Tag Archives: christian
Some years ago I was inspired to write a little story about the Rapture of God’s Church. Over the years, I have re-written it for different occasions. This past spring, I put together the Ladies Retreat Booklet for our church, and each of us leaders added our own writing to it. I reworked my “Imagining the Rapture” writing for this purpose. I was recently cleaning up some junk on my computer and came across this, and I thought I would share it for fun.
First I would like to explain why we Christians call being “caught up in the air with Jesus” our Rapture. Some like to point out that you won’t find the word “rapture” in the Bible. But that depends on what kind of Bible you have. If you have a Latin translation, then you have the word rapturous. And the word rapturous comes from the Greek word harpazō, which is mentioned 13 times in the New Testament. In 1 Thessalonians 4, the term, “caught up” is used. It is translated from that Greek word harpazō, which means to take forcibly, to snatch, or to catch up. And that is what the Rapture will be.
“Imagining the Rapture”
God’s Word says (1 Cor. 15:52) that it will happen “in the twinkling of an eye.” All true believers alive at that time will instantly transform and transport to Heaven! They say that a twinkle is faster than a sparkle, but who knows how fast a sparkle is? Will I have time to giggle at the tickle in my stomach? Will I feel a whoosh of air on my skin as I fly heavenward? Maybe my cheeks will be kissed by dew as I pass through the clouds. Perhaps a twinkle is too quick to feel anything, but what fun it is to ponder.
Chances are, I will not give thought when my earthly clothes drop off my body, nor hear my jewelry jingle to the floor. Shamefully, I cannot help but wonder at the idea of those left behind wearing my jewelry and touching my stuff. Of course, I will not care about that as I travel homeward, will I.
Will I be able to control (or will I even want to) the flood of joyful tears streaming down my face, when I look into the eyes of my Jesus for the first time? I am overwhelmed at the expectation of delight when I am united with loved ones who died so long ago that I have forgotten what they looked like. And, oh, the ecstasy of seeing results of His seeds that I helped plant or water, but never knew the outcome in this life.
Although it is difficult to imagine what I might feel during The Rapture, I find it a most joyous pastime. I dread the possibility that I may die before this blessed event occurs. It is my heart’s desire to zip-line to Heaven in a twinkling of an eye when I leave this world.
I Thessalonians 4:17, 18 – “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
- What Are You Looking For (lynleahz.com)
- Prelude to the Rapture, “Now in this present Age” (ptl2010.com)
- Rapture (Sermon Note) Part 2 (bummyla.wordpress.com)
- What Are You Looking For (raptureimminent.wordpress.com)
Wrong Way No. 4 – Decide the Limits to Your Own Endurance
God’s Way – Know that God sets and knows your limits – 1 Corinthians 10:13: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Okay, so I am wondering, “What does deciding the limits to my own endurance have to do with being tempted to sin?” I looked up the usage of the word temptation in this verse in my Strong’s Concordance to make sure I am understanding its meaning correctly. It is derived from the Greek word peirasmos, which means “of trial definitely designed to lead to wrong doing.” It is not the temptation that is sin, it becomes sin when the temptation is put into action.
I believe that God is showing me something very specific here. I know that I have bad days and good days, and just when I think maybe I am doing better, boom! Down I go again feeling the anger at what my Momma had to go through, how she fought so hard, and she died anyway. Although I would never do anything to take my own life, I must admit to feelings that have me crying out to God some times, “Please just take me Home!”
These kinds of thoughts are of satan and they are a temptation to take things into my own hands instead of trusting my Heavenly Father. He truly does know me better than I know myself, and He is the only one who knows how long this season needs to last to bring me nearer to Him. I take comfort in His promise – He will not suffer me to be tempted above that which I am able, and He will also make a way for me to escape the temptation so that I am able to bear it.
Here again is where our brothers and sisters in Christ can be a tremendous help. It might be a Christian (sister for women and brother for men) whom we know we can trust with utmost confidence. We may just need someone to show us the love of Jesus by holding us while we cry, share encouraging words or sing praising hymns to guide our thoughts back to Jesus. I am learning that when I do not ‘feel’ like praising, that is the best time to push through the pain and do it anyway. It becomes easier as I press on.
Depending upon the type of suffering we are enduring and how intense it becomes, some of us may need the aid of a counselor. If that be the case, I strongly suggest a strong, Biblical-based Christian counselor such as your church pastor or assistant pastor. The world’s psychology tends to keep us stuck in our pain, rather than healing us. Too many spend years, and in some cases most of their lives trying to get better in a psychiatrist’s office. If it takes years, then it is not working. God is the only one who can truly heal our crushed spirits.
I like how Nancy Missler puts it in her study “Be Ye Transformed” Understanding God’s Truth. “One of the reasons why I believe psychology can be so dangerous is that it’s really another gospel. It leads us to the wrong goal–being conformed to the world’s image, and not Christ’s. Psychology can be dangerous because it causes confusion and it really promotes a lie. It promises to heal us, to remove strongholds from us, to help our relationships, and to help us progress in our Christian walk. The truth is, however, psychology doesn’t heal us, it doesn’t remove strongholds, but often strengthens them, it doesn’t improve relationships, and it doesn’t help us in our Christian walk. In fact, sometimes we even end up even worse off than when we started.” She then quotes from letters she received that actually validate her words.
- “What Tested Faith Looks Like” (James 1:2-4) (shawnethomas.com)
- God’s Care For Us In Our Suffering (unknownwellknown.wordpress.com)
- Why Suffering? (christianitymatters.com)
Over the past several decades we have watched as good, upstanding leaders in our churches have been destroyed by Satan’s strongholds in their lives. It appears to me that many of today’s Christians do not realize the importance of spiritual warfare, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12) We must take a stand against it and carry out the teachings from God’s Word, for without Jesus and His power we are nothing. Left to our own devices, we shall perish, and this world’s time is very short.
I am nearly finished with a study that I feel strongly God led me to – the book, “Reflections of His Image” by Nancy Missler. In her book she shares an example of Spiritual Warfare Prayer that, if we are wise, need to pray literally every day. It is with heartfelt desire that I pass this on to whomever God leads it to. Do you wish to see God work in your lives? Do you want His Shield of Protection?
Abba Father, King of the Universe, in the Name of Jesus, I ask you to search out and expose all my enemies and the tactics they employ against me.
Open my eyes that I may see and understand the battle. Give me wisdom and understanding that I may lean on Your ways and not my own.
Reveal any root of bitterness, unforgiveness or iniquity that I may repent before you and take back any legal right given to the enemy. Bind the enemy that is round about me and loose every stronghold that has been established in my life. In the Name of Jesus and through His authority I say to my enemies, “the Lord rebuke you for He is my defender and the lifter of my soul. I take my stand against you, your temptations, deceptions and snares in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Father, Creator of all things, let me not take my stand alone, but fill me with Your Spirit. Empower me to stand against the enemy and cover me with the blood of Jesus. Release Your mighty angels to defend me. I trust in You, Jehovah-Jireh, my provider, and I will not be disappointed, for You are a shield about me.”
- About spiritual warfare and the fear of the Lord (bjorkbloggen.wordpress.com)
- Spiritual Warfare (apmadriaga.wordpress.com)
Luke 7:11-17 “11. And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him,and much people. 12. Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. 14. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. 15. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. 16. And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. 17. And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judea, and throughout all the region round about.”
As we see in the passage, there was “much people” with this widow, making much ado, grieving the death of her son. Though it is human to grieve for those who pass, I should think it would have been more of a solace to the widow if someone had stepped up and offered to take her in or give her aid. Instead, the crowd of mourners would go home, having accomplished their all-important ritual, and she would be left destitute and alone.
Back in those days there was no such thing as Medicare or Social Security. Women, especially elderly, were dependent upon their husbands and their sons to take care of them. Not only did Jesus care that this woman was in pain over her loss, I believe that He felt her pain. He also knew that her situation was dire, and that it required drastic measures. She had lost her husband, and now her last avenue of support through her only son. She was most probably past the age of childbearing and would never marry again. I would guess that the widow found Jesus’ words, “Weep not,” much more consoling than the raucous commotion that the crowd was causing. He knew that He was her only hope, and “he had compassion” on her and immediately brought her son back to life.
The Jews had many traditions they were bound to and their display at funerals was an important one to them. The family of the dead person followed the body as it made its way through town. There were hired mourners who cried out drawing bystanders to the procession as well. The family then continued their mourning for 30 days. One thing the scribes and pharisees hated about Jesus’ ministry was that he chastised them for their many traditions and laws that were too hard on the people. Instead of seeking to know God and have a relationship with Him, they made stringent rules that only burdened the people. Jesus taught that those rules and traditions will not secure our home in eternity. He is the only Way.
Jesus also never missed an opportunity to glorify His heavenly Father. He used this event to illustrate salvation to a world that is lost in sin, just as the widow’s son was dead. We, like the dead, can do nothing to help ourselves. But God had compassion on us, while we were yet sinners, and sent His only Son to raise us to newness of life in Him. As the woman’s son could not earn a second chance at life, so we cannot earn our new life in Christ. We can, however, accept God’s gift of eternal life, praise Him for it, and live our lives to do His will.
- Blessed Are Those Who Mourn (jackblackburndotorg.wordpress.com)
Jewish culture in the first century treated women as second-class citizens. They had very few of the rights that men of that time had. Jesus respected all people equally, but he showed a special care for women. In this category, I will be sharing from God’s word about some of the encounters Jesus had with different women during his ministry on earth.
This first entry will be of the Samaritan woman that Jesus met at the well. You will find this story in John 4:1-26. It begins with Jesus leaving Judaea and traveling to Galilee because of mounting opposition from the Pharisees. Most Jews of that era hated the Samaritans and avoided them like the plague. Jesus had no use for such cultural limitations, and since the route through Samaria was the fastest one to Galilee, that is the way he chose. I like to think that our Father in Heaven told him something like this, “Hey, Son, since you are going that way, there is this Samaritan woman who needs to know that we love her, and we have a cure for her sin.”
Before, I continue with the story, we must first understand the history behind the Jewish hatred of the Samaritans. Samaria was the capital of the Northern Kingdom before it was conquered by the Assyrians. When they invaded the Northern Kingdom, many Jews were exiled to Assyria and foreigners from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim were brought in to Samaria to settle the land and keep the peace (2 Kings 17:24). Most Jews who remained in Samaria married the foreigners and they became a mixed race.
The Jews from the Southern Kingdom considered themselves to be a pure race of Jews. They became very prejudiced against the spoiled blood line of Samaritans because they felt that they had betrayed their people and their nation by mixing their Jewish blood with foreign blood.
Now at Jacob’s well in Samaria: Jesus was weary from his journey “and it was about the sixth hour” or noon. Usually the women went to fetch water from the well in the morning and in the evening. This woman came at noon to steer clear of others, probably because of her poor reputation.
John 4:7-9 “There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9. Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.”
This woman must have been quite taken aback by Jesus’ (a Jew) request for a drink of water. First of all, she was a woman. Second, she was a hated Samaritan woman who was known to be living in sin, and she was in a public place. No respectable Jewish man would talk to a woman under such circumstances. But Jesus did.
Verse 10 “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”
I believe that Jesus knew full-well who this woman was and what her life was like. I can imagine him resting near the well, watching the woman looking this way and that as she approached with her water pot. His heart must have ached knowing the pain her sin was causing her. He offered her “living water.”
The Old Testament compares thirsting after God to one who thirsts for water (Psalm 42:1; Isaiah 55:1; Jeremiah 2:13; Zechariah 13:1). God is also called the fountain of life in Psalm 36:9, and the fountain of living waters in Jeremiah 17:13. When he told the woman that he could give her living water, he was laying claim to being the Messiah, the only one who could offer this gift that gratifies the very soul.
He also knew that if she accepted his gift, her life would change drastically for the better. He does not wish for any one to hurt or suffer, and a life of sin is very damaging to the human spirit.
Verses 11-15 “The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12. Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13. Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14. but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.”
No one had ever talked with her about her spiritual hunger and thirst before. She misunderstood and thought that Jesus could give her an endless supply of water so that she would never have to return to the well. He was teaching her that our souls hunger for spiritual food and water, just as our bodies do for physical food and water.
Verses 16-20 “Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18. for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19. The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”
The woman became uncomfortable when Jesus hit her sin square on the head. She was quick to shift the focus off herself by changing the subject. It was a smokescreen to keep Jesus from her deepest need. It happens to all of us at one time or another, especially when we are under conviction about something. Jesus did not let her get away with that tactic. He brought up the very important point that where we worship is not as important as our attitudes when we worship.
Verses 21-26 “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.”
Wow! Can’t you just hear the authority ring from that passage? When Jesus referenced “salvation is of the Jews” he was saying that only through the Jewish Messiah would the world be saved. Jesus knew that the woman was familiar with the passages in the Old Testament that foretold of the coming Messiah. He finally got through to her.
As we read on we see that the woman was so excited to share what she had found that she left her water pot at the well and told people to “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (Verse 29) Then in verse 39. “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.”
As we can see, Jesus spent not a little time with this woman because he cared about her. I know from experience that it does not matter how sinful we are, we are worth Jesus’ time. He stands waiting with open arms to give to each of us “living water.”
- The Woman at the Well – Part 1 (inspirationalchristiansfortoday.com)
- Jesus Talks With A Samaritan Woman (trinityspeaks.wordpress.com)
- Living water (reclaimingourchildren.typepad.com)
How we ladies do love a good love story, so I want to remind all of you lovely women, as I am being reminded, of God’s great love for us. There is no better place to find how He loves us than in His word. I cannot think of a better, more loving motivator to being a Godly woman than understanding, to what extent that we can, the pure love of our Heavenly Father.
Psalm 139:17, 18 “17. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18. If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.”
We are the “beloved of God, called to be saints” Romans 1:7. As sinners saved by grace, God considers us His beloved children. I rather like being a princess.
He lovingly protects us – Psalm 91:4 “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”
His love completes us – Colossians 2:10 “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”
He makes us forever free from sin’s power – Romans 6:14 “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
His love is eternal! I Peter 1:3-5 “3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4. to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5. who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Jesus considers us a precious gift from His Father. John 10:29 “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”
He has brought us to life – Ephesians 2:1 “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” 2:4-7 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5. even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) 6. and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7. that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
NEED I WRITE MORE!? I think this is enough love for now. How wonderfully overwhelming to be reminded of it. Thank you, Lord. I love you too.