that same privilege. We can have the assurance that delights both Paul and my friend Dr. Lutzer. We can look forward to being welcomed into our true home, based not on our attempt at good works or our earthly accomplishments, but based on a spiritual passport stamped with the finished work of Jesus Christ.

So I guess it begs the question, doesn’t it? Is Jesus on your passport? Do you know that for sure? He died for you to guarantee a smooth entry into heaven. In fact, He’s now preparing a place for you, the Bible says, and will one day come back to check passports and take you home with Him (John 14:1-4). And here’s the good news: When you get there, with Jesus on your passport there will be no hassles at the border. Just a hearty, “Welcome home!”

 

Meeting The Lord In The Air

From: Streams in the Desert

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16-17).

It was “very early in the morning” while “it was yet dark,” that Jesus rose from the dead. Not the sun, but only the morning-star shone upon His opening tomb. The shadows had not fled, the citizens of Jerusalem had not awaked. It was still night–the hour of sleep and darkness, when He arose. Nor did his rising break the slumbers of the city. So shall it be “very early in the morning while it is yet dark,” and when nought but the morning-star is shining, that Christ’s body, the Church, shall arise. Like Him, His saints shall awake when the children of the night and darkness are still sleeping their sleep of death. In their arising they disturb no one. The world hears not the voice that summons them. As Jesus laid them quietly to rest, each in his own still tomb, like children in the arms of their mother; so, as quietly, as gently, shall He awake them when the hour arrives. To them come the quickening words, “Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust” (Isa. 26:19). Into their tomb the earliest ray of glory finds its way. They drink in the first gleams of morning, while as yet the eastern clouds give but the faintest signs of the uprising. Its genial fragrance, its soothing stillness, its bracing freshness, its sweet loneliness, its quiet purity, all so solemn and yet so full of hope, these are theirs.
Oh, the contrast between these things and the dark night through which they have passed! Oh, the contrast between these things and the grave from which they have sprung! And as they shake off the encumbering turf, flinging mortality aside, and rising, in glorified bodies, to meet their Lord in the air, they are lighted and guided upward, along the untrodden pathway, by the beams of that Star of the morning, which, like the Star of Bethlehem, conducts them to the presence of the King. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
–Horatius Bonar
“While the hosts cry Hosanna, from heaven descending,
With glorified saints and the angels attending,
With grace on His brow, like, a halo of glory,
Will Jesus receive His own.”
“Even so, come quickly.”
A soldier said, “When I die do not sound taps over my grave. Instead, play reveille, the morning call, the summons to arise.”

The last census

From: Charles Spurgeon, Biblegateway

‘The Lord shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there.’ Psalm 87:6

Suggested Further Reading: Revelation 20:11–15

The matters with which the census shall have to do will be decisive. Perhaps, my hearer, your name could not be written today among the regenerate, but there is hope yet, and we trust by God’s grace before you leave here you may have a portion among the sanctified. If we could take today the number of God’s people, at present converted, I thank God that before another hour it would be imperfect, for there would have been others added to the visibly called of God. But the last census shall be decisive. To its number none shall be added; from its multitude none subtracted. Once let that be taken, and the angel shall cry in heaven, ‘He that is holy, let him be holy still;’ and his voice shall reverberate to hell, but other words shall he sound there, ‘He which is filthy, let him be filthy still.’ That shall be decisive, the last polling of the people, the last counting of the jewels and casting away of the counterfeits, the last bringing in of the sheep and banishment of the goats. This makes it all-important that you and I should know today whether, when the Lord ‘writeth up the people,’ it shall be said ‘that this man was born there.’ Oh that we were wise to look into futurities! We are so short sighted we see so small a distance. We only see time and its trickeries, its paint, its gilt. Oh that we were wise that we understood this, that we would remember our latter end! So, come the census day when it may, we may each have our name written beneath our Lord the Lamb in some humble place among the chosen of the Lord our God.

For meditation: While voting at an election may be voluntary, registration before a certain date at a census is compulsory and failure to do so is a punishable offence. God has commanded all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30) and trust in the Saviour. Failure to register and be found in Christ (Philippians 3:9) will spell disaster (Revelation 20:15).

N.B. This sermon followed the taking of the 1861 census during the previous week.

Sermon no. 382
14 April (1861)

 

Confidence Builder (Psalm 94:14)

It is heartbreaking to see your child get rejected. Little children are innocent and trusting. They believe the best and can’t imagine that someone would not want them around.

Life has a way of teaching some hard lessons in this area. That’s why it will be critical to help your child know they won’t always be welcomed and will face rejection at some point in their life.

It’s also important they understand it might be the result of something they did, but more likely it will be another person who is causing that action. This will be a delicate conversation. Some children will handle it easily, but for others it could jumpstart low self-esteem issues. The ultimate goal is for your child to be secure in who they are, and in those moments when they sense rejection, not to take it personally. That is accomplished by reminding them to put their confidence in who they are in Christ.

Parenting Principle

Remember, if you are rejected, it is not by God.

Points to Ponder

  • When have you felt a time of begrudging and how did you handle it?
  • How can you continue to help your children prepare for these inevitable moments of rejection that are a natural part of life?
  • When have you ever made others feel like you were rejecting them?

Taken from Once a Day Nurturing Great Kids

©2014 HarperCollins Christian Publishing