I have put together for you a paraphrase of Jesus teachings on His return from the gospels. I've color-coded each section to go with the reference where the instruction and truths are given. With some work, when we take what Jesus taught regarding His return, where our gathering occurs in relation to the great tribulation no longer remains a mystery but becomes crystal clear truth.
Matthew 28:18-20 Matthew 24:3-36 Mark 13:5-27 Luke 21:25-28 Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 Matthew 5:3-11 John 14:3
"I, Jesus, am with you, My disciples, always, even to the end of the age, when I return." Earlier, Jesus disciples had asked, "What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" He told them, "See to it that no one misleads you for false Christs will come and mislead many. You will hear of wars, but that is not the end. There will be famines and earthquakes. These are just the beginning of birth pains. You will then be delivered over to persecution. You will be killed. You will be hated because of My name. Many are going to fall away,proving that they were tares, that they were look-a-like believers that My enemy, the devil, had sowed. So, when you see the abomination of desolation which Daniel talked about, standing in the holy place, those who are in Judea should flee to the mountains. For then there will be a great tribulation, like never ever before. Unless I cut those days of tribulation short by My coming, none of My chosen ones will remain and survive to the end, when I return. But immediately after the tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky. Then My sign will appear in the sky, all tribes of the earth will mourn when they see Me coming, but when you see the lights go out and feel the shaking of the earth, look up, for your redemption is drawing near. At the harvest, which is the end of the age, I will send my angels, the reapers, to gather the wheat, into the barn. Remember that I told you this in the parable of the wheat and tares. I will send my angels out with a great trumpet. They will gather my chosen ones, the wheat, into the barn, at the end of the age. You are the wheat, the sons of My kingdom - the poor in spirit, the mourners, the gentle, those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted because of Me. No one knows the day or the hour of My return. It will happen sometime after the great tribulation begins. I will cut the great tribulation short by My return. I will return to some who live and endure to the end. All authority has been given to Me by My Father. Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, teaching them to observe all that I have taught and commanded you, that includes the truths about My return. I want each generation of disciples to teach the next generation of disciples, on down to the generation that will see these signs - the abomination of desolation, the great tribulation, the cosmic signs, and then My return. This generation will not pass away - the generation that sees these signs will be the generation that will see My return. I will be with you all, every single generation, always. I am preparing a place for you. I will come again, at the end of the age, and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world."
I've got one more picture album for you from my LA trip. I actually ended up not with thousands and thousands of pictures but just over four hundred. There are around 80 in this last album. Here's a sneak preview of what you'll see...
My niece Eva-Karin and great-nephew Ethan...
Ethan and his daddy, Garry...
My mom with Ethan, her third great-grandson...
My mom and I - Do you think I look like her?
Karin and Ethan...
Uh, Ethan kind of dominates this album, had to make Grandma Karin happy!
They are back! Mai and Charlie, that is. And of course I have to post some pictures... I got to say hello yesterday. These pictures are from today, when Daniel and Annie saw Charlie for the first time. Daniel was sooooo cute...when Uncle Ben, Auntie Mai, and Charlie came in the house this morning, I was holding Daniel. I said, "They are here!" Daniel had the biggest grin when he first saw Charlie, and then when he saw Auntie Mai, he kept saying, "Mai! Mai! Mai!", and then when I put him down he ran up to her and hugged her legs about a million times...
In this first picture, it almost looks like they are saying to each other, "I can't believe it's you!"
Grandma is on cloud nine, having her two little boys back together again. I think the boys look rather happy, too!
Annie cannot resist a soft cheek! (She gets it from me...)
And who couldn't resist pinching those adorable, marshmallow cheeks?!
Daniel is rather happy to have Charlie home, can you tell?
Ben and Charlie were reunited yesterday, but these precious pictures were taken today...
You can enjoy many more pictures from today by clicking here! Thank you Lord for bringing them back safely to us!
Psalm 103:19 - "The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all."
This verse tells us that the LORD has set up His rule and He is reigning over everything. (Note the 100% word.) All things are subject to His power and control. This is a truth that should bring us great comfort, especially knowing the character of God, that He is holy and perfect and just. The LORD is ruling over what is happening all throughout His creation. The Bible says that Satan is the ruler of this world (for now) but because of Psalm 103:19 we know he is on a leash and is only allowed what God sovereignly has ordained he can do. (Remember Job?) When it seems like evil and despair is overwhelming everything around us, this verse tells us that God is on the throne. Evil bows to Him and serves His purposes. Did God the Father not use the most heinous sin, the putting to death of His Son, to redeem His elect?
Scripture also tells us that God has a plan. He is working towards a certain end. His plan is the summing up of all things in Christ - Eph. 1:10. Everything in history is going to add up to Jesus Christ as the centerpiece. Romans 11:36 says that all things are from Him and through Him and to Him. The LORD is on His throne, ruling all things to this end - to the glory of Jesus Christ.
I want to encourage you to put Psalm 103:19 to memory. In all the upheaval we are seeing in the world, the LORD is in complete control, overseeing and orchestrating His plan. As we get closer to the return of Christ, the sovereign rule of God over all things is what will steady our hearts. Satan has access to heaven right now, because it has been granted to him by the LORD. He is there, accusing the brethren, but without success. He is, however, going to be thrown out of heaven, for good, and because he knows at that point his time of ruling this world is short, Satan's burning anger and frustrated rage is going to come upon the apple of God's eye and the church, like never before - Revelation 12:7-12, Matt. 24:21. Satan's hatred has always been towards Israel and the saints, the objects of God's love. I'm sure he despises it every time he loses one of the subjects from his kingdom to the LORD's. Yet the LORD will be on the throne during the time of Satan's wrath, working out His purposes, just as He did at the death of His Son. Romans 8 tells us one of those purposes is to show to us that absolutely nothing can separate us from His love. Jesus will be lifted up in our lives during that time as the depth of His steadfast love for us will be put on display. The world won't comprehend this, but we will. Jesus love for us is infinitely stronger and more powerful than Satan's hatred for us.
The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.
You want to know what God is like? Remove all limits from your mind. If He's an ounce of an attribute, He's infinite in that attribute. If He's an ounce of love, He's infinite in that love. If He's an ounce of justice, He's infinite in that justice. If He's an ounce of knowledge, He's infinite in that knowledge. If He's an ounce of power, He's infinite in that power. He's the unchanging standard by which everything else is measured.
Why is there a second commandment? Because any image you make of an infinite being necessarily limits His majesty. You can't make a picture of an infinite being.
Everything in our experience is finite, limited. God is in another category. He is infinite, He's unlimited. That is why you can only comprehend God by analogy. You can only comprehend God by using thought rather than images. God is the standard by which everything else is measured. That's why Psalm 103:11 says that God's love to those that fear Him exceeds the height of the heavens above the earth. How high are the heavens above the earth? Infinite from our perspective. The heavens declare the glory of God. You want to know what God is like? Look to the heavens - even they are finite, but they are the closest thing in our experience - to limitlessness...
My mom treated all of her daughters (Karin, me, Betty Ann, Sherry C) and daughters-in-law (Sherry W and Maxine) to a night up at Lake Arrowhead Resort the first weekend of my visit.
Sherry C, Me, Sherry W, Maxine
Karin, Betty Ann, Mother
We caravanned up in two cars, arriving in time to get in a little shopping before dinner. The food was fabulous and we all ate way too much! Sunday morning we spent some time sharing our favorite passages of scripture and the two Sherry's and Betty Ann sang for us. The weather was beautiful, allowing us to take an easy stroll by the lake after lunch. There was still snow on the ground but it was sunny and warm - in the sunshine. Before heading back down the mountain we browsed through some of the shops one more time. It was a great, relaxing and fun twenty-four hours! Thanks for sharing your retirement gift with us all, Mother!
Here are a few pictures from my visit with Karin. I've got thousands and thousands of images to cull and edit...well, maybe more like hundreds and hundreds. Once I am finished I will post a couple of albums.
This first picture is of my great-nephew, Ethan, and his mommy and daddy. We went to a park and did a photo shoot for them. So sweet...
The first weekend I was there, my mom, sisters, and sisters-in-law spent a night up at Lake Arrowhead. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. We went for a stroll by the lake. This is my mom and two of my sisters, just being goofy. We had such a fun time. More about that later.
While we were at the park, I asked Garry, Ethan's dad, to take a picture of Betty Ann, Karin, and my mom...I snuck in it too...
Good news! On Thursday, Mai and Charlie arrive home. I can't wait to see the look on Daniel's face when he sees Charlie. He's with me when Annie is at work and always wants to look at pictures of "Touchie". He misses him and gets the real thing on Thursday! He's been gone for two months. I'm sure there will be updated pictures of my two grandson's very soon, too!
It was a great week with you Karin, thanks so much!
The LORD has established His rule and He is sovereign over all things.
He is mighty and powerful and His might and power are infinite.
We are frail. In comparison to the LORD, we are dust.
Yet, when we fear Him, when we revere Him, and recognize this vast difference between ourselves and our Creator, we become recipients of His limitless and never-ending lovingkindness and compassion and His righteousness.
He places us into the blessings of His grace.
David leads us the proper response:
1Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name. 2Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits; 3Whopardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases; 4Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; 5Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth isrenewed like the eagle. 6The LORD performs righteous deeds
And judgments for all who are oppressed. 7He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the sons of Israel. 8The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. 9He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever. 10He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. 12As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. 14For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust. 15As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. 16When the wind has passed over it, it is no more,
And its place acknowledges it no longer. 17But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children's children, 18To those who keep His covenant
And remember His precepts to do them. 19The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all. 20Bless the LORD, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word! 21Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will. 22Bless the LORD, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
My visit with Karin is winding down and we've had a great time. I'll be sharing a photo album with you when I get home, Lord-willing...
I grew up here in Southern California and have experienced many earthquakes. When I married, I moved to the Bay Area, lived 200 yards away from the Hayward fault, and experienced several more earthquakes. Tim and I then moved to Washington nine years later, and yes, we've been through even more earthquakes. I've experienced big earthquakes and small earthquakes. The bigger they are, the scarier they are. On two previous visits with Karin, I've experienced earthquakes. One happened last May while I was down, and another about twenty-five years ago. Needless to say, I could tell you many earthquakes stories. I've even got an embarrassing earthquake story... When you are at your brother-in-law's house and there is an earthquake...remember to grab a robe...if you are in your skivvies...before you run out into the hallway...because he is probably going to run into the hallway too. (Hallways and doorways are supposed to be safer than in the middle of the room...)
A friend sent me an email article a couple of days ago. It was about a mega earthquake that is being predicted in one of the America's, in the next couple of weeks. I guess scientists are making an educated guess based upon increasing subtle electromagnetic signals that are being detected in the earth's upper atmosphere over many regions of the world. The most intense right now are over the US western coastal and midwest regions. Apparently, the quake that occurred in Christchurch, New Zealand was predicted based on similar electromagnetic readings. One scientist explained his method for predicting earthquakes. It is based on the alignment of the planets. He said at the moment Jupiter and Saturn are on either side of the sun and are creating a tug of war with Earth in the middle. That is why there have been several 7+ earthquakes recently. On March 20th, the moon is supposed to be in a trigger position, so that is why a mega quake is being predicted.
Jesus did say that an increase in earthquakes would be one of the signs that His return is approaching. (MT. 24:7) He is even going to use a mega quake to announce His imminent presence, that He is about to gather the elect and then pour out His wrath on the wicked. Not only will the natural lights go out, the earth will shake tremendously. Those who have taken the mark will cower in fear at the presence of the Lord and desire to be swallowed up by the quake. (Rev. 6:12-17) At this point, we are to look up because our redemption is near. (Luke 21:25-28) The Lord's glory will then break through the darkness and shaking and we, His chosen, will be gathered by His reapers, the angels. (Mt. 24:29-31)
The big earthquakes are noisy, like the sound of a freight train, and when the ground is shuddering beneath your feet, your heart begins to race. But the sixth seal earthquake is an earthquake I will look forward to in great anticipation, if I am in the generation that sees the revealing of Antichrist, when he exalts himself as God in the temple. Those who witness this exaltation by Antichrist, will be the generation that experiences this mega quake at His return. (Mt. 24:32-34)
Earthquakes are in God's plan. He knows how long, how strong, and how frequent they will be. He determines who will live and who will die by them. When the wicked dies, He does not take pleasure in their deaths. When His children die, their deaths are precious to Him. To experience an earthquake is to experience the power of God. Earthquakes remind us that we are to fear Him. Knowing that He has said there is going to be one that announces His return demonstrates His power and control over them. Is there going to be a mega quake in one of the America's in the next few days? Only the Lord knows, but whenever they occur, it should cause us to be in awe of Him, and I think this is one of the reasons - they are in His plan....
I was going to take a break from posting while I was in LA. I'm here on a visit with my family, but the news is just too compelling not to talk about what has been going on...
I arrived in Southern California on Thursday evening. My two sisters and mom met me at the Long Beach airport. We grabbed some dinner on the way to Karin's. Our chatter and laughter was nonstop while we ate and enjoyed each other's company. The rest of the family met us at Karin's house. I was introduced to Ethan, Karin's first grandchild. Got to hold, feed, burp, and kiss him! Such a sweet boy... More laughter as we all visited. The next day was a work day for most. We said our goodnights as everyone headed for home. My brother sent Karin a text after he and my sister-in-law got home. Japan had just had a big earthquake. Karin turned on the news but I was tired so I headed off to bed. As I was drifting off to sleep Karin called to me, "Kathy, you need to see this..." What I witnessed next left me literally jaw-dropping speechless - massive walls of water swallowing everything its path. You immediately knew life was being snuffed out. The images of it's destruction streamed across the screen. We pretty much watched in stunned silence, with the occasional gasp escaping from our lips as we watched the devastation unfold. Three days later we are still getting new video and images. The earthquake has been upgraded to a 9 and nuclear disaster now looms in front of us. This story is not over, and it has been heartbreaking.
Romans 8 tells us that creation groans under the curse of sin. The created universe is in a corrupted condition as a result of the Fall. Earthquakes and tsunamis are a result of sin. We too groan under the weight of sin. Physically, as our bodies await their redemption, we battle disease and sickness. Because of sin, we die. We also groan emotionally as we watch tragedies like the one that is unfolding in Japan. We agonize at times over the devastating consequences of sin. Paul said that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth. Pains of childbirth signify that new life is on its way. Pains of childbirth get stronger and harder and fiercer as new life approaches. As we get closer to the return of Christ, the pains are going to get stronger and harder and fiercer. The earthquakes, the wars and rumors of wars, the false Christs are the beginning birth pains and like birth pains they are going to increase. The hard labor of great persecution against God's elect will follow after Antichrist is revealed, setting himself up as God in a rebuilt temple. But praise God, at the return of Christ, creation will be set free from its slavery when all believers are ultimately delivered from sin. Right now we have the first fruits of the Spirit. At the return of Christ we will then begin to eternally share in God's glory. The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with Christ's glory that will be revealed in us. The suffering and heartache and agonizing over the consequences of sin is going to come to an end...but in the mean time, God is causing all things to work for the benefit of His beloved elect.
This weekend my mom, sisters, sisters-in-law, and I were up at Lake Arrowhead. We had a great time and there was laughter. I know more times of sorrowing over the affects of sin are coming, but enjoy the precious times God gives you with your family.
When Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, they really had some problems. One was factions. There was envy and division in the church. Factions were being developed between Paul and Apollos. The Corinthians were developing loyalties around individuals. While it is appropriate for God's faithful servants to be appreciated and encouraged, they are not to be made the center of attention. This was a sign of spiritual immaturity for the Corinthian believers. They were behaving carnally, not spiritually. Paul pointed out that he and Apollos were just servants. The attention and honor is to go to God. He is the One who causes the growth in the body.
Paul tells us in Ephesians that the church is a building being fitted together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit and according to what he wrote to the carnal Corinthians, every believer is a builder. We are God's fellow workers in this building. Each of us will receive our own reward according to our labor. The building materials, our works, are pictured by precious metals and precious stones - things of value, things that will not burn when lit by fire. They are also pictured by wood, hay, and straw - things of no value, worthless - things that burn. Our works will be put to the test of fire. Some will be high quality - these remain and for these we will be rewarded. Some will be low quality - these will not remain. It seems that both types will be recognizable to us before they are put to the test. The point Paul is making is that our purpose should be to always serve the Lord with the best. Christ is the foundation and He should be the center of the work as we build on the foundation.
From 1 Corinthians 4:5, we learn that the Lord is going to bring to light the things hidden in darkness. He is going to disclose our motives. We should be working to exalt Christ, not ourselves, or anyone else. It will be things that are done for the glory of Christ that will be praised and rewarded. The pastor who preaches sound doctrine is building with good materials. When a person with the gift of helps spends himself serving others in the Lord's name, he is building with materials that will endure testing and will bring great reward. How embarrassing and shameful would it be to have nothing left of value in the pile?
We know we are not going to face God's wrath. We do not have to fear that. Jesus took the wrath that we deserved for our sin. He died for us so that we would no longer live for ourselves, but for Him. May we be faithful servants, serving with our whole hearts for Him. May we work to exalt Him and Him alone. He is worthy of only the best materials and our best work.
Revelation 6:12-17 - "And I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth, made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by the wind. And the sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?"
Question for you...do the people here sound like they are the children of God, based on the fact that sons of God cry out, "Abba! Father!" This passage is a description of the fear and terror that will grip the unbelievers hearts when Jesus returns. This is a description of how they will react. We as believers have no fear of the coming wrath of God. Jesus bore God's wrath for our sin. Luke wrote that Jesus instructs us that when we, God's children, see the sign in the sun, moon, and stars, signaling His return, we are to look up because our redemption is near. Jesus is returning to gather us to Himself. Luke records that unbelievers will faint from fear when the natural lights are turned off, because of the expectation of the things which are coming on the world; and we know from the Revelation 6 passage that it is God's wrath. (See Luke 21:25-28 and Matthew 24:29-31)
I have another verse for you...
1 Peter 2:17 - "Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king."
Now wait a minute Kathy, you said in your previous post that there is no fear for God's children in coming to Him. Sounds like a contradiction.
It's not. Scripture is full of references to fearing God. We are told to fear God. This is basically a recognition of Who He is and realizing who we are in comparison to Him. We need to give Him awe and respect because of Who He is - our Creator. So while believers do not need to fear coming to Him because He will not pour out His wrath on us for our sin, we still need to reverence Almighty God.
May we always keep this in perspective.
(By the way, I've got a part three mulling around in my head...our works as God's children are going to undergo a quality control test by fire...stay tuned...)
The other day when I was at Annie's, Ruh was sitting on the couch and Daniel was across the living room. He looked up, saw his daddy, and started running to him as fast as his little legs could take him. With the word "Daddy" spilling off his lips, he raced into Ruh's open arms. It was a moment that melted my heart! When Daniel saw his daddy he wanted to be with him. There was no fear. He only wanted to be gathered up into his father's strong, loving arms.
Paul wrote to the Romans that as God's children, we have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but we have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"
Those who are God's children have no fear going to Him. Before salvation, all of us lived in slavery. We were slaves to sin and lived in fear of judgment. I'll never forget the look on an older gentleman's face to whom I was sharing Jesus. When we are witnessing, we need to share the truth that judgment is coming. Jesus says that if we reject Him and don't receive His sayings, His words will judge us at the last day. If we accept His words that He is the only way to the Father, and believe in Him, we pass from death into life and we have no fear of judgment for our sin. We are no longer under condemnation. Unbelievers should be afraid of death, and most are. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God. For the believer, the Holy Spirit frees our hearts from the fear of God's judgment and that is one way we know we are His children. As His children we don't live in terror. We've been delivered. We come to the Father with deep emotion. Jesus did in the garden. He used the word "Abba," meaning "Papa" or "Daddy." We can too. It shows the tenderness, love, dependence, and intimacy we have with God.
Wish I had a picture of Daniel in his daddy's arms for you...but I don't. Just use your imagination, and use it also for the day when you get to run into the arms of Jesus, and thank Him in person for making it possible for us to come to the Father without fear - just as a small child does when he sees his daddy and then runs into his strong, welcoming arms.
The doctrinal test to know if we are children of God is that we are trusting in Christ's sacrifice on the cross alone for our salvation. He is the only way to the Father. The moral test is if we are walking in godliness...
These three other things give us assurance that we are children of God...
1) Enduring faith - faith that has been on display over a long period of time...
2) Fruitfulness in our walk...
3) Growing in love for the brethren...
2 Thessalonians 1:3 - "We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows even greater."
John 15:8 - "By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples."
Last night as I was walking to my car after Bible study, I lost traction with my left foot when it hit a puddle. It went out from under me, and then my right foot followed suit. I kind of like hydroplaned on the wet grass. Have you ever hydroplaned before? In your car, I mean? You virtually have no control. I had virtually no control over my arms. (My feet at this point were already a lost cause.) My arms went flailing, my Bible flew in one direction and my purse in another. I was so happy that no one was around. I'm sure I looked like a cat that had been thrown off of a roof, upside-down - only cats land on their feet. I ended up flat on my back with my Bible and purse in a heap somewhere down by my feet. It was dark and I didn't see the puddle. If I had, I'm sure I would have stepped around it. Needless to say, every muscle in my body, from head to toe today, hurts.
Let's get right to the spiritual application. God's Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. It keeps us on a course that will guide us away from danger. By the light of it we see our own infirmities. It shows us our sin and leads us to its remedy. It leads us to God and abundant life. By it true and false doctrine may be discerned so we can escape falling into error and harm. Walking through this world without it is like entering a cave in inky blackness and not seeing the precipice one hundred feet in.
If it's been awhile since you've spent time in God's Word, make some time today to be in it...don't venture any further without its illuminating glow!