Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Is It OK To Be Gay and Christian?

Charismatic pastor Jim Swilley’s announcement that he is gay
opened the door wider for a subtle delusion. Don’t believe it.

Many people were shell-shocked last week when Atlanta pastor
Jim Swilley stood in front of his congregation, Church in the Now in
Conyers, Ga., and announced that he is gay. The 52-year-old
minister was abruptly removed from his position in the International
Communion of Charismatic Churches—a network in which he
served as an overseer. Some of Swilley’s members left his church,
others stayed, and countless others are now scratching their heads.

We Americans are lost in a moral fog. Two major Protestant
denominations (the Episcopal Church USA and the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America) have voted to ordain gay clergy.
Meanwhile, gayness is celebrated in our media, and anyone who
refuses to bow to this idol is painted as intolerant and homophobic.

Christians who still believe homosexuality is incompatible with
biblical faith feel painted into a corner. If we defend Christian
morality, and even if we speak with compassion to those who may
struggle with same-sex attraction, we are accused of hate speech
or branded as judgmental. So we tiptoe through the minefield of
political correctness—and keep our mouths shut.

Sorry, but timidity on this issue is not acceptable. The sins we
avoid addressing from the pulpit are the sins that will thrive
unchallenged in our culture. We must develop some backbone
and speak the truth in love. Here are four truths that should factor
into any discussion on this topic:

1. Everyone is born with issues. King David wrote: “Behold, I was
brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me”
(Psalm 51:5, NASB). David acknowledged that he had an inborn
sin nature. This is true for all of us!

Many “gay Christian” advocates insist that some people are born
homosexuals and therefore they have no hope of altering their
orientation. But this is a lame argument since we all are born with
a propensity toward certain sins. This is the human condition: “For
all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Just
because you are born with an inclination toward adultery,
alcoholism, shoplifting or pride doesn’t mean you have to stay that way.

2. Christ offers forgiveness and sexual healing. The more strident
voices in the gay community hate when Christians speak about
homosexuals being healed or reformed. They insist that if you are
gay, you must stay that way. They choose to ignore the fact that
thousands of people have left homosexuality after coming to faith in Christ.

My friend Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, came
out of the gay lifestyle many years ago and now has a great
marriage with his wife, Leslie, plus two beautiful children. The
ministry he leads has helped countless people—including many
Christian “strugglers”—find emotional freedom. Some of them
experienced same-sex feelings from childhood; others developed
these feelings because they were sexually molested or because
of dysfunction in their families.

Whatever the cause of sexual brokenness, the gospel has always
provided the solution. It was true for people in the Corinthian
church, to whom Paul wrote: “Do not be deceived; neither
fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor
homosexuals … will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some
of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you
were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit
of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9-11, emphasis added).

3. Discipleship requires self-denial. In his announcement to his
church last week, Jim Swilley said he decided to come out as gay
because he was tired of pretending. I’ve talked with others who
told me they felt they were being “dishonest” by ignoring their gay
feelings. They said they felt free when they accepted “who they
really are” and got involved in gay relationships.

For a Christian, that’s a cop out. The essence of our walk with
Christ involves denial. Jesus said: “If anyone wishes to come after
Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me”
(Matt. 16:24). Jesus was not asking us to pretend we don’t have
problems—He calls us to bring all of those problems into His light
through repentance. But the Holy Spirit gives us the power to
deny sinful desires. That quality of self-control is a fruit of the
Spirit (see Gal. 6:22-23).

4. Homosexuality is not a protected category of sin. Many “gay
Christian” advocates insist that if you are gay, then it’s fine to go
out and have all the sex you want. They ignore biblical
commandments against homosexuality (usually by saying that
Old Testament law doesn’t apply today); meanwhile they advocate
gay marriage even though most gay men are rarely monogamous.
The message is clear: If you have same-sex desires, just go
ahead and indulge because that’s how you were created.

This is what the Bible calls licentiousness—which means “lacking
legal or moral restraints, especially sexual restraints; disregarding
rules.” Actually, the Bible lumps homosexuality in with every other
form of sexual sin—and says God will punish those who engage in

Regardless of how loudly the world trumpets its hedonistic agenda—
and no matter how many backslidden preachers dance to the tune—
God has the final say on this matter.

J.Lee Grady

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Competing Against Other Christian’s is it Wise?

In our world today, competition is the standard by all are measured and assessed by. Competition is as old as time and goes full force in every generation past and present. Some will argue if it wasn’t for competition we would suffer from aggression and be overrun by tyrants, hustlers, and thieves. Some will say that by competition we have fair prices on commodities such as grains, cotton, and tobacco products. Some say it keeps the auto dealers, grocery markets, and shopping malls honest and affordable. All these reasons might be true, but how does in come into play when dealing with Christian’s? The Apostle Paul has somewhat to say about this.

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” 1Corinthians 3:1-3 KJV

Yes, for a Christian to compete with anyone is a carnal, worldly nature that brings out the primitive needs to be better than someone else. Sometimes, the competitive edge gets so sharp the other person, business corporations, church functions, and or charitable organizations, gets a black eye and a bloody nose! Truthfully, competition encourages aggression, pride, loftiness, superiority over others and numerous other selfish and sinful traits that are a disgrace to the Christian. It is like this. When we are saved by the grace of God, we are set apart from this world and God condemns when we continue to act like this world. It is the LORD’s command that we act like God would act and conduct ourselves as a Holy and peculiar people, set apart from this world.

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” 1Peter 1:13-23KJV

So, now the Christian is in a dilemma, a catch twenty-two sort of dilemma. Just who is the Christian going to serve now, the one who saved him or her by grace, or the lusts of the world? Are they going to serve God or mammon, mammon being wealth, power, or fame? If there is one thing I have come to dislike, it is this notion to compete against other Christian’s. It doesn’t matter if it is at home, work or in the church, competition doesn’t belong anywhere in a Christian’s life. Let me ask these questions; how can you compete against another that is so different from you? Wouldn’t you have to be classed? Aren’t we all different in some way, fashion, or form? Would it be really be fair to others to compete against them? Would you be willing to lose to another Christian? I have read and talked too many will tell you a little competition is a good thing but how so? Are we out to demoralize our opponent? Are we out to crush our peer and make them feel inferior? Would you try to compete with a person who might be disabled? What if that disabled person had a great mind but a weak body, would you compete with them on an intellectual basis? Would you really run the risk of injuring the stability of another just to gain advantage of them? The point I’m trying to make is that this thing of competition is of the world and of the flesh. The whole point of competition, no matter how friendly and cordial, is to gain an upper hand against anyone who might be a potential contender. Pastors contented with other pastors trying to see who can build up the larger church, but to what end? The results are that the message is lost and the flesh gets glorified.

The verse of Scripture that the proponents of competition use is one of the Apostle Paul.

“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. Philippians 3:12-17 KJV

What Christian’s miss in this Scripture and don’t understand is that we are to measure ourselves against God not other Christian’s. If we measure ourselves against each other we become high-minded, arrogant, prideful and hurtful to others. But if we measure ourselves against our LORD Jesus, we see ourselves impotent, weak, needy, and thankful of His blessings.

I am reminded of my early school days when we as young boys where taught by all our elders of the home, church, and school, to be the best at what you do and make sure you do it better than anyone else. They encouraged it and sometimes demanded it on the ball field, in the classroom, at the lunch table, or anywhere we are, to always put your best into what you do. Anything less is unacceptable. The teachers would put us against each other in spelling-bees, solving arithmetic problems, and writing skills. The coaches would then take us all and pit us against each other on the ball fields to work off our aggression and anger we had built up competing in the classroom. We soon found ourselves in competition against everyone I knew! I grew up as a week little boy who was competing with stronger and wiser boys of my age. I found out that I spent most of my life trying to be better than my peers and would do things to gain the upper edge on them. I found myself in such hot competition that one day, a person who I considered my best friend, walked off the field and never looked at me again. As I stood there alone I knew I had gone too far and I was the loser of a good friend. I live with that regret to this very day. From that day forward I have cursed all competition and abhor it so much that I find it detestable when I see in it in the local church assembly. Today, we witness the best singers, the best piano players, the best preachers, the best choir performances and the best bus captains packing in all those little children to gain an edge on their rivals. Yes, the church is a stark reminder of the corporate world and acts just like any corporation would act in competition! Competitive people have encouraged competitiveness in the church by advancing those who will compete. Boys are encouraged to be better that other boys in the ball games in the church schools and girls are encouraged to be better than other girls when it comes to choosing their future mate by doing what they have to do to get the strongest boys interest. In short, the church has become engulfed with the competition of the world. In fact, the church is competing with world corporations such as the Red Cross for donations and sanctions of monetary value such as tax deferments.

It is evident that the church and Christian’s have lost their zeal to fashion themselves like Christ Jesus, and humble themselves before God and others. The stumbling block to the Christian is to humble ourselves, would mean that we are weak and would be perceived as inferior to the world. I have actually heard Christian’s say that they are proud to be called a Christian, humble and proud of it. Doesn’t this send a signal to the world that we are going to compete? Nobody here wants to present themselves as inferior and weak, do they? Lest we forget, Christian’s are looking at this world with blinders on and have lost sight of the world to come where if we don’t learn to humble ourselves to each other we will be faced with reprimand from God until we adhere to His will for our lives.

“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” 1Peter 5:5KJV

It is a very hard thing for a Christian to remember they are not of this world but of the world to come, the Kingdom of God within us. I suggest that we keep our eyes on the LORD Jesus Christ and fashion ourselves as He would. If we follow our leader I believe we will find there is no room for competition amongst the brethren.

“Let not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” Romans 14:16-19KJV

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Solomon Remembers the Terrible Years

Lesson Four
Study Reference Ecclesiastes Chapter Four

“So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter. Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive. Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 4:1-3

I cannot ever remember a time when there was not a war going on somewhere in this world. I was born in a time when everyone just knew we could never afford another war like WWII. This had to be the end of all war. But it wasn’t. Solomon remembered the years of war his father fought and was brought up in terrible times also. Like myself, Solomon never was called to bare the sword, nevertheless, the ripple effect found its way into Solomon’s life, and my life. I have come to the realization that there will always be someone who oppresses the innocents and weak. They are the ones with an alter ego or an idealist with radical views always trying to push their agenda on the unaware to the extent that it becomes a matter of life and death. History is repeating itself again and again and so it is today.

I was surprised to read Solomon praising the dead. I thought that to be an odd thing to do, but I began to understand its meaning.

To quote Stanley Baldwin; “War would end if the dead could return.”

Or, to quote my favorite, Plato; “It is only the dead who have seen the end of war”.

Although I enjoy quoting Plato, I would have to agree more readily with Stanley Baldwin.
My wife and I spend some of our leisure time walking through graveyards collecting names and dates from the headstones for our ongoing genealogy research. I have always known a secret in my heart as I wonder around grave after grave that I will tell you now. I have realized that the dead are time capsules of hidden knowledge, wisdom, and have secrets hidden away and the answers of life we only guess at. I have found myself wondering as I stand over a grave, what was it that this person took with them that could have helped others know the truth about things in their life? People take a lot of things to the grave, things that should have been known, things that could have possibly changed history. Solomon knew this to be true also because this is what he was saying. But Solomon goes one step further.

Solomon begins to praise those who have not been born yet. He praises them because they know no heartache, they know no pain, they know not what it is like to worry and fret over things that threaten change to our lives. Yes, it is the absence of sweet bliss, not knowing about anything, that upsets us. Only that person that is taken before they live life dies in peace. Maybe, this is why God allows abortion to prevail in our society today? He could put an end to it, but doesn’t. God will put an end to war, which is a fact.

I can say assuredly, I love the life that I have and enjoy its simple pleasures. I do have feelings of sadness for the dead and for those who have never lived a life here. But, in the end, the truth will all come out and be known amongst all living things. Almighty God will see to that. But those who die without Jehovah God and Lord Jesus in their lives are those who will fare worse off than all the rest. To have lived life without Jehovah God is the worst possible thing that could have ever happened to them according to God’s Word.

For example, the unborn and aborted children will be right back where they came from God in an instant. Can you imagine with me for an instant what it would be like to have a precious gift thrown back at your face? It happens to God everyday with the aborted children that are run through the social killing program. That is a truth from God’s own word. But, for those who live life knowing and experiencing God, live joyful and happy lives despite the hardships and pain. The reality of it is, their bodies go back to the earth from whence it came, and their soul, bought and paid for by the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, is ushered into Glory, their eternal home with Jesus. From now on, where Jesus goes, they follow.

For those who live life and experience it without Christ Jesus and the Holy Father, Jehovah God, it would have been better if they had never been born. As Solomon would have to agree, this is also vanity and vexation of the spirit.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Solomon's Analysis of Time Management

Lesson Three
Study Reference Ecclesiastes Chapter Three

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

I believe that this Scripture is one of the most quoted passages of the Bible in the world today. It introduces thought that is provoking but comprehensive, almost to the point of futility. Solomon injects the idea that life could be useless because of mankind’s finite nature. He also suggests that life has a cycle to which we are all bound by. I look forward to the cooler months of the year and can remember the ones were there was an abundance of snow and ice. My wife and I love walking down the beach in October and November with the cool salt mist in the air. I enjoy tasting the salt on my lips and the wind whipping up the foam from the incoming waves. But the thing I enjoy the most about winter is how the color of the sea changes from light aqua colored blue-green in the summer when the warmer waters of the gulf stream has moved inshore, to the colder waters, deep dark greenish black of the winter. When I observe the greenish black sea I can imagine the recesses of our minds to things we hardly ever observe about the passing of time in relation to ourselves.

An example of this can be found in the story of the Bible concerning the woman with the issue of blood that plagued her for 12 years of her life.

“And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. And Jesus said, who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, who touched me? And Jesus said, somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” Luke 8:43-48

As Solomon has declared, there is a time,and a season, but most importantly, a reason for everything under the Sun. It is hard to comprehend with us that certain things just take time and have to run their course in life. We live in the day of instant gratification where almost everything is produced in microwave speed. When we are dealing with God and His time table in which Solomon is referring too, we are thrown into granny gear and frustrated beyond belief. I think the only time we enjoy God’s time table is when we are planning to go on vacation. Then we complain about how fast the time went by! God’s time table is something to reckon with and many people have to have many thing added to their lives to help them pass the time more quickly. This is one of the reasons people are so busy in their daily lives. They add busy work to themselves so the time will seem to pass more easily.

I feel that the woman with the issue of blood wished probably prayed many times for the remedy to come along just to get passed this unanswered health problem. Many times we are impatient and desire to cut the chase with a cure all medicine or surgery that doctors most often prescribe. But have we ever asked God what is the real purpose for the illness to begin with? Is our illness just a fluke? Is it just by unfortunate circumstances that we have this incurable disease? Can my illness serve a real purpose for others? As Solomon has pointed out, there is a reason for everything but in our unreasonable condition we tend to leave out or ignore all together the Creator of all living things.

Rest assured, God had a real and intended purpose for this woman’s illness despite the suffering and anguish incurred along that twelve year span. First thing I would like to point out is that I feel God intended for her to exhaust all her resources. The numerous doctors’ visits had to be exhausted then the barrage of specialist’s consultations, and only to mention the expensive medicines that each and everyone prescribed. How long did it take her to do this? The Bible says, twelve years. There is one thing that God wants us to learn from this passage of Scripture and that is that everything is either by design (creation) or allowed, including good and evil. We can get a better understanding of this by studying the Book of Job. We must realize, God has designated everything to a specific purpose, regardless whether we understand it or not. This is a hard thing to comprehend for some of us, especially those of us who are sick and infirmed. How can we tell someone suffering that this is the way God intends it to be? People have a tendency to begin to direct their feelings of hate and disapprovement of how God is handling their case. Some people hold a grudge against God all their lives without talking to Him to see His reasons or intensions to get a better understanding for our lives. We ask how God can be so distant and uncaring. How can God be so cruel and callous? There are many questions to ask about the intensions of God’s purpose, but have we taken the time it takes to inquire of God His reasons for this dilemma? It is like questioning the doctor’s decisions or specialist’s practices without first consulting with either to be able to come to an understanding of some sort. But why won’t we consult the one who allows the situations of sickness and illness?

I feel the real reason for all illnesses and sickness is for the opportunity for God to inject His divine power, wisdom, and knowledge of the situation into our lives. God allows a lot of things to happen on this earth without our permission or much less, our understanding. God encourages us to inquire of Him and ask Him, what is going on? Sometimes, God uses or allows a plethora of illnesses to get our attention just so we can be introduced to Him. Would we seek Him if we deemed we really didn’t need Him? Why seek out a doctor if we have no need of one? This particular woman that had the issue of blood didn’t know of Jesus and would have never been introduced to him if it had not been for her relentless quest for healing and restoration of her life. I feel that she was at the end off her rope when she finally decided she had to do something or face death. After her money was gone and had been turned away from everyone that knew of her condition, this woman’s last resort was to come to the one who allowed the disease to come into her life. The reason for her sickness was for God to show her who He really was, Jehovah GOD, and all that entails. All her friends and all her neighbors had heard her story over and over and over for twelve long years and still no results. But finally, one day when Jesus passed by, by faith she made her way through the hot dust and throngs of people in the way and just by faith, she touched the hem of His garment and it was all over for her illness. Unquestionably, this was the intended purpose for her life, to see and experience what faith in Jesus Christ can do for her and her situation. For twelve long years she bent the ears and brows of her friends and neighbors with her sad story. No doubt, they hated to see her coming their way just to be bothered by that sick woman. But now, everything is different, things have changed! She now has the opportunity to go back to those very ones and give praise and adoration to God for this miracle of healing! I feel this miracle of God was really for the purpose of those skeptics and doubters of God that in no other case would even give God the time of day. God chose to use this little woman with her issue of blood to work her way into lives of people that in no other way could be touched. She influenced her friends (if she had any left) and neighbors with love for her new found friend, healer of her illnesses, her LORD and Saviour, Jesus.

Undoubtedly, Solomon was telling the truth after all. Our personal experiences prove this fact of life every day we live. The truth of the matter is that it does take time for all things to culminate. Whether for good or for evil, we need to remember, it is Jehovah God who has the last say so in all things in Heaven and in Earth.

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:26-28

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Solomon's Fustrations'

Lesson Two
Study Reference Ecclesiastes Chapter Two

As we begin chapter two, we can see a close resemblance of the previous chapter as it comes to an end. Solomon continues to go down this road of benign negligence in the name of wisdom. In other words, he is determined to find out what drinking, carousing, and pleasures, some possibly sinful such as lustful desires, can produce or not. What seems to be a shameful waste of time, Solomon is out to gain experience of something that could be detrimental to ones soul. Anyone who practices this kind of careless lifestyle can begin to like and appreciate this sought after pleasure. It is a well known fact of life that there is pleasure in sin for a season. Some are even consumed with it. Solomon deems this necessary to know for sure so he can relate better with his fellow man. What is it like to get drunk? What is it like to dance with other men or women that are intoxicated with lustful desires? Did this type of mentality account for Solomon’s 900 or so wives? Did Solomon accumulate wives as to study them and their idolatrous ways so he could make a clinical case study of his findings? Solomon claims he was determined to know the truth of the matter so he can make better decisions and come to better conclusions of the matter. From my way of thinking this in itself is not a show of wisdom, but of folly and foolishness. No good can possibly come out of such acts of character assignation. This mentality makes me wonder what kind of wisdom Solomon possessed. Ungodly and sensual seems to better explain Solomon’s actions and reasoning. In the reality of situations to be experienced, giving oneself over to licentiousness is in itself act of disregard to one’s mind, body, and spirit. To stain one’s mind of perverse and wickedness is only to witness something that isn’t a good practice, detrimental to one’s character. Solomon is about to see for himself how things can get out of hand though thought to be innocent and fun. These scenarios can get embarrassing to a man and his family that witnesses a falling down drunk at a birthday party or music event in which lewdness transpires. Even though, there are many that do practice these things because they feel after all the hard work they have performed, they are due time to let their hair down and have a good time, even if it is just for a short time. I have heard it said many times, “I deserve it!” We will begin to see as we proceed that this is a demonstration of futility and immaturity, to say the least. But, there are those that are determined to plan ahead for extended events for pleasurable, sometimes irresponsible, indulgences, possibly, even to the point of bankrupts by maxing out credit cards. One would think that just by watching others partake in this debauchery would be all the experience they would need to deduce the inexcusable behavior they portray. But as lust and covetousness creeps into the mind, the heart of man conjures up a way to give into it wishes and desires. While laying aside all reason and prudence one might have had in reserve. I feel after all was said and done, Solomon could have gotten a degree with his clinical case study of folly and foolishness. On this subject alone, he was the expert.

“I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, what doeth it? I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.” Ecclesiastes 2:1-3

It seems that the next thing to do on Solomon’s agenda is to begin extensive building projects. He commissions great works such as the building of the Temple that his father, David had sought for much of his life. This was to be Solomon’s greatest achievement, but was it? It seems as history reveals that after the events of building the great Temple to Jehovah God was out of the way, Solomon had full reign to build the things he desired and sought pleasure by spending enormous amounts of capitol to please his many idolatrous wives.

“I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.” Ecclesiastes 2:4-10

Solomon makes claim to have done all this himself but in reality, it was all commissioned to others to perform. The point is, sure Solomon financed all this work, but he himself was hardly ever involved with the work outside of the planning department. Isn’t it a fact that the architects, engineers, and financiers, always take the credit from the little man? It is a fact that he commissioned building projects, but I cannot see Solomon mastering the hammer and chisel only to see his talent being portrayed in his skill. He also commissioned great cattle yards, but I cannot see Solomon herding the beasts out of the ranges and into the stockyards standing with the men of low stature covered in the hot and dirty dust. Of course Solomon had others to wait on him and his wives, enough people that eventually started to raise their own families under the same roof as King Solomon. Then there was the problem of boredom on those long hot summer nights in which arose the question, what to do for entertainment? In order to head off the sundry blues, Solomon commissioned an arts, dance, and music guild for their entertainment and pleasure.

I get the jest from reading Solomon’s writings that the joy and pleasure of accomplish was somewhat robbed of Solomon when he stood back and observed his finished projects. No doubt, these works of such grandeur probably could have never been carried out without Solomon’s wealth, but Solomon ended up wanting for more with an insatiable desire for bigger and more extravagant ventures. I feel Solomon missed the whole point of the joys of meaningful labor of the individual God given talents. To see what your hands can do and produce with little resources can bring such joy and satisfy the soul into knowing this work is honest and most likely helpful to others. Such rewards cannot be shared by those who write out the checks except they in turn take all the credit for the finished project. I suppose this gives them bragging rights even though their hands were never sullied.

“Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? Even that which hath been already done. Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.” Ecclesiastes 2:11-13

As Solomon’s heart swelled with pride as he gazed upon the grandiose projects of renowned, sadly enough Solomon’s soul and spirit came up short and wanting. This feeling of emptiness comes across when Solomon exclaims, “all was vanity and vexation of spirit”. We might wander by now, what is the matter with this man? Can he not see for the nose on his face? Can enough ever be enough? Well, you would think so if we were dealing with the average Joe, but we are dealing with a young man that was raised with a silver spoon in his mouth, so to speak. In short, I feel Solomon was somewhat of a spoiled brat, always expecting some surprise at the end of each day. It is almost like his boyish whims fell short in his projects and became mundane in his enthusiasm for his accomplishments.

“The wise man's eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all. Then said I in my heart, as it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity. For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? As the fool. Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.” Ecclesiastes 2:14-18

Solomon’s main concern here is that there will be no one as he is to leave the works he accomplished to. His feelings expose the vanity that resided in Solomon’s heart. Solomon feels that anyone that comes after him will not be competent to continue as he has done. In short, the future of the Israelites looks bleak at best and this fact alone has burdened Solomon’s demeanor. It is a pretty rough statement to say that “I hated life”, as Solomon did. But what else could come from a man of this stature? I doubt seriously Solomon ever had to wrestle with a wheelchair everyday of his life, or, was cumbered by prosthesis due to injuries. Yes, I am afraid that Solomon was guilty of ‘looking the gift horse in the mouth’ when it concerned his outlook on life.

We still have to give Solomon credit for his accomplishments no matter how he perceived them. We had to admit, they were pretty stupendous and magnificent to behold. But there is one question I am forced to ask, where are those works of grandeur today? The Egyptian pyramids are still here, Nebuchadnezzar’s old city of Babylon is still with us today and only to mention the Roman Empire influences seen around the world. But what can be said of Solomon’s achievements? The Temple of Solomon is gone and all of Solomon’s treasures with it. In fact, very little of Solomon’s Kingdom of Jerusalem is with us today. Therefore, it becomes laborious to envision just what Solomon was talking about when he had all this work produced. I feel if it wasn’t for recorded history we would never know how grand the works of Solomon ever was.

To look at Solomon from a different angle for a moment, I believe Solomon might have had a vision of the future. It is easy to imagine him standing on his veranda one beautiful sunrise, while overseeing this breath taking panorama. Suddenly and without warning, Solomon felt his heart pierced thru with reality, thus Solomon’s distasteful conclusion that life itself is perdition. God might have given him the vision of the invading armies waiting on Solomon to die. This could have been the warning God used to provoke Solomon to forsake those idols and temples of Idol worship and turn and repent of the evil Solomon had reintroduced by having licentiousness propagated from his many pagan wives.

“For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.” 1Kings 11:4-10

Have you ever experienced the moment when it dawned in your mind that what you were doing was futile? Well, if you have as I have, we can understand somewhat of what was going on in Solomon’s mind and heart. Maybe it is a good thing for us not to know the future? If we did know, we might not accomplish what we have and find no reason to continue on. On the other hand, insight to what our personal behavior breeds could be all it takes to steer us back into righteousness and uprightness of heart and character. In my experience, there is nothing quite as radical as an honest reality check.

“And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? Yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity. Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun. For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil. For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity. There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God. For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I? For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.” Ecclesiastes 2:19-26

I am inclined to reason that if Solomon had a real fear and reverence of Almighty God, he probably would have never performed these idolatrous practices. This idolatry is proof enough for me to see that Solomon really didn’t fear God even though he has proclaimed this as a fact. Real fear of God produces actions laced with caution and wariness. To be truthful, if Solomon had displayed genuine wisdom from God, he would have steered clear of the folly and foolishness. Anyone with any real wisdom knows that foolishness and folly is wasteful with one’s resources that were not easy to obtain to begin with. It proves that a worldly education and wisdom with Godly fear, are two completely different things to possess. Who in their right mind would squander what it took so long and hard to bring into existence and add to their character. Unless, they are careless with their resources that really belong to others who have invested in your ventures and believe in you? We have to remember, Solomon’s wealth and stature didn’t come from his own works, but the hard work of others. Every man and woman in Israel had invested in the promotion of their King. So, Solomon looking for answers to silly questions, he really could not afford to know, actually squandered his treasury by seeking out pleasure at the expense of his constituents. Much like our own government today, nothing really ever changes in this old world. Why should Solomon be any different from any other man who has an over abundance of resources at hand and too much time lounging, looking for ways to spend it? It seems his many wives with their idolatrous practices would have gladly taken care of that area.

In conclusion, Solomon’s soul is not as innocent as he would like to think of himself and harbors sin. He cannot capitalize on the greatness of God but only of the greatness of himself. An innocent heart thrives on love and simplicity, but a guilty heart is motivated by a plethora of human emotions that without restraint can ruin a man and render him void of discernment. As for that man who has an education of the highest degree but is void of experience, so is that man who possesses so called wisdom that is void of the fear of God. Both are shallow in spirit and wells without water.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Solomon on the Couch

Lesson One
Study Reference Ecclesiastes Chapter One

Most like everyone else, when the name of Solomon is aired, the human mind takes a whirlwind ride through the individual’s ranks of fantasy. I am intrigued by the life of King Solomon, but for some dark and uncommon reasons. For the most part, people seem to be drawn to the life and style of Solomon because of his wealth, his grandeur, or his wisdom of life. To this very day Solomon is celebrated among all peoples and nations. Solomon is seen as powerful, mysterious, and precocious. As we will begin to study Solomon, we will soon discover the inner workings of a well meaning but troubled young man with a lot of time on his hands. We might find attempting to walk in his father’s footsteps was part of his undoing. Solomon’s life has intrigued more people than myself. Many have written volumes on him and many have I read but, for the most part, seem to be eluded by Solomon’s seemly wealth and vivaciousness. Apart from the blessings of Almighty God, it seems Solomon’s amiability led a life of boyish desires coupled with a young man’s virility.

“The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.” Ecclesiastes 1:1

At the beginning of the first chapter, Solomon directs his readers to the authority given to him from God. The words of the title of Preacher have a spiritual connotation of gravity and driven concern for the welfare of others. Solomon has aspired himself to be a preacher, but why? It seems when one becomes incapacitated with insult and injury one begins to convey to others around to please listen to reason. In part this seems to be the motive because of the terrible price to be paid by ignoring the facts and the number one rule of the universe, “what goes around comes around”.

“Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.”
Ecclesiastes 1:2

It is disconcerting that with this authority he begins with a note of pessimisms, despair, concluding with the bizarre negative equation, “All is vanity”. The real question is why? What happened to this aspiring young King to turn him to ponder the dark side of life? Let’s face the truth, Solomon had it made beyond compare. He was the ‘golden boy’ of all Israel. His father, King David, had set the stage of life for his beloved son. All Solomon had to do was but follow thru to be successful with God and man. This all is recorded in the Book of I Kings beginning with chapter one and verse 28.

By the end of his life Solomon had all the wealth a man could muster in his life. We have all heard of the notorious mines that produced untold wealth. Over a period of time Solomon had all the beautiful women a man could gather in order to keep the alliances of close neighbors and a territory to rule that God himself handed to him on a silver platter. Let’s face it; Solomon didn’t draw a sword for forty years. Wow, that in itself is amazing! It seems that America cannot go without some kind of war scenario for more than ten years at a time. But something seriously had backfired in Solomon’s life.

“What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?”
Ecclesiastes 1:3

Solomon began writing with serious doubt of his own existence. What’s the use he exclaimed! It is a waste of time and energy he continues to bog himself down with self pity and a sense of unworthiness. But why is this? Why is he so discouraged and bitter about life?

“One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth forever. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It hath been already of old time, which was before us. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after. Ecclesiastes 1:4-11

To give further reasons to be discouraged with his life, Solomon goes into detail about how the inner workings of the cycles of the earth are compared to a man’s life. Yes, there is no doubt Solomon obtains carnal wisdom of the workings of science, math, and astrology, but there are places that those things tend to be left behind. I feel if one would look a little closer at Solomon, the consensus would conclude that Solomon had obtained a worldly or carnal edification of matters instead of spiritual insight. This is evident by just looking at Solomon’s achievements. Solomon seemly had focused on the temporal, while in contrast; his father David had acquired a Godly fear and reverence for matters of spiritual content. David’s reverential fear of God came by hardship and dry seasons of the soul without answers that could only come from the Creator himself. This seems to be the line drawn in the sand, the point of departure between Solomon and his father. With this writing, Solomon was expressing a season of spiritual drought that had crept upon him that was beginning to takes its toll.

After a while and given a little time, Solomon exclaims that even a man can be predictable as the seasons! To a certain degree, and given the license, mankind is predictable but, this can all be changed with the proper instruction from a higher and more reliable source than what we have here on earth. God encourages all of us to obtain wisdom and the only way to do this is to fear God in the very beginning. There are those who never experience the fear of God in their lives, but blessed are those who have! Maybe this is what Solomon is lacking in his life? As we read and discover for ourselves, Solomon does not possess the fear of God that his father had concluded with as King David exclaimed in the Psalms.

“I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered. I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. Ecclesiastes 1:12-16

In these next verses we can see what Solomon has attested to be fact by discovering the calculation of toil and labor with disciplined observance. Solomon claims to have obtained wisdom but complains of complications adjoining the conclusion of matters. He seems to give into exhaustion by admitting there is no sound reason to continue on. How can a man of his stature become so anesthetized and claim to have wisdom that cannot see beyond dismal circumstances? One would think with Solomon’s unfathomable resources that much could be accomplished resulting in a resounding joy of accomplishments. While the nation of Israel reveled in their King’s deeds, Solomon on the other hand neglected to celebrate along with them as having accomplished something of grandeur together. Sure, the country as a whole celebrated the building of the Temple as a national accomplishment. But, I feel Solomon didn’t share his father’s dream about his father’s personal goals being accomplished by the Golden Boy. This is the deluge that was flooding uncontrollably in Solomon’s mind. I perceive that after the fact of the Temple’s completion, Solomon began to waiver and flounder with no other direction but from his pagan wives with the insatiable whims of their pagan gods.

“And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” Ecclesiastes 1:17-18

At this juncture, I perceive Solomon divulges the secret of his demise. He admits offhandedly, he made an irresponsible decision. He takes the wrong turn at the juncture of wisdom and madness, hand in hand with folly. Those are two roads, separate and different roads to travel. To leave wisdom is to follow madness and folly, but it is impossible to travel the two together. He was precise about one thing; it is vexation of spirit to depart from wisdom to experience folly. On the other hand, to leave the road of folly and place one upon the road of wisdom is to experience sheer joy and exuberant delight, the path of righteousness. From a man of considerable stature, Solomon mixed a lethal concoction of strong drink, foolishness, and a burlesque attitude towards the complex matters of state. When he gave himself to strong drink mixed with matters only to be attended by sobriety and wisdom, the tragic train wreck resulted in Solomon’s mind and heart. Thus, the summation of futility and foolhardiness to proceed any further was the only conclusion to be announced.

I have come to a conclusion of my own choosing that Solomon was writing without consideration of the magnitude and majesty of Almighty God. It seems to me if Solomon had ever once realized how great God really is and how small man is, this writing would have never taken place to begin with. Solomon was overwhelmed because he had unconsciously placed himself on the same plateau as God. Wealth and prosperity possesses the tendency to intoxicate a man past the point of self sufficiency. Yes, he was a great man beyond compare, but, nevertheless, Solomon was just a man, a natural man wallowing in self pity. No doubt, now it is foreseeable to understand Solomon had blinders on to prevent him from seeing the whole picture, the big picture that includes one being able to understand Almighty God, Jehovah, is the most important being in the universe. It would pay us well to take note that anything that takes our eyes off or away from God, His Son, Jesus, and His magnificence, has in itself become the curse that leads to our very demise. Therefore, Solomon became intoxicated with unnerving license and maneuverability, but completely unable to control his fear of disappointing his constituants, further accompanied by the pressures of too many wives and their false gods. Little did Solomon realize, that the wisdom that he attained wasn’t the same as what God endues to a man or woman with the precept of reverence and fear. Yes, God did answer his prayer to be able to know right from wrong, but that prayer fell short without Solomon obtaining the fear of the LORD that accompanies wisdom. This is the ingredient that makes wisdom so precious and sought after by mortal man. In short, what wisdom Solomon attained was perverted with whims of fleshly desires and thereby squandered by a foolish young man.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Expendable Children?

It was Friday after 4:00 PM and on my way home from work when I decided to turn down a side street when I came up upon a little girl playing with her bicycle. The closer I got to her the more I noticed how small and petite she was. I was amazed that she would be playing in the street by herself. I began thinking to myself that there is no way possible I would allow my little girl playing street like that. I began to think how devastating it would be to lose a child just by simple negligence. The more I thought about it the more downcast my heart became. I began to think of my children, my daughter and son, and my three grandsons; all are so precious to me. I cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to lose one of them. That is one experience I hope and pray never happens to me.

I began to think upon the Scriptures in the book of Genesis were Adam and Eve had lost a son, his name was Able. I contemplated how hard it must have been on Eve, the mother of all living. She had lost her eldest son by the hand of another son who had gotten mad and jealous of him. Adam and Eve both had to deal with a death for the very first time. After losing Able, they tried to comfort themselves by having another son, his name was Seth. I'm sure there was no comfort to be found no matter how many children they decided to have. They would always have empty place in their heart for their son Able and as long as they lived they would be reminded because there would always be the empty chair at the supper table.

When Able was born into this world he was an individual and could never be replaced. In our society today we don't realize the importance of a child's individuality. The truth is we are all unique. We all are irreplaceable no matter how we look at it. Yes, someone can step up to your place, but they cannot replace you. The world will have you to believe that you can be replaced and I have heard it said by parents that they could replace their children if they wanted to. If we really think about that statement, we will realize it is just a lie to smooth over the guilt and hurt.

Psalms of David describe his existence and his birth in this manner.

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” Psalms 139:1-18

As we read this Scripture we can attest how important the individual really is. David exclaims that he is fearfully and wonderfully made. But not only that, God has made him conscious of his own individuality. When we study the Bible we will come to realize how important every individual and every soul is in this world. God doesn't make people just to be making people. He brings people into this world by divine purpose even though we might not be able to see at the time. To us, some children might look like an accident; even so, God doesn't make mistakes. We make the mistakes and God alone can take our mistakes and makes something wonderful from it. Children are a gift of God no matter how they come into this world. When that same child leaves this world, his mark is indelible, never to be repeated again, irreplaceable.

“Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” Psalms 127:3-5

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What Ever Happened to the Sabbath Saturday Day of Rest?

As far back as I can remember I am brought to mind that my family and I have always observed Sunday as the Lord’s Day. I was brought up to believe that Sunday was the Sabbath and it was to be revered as the holiest day of the week by observing it in church somewhere. I find myself writing about this subject on Sunday morning at 4:00 am. It wasn’t until about eight years ago the Holy Spirit of God began to move in my heart and mind about the truth of the matter. I have discovered that if you keep asking God for the truth, sooner than later it will be revealed thru diligent study and prayer over the Bible.

I just knew in my heart that something was amiss because I kept reading for myself the account of the Bible in the Book of Genesis.

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:1-3

You might be saying to yourself, but this is Law and we are not under the Law, we are under grace. No doubt, you would be correct in part of this assumption. First of all, it is God’s Law of Creation. We cannot null and void what God has placed in motion such as the Moon and the Sun and the planets in orbit, no more can you and me null and void the command of God to observe the holiest day of the week, the creation day Sabbath, the seventh day of the week. The Word of God was given to Adam and Eve and was passed down through the generations. Secondly, there is no other day of the week that was sanctified or set aside and blessed by the creator to be a Holy Day. This command of Almighty God has been in place thousands of years before the Ten Commandments were handed down to Moses on Mt. Sinai. This Holy command has never been annulled by Jehovah God, nor I doubt, will ever be.

You might be thinking just now, if this be true, who changed this Sabbath Day from Saturday to Sunday? This is a very good question to answer. It is my practice to refrain from pointing fingers, but in this circumstance of revealing the truth of matters, I will have to leave what I practice for a few moments. The truth of the matter is that the creation day command of keeping the seventh day of the week, the Holy Sabbath Day, was changed by Pope Pius V. Yes, the Roman Catholic Pope took it upon himself to be Vicar and change the Holy Command of Jehovah God. This next statement is from the Roman Catholic Counsel.

2175 Sunday is expressly distinguished from the Sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the Sabbath. In Christ's Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish Sabbath and announces man's eternal rest in God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ: 107 Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the Sabbath, but the Lord's Day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death.108
2177 The Sunday celebration of the Lord's Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church's life. "Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church."110
{Source: Catechism of the Catholic Church published by Liguori Publications, English translation copyright 1994 by the United States Catholic Conference Inc.}

So we see that the Roman Catholic Church took it upon themselves to change the times and Laws of the Creator to fit their wishes and whims. Who then are we to follow, the traditions of men, or the commands of God?

“And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” Daniel 7:25

"If every Lord's Day is to be observed joyfully by the Christians on account of the resurrection, then every Sabbath on account of the burial is detestably Jewish. In fact all the disciples of the Lord lamented on the Sabbath, bewailing the buried Lord, and the Jews exulted. But sadness reigned for the fasting apostles. In like manner we are sad, saddened by the burial of the Lord, and rejoice with them in the Lord’s resurrection. Neither in fact is it proper to feast [on the Sabbath] as the Jewish custom observed by the Jews." {Source: Cardinal Humbert quoting Pope Sylvester I (A.D. 314-335)}

The Catholics are adamant only to mention this was a tradition of the Apostles which is correct. But, upon careful study of the Book of Acts, we can surmise for ourselves that the Apostles would never break the Sabbath Day to accommodate anyone, but rather added another day, the first day of the week to the Sabbath Day of rest. We have to remember that these Apostles where Jews themselves and brought up by their families to honor and revere the Holy Sabbath Day. I am convenience that none of these men would dare go against the command of God, much less the old Law of Moses. But they found a way to proceed with the work of our Saviour with the guidance of the Holy Spirit by adding the first day of the week to commence the works of our Lord. If we would take careful notice, we could see that the Apostles always observed the Sabbath Day by teaching and preaching in the Synagogues.

“And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow. And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; but bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.” Acts 18:18-21

Upon careful study we can see that the Sabbath was always observed by the Apostles and commenced to extend the Holy Day by coming together to collect alms and offerings for the poor of other locations.

“And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” Acts 20:6-7

“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality (alms and offerings) unto Jerusalem.” 1Corinthians 16:1-3

Thought the Apostles kept the Sabbath Day, the first day of the week, Sunday, was never said or expounded as a Holy Day of rest. In fact, the Apostle Paul used Sunday to commence the work of the Lord by carrying the monies collected from other fellowships which would be in violation of the Holy Sabbath Day of rest. We can also see through the help of the Scripture that the Apostles would never start out on a journey on the Holy Sabbath Day.

This excuse of the Roman Catholic Church to use the assumed approval of the Sunday as being the Lord’s Day is a violation of the Holy Command of Jehovah God. No one or no church has the authority to change the Creation Law set aside, sanctified by Almighty God. Unfortunately, this has happened and there will be judgment forth coming.

Finally, we have the example of our LORD to remember.

“For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day. And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:” Matthew 12:8-9

I encourage Christian’s everywhere to read the Scripture for yourselves and allow the Holy Spirit of God to guide you into all truth. The truth can set you free!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Church Divided

“Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, this fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them,

Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Matthew 12: 22 - 30

It has come to my attention over the years that the Church is suffering and reeling from within its very own congregations, who are being led into liberal assumptions of Bible scripture. The subject of whether or not to accept the gay community into the Church has become so controversial that it is most likely to bring disaster to every church organization and that, by design.

The Scripture stated above gives us insight to what Christ Jesus would tell an unbelieving people about the consequences of lack of discernment. These people (religious unbelievers known in Christ’s time as Pharisees), were trying to accuse Jesus of casting out demons by the power of the devil. Of course, our Lord can see the dark, demented hearts of these false accusers and gives the spoken word of wisdom. The dumb and blind possessed by devils were not the only ones guided by Satan. Later on, in this passage of scripture, Christ warned them of the consequences of blaspheming the Holy Ghost when His works were attributed to the dark works of Satan. This is exactly what the Church is guilty of today. Church denominations have made the grave error of attributing the works of Satan as the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is accomplished by Satan strategically placing his Pharisees within the local churches with the gay agenda on the planning board.

In this day and time, Church denominations across the country are forced to deal with the growing appreciation of gays and lesbians that yearn to be accepted by all society, including the local Church. I have to be blunt and admit, Satan has a winner this time, or does he? It has always been my assumption that when an individual decides to come into an organization with intentions of joining that institution, the individual is questioned about his or her intensions and is encouraged to meet the criteria of that particular institution. As an example, I visualize an individual attending a Mason or Shrine organization with the intensions of proselytizing them into another agenda. Of course, I say this in jest because we all know that this would never take place. I have all ideas, that individual will find themselves standing on the outside street sidewalk with broken dreams of joining that organization. This demonstration attests that this organization firmly believes in adhering to the program previously accepted, unlike the local Church today. When it comes to Church, we are supposed to accept any persons without question of moral character? If this be the case, we will have to consciously make an effort to apologize to the drunkard, the prostitute, and the pedophile that attends the local assembly and in some cases, hold offices within the Church. I do not believe that Christ Jesus will be so gracious as to accept a person on the grounds that the individual has in his or her possession an unrepentant heart of their sins. This is the very reason for the Church to begin with. It is designed by God to be a beacon of morality, justice, and social order. This is an institution ordained by Jesus Christ and along with it to guide it was given the Holy Bible.

Yes, the Church is under attack, no doubt, and Satan seems to think that he will surely win this battle. This might seem to be the consensus of those on looking. There comes to mind one very important verse of scripture that refutes this analogy, Matthew 16: 18; “….and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” This verse assures us that no matter what Satan throws at the Church, it will survive because, and within every denomination there is that faithful remnant that refuses to give into the pressures of this world. This very well could be the fiery test God allows every now and then to purge His Church from worldly corruption. God seems to have an uncanny way to expose the Pharisees that inundate and plague the Church in every generation.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Responding to God's Call

Have you ever heard God speak to your heart? According to Scripture, God calls on our hearts before we call on Him. Not the other way around.

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” John 6:44-45

It is taught today by many preachers, evangelists, and Sunday school teachers, that if anyone calls upon the name of the LORD, He will save you. The Scripture does say that and He will save you, if He is the first in making an attempt to speak the truth to your heart. The problem with this way of teaching is taking the process of salvation out of text and creating a false atmosphere of putting the sinner in charge of the salvation process. The truth of the matter is, that if you seek God before He seeks you, you could be putting the cart before the horse. This in turn, creates a vacuum within the individual, empty without God, because it wasn’t the Holy Spirit of God that instigated the calling process. This type of Salvation is instigated by emotions caused by loud music and loud shouting resulting only in head knowledge. In reality, it had nothing to do with the heart. God only deals with the heart. Satan deals with emotions and can persuade people into believing they are saved. It is very hard for me to understand why a sinner would call to God when he or she doesn’t know what God can do for them to begin with. The reasoning just isn’t there. This practice of an individual asking God to save them just by saying the magic word or reciting the sinner’s prayer is known as the error of “easy believeism”.

Pastors, evangelists, and all sorts of church people use this form of evangelism to get masses moved and motivated to accept Christ as their Saviour on false ground right in the beginning. God is not in this and is nowhere to be found. When an individual is calling for God to save them on their terms, they will continue to search for answers every Sunday morning; they are wells without water, clouds with no rain. Satan devised this practice to dupe many people into believing they are saved when in reality, God was never calling on them to repent. They are still unsaved and dying in their sin. There was no repentance to be witnessed and individuals are not sorry for their sinful ways because they will turn right around and go back to the sin they say they turned away from.

“These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, the dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” 2Peter 2:17-22

I remember the time when I was a sinner and without God in my life. I figured I didn’t need God or anything He had to offer me. I enjoyed my sin and didn’t want anything to disrupt my agenda. Needless to say, I now see I was wrong. However, one day God’s Holy Spirit started dealing with my heart with that small still voice. I was scared because I didn’t understand how God works and I started to run for my life. I didn’t understand God was calling me from a life of sin and eternal death. But by His mercy and grace, I surrendered one day, yes surrendered to God and His Son, Jesus Christ and accepted Christ as my LORD and Saviour. My life has never been the same since. But, He sought after me! Not the other way around. I never had to get saved again in all my life because it ‘took’ the first time God saved me. I have witnessed countless people go to the altar at the front of the church every service trying to get saved. This is a very disturbing sight, to say the least.

Pastors today keep preaching that anyone can be saved and all you do is just come to the front of the church and ask God to save you. Well, it doesn’t work that way. On more than one occasion I have witnessed certain individuals coming to the front of the church to get saved again. They stated in their own words that they had been playing church all along and thought they were saved only to discover they never were. But by the grace of God it was revealed to them to call upon the LORD with a repentant heart and turn from their wicked ways once and for all times. All I can say about these incidents is that I hope and trust they truly were saved. Because if they continue to perform this practice of going to the altar on different occasions, especially during revivals where the emotions soar, they send the message that you cannot really know for sure that you are saved. This is the trap of Satan. He wants people to be in doubt of their salvation thus robbing them of the joy of being one of God’s very own. And not only that, but, they will never understand that God has to do the calling. We cannot call ourselves to Salvation.

“As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Romans 3:10-12

This is the way salvation of God works. First, an individual must recognize the fact that they are a sinner lost and without God in their lives. Only God can reveal this fact to the person. Second, a lost man will naturally and repeatedly reject God trying to go around God without having to face Him. This is called being under conviction, proof positive that the Holy Spirit of God is dealing with the individual as a sinner. For a fact, man will do anything to try to get out of dealing with a Holy and righteous God. Jehovah God is a living God and demands that we turn from our sin and repent to Him that we accept Him and His Son Jesus because it was Jesus that was crucified for our sin debt that we could never pay for ourselves. In short, we unconditionally surrender to the LORD of HOSTS by accepting Jesus as LORD. Jesus loved me and died in my place to give me the gift from God, His Salvation and eternal life with Him. This is how I was saved from a life of sin and damnation. I accepted God and His Son, Jesus on His terms. There is no other way.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

According to Scripture, it is impossible to come to God and His son on our own. The process of Salvation requires someone who knows us personally. Christ is that person to bridge the span from God to me and you with a personal invitation. I eventually accepted the invitation and came to God willingly and with a thankful heart that He thought enough about me and loved me to give me eternal life. I had achieved or done nothing to deserve this gift and am forever in His debt.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Seventh Trumpet

Have you ever wondered when the Rapture of the Church would take place? I have, even though Christ told His Disciples that no man can know the day or the hour of the LORD’S return, but we can discern the seasons. Christ instructs us to watch and pray. Even though the time of the Second coming is secret with God the Father, Christ divulged the seasons with them and gave many clues as to what would be happening when the clouds rolled back and revealed Christ in all His glory. This is where we have to use our heads and think like a detective and sniff out the clues for ourselves. As we read the passages, we can determine what has already happened, what is happening, and what is yet to take place. Be sure to read over this very carefully as to not miss any clue. Christ and the Apostle Paul explicitly warn us to not let any man deceive us but to look to the Scripture for ourselves for the truth of matters.

“And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying; tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diver’s places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand :) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.” Matthew 24:3-22

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Church of Thessalonica and comforted the Saints with this letter because someone had started a rumor that Christ had already come back and they had missed the Rapture of the Church. Paul told them it was not so because there were certain events that had to take place first.

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” 2Thessolonians 2:1-5

So Paul gives us three clues on top of what Christ gave His early Disciples. First, there will be a falling away. But just what does Paul mean with this statement? As Christ described the coming events to His Disciples He told them that they would be hated and sought after like criminals, even though they had done nothing wrong. This persecution will make many decide if they really want to follow after somebody that will get them and their family killed. In the last days, when the Beast of Revelation appears, and we will see him and know him, Christians will be hunted down and killed just because of their belief and faith in Christ Jesus. Men and women will turn against us, even our neighbors will tell the authorities where you and I are hiding. This sounds a little like the Holocaust of WWII doesn’t it? According to Christ, there has never been a time like this and will never be again once it has passed.

“And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” Revelation 13:6-10

So we can read for ourselves that the Beast will appear right on time according to God’s time table and make war with the Saint’s that are still living at the time. Not only will the Beast make war against all Christianity but everyone will be forced to take the mark, possibly a tattoo of some sort again like the ones issued to the Jews of the Holocaust.

“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” Revelation 13:16-18

You might be saying at this point and time, but to be sure the Rapture of the Church has taken place by now! Nope, not right yet. That is right; the Rapture of the Church is not in the beginning of the Great Tribulation as many preachers, evangelists’ and Sunday school teachers have been teaching for many years now. They are probably unaware that they are teaching false doctrine or at the very least, error. You might ask, but why won’t they tell the truth and warn us? To be honest and tell it like it really is, most of the preachers, teachers, and evangelists, have gone the way of Balaam, you know, the prophet for hire? That’s right, they have been bought off by the masses with the money to tickle their ears and have forbid them to teach anything that will send the sheeple (the flock of God) into disarray of the establishment. Didn’t Christ and the Apostle Paul warn us of false teachers and those that would deceive us? Well, for the most part, we have been deceived all these years and this is the reason I am warning you now!

No, there will be no Rapture of the Church before the Beast of Revelation appears and yes, we will be persecuted like the Apostles and Saint’s before us were during the reign of the ten wicked Emperors of Rome. You might be asking at this time, but who will make it through this horror? My answer is the Elect of God. God know His own and will protect them no matter come what may, just as He protected so many during the Blitz of England in WWII, and all the bombings of Nazi Germany. Not everyone was a Nazi despite what we have been told. And God protected so many in all of Europe during both WWI and WWII that proclaimed Christ as their Saviour. Why cannot God protect you and me when the Beast comes on the scene? And just what if God wants us to die for Him, would you count that an honor?

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me; Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Revelation 14:12-13

It could be the will of God for us to give our life for Him as to prove our loyalty to our LORD and Saviour just as it was required of the Saint’s that was put to death in the Roman coliseums as sport for the masses. We have to remember, God is no respecter of persons and what was required of those Saint’s in the past is no different for us who are alive today. God treats all His children the same and we can rest assured, He has reasons for what He allows, whether or not we as human beings understand.

You might be asking, but where does the Rapture of the Church take place? Well, we have some very good clues as to where it might take place. As Christ has told us before, no man knows exactly when and where it will happen. Let’s look to the Scriptures for the clues.

The Apostle Paul gives a clue when he described the process in which we will be raptured (caught away) at Christ’s appearing.

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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.” 1Corinthians 15:51-52

Do you see what I see? Paul says “at the last trump.” The last trumpet sounding is the clue we need to determine the time of the Rapture. But just how many trumps are there? Well according to the Revelation, there are seven.

“And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.” Revelation 8:6

But, we need to keep in mind that the sounding of the trumpet is just not a single event. Do you remember the story in the Old Testament about how the children of Israel marched around the walls of Jericho for seven days blowing the trumpet once every time thay circled the city walls? Well, this blowing of the seventh trumpet is somewhat like that performed at Jericho.

“But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” Revelation 10:7

Do you see what I see? “In the days of the voice of the seventh angel”, is what the Apostle John says. So, we can see that this sounding is over a period of time. The time it takes for Christ to gather His own, the Bride, in Rapture, to be with him forever and right in the middle of the Great Tribulation.

This will take place where the two prophets of God are killed by the Beast and where God brings them back to life. This is the Rapture of the Church according to John.

“And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.” Revelation 11:11-13

This is where the Seventh Angel sounds the trumpet for days to come and we who are born-again Christians will see Christ Jesus and receive our glorified body.

“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” Revelation 11:15

When the world finds out what is happened, it is really going to get bad. But we as God’s Elect will be with Him and protected from any more harm from the world.

“And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” Revelation 11:18

You might be asking, but just who of us came out of the Great Tribulation? The Scripture is very clear on this matter.

“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead (unsaved) lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4-6

Do you see what I see? Yes, the Scripture says there is only one resurrection for the Righteous Saints. “This is the first resurrection.” I cannot understand why so many people will not accept this Scripture. I have heard many different versions of the proceedings of the resurrection and Rapture all my life. But when I read this for myself, it was settled that God knows what is best for His Church and what happens is just what happens. Either way, we are all winners who take a stand for God and His Son, Christ Jesus. Come what may, we are the over comers who side with the King of Glory.