On November 15 we will honor our women thanking God for the huge role that they have in ministries all over our land and around the world. Kimberly Allston will be speaking on the subject, "The Invisible woman." You don't want to miss this Sunday at E. B. Ellington School in Ravenel, SC.
Bible Idioms: The Twinkling of an Eye
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1 Corinthians 15:52
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
In a scholarly journal, a study reported the “eye-blink” time of non-drowsy drivers. It was found to be 5.19 milliseconds, or 5.19 thousandths of a second.1 An eye-blink is thought to be what the apostle Paul had in mind when he made reference to “the twinkling of an eye.”
Think about the status of science in the first century A.D. The blinking of an eye was likely the fastest motion anyone could imagine. So if Paul, talking about the moment of the resurrection and Rapture of the Church, wanted to say “it will happen very quickly,” he would say “in the twinkling [blinking] of an eye.” As The Message translation renders 1 Corinthians 15:52, “In the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over.” Said another way, “The Church is here before you blink your eyes and gone afterward.”
Could you accept Christ in 5.19 milliseconds? There will not be time at that moment. Be prepared for the Rapture by saying “Yes” to Christ today.
Of all the things that will surprise us in the resurrection morning, this, I believe, will surprise us most: that we did not love Christ more before we died.
J. C. Ryle
1improbable.com/news/2000/aug2000/impe-twinkle-2000-08.html (accessed June 12, 2015).
Luke 23 – 24
The Perfect Gift
Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
When we care about someone, we’re willing to put time and money into finding that person the perfect gift. Whether it is a special occasion, a birthday, or Christmas, we try to communicate how important they are to us through the words and gifts we give. Think of a gift you received and how much it meant to you, or a gift that you gave.
When we were living apart from God in our brokenness, Jesus carefully prepared a gift for us. This gift would replace our failings and brokenness with His righteousness, and allow us to commune with God and enter His kingdom. This was a gift people desperately sought to obtain on their own, but no amount of good works could purchase it.
Jesus gave all of Himself to obtain this costly gift; He held nothing back. Allow the value and love of His gift to fill your heart. Meditate on the preparation, the cost, and the impact of His gift. We can approach God with confidence and trust in Christ’s perfect sacrifice that covers our failings; we are free, accepted, and loved.
Trust wholly in Christ; rely altogether on His sufferings; beware of seeking to be justified in any other way than by His righteousness. Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient for salvation.
Luke 21 – 22
As Near as Next Week
. . . looking forward to these things . . .
2 Peter 3:14
“I love thinking and reading about heaven,” wrote Joni Eareckson Tada, the gifted Christian writer who was paralyzed from the neck down in a diving accident in 1967. To everyone’s amazement, Joni became an accomplished painter, creating beautiful pictures with a paintbrush between her teeth. She said, “I’ve never succeeded in painting a picture of heaven. People have asked me why, and I haven’t come up with a good answer, except to say that heaven defies the blank canvas of the artist.” She went on to say that the beauty of earth’s most sublime spots is “only a dim reflection, a preliminary rendering of the glory that will one day be revealed.”1
Staying hopeful about our heavenly home can help us endure our darkest days on earth. The apostle Peter told us: “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless” (2 Peter 3:14)—without a spot of worry, discouragement, fear, or failure.
Let’s contemplate the mysteries of heaven and the city with foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10).
Heaven may be as near as next year, or next week; so it makes good sense to spend some time here on earth thinking candid thoughts about that marvelous future reserved for us.
Joni Eareckson Tada
1Joni Eareckson Tada, Heaven: Your Real Home (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1966), 1-2, 8.
Luke 19 – 20
“Jesus Christ Is Here!"
I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven!
1 Corinthians 15:50-58
Some of the richest veins in Christian hymnody are those songs and anthems devoted to our Lord’s return. For some reason, few “Second Coming” songs are sung today; but consider these old words by Lomax Childress, which were published by Moody Bible Institute in 1917: “He is coming back in glory, then the dead in Christ shall rise, / In the splendor of His presence that will fill the earth and skies. / The dawning of that morning to the wondering earth will bring / The majesty and sovereignty of Christ, the Lord and King.”
Regardless of our preferred style of music, our hearts should always be singing about the imminent return of Christ. It’s our greatest anticipation in life, and we should look forward to it more than we anticipate vacations or other exciting upcoming events. The expectation of our Lord’s return gives us purpose in life. It fuels our missionary work; it drives our evangelism; and it helps us keep our lives holy and our eyes lifted upward.
Soon, indeed, He is coming back in glory, and the dead in Christ will rise in the splendor of His presence that will fill the earth and skies.
Through the blending blue in beauty will the heavenly host appear, / And the saints shall rise to meet Him, crying, “Jesus Christ is here!”
W. Lomax Childress
Luke 16 – 18
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. . . . But you have an anointing from the Holy One.
1 John 2:18-20
1 John 2:15-29
One day the world will welcome history’s most charismatic leader, a man whose oratory will sway the masses, whose magnetism will amaze the media, and whose mouth will blaspheme God. But we needn’t wait for the evil he will bring, for it is already here. The spirit of the antichrist is in the world now.
In Jesus’ name, we can stand against the spirit of the antichrist today; and John told us how to do it in 1 John 2: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. . . . the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. . . . You have an anointing from the Holy One. . . . Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. . . . Abide in Him” (verses 15-29).
Except for divine intervention, this world is a lost cause. Don’t fall in love with it. You have an anointing from God. You can abide in God’s truth every day as you abide in Christ. You can overcome. For whoever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith (1 John 5:4).
Soldiers of Christ, arise and put your armor on, strong in the strength which God supplies thru His eternal Son.
Luke 13 – 15
All Rolled Into One
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
2 Thessalonians 2:8
Recently a website ranked the most important leaders in world history, politicians who have indelibly shaped our world for better or worse. Whose name do you suppose appeared at the top of the list? Alexander the Great. He was followed by Napoleon Bonaparte, Julius Caesar, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Augustus Caesar, Charlemagne, and Otto von Bismarck. Rounding out the top ten was Winston Churchill.1
Now imagine taking the greatest skills of these men—their drive, ambition, vision, persuasiveness, energy, intelligence, and faculties—and rolling them into one maniacal personality and empowering him with supernatural evil. That will be the Antichrist. Think of the most fiendish rulers who ever walked across the earth—Hitler, Ivan the Terrible, Stalin, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, and their ilk. The Antichrist will be just as real as any of them, and far worse.
But he will be no match for Jesus Christ. Jesus is the greatest figure in history, the supreme power over heaven and earth; and He is Victor and Lord!
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing; / Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing.
Luke 11 – 12
Bible Idioms: An Eye for an Eye
You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
When a woman in Ohio pepper-sprayed a relative, a judge gave the assailant a choice of two options: be pepper-sprayed herself by her victim (“an eye for an eye”) or spend 30 days in jail. The assailant chose the former—to be pepper-sprayed by her victim in the courtroom. Without the assailant’s knowledge, the judge substituted a harmless saline solution for the pepper spray so as not to cause harm. But the fear factor—and the “eye for an eye” factor—remained.
When the Israelite statute of an “eye for an eye” was instituted (Exodus 21:24-25; Leviticus 24:19-20), the purpose was not to inflict judgment but to protect against overly harsh retaliation. A victim was allowed judgment no greater than his own loss. But Jesus added a kingdom dimension to the statute, saying that retaliation or punishment was not even necessary. Instead, the injured or offended person should “turn the other [cheek],” give more than is taken, and walk the extra mile (Matthew 5:39-42).
If you have been wronged or offended, leave retaliation to God. Live at peace with all men; overcome evil with good (Romans 12:17-21).
Holiness is a Christian’s ornament, and peaceableness is the ornament of holiness.
Luke 7 – 10
The Battle That Is Prayer
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
Daniel 10:2, 12-14
When we pray, our thoughts are centered on “our side” of the prayer: time, place, and our need. Even after we pray, our attention is on the answer we hope to receive. Again, all that activity is on our side of the prayer. But what about “God’s side” of our prayers? What happens in heavenly places, at the throne of God, when we pray? Simply put, we don’t know—and it is fruitless to speculate. But we should not ignore the glimpses behind the curtain that Scripture offers.
First, prayer is linked to spiritual warfare—it was the last thing Paul mentioned in his description of the Christian’s spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:18). Anticipating conflicts in Jerusalem, Paul requested prayer for his deliverance before arriving (Romans 15:30-33). Jesus labored so mightily in prayer that an angel had to minister to Him (Luke 22:43-44). And Daniel 10 gives us a glimpse of the actual three-week spiritual warfare in heaven that surrounded Daniel’s prayers.
The next time you pray, thank God for the strength to persevere and that His will is always done.
It is impossible to be a true soldier of Jesus Christ and not fight.
J. Gresham Machen
Luke 5 – 6
The Power Behind the Pulpit
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
Pearl Goode, 65, a nurse in Pasadena, saw a newspaper clipping about an evangelistic meeting in downtown Los Angeles in 1949. She drove to the site and began praying for the services. She felt an intense desire to pray for the young evangelist—Billy Graham. For the next 23 years, Pearl traveled by bus from city to city—more than 48,000 miles—and prayed before, during, and after the services. When members of the Graham team learned what she was doing, they started paying her expenses; but they didn’t interfere with her hidden ministry. They knew she was fanning the power behind the pulpit.1
Every pastor, evangelist, and missionary needs prayer warriors. The greatest need of the church today is people who abide in Christ, who let God’s Word abide in them, and who ask God for what they desire.
Our prayers are the power plants for God’s work on earth.
Avail yourself of the greatest privilege this side of heaven. Jesus Christ died to make this communion and communication withthe Father possible.
1Transcript of an interview with Pearl Goode in the archives of the Billy Graham Center. Also “There’s Nothing Like It,” in Decision Magazine, November 1963, 6
Luke 3 – 4
Go to http://www.lifeonthevineministries.com/schooled-for-life.html for an audio file or transcript of the sermon. Scroll down to the bottom.
The Outpouring Life
He who believes in Me . . . out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.
David Brainerd, missionary to Native Americans, was a frail young man, sickly and easily depressed. His work in 1743 and 1744 saw little success. On January 3, 1745, Brainerd set aside the entire day for fasting and prayer, pleading for an outpouring of spiritual power. He claimed our Lord’s promise in John 7, that those who believe in Him will experience rivers of living water flowing from within them. Brainerd began preaching from John 7, and the unfolding year proved very fruitful. Though he passed away at the age of 29, “his story moved his generation—Henry Martyn, William Carey, Adoniram Judson—toward missions. His diary became one of the most powerful Christian books in early American history.”1
When we believe in Christ, we experience rivers of living waters—the Holy Spirit—flowing from within us to a dry and parched culture. In His power, we’ll have courage to keep going, to persevere in the work of God, and to stand against the evils of our day.
As you walk by faith in Him today, rivers of living water will flow through you to a waiting world.
Here am I, send me; send me to the ends of the earth; send me to the rough, the savage pagans of the wilderness . . . to promote Thy kingdom.
1Robert J. Morgan, On This Day (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), entry for January 3.
Luke 1 – 2