Category: JESUS CHRIST

MEDITATION FOR THE CHRISTIAN

Millions of people around the world meditate-why don’t Christians? My guess is that, apart from the sheer business of our existence, many Christians consider meditation to be an occultic, suspicious practice reserved for those wrapped up in Eastern religions: something the good Christian should steer well away from.

The truth is that meditation is something we can and most definitely should engage in, with great benefits to our physical, mental and spiritual well-being, and at the same time honoring God and doing exactly what He wants us to do! But what exactly is meditation?David, a “man after God’s own heart”, wrote in the Psalms about meditating on God (example Psalm 63). The word “meditate” is translated “think” in the NIV:

On my bed I remember you;
    I think of you through the watches of the night (verse 6).

The meaning of the word includes, according to Strongs, “The act of thoughtful deliberation with the implication of speaking to oneself-meditate”.

Jesus Christ said that we are to love God with our whole being, including our minds (Luke 10:27). God tells his people to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

We’re all busy trying to further our lives, and working to make things happen, and we forget that Christ…God…is not only in our life but is our life (Colossians 3:4). Without our God there is no life. Isn’t it a good idea, then, to think about Him?

In Eastern meditation the goal is generally (I confess I am no expert) to lose oneself, and to abandon your individual self and your connection with the world around you. I can see physical and emotional benefit in this. However, God instructs us to love Him with our minds, and as in the case of David, the goal and the focus is not to forget self, but to seek God, to know Him, and to consider deeply who and what He is and who we are in relation to Him.

At least once a day, get comfortable, get quiet, turn the TV and the phone off, and think about God. It’s not about what we want Him to do for us (although He cares). It’s not about us being “spiritual” or babbling to Him. It’s not even really, as some say, about us “listening” to hear what God has to say, except through His written Word. It’s about us knowing that He is there, that He is amazing beyond our comprehension, that He is our creator and sustainer, and that our life is entirely His.

PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE

Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth (Luke 21:34-35).

(I chose the picture for a little levity in an otherwise serious subject)

From my communications with family and old friends, and from news reports, I see constantly that the people of my country of origin, the United Kingdom, are for the most part under the spell of misinformation and propaganda. The difference in the United States is that we have some alternative media which is able to inform us of the other side of things, whereas, in the UK and probably most of what was once the “free world”, there is only now one story being told through media, education and pop-culture: the rest is banned as “hate-speech”. Its the story which prepares the way for the “man of lawlessness”. It’s the story which is leading the beneficiaries of those millions who gave their lives for freedom towards a global tyranny which will be worse than what Hitler dreamed of.

While I lived in the UK, I believed the lie that President Reagan was senile and stupid and was going to start the third world war by opposing Communism. At a middle point in my political understanding, then living in the US,  I visited the UK when Bush was president, only to be set upon by many, while I tried to discuss soccer or the latest marriage or divorce in my circle, for the evils of America and its support for Israel. Israel, that tiny nation struggling for survival in the midst of a sea of Islam. And how much further on in that direction we all are now.

Now it isn’t just a case of news organizations being a little biased: they’re in full propaganda and lie mode. They’re achieving far more among those under their spell than Putin could ever hope to achieve. The news mainstream media people are largely guilty of dividing the people of the United States, and seem to have no qualms about fomenting violence if necessary, or bringing down a president elected by the people to oppose their lies and a corrupt bureaucracy. Now it’s getting serious…very serious. And before long, if they have their way, posts like this will be illegal, and classed as “hate speech”. Social media sites are already censoring views like mine.

The BBC, the “auntie” I was raised on in the sixties and seventies, is now fully in the camp of the Islamo-socialist movement-the movement which ultimately threatens us all with tyranny and constriction of thought. The two are only bedfellows until they collectively get the upper hand. Then the latter will discover that the former is even less open to tolerance than itself.

Trump has attempted the impossible, and I greatly admire him for it. He has tried to set the clock back, and has done an admirable and fantastic job of it. He has attempted to restore patriotism, the rule of law, national borders, individual freedom and responsibility, while at the same time making the economy boom. In the process, he’s incurring the wrath of Humanis Globlili-the wealthy elites who think they have a right and a duty to direct us all. And of course, behind it all is the much larger spiritual dimension. As I wrote in a recent post, Trump is unwittingly God’s man in place to stall the march of evil on the world. He is the tool of the one “holding back” the advent of that Man of Sin.

Readers of my blog will know that I wrote a series of posts on the subject of the rapture of the Church. I was for twenty-eight years an adherent to the “pre-millennial” view. I now am convinced that the evangelical world is holding to a false hope. Oh, the rapture is coming, to be sure, but not yet. Before it will come many events which most Christians in the West do not expect to ever see. Ask those in other parts of the world-in the Middle-east, in China, North Korea, and large parts of the Islamic world, and they will tell you, from their prison cells or their hidden back-street meeting places, that there is no freedom for them to worship, or to express any faith, and that many of their loved ones have been martyred. Such things are not reserved for those “left behind”.

Christian ministers in the West are not preparing their flocks for what will come, when God sees fit to allow it to come-perhaps soon, or perhaps later. And how can we prepare anyway? Well, for a start, we can face the fact that there is a growing movement against the Christian faith and all that it holds dear. Expect it to be ramped up as soon as the devil’s politicians regain power-maybe this time for keeps. Then we can face the fact that there will be no early escape before any of us suffer persecution: that’s head-in-the-sand wishful thinking, and faulty Bible interpretation. Our guide is the Word of God, as written originally, and not what today’s false prophets and false churches are telling us. That’s our daily food, our sustenance.

Finally, we can look to the future and to heaven and to our God, who controls all things, and who will restore the world to the way it should be. Those of us who have accepted his only Son, Jesus Christ, will be a part of that restoration.

 

 

IS IT REALLY “ALL GOD”?

Jesus Christ said that without him we can do nothing (John 15:5). Clearly he was speaking of things we may do for the kingdom of God. Without Jesus we are powerless to achieve anything for him or which is pleasing to the Father. But is it really the case, as some insist, that he does it all: that everything we do is only his doing and not ours?

I’ve heard this phrase many times in my Christian life: “It’s all God”. I’ll willingly agree that without Him we can do nothing, and that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. That really is “all God”. My only qualification there would be that we have to respond to the gospel. Calvinists insist that we can’t even do that, because, they say, that would be “works”. We’ll save that issue for another day. Today we’re asking if we as believers can do nothing whatsoever for God because it’s all God’s doing.

Salvation is by faith, and then the Spirit of God works within us to want to do what’s right, and empowers us to do what’s right. Anything done by or in the flesh or for our own gain is unacceptable to God-it has to be inspired by the Spirit in us and for His glory. However, the Christian life is teamwork. If we make no effort in it, we remain as spiritual babies. We negate the work of the Spirit. We fail to produce spiritual fruit, and we bury our talent so that nothing is gained by it. That’s the fact of the matter. If it were really “all God”, we would be robots and would have no mind of our own. We would not be choosing to follow Christ or choosing to do what’s right: we would be driven to do it by the Lord.

If we as believers fail to help the one in need, or fail to worship the Lord, or fail to turn away from sin, whose fault is it? God’s? Are we failing because God isn’t doing what He should be doing in us? No, it’s our own fault for not walking in the Spirit, for not learning to walk in His ways, and for not making the effort to do what we  should do. Believers who have been told that it’s “all God” are more likely to not appreciate their role in the Christian walk.

There are so many ways in which this subject could be approached scripturally. But it seems to me pretty obvious that when Paul told his flock to “walk in the Spirit”, the word “walk” requires some sort of effort on our part. Scripture is full of guidance, advise and commandments to us concerning what we should and should not be doing to live out our Christian faith. If there were no effort required from our own will there would be no need for all those things. Didn’t James say that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-26)?

With that in mind, I bring your attention to the words of Peter, who made the matter crystal clear for us:

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3-11).

 

RAPTURE 29: LOT, ENOCH AND DANIEL

Is Lot’s escape from Sodom really evidence for a pre-tribulation rapture? Was Enoch taken to heaven so that he could escape the Flood? Does Daniel’s absence from the furnace scene support the same idea?

Subjects covered lately in this series have been a little on the fringe of the whole matter of the timing of the rapture, but considering that  some ardent preachers of a pre-tribulation rapture  borrow every corner of Scripture to try to prove their point, it’s necessary to counter some of those weak arguments, and bring some reality to light.

I want to reiterate that I am not a-millennial in my beliefs, and I know that the rapture is a real Scriptural event. However, having been misled on the subject for twenty-eight years, I wish now to help others see what the future really holds, and not allow them to stick their heads in the sand of faulty interpretation. This post is excerpt number 29 from my book*. There’s a lot of meat in earlier posts. Just search “rapture” or try search terms such as “rapture wrath”, or “rapture bride”.

LOT’S ESCAPE FROM SODOM

Jesus’ reference to Lot’s escape from the destruction of Sodom in Luke chapter 17 is used to support a pre-tribulation rapture. However, Lot left Sodom on his own two feet, not on angels’ wings, knowing it was going to be judged that very day, because he had been told so. The ungodly were living out their usual daily lives when destruction from the Lord took them by surprise (verses 28-29). This is the point Jesus is making: not that believers were taken away without knowing that they would be or when they would be, but that the wicked were taken by surprise and were not expecting judgment. The wicked were appointed to wrath instead of salvation (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

Noah entered the ark on the same day the Flood came (Genesis 7:11-13) and not days or years before. Lot escaped from Sodom on the same day judgment came. They did not leave the earth. Do we really want to take these events as templates for the rapture? If so, at best we would have to take the “mid-Tribulation” position, because Jesus and Paul said that the “time of trouble”-equivalent to the Flood and the destruction of Sodom-will begin when Antichrist enters the temple, and not before (Matthew 24:17 and 21). This will be only three and a half years before Christ’s visible return, not seven or eight or ten years before it. Even in the words of pre-tribulation “experts” the first half of the “seven years” will be a time of apparent peace and prosperity for the world: not the day of judgment, wrath and trouble. Antichrist’s power lasts only for forty-two months (Revelation 13:5). If Noah’s escape and Lot’s escape prefigure the rapture itself then the rapture would have to be on the very day Antichrist is revealed on the temple mount-at the earliest.

Noah’s deliverance does not work as a model for a rapture years before the time of trouble: neither does Lot’s. It’s intended to demonstrate that the unbelieving world will not be ready for the Day of the Lord while true believers will. Paul put it this way:

…for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly…But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief…” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4).

ENOCH

Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away” (Genesis 5:24).

Enoch’s disappearance could certainly be considered a type of rapture. It’s very reminiscent of Paul’s description of our being changed from mortal to immortal, in his letters to the Thessalonians and the Corinthians. However, some pre-tribulation teachers go beyond what this brief account actually says, by claiming that Enoch’s “rapture” is symbolic of a pre-tribulation rapture of the Church. They assert that Enoch was taken to heaven to escape the Flood, and in the same way, the Church will be taken to heaven to escape the tribulation. Is there a statement in the Bible plainly connecting these two events-Enoch’s “rapture” and the rapture of the Church?

This concept gives the impression that Enoch was raptured a day or so, or a year or so, before the Flood, so that he wouldn’t have to suffer it. After all, the Church, it is said, will be raptured days or perhaps a few years before the “seven-year” tribulation begins. In fact, when you do the math, you find that Enoch was taken by God to heaven nine hundred and sixty-nine years before the Flood (Genesis 5:21-29 and 7:6). We’re told in Genesis that Enoch “walked with God”. This is why the Lord took him. We’re not told in scripture that Enoch was taken to spare him from the Flood almost a thousand years later, but because he walked with God. Being so close to God, would he not have escaped the Flood, along with “righteous” Noah, were he around for that long? There was no need for him to be raptured from the Flood!.

DANIEL

One prominent denomination teaches that Daniel had his own “rapture” which is intended to model the pre-tribulation rapture. Into the fiery furnace went Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo, in Daniel chapter 3, for not worshiping Nebuchadnezzar’s idol. But where was Daniel? He was not there at all. The fearless three had to endure the trials and tribulations of Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace, while Daniel was nowhere to be seen. His absence is not only a “mystery”, but is considered a type of the pre-tribulation rapture.

Of course, there’s no statement to that effect anywhere in scripture, not even in Paul’s discussion of the rapture in the New Testament, when he shares his “mystery”. It’s an idea which is not provable, but which tickles the fancy of those who look for support for a pre-tribulation rapture in every corner of the Bible and beyond. There’s no consideration of the possibility that Daniel was, for example, away on business for the king. It was a very big kingdom. And why were the other three not raptured also, considering they were men of great faith, whose faith would put most of us to shame?

Not only is there no statement in scripture that Daniel’s absence models a pre-tribulation escape from the events of Revelation, but when we read on in the book of Daniel we find that he’s back in the flesh, on earth, and undergoing his own “fiery trial”. Chapter six sees Daniel falsely accused and set up by the king’s counselors. He’s then thrown into the lion’s den, where he is miraculously protected, but nonetheless very present on the earth for the ordeal.

*ALL LEFT BEHIND:THE CASE AGAINST A PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE, by Nick Fisher, on Amazon in paperback and e-book.

THE FINAL (AND ENDLESS) FRONTIER

Call me a romantic if you must (I would like that) or a dreamer (I am) or crazy (again, there may be some basis…) or un-scriptural (I would challenge that one…) but it seems to me that the universe isn’t there just to look pretty for people on this little speck called earth…

I was reading through Isaiah recently, and as Bible readers will know, even if you’ve read through a passage of scripture many times over many years, there’s always something fresh waiting to pop out at you-so deep is the Word of God. This time the following verse jumped out at me:

Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this (Isaiah 9:7 NKJV).

Testing my own senses against those of my far more level-headed son, I asked him what he thought could be the meaning of that phrase, “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end”. His immediate answer was “Space”.

There’s only one way the increase of Christ’s government can never end, to my mind, no matter how you attempt to interpret it, and that’s in an ever-expanding universe. If you have a better explanation, let’s hear it, please. Here, on this limited planet, there is limited space, and I don’t expect God to allow bureaucracy to strangle us all as it has attempted to do in the US, and has succeeded in doing in much of Europe.

I’ve long thought that while the universe is so vast because our God is infinite and all-powerful, and wishes to display his power and nature, the universe is not just there to be looked at for all eternity from the tiny part of it that we know now. I’ve been convinced that our eternal dwelling will extend to the stars. And even though scientists describe the limits of our universe according to their theories, they cannot see them, but continue to see further and further seemingly without end. Limited or not, it’s big…unimaginably big! It’s so big that it would take a very long time indeed to explore and populate. Not only so, but an infinite God can supply an infinitely expanding universe, even if it does have boundaries now. And that, according to my hopeful, imaginative mind, is just a part of what God has in store for those who love him.