Christmas … Future

I have been particularly blessed today listening to John MacArthur’s message, geared for the Christmas season.

The first coming of Christ was a veiled coming, as Wesley so clearly describes it:
“Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail the incarnate Deity!”
His glory and majesty was veiled, but His humanity was unveiled
When He comes again (and He will!), His humanity will be veiled but His glory unveiled!  The whole world will see His glory!

The first time He came, there was no room for Him in the Inn, only a lowly stable and manger.  When He comes again, His glory will fill the whole earth.

When He came the first time, only a few people attended His arrival .   When He returns EVERY eye will see Him!

The first time He came, it was as a helpless baby.  When He comes the second time, He will come as the Sovereign King of Kings, Lord of Lords and the Judge.

Take a few minutes out to listen to this wonderful message

 

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Remember Jesus!

I was listening to an Audible version of Warren W. Wiersbe’s book, “50 People Every Christian Should Know” this morning.   He shared how one truly precious servant of the Lord who had faithfully served the Lord over many years in both preaching and teaching had left this advice to his congregation and students.  His name was Alva Jay McClain (1888-1968)

“You may forget me, that is not a problem.
BUT this is important … 

REMEMBER JESUS CHRIST …
Remember Who He is and you’ll never be ashamed to confess Him before others!
Remember Who He is and you’ll never have doubts about your salvation!”

50The book by Warren Wiersbe is excellent and it has been an amazing blessing learning about these many Christians who have been willing to faithfully proclaim the Truth of God’s Word.   People like Matthew Henry, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Fanny Crosby, J. Hudson Taylor, Charles H. Spurgeon,   Frances Ridley Havergal, Dwight L. Moody, C. I. Scofield, R. A. Torrey, G. Campbell Morgan, Amy Carmichael, Oswald Chambers, H. A. Ironside, Alva Jay McClain (as mentioned above), A. W. Tozer and W. E. Sangster, to mention just a few.

Having said that …. and considered all these people and what Jesus meant to them, the message I got from this book is this:

  • Follow Jesus
  • Draw very close to Him
  • Be prayerful, seeking His will and not our own
  • Read and Study His Word
  • Hold to the Truth as in God’s Word (not man’s interpretations)
  • Share the Truth of God’s Word
  • Avoid Modernism
  • Avoid Ritualism
  • Earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints

And if you’ve never met Jesus as your Saviour, you need to get to know Him without delay!

So, along with Jude, I urge “you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches…”  (Jude 3 & 4)  There is so much deception – don’t fall for it.  The only way you can avoid being deceived is to soak yourself in His Word and obey His Word.  Contend for the faith entrusted to us through God’s Word, the Bible … AND

REMEMBER JESUS – PUT HIM FIRST IN YOUR LIFE AND LIVE FOR HIM …. especially in the light of His soon-return!

 

NOT PERFECT YET!

Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on [e]so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own (Philippians 3:12)

I am sure you have seen the phrase: “Be patient with me, God is not finished with me yet”.   Very true indeed.

In my quiet time with the Lord this morning, I read that well-known passage in Philippians 3 (Paul writing to Timothy) which says:

“12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[d] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Apart from the overall message of this passage, which illustrates the importance of finishing the race rather than necessarily winning the race, never entertaining the possibility of slacking off because of infirmity or old age and committing oneself to finishing strong with whatever strength and abilities one has – until our final breath or when we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air and we get our first sight of the Lord Jesus …,  there were some other very encouraging and helpful thoughts I gleaned from this passage.  Let me share them with you now.

Is it possible for anyone to be perfect in this imperfect world we live in?

The thought of being “perfect” can be troubling and challenging when we think of all our imperfections as Christians.   We are still a work in progress, after all…

The word “perfected” or “perfect” as used in the Bible to describe various people, does NOT mean “sinless perfection”.  Only Jesus is perfect and sinless!   In the Old Testament, we read about various Bible characters that were described as “perfect”, “blameless” or “loyal” – they were by no means sinless. For example – Noah, Asa, Hezekiah, Job and David (see footnote below for Bible references to these people).   It is important to be aware that several Greek and Hebrew words are translated as “perfect”, but the thought behind them is either “completeness in all details” or “to reach a goal or achieve a purpose”

I discovered that there are three stages of perfection (as set out in the Scofield Reference Bible):

  1. Positional Perfection
    This is something we have as soon as we put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour. Take a quick look at this verse in Hebrews 10:14:
    For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.”  (NLT)
    For by the one offering He has perfected forever and completely cleansed those who are being sanctified [bringing each believer to spiritual completion and maturity].” (Amplified Bible)
  2. Relative Perfection
    This refers to spiritual maturity I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should embrace this point of view. And if you think differently about some issue, God will reveal this to you as well. Nevertheless, we must live up to what we have already attained.… (Philippians 3:15)
    Spiritual maturity is particularly important in relation to
    The will of God Epaphras … prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God (Colossians 4:12)
    Love And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect…. (1 John 4:17)
    Holiness Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.(2 Corinthians 7:1)
    PatienceAnd let endurance [patience/perseverance/endurance] have itsperfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:4)
    Every good work Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with every good thing to do His will. And may He accomplish in us what is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21)Maturity does not come overnight, but is progressive as we saw in 2 Corinthians 7:1 above.   Ephesians 4:12 summarizes this process so beautifully … And it was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for works of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, as we mature to the full measure of the stature of Christ.…”.  Hence one can see the importance of regular Bible study and Bible reading as well as attending a Bible-believing and Bible-preaching church (regrettably many, many churches are no longer Bible believers and are following and teaching a post-modern, emergent church, liberal Gospel … that is, preaching another Jesus, not the Jesus in the Bible).
  3. Ultimate Perfection
    In other words, perfection of soul, spirit, and body. This will only be realized at the time of resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3) or if the Rapture of the Church occurs prior to our dying” (1 Thessalonians 4:17) “… For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” “we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.”

As the footnote in the Schofield Bible states: “For the Christian nothing short of the moral perfection of God is always the absolute standard of conduct, BUT … Scripture recognizes that Christians do not attain to sinless perfection in this life.

So be encouraged as you meditate on these verses.   We are a work in progressLet us strive to draw ever closer to our Saviour and reflect His beauty in all we do, say and think!

Footnotes
Genesis 6:9, 1 Kings 15:14, 2 Kings 20:3, 1 Chronicles 12:38, Job1:1&8, Psalm 37:37)

Share His Word while you still can …

Speaking just a word for Jesus is so important in these days as we see the day of Christ’s return getting very close!

Sometimes one thinks that what one says is not effective or weak.  BUT …. if you share a word or two or three from HIS Word, the Bible, the Lord will assuredly use it to His glory!

As Dr David Jeremiah shared in his devotional reading a few days ago, “Whenever we read the Bible, quote it, teach it, preach it, publish it, or spread it abroad, it speaks loud and clear.  God’s Word NEVER returns void but accomplishes what He pleases (Isaiah 55:11).   Any old mouthpiece will do – even ours!  You can be confident of HIS POWER whenever you share HIS precepts”  (Turning Point September 2017)

Isaiah 55 verses 10 & 11 state …
10 
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens

    and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
    producing seed for the farmer
    and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word.
    I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
    and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

Be faithful in sharing His Word:  “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthinans 15:58 KJV) “Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose] (1 Cor. 15:58 Amplified Bible)

 

Is there really hope for the future?

 

WHAT HOPE IS THERE FOR THE FUTURE?

Is it unreasonable to ask such a question?  No.  Why should it be?

As we look around us, the world we are living in does not look a very happy place!

Increased levels of fear due to terrorism. Based on what we have been seeing in the last few months, acts of terror are increasing globally, not forgetting constant daily terror attacks in Israel.   Warfare has changed and it is so difficult to “nail” the terrorists, police and armed forces facing very dangerous situations.

160519156Strange and dangerous treaties being signed.  Laws being changed to accommodate non-Biblical values and anti-Christian stances.

The global economy is not stable.  Despite that. there are so many instances of various projects where money is being wasted while needy folk within ALL countries, including our own, are struggling.   Incredible amounts of money being spent on issues over which humankind has genuinely got no control despite them thinking they have, global warming and climate change being one such instance.   Oh yes, one does have to take due care and avoid unnecessary damage to the planet that God created.   But in reality, if folk would take time to read the Bible, they would discover that this world as we know it is destined to be burned up.

Am I being cynical?  No, I am being a realist.

What hope is there then?

The sad, sad situation in our world today is that people are writing God out of the equation.  God has provided incredible guidelines in His Word which would solve a myriad of the problems we are facing today IF His Word, His Guidelines would be followed and adhered to.   So many issues would be resolved if we would be obedient to His Word.  Sadly people have ignored the Book of Books, know little about it or prefer to treat it as a great literary work rather than Life’s Handbook.

I believe (as do many true Christians) that the Lord’s return is very, very close.   No, we cannot say the day or the hour, BUT the Lord Jesus Himself warned that we could tell the general period of His return.   Never before have things been so ready for all the end-time scenarios to fall into place.  In fact, the Bible in 2 Timothy 3 tells us that things will go from bad to worse!  Someone recently compared events in the last days to a pack of dominoes.  They are all closely stacked up together and once the first domino goes, the others will fall in rapid succession.

World events will be like that in the last days:  the Church (true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, those who have put their trust in Him as Saviour) will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air (commonly known as The Rapture). Once this has happened, the Antichrist will emerge (Global Leader), the Tribulation Period of 7 years will begin. Then the Battle of Armageddon followed by the Christ return RaptureReturn or Second Coming of Jesus Christ (this time as Judge and not Saviour).  This is followed by the Millennium (the 1000 year reign of Christ), etc.
These events will have the domino effect. Once the first one starts, the others will follow in sequence and rapid succession. I have no doubt that we have never been closer to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ than we are right now.

Just look how descriptive God’s Word is:  ” …   in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly… ” (2 Timothy 3:1-5 – New Living Translation)

Describes things exactly as they are!  It goes on to describe that “3 …  a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.” (2 Tim 4:3&4 NLT).   People find it far easier to follow New Age teachings, Liberal Theology, Esoterical Thinking, Humanistic thinking, etc.

 

The Bible describes the times and attitudes of people in the world we are living in now so accurately.

I could say SO much more, but to get back to the question I asked at the start of this article:  “Is there really hope for the future?”

Yes.  There certainly is!   There is one way and only one way.   If we as individuals have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we have the hope of eternal life where we will be forever with the Lord.   Whilst we are still here upon this earth, God’s Word does not teach us that nothing will go wrong in the life of a Christian – it does – BUT, we do not have to go through things alone.  He gives the strength we need.  He provides for us in various ways when we go through hard times, He really does – He has done it for me countless times!

For those Christians who have become “lukewarm” towards the things of the Lord, it is time to WAKE UP as time is running out.  Churches that are failing to stick to the Truth of God’s Word; compromising His Word and making it say or not say what it clearly states; failing to preach the True Gospel of Repentance and point people to Jesus as the only way to the Father and to be saved; no longer regard the Bible as the infallible Word of God – are in a very dangerous position.   Revelation teaches that God will spit them out of His mouth as they make Him sick!   The invitation to those churches is this:    “20 Behold, I stand at the door [of the church] and continually knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him (restore him), and he with Me. 21 He who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God], I will grant to him [the privilege] to sit beside Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down beside My Father on His throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches.”  (Rev 3:20 – Amplified)

I end with two verses from a very old hymn written by Edward Mote (1797-1874) based on the 1 Timothy 1:1

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me without delay.

Day Ashton
dayashton.uk@gmail.com

YOU ALSO BE READY FOR IN AN HOUR WHEN YOU DON’T EXPECT, JESUS WILL COME!

 

 

 

 

The End Times (Daniel 12)

THE END TIMES (Daniel 12)

We are living in very troubled and dangerous times and according to the Bible, what we are seeing happening all around us, globally, is indicative of the last days prior to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ (and yes, He IS coming back again).

I feel led to share this beautiful poem penned by Lorraine Lorenz in her daily devotional book, “Amber’s Story – Walking Back into the Light”

The angel is speaking to Daniel
Revealing the things still to come
In far distant future he sees them
In God’s time these things will be done.

The Antichrist ruling the nations
Unparalleled cruelty to man
Distress so severe, it’s unequalled
To any, since nations began

At that time the Archangel Michael
Protecting God’s people of old,
Will rise up with power from Heaven
And take on his God-given role

Behold now the great resurrection
Of all those asleep in the dust
The saved ones will rise to perfection
Perdition, the fate of the lost.

To shine as the brightness of Heaven
Be wise and your wisdom impart
For those who lead many to [Jesus]
Eternally shine as the stars

Then someone enquired of the angel,
“How long will these things take to be?”
“For a time and times and a half time”,
[Or “3 and one half years”] said he.

The angel continued his message
“The words are now rolled up and sealed
Till the time of the end, when so surely
[These secrets will all be revealed]”

No matter what anyone might think to the contrary, these things will happen.

One thing is sure, we cannot tell the day or the hour, but the Bible tells us we can discern the season … that season is here and we need to be sure we are ready to meet the Lord Jesus as our Saviour and not as our Judge.

If you have any questions, fill in the contact form and we will get back to you

God bless

Day Ashton

Is it possible to understand the “End Times”?

I was SO blessed this morning while listening to a powerful message about “The Final Generation”.  It was powerful and so clear.

This brings me to a trend that seems to have been developing amongst Christians, and that is to discard the discussion of the Second Coming.  People are buying into the idea (wrongly so!) that it is a “confusing” topic, that it is hard to understand.

This is simply not true … do you think for one minute that the Lord would have written His Word and made it “unclear”?   Of course not!   The book of Revelation starts out by saying, “Blessed is the one who reads this and understands”.  This therefore assumes that you can understand it.     Just think about it for a moment, the books of the New Testament were written to a generation of new believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and they could understand it.

The problem is, “man” has complicated things!  Instead of using the basic interpretive principles used to understand any ancient document and any discourse in any language in any place, man has strayed away from allowing Scripture to interpret itself.  Man has planted the doubt and confusion, where there was clarity.   Reminds me a bit of the serpent in the Garden of Eden … “Did God say …. ?”    The Bible, all of Scripture, has One Author, that is God, and He never contradicts Himself.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 states:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work

Of course there are things we don’t fully understand yet because they haven’t taken place as yet, BUT what we do know is that up till now, if God has promised something, He does it. With prophecy, we cannot know all the finer details of the fulfilment, but that it will happen as the Bible says is for real!

And when it comes to the return of Christ, the prophecies are in fact VERY clear indeed – no need for the “confusion”.    Human history as we know it culminates at the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth.   (I’ll be sharing more about the return of the Lord Jesus in future blogs, so if you want to know more about this subject, make sure you click “follow” and you will get to know when the new blogs are published).

I’ve had a deep and real interest in eschatology for more years than I care to remember. What on earth is eschatology?  Theologically speaking, the term refers to “the study of final things” in the Bible. It concerns both personal eschatological issues such as death and the intermediate state as well as themes with a more general focus such as the return of Christ, resurrection, judgment, tribulation, the millennial kingdom, and the eternal state, etc.

I have a growing concern that people in general have little knowledge or understanding of end-time prophecy.   Even worse, if that were possible, people – even fellow Christians – have little interest in it and prefer not to discuss it.   Is it important?  Of course it is!!  If Christians are not bothered, why should those who don’t know the Lord as their Saviour be worried.   It is that very blessed hope of the Lord’s imminent return that should fire us up into sharing the Gospel of Jesus to a lost world – while there is yet time!   It is so important to understand this and to understand just how near the end of history as we know it is!  Are there consequences of not being ready for His Return?   Yes … serious consequences. (More about that in my next blog)

We actually have nothing to fear about the future (if we know the Lord as our personal Saviour) because the Bible tells us clearly how it will all end. It is described clearly and with much detail in Scripture. And, the truth of the Second Coming literally fills the New Testament – introduced by our Lord Jesus Himself in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke in particular.   We need to study all of Scripture and get the whole picture.   I’m looking forward to His Return.  Are you?

Find out more about His Return in my next blog.

” You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected” (Matthew 24:44)