Sunday, May 24, 2020

Our hope for the future in times of bereavement


Bible message

1   A God we can depend upon- in good times and difficult
2    A future secure – a better land beyond, where Jesus is.

Let us read from the words of the Lord Himself
John 14.1
"Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me. 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 and  prepare a place for you , I will come again and receive you unto  Myself:
That where I am, there you may be also.
And where I go you know, and the way you know.
Thomas said unto Him ' Lord we know not......'
Jesus answered "I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me."

Troubles – yes Let the LORD God handle our troubles – HE IS ABLE.
God is Almighty, He is Holy, He is the LORD our Saviour, our Shepherd  and we can leave our troubles with Him.
Peter was in trouble – he had just promised the Lord that he would follow  Jesus no matter what – even death. And he failed. The grace of the forgiveness Jesus is recorded in John 21.
God revealed in Jesus Christ likewise filled with Grace and truth.
    -----   He is one in whom we can trust

The Lord Jesus gave directions about the present – He had just said "Love one another as I have loved you".
Now He is concerned about the future and He says  "I go to prepare a place for you"
Jesus had tasted the disappointments of earth, and wanted something better, much better for those who loved Him.  A special place in the Fathers house.
It seems as though something extra needed to be done to accommodate humans in heaven. Angels fitted into the spiritual character of heaven – they are spirit beings. But to have a special place for humans – well the Lord made the promise to go and prepare the place. Then He promised to come again  for the distinct purpose of taking his own, 

His sheep to the Father's house.
Then someone interrupted ' but how do we get there?
Jesus replied " I am the way there!"
The Lord Jesus  is the only way to heaven, He told the truth about the future and He gives new life, eternal life to all who trust Him

The Lord Jesus  Christ was going to the Father house by way of the cross, His resurrection and His ascension.
For us death has become a doorway to heaven. Death should have been the wages of our sin. 'But Jesus died for me'.
For us in Christ, resurrection is a happy prospect.
For us to be caught up into the Fathers house is our sure hope – accepted there because of the Sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

Another Bible verse:
1 John 3:2
"Beloved  now are we the children of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when HE shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."

Today we say an eternal farewell to our friend in Adam.
Tomorrow we will greet him as in Christ.
When we meet in heaven, all  the old agitating habits, the impatience etc will be gone. We will be changed to be like HIM, the Man in the glory. Well might John the apostle write:   'there is so much we don't know, but this we do know – we shall be like HIM'
We will see the face of our Beloved Lord and each one will reflect the glory of HIS radiant face.

Face to face with Christ my Saviour
Face to face what will it be
When with rapture I behold Him
Jesus Christ who died for me

Only faintly now I see Him
With the darkling veil between
But the blessed day is coming
When His glory shall be seen.

What rejoicing in His presence
When are banished grief and pain
When the crooked ways are straightened
And the dark things shall be plain

Face to face  O blissful moment
Face to face to see and know
Face to face with my Redeemer
Jesus Christ who loves me so


Face to face I shall behold Him
Far beyond the starry sky
Face to face in all His glory
I shall see Him bye and bye

Sunday, May 17, 2020

And then?


This morning, a very close friend of mine passed away – yes died. We feel the loss.

It seems to be something that all of us must face sooner or later. Life is rather short and eternity after this life so long.

We can react to the fact of death differently:

1    Fatalistically – everybody dies, so , make the most of life.

2    Biblically  - It is appointed unto all to die and after death the judgement, so . prepare to meet God.
The first response links to the theory that we are nothing more than highly evolved animals.
The second, interacts with a much bigger picture – A creator God who has made humans as body, soul and spirit. His design is for us to enjoy this life, but He also has something better when this life is finished.

My friend has gone. His eyes see no more, I cannot hear him speak, his fingers no longer play heavenly tunes on the piano and he cannot hear.  But where is he? Somewhere!

We have hope beyond death by believing the Bible:

1    After death to be with the Lord   (Philippians 1:23)

2     By the resurrection to be vibrantly praising God (Revelation 19)

3      After the Judgement of God, to be used by God in the service of His Son, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 4)
So much more could be written about the next life!

Just now I ask:

' Do you have the assurance that all is well for you for eternity?'
Or
'If you died tonight, where would you be in eternity?'

Can we be sure ???  Yes – as sure as the promises of God. (see previos message on Eternity)

John McKee

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Eternal life


     Since the beginning of history, humans have sought to find the source of eternal life. Many special places have been tried. Others have created unusual mixtures. Some have gone on distant pilgrimages.
        Various religions have promised eternal life – which one is right? Who has the answer or is it a waste of time searching?

         What is eternal life? In basic form, it is the wish to live this life forever. For others it is a better life after this one,, either in heaven  or reincarnated  to another chance in life. Some dream of paradise and invoke the imagination of what they want there.

         What does the Bible teach?
        The Old Testament is the narrative of God creating all things good. Then Satan deceives the first humans,  encouraging them to rebel and so death destroys present happiness. However, those who believed God, hoped for something better after this life. The law was given through Moses to bring people back to God, but the attitude of most people was to wander away from God.

         The Jesus came. He came to show us God as the Father. He came to connect lost people with God.  He taught the people about the life to come. He spoke of  the resurrection  and the day of judgement.  He made promises about being in the Fathers house – heaven.
        More than a place, and more than a condition, He presented Eternal life as a relationship with God – as children connected to a loving Father. This connection He presented as beginning in this life and being fulfilled in life beyond death.

Some Bible quotations:

Luke 18:18 "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

Mark 10:30 " ....and in the age to come eternal life"

John 3:16 " God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."

John 17:3  " This is eternal life, that they know you (God the Father), and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."

Titus 3:7  " . being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."

1 John 5:20 "And we know the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him that is true;  and we are in Him that is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life."

I encourage you my reader to search more.  Maybe you could use
www.biblegateway.com    to find more Bible places about eternal life.
Best of all it is possible to know we have eternal life now, not waiting for judgement day!

1 John 5:11  "God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life, whoever does not have the Son does not have life."
John 5:24 "Truly ,truly I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life He does not come into judgement but has passed from death to life."

I encourage you to read through the Gospel by John and notice how often Jesus Christ refers to "eternal life".
If you do not have a Bible please email to me

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Are you saved or lost?


Saved

One night a distressed man asked the question:
"What must I do to be saved?"
The answer was simple and sufficient:
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved and your household."

Read the whole event in the Bible – Acts 16

If you my reader are seeking the Lord, desiring to be saved from your sinful situation and saved from hell, then read the promise again. It is true, if you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved! And your conversion to Christ will influence your whole family.

For those who want to know more, let me expand the details of the promise.

Believe – Believing on Him, not just about Him
 Believe is to accept who He claimed to be – the Son of God, the Messiah, the Lord from heaven.......
  Believing is to trust upon His promises for forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life.
More important than faith, is the object of faith (the one believed on). Who He is, is the most important question you will ever consider. Let me explain and I encourage you to research this for yourself.- LORD JESUS CHRIST

LORD – He claimed to have existed in heaven before He was         born of Mary.
-   He fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies that presented Him as the LORD, Jehovah.
-   He demonstrated His Lordship over Satan, sickness, sin for 33 years of service.
-   He sent out His apostles with the Good news to all nations. He is Lord for all people.


JESUS  - History verifies His birth of Mary, His life of purity, piety and power.
      - His teaching was in wisdom excelling all others
      - His compassion was real to all who felt their need of God
      -  This perfect man as crucified (as He predicted)
      -  Now He lives in heaven, enthroned at the right hand of God, able to save all who come to God by HIM.


CHRIST   -  God the Father anointed Him with the Holy Spirit to fulfil the promises of the anticipated Messiah (Christ). The Old Testament predicted what the Messiah would be like and what He would do. For example:
Moses predicted He would " speak the words of God"
                                       Deuteronomy 18
Isaiah's prophecy -that He would be a suffering Messiah 
                                             Isaiah 53
      -As the Christ He alone will be the Saviour of the world
      -  He will be the final King of Kings and Lord of Lords
      - He waits today to save people from Satan, sin and hell
      -  Soon He will return to judge the world, then to  restore righteousness and peace.


Many claim greatness, even some claim to be the Christ, but He alone is anointed to fulfil the great plans of God.

So we are presented with a choice – 
             to believe in Him or to reject Him.

The question was asked by a judge – "What shall I do then with Jesus who is called the Christ?"   Your answer will determine your eternity!


Bible references for the above truths are available from  johnmckee@internode.on.net

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Hope in God the LORD

I found this chapter so brilliant as an expression of God at work, I felt the need to quote it all. It's first interpretation is for the chosen nation, but the truth of it includes all who trust in  the Living God.

Isaiah 26 New Living Translation (NLT)

 In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song:
Our city is strong!
    We are surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation.
2 Open the gates to all who are righteous;
    allow the faithful to enter.
3 You will keep in perfect peace
    all who trust in you,
    all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
4 Trust in the LORD always,
    for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.
5 He humbles the proud
    and brings down the arrogant city.
    He brings it down to the dust.
6 The poor and oppressed trample it underfoot,
    and the needy walk all over it.
7 But for those who are righteous,
    the way is not steep and rough.
You are a God who does what is right,
    and you smooth out the path ahead of them.
8 LORD, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws;
    our heart’s desire is to glorify your name.
9 In the night I search for you;
    in the morning[a] I earnestly seek you.
For only when you come to judge the earth
    will people learn what is right.
10 Your kindness to the wicked
    does not make them do good.
Although others do right, the wicked keep doing wrong
    and take no notice of the LORD’s majesty.
11 O LORD, they pay no attention to your upraised fist.
    Show them your eagerness to defend your people.
Then they will be ashamed.
    Let your fire consume your enemies.
12 LORD, you will grant us peace;
    all we have accomplished is really from you.
13 O LORD our God, others have ruled us,
    but you alone are the one we worship.
14 Those we served before are dead and gone.
    Their departed spirits will never return!
You attacked them and destroyed them,
    and they are long forgotten.
15 O LORD, you have made our nation great;
    yes, you have made us great.
You have extended our borders,
    and we give you the glory!
16 LORD, in distress we searched for you.
    We prayed beneath the burden of your discipline.
17 Just as a pregnant woman
    writhes and cries out in pain as she gives birth,
    so were we in your presence, LORD.
18 We, too, writhe in agony,
    but nothing comes of our suffering.
We have not given salvation to the earth,
    nor brought life into the world.
19 But those who die in the LORD will live;
    their bodies will rise again!
Those who sleep in the earth
    will rise up and sing for joy!
For your life-giving light will fall like dew
    on your people in the place of the dead!
20 Go home, my people,
    and lock your doors!
Hide yourselves for a little while
    until the LORD’s anger has passed.
21 Look! The LORD is coming from heaven
    to punish the people of the earth for their sins.
The earth will no longer hide those who have been killed.
    They will be brought out for all to see.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Warnings


Lessons from Bible Warnings against evil.

An oracle spoken against Jerusalem. - Isaiah  22
"The LORD has taken away the covering of Judah". This leaves the people and places exposed to the forces of nature and the forces of evil. Verse 8 is like a conclusion at the beginning

The prophet  goes on to explain the problem:

1   They found security and confidence in the 'house of the forest' rather than trusting in the LORD

2   They realized the need for water security, so they built another pool inside the walls. This was smart, but they did not look to the LORD who gave them the water.

3   The call of the LORD to repentance was responded to with feasting and festivity in mockery of the voice of God.
And so the people were left in the guilt of their own sins and the consequences thereof.

4   The end of the oracle describes them pinning their hopes on a man. But the peg gives way, and their security is gone.

Is there a lesson for today?
The Apostle John wrote "the whole world is in the power of the evil one" (1 John 5;19), and the majority feel secure there!
When the call to repentance is raised, so many publicly mock and proclaim 'we are able, we are resilient, we can rebuild, we have resources like saying, 'we don't need God or we don't want God'.

What should God do?
There are two options:
1    Let them go, as in Romans 1 God gave them up to their own folly and  it's consequences.
2   Apply justice and judgement as a removal of all wrong and the punishment of the wrong doers.
What would you do?


Isaiah wrote of the devastation of the earth:
"The earth lies defiled under the inhabitants, for they have transgressed  the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse devours the earth....." (Isaiah 24:5)
Is God unjust for letting humans reap what they have sown?

The Apostle Paul describes those who have chosen to be outside God's kingdom "sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, homosexual, thieves, greedy, drunkards, revilers, swindlers.

If you were God, holy is character, just in judgement, what would you do with people who so corrupted their created purpose?

We have been brainwashed to tolerate sin, to look the other way and because we too are guilty we fail to be offended by wrong. God 'sees red' when He sees sin and so should we! But we are 'dumbed down' by the prevalence of rebellion against God.

So much of history is the story of God seeking to turn humanity back to Himself, back to the right, back to good.

Maybe I should list some of the things we as individuals and society need to renounce. Shall I begin with the list given by the LORD Jesus Himself;
Quote:     "What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,  coveting, wickedness,  deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these things come from within and they defile a person. (Mark 7)

Thus we all stand condemned, and true we have no moral right to judge others, but that does not remove the vertical accountability to God. He, as creator, is the only one with the right to make the rules. We should insistent that His law is final. The call of God is to repent, to renounce sin as sin and not make excuses. This is expressed in the prayer of the tax-collector:

"God, be merciful to me a sinner" no excuses, no blaming others.

This all sounds so negative, but failure to turn and face up to the truth, leaves people without God and without hope. So when things go wrong, they wonder why and begin the blame game instead of listening to the voice of God. God speaks through His word, the Bible, and shouts to people through difficult circumstances of life.

It is heartening to know that the present pandemic has caused many Christian websites to be overwhelmed with extra viewers. My prayer is that very many will turn to the Lord.
 But what of media and society in general? Pressing on without God seems to prevail.

In light of such a negative article, is there any hope?

YES the same God who 'sees red' when He sees sin, has made a way for people to be forgiven, to be justified, and accepted as children of God living without fear. This is the Good News!  I know I have sinned, but I also know that I am accepted by God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Lord. His death on the cross was what I deserved, but Jesus died for me. 
Now by faith in Him, I am free from condemnation and 'IN CHRIST' God sees, not my sin but His SON. Sure I fail Him, but His Fatherly care brings me back to repentance and forgiveness. His  love takes away rebellion and His promises secure my future!

I pray that every individual who reads this article, will respond to the Good News by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as the Bible is full of God's judgements, so it is full of God's promises of mercy and grace.

In conclusion God is Holy, God is just
          God is good, God is gracious and merciful
        God has a way to bring people back to Himself
To Him be the praise and the glory now and forever, Amen.

Theres a way back to God
  from the dark paths of sin
There's a door that is open
  and all may go in
At Calvary's cross 
  is where you begin
when you come as a sinner to Jesus

JRM

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Easter?????


Easter has links to at least two different festivals of history.

1   The name and timing links to Babylon
This is a description of an ancient Babylonian family—2,000 years before Christ—honoring the resurrection of their god, Tammuz, who was brought back from the underworld by his mother/wife, Ishtar (after whom the festival was named).
 The English term Easter is of pagan origin” (Albert Henry Newman, D.D., LL.D., A Manual of Church History, p. 299).
 Details can be found on the internet and in the book – 'Two Babylons by Hislop.
.
It is not a Bible festival but was slowly introduced into the Christian church about  the second century.

2   The timing has been adapted to the Jewish Passover festival. So what was the Passover?  – 1500 years before Jesus Christ was born, God judged the people living in Egypt because of their idolatry etc. The last judgement was when the angel of death passed through the land to kill the firstborn son in each family.  The LORD God provided a way to escape – by killing a blemish free lamb and applying the blood to the door posts and lintel of their houses. Sure enough it worked and God set the Hebrew people free from slavery. He told them to celebrate this 'Passover' every year at the set time. And so to the present many calendars have mention of the Passover , which changes according to the moon cycle.

When the Lord Jesus Christ celebrated the Passover, just before He was crucified, He said to His followers  "It is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God " (Luke 22.16). 

The Apostle Paul explains more in 1 Corinthians 5:7, "Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us" and he goes on to show that the true celebration of the Passover is the spiritual change within a Christian being lived out as Godly attitudes and behaviour.

John the Baptiser indicated  a similar concept when he identified Jesus as the 'Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world' (John 1)

The Apostle Peter concurs by referring to Jesus as the Lamb without blemish and without spot' (1Peter 1) . Some Christians did continue to celebrate the Passover, but God seemed to end that by allowing the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in AD 70.

 For 2000 years, all over the world, Christians have celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus by the very simple ritual of 'breaking bread' together', usually once a week.
Remembering Jesus is very uplifting. In our lives of disappointment and distress, it is delightful to think about one who did not fail. To remember His death brings grief, but also relief , for it is in the design of God that forgiveness of sins is granted through His blood shed. It is liberating to remember  that, in His resurrection we have new life, a spiritual life to know God!

It is thrilling to anticipate the fulfilment of His promise – He promised to come a second time, to receive His own people to Himself. And the wonder  of it is, that any person on earth can become one of His own children by receiving Him as Saviour and Lord. (John 1:12)

John McKee