Monthly Archives: December 2017

He’s Coming Back

Heaven Open
Revelation 19:11-16
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of His mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter”. He treads the winepress of the fury wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on His thigh He has this name written:  
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. He is coming back to judge the living and the dead, to restore His Kingdom and to reign as KING with His children by His side who share in His inheritance.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left..“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25: 31-40)

Who are His children? Anyone who does the will of God (1 John 3:10; John 1:12; Romans 8:14).

Sin separates us from God.  God cannot associate with sin/evil. He is holy, we are not. We have sinned against God in every way. God would be completely justified, still just as holy and loving, if we were thrown into hell. Out of His unfailing love, He became man. He left His heavenly throne and came down to the earth. The earth which man had corrupted and filled with violence. Sound familiar? God owes us nothing. What we have received is the ultimate act of love from a loving God. This is the Good News. That God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son as a ransom for many so that we should not perish but have life and have it more abundantly (John 3:16).

Forgiveness through Jesus reconciles us back to the giver of life (1 Timothy 2:5). He came first in the form of a baby. The Son of God having become man so that man could become children of God. He brought Salvation and eternal life through His sacrifice on the cross. He paid the penalty for your sin and mine so that death could no longer hold us. This gift of Salvation cannot be earned by our good works. We cannot be made worthy of it of our own accord. We need a Saviour. We need Jesus. We can only honour this gift by honouring God. It is the FREE gift offered by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8).

We have the choice to accept this free gift and embrace life or to reject it and embrace death. Literally. So many of us have and are embracing death. We are rejecting God daily by pursuing sin and walking in disobedience to His will. We enjoy our sin and underestimate the severity of the second death which is eternal separation from God and suffering in hell, the fiery lake of burning sulfur (Revelation 21:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:9). Even today, we suffer when we are separated from God.  We belittle God’s greatness, beauty and goodness and fail to reverence Him. We even overlook the fact that the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus was only the first part.

He’s coming back. Not as a baby this time.

“This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

He’s coming back as a mighty Warrior ready to judge the living and the dead. He is the Almighty God and He has NO equal.

While God is love, He is equally righteous.

While God is full of grace and mercy, He returns with judgement.

God is the righteous judge. His judgement is just.  We condemn ourselves through our choices (2 Corinthians 5:10), our disobedience and rejection of the Holy Spirit conviction when we sin. You know that “guilty” feeling you have when you do the wrong thing or perhaps you have silenced the voice of the Holy Spirit through repeated sin and constant rejection.

God has not been sitting idly by while the wickedness and perverseness of the world continues. He has not been kicking back while we continue to define what is right and wrong as our own self-appointed gods, and ultimately defile ourselves and God’s world.  We sit there all self-righteous asking “If God is real then why is there evil in this world?”. Well, Satan is just as real and we not only welcome evil into our lives but we partake in it through our choices.  We have to trust that God’s thoughts and ways are so much higher than ours and there is a bigger picture we do not see (Isaiah 55:8-9). Instead of trusting God, we question His goodness making it easier for us to disobey His will and sin.

Do you think God’s heart doesn’t break when we lie? “A little white lie won’t hurt” or “No one will ever find out” we tell ourselves. Do you think God is not indignant as He witnesses murder? By God’s standard, murder begins in the heart not in the physical act!

“Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him” (1 John 3:15; Matthew 5:21-26)

Same thing goes with adultery (Matthew 5:27-30). By God’s standard, adultery begins in the heart. We see God’s standards are not the world’s standards. They are much higher. So if you’ve ever lied, stolen something, hated someone or lusted in your heart then before God you stand as a lying, thieving, murderer and adulterer.

Where will you stand if you are judged by God’s law and standards?

The world convinces us that it’s okay to drop our standards and live like the world. As believers, we should be well aware that this world and its ways are headed for destruction (Matthew 25:46; Psalm 9:17; 1 Corinthians 1:18; James 4:4-6).

If you’re like me then without Christ’s salvation, you will stand GUILTY as charged. So I KNOW I need grace. I KNOW I need Jesus. I need a saviour and I needed to be rescued because my destination was most definitely hell. While I stood guilty and in chains, Jesus paid the price for my crimes and bailed me out. He took the chains of me, cleansed me and set me free (Colossians 2:13-15). With all that I am, I want to honour the price that was paid for my life. I was dead and now I am alive. Not only does Jesus give us life now and more abundantly but He has promised eternal life and an imperishable inheritance to those who love and honour Him. Noting again, God OWES US NOTHING.

God is ready to bring His judgement (1 Peter 4:5, 17; 2 Corinthians 5:10). He patiently endured in the time of Noah (1 Peter 3:19-20) and again, for our sake, He is patiently enduring our sin and wickedness giving repeated opportunities for repentance not wanting any to perish but for all to come into the knowledge of Jesus Christ that they might be saved.  But the time will come when this opportunity passes so we must prepare our hearts to be right before God every day. He will work with us through our messes as He is faithful and just to forgive our sins if we confess. Return to the shepherd and overseer of your soul (1 Peter 2:25). There is only darkness and eternal suffering outside of Him.

PRAYER

Dear God,
Thank you for your free gift of salvation and for giving us Jesus so that we might be saved through grace by faith in Him. I know I can’t earn your gift so I ask that you help me to honour it. Help me to die to myself each day so that I can live for you and do your will. You are almighty God worthy of all my praise. Draw me closer to you and help prepare me for your Kingdom.  
In Jesus name, Amen.

God’s Craftsmanship: The Masterpiece

nature-art-1738091_1920
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10).

Knitting can be an intricate task that requires an eye for detail. It can produce beautiful works. Exhibit A – go look in the mirror. God knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). Before He formed you in the womb He knew you, before you were born He set you apart (Jeremiah 1:5). You are wonderfully and fearfully made (Psalm 139:14).

You are God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10).

But here’s the thing, sin taints the masterpieces we are. It causes God’s purpose in us to become distorted, stained and defiled. For this reason, Christ came into the world to wash our sins “white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). He came to undo the effects of sin and He succeeded.

Our sins are washed white when we become a new creation in Christ by:

  1. Deciding we no longer desire to live in sin (yes, it’s a choice);
  2. Accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour and acknowledging Him as the Son of God who died, was buried and rose again;
  3. Accepting the free gift of forgiveness and salvation offered through Jesus Christ.

Our slate is wiped clean. If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Now comes the best-but-not-so-easy part!

Trees are pruned by cutting away the dead or overgrown branches or stems to support growth. God needs to prune us from all the dead things attached to us and the things that stop us from growing into the image of Christ. This can be a difficult, even painful process but fear not, God is HEALER. Once He prunes the trees in your garden, even uproots some that shouldn’t have been planted there, He will heal the ground and get to work building upon the right foundation.

When we surrender all aspects of our life to God, God can work at full capacity to help us get rid of anything that is not like Him and teach us in His ways.

When an artist begins painting, it’s not always clear what the image is or what it will be. There’s a brushstroke here, some paint over there. We don’t have the full picture but we can see something is happening. Something that requires patience, determination and effort.

Similarly, when God is at work in us, it’s not always clear what God is doing in us and that’s where we need to develop our faith and trust in God – that even though we don’t understand and can’t see the full picture, we trust Him.

And again, like the painting, the transformation of our lives requires patience, determination and effort. It doesn’t happen all at once. Imagine if you were moved from one country to another or one career to another without any notice. It would be overwhelming and confusing. We wouldn’t be able to process it all and God knows this. Instead, God works quietly and patiently within us. He gently invites us to change and to spend time with Him, getting to know Him and His ways through His Word. It’s an invitation we choose to accept or reject.

Finding our new identity and purpose in Christ requires our obedience to what God desires. God is faithful and just. He will never leave or abandon us and nothing can separate us from His love.

There is a version of ourselves, our true selves in Christ that we do not want to miss out on meeting. The closer we draw to Christ, the closer Christ draws to us.

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)

It all starts with a choice. Have you made yours?

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, help me to trust you even when things don’t make sense. Show me all the ways in me that are not like you. I choose you and I give my life to you. I ask for a heart and mind like yours. Help me to see things from heaven’s perspective and not my own.
In Jesus name, Amen.