Friday, June 20, 2008

Leaving in the AM

Buenos dias Senor and senora and senoritas, Well, we've packed and filled 25 suit cases full of medicines and medical supplies. We've repackaged some medicines as if the prescription has already been written and we are ready to go to San Pedro Sula Honduras and later on to Comayagua Honduras. We have two doctors, two dentist, two P.A. and numerous nurses and special medical assistants going on this trip. Actually 42 of us. It would be a legitimate question to ask, Why am I going? As I said before, I really don't know why yet, because my only medical experience was when I was in the military and that's been many, many years ago. I can't speak Spanish, but I am learning a few phrases. Que tenga un buen dia. Como estas. Estoy bein gracious. Como se llama usted? Mi nombre es Eduardo.

That's about it at this time but I hope to know more soon. Last year, we had over 500 persons pray to receive Christ during an eight day clinic. Over 350 teeth pulled, over 1000 people seen by doctors and 15 suit cases of medicines dispensed. We anticipate many more this year. So I'm excited and expectant of God to do something even more abundantly than I can imagine. Oh yes, I have learned one other phrase which at the age of 62, almost 63, I really needed and I'll let you figure this one out. Donde estan los serviciou? Pray for us and the people that we will minister to.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Just had to share this with you.

This morning in my quiet time, I came across this statement. "None of us can enthrone the true God unless in the process we dethrone our other gods." Wow! That really caused me to think. Do I have other gods still on the throne? Then I remembered another statement that I had read during the time I was writing about the Rapture. "If Christ is not Lord over (you fill in the blank), then He is not our Lord." Because this statement set heavy over my thinking, I had to take inventory as to what or who I might give preeminence to over or before Christ. Folks, the more I thought about this, the more God brought to my remembrance of things I cherished or perhaps placed before Him. Listen to the list: Time: Many times I spend 30 minutes or even an hour in quiet time before God and think I've done well. But at the same time, I spent 3 hours yesterday afternoon watching Tiger Woods in the U.S. Open. Effort: Saturday, I worked furiously and hard getting things ready so the painter could get started painting our house on Tuesday. I took all the screens down, I moved all the plant stands, I even fixed a window lock that needed adjusting. I was serious about this and I made all the changes that were needed in order to get this process started. You could say, I was zealous about doing everything just right. Yet, this morning as I came to work, and just in case you don't know this, I work at my church as a Stewardship Pastor, thinking, I dread this week because I have so much to do. Money: I tithe more than 10% of my gross earnings and I give offerings above that and this morning as I came to work, I saw a man standing at the intersection with a sign that said, "Hungry, homeless, please help and I drove on by without giving him much of a second thought.

These are just a few of the things that came to my mind and I'm certain that if I continued to consider these things, that God would bring other things to my mind where I allow other things to be more important. You see when I saw that man on the street corner, my thinking was, "Yeaa, I bet you have more money in your pocket than I do. You see, this man may have had more cash in his pocket than I do, but the principle would be the same if he didn't. The question here is where is my compassion. Jesus spoke about the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37 Two religious leaders passed by and did nothing and the good samaritan not only bandaged him up, but saw to his needs for many days to come.

OK, I just had to blog about this, because I think we all sometimes allow other gods to come before God and we need to do some "dethroneing". Just thought you might relate to this. I certainly want God to be Lord and I many times take Him off the throne of my life by putting other gods on the throne.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The last and final Question on Rapture

Well, the more I studied the Rapture, the more I concluded that this is a subject that could be written about forever. There is so much that I could write about but I must admit, some of it is confusing. Only confusing because of my lack of understanding, certainly not confusing to God and maybe not even to you. We've not discussed the historical and Hermeneutical basis of Pre-trib, Intervening events in heaven and earth, nor the judgement of Israel or the Gentiles, the Partial Rapture theory, the doctrine of the end and the Day of the Lord, the work of the Holy Spirit now and then and on and on. So then, I must come to a conclusion on this issue of Rapture vs. Second Coming and I must decide where I stand in my understanding of God's Word and what my Spirit allows the Spirit of God to convince and convict me of. What it really comes down to is this: Is my faith strong enough to believe that God will do what He says and am I willing to take HIm at His Word when He says, that He has gone back to prepare a place for me and that one day He will return and take me where He is and that we will be together for eternity. Do I believe that the Church is His Bride and that just as any Groomsmen would do, he will protect her.
Do I really believe that "Hope"is saftey and security or will that "Hope" allow me to suffer under the Great Tribulation? Many, Many questions and within the church today there are many, many answers. Only one is right and I pray you will study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
I believe scripture itself proves that the church is in nowise involved in the Great Tribulation. Scripture futher demonstrates that in spite of the fact that tribulation has characterized the warfare of the saints through the ages, a future time of trouble is in prospect for which the term"the great tribulation" represents.
Will the church be translated or go through that Great Tribulation? You must conclude that we will not. Well, I've done the best I can to help you and me see the clarity of the Rapture Questions and now it's up to you. What will you do with what you've read. What will you do with the rest of scripture? My prayer for you is that you will know that you know that you know what you believe and why?

Well, I'm going on a medical mission trip to Honduras. Don't ask me why, because all I know is that I'm just being obedient to what God has placed before me. I can't speak Spanish and I'm not a doctor or nurse and yet He said "Go" and so I'm going, not knowing what to expect other than I know His plan for my life and I'm living it out at this time. Then shortly after returning, I hope to go see Beth and Lisa and my grandchildren. This summer is real busy, I am speaking at several churches on Stewardship and will be training financial counselors at 3 different churches this summer. Next June, I will be going to the UK and train over 500 financial counselors in a two week period of time. I love doing what I do and I can't believe that they pay me to do this. God is so good and so in control.
Next , I'm thinking that I may either go through the book of Revelation vs by vs. or who knows, I may just do some random blogging. Let me know what you would like to hear. It really does make a difference if you just say "hey" to let me know your out there. God bless and will be back shortly;

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Done it again!

Well as you can see, If it takes brains, I can't do it. I had written the last blog on Raputre and didn't save it and when I tried to post it, it was Raptured, I guess. Oh Well, perhaps later today, I will attempt to re-write this final blog on Rapture and perhaps this time, I will "gether done".

Final Question on Rapture

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Question #7 Rapture and Second Coming Contrasted

OK, are you current now and have you followed all of the Rapture Question so far? Because the Rapture is so important to our beliefs concerning the HOPE we have in Christ, knowing what you believe is so important. Now today, I want to contrast the Rapture or Translation to the Second Coming of Christ. Many people try to harmonize these two by suggesting they are one in the same, but those who attempt to do that must resort to wholesale spiritualization of details that do nothing but clash and they have to turn a blind eye to the striking differences as described in Scripture.

(a)At the time of Rapture (translation), the saints will meet the Lord in the air.
(b)At the time of the Second Coming, Christ will return to the Mount of Olives which on that occassion will undergo a great transformation, a valley being formed to the east of Jerusalem where the Mount of Olives was formerly located. (see Zech. 14:4-5

(a)At the Rapture,(Christ coming for His church, the living saints are also Raptured (translated),
(b)At the coming of Christ to establish His Kingdom, there is no translation whatever

(a) At the Rapture (translation)of the church, Christ returns with the saints to heaven.
(b) At the second coming, Christ remains on the earth and reigns as King.

(a)At the time of the Rapture(tranlation), the earth is not judged and sin continues,
(b)At the time of the second coming, sin is judged and righteiousness fills the earth.

(a) The Rapture(translation) is before the day of wrath from which the church is promised deliverance.
(b)The second coming floows the great tribulation and outpoured judgement and brings them to climax and culmination in the establishment of the millennial kingdom.

(a)The Rapture(translation) is described as an imminent event.
(b)The second coming will follow definite prophesied signs.

(a) The Rapture(translation)of the church is revealed only in the New Testament
(b)The second coming of Christ is the subject of prophesy in both Testaments.

(a)The Rapture(translation) conccerns only the saved of this age.
(b)The second coming of Christ deals with saved and unsaved.

(a)At the Rapture(translation), only those in Christ are affected.
(b)At the second coming, not only men oare affected but Satan and his hosts are defeated and Satan is bound.

Now agreed, there are some similarities in the two events, but contrary to some opinions, that doesn't prove they are the same. There are some similarities between the first and second coming of Christ, but these have been separated by almost two thousand years. After the church is Raptured(translated), tribulation saints will be able to see the distinction of the coming for Rapture(Translation) and the coming to establish the kingdom in full clarity.

Now just a small note to really confuse you, some Pre-Trib believe in what is called a partial rapture meaning that only those who are faithful in the church will be raptured or translated and the rest will either be raptured sometime during the tribulation or at its end. They believe "The saints will be raptured in groups during the tribulation as they are prepared to go." I do not intend to give any more mention of this because, again, I believe our HOPE is in Christ taking us away from the Great Tribulation.

That's enough for today and I hope this is interesting to you. If it is, please let me know, It helps just to know that someone is actually reading this and getting something out of it. Just say "hey" just to let me know you want me to continue.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Question #6 The Rapture Question

OK, have you kept up with the questions so far? Ask yourself right now, Of the things I have read, what makes the most sense to me at this time? Of course, you don't have to understand when and how it happens, because that's why we call it "hope". It's faith believing that God is true to His word and having never been raptured before, it's all a faith issue. You've never seen God and yet you beleive. Right? Same thing here, this is something not seen, but believed to be true and therefore, "HOPE" is what we have.
OK, we discussed last time, who is the church that is mentioned when we talk about the Rapture? Again, you must know what you believe about this in order to determine what you believe about the rest. Much of the confusion arising from these things I've been discussing as to whether the church will go through the tribulation has its source in difference of opinion as to the nature of the tribulation itself. Both the post-trib and the mid-trib views have a different concept of the tribulation than the Pre-trib position. Their views depend upon less literal interpretation of the tribulation passages. A literal interpretation of Scriptures dealing with tribulation, however, supports the pre-trib concept. Interpretation of scripture is very important as you study this aspect of what is going to happen. Post-trib believe we are in the great tribulation now. Now is the great tribulation and tribulation one in the same or are they different. Chapter 7 of Rev. uses the phrase "great tribulation" and the other question here is the confusion with church and saints. Many Scholars say this is only place where the term Great Tribulation is used in scripture, but Christ used this same term in Matthew 24:21 and in the old testament it is used in Jeremiah 30:7 and is referred to something obnormal in Daniel 12:1. Scripture reveals in many passages that the church may expect tribulation. Christ told his disciples in John 16:33 they would experience tribulation and he told them in John 15:20 that they would be persecuted and Paul and Barnabas told beleivers in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch that they must go through tribulation to enter into the kingdom of God. Paul also says in Romans 5:3 for us to rejoice because of tribulation and obviously Paul and John both mentioned tribulation many times in their writings. Now this said, I believe that there is a difference between tribulation and the great tribulation. we as Christians are told we will go through tribulations and persecutions but the future time of Great Tribulation will concern 3 classes of people. 1. the nation Israel; 2. the pagan Gentile world; 3 the saints or elect who will live in that time of trouble. It is of utmost significance that every scripture which describes the participants in this future tribulation period refers to Israelites as Israelites, Gentiles as Gentiles, and the saints as saints without ever once using any of the distinctive terms that apply to believers in this present age. The tribulation passages in the Old and New Testament further illustrate that there is a twofold purpose in the time of great tribulation: 1. to bring to conclusion"the times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24
2. to prepare for the restoration and the regathering of Israel in the millennial reign of Christ following the second advent. The purpose of the tribulation therefore is not to purge the church, nor is it primarily a discipline of believers. It deals in broad terms with both Gentiles and Israel in anticipation of the collapse of Gentile power and the restoration of Israel as the nation.
In conclusion: When we look at the major portion of Scripture dealing with the tribulation confirms that the church is in nowise involved in the time fo future trouble. Even though tribulation has been characterized as the warfare of the saints through the ages, it is eveident that there will be a future time which is termed "Great Tribulation". Therefore you should not be confused with these two terms, "Tribulatin" and "Great Tribulation".
Now ask youself this Question: After reading the scriptures mentioned in this writing, what makes the most sense? What do I really believe now and if I am part of the church, where is our "hope" if we have to go through that"Great and terrible day". Hope this helps and I hope it gives you more "hope" in Christ as the Savior of mankind. Stay tuned next as we talk about the translation and the Second Coming.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Question #5 Who is the Church as used in Scripture?

OK, I'm back from a needed weeks vacation. Just a note of interest, perhaps, we went to Nashville, Tenn. I was born and lived in Tennessee good portion of my life and never went to the Grand Ole Opry, but now I can say, I've been there and done that. Saw Carry Underwood, Montgomery Gentry, Old Bill Anderson, Jim Reeves and other's I don't remember. Stayed one night at Opryland Hotel. One night is all I could afford, and now I have to eat crackers for a week to make up for it. Went to the Hermitage(President Andrew Jackson's home) and obviously sought out every mall between Atlanta and Nashville. Ok I'm back and ready to talk about the church.

I told you in my last blog, that I'm a pretribulationalist and it's safe to say that pretribulationism depends upon a particular definition of the church, and any consideration which does not take this major factor into consideration will make any communication, beside the point.

If the term "Church" includes saints of all ages, then it is self-evident that the church will go through the tribulation, as all agree that there will be saints in this time of trouble. If, however, the term "church" applies only to a certain body of saints, namely, the saints of the present dispensation, then the possibility of the translation of the church before the tribulation is possible and even probable.
So, defining the "church" is all important in order to determine what and how we should believe concerning the Rapture.
In the New Testament, the Greek word "ecclesia" is found in at least four important meanings. It is used to mean, 1. an assembly of people. In this sense it has no special theological meaning. it can refer to Israel as a gathered people in the wilderness (Acts 7:28) or a regular assembly of citizens (Acts 19:39) or a group of people gathered for a religious worship.(Heb. 2:12)
2. The same word is used for an assembly of Christians in a local church (Acts 8:1,3; 11:22,26) and in the plural for a group of such churches (1 Cor. 16:19; Gal. 1:2) Each assembly or church has a local gathering composed of professed Christians. That all in the assembly are not necessarily true believers is clear from messages to the seven churches of Asia. (Rev. 2-3)
3. Ecclesia is also used of the total of professing Christians without reference to locality and is practically parallel in this sense to Christendom. (Acts 12:1; Rom. 16:16, 1 Cor. 15:9; Gal. 1:13, Rev. 2:1 3:22)
4. The same word is used of the body of Christ, composed of those baptised by the Holy Spirit into the church. (1 Cor. 12:13) Ecclesia used in this connection becomes a technical word referring to the saints of this age.

The church future in Matthew 16:18. The teaching that the body of Christ in the New Testament is a separate entity is supported by the predictive statement of Christ. "Upon this rock I will build my Church." The figure of speech rests upon the concept of a future undertaking. Christ did not say, "I am building" but "I will build". It is significant that this is the first reference to the church in the New Testament, and is here regarded as a future undertaking of Christ Himself.

The body of Christ was formed at Pentecost. (Acts 1:5) Christ predicted: "John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days hence". Ten days later was the Day of Pentecost. The classic passage on the baptism of the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor. 12:13 declares: "For in (by) one spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit." What does this mean? The Baptism of the Spirit is the act of God by which the individual believer of Christ is placed into the body of Christ. The Spirit is the agent by whom the work of God is accomplished.

Now let me say, that The church age, Daniels seventieth week, the mystery of One Body, The church as an organism, Christ in you, Christ the fullness of the Godhead bodily, the indwelling Christ the hope of glory, translation of saints as a comforting hope, are all issues which we could discuss, but you would leave me before I could say any of these things, so let me conclude with this;
Based on the usage of the word ecclesia in the New Testament and the obvious contrasts in the character of the church to believers in either the Old Testament or the future millennium, I have to conclude and I believe scripture validates this, that the body of believers in the present age which composes the church has a distinct place in God's plan and program and as such is contrasted to saints who will come to know Christ in the tribulation period or in the future millennium.
Therefore, when the question is considered whether the church will go through the tribulation, the last generation of the church living on earth at the time is in view and must not be confused with those described as saints or with Israel or with the elect in the tribulation period. One other note: Never are tribulation saints referred to as a church , or as the body of Christ, or as indwelt by Christ, or as subject to translation or as the bride.

Now you have to decide if these questions spur your thinking and what of all this do you believe. Remember faith is the substance of things not seem. Does this help you as you go forward to knowing that you know and does it put things in place for you as you give thought to the provoking Question of Rapture of the Church. Stay tuned and I will give you some thoughts to consider when you think
"Tribulation" as contrasted to "The Great Tribulation".