Easter - 2018

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Suffering is temporary ... so stop clinging to it!

The best is yet to come. Max Lucado; “No one cries when a plane lands safely and starts to embark. We never see anyone clinging to the chair cry because they have to get off the plane and arrive at their destination.“ As we read this text is causes me to wonder, why we cry and cling to the suffering of riding on the airplane when the destination is the goal.

I’ve heard talk on TV about people who are in their 70s as being the new 50! I also read a few weeks ago, that 100 is the new 60! I THINK THAT’S HIGHLY DEBATABLE! It depends on your health, obviously…and how you live your life getting to that age.

C. S. Lewis says: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: SUFFERING is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” What's the idea? God gets our attention very well when we're in pain or are experience troubles and suffering in this life. When things are going well, we don't pay much attention to Him.

Our suffering is a reminder that we will be made new again when … We recognize that suffering is a part of this world … We cherish our hope of something better … We receive help for our weaknesses

 You know I love ya, Don

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Animals in Heaven

Genesis 9:9 – “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you…”

God’s plan for a renewed Earth after the flood emphatically involved animals. Wouldn’t we expect his plan for a renewed Earth after the future 2nd and final judgment to also included animals. If the rescue of mankind is the ark is a picture of redemption (I believe it is), doesn’t the rescue of the animals in the ark also anticipate their restoration as part of God redemptive purpose?

In 2 Peter 3:5-7, we see a direct parallel between God’s past judgment of the earth with water and his future judgment with fire. Mankind was judged in the flood, and on his coattails most animals also perished. Eight human beings were rescued fro the flood to inhabit the new post-flood earth, but God didn’t limit his rescue to people. He rescued representatives of every animal species to also occupy the post-flood – new earth.

This is a powerful picture of what Romans 8 states; “the creation waits in expectation…” --- mankind and animals and all creation are linked together not only in curse and judgment but also in blessing and deliverance. Together they experienced new life in the post-flood covenant and with Peter’s New Testament connection; there will be mankind, animals, and all creation in the New Earth of Eternity.

Selected humans, animals, vegetation, and geographical features (including mountains_ were preserved by God in his judgment by water. The burden of proof for the question of Animals in heaven falls not on the assumption that animals will be part of God’s New Earth, but on the assumption that they won’t be apart of the future heaven and earth. 

You know I love ya, Don

Friday, February 19, 2016

What LOVE is not!

Back in the 1st Century, there was typically a big gong or cymbal hanging at the entrance of most pagan temples. When people came to worship, they hit them to awaken the pagan gods so they would listen to their prayers.

1 Corinthians 13 is Paul is teaching that even if we are blessed so that we speak with the greatest of eloquence in every language, but don't have love, then our life is as useless as this ridiculous act of pounding on a gong to awaken non existent gods.

You see, love is more important than any physical or spiritual gift. Paul teaches that:

·      Love does not Boast: talk with excessive pride and self-satisfaction about one's achievements, possessions, or abilities
·      Love is not Proud: high or excessively high opinion of oneself.
·      Love is not Rude: offensively impolite or ill-mannered.
·      Love is not Self-Seeking: Pursuing only one's own ends or interests.
·      Love is not easily Angered: feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility. Paul is not talking about righteous indignation. Last week watching the super bowl half-time show I really liked the umbrella flowers. They were very cool. Yet, I found myself getting irritated and angry at the way the women were dressed. It has nothing to do with the song (even though we couldn’t understand the words) … I was angry because so many people think it is OK for those women to disgrace themselves. We have become very sad.
·      Love does not keep records of wrongs: evidence about the past.
·      Love does not delight in Evil: immorality, wickedness, and depravity.

We will never be able to fully grasp or be fully known until we learn to love. We love with our actions, with our words and with our heart. Unfortunately, our hands are so full of the past that we can’t grasp the future. We spend so more time on facebook and phony friends then we do on our knees praying for the friends going to a lost and dying eternity.

Living in love allows us to investing in our eternal reward, by seeing the world as God intended it to be, by living what love is and avoiding what love is not. Just imagine how your relationships would change if we loved people more that we loved ourselves.

You know I Love ya, Don

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What LOVE is!

Jesus was asked; “What is the Greatest Commandment?” Jesus responds with, “Love the Lord, your God, with all of your heart, with all your soul, with all of your mind, and with all of your strength.” The second command is a close second … “love your neighbor as yourself.” To that the people responded with another question: “Who is my neighbor?”

In Response, Jesus tells them a parable about a man who had been robbed, beaten, and was laying on the side of the road half dead.

The priest & the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan had faith. The problem was they had no love. So they walked by on the other side & just left the man lying there to die.

But a Samaritan … the worst of the worst, half breeds, and Roman sympathizers … came along and helped the man, taking him to an inn to sleep and recover and then paid for his stay… then Jesus looked over and asked the question; “So, which one of these three had love?” 
Love is not a feeling. Love is not just faith. Love is an action. In fact, Love is the Greatest of any Action: Love Can be a possession: ownership

·      Love is Patient: Suffer without getting upset.
·      Love is Kind: Showing consideration.
·      Love Never Fails: Love will work until it is right.
·      Love rejoices with the truth: Rejoices in the facts.
·      Love Always protects: To keep a person from harm in the physical, the emotional, and in the spiritual. This includes their reputation, their spiritual needs …
·      Love always trusts: Confidence in a person.
·      Love always hopes: To see the very best in other people.
·      Love always perseveres: continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success.
·      Love never ends: There is not finale to love.

Love is not a feeling but an action … when we respond and act with LOVE, we see clearer and we prepare to live in heaven.

You know I love ya, Don

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Fully Known verses absolute knowledge!

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13 -  “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”  Paul uses specific words for, “Fully” and “Fully Known.” The Greek words are ginosko and epiginosko. The prefix “epi” intensifies the word to mean “to really know” or “to know more intensively.”

Paul’s wording would never have been used toward humans as absolute knowledge … that is a different word, ta panta, which is translated, “to know all things.” Paul did not choose to say that, instead he chose to say that we would be fully known without error or misconceptions in our knowledge. Equality with God is never in Scripture. Paul is teaching us that sin will not be present to cloud our vision. So, we will never stop learning … even in heaven we learn.

Why do I bring this up, especially on Valentine’s Day? Love is more than a feeling. Love is an action. The New Living Translation explains Paul’s words like this: “Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror.”

Mirrors in Paul’s time had serious flaws. Corinth was famous for its bronze mirrors, but the color was off and shapes were distorted. The mirror’s image lacked the quality of seeing someone face-to-face. In the Greek world … the paradigm (Worldview) of the Hellenistic world … Knowing and seeing were nearly synonymous … the more you saw, the more you knew.

In other words … the more you practice love, the clearer you will see God’s glory. This is what we will completely know in heaven, but it does not have to start in heaven. You can start experiencing your reward in heaven by dedicating your actions LOVE.

Seeing clearly is to love. Seeing clearly is to love people as God views people in their redeemed reality! How do you see yourself and others? 

You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

God is Authentic, Genuine and the Real DEAL!

Revelation 21:3 – “God himself will be with them”

Why does it emphatically say God himself? Because our God is genuine and will not merely send us a delegate. He will actually come to live among us on the restored Heaven and Earth. Just as he was not willing to send a delegate to pay the price for our sin … He came, lived among us and died for us…God genuinely lives among us. Jehovah God is the real deal, he is completely authentic and comes with the seal of approval because of his presence.

In heaven, God’s glory will be the air we breathe, which will make us want to breathe deeper. In the restored universe, sin will never be able to push us away from our genuine God.  

Now listen, His Spirit living within us, allows us to breathe deep in preparation and in the strength of getting through.

Many books, self-help books and programs these days talk about messages from the spirit realm, supposedly from people who’ve died and now speak through channelers or mediums. They claim to have come from Heaven to interact with loved ones, yet they almost never talk about God or express wonder at seeing Jesus. No one that has actually been to heaven would neglect talking about the main focus of heaven: God HIMSELF!

Think of it this way… If you were sent a personal invitation to have a formal white tie dinner with Queen Elizabeth …  you had made all the arrangements and spent all the effort, time, and money to get to Buckingham Palace. You wouldn’t come back and talk about the wall hangings and place setting; … you would talk about her. Unless, she did not show. Everyone would be asking, “What was it like to be with the Queen?” Well, … the paintings were amazing. The table service was exquisite … no, you would talk about her elegance or how she spoke or why she wanted an audience with you.

Heaven without God is a fake. Life without God is fake! Spending eternity without God would be like the bride going on her honeymoon without her groom. If there’s no God, there’s no heaven.

You see … wherever God is, is heaven!
                        Wherever God is not, is hell!

Do you have God sightings in your life? He is genuine and genuinely wants to be your God. You know I love ya, Don

Sunday, February 7, 2016

God is an active participant in life!

2 Corinthians 6:16 “For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

Ezekiel 37:21 also records God declaring; “My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

Did you notice the tense of these statements: Yes, they are conditional on our relationship with God. These verses are also about God is present tense.  Not future tense or as Bette Midler sings, “God is watching from a distance” – God is not watching, He is participating.

Our future is to never be deceived by self-righteousness. We will not be fooled by sin. As followers of Jesus, we have the Spirit of God living among us now.

Ships don’t sink because of the water around them. Ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what is happening around you get inside you & weigh you down. Don’t let the world rob you of an active relationship with God and cause you to sink.

Is God active in your life? You know I love ya, Don