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Sunday, 26 January 2014

Heaven Is A Real Place

A Dutchman leaving an evangelistic meeting paused to  express appreciation for the evangelist's presentation of the "Home of the Saved." The evangelist had been stressing the reality of heaven.

"I vould radder be somebody going someplace und knows ven I gets der dan to be nobody going no place und knowing nudding ven I gets der!"

Our Dutch friend with his broken English had something! He spoke words worthy of our consideration!

Heaven is indeed, a real place. Jesus declares it to be so. "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:2,3.

Twice in this passage the Savior promised His disciples He would prepare a place for them. According to the dictionary a "place" has physical environment, physical surroundings, or both. The same authority declares "place" to be "a particular part of a surface or body." - Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, Seventh Edition.

So when Jesus said that He went to prepare a place - a very real place - He meant just what He said. It is not all clouds and spirits and glory. It will have "physical environment and physical surroundings with a real surface or body."

The Word of God describes real trees that will be there. "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree." Isaiah 55:13. There are real animals there. "The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock." Isaiah 65:25. Real flowers will be there. "And the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly." Isaiah 35:1,2. There will be real houses and real gardens there. "They shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them." Isaiah 65:21. Real mansions will be there. "In my father's house are many mansions." John 14:2. A beautiful river - real and crystal clear - will flow "out of the throne of God." (Revelation 22:1.) There will be real fruit from real trees for real people to eat. "In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month." Revelation 22:2.

Thank God that heaven is a real place with real things and real people.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

They Shall See His Face

"When you get to heaven, Billy, what do you want to see most?" a Christian teacher asked one of her first graders.

Billy thought for a moment. There was much his little heart longed for. He had heard the blessed land with its beauties, its treasures, its delicacies, spoken of frequently.

"Please, teacher," the little fellow replied, "I want to see the lions, the mansions, and the angels, but most of all I want to see Jesus."

Fanny J. Crosby, the hymn writer, expresses the same longing in these words:

"Through the gates to the city, in a robe of spotless white, He will lead me where no tears shall ever fall; In the glad song of ages I shall mingle with delight; But I long to meet my Savior first of all."

What Christian heart has not filled with the same desire? In the midst of life's turmoil and stresses have you not also longed to see your Savior?

The precious promise to the redeemed is, "The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it;.....and they shall see his face." Revelation 22:3,4.

Yes, Jesus will be there, and He "shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters." (Revelation 7:17.) We shall be like Him at his appearing (1John 3:2), and we shall be with Him throughout the ages of eternity.

Of the redeemed, the author of Revelation says, "These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth." Revelation 14:4. It was a wonderful privilege the disciples of Jesus enjoyed as they lived with him during His three year ministry on earth. They saw His mighty healing power. They listened to the words of life as they fell from His lips and penetrated their hearts.

The prospect before us is even more glorious. Not for three brief years will we be with Christ, but throughout eternity. The disciples were forced to witness His scourging and crucifixion. You and I may witness His coronation - His glorious rule as King of kings and Lord of lords. They had hoped to see Him end the iron rule of Rome. We will see Him end the reign of sin.

The disciples could follow Jesus over only a comparatively few square miles, but you and I have the prospect of following our Lord from planet to planet.We may follow Him "whithersoever he goeth."

There are some sobering facts we must not lose sight of, some conditions for entry to heaven as outlined in this passage: "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8. If we expect to see Him in the hereafter, our hearts must be pure here. The blood of the Lamb must cleanse our hearts now if we hope to see Him then. Sin must be confessed and forsaken. Only clean men and women can see, and have fellowship with, a holy Savior.

If you and I expect to "follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth" in the earth made new, we must begin following Him now in this earth.


Saturday, 30 March 2013

Jesus The Mighty Prayer Warrior - Pastor Ron Halvorsen

The Bible records various instances when Jesus prayed to the father. For instance it records that Jesus prayed alone early in the morning in the wilderness. It is during one of these encounters that the disciples found Him praying that they were so impressed that they asked him to teach them how to pray. This resulted in Christ teaching us the Lord's prayer.

By the way, it can also be inferred from this incident that Christ prayed out aloud. How else would the disciples have have heard Him if he was offering a silent prayer?

The prayer life of Jesus evidences the  life of a mighty prayer warrior. During his prayer in the garden of Gethsemane the Bible records in Luke 22:44 — "And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground." This was most definitely not those prayers we offer while in our blankets. This was an earnest prayer that expressed the deeper longings of  His heart.

The bible records that He prayed before choosing the 12 disciples and in other important decisions of His ministry on earth. If the sinless Son of God prayed like this, how then should we sinful human beings pray. We definitely cannot afford to be casual about our prayers. We need to wrestle with God in prayer just like Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord.

In the following video, Pastor Ron Halvorsen. preaches a sermon titled, Jesus The Mighty Prayer Warrior. It is a sermon that will challenge to a powerful prayer life in your christian walk.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The Sabbath Under Attack

If there's one bible doctrine that has been attached than any other then it is the Sabbath. You only have to look in history to see all sorts of attacks against it. Starting from the time the church decided to change the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday, the sabbath has been under constant attack or crossfire.

For instance, recently a number of Sunday keeping scholars have produced scholarly articles which promote the view that the abrogation of the Sabbath was made by the apostles in the New Testament.  Some former Sabbatarian churches such as the worldwide Church of God have also abandoned the Sabbath and adopted Sunday arguing that it is the apostles who changed the day of worship in the New Testament.

Even recent efforts by the church to promote the observance of the Sabbath have, instead of going back to original Sabbath which is Saturday, promoted the observance of Sunday as the Sabbath. And as history of the Christian church has shown, it is disastrous to call upon the politicians to enforce the observance of sacred christian days or christian beliefs. Such efforts in the past have led to the persecution of those who hold contrary opinions to the majority.

In the video below, Dr Samuele Bacchiocchi presents the various attacks on the Sabbath in history and in our day. The title is the Sabbath Under Crossfire.

My Search For The Sabbath At The Vatican University

In the 1970's an Italian Seventh Adventist scholar, Dr Samuele Bacchiocchi became the first non Catholic to be allowed to Study at the Pontifical Gregorian University at the Vatican. Dr Bacchiocchi chose as his study the history of the change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. He later published a book titled From Sabbath to Sunday : A Historical Investigation of the Rise of Sunday Observance in Early Christianity. The book details his findings from his search for the Sabbath at the Vatican University. In the video below Dr Bacchiocchi details his search for the Sabbath at the Vatican.

How Did The Sabbath Change From Saturday to Sunday In Christendom?

Have you wondered how the early Christian church decided to change the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday? This has been a contentious issue between the few Christians who still worship on Saturday and the majority who worship on Sunday. Most Sunday keepers say that it was the apostles who decided to change the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday in remembrance of the resurrection which took place on a Sunday. On the other side, those who worship on Saturday insist that it was not made by the apostles but much later by an apostate church and that there is no scriptural basis for doing so. They say this is exactly what Christ warned about when he said, 'in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men'. If the change is man made then those who worship on Sunday better heed the warning of Christ on worshiping in vain by teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 

 To find out how the change occurred Dr Samuele Bacchiocchi spent five years at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome examining most ancient documents available. His investigation established that the change from Saturday to Sunday began approximately one century after the death of Christ as a result of an interplay of political, social, pagan and Christian factors. The results of this research are presented in the book From Sabbath to Sunday. This book which originally Dr Bacchiocchi's dissertation has the distinction of being the first book written by a non-Catholic ever to be published by a Pontifical press Catholic approval. Hundreds of scholars have praised Dr Bacchiocchi's book and consider it definitive study on the history of the change of the Lord's day.

A Prayer God Will Always Answer

In the video below, Dr Dwight Nelson preaches a sermon titled, Two Word Prayer. It is about a prayer that God will always answer. If you have tried all sorts of prayers without success then this kind of prayer is suitable for you. The Lord has promised that, 'ask and you shall receive.' But all these  prayers require faith in order for God to answer and you need to satisfy all the requirements specified in the Bible. For instance the Bible says that if you regard iniquity in your heart God will not answer your prayers. It also says that you need to have a spirit of forgiveness as well. But the prayer presented below is when you have tried everything and you are at your wits end.