Passion: The Comforter Bears Witness

     “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. ” John 15: 26,27 KJV

          My favorite game as a kid was “Superfriends”. Yep, no hide and seek for me, no baseball or football. I was a role player all the way. While other kids were learning to catch, I was pouring over the comic section at the local penny candy store and wishing I could be like Superman, Green Lantern, or The Flash. Truth is  I was the nerd who could read before he started kindergarten but always got picked last in gym. I think I liked imagination games because at least on that playing field I stood a chance of competing and winning.

     Real life, though, isn’t a role-playing game. I soon found out that being able to answer all the questions in class and running slower than the girls puts you on the bottom rung of the social ladder for the most part and keeps you there particularly if you never hit your stride.

     It’s not really a wonder that my childhood game turned into a preadolescent fascination with the supernatural. My penchant for comic books turned into a thirst for books about the New Age. I began trying to channel spirits and believed I could talk to the dead. By thirteen I was one weird, messed up kid.

     But then through a series of events God broke in on my life. I wasn’t seeking Him. I was looking to talk to the dead guy who owned my parents house in the fifties. But God was looking for me. The Comforter, the Holy Spirit of God, sent a witness in the form of a godly teacher.

      When I told my mother that I wanted to go to my teacher’s church she said “No if you’re going to go to any church it will be your Uncle Tom’s.”

     That was strange because everyone in the family thought Uncle Tom was crazy. But the Holy Spirit knew what I needed; So He arranged it. I remember my first experience with the Pentecostal Church. It was wild! I heard people speaking in tongues and other people interpreting those tongues. Another guy spoke a  prophetic word  in the service. Then the pastor called people forward for divine healing. People fell over while he was praying for them and all the while the church was singing and rejoicing in the Lord. There was a lot of clapping and shouting and praising God…and I experienced the supernatural presence of God for the first time ! Right there in that little New England Assembly of God I found the Source of all power and somehow I knew I didn’t have to imagine being “super” any more. I realized if I could just tap into this Source I would never be the “weak one” again.

     A movement has grabbed our churches since those days. Some of us have become “seeker-sensitive” espousing a notion that supernatural displays of power in the public service will turn people off and send them packing out our doors. I’m here to testify that is a lie. I needed the supernatural presence of God. Other people need it too. The Holy Spirit and His demonstrations of power are indeed outlandish, wild, extreme, sometimes even a little frightening…but they prove God is powerful to a world that is craving empowerment.

      Maybe the Holy Spirit freaks out the people who have always been picked first for the gym class. Maybe He seems strange to those who already have it in their heads they can make it on their own steam. But I have to tell you this “wimpy kid”, lost in his own personal dungeons and dragons game, needed a Comforter who would testify about a Jesus who loved me even though I didn’t measure up. I still need that! Somewhere along the way the Holy Spirit became that equalizing force I always craved.  

     How many I wonder are like me? Let’s open our eyes to the fact that we live in a nation increasingly disempowered seeking something.. anything that will fill the void of our weakness. It has always been the Spirit’s job to point the world to Jesus through displays of power that confirm the truth, that He alone can fill that void! The church has the responsibility to partner with him in that witness. We have been called to let His power flow!

Quench Not the Spirit. Happy Pentecost!

Are you Being Tucked In? Pt. 4

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Ma 11; 28,29 NLT

     Today we come to the conclusion of our series on receiving the comfort of God. Our final point is considering His ways.

     Finally Jesus said we are to Consider His ways. In Matthew 11 He says “let me teach you.”

     We use to have a ministry in the AG called bible quiz. It was a ministry that encouraged kids to memorize the Bible. I was terrible at it but I got more out of it than I think any other Bible study I ever did. Because I was putting the Word of god directly into my heart. I was daily meditating on the Scripture. Prayer is wonderful. Faith is awesome, but it is only half the picture. Hiding the Word in our hearts is the other half of the coin. It is the Word of God that changes how we think. Prayer brings power. The word brings revelation. In order to be comforted we need both. Let’s look at some Scriptures regarding the importance of putting Scripture inside our hearts:

“How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. ” Psalm 119:9-11 NLT

“Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.” Prov. 30:5 NLT

“Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” Luke 11:28NLT

“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12 NLT

     The fact is Jesus cannot comfort us if we are not daily bathing our  minds in his word. This is because He has designed His word to be the vehicle through which our hearts are changed. If our minds are frightened and anxious, it is His word which cause them to become peaceful and thankful. If our minds are full of hate, it is His word which causes us to be forgiving and delivered from bitterness. Today we need to make a renewed commitment to learning his ways through commitment to a weekly bible study or daily bible reading and memorization. It’s an ancient discipline we have too long neglected.

If you need comfort Come to Jesus, Carry His burden, and Consider His ways.

See you tomorrow!

Are You Being Tucked In Pt. 2

      Theophane Venard said, “Be merry, really merry. The life of a true Christian should be a perpetual jubilee, a prelude to the festivals of eternity. “  

     Now, that quote may not mean much to you until you understand the context it was written in. Theophane Venard was a french priest called to West Tonkin Province, China (North Vietnam) in the year 1852. Father Theophane entered the province just in time to see the outlawing of Christianity. While most priests fled to hide in caves and fields Father Venard continued to minister, at first by night but later on more boldly in broad daylight. Eventually he was betrayed, captured and sentenced to death. Through the months of December, January and February 1860-1861 the priest lived in a cage awaiting death. It was at this time he penned the words you have just read along with many other words of encouragement to his fellow priests and his family.

    A few hundred years before him two men, Hendrick Sumer and Jacob Mandel, met a similar fate for proclaiming the gospel in Switzerland. Listen to the testimony concerning them:

” When the brethren learned that their time had come that they should depart out of the world, they rejoiced from the heart, and were glad and of good cheer; they also said that it was a greater joy for them than if they were to go to a marriage; yea, they were of very good cheer, that God had counted them worthy, that they should glorify His name through such a righteous death-which many righteous ones and friends of God had done before them, and thus obtained the heavenly crown.

When they were led forth, they spoke boldly to the people, and exhorted the great multitude that had gathered, that they should repent and turn from their sinful life to God, and then both joined their voices in raising a joyful, sweet, and heartfelt song of praise to the Lord.” (Martyrs Mirror, www.homecomers.org)

     Now, these brothers had joy and peace and comfort in the midst of their trials even before they got their miracle, many would say even though they didn’t get their miracle.

     Why is it that some Christians experience the comfort of God and others do not? Why are some able to stand and rejoice while others live in fear and failure?

     I believe it has something to do with applying three principles from Matthew 11:28-30: “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” 

    If we are going to be comforted (tucked in so to speak) we need to Come, Carry, And Consider:

1. Jesus said Come to me all who are weary-

     The first thing we need to do is to approach God in our weariness. So many of us when we are tired stop spending time in prayer. Let me ask you this are you weary and heavy laden with a burden of care today? How much time are you spending in prayer? Do you have daily devotions? Are they longer than 5 minutes? When you come to church are you worshipping the Lord or are you just lying in the puddle of your depression? How are you coming to Jesus to get his comfort? Prayer is the spiritual equivalent of going to bed when your tired.

     As a little boy I remember those times when I would get tired but I would fight heading off to bed. Mom would say “It’s time…” and I would fight.      

     “But mom….you always spoil my fun!” I would get crabbier and crabbier.

     So many of us are doing exactly this spiritually. We need comfort but rather than going to the place of comfort in prayer and getting spiritually tucked in we keep working at it ourselves, pressing pressing pressing in the flesh until we blow a gasket and head out to the bar or say something we will regret for years to come.We need to come to Jesus and stay with him in prayer until we are comforted. Let Jesus tuck you in the place of prayer.

More tomorrow…

Passion:The Betrayer, Betrayed

          Perception may not be everything, but it sure weighs heavily on how men live their lives in this vale of tears.

     I have often wondered at the strange phenomenon, in the Christian world, we call back-sliding. How can a person who has truly experienced the love that Jesus brings leave off the walk of faith? Some of my friends say that anyone who back-slides never really knew Jesus to begin with. I am not sure I buy that.

     Judas knew Jesus. People can say all they want about how Judas only had a head knowledge and not a heart knowledge of the master. Certainly, by the end  that was true, but to say Judas never knew Jesus… was never a follower, that just might be supposing too much. Didn’t Judas leave everything to follow Jesus like the other disciples? Wasn’t Judas used to cast out demons and cleanse the lepers too? Now I am not saying that Judas was ever a fully devoted follower of Christ on the level of James, Peter or John, but I wager he would have given most of us a run for our money in the “intimacy with Jesus” department.

     I don’t think Judas started out as a Satanic sleeper cell in Jesus organization. So what happened? How did someone who started out enamored with Jesus become the Messiah’s foil?

     It’s just speculation and perhaps we will never really know but I think it might have something to do with perception. Something had to change in the way Judas viewed Jesus.

     I think Judas joined the Messiah’s band of merry men because he thought he had found Israel’s Savior. As I have said before, to the Jews of the time there were certain expectations they had of the Messiah. Jesus in their understanding was to take David’s throne and build an earthly kingdom. When the displays of God’s power began to shoot forth from Jesus fingertips Judas probably revelled in the certainty that at last Israel was going to rise to the top and the rest of the world was going to get theirs.

    But there were cracks in this Messiah’s castle walls at least according to Judas’ perception: Jesus wouldn’t build a political base by making nice with the political powers of Israel; His preaching was radical he said things…many things that made even his followers edgy; He flew in the face of convention and tradition; He talked with women and let them touch him; He was good to foreigners and even performed healing for the Roman oppressors at their request. We can’t be sure when it happened but with some certainty we can say there was a point when the betrayer felt betrayed. Maybe it was a “slow fade” as the song says. Maybe the feeling built up over time. Maybe Jesus’ rebuke of Judas in John 12 was the lit match that set fire Judas’ fury. Something in Judas’ perception convinced him that it was time to act. Judas decided Jesus needed to be stopped.

     I have known many back-sliders. I’ve even dabbled in the art of back-sliding a bit myself. I know my own back-sliding had to do with my perception  that God was unfair…that He wasn’t doing a very good job with my life. Most of the people I have known who have back-slidden have done so because they saw something else in life that looked better to them than Jesus. One man commented to me  that at the time his memories of all the miracles he had seen were removed from him. He was left with a  perception  that God had never done anything in his life. It was only after he came back to God that the memories were restored. 

       When we give room to the feelings of bitterness against God that Satan would inspire within us we are walking a slippery slope. Look, there are moments all of us feel  abandoned or hurt by God. Feelings aren’t sin. They are indicators of internal struggle. Judas’ feelings of betrayal or anger or hurt weren’t sin. They were indicators of his internal faith struggle. The decisions, mind-sets, and actions he based off those feelings, those were sin. Judas should have turned to the word of God to lead him. Anyone struggling with their mind-set towards God needs to turn to the Bible for guidance rather than their feelings. We have to live by principle these days not by “how we feel” about things. Judas chose to live by his feelings. In the end the betrayer betrayed himself as well as the Savior. Jesus recovered in case you don’t remember the end of the story. Judas never did.

What struggles do you have with your perception of God? What are you doing about it?

Passion: Begins With Anointing Pt.2

(  Mary anoints Jesus’ feet. The Anointing in John (John 12:1–8).  picture courtesy of timesandseasons.org

    ” But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples—the one who would betray him—said, “That perfume was worth a small fortune. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief who was in charge of the disciples’ funds, and he often took some for his own use. Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did it in preparation for my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but I will not be here with you much longer.”John 12:4-8

     Mary had done it. Obediently she had come and anointed her Lord for his death. Braving the tension and the danger she stepped forward and anointed Jesus as king and priest.

     Christians are taught to crave the anointing in every area of our lives. The funny thing is many of us somehow think that anointing is a cure-all for life’s problems. We think if only we can get under the anointing all the issues of life will be solved.

     But anointing often doesn’t, initially, solve problems. It brings victory, which means it usually plunges us headlong into battle. This is what it did for Jesus. It was the anointing that brought out Judas’ true heart though it was covered with a veneer of religious piety. Anointing planted the seeds of conflict between Jesus and Judas which ultimately led to the famous betrayal in Gethsemane.

    Anointing always challenges the status quo and shoves  believers out of  the comfort zone into the crucified way. Its purpose is not earthly comfort but eternal blessing. Sometimes these two things are mutually exclusive.

    Passion always begins with anointing; By that I don’t mean emotional fervor. I mean stolid commitment which won’t be swayed even by the threat of death. Now that’s real passion!

     Real passion requires real commitment and real commitment needs real anointing because anointing takes us out of the realm of what we want into the realm of what God has commanded.

    From the moment Jesus was anointed he was plunged into the battle of the cross full-scale not by his own choice but by His Father’s. He came into agreement with it.

      If we are to be like Jesus we have to put in mind that God’s anointing always leads to victory. Therefore God’s anointing will always take us by way of the cross. For there is no victory without battle. For there is no victory without the defeating of an enemy. And as the sages say indeed, “we are our own worst enemies.”

 How has the anointing placed you in a battle?

     

 

Passion: Begins With Anointing Pt. 1

                             (  Mary anoints Jesus’ feet. The Anointing in John (John 12:1–8).  picture courtesy of timesandseasons.org

 

    As Easter approaches I find my thoughts turning again towards the passages I love so much in John Chapters 12-20. I want to take some time to share some ideas with you from these chapters.

Six days before the Passover ceremonies began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead.A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus sat at the table with him.” John 12:1,2

     In this passage, I am struck by the obedience of Christ to his Father’s plans. You may remember that prior to these verses Jesus had been forced to leave Bethany because he had caused such a stir by the raising of Lazarus from the dead.

     Christ knew the time of his death was upon him. So he marched willingly into the lion’s den. Now I know he was “Very God of Very God” but he was also “very man of very man”. I can only imagine the waves of fear which must have been washing onto the shore of his life as he sat down to supper with Lazarus in the home of Simon, the ex-leper.

     I can’t imagine it was any picnic for Lazarus, either. He was also marked for death because he was the poster boy for Jesus’ miracle ministry. Maybe that’s why Martha had opted to serve dinner at Simon’s home. I can just picture Lazarus’ protective older sister pouring out drinks around the room gazing suspiciously into each eye. Did she see danger in every drinker that night?

    As I read this passage I am filled with a tension… a sense of the danger they were all putting themselves in. How did Simon feel? He invited two marked men into his home for supper. Surely he had to know it wouldn’t stay a secret. Nothing Jesus did stayed a secret for long in those days. The whole city was on the look out for “the King of the Jews”. What trouble was Simon bringing on his own head just by having the two enemies of the Pharisees over for coffee?

      I can almost feel the stress of the disciples as they recline at the table. Thomas had followed Jesus loyally but with not a little concern for his own well-being. Peter may have acted “devil-may-care” but something deep inside of him was ready to bolt.

     Into the midst of all this intrigue and tension little sister Mary walked

     “Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar [fn] of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with fragrance.”  John 12:3 NLT

     Anointing… what a strange ritual. Why do people do it? To signify importance. To signify the presence of God, the approval of God. To cover the stench of death.

     Here’s another question who else in the Bible was anointed? Aaron the High priest, every high priest since him, King Saul, King David, every king since them, oh yeah and every dead person who could afford embalming spices. It’s interesting to me that Mary had not broken the jar of nard over Lazarus body when he had died earlier.

     All those thoughts aside, there she was the impetuous little sister breaking the family retirement over the feet of Jesus. What an interesting picture. What a way to begin the passion week.

What would you have felt if you were there that night?

   

Malachi: The Distinction

     Our community college just put in two wind turbines to generate electricity for the city. The mammoth constructions break Gardner’s skyline like giant steel dandelions gone to seed. Really they remind me of the enemy spaceships from War Of the Worlds .

     As the snow melts under the influence of the cold New England wind, many of these early spring days have been shrouded in thick fog that has the power to hide even these colossal  objects when they are right in front of us.

     It came to me as I was taking this picture that the wickedness of our present age is just like the icy Massachusetts fog.

     A friend of mine was recently defrauded of several hundred dollars by a person she trusted. My friend is now having trouble seeing God in the midst of this situation.

     Her words to me echoed the biblical writer Jeremiah.

     She asked me, “Why do wicked people get blessed, while people who serve God seem to always get the short end of the stick? It makes serving God seem pointless!”

     The prophet Malachi gives her this answer,

     “Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and loved to think about him. “They will be my people,” says the LORD Almighty. “On the day when I act, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient and dutiful child. Then you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” Mal. 3: 16-18 NLT

       In these last days the fog of wickedness is growing increasingly thick. Jesus said that these days were like the days of Noah. The wickedness that brought judgment then is about to bring it again.

    Our hope as Christians can never be for a fair shake in this world. We won’t get that. If that makes you mad talk to Bonhoeffer, Tenboom, or Mother Theresa. Christianity isn’t about our rights here; It’s about our reward THERE!

    The fog wickedness creates comes from that part of us that is still tied lovingly to this earth. We think that because people doing wrong in the world get blessed in the world that makes them the most blessed. We think that because people living for God in the world get kicked by the world that makes them the most cursed.

      We are failing to take into consideration the fact that the world is fallen into sin. It can never do anything but elevate wickedness and persecute righteousness. That failure to truly understand the nature of things creates a fog.

    We also forget that blessing in this world is as transitory as that morning mist that blocks our view on the way to work. Trapped in these “jars of clay” we call our bodies we think of 70 or 80 years as a long time. We long for that much blessing and begrudge the wicked who seem to “have it all” for their 70 or 80 year sojourn on the planet. The truth is 70 or 80 years is a blip and the wicked had better enjoy it because it’s all they get. Me I may struggle for  that same 70 or 80 years to serve God (and let’s be real most of us don’t struggle the entire time) but then I will enter into 70x70x70x80x80x80 years of blessing the wicked will know nothing of.

     We have to be very clear brothers and sisters in our minds about the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, so that we will not be pulled into ruin by the fog that is blinding so many.    How has the fog threatened to obscure God in your life?

Haggai: The Big God of Little Things

      “On October 17  of that same year, the LORD sent another message through the prophet Haggai. “Say this to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Jeshua  son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of God’s people there in the land: Is there anyone who can remember this house–the Temple–as it was before? In comparison, how does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all!” Haggai 2:2,3 NLT

      It is true, Christian; We serve the God who pasted the stars into Heaven; We serve the God who built the storehouses of the snow (let’s just say it He came up with snow); We serve the God who destroyed the world by flood and who parted the Red Sea; He is the God who caused the sun to stand still for a day and who caused the sun to go backwards; He is the God who killed all the first-born of Egypt and the God who raised His own Son from the dead.

     He is the God of all these tremendous acts and more. Why is it, then, that to us at moments He seems so amazingly underwhelming?

    I think I just heard a lot of hands slapping over open mouths. Some of you just said “I can’t believe He said that.”

     I’m just being real here. God is just not that awesome to most people. We know the stories. We believe them. Still, as C.S. Lewis said, most of us live our lives as practical atheists.

     It’s not that we don’t want to believe. It’s just that out believing God is really restricted by our ability to see what He is doing.

     God understood this about the Israelites. He knew what the new temple built under Zerubbabel would elicit as a reaction:

     “Really!? That’s it? I thought it’d be bigger.”

     “That’s the best we could do? Maybe I should worship Zeus His temple’s huge!”

    ” Last time I donate to a building project here.”

    How things looked greatly affected the Israelites faith and to them things looked…little. Some of them, like some us, suffered with the mindset “little temple little God”.

     That mindset is wrong!

     The truth is God is the big God of little things. He chooses at times to use things that are  weak, broken, little,  old, and poor. He proves Himself to be the God of great miracles precisely because the vessels He chooses to flow through are so utterly useless, helpless, and itty-bitty.

     As men and women of faith we have to stop relying on our human sight for understanding. We have to begin acknowledging that when things start looking smallish, when the battle seems to be going against us that is precisely when God is working.

     The Father gave the Israelites a little divine encouragement concerning their little temple in Jerusalem.

      “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the LORD Almighty. The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the LORD Almighty. And in this place I will bring peace. I, the LORD Almighty, have spoken!” Haggai 2: 8,9 NLT

     I want to tell you Christian, if your dealing with a situation right now that seems a little less than what you had hoped, just know God is working. The future glory will be greater than you could imagine. You serve the big God of little things. Receive the little now and let Him make it much in His time.

    What investment in His kingdom are you waiting to see a return on?

Zechariah: The Political Landscape Of the Millenium

     For those of you who thought you’d escape politics once Jesus came, guess again. There will be a government and it will be upon “his shoulders”. Jesus will put democracy under his feet along with every other idea of men. Maybe it is the best governmental idea fallen men can come up with but as Isaiah reminds us “His ways are higher than our ways”. Isaiah 55:9

    Zechariah, among other prophets gives us a glimpse into the rule and reign of Jesus during the Millenium.

     “the LORD will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past.On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west, for half the mountain will move toward the north and half toward the south. On that day the sources of light will no longer shine, yet there will be continuous day! Only the LORD knows how this could happen! There will be no normal day and night, for at evening time it will still be light. On that day life-giving waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half toward the Dead Sea and half toward the Mediterranean,  flowing continuously both in summer and in winter. And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one LORD–his name alone will be worshiped. All the land from Geba, north of Judah, to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become one vast plain. But Jerusalem will be raised up in its original place and will be inhabited all the way from the Benjamin Gate over to the site of the old gate, then to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses. And Jerusalem will be filled, safe at last, never again to be cursed and destroyed. …In the end, the enemies of Jerusalem who survive the plague will go up to Jerusalem each year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Shelters. And any nation anywhere in the world that refuses to come to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, will have no rain….On that day even the harness bells of the horses will be inscribed with these words: SET APART AS HOLY TO THE LORD. And the cooking pots in the Temple of the LORD will be as sacred as the basins used beside the altar.  In fact, every cooking pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be set apart as holy to the LORD Almighty. All who come to worship will be free to use any of these pots to boil their sacrifices. And on that day there will no longer be traders in the Temple of the LORD Almighty.” Zech. 14:3-21 NLT

     After the Battle of Armageddon the Lord will institute his reign on the Earth. He will be the King of Earth. He will not ask for a vote of the people. Nor will he seek the permission of a parliament. He will not rule to please men but out of His divine right to rule.

      Freedom of religion will be a thing of the past. Jesus alone will be worshipped and shall bring glory thereby to the Father. Further he will dictate how He is to be worshipped. It seems that the Jewish system of festivals (at least Tabernacles) is instated for the nations.

     All of Jerusalem will become dedicated to the worship of God, Everything in it will be used for worshipping Him by sacrifice. Yes the Jewish system of sacrifice is reinstated in the Thousand Year Reign! Why we do not know. The writer to the Hebrews indicates that the need for sacrifice was done away with when Jesus gave His life on the cross. Yet need it or not Ezekiel 40-42 and Zechariah 14 indicate that the sacrificial system is very much a part of the worship which is to come.

     I believe that King Jesus will rule his world and his nations through the group of immortals who return with him at the Battle of Armageddon. It is an awesome thought that I would ever be considered worthy of such an honor, me a man of so many failings and foibles, me!

      Oh as I think of it I have to speak the words of Paul, ” I  consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us!” Romans 8:18 NIV

    How about you?

The Mystery of the Millenium

   What does it mean to reign?

    From the prophecies given to Daniel  we know that the time of AntiChrist’s reign on Earth and the subsequent period of the planetary judgment will be seven years.

“He will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven, but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. Then as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration,  until the end that has been decreed is poured out on this defiler.” Dan. 9:27 (NLT)

     The prophets point to this coming “Day of the Lord” with  absolute certainty. It is coming and according to the prophecies in both the Old and New Testaments our world is set for this seven-year period to arrive shortly.

    But what lies beyond this time of tribulation? The prophets also speak to that. The time beyond the judgment of Earth is divided, by the Bible, into two periods. The first is called the Thousand Year Reign. The second is called New Heaven and New Earth (see Rev. 18-22).

      The Thousand Year Reign is a period shrouded in mystery. We see it in Scripture but we see it as though looking through a fun-house mirror. The whole of it is twisted and bent out of proportion. I can only tell you what I think I see. But that is enough to excite me to service for my King!

     I know it is a thousand years long. I know that in that time those who have followed Jesus will be co-rulers with Christ over the Earth.

     ” Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus, for proclaiming the word of God. And I saw the souls of those who had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their forehead or their hands. They came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” Rev.20:4 (NLT)

    What does it mean to you to reign with Christ? Reign is such a loaded word. To me it means to have authority but not just over men. It means to have authority over all the creation as I was originally meant to.

     “For you made us only a little lower than God, and you crowned us with glory and honor. You put us in charge of everything you made, giving us authority over all things–the sheep and the cattle and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents.” Psalm 8:5-8 (NLT)

     I will swim with the dolphins in the ocean and the great whales. They shall carry me from one shore to another on their backs. I shall ride upon the lion and the zebra across the great plains and they shall keep me warm in the cool of the savannah nights. I will call forth the winds and they will obey. I will pray for rain and it will come to water my gardens. Now that is really “Reinventing the We’ll”!

    The communion between my God and me will be completely restored. Being perfected, I will be always in His will. This means that every prayer I utter will be answered. I will never wonder again if I am off track or praying wrong. I will know my God and He will know me face to face and the communion Adam had will be mine somehow.

    In that I will be able to tend my Eden as Adam tended his. At my command the plants will grow. The beasts of my forest will not fear me and I will not fear them for that curse which was given after the flood will be removed. I see the Thousand Year Reign as Lewis’ Narnia or as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, beautiful, idyllic!

     There is much more the Bible reveals in shadow about the Thousand Year Reign. We will say more on that later. In the mean time tell me what you think comes after the Tribulation.