Glad Tidings

You May Think Easter Is Over

30 Apr , 2017  

GT—Volume 14 Issue 5
Glad Tidings 2017

Jesus Alive in Our Lives

Ruth and I, early in our life in Christ, were advisors to a church youth group. One Easter morning we went to a sunrise service, then had an early pancake breakfast at our church and afterward went to an Easter Egg hunt at my sister’s home. That night, after a very busy day, Ruth went into labor and our first daughter, Laura, was born the next day.

Aside from all that excitement, I remember something that struck me. As part of the sunrise service, they had an abbreviated Passion Play. The scene in the Garden of Gethsemane ended with the arrest of Jesus by soldiers. They dragged Him off resisting and fighting them.

I have reflected many times on that erroneous depiction. While it was dramatic, it was clear that the script writer or director and likely the actors had not read the Scripture. Jesus made it abundantly clear that He was willingly going to the cross. He stated He could call 10,000 angels to deliver him. He told Peter not to resist. He was and is God. No one could have forced Jesus against his will. The sight of Jesus fighting his captors was actually blasphemous. It made the Son of God out to be a weak and powerless man.

The dignity of Jesus was on display throughout that night. He wrestled alone in the Garden, but embraced His Father’s purpose, and so nothing could demean Him. The High Priest railed at Jesus,

“And the high priest stood up, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou art the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Henceforth ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:62-64).


Jesus appeared to His disciples a number of times after his Resurrection and before His ascension. He appeared to others of the faithful as well.

In the same manner, he did or did not respond to Pilate and Herod.In the same manner, he did or did not respond to Pilate and Herod.

With the same dignity, after His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples and those he loved (Mary Magdalene and Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus, plus others). Jesus was completely in charge, unhurried in His comings and goings.

With the same authority, Jesus confronted Saul on the road to Damascus and He confronted me in my living room. Because Jesus is God He is the same Risen Savior that He was on that first day He arose from the tomb.  dove-vector-clipart

Resurrection Life

I am confident that most of you have experienced a meeting with Jesus that transformed your life from that of self- and world-centered to being Christ-centered. The Holy Spirit drew you to Jesus and your life became transformed as your spirit came alive in Christ. That day you died and were resurrected. You died to sin and became alive to Christ.

It was a day that was like any other day, except spiritually you breached history. You were back at Golgotha where the nails that pierced Jesus’ hands and feet also nailed your sins to the cross with Him. When He died, Jesus carried your sins with him into death. 2,000 years ago, they became no longer yours.

You were born again to life incorruptible. You became washed in the blood of Christ so that God no longer sees your sin, but He sees your alive spirit and your soul cleansed and pure. God no longer sees the filthy garments of worldliness, self-centeredness, but he sees you clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

Paul teaches that we are no longer chained to sin. Unhappily, all who are born come forth with that burden of sin chained to them. They are servants of sin and cannot escape. Mostly people do not want to escape. It is not until Jesus the Resurrected Son of God breaks that chain and liberates believers from sin, death, and Satan, that we become truly who God intended us to be.

Liberated from the weight of sin we are free to grow in the resurrection life Jesus has given us. We are free to learn about the deep, deep love of Jesus for us. We are free to develop the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives – Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Meekness, Self-Control.

God intends believers to be magnets by living in the spirit. His resurrection life manifested in them will draw two responses from the unbelievers. It will draw them to covet (positively) what is reflected in the life of the believer. It will draw out of unbelievers’ distaste, rejection, and even persecution. The believer’s life will, by its contrast, uncover sin and guilt. Most rationalize their sin through the sophistries: there is a “new morality”, there is no truth, everything is relative, there are no standards, or there is no life beyond this one, so it doesn’t matter what one does; because death is the eraser.   dove-vector-clipart

True Life In The Face Of Negativity

The Good Friday attacks on Christians in Egypt show how desperate the unbelievers are. The Christians there are no threat to Egypt or to Islam. But the violence of unbelievers against the very existence of Christians shows how fearful they are of truth. Their souls are so corrupt they see non-combatants, believers going about their lives in peace as a threat to the evil life they have chosen to follow.

In America, we have the same mindset, but currently without the physical violence. There are those so afraid of the influence of the truth of Christianity that they are seeking to erase all vestiges from view.

White CrossOver the centuries in America, crosses have been erected to give honor to God and to Christ. Most of them have been empty crosses, symbolizing the Resurrected Christ, Christ triumphant over sin and death. Because the silent message of crosses frightens unbelievers, crosses have come under attack. Suits forced their removal. The 10 Commandments are so threatening to people in courtrooms that they have demanded their removal.

Nevertheless, Believing Christians continue to witness individually. Nevertheless, individuals communicate the Gospel of the Resurrected Christ to other individuals and there is a spiritual transaction that occurs. One more believer’s name is inscribed, indelibly in the Book of Life.

“Behold, Jehovah’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:” (Isaiah 59:1)

We are coming to the place where on college campuses, that have been traditionally sites for free and open discussion, Christians’ Constitutional right of free speech has been stifled. College instructors who dare to present their faith publicly are persecuted, censored, refused promotion or dismissed.

We are coming to the place where on college campuses, that have been traditionally sites for free and open discussion, Christians’ Constitutional right of free speech has been stifled. College instructors who dare to present their faith publicly are persecuted, censored, refused promotion or dismissed.    dove-vector-clipart

Persistence of Christianity

Christianity has weathered 2,000 years of persecution. The unbelieving Jews first crucified their Messiah and then persecuted His followers. The Romans tried for 300 years to stamp out Christianity. Islam, since the 8th Century, has sought out and slain massive numbers of Christians in the Near East, Africa, Eastern Europe, India and Southeast Asia. Islam has attempted to wipe out its most formidable competitor for men’s’ souls.

Christianity is like a half-filled balloon. One stamps on it seeking to burst and destroy it, but it expands right next door. The early Church Father, Tertullian stated, “The blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the Church.”

The world seeks to wipe out the Church, But Christians must not forget that the One, true God is the Author and Finisher of our faith individually and of the Church corporately. God delivered His message to one man, Abram, who delivered it to his son and he to his son and he to his 12 sons. The Children of Israel came out of Egypt ca. 2,000,000 strong. During over 40 years wandering around the Sinai wilderness, God shaped them into People of God. They entered the land God had promised and changed the name from Canaan to Israel. For nearly 1,000 years the Children of Israel inhabited more or less of the Land of Promise. They were more or less faithful to the One, true God. In punishment, the Jews were exiled from the Land for 70 years. As strangers in a strange land, they kept the faith. Upon return to the Land, they were more or less faithful.

Then, in the process of God’s time, Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God proclaimed the Good News. There was forgiveness of sins and the Kingdom of Heaven was at the door. His death brought a new paradigm. The risen Christ became the touchstone of faith. The Holy Spirit founded the Church of Christ with 120 faithful. Immediately 3,000 more were added. They scattered throughout the Roman world to become seeds of the Gospel of the Resurrected Christ. As I mentioned for 300 years Rome sought to eradicate Christianity; only to have Christianity take over the Empire.

God has kept faithful remnants to produce a massive movement that has touched the lives of 100s of millions of people. From time to time there have been persecutions that have wiped out small to large groups of believers. Still, the Resurrected Christ has continued to bestow upon believers resurrection life that secures them from death. Bodies die, but Christians do not.   dove-vector-clipart

With All The Options?

Why is faith in the Resurrected Jesus so persistent? What is it about Christianity that defies the attempts to crush it out of existence?

The simple answer is faith in the One true God. He protects His own. The supporting reality is that Christianity is based on truth. Truth is persistent because it is reality. Reality isn’t just believed, it IS. The resurrected Christ isn’t just believed, He lives. He lives in the lives of believers. He lives in the believing Christian Church. He lives in the world, independent of the Church and believers. He is God.

Modern MartyrsBelievers withstand torture and death. This is reality. They stand firm in faith because they know that even in horrific circumstances and even when they face death, they also know that God loves them. And in return they love God. They persist because they have hope anchored on the truth that their lives are not material, but spiritual and eternal. They know that their loving Lord has a place for them in His Kingdom, where they will live eternally. They know that this life will soon be over whether by a persecutor’s sword or by old age. Upon death, believers will be rewarded with celestial bodies that are incorruptible. Sickness, aging, grief will no longer exist for them. They are endowed with eternal joy in the love of God.

Yes, there are many religions to choose from and there are vast numbers that are adherents of other religions. By far it is a one-way street. Adherents of other religions convert to Christianity by thousands every year. The number of true Christians that convert willingly to other religions is a minuscule fraction.   dove-vector-clipart

The Power of Faith

I do not have the strength of faith to stand up to torture. However, I am not under such severe persecution. I know that My Lord will give me the strength to stand firm when I need it.

“For which cause I suffer also these things: yet I am not ashamed; for I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day. (2Tim. 1:12)

The Holy Spirit is the power of God. He is in the believer and with the believer. When we are born anew in Christ we receive the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Trinity comes as One. We are adopted into the family of God to be his sons and daughters of God. We surrender to Christ and receive from Him forgiveness of sin and His righteousness, which entitles us to eternal life. We receive the presence of the Holy Spirit who is the guarantee that we are in Christ and have eternal life in the Presence of the Father.   dove-vector-clipart

Power to Live in a Hostile World

However, the believer must have power to live the life of a Christian a hostile world. Jesus came to the Disciples in the Upper Room, where they locked themselves in for fear of the Jews. The Lord God, Jesus the Christ breathed on them and said “Receive the Holy Spirit. That was the moment they were born-again. They became believers, Christians.

Disciples receiving the Holy SpiritBut they still didn’t know what they were about, Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” He went back to his former trade, “Well, it was fun while it lasted, but back to reality.” Jesus met them on the seashore to give Peter his mission, “Feed My sheep.” On Ascension Day, Jesus indicated that the Disciples were thoroughly His men. They had been born again. They had received the Holy Spirit to be in them, but they had not received the power of the Spirit to be with them. Jesus said that they would receive the power of the Holy Spirit “not many days hence.” That was to be their empowering for ministry.

It is Jesus plan that all believers be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Most have not opened themselves to His power. They operate effectively on their own strength of faith and their witness is effective. However, God wants us to rely upon Him totally, not on our own strength. He has provided the Baptism in the Holy Spirit to be that empowerment. The release of the Holy Spirit allows Him to work in a believer’s life and He cannot until he or she lets go of the steering wheel and allows the Holy Spirit to drive the believer’s life.

The concept is scary. “Will He send me to Outer Mongolia to live in a yurt, drinking Yak milk and trying to learn the language? Will he send me to Arabia to preach on the street corners to be martyred?

I refrain from guaranteeing that God will not do that with a believer. But I will affirm that the ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit is a glory whose price it far above diamonds.

The Holy Spirit manifests his power in individuals through “Gifts”

  • Wisdom – supernatural understanding and counsel
  • Knowledge – revelation of something not learned
  • Faith – supernatural belief God will do the impossible
  • Prophesy – speaking words of God, often encouragement
  • Healing – restoration from physical maladies.
  • Miracles – changes in natural order by God’s power
  • Speaking in Tongues – a language that is not learned can be either private prayer or public declaration
  • Interpretation of Tongues – gives the sense of the Tongue offered as a public declaration.
  • Discernment of Spirits – supernatural recognition of good or evil spirits in a person or region

Each Gift is not the possession of the believer. “The Spirit gives severally as He will.” However, when the believer is open to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, as needed and at God’s discretion, she or he will “manifest the Gift or gifts appropriate. The Holy Spirit is in charge.  dove-vector-clipart

God’s Power is for All

The Holy Spirit’s power is for all believers, as are all the Gifts. There are times in a believer’s life when a situation is beyond him or her. That is where the power of the Holy Spirit and the manifestations of the Spirit are available and essential to meet the believers’ needs.

Kid with Glasses

Shout for Joy in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. (Psalm 33:1)

One of the attendant blessings that accompanies the Holy Spirit is a release of Joy. We see in the Psalms and in the Prophets interspersed with the cries of deliverance and warnings of condemnation, there are peons of joy where the writer is caught up in the glory of God. He cries out in Loud Praise, joyfully proclaiming the Glory of God. To be sure there are quiet, meditative prayers. However, the boisterous joy in the Presence of God and the outpourings of holy love for God can be like the crowd at ball games when their team wins a tight game. In truth, these joyous celebrations outnumber the contemplative.

When you consider it objectively, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is far greater than winning the World Series or the Super Bowl. It truly calls for praise and great joyfulness, empowered by the Holy Spirit. God said that Adam and Eve in their perfection were naked and unashamed. It is good to allow your love for the Lord to be shouted out and not be ashamed. It is good for one to release one’s control to the Holy Spirit and while moving emotionally out of one’s comfort zone, trust that the Holy Spirit will do all things decently in order.

The Lord is worthy of our most energetic praise and worship. Hallelujah! Christ is Risen! Christ is risen indeed, Hallelujah!   dove-vector-clipart

Questions Demanding Answers

This will be a recurring feature. I will pose a question in one issue. You will have the opportunity to send me answers. I will publish the best ones in the next issue. Please cite Biblical authority, and keep you answer within 250 words.

QUESTION: What does it mean to be among the elect of God?

ANSWER: God is the creator of all that exists. He is the Potter and all that is material is in His hands. God can shape and reshape anything.

He has perfect knowledge of everything, even our thoughts

“O Jehovah, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; Thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou searchest out 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 Jehovah, thou knowest it altogether.” (Psalms 139:1-4)

Since this is true, God has already decided who will be a part of His Kingdom and who will not.

Those to whom he gives the faith to believe are the elect.

God’s offer of salvation is free to all, but there are many who choose not to heed His voice. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice.” One looks at one’s family and friends. Because we love them we want them to be part of God’s eternal joy. But some refuse.

It breaks my heart that a sister and a brother refused my sharing of the Good News that Jesus was offering them a free ride into blessedness in eternal life.

They are in God’s hands now, but I fear I will not see them in God’s Kingdom.

God’s elect have embraced Jesus as their only Lord and Savior. They can live in His love, knowing they are secure for eternity. Therefore, whatever befalls this body, we know that we will have an imperishable, celestial body that will be free of pain and suffering for eternity. We will be able to bask in the love of God and enjoy the Marriage Supper of the Lamb as not only invited guests, but also as honored guests.

Yes, in a sense, the elect is an exclusive club. But it is open to all comers regardless of anything in their former lives. Even the most hardened criminal, who truly repents and believes in Jesus is welcomed. The poorest beggar, the most ignorant, the offscouring of the world who embrace Christ are welcomed with open arms. The richest men and women of the world, who love Jesus are the elect. It is neither lack of money nor bags of cash that matter. It is the heart. If the Holy Spirit has given one a love for Jesus and led her or him to surrender to Jesus as Lord and Savior, that is the admission to the exclusive club of the elect.

QUESTION: Are there really demons in the world?

The Holy of Holies

Join me in bowing before our God in gratitude that we can speak directly and personally to Him. He is our loving Father, so we can embrace Him boldly, but respectfully.

Holy Spirit, Spirit divine, open my eyes to see You as the true power of the Resurrection. Deliver me from the veil over my mind that prevents me from understanding spiritual things.

Lord Jesus, Risen Savior, I am humbled that You went willingly to the cross to die in my place. I need Your Spirit’s touch to release me from the bondage to habits of mind that do not expect You to act in my life.

Holy Spirit give me a lively faith to go boldly through my life, discarding all inhibitions that prevent me from loving my Father with abandon, prevent me from proclaiming the truth of the Gospel with clarity in all places, prevent me from worshipping exuberantly, and prevent me from bubbling so with joy that I become infectious to those I am with.

I love You Father, I love You, Jesus, I love You, Holy Spirit. I honestly desire to be conformed to the image of Christ. I want to be in Christ.

Give me the heart to discard all that prevents me from loving You with an unguarded heart. Give me the eagerness to serve you regardless of the cost. Give me the openness to embrace all you send to me, despite my sensibilities and my prejudices.

I give You glory. You are my majestic Lord God. You are the magnificent and glorious King of kings. Let all the earth praise You. Let the stars sing to Your glory. Let the planets leap for joy at Your creation. The brooks dance with joy as they obey Your laws to run down to the sea. The trees applaud Your wisdom and they grow according to Your placing of them in their position. The mountains grow up at Your command and submit to wearing down according to Your law.

Now Lord Jesus come quickly to earth and restore Your perfect peace. Bring about the promise that all nations will come to You in humble submission. We long for Your gracious reign from one end of the world to the other. We long for that unanimity of worship with every other person on the face of the earth. Your Righteous Reign will instill in us a worship of enormous joy encompassing the whole world as all peoples and languages and races join in choruses of song, rejoicing in Your love and relishing Your universal peace.

Hallelujah, my God and King.

Hallelujah, my Savior and Lord.

Hallelujah, my Spirit of power.

It is marvelous that I can own You, God. It is my privilege because You own me. My heart is Yours, as is my mind, hands, and feet. My future is Yours as was my past.

I surrender all to You my God! Amen


One, True God

30 Apr , 2017  

February 12, 2017

The Existence of Our Amazing God

singing-bowls-1615498_960_720“There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might.
Who would not fear you, O King of the nations? For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms is none like you.

They are both stupid and foolish; the instruction of idols is but wood! Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz. They are the work of the craftsman and of the hands of the goldsmith; their clothing is violet and purple; they are all the work of skilled men.

But the Lord is the true God; is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation.” (Jeremiah 10:6-10)

A January 2017 survey from reveals that 76% of the nation personally believes in the existence of a God

That percent is down sharply from 2011 Gallup Poll that reported 92% believe God exists.

I suspect that half of those who say they believe in God, do not believe in a personal God. They understand God as one who created all things, set them in motion and left the world for us to manage. That is a Deistic “Clockmaker God”.

In contrast, we, who have affirmed that we believe in the personal God, because we have embraced Jesus as our Savior, the Father has adopted as His sons and daughters.

Certain That We are Known

Therefore, I’m asking that we pray in two modes:

  • First, we’ll pray corporately and individually to acknowledge our One, True God. I will pray a general prayer and then pause so each who would like to may affirm his or her love for God in a personal way.
  • Then I will offer a prayer for the joys and needs we have and know of. Again, I will pause to allow individual prayer.

Please join with me in expressing to God what He means to us.


Untitled design (18)You are our God. You have come to each of us personally. You know us intimately. You love us extravagantly. You are active in our lives daily. We are so privileged to have You as our God. We love You Father, our Brother, our Master and our Friend.

Pause for Prayer

Please offer your expressions of thanksgiving, praise, and petition to our loving God.


Our gracious Lord God we are deeply thankful that You have become a significant force in our lives. Your love for us emboldens us to come before You to express our needs and those of people we care for.

Pause for Prayer

Hallelujah! Our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We open our hearts to You to fill us with your truth and love. Give us the power to live our lives as proof that you are real, active and loving God.

Join with me in the Prayer that Our Savior taught us, saying…

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.



Loveliness of God

30 Apr , 2017  

April 30, 2017

Meditating on God

Here are the middle verses of Psalm 19.

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. (Psalms 19:7-11)


More desired than fine gold

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Since our God is infinite and perfect; therefore, His loveliness and lovableness are worthy of our most passionate expression. This love expressed for God’s word is in a sense a proxy for our love for God.

If God’s word is more to be desired than gold…sweeter than honey…in the keeping of them is a great reward, what then Is God Himself? How should our hearts respond when we focus on Him to speak to Him?

John Piper says in his great book, Desiring God, “True worship must include inward feelings that reflect the worth of God’s glory…  But there is such a thing as hypocrisy – going through the outward motions (like singing, praying, giving, reciting) which signify the affections of the heart that are not there.”

A bit later he says, “Worship is authentic when affections for God arise in the heart as an end in themselves.”

Receiving God’s Love

As we turn to prayer, let us each recognize that the most loving Father, the most generous Saviour and the most gracious Spirit are tenderly and compassionately hearing what we pray. He is Present with each of us individually because he loves each of us. Knowing this, let us open our hearts to receive His adoration and allow our gratitude to express our love, adoration, and joy in His presence.

Untitled design (16)

Father, it is beyond our understanding the You, El Shaddai, Almighty God, should condescend to be Present with each one of us.  Loving Lord Jesus, our gratitude is overwhelming, when we consider your magnificent sacrifice for each one of us.  Ever present guide, Holy Spirit, free our hearts to be filled to overflowing with our love for You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Please offer your hearts to God to fill with His love.

Pause for Prayer

Prompted by the love of God, lift to him the burden that is in your heart for others and for yourself.

Pause for Prayer

Mighty God and majestic Lord, You have in mercy and loving-kindness come to each one of us.  You have moved into our hearts to dwell with us in all we do.  We are in humble awe of that fantastic truth.  We thank you and surrender to your love as we join in the Prayer that Our Savior taught us, saying…

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.




Comments Inspired by the Death of a Loved One

28 Apr , 2017  

Ted Bradshaw  April 28. 2017

Sadness of Loss is Not the End of the Story

We grieve when a loved one leaves for an extended trip, but it is grief mitigated by the strong expectation that it is just a separation for a time. We can be confident that we will soon be in one another’s arms again.

“But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that fall asleep; that ye sorrow not, even as the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Paul has been given a great and glorious revelation of the Lord’s return.

Day of Ascension

“This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11

Prior to this, all the believers had was the early revelation to the Disciples on the Day of Ascension.

“And when he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they were looking stedfastly into heaven as he went, behold two men stood by them in white apparel; who also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye looking into heaven? this Jesus, who was received up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye beheld him going into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)

While it was a fantastic promise that Jesus would return, it revealed nothing of what the believers would experience when they died.

We Will Rise to Be with Jesus

God in His mercy for the concerns of the ignorant believers, gave this revelation. Again, it is sketchy, but enough to give us hope in our, and our believing loved ones, personal resurrection 2,000 years later.

The Sequence Revealed

  • Jesus, the Son of God will descend from the Kingdom of God
  • With a shout! The voice of an Archangel will declare the end and the beginning
  • The trumpet call of God will sound
  • The dead in Christ will rise first, leaving behind their graves
  • We that are alive will be caught up in the clouds
  • The living and revived will meet together “in the clouds”, somewhere between earth and God’s Kingdom
  • Our gracious and loving Lord will meet with all His saints
  • Finally and eternally, we all will ever be with Him in His Kingdom and with the Father, the Holy Spirit and with all the Seraphim, Cherubim, Archangels, and Angels

The Dead in Christ Shall Rise First

There has been a concern that cremation instead of burial would interfere with this glorious resurrection.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will be the first to rise.   (1 Thessalonians 4:16)

God plans that we will have new bodies. These will be “celestial bodies”.

“But some one will say, How are the dead raised? and with what manner of body do they come? Thou foolish one, that which thou thyself sowest is not quickened except it die: and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not the body that shall be, but a bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other kind; but God giveth it a body even as it pleased him, and to each seed a body of its own. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fishes. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.” (1 Corinthians 15:35-40)

150402celestial-bodiesthe-districtGod does not need the material atoms of our fleshly bodies to give us celestial bodies. Cremation with its dispersal of gasses and the reduction to ash that may blow away the wind is irrelevant. Just as those bodies of sailors who drown in the sea and are eaten, or the bodies of those who die in the wilderness and become carrion are irrelevant.

Our bodies are simply vehicles to transport our persons, our immaterial souls and spirits.

God knows the person that is each one of us. The Creator does not need the elements of our physical bodies to give us new heavenly bodies. He will reclothe each believer’s soul and spirit in an eternal, imperishable celestial body.

What Age Will We Be?

People ask what age they will be in heaven when they die. Will babies still be babies? Will youth retain their youth? Will the elderly retain their wrinkles? These are questions from our fixation with time and material. On the contrary, these physical bodies are disposable.

Jesus said,

“For in the resurrection, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as angels in heaven.” (Matthew 22:30)

Relationships will be different in Heaven, in a similar way, our spiritual, celestial bodies will be different.

“Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is.” (1 John 3:2)

woman-571715_960_720Since these bodies are irrelevant to God’s kingdom our new bodies will be designed by God.

When the Trumpet sounds and the Archangel shout, then Christ Jesus will appear. The dead in Christ will rise! Dead and alive, alike, will be rescued from global, eternal destruction.

Those who have died will rise first. I do not know if those, who are living will see the dead in Christ arise since it will be the souls and spirits of each deceased believer that our Lord will resurrect. But I expect we will sense them rising because we are soon (immediately) to follow.

I suspect the popular idea of the empty clothes left behind is false. My conception, since we will have celestial bodies too, is that the living believers will, to the eyes of unbelievers, just disappear as Jesus did several times.

Another possibility is that our earthly bodies, no longer needed, will be shucked like snake’s skin, left behind to dissolve with all the material world.

Regardless of the mechanism, the living and the dead will meet beyond the physical world, “in the air”.

A Glorious Reunion!

Can you imagine the grand a glorious reunion! Believers from Adam and Eve to Abraham and Sarah, to Ruth and Obed to Mary and Joseph, to Aquilla and Priscilla to Martin and Katharina Luther, to Johnathan and Sarah Edwards to George and Martha Washington, to our parents and siblings and children and all our believing friends, meeting together!

“For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

I believe we will know these brothers and sisters intimately just as God knows each one of us.

After glad-handing one another, then and finally, we will be united with our God and Savior, our Father, our Lord, and our Guide and Counselor.

“But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that fall asleep; that ye sorrow not, even as the rest, who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

Hope does not disappoint believers since it is founded on God’s Word.

“Being, therefore, justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom also we have had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand; and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we also rejoice in our tribulations: knowing that tribulation worketh steadfastness; and steadfastness, approvedness; and approvedness, hope: and hope putteth not to shame; because the love of God hath been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit which was given unto us.” (Romans 5:1-5)

woman_1-black-worshipping-godThe Promise for All in Christ

Do you not see the promise in this?! Nothing can separate us from the love of God. And nothing can separate us from the ones He loves. Death is but a temporary absence one from another. Death is no more than an “extended-trip-to-the-grocery-store” absence from one another.

Just so, in a believer’s death. Jesus has promised, We WILL be in one another’s arms again, and soon!

Yes! There is great comfort in this promise for those who truly trust in Christ!


Read a Prayer for the Deceased.






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Evangelism Outreach

16 Apr , 2017  

C.S. Lewis writes,

All our merely natural activities will be accepted if they are offered to God, even the humblest, and all of them, even the noblest, will be sinful if they are not.    Sermon preached, October 1939, Learning in War-Time

The glory of God, and, as our only means of glorifying him, the salvation of the human soul, is the real business of life.   Christianity and Culture, Christian Reflections.

Evangelism is Our Business

EvangelismFor Christians, “the real business of life” is evangelism. Initially, one believer told an unbeliever what they had found in Christ. It was a part of the life of the believer to share his or her gift of truth with those without. As the church became transformed from an outcast faith into a state-recognized force, evangelism, became a lessening of a neighbor-telling-neighbor. Increasingly parents nurtured their children in the faith. Living in a Christian culture reinforced the nurture provided by parents.

For centuries, the assumption was that the children of believers would by nurture grow up to be Christians. The only evangelism was among the unreached people, and that was the work of the missionary.

This is no longer true.

Losing Our Faith

From the time children leave home to go to school, many if not most of the believers’ children are lured away for the faith by education, the media and peers.

In today’s culture, the assumption that most Americans (or for that matter, those in Western Nations, the “Bastion” of Christianity) are Christians or at least have a basic knowledge of Christianity is false. For two generations, people have grown up unchurched and without basic Christian education. No longer do churches conduct tent revivals with sinners, treading the sawdust trail to be saved. We no longer experience desperate sinners darkening the doors of churches seeking deliverance. Churches rarely, if ever, have an evangelical sermon preached concluding in an altar call.

How Do We Share Our Faith?

Believers in the face of a hostile culture do not want to participate in a programmatic evangelistic push.

  • In this culture, no one wants a stranger coming to their door.
  • We are too busy to dedicate the time necessary.
  • We don’t know what to say.
  • We’re already doing evangelism individually.
  • We fear rejection.

The question is not what we want to do, but the imperative of our Savior.

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were distressed and scattered, as sheep not having a shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest indeed is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth laborers into his harvest.    (Matthew 9:36-38)

“Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh the harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white already unto harvest. He that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal; that he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.” (John 4:35-36)

“And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

“Then opened he their mind, that they might understand the scriptures; and he said unto them, Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer, and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Ye are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I send forth the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:45-49)

“and, being assembled together with them, he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, ye heard from me: for John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days hence. They therefore, when they were come together, asked him, saying, Lord, dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know times or seasons, which the Father hath set within his own authority. But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:4-8)

This is Why We Evangelize

This is truth:

  • All have sinned and are justly condemned to eternal separation from the love of God. (Roman 3:23-26)
  • There is only one way for anyone to have eternal life of blessedness in the Presence of the loving God. That is through faith in and surrender to the Lordship of Jesus, the Son of God and Savior of mankind. (John14:6)
  • All believers have entered into these truths. Therefore, we have an obligation and a privilege to share these truths with those who are living under the wrath of God against sin.
  • The Holy Spirit is waiting t0 be called upon to encourage and empower you to do the work of evangelism.

Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.    (Joshua 1:6-7)

Ye are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send forth the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high.    (Luke 24:48-49)

If We Believe, We Can Evangelize

Small-Group-Bible-Study-e1428514391384It is my understanding that the members of evangelical churches have surrendered their lives to Christ and are safe from the wrath of God against sin. Believers have been adopted into the family of God. We are secure through this life and into eternity. There we will be blessed with God’s love forever. What a fantastic and wonderful truth! This is a promise of God that cannot be broken. We among all people are greatly blessed.

These Promises are not ours to keep, but our Lord Jesus has given them to us to share. What an extraordinary privilege we have, to give to those who are destitute. They are as Paul described,

Wherefore remember, that once ye, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision, in the flesh, made by hands; that ye were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.   (Ephesians 2:11-12)

People without Christ, have no experience of the love of God in their lives. They are unaware that they are doomed to an eternity of torment, separated from the love of God. What they do not know will hurt them not only greatly, but eternally.

Our love for our Father should impel us to share the wonderful news of Jesus’ offer to all. Our desire to obey our Master’s voice should motivate us to witness to God’s glorious offer to trade a tattered and terminal life for a life of joy in Christ that is eternal and incorruptible.

Evangelical Outreach

I propose every church develop a program of Evangelical Outreach, seeking to reach beyond our comfort zone of the people within our frame of reference.

Jesus said that his Disciples, who lived with him and soaked up his teachings, did not have what it takes to do the work of the ministry. What they lacked was the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

Too many churches lack the power of the Holy Spirit. We are caught in the interim between salvation and the empowerment to share the wonderful gift we have received.

Culture of Openness

We need to build into our congregations the culture of openness to the Holy Spirit’s power for personal evangelism and organizational evangelism. It begins with an emphasis from the pulpit that Jesus has charged all of us, who are sons and daughters of Almighty God, to share the Gospel with the destitute and to receive the empowerment of the Spirit to do so.

Evangelism Sermon Series

I propose a sermon series on Evangelism (4-6 weeks)

  • The Basic Gospel and calling for each to reaffirm his or her surrender to Christ
  • The Work of the Holy Spirit
    • in the lives of believers
    • in the efforts to evangelize
  • The Benefits of Evangelism
    • to the believer and
    • to the receiver
  • The Reality of Hell
  • People Without Christ; The Biblical reality that people without Christ will be Eternally Damned
  • Evangelism with The Holy Spirit; the Spirit’s convicting role and His guiding role in Evangelism

Evangelism Classes

I propose in addition a series of classes in Evangelism to Individuals

  1. Introduction to the Empowering Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Scripture Memorization – we need the word in our hearts as ammunition for the battle
  3. How to approach unbelievers
  4. The Promises we have in Jesus Christ
  5. Methods of Evangelism
  6. Operation Winsome
  7. The Four Spiritual Laws
  8. The Alpha Course
  9. Evangelism Explosion

Let’s Share the Good News!

sharing-the-good-newsI call upon the leaders of the churches to become proactive to determine the type of outreach evangelism and commit to it. Start with promotion from the pulpit, in newsletters and leaders personally promoting it among the membership. While it may be headed by anyone in the church, the effort must be approved and promoted by and involvement of the leadership.

Let’s share the joy of salvation through the blood of Jesus, and the assurance of an eternity in the holy presence of our Lord!



Christ and Culture

Happy, Happy Easter!!

16 Apr , 2017  

Hallelujah! He is Risen!

He is Risen. Hallelujah!!

resurrectionThis is the traditional call and response in more liturgical churches on Easter morning. It is a joyous affirmation of our faith. We are participants in Christ’s resurrection because in our surrender to Him as Lord, we died in Him to sin and were resurrected to new life as adopted children of Almighty God and joint heirs with Jesus.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.    (John 3:16-17)

That is such fantastic news that leaping and shouting and dancing with joy is appropriate despite the disparaging looks from those who do not yet understand. Good News! Even greater than winning WWII or the Super Bowl, or personally winning a mega-jackpot lottery. Those are wonderful but quickly past.

resurrection-1And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.    (John 14:3-6)

Good News! Even greater than winning WWII or the Super Bowl, or personally winning a mega-jackpot lottery. Those are wonderful, but quickly past.

Our win is eternal. Jesus in embracing us has given us victory over sin and death. We are co-winners over the enemy of our souls. We have been invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! We have been given the inestimable privilege of living in the presence of the God who is love, for eternity. We will have joy unspeakable and full of glory without end.

Happy, happy Easter!!

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