Friday, January 8, 2021

Heaven in Hebrews or Hebrews in heaven

 

I have recently finished reading the Bible book called 'Hebrews'. I was deeply impressed with the continued presentation of heaven as a place of reality, a place of reward, a place of rest, a place of rich relationships and so much more.

Most importantly, it is the place of His throne – the Lord Jesus Christ, sitting at the right hand of the Majesty on high. His active functioning there is beautifully described. He is the Great High Priest for His people . He waits for the day when He will come again. What rejoicing it will be when the exalted Lord Jesus  rewards His faithful ones. He will lead the songs of eternal praise as the angels join the saints in praise to God eternal. What a glorious city it will be, composed of all the believers of all time, beginning to end.

In contrast to the glory and hope of heaven, stands the sober warnings to those who fall away, turn back or trample underfoot the Son of God. Our God is a consuming fire and to come under His fierce just judgement is terrifying. Yet this very judgement spells out the fullness and sufficiency of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ once for all. To rest in HIM by faith dispels all fear.  It is the joy of God to welcome to Heaven , to Himself, those who trust His Son.

This letter to the Hebrews concludes with this triumphant note:

"Jesus is the great Shepherd

by an everlasting covenant,

signed with His blood.

To Him be glory forever and ever.  Amen."    (Chapter 13)

I encourage you to read again this book of the Bible and shade in yellow the mentions of heaven.


johnmckee@internode.on.net


Saturday, January 2, 2021

A new year

 
Looking Ahead
The word of the Lord to my soul this morning was:
"Strangers and pilgrims in the earth"  Hebrews 11
Along with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in company with Samuel, David, Isaiah and Daniel,  we are pilgrims passing through to a better land with our eyes fixed on things above (Colossians 3), looking unto Jesus (Hebrews 12). He has promised to bring us to the heavenly Jerusalem where thousands of angels join in joyful assembly. (Heb 12.22) Many will count it strange that we are not living for the profit and pleasure of the present. Indeed we are different if we take our instructions from an unseen, living God.   So much of our human culture has descended to less than animal behaviour. We with Abraham and Jesus, are to be  light and salt in a world destined for judgement.
So  chapter twelve  ends -  "Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire."
 
In a world so brilliantly created by God, in a world so spoiled by man -  let us live for Christ. Let us look up waiting for Christ.  Let us yearn for the day when He will be revealed as King  of kings and Lord of Lords.
Hebrews 13  -  faith responds :  "The Lord is my helper, I will not fear.....for Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever"
 
2020 has many lesson to teach us, and for the world in general 2021 is uncertain. Let  the word of the Lord bring hope midst despair and the love of Christ enable us to reach out to others.

 

For some of the lessons of 2020 write to  johnmckee@internode.on.net

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Question: How does God keep us alive?

 

How does God keep us alive?

What a wonderful machine the human body is! Well it is not a machine but rather an organism. So wonderful that you can feed it carrots and this is converted into superfast electrical signals to store information (vast amounts of it) in a guey thing called brain, which in turn controls the hands to put more food into the mouth. Then the stomach asks for minerals and fibre and sugar and vitamins. Some how along with the intestinal tube, it sorts out the useful elements and discharges the waste. Of course transporting the vital molecules to the various working parts is done automatically through the blood stream so that the body cells grow, no, multiply by dividing!  This amazing cluster of dust molecules is able to see, hear, speak, sing, think, decide, love or hate etc etc etc .

Maybe there is something more than a well organized cluster of dust .

Anyway God seemed to invent something very special, but at the same time something rather frail. If the food fails, or water fails, or any vital component fails, the whole castle crumbles to dust!

Since God invented such a wonderful organism, we do well to care for it well. But beyond all that muscle, nerves, blood and bones, beyond that is mind and feeling, spirit and soul, personality and purpose. It is more important to care for this part of our being than the body. We need to feed our minds with good things, our souls on healthy attitudes, and let God direct our purposes.

 

Jesus said : "I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly."  John 10

How does God keep us alive? He oversees our wellbeing but leaves many of the choices up to us.

Read   Jude 21

Friday, December 25, 2020

Question - do you want to know God personally?

 

This question from a child surprised me.

The answer is ‘Yes’

 

When the Israelites encountered God at Mt Sinai, they became afraid and asked Moses to communicate with God personally. God’s awesome presence terrified the people.

King David responded differently. He admitted to his sin and need, but went into some place of solitude to wait on the Lord. And the Psalms testify to the value of that experience.

Philip the follower of Jesus was interested to know God the Father – “show us the Father and it is enough for us” 

Jesus said to him  “ ………. Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father”   John 14

Paul the apostle understood God as revealed in Jesus Christ and made it his life ambition :

“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death.” Philippians 3

 

God still speaks to those who take the time to listen. Thousands have proved this true.  He speaks through the Bible, He speaks through the Holy Spirit, sometimes through nature, and sometimes through other people.

The Lord Jesus Christ said in His prayer:

“This is life eternal, that they know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent”      John 17

 

This will be the happy life of believers forever, so let begin now – knowing God personally.


Take time out to seek the Lord - like an hour or more - and get to know Him today.


johnmckee@internode.on.net



Thursday, December 17, 2020

Why did Jesus die for us?

 

A question so important!

For those who go to church, this should be easy to answer, but many have never been taught the reason why- for them I write.

Jesus was born of Mary. According to the angel Gabriel, He was a perfect baby, given the title by the angel as Son of God. At age 30, He visited John the baptizer at the Jordan river. John affirmed the title Son of God, but added another – “The Lamb of God ,” with this explanation – ‘He would take away the sin of the world.’ You can read this in John chapter 1.

       John knew that sin prevented people knowing God, so he got them to confess, admit, repent of their sins. However, John realised that Jesus could set the people free from their sins, change their bad habits and connect them with God.  To do so He must die for our sin (not die like us, for He had no sin)– sin is like a debt we owe to God – someone pays.  Ignoring God, disobeying His commands, upsets God, offends His justice and someone must take the punishment. ( like upsetting the policeman by breaking the law). Living our own selfish way breaks friendship with God and so we need to be reconciled to God.

      John had learned from his boyhood days, that the way back to God was by a lamb dying in his place. John understood that the wages of sin is death, and for that reason he should die. But now a perfect man, like a precious lamb was appointed to die for us – Jesus the Lamb of God.

Jesus Himself told the people that He would give His life as payment for their sins.

Jesus described us as wandering sheep, but He said He would die for the sheep.

The Lord Jesus told His followers it was necessary for Him to suffer on the cross, so that people could turn back to God and be forgiven.

       Peter summed it up so well – 1Perter 3:18

“Jesus Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God”

 

      SO much more was achieved when Jesus Christ the Lord, died on the cross. Keep reading the New Testament and the Old to discover what God has done and will do through Jesus dying for us.

Just now let us say:

‘My sins deserve eternal death, but Jesus died for me.’

 

Bible references are freely available at johnmckee@internode.on.net

Sunday, December 13, 2020

What is the purpose of life?

 

The purpose of life

I was listening to a debate by two Oxford professors, considering this question – does science explain everything?

The professor of physics, an atheist, indicated that we are nothing more than a well evolved bundle of cells. Life has no meaning , purpose or hope. For him, life beyond this existence is absurd. The professor of mathematics, a Christian, insisted that the universe is so well constructed with its mathematical equations etc, that the evidence points to an intelligent creator.  This means that it was created with a purpose including a purpose for humans. (youtube link available).

On the level of everyday people, is there purpose in rising each day, learning, socialising, suffering, giving, loving, enduring, seeking justice, fulfilling family ?? or is it all meaningless?

Without God and Jesus Christ as Lord, yes all is vanity and meaningless ( check out the frustration of the Bible scientist – Solomon in Ecclesiastes ).

But when we read the narrative of the Bible, all makes sense.

God created: and the wonder, beauty, detail, propagation, of the creation fills our minds with awe and admiration for the one who made all things well.

Sadly the Bible also records the intrusion of rebellion with the devastation that did and does follow.

So what was the original purpose of God for humans?

1         as His representative to rule over the creation.

2         As His special creation to connect with God.

 

Any observing person knows that these purposes seem distant or lost. Yet they remain relevant today. As stewards of the creation, we should care for it – the animals, the vegetation, the environment etc. Not to worship it as mother of all things, but as deigned for life to flourish.

As spirit capable beings, we should rise above the mundane, to connect and worship the one who is greater than all. This is now possible through Jesus Christ our Lord. Then all the other things will have purpose as well.

May I say to the children who asked this question – you do matter, you are special, made just like God, to know God and to love Him forever!

“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call on Him while He is near”  (Isaiah 55)

What is it like to die?

 

This important question about death needs more space, but please read and research  the subject for yourself..

I cannot speak much from experience, although I have been seriously electrocuted. I would not be alive if my wife had not turned the power off. I was locked onto the electrical current and every muscle was contracted. However I did not lose consciousness, but unable to release myself I just looked up, waiting to see the gate of heaven. Even though it was painless, it did damage my brain.

The process of dying can be very painful as the body functions shut down. For some, eg dementure, it is not so much pain as it is the loneliness of being disconnected from family and friends.

I have studied ‘near death experiences’ and the evidence is real that life after death is vivid and real. Peter Fenwick (scientist) surveyed  many NDE’s and concluded that mind separates from brain at death, and consciousness continues in another sphere. One relevant point he discovered was the frequent vivid review of one’s life in that dying experience. ‘My descent into death’ by Howard Storm is interesting.

For many people, the trauma of dying is the fear of the unknown!

This is just where being a Christian makes such a difference. The promises of Jesus Christ look beyond death to life with God and others in a state of happiness. Death is certain but need not be hopeless.  Th Lord Jesus said:

“ I give to them eternal life and they will never perish”  (John 10.27)

 

There are two very joyful things ahead for the believer in Jesus Christ.

1        After death is to be with Christ ‘which is far better’–Philippians 1

 

2        At the return of Jesus Christ, He will raise up His own people to be body, soul and spirit enjoying eternal life with HIM.- John 5

He described the next life as “seeing His glory”! that will be amazing.


Another Bible verse summarizes dying –

“O death where is your sting

    O grave where is your victory……….

How we thank God, who gives us the victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  1 Corinthians 15

 

For those who reject or ignore Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, - death means fear, trauma, crushing memories, darkness – dying without Christ and without hope.

Turn to God today and by faith in Jesus Christ, have the assurance that all is well for eternity. That’s why He died and rose again.

 

So where is it best to research this subject. Read the book written by someone who knows more than any other – God. The teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ on this subject are extensive and authoritative!

I can provide a copy of my recent study on His teachings on life after death.

johnmckee@internode.on.net