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8/31/16 – “To be or not to be” – a question concerning existence after life

For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.  Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:2-3

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

"To be, or not to be" is one of the most widely known and quoted lines in modern English. A rough interpretation would be to say "whether to continue, or not to continue [existence]."

The Bible verses above answer Shakespeare’s question. YES! There is life after death. There are all kinds of opinions on what this “life after death” looks like. No one knows for sure except for an eyewitness who has returned from the dead. Christianity has the only belief that has an eyewitness. Jesus arose from the grave and was seen by over 500 witnesses after His physical death. Therefore, I rely totally on the words of Christ when He speaks of what life after death will be like. The following is one aspect that requires some deep thought for all Christians. You will become everything God intended when you are in His Presence.

8/24/16 - Righteousness through Christ and not your works

“We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. Galatians 2:15-16

Most often I ask a class that I am teaching the following, “How many of you are as righteous as Christ?” Most people will either not raise their hands or will make a half-hearted attempt to raise only their hand off their lap. Nothing could be further from God’s expectations of what Christ has given you.  God has made you as righteous as Christ.

8/17/16 – Unconditional Love makes Believers different from the world

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4

This verse is from the well-known passage from the Bible, 1 Corinthians, and Chapter 13. Love in this passage is the Greek word, agape, that means “unconditional love”. God is the author of unconditional love. This kind of love would not be present in the world without Believers exercising unconditional love. Jesus demonstrated the ultimate example of unconditional love when He allowed Himself to be crucified for the sins of all human beings. 

As human beings, we have a difficult time with expressing unconditional love. The most common abuse of unconditional love by Believers is attaching conditions to loving others. We are to love other Brothers and Sisters unconditionally. This is not seen by the world when churches (body of Christ) split over such mundane items such as the color of the carpet, the type of music, the overall direction of a church, and many more issues. These items are not worth a church split when you consider the unconditional love of Christ shown on the cross. 

8/10/16 – The Return of Christ

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes… because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” Luke 19:41-42

I freely admit that I am using the feelings that Jesus had for the Jews to apply to our world today. God continues to reveal himself to each individual and to every nation on this earth. He came the first time as an innocent sacrifice for our sins. He is coming again as a King to execute judgment on the world. 

Think of the emotions that Jesus was experiencing, because His own people, the Jews, would reject Him and scream for Him to be crucified. He accused the Jews of not recognizing who He was and who had sent Him. Because of this rejection, they would not know the peace that they could have had. For the world today, every person have a similar choice of either screaming for Christ to be crucified, or accepting Him as our Savior and Lord. 

8/4/16 – How God is involved with worldly governments

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. Romans 13:1-2

Were you aware that the Bible spoke so clearly about God and governing authorities? I was amazed when I first found these verses toward the end of the book of Romans. As Believers, we need to be familiar with these verses so that our focus and energy does not become distracted from God and His Word and worldly governments. There is nothing wrong with participation and voting in worldly governments. However, we should not forget God and His role in all the governments that have existed, currently exist, or will exist in the future.

8/26/15 – Part 1: What is your soul?

Note: This is Part 1 of a six part series on the soul of Jesus and the your soul.

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  1 Thessalonians 5:23

The soul is not a physical attribute of the body.  It is what defines your personality.  The soul consumes huge volumes of information as we grow from a baby to adulthood.  Our soul collects facts that eventually determine our behavior.  Our behavior has a tremendous impact on our relationships with others and God.  The soul consists of the way we think and reason; the way we react emotionally to situations, and how we choose to live our life. 

The soul is frequently considered as your personality.  The soul carries the image of our consciousness, memories, and dreams.  Our desires and wants are collected in our souls.  From this information, we develop our life purpose, our goals, and a picture of how we see ourselves.  You can summarize all of the aspects of your soul by saying that the soul is what makes you different and unique from other human beings.

8/19/15 – Death in the life of a Believer and an unbeliever

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 1 Corinthians 15:51-53

This continues the Biblical support for the amazing, mysterious, unbelievable, wonderful glorified body that God has planned for every Believer.  However, it surprises me that God will also resurrect the bodies of unbelievers for judgment.

8/12/15 – Your resurrected body will be like “Superman”

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.2 Corinthians 5:1

The concept of our resurrected bodies is strange and wonderful.  Many Believers have a difficult time accepting the Biblical fact that God will change their earthly body into a glorified body that will be just like the glorified body of Christ.  For this reason, I am including an abundance of Bible verses that support the idea of your glorified body.  A fundamental fact about needing a glorified body is to remove the temptations that our earthly body continued to unmercifully pound at us while we were living on earth. 

8/5/15 – Your current body will return to dust

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7

God says that He created you from dust and to dust you will return.  Millions of people have studied the physical body, and billions of dollars have been spent to find solutions to the diseases of the body.  As soon as the body is born, it begins to die.  Some humans are preoccupied with the desire to keep their bodies young in appearance, but their body will still die.   Many people spend huge amounts of money to try to live longer or look younger.  However, the Bible and the most atheistic person in the world are in agreement that the physical body will die and return to dust. 

8/27/14 – Your Life: Agape Love One Another

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.  Philippians 1:9-11

As you read the verses above, you can see that Paul (writer of Philippians) was saying a prayer for the Christians in Philippi.  The first thing he prayed about was their love for one another.  A Believer’s love for other Believers should always be increasing.  The word “love” in these verses is the same Greek word for “love” in the well-known John 3:16 verse, “For God so loved the world.”  The Greek word “agape” is translated as love.  I wish all translations of the Bible would put this word in parentheses wherever in occurs.  Someone who studies the Bible would know that whenever the word is used in the Bible, it is intended to mean the highest form of any thoughts that you may have about love.

8/20/14 - Pride: The Sin of All Sins

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.  Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.  Proverbs 11:2; 16:18

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.  1 John 2:16

“My Father God!  I have sinned against you and other people.  I have allowed pride to come into my life and damage my relationship with you and others.  I acknowledge the sin of pride to you, and I know that you have forgiven me.  You have cleansed me through the blood of Christ and have forgotten my sin.  I praise you and thank you with a grateful heart.  Amen.” 

This is a common prayer for my life.  God has done so many things with my life through the power of the Holy Spirit that it is a temptation to take pride in what I do.  Regretfully, I allow my flesh to begin to think, “Look what I did!”  When I do this sin is conceived in my heart and my words, thoughts, and actions negatively impact others.  This is not what I want to happen.  I constantly remind myself that only the Holy Spirit can work in my life to do good things.  Pride borders on blasphemy when you take personal credit for good works rather than giving praise to God.  This is why I titled this write-up, “Pride: The Sin of All Sins.

Part 3 – Babylon: God Judges the Mother of all Prostitutes

NOTE: This is an abnormally long article, but the Bible verses are important to understand God’s concept of “Babylon”.   You are encouraged to take the time to read the entire article.  You will find some deep spiritual truths that will challenge your thinking.

And God’s Word says:

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.” The name written on her forehead was a mystery:

Babylon the great

The mother of prostitutes

And of the abominations of the earth.

Revelation 17:1-2, 5

 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor.  With a mighty voice he shouted:

“‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!’   For all the nations have drunk
the maddening wine of her adulteries.
 The kings of the earth committed adultery with her,
and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.”   Then I heard another voice from heaven say:  “‘Come out of her, my people,’ so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.

“When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her.  “The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore— cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and human beings sold as slaves.

“They will say, ‘The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your luxury and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.’  The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment. They will weep and mourn and cry out: “‘Woe! Woe to you, great city,
dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet,
and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls!

Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said:  “With such violence
the great city of Babylon will be thrown down,
  never to be found again.  The music of harpists and musicians, pipers and trumpeters,
will never be heard in you again.
No worker of any trade
 will ever be found in you again.
The sound of a millstone
will never be heard in you again.  The light of a lamp
will never shine in you again.
The voice of bridegroom and bride
will never be heard in you again.
Your merchants were the world’s important people. By your magic spell all the nations were led astray.  Excerpts from Revelation, Chapter 18

Part 2 – Babylon: When God Restored the Use of a Single Language

And God’s Word says,

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” Acts 2:4-12

“What does this mean?” This is one of the most astounding questions asked in the Bible. Man will not thwart God’s plan for eternity. If you will recall from Part 1, God took a one-language world, and He made it a multiple-language world. He did this as a way of judging man’s attempt to do things their way with no need for God.