Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Children, have you any food?"

13 So it was that quails came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp. 14 And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground.

15 So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat. 16 This is the thing which the LORD has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.’”

17 Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. 18 So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need.
- Exodus 16:13-18

8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
- Matthew 6:8

19 Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. 20 So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. 21 Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
-Matthew 14:19-21

5 Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?”
They answered Him, “No.”
6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.

7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. 9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread.

10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.” 11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish...
- John 21:5-13

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Contend for the Faith...

Contend for the Faith
3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain [persons] have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly [persons], who turn the grace of our God into lewdness[1], and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

[1] lewd
adj. lewd·er, lewd·est
1. Preoccupied with sex and sexual desire; lustful.
2. Obscene; indecent.

Old and New Apostates
5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. 8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. 11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

Apostates Depraved and Doomed
12 These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; 13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. 14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

Apostates Predicted
16 These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. 17 But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. 19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.

Maintain Your Life with God
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Glory to God
24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
25 To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
– Jude 3-25

Saturday, March 21, 2009

When the Son of Man Returns, Will He Find Faith On the Earth?

The prospect of the LORD returning today or at any time during or after the tribulation provokes no fear in me whatsoever. Across my friends, who are godly Saints in the LORD on all counts, I find a mixed bag of preferences concerning the rapture doctrines.

My preference is that Yeshua (Jesus) returns for us before the tribulation and that as many as possible and be found worthy of escape from it all!

My concern, however, is that Yeshua will return later than expected and that as many as possible be found having the utmost trust and faith in the LORD and are worthy to escape those things coming upon the unbelieving and rebellious ones.

Scripture and historical writings (letters and commentaries, esp. Irenaeus (AD 120-202), disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of John, and Hippolytus (AD 170-236), disciple of Irenaeus) can be used to support any one of the rapture doctrines; therefore, I refuse to plant myself in a rapture doctrine because of the concern I have for engendering or teaching error.

If we are going to argue over Scriptures and their meaning in an effort to keep each other out of error, let’s start with the things which are plain and simple to understand, but ignored and contorted every day; such as, divorce and remarriage, reconciliation and forgiveness between the brethren, daily repentance and crucifying the flesh, etc.

Regardless of one’s preference, we are called to be found worthy of escape, vigilant and sober, at peace with one another, without spot and blameless, and encouraging one another in the hope of Yeshua’s very soon return. We are to stand still in the LORD in faith… with complete peace and trust… to ‘stay-the-course’ of our faith in Him during difficult times, no matter how pressing. Can we call anyone a heretic who holds to these encouragements rather than to one man’s doctrine about the rapture over another man’s?

For me, my heart’s cry is “Repent! For the Kingdom of God is at hand (now is the day of salvation). Make your hearts ready and keep them conditioned for Yeshua’s return, or for your pending physical death, whichever comes first. Repent from sin and sinful lifestyles! We must turn our hearts toward God, continually repent from sin that we trip into (that so easily besets us), and do all we can and must do to avoid willful sin! We must overcome the Accuser of the Brethren by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, and love not our [worldly] lives even unto death (Rev. 12:11)!

In each of His addresses to the seven Churches in John’s vision, Yeshua said it is the over-comers who will receive their rewards. The use of the word “over-comers” is definitely indicative of struggle. No matter how light or pressing the struggle, we struggle to die daily in overcoming our fleshly desires, Satan, who is the spirit of this world, and his plots against us via principalities and powers, the rulers of darkness of the age (the era), and wicked spirits in heavenly places (spiritual realm).

God’s people MUST understand and teach the ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE! We must take our eyes off this world, our VERY temporary abode! We must stop teaching, expecting, and demanding comfort in this world (now, that is heresy)! Instead, let us encourage one another to live peaceful and godly lives and to keep our eyes on Yeshua, the Author and Finisher of our faith, because we may be required to look up to heaven in full expectation of seeing Yeshua waiting to receive us as we’re being martyred!

The disciples and apostles took great care to communicate the very imminent return of our LORD and spoke often of the condition of our lives and hearts… “peaceful, without spot or blemish.” We should not do any less! No doubt, we should all be ready to assemble tonight at the trumpet’s call and/or be ready to stand firm in the LORD during tremendous trial and tribulation!

This we all know and can agree upon: Messiah has not yet returned, but His return is imminent! Let us cease from arguing over exactly WHEN the Messiah is returning – pre, mid, or post tribulation. We need to be more concerned about living peaceful lives without spot or blemish… today. Each “today” turns into a tomorrow. As long as we are ready for His coming today, we will be ready when He returns! We absolutely need to encourage one another in our hope of the Messiah’s return. There’s no doubt, however, that He can return at any moment (Mark 13:32-37) or He can linger a bit longer (Matthew 24:48-51). For sure, He will come in an hour we think not!

When Yeshua returns, will He find faith on the earth (Luke 18:18)? Is your heart given completely to God? Will you be found worthy of escape, whatever form escape will take?