Bodies in the Rapture

This entry is part 93 of 98 in the series Inquiring Minds

What happens to the physical body in the rapture and when do we receive our new heavenly bodies?

Paul discusses what will happen to us during the rapture in a couple of different places. First, if we look at Paul’s teaching on the rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, the Thessalonians wrote a letter to Paul because they thought they had missed the second coming of Christ.

So he wrote 1 Thessalonians in part to explain to them that they had not missed it. Along with the second coming of Christ is the rapture, the “catching up” (1 Thessalonians 4:17) of the Saints to be with the Lord. “Rapture” is the Latin word for “catching up.”

He writes to straighten the Thessalonians out on the procedure for the rapture. First, Jesus will descend from the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Everyone will notice because it will be a very loud reunion with the church.

The dead in Christ will rise first with him (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Finally, we who are alive in Christ will then be “caught up” in the air with those who were dead in Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:17). We will be with the Lord forever.

But the key to connecting the passage about the rapture with the passage about resurrection is that both mention the sound of the trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 15:52). Paul discusses resurrection and the mystery of how we will be changed.

First, he lays out the principle that the bodies must be changed because the perishable cannot take on the imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:50). He introduces the mystery that we won’t all die (“sleep” is a New Testament euphemism for death for Christians) but we will all be changed (1 Corinthians 15:51).

He talks about being changed, a transformation, that happens in the air “in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52). We know he was referring to the same event because of all of the parts that match with one another.

He says the trumpet will sound and then mentions the same procedure. First the dead in Christ rise and then those who are living (1 Corinthians 15:52). He says that the dead will be changed to imperishable and so will we.

So this is a transformation that occurs in the air for both the saints who have already died in Christ and then we who are living. It happens at the sound of a trumpet that will alert the world to the return of Christ. No one will miss this event. What people will not know is where we went because it happens so fast.

What will the transformation from the perishable to the imperishable look like? Nobody truly knows, even Paul. That’s why he calls it a mystery. He describes the change as an agricultural one where the seed we plan is not the end result of the growing plant (1 Corinthians 15:36-38).

Our bodies will be transformed by Christ in the blink of an eye in the air as we meet with him. It will be an incredible experience that I look forward to. No one knows what kind of abilities we will have in these new bodies. If the things that Jesus was able to do after his resurrection are any hint, it’s going to be fun to discover their abilities.

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Unequally Yoked

This entry is part 92 of 98 in the series Inquiring Minds
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When Paul tells us not to be “unequally yoked” with unbelievers 2 Corinthians 6:14, what does that separation look like? How far are the boundaries?

Unequally yoked comes from agriculture. This was a wooden device long enough to hold two oxidant under it. It would be strapped onto each of the oxen and keep one from going faster than the other so that the two would work together.

Paul is speaking about the relationship we have with unbelievers. In another place he tells us not to be partners with them (). The idea is that we have a different worldview, different values, and a different way of thinking. We don’t work well with unbelievers, not because we are judgmental or difficult, but because we have a different process.

Paul follows this principle with many questions that highlight the differences between Christians and unbelievers. He then quotes from Leviticus 26 and Exodus 29 concerning separation of the believer from the unbeliever. But what does that look like?

We live in this world and we work for Jesus here. We can’t burn our relationships with unbelievers where we would lose the ability to witness to them. Not only that, but we must show ourselves to be genuine friends. Jesus was a friend of tax collectors and sinners.

We must have relationships with unbelievers. But we don’t have to partner with them in their worldviews. While we can tolerate the stances of others we do not have to accept promote them. This has changed in our world. People are trying to redefine words like tolerance.

But we must stand for Christ. We bear his name and we must not do things that don’t glorify him. This will bring persecution to our door. But his persecution and suffering for Christ. We are called to a life of holiness.

The world doesn’t even understand what holiness and godliness are about. There will be friction between believers and unbelievers. But that doesn’t mean we can’t live together with them. To the best of our ability, we maintain godliness while maintaining a relationship with unbelievers.

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Gifts and Call of God

This entry is part 91 of 98 in the series Inquiring Minds
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Are the gifts and call of God irrevocable despite hidden sin in a minister’s life?

This is a good question that none of us knows the answer to until we stand before the Lord in the Bema final judgment. That is the place God decides rewards. But what happens if a person lives with sin secretly while working for God in the ministry?

None of us can judge a person’s life. We can’t see the person’s heart. Only God can do that. It is up to him how he wants to deal with his ministers. I have often said, and heard it said, that God sometimes works wonders in spite of us.

Take, for instance, Sampson. He is the playboy of the Old Testament. He is one of the judges that lives on the edge, if not over it most of the time. He’s got a thing for Philistine women. I don’t know why but he gravitates toward the bad girls in Philistia.

And God seems to use this. Think about the story of Samson. Every time that he ends up with a philistine prostitute, he destroys the Philistines in some way or another. Usually they make him angry and God uses his anger to destroy them.

So in a way, God used the flaws in Sampson against the enemies of Israel. This is why he is one of the judges. He did everything wrong from start to finish a God still used him. What are we supposed to do with this? Does God still do this today?

This is why I say that God can use us in spite of ourselves. Sampson’s flaws left God an open door to use him even though he was an imperfect human being. It would have been better for the Philistines if they would have not bothered him at all. Every time they enticed him they were the ones to get burned.

If a minister has a secret life of sin but God still uses him or her in mighty ways, like through the gifts, signs and wonders, it’s not because they’re doing everything right. Billy Graham used to say that for every minister we hold up as a failure there are a thousand ministers who are doing it right that no one talks about.

It is human nature to gravitate toward those who are not doing things right or who are being dramatic. But does that mean that ministers can claim God’s gifts are irrevocable no matter what they do (Romans 11:29)? This almost sounds like the “once saved, always saved” argument.

If people use this verse to say that they are saved forever and that their gifts are always there for them, no matter what they do, they are not applying the context of this verse properly. It is couched in Paul’s argument that all of Israel will be saved.

It is not even speaking to the issue of hidden sin. It is talking about Paul’s desire that his people, though hardened for a short time, will still enter God’s kingdom before it is too late. This isn’t about being saved and part of God’s kingdom and then allowing sin in your life on the side or behind the scenes of your ministry.

The context of “each verse we quote must be taken into account. When we misapply Scripture, we may be in danger of practices that are not biblical. No one can justify a secret life of sin by saying that they are always saved or that God gives gifts he won’t take back.

There are examples of God removing his Spirit from those who don’t get rid of the life of sin. King Saul is a prime example. There was actually a moment where God’s Spirit left this anointed king. He spent the rest of his life sulking and doing things the wrong way. And he paid for it with his life on the battlefield.

It’s not okay for a minister to think that they can get away with hidden sin or that God condones their secret sinful lifestyle because he still uses them in their gifts. There will come a day of judgment for such activities.

Many times, like with Jimmy Swaggart or Jim Baker, these sins they do in secret will come out in public. Their judgment will be disgrace in the ministry. These ministers still have a ministry but never liked before. And they live in that judgment.

Personally as a minister I have always kept sin far away, not because I am a holy and righteous individual that is impossible to tempt. Instead, I keep these things in check because I do not want to be judged for secret sin in public ministry.

I fear the Lord in the sense that I honor him in secret and in public. I don’t want to be publicly disgraced so I attempt to live my life in private and public the same way. I want God’s judgment to be, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

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Prepared for Destruction

This entry is part 90 of 98 in the series Inquiring Minds
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In Romans 9:22, Paul is speaking about Pharaoh and Moses. What does “prepared for destruction” mean?

Romans 9:22 is part of the first volley of Paul’s argument in Romans 9-11 concerning his people, the Jews, and how God has dealt with them over time. Calvinists love this chapter because it contains words like election (Romans 9:11) and concepts like God choosing one over another.

But that’s not what this section of the chapter is about. Paul opens by talking about how he wishes all of Israel will be saved. He is in anguish over the fate of Israel, his people. He talks about the concept of being a spiritual Jew rather than an ethnic Jew.

God’s chosen people are not from one race. They are people who are part of the children of promise from Abraham, Isaac. This is why Paul is upset. There are Jews who will not be in heaven as far as he understands it because they are not choosing their Messiah, Jesus

Paul introduces several foundational concepts in this first part of Romans 9. The first is the idea that God has a sovereign choice that he can make. He chooses Jacob over Esau and that is his prerogative. But he then made his family open to whoever accepts Jesus Christ.

The second concept Paul introduces in this section of the chapter is the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart Romans 9:16-18). But during the plagues, Pharaoh hardened his heart over and over before God finalized it and hardened his heart (Exodus 7:13, 23; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 12, 35; 10:20, 27; 11:10).

Throughout the whole series of the plagues Pharaoh hardens his heart over and over until the Lord hardens it because he has made that decision and refuses to change. God honors our decisions and they are finalized at the moment of our death. It is the same for Jews who do not accept Christ and become believing Jews.

Then Paul brings up God’s sovereignty again and says that he can make out of the Clay whatever he wishes. He can make vessels for honorable and dishonorable use. This is where Romans 9:22 comes in. The argument still concerns the Jews and the Gentiles.

Paul is the missionary to the Gentiles. He understands that God has opened the door for the Gentiles to receive his salvation. Later he will introduce the idea of grafting in the disciples to the Jews, God’s chosen people. He will make a new tree, what I call, “the composite people of God.” This includes believing Jews and believe in Gentiles.

This leaves the question of who the vessels are. Calvinists get the idea from the words “prepared for destruction” and “prepared beforehand for glory” that these things were set in motion and can’t be changed.

But what Paul is talking about is that anyone who believes in Jesus is prepared for glory beforehand (meaning that at the moment of salvation they were prepared) and that those who are not part of the believing tree of people are prepared for destruction.

You don’t have to understand this as something that God set in motion before the creation of the world. The idea here is that the people who are part of the tree are then prepared for glory and those who are not part of believing “Israel” (God’s people) are prepared for destruction because of their choice to harden their heart against the message of the gospel of the Messiah (Christ).

This is why Paul is upset. He wants his people, the Jewish nation, ethnic Jews, to be saved for eternity. But they must believe in Christ, the Messiah, Jesus. God cannot accept an ethnic Jew just because he is an ethnic Jew. The key is not ethnicity. The key is belief in Jesus.

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Tithing

This entry is part 89 of 98 in the series Inquiring Minds
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If I own a business, should I tithe off the business or off my income from the business?

The short answer is that you tie off of your income. I’ve always said that you can’t give what you don’t have. While you may own your business, all of the money in the business is not your income.

For instance, you have things like payroll, money you put back into your business, money for supplies and resources, and a host of other parts of the business. Tithing has always been done out of your income and resources.

Consider Abraham, who was the first to offer a tithe to Melchizedek, the Prince of Salem. Salem would later become Jerusalem. He is an interesting person in the Bible. This is a priest of God who is also a Prince. If I can put it another way, he holds two of the three offices that Jesus does (prophet, priest, and king).

Abraham does not take all of the possessions of everyone in the camp and give a tenth of them to Melchizedek. He only gives a tenth of his own possessions. So we are not obligated to tithe from our businesses. The obligation is only from ourselves and our own income.

The tithe becomes part of the law of Moses in Israel (Deuteronomy 14:22, 28). God used it to take care of the Levites and the priests (Numbers 18:26). It also became one of the signs that Israel was not being obedient to the Lord (Malachi 3:10-12).

Just before this Scripture we often hear quoted is the situation that the Israelites had become calloused before God (Malachi 3:7-9). But God gives some of the blessings from being obedient and our tithing. He will keep the devourer away from us, open the storehouses of his blessing, and others (the nations) will call us blessed.

We don’t tithe just to receive these blessings from God. They are byproducts of our obedience to him. This is the one time in all of Scripture that God said that we may test him. If you don’t think tithing is important or you think it is an Old Testament principle, God has put himself behind it.

Beyond this, 10% is the bare minimal in the New Testament. In fact, God expects our whole person to be wholly devoted to him alone. He expects 100% from us. Who says, “I’m a New Testament Christian and Old Testament laws don’t apply to me, you are opening yourself up to an even higher tithe of your whole being. But then again, each of us should be giving him that already.

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Sword of the Spirit

This entry is part 96 of 98 in the series Inquiring Minds
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How do we use the sword of the Spirit, our Bibles?

Ephesians, where Paul mentions the sword of the Spirit, clarifying that it is the Word of God, is a prison epistle. It was written when Paul was imprisoned under house arrest in Rome from about 60-62 AD. During that time, he may have been chained to a Roman soldier dressed for battle.

He uses this as an image of the differences and weapons we have as believers against spiritual forces. One of those weapons is the Word of God, the Bible. But Paul uses this image of the Roman sword to talk about the Bible in an interesting way.

The sword of the Spirit is one of the only offensive weapons in the armor of God. When Paul was looking at the Roman soldier guarding him, he noticed a double-edged sword only 18 inches long, called a rapier.

This sword was not designed for broad work. It didn’t gash its opponents with long blows. It resembled nothing of the broad swords we see in many movies today. Instead, it was a sword meant for strategic and surgical work.

Roman soldiers used it during battle for precision. It caused a lot of damage because it was sharp and double-edged. No matter which approach you used if you swung the sword or cut with it, you did a lot of damage internally.

How does this apply to God’s Word? For one, we must memorize Scripture because we will not always have it on pages. The last thing you need the midst of a spiritual battle is to say to demons, “Wait for one minute. Timeout! I’ve got to look up this verse.”

Beyond that, when we memorize Scripture we give the Spirit ammunition to use in the midst of spiritual warfare. Which brings me to the other point. We can’t just pick a verse or two and throw them at the enemy, hoping that they do damage.

God’s Word is meant for precision fighting. If we are going to do damage to the enemy, we must know the right verses to apply to the right situations. We must not only memorize Scripture. We must know how to interpret it. We must understand how each Scripture applies to the situations we face.

We must learn the context of Scripture. The more we understand these things, the more powerfully God’s Word can strike it’s blows and have the precision of Hebrews 4:12 where it divides between two seemingly inseparable things.

Don’t be surprised that the devil knows Scripture and will try to use it against us. Jesus experienced this in his temptations in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). The only difference is that he uses it deceptively and out of context. But we will be victorious when we wield the sword of the Spirit with excellence.

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Testing the Lord

This entry is part 88 of 98 in the series Inquiring Minds
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What does it mean to test the Lord as Jesus addresses in the second temptation?

In Matthew 4:1-11, the devil tempts Jesus three times. Each temptation can be related to the three temptations John mentions (1 John 2:16). We will use these as a loose understanding of the temptations of Jesus. What our chief curiosity is when Jesus talks about testing the Lord in the second temptation.

Matthew interestingly tells us that the Holy Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness for the express purpose to be tempted by the devil. This is the final preparation for his ministry. He has already been baptized by John the Baptist. This is the last step. Where Israel failed to follow God and rebelled and complained the entire time, Jesus will succeed in every temptation.

The Lust of the Flesh

The devil challenges Jesus’ title as the Son of God and wants him to prove that he is (Matthew 4:3). He wants to see a miracle like everyone else. He wants Jesus to turn stones into bread because he is hungry.

Stones were almost the size of a loaf of bread in the time of Jesus. But Jesus doesn’t fall for it. He says that a person doesn’t live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from God’s mouth (Matthew 4:4).

Although Jesus was very hungry and needed food to eat after 40 days of fasting, he did not allow the lust of his flesh to deter him. He stood up to the devil and didn’t do a miraculous sign for him. He trusted that God was the sustenance that he needed in that hour. He resisted his flesh and the desire to prove himself as Son of God. She knew who he was and didn’t need to prove it on command.

The Pride of Life

Next, the devil takes him to the highest point of the Temple in Jerusalem and challenges to throw himself down (Matthew 4:5-6). Since he is the Son of God he did not be afraid of dying before his time. The devil quotes Scripture from Psalm 91, a Psalm about God protecting the Messiah from harm.

Jesus isn’t surprised by the devil. But he responds with the perfect Scripture for this moment. When the devil tempts him to enjoy the pride of life, the promise that he will be safe until this time, Jesus responds that no one should test God when he promises these things (Matthew 4:7).

Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy 6:16 where Moses tells the Israelites when they enter the promised not to test the Lord as they did at Massah. This refers back to Exodus 17:1-7. The Israelites were thirsty and so they complained to Moses that there was no water to drink in this place.

It was originally named Rephidim but because of their quarreling he renamed it Massah. He asked God what he should do and God told him to take the same staff struck the Nile with and strike the rock. Then water came out.

But the sin of the Israelites in testing the Lord was that they asked the question, “Is the Lord among us or not” (Exodus 17:7)? But look at Exodus 17:6. The Lord tells Moses that the only reason water comes from the rock is not because he strikes it with the special staff but because, “Behold, I will stand before you on the rock…”

The Israelites asked if God was among them but he says that he was standing on the rock before them where the water flowed after Moses struck it with his staff. They tested the Lord by questioning his presence as he stood in front of them!

As a side note (because I can’t resist), Jesus stood before the Israelites on that day on that rock. How do I know this? In 1 Corinthians 10:4, Paul says that their forefathers all drank from the spiritual Rock that is Christ. And Jesus, interestingly, speaks of rivers of water (John 7:37-39) and talks about living water with the Samaritan woman (John 4:10, 13-14).

The Lust of the Eyes

Finally, the devil took Jesus to a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:8-10). The key for the lust of the eyes is that he “showed” him these kingdoms. He beheld the glory of these kingdoms with his eyes.

The devil says he will give these kingdoms to Jesus only if Jesus bows down and worships him. Who owned these kingdoms? The devil clearly says he owns them and can give them if he wishes. For this time, the devil does reign on this earth.

But God owns his creation as its sovereign Lord. Jesus will reign on the earth in the millennial reign at the end of time. He was able to be patient and not take the bait of Satan. Here was the true King of the whole universe standing before the devil who was given these kingdoms for this time.

But Jesus quotes Scripture for the final time to worship God and serve him only (Matthew 4:10; Deuteronomy 6:13). Jesus wasn’t concerned with getting a kingdom from Satan that he already owned. He concentrated on serving his Father.

Instead of succumbing to the lust of his eyes in the kingdoms that he saw, taking them now instead of at the proper time later, and giving up his throne to Satan in that moment, Jesus was patient. After all, that’s what Satan has always been after, usurping God’s throne from the beginning.

Notice that in Matthew 4:11, the Angels come to minister to Jesus. They take care of the fact that he was hungry without food. They minister to him as Psalm 91 had prophesied about the Messiah.

Testing the Lord

This question is about what it means to test the Lord. The Israelites tested the Lord by questioning his presence while he stood right before then. They tested him because they saw and still asked if he was there.

Satan wanted Jesus to test his Father by proving his promise to protect him. If he would have jumped off, angels would rescue him so that he didn’t die at the bottom. It wasn’t his time before his ministry began for him to suffer.

To test the Lord is to not trust in his promises. If anyone needs the proof of the promise before the Lord fulfills it in his time, they test him. We don’t need to demand proof of the promise because we have seen evidence of it along the way.

Instead of testing the Lord for proof of his promises we need to be patient until he fulfills them. We trust the Lord and if he makes a promise he fulfills it. We even have examples throughout history of his fulfillment of his promises. Abraham received his promised son Isaac. Jesus fulfilled all of the prophecies about him in the Old Testament. God fulfills his promises in his time.

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Praying for Readiness

This entry is part 13 of 13 in the series Prayer Models
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I know many people who love to travel. My mom is one of them. Put her behind the wheel of a car and she will drive all day long and enjoy driving. I know other people who hate to travel. We call them homebodies.

I used to walk everywhere I went because I didn’t have a driver’s license. Being legally blind made it dangerous for me to be behind the wheel of a car. So I walked and ran everywhere I went. I always enjoyed walking before I became paralyzed.

In the armor of God in Ephesians 6, Paul begins from the soldier’s belt to his breastplate that covers his vital organs. But then he looks down and notices the soldier’s boots or shoes. Without these boots, the soldier could not traverse the battlefield to fight.

So he links the shoes with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). But what in the world is he talking about? It is the gospel about Jesus that brings peace because Jesus died on the cross to make peace between God and us (Ephesians 2:14-16).

Our fee take us everywhere we want to go. But more than that, they can be used for God’s glory. How would people hear the gospel of peace if we didn’t go to them and tell them about it? Jesus said in the Great Commission that we should make disciples and baptize as we go (Matthew 28:19).

Because of the background of our battlefield, the spiritual realm where the devil has stolen people away from the God who made them, one of our greatest weapons is to go and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is this gospel that enlivens people and gives them the ability to enter God’s kingdom.

And so our feet must be protected. They are protected by being ready to share the good news of Jesus Christ. When we are prepared to share Jesus’ good news, we can’t do it by sitting around. We’ve got to go to where the people are.

Many of the pieces of armor are defensive. The breastplate protects the soldier from glances of the sword. The helmet protects his head. And the boots can protect his feet and legs. But there are also some weapons like the sword

I contend that the boots or the shoes for readiness can also be an offense of weapon for believers in the midst of spiritual battle in this world. It is the gospel that brings light to this dark world. The gospel of Jesus shines in the hearts of people who need him more than anything else. The gospel breaks chains and sets the prisoners free. It is a dangerous weapon against the devil that he cannot refute or overpower.

" The gospel breaks chains and sets the prisoners free. It is a dangerous weapon against the devil that he cannot refute or overpower. " – Jonathan Srock Click To Tweet

And this is why we need to pray for readiness to bring the gospel of peace to the world. We do it one soul at a time. One life at a time is changed. The shoes may have protected the soldier but preparing to share the gospel does damage to the gates of Hell.

So how can we be ready to share the gospel? It begins with study. We read the Word of God and we know how to tell our story about what Jesus has done for us. Jesus defended himself against the devil by using Scripture when he was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4). So we must know God’s Word to be effective.

And then we must go. We must pick up our feet and walked to the person. It does us no good to sit around and know how to share without going and sharing. This is why we pray for our feet to be ready to go and our voices to be ready to speak Jesus’ good news into the lives of hurting people.

But we don’t only pray that we go. There are at least two ways to apply the shoes of the gospel of peace to our situations. The first is to pray for the salvation of our family members. If you have family members that don’t know Jesus, it doesn’t start with a conversation with them. It begins on our knees in prayer for their lives and their hearts to be open.

So the first step to praying for the shoes of the readiness of the gospel of peace is to pray for our family members who need Jesus to set them free. Second, we ask God for divine appointments. What is a divine appointment? It is when the Spirit provides the opportunity and prompts us to share the gospel with someone.

When I pray for divine appointments I ask God to help me see people the way he does. I ask him to reveal to me the person that hurts and needs Jesus. I ask him to reveal the person who is at the end of their rope. I even ask him to reveal to me the person whose heart is so torn and hard against him.

Then I ask the Holy Spirit to open that heart and lay fertile soil for me to share my story of how Jesus has changed my life. I pray that God made ready for every situation I might encounter in my divine appointments. I pray that he gives me the words to speak to that person for that moment.

See, I am not the only one who must be prepared to share the gospel. The heart of the person I speak to must also be ready to receive the message. And only the Holy Spirit can do that. So I ask him to prepare them to see as he prepares me to share.

That is how you put on the shoes of readiness for the gospel of peace. It all starts with prayer and preparation. Prepare as much as you can but the Bible tells us that God will speak through us what needs to be said (Matthew 10:19; Luke 12:11-12).

So in this spiritual battle as soon as we walk out into the world, our feet must be prepared to go and share the gospel. We get ready and to begin looking for those divine appointments. But it all begins when we pray for the readiness of the gospel of peace.

Leave a comment and tell me how you prepare to share the gospel of Jesus with a hurting world.

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Fear of the Lord

This entry is part 87 of 98 in the series Inquiring Minds
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What is the fear of the Lord? Can it be actual fear and being scared of what God can do?

Proverbs states that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7). To fear the Lord is to worship and revere him, to be in awe of him. Fearing the Lord means doing whatever he has commanded us to do.

This is revealing his name as his reputation, his character, and his acts. When we hear of who he is or what he has done, we honors him. But I submit that the fear of the Lord can be exactly what it sounds like.

There are times in the Bible where people fear the Lord literally. They are afraid of him because of what he has done, his wrath toward them. For instance, the people of Canaan are greatly afraid of the Israelites. But they are rather greatly afraid of Yahweh.

They have heard what he has done to other nations, to Egypt and to other parts of Canaan. Their fear is not as much reverence as it is being scared of a being greater than their own gods. So the fear of the Lord is reviewing him but it is also having a healthy fear of his power and person.

One of my favorite Christian authors, C. S. Lewis in the popular Chronicles of Narnia series, in The Ryan, The Which, and The Wardrobe, the children asked the beaver about Aslan, the lion. They ask him if he is “safe.” The line represents Jesus.

The beaver replies, “Safe? Safe? He’s not safe. But he’s good.” We need not fear the Lord in the sense that we are afraid of him because we are his children. But we must revere him and honor him for who he is and what he does. He is great and mighty and we must balance his transcendence and his closeness to each of us.

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Judgment in Numbers 16

This entry is part 86 of 98 in the series Inquiring Minds
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Were the whole families included with the 250 people who sunk into the earth in Numbers 16?

Numbers 16 presents the third giant rebellion against the leadership of Moses. It is probably the most dramatic of the three. God separates out the 250 men who led the rebellion against Moses. They were all from the tribe of the Levites, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram are the ringleaders.

The Bible states that God dealt with them treacherously because they challenged his ordained leadership. Two hundred fifty men were swallowed up by the ground along with their possessions.

But it was more than just these 250 men. These esteemed leaders chose to put their lot in with these ringleaders and were judged just as harshly as them. When they rose up against Moses for the third time, God had enough.

They went to the underworld, Sheol, with all their belongings and their families. We would never know how much of them perished in this incident. It was a healthy enough amount to scare every Israelite in the camp. Originally God wanted to destroy the whole lot and start over.

They must be thankful for Moses who saved their lives that day. He pleaded with the Lord for a third time to not start over with another people. And the Lord granted his request. But these 250 men and their families paid the price of rebelling against God’s ordained leadership.

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