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In God We Trust

The motto “In God We Trust” first appeared on US coins during the Civil War era.   Since that time, with only a few exceptions, the motto has continuously appeared on US government coins.  For a full, in-depth account of the motto’s history please refer to the following:

http://www.ustreas.gov/education/fact-sheets/currency/in-god-we-trust.shtml

Without a doubt, this motto has stood as a public testimony of our nation’s belief in the existence of God.   This motto is a part of our legacy as a nation… throughout history, our nation has sought out  God during it’s most troubling hours.   Despite the current attempts to remove this motto from our coinage, our historical reliance on God can never be denied.

The Bible talks about a nation’s need to trust in The Lord.  But in a much more personal context, the Bible repeated declares the necessity for an individual to place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the only One who can save us from our sins.

THE SCRIPTURE:

And if ye call on the Father, … Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. (1Pe 1:17-21)

THE STUDY:

And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

All mankind will stand before God the Father and be judged for the works that they have done during their life on earth.   (James 5:9, 1 Pet 4:5)   Knowing this, we are to take our time on earth very seriously.  We are to always have a reverence for the Lord, and His desires for us, so that we will not be found wanting at our judgment. (2 Cor 7:1, Hebs 12:28)

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

“Redeemed” is translated from a Greek word meaning “to be released from bondage through a payment”.

For those who are saved, we need to remember that we have been removed from the bondage of our sin through a payment much more precious than gold or silver.

This payment was not received through the empty pursuits of our previous lifestyle.  It was received as we turned from our past lifestyle of sin to Christ and His work. (Acts 26:17-20, Acts 14:15, Hebs 9:14)

But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

The precious payment made was that of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He was the sinless Son of God who came to the earth and died on the cross for the sins of His people.  (Matt 20:28, Eph 1:7, Col 1:13-22, Rev 7:14)

Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

Christ’s earthly ministry and death on the cross was a part of God the Father’s sovereign plan from before the creation of the world. (Rom 16:25-26, Eph 1:4-14, Eph 3:11, Titus 1:2-3 ).  The fall of man, and man’s need of a Savior, did not come as a surprise to the Lord.  This is another display of His greatness…He is truly an all-knowing God. (Isa 45:21, Isa 46:10, Acts 15:18)

Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

“believe” is translated from a Greek word that means “to entrust” “to commit to”

If we commit our sin, our life, and our eternity to Him…we receive forgiveness of our sins and eternal security through Christ.

It is through the work of Christ that we can receive the ability to believe in God (John 6:26-29, Eph 2:4-9, Mat 16:17, John 6:65)   This same God is the One that brought Christ from the dead and glorified Him at the Father’s right hand in heaven. (1 Cor 15:15, Acts 4:10, Acts 2:32-33, Phil 2:5-12)

Why did Christ die for us and grant us faith so that we could be saved?  So we could live our lives trusting in God and having hope for our future knowing we are saved and headed for a wonderful eternity in heaven.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

We should never undervalue the great price that was paid for our salvation.  Although our salvation was free it was by no means cheap.  Out of appreciation for His great sacrifice and price paid, we should be willingly serving Him.  Knowing we are bought with a great price.

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.(1Co 6:20)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

By committing yourself to Him (your sin, your life, your future), you will be forgiven of your sins and assured of an eternity with Christ.   Without trusting in Christ, the Bible makes it plain that you must face the eternal judgment for the sins you have committed.  The worst aspect of this judgment is being separated from God for an eternity, while receiving your punishment in the Lake of Fire.

God is sending an invitation to you through His Word to turn to Him, entrusting your life to Him, before it is too late.

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mar 1:14-15)

——————————————————————————————————————–To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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Go To The Light… and it ain’t the Ghost Whisperer Talkin!

SIH STSTA ICON

Anyone who has watched the TV show Ghost Whisperer, has heard the phrase “Go to the light” at least two to three times an episode.  (see more about this here… http://www.youtube.com/show?p=yaJn4TCMqCQ&s=5&clips=1)

Why does she tell them to “Go to the light”?  According to the show, it is because it is only “in the light” that those who have died can find final peace, forgiveness and the resulting rest in the afterlife.  In the series, however, it is never clearly explained what “the light” is.

Similarly, in the modern day “near death experience”, going to a light, or seeing a bright light during an out of body experience is commonplace.  These accounts do not include any explanation of this light with few, if any exceptions.

I’m not going to look at the Scriptural implications of the “going to the light” idea, or all the events that make up a “near death experience;” that is for another day and time.  But, I would like to look at the Bible’s teachings on a “light” that will give us forgiveness, peace, and rest; in this life and in the afterlife as well…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  (Joh 8:12)

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (Joh 9:5)

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Mat 5:15-16)

THE STUDY:

John 8:12:

Christ describes Himself as “the Light of the World”.  He then goes on to explain why He possesses that title.  He says that “he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”  In other words, if we are a follower of Christ, we will not be spiritually blind any longer, but He will open our blinded eyes, allowing us to be understanding of His words and in receipt of spiritual life now and throughout eternity.

John 9:5:

Christ makes it plain that He will be the Light of the World as long as He is present in this world.  But what then?…..

Matthew 5:15-16:

In the context, Christ is speaking to those who have placed their trust in Him as Lord and Savior, and are now followers of Him.   He says that, in His absence from the earth, we are now the Light of the World, shining forth His Word as a candle shines forth its light.  How do we shine forth that light?  Through our words and our works we reflect the light of Christ to this world, which results in His Father being glorified.

The above picture was painted by my wonderful wife, Eva Barkman.  Her picture of a lighthouse can represent our Lord Jesus Christ, the light of the world, who shines forth for all to see.  Her description reflects that thought….. “A lighthouse always reminds me of our great Lord, who is the light of the world to all who will see Him (the saved).  When things get dark and depressing, it’s a blessing to have the one true light of Jesus Christ to guide your way.”

(My thanks to Eva for allowing me to use her picture in this posting… Also the “Settled In Heaven” banner at the top of this page is a combination of her “Calvary” painting and her digital captioning.

If you would like a blessing… visit her website for more of her paintings and their Scriptural applications…. http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com/ )

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved, is your life reflecting Christ to the world?  Or, I could ask the same question in a different way…. When someone looks at our life, do they see Christ?  That’s what being a witness for Christ is all about.  By bearing the fruits of the Spirit (Gals 5:22-23, Eph 5:8), we are letting our light shine in the world.   This light then reveals Christ and glorifies the Father in the eyes of all those around us.

Stop and think about it…if we do not reflect the light of Christ into this world, who will?  Since Christ is now no longer physically in this world, it is an ABSOLUTE necessity that we reflect His light, and shine it forth in the midst of a sin darkened world. (Acts 13:47, 1 Ptr 2:9)

Do we have a loved one whose spiritual condition is a burden to us?  Have you been praying for an acquaintance to come to a saving relationship with Christ?  If you answered “yes” to either of these questions then my next question to you is this… Are you displaying Christ’s light to them through your words and actions?   You can do this by telling them what Christ has done for you; then, live a life before them that honors the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.   There is no stronger witness than to have a Godly life supporting the Godly message we are delivering… this is our Lord’s way to be an effective witness for Him.

I know in today’s time we have all the “modern” ways of evangelizing the lost around us. All I can say is this…. Our Lord’s way of evangelizing is the ONLY way to be an effective witness for Him…. He made that way clear by telling us to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”. To depart from this is to depart from the will and ways of our Father in heaven.

For those who have never been saved, “Go to the light”!   Not the way the ghost whisperer means it… but, in the way the Bible means it.  We are to experience His gracious intervention in our life, abhor our sin, fall at His feet and humbly seek the salvation only He can give.  (2 Cor 4:6, Eph 5:14)

(For much more information on this subject please read, with an opened Bible, the blog page entitled “salvation”.  On this page you will find various blog entries dealing totally with salvation.)

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

The Year 2012, The 66 Ancient Books, and File 13… Or, How Does It All Affect Us? (Part #4)

 SIH STSTA ICONIn the previous parts to our study in Matthew 24, we’ve seen:

Part #1 – The Lord does not show the exact time of His coming to man, nor angels.

Part #2 – There are ten groups of signs pointing to His second coming in this chapter.  All of them currently exist today and many of them are increasing in frequency and intensity.

Part #3 – When Jesus comes back in the clouds, He will take His followers from the earth to live with Him.  Then, He will begin the final phase of His plans for earth; judging unsaved mankind and then bringing the world to an end.

Now in our final section of Matthew 24, we will be seeing the results to all of these events and our responsibility concerning them.

THE SCRIPTURE:

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. … The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  (Mat 24:32-51)

THE STUDY:

The Lord now begins to summarize and complete His teachings on the subject of His coming and the end of the world…

Vs 32-33 – The Lord uses the picture of a fig tree to describe how we are to use the signs of His coming.  Just like the leaves on a fig tree is proof summer is almost here; so, too His signs.  As we see His signs taking place around us, it is a clear certain indicator that His coming is drawing closer.

Vs 34-36 – The Lord emphasizes the truthfulness of all He has taught to us.  I am the first to admit some of these things are hard to grasp and imagine in our finite minds.  But by faith, we know these things will take place, just as He said, irregardless of the level of our understanding of it!

In these verses “this generation” is describing the “generation” that exists on the earth between His ascension and His second coming.  He is separating this one segment of time from all the other segments throughout history.  Why does He single out this segment of time?  That is the segment in which the signs of His coming exist.

Vs 37-39 – He compares the status of men in Noah’s day with the status of men in this generation.

Noah’s day is characterized by selfish living, centering on the fulfillment of fleshly desires; in other words, a big “party time”.   How did the Lord deal with this attitude?   He brought judgment upon an unsuspecting lost world after protecting His people.

In today’s time we see the same basic attitude of man.  How will He deal with this again?  He will once again, bring judgment upon a lost world after protecting His people!

Vs 40-42 – How will the Lord protect His people from the wrath to come?  He will take His people from the earth while He leaves the lost behind.  Our responsibility is to be watching the signs and to be always prepared for Him to come and take us home.

Vs 43-44 – The saved will take their responsibility to be ready very seriously. They will make sure their salvation is genuine; they will be ready for the Lord to come.

Those who neglected Christ’s coming by not taking care of their spiritual condition will suffer a loss when He comes.  In this way, His coming is much like that of a thief.  If the homeowner is not prepared, then the thief can come unexpectedly and cause the homeowner great loss.

Vs 45-51 – Salvation and living a faithful life is needed to live a prepared life.  Living a faithful life is wisely investing the time and the opportunity the Lord has given us.  This results in receiving rewards at His coming.

The unprepared believe His coming is far off, they will not trust Him, not serve Him with their lives. The reward they receive will be eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire.

The person who is prepared to meet the Lord is described as a “faithful and wise servant” for obvious reasons.  But, why would those lacking salvation and faithful service be called an “evil servant”?  How can he be called a “servant” of God?  He didn’t serve Him with his life. This is a very important principle…

By this, the Lord meant that all mankind is under His authority.  He is Creator and Lord of both saved and lost.  They are all held responsible to serve Him. In other words, they are His “servant”.  Are all men responsible to serve Him?  YES.  “Are all men fulfilling their responsibility to serve Him?”  NO.  Many choose to rebel and disobey Him. They are still servants but, just as He describes, they are “evil servants”.

SUMMARY:

So to close, let me first thank you for being willing to invest some of your time into reading this 4 part blog.  This series was much more in depth, and had much more detail in it, than any of my other blog entries.  The subject was so important, and the chapter held so much information, it was hard for me to “skim over it”.  Thank you again for your patience.

Next, I would suggest, you should go back and re-read any part that is unclear to you.  Also, I’ll be glad to try to answer any questions you may have, feel free to email me.

Thirdly, allow me to offer one question for all of us to answer honestly, and seriously, knowing we are in the presence of Almighty God….

If we would stand before the Lord today and answer for our lives; what title would we receive?  Would He say we are a “faithful and wise servant” or are we an “evil servant”?

I believe, after examining this chapter and looking at the world around us, we can see that His coming is closer today than ever before.  I see no reason why He could not come today.  We must be sure that we have this issue settled before it is eternally too late.  Remember, we have no promise of tomorrow.  There are some of us who may not see another day on this earth.

So what do we do?  How can we be sure that we are prepared to meet our God?    The Word of the Lord contains the answers for us and it makes clear that we must totally submit to the Lord trusting in Him, His Word, and His Work…

“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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”(Heb 12:2)

with Bible in hand, read the following passages…

(Isa 53:1-12, Acts 8:35-37, Acts 13:30-32, Roms 4:20-25, Roms 10:8-11, Eph 2:1-22, 1 John 5:1-4)

If you have any questions about salvation feel free to email me, I’ll be glad to help you any way that I can.  Or, you can go to any church that teaches God’s Word, they will be glad to help you as well.

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace”  “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike”http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

The Year 2012, The 66 Ancient Books, and File 13 (Part #3)… Or, The King Of Kings Is In The House!

SIH STSTA ICONIn this blog series we’ve been looking at the teachings of Matthew chapter 24.

In part one, the Lord has shown us that no man, nor angel, will know the exact time of Christ’s coming and the end of the world.  From this we have drawn the conclusion that the 2012 theory cannot be relied upon, and therefore, must be discredited as pure speculation with no foundation in fact.

In part two, the Lord has taught us the ten groups of signs that reveal to us the general time frame of His coming and the world’s end.  We have seen that these signs are present in our world and many of these are increasing in intensity and frequency.  This allows us to know that the Lord’s coming is possible at any time.

Currently, we are in the time frame of waiting.  As we wait on the Lord to come back and waiting for the world to come to an end.  During this waiting period the world is slowly decaying around us.  (Roms 8:20-23)   The Lord’s second coming will begin the final phase of the world coming to an end.  This final phase will greatly accelerate the world’s ending.  So now, let’s see what will take place when the Lord actually comes back and the process leading to the world’s end as it enters it’s last stage.

THE SCRIPTURE:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Mat 24:29-31)

THE STUDY:

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken”

The Greek word “tribulation” simply means to be burdened, to be pressured, or to face trials.  What is the “tribulation of those days”?  It is simply the different signs of his coming that we have already studied (false teaching, wars, famines, persecution of God’s people etc.).  In and of themselves, they are tribulation that we face on a day to day basis.  After Christ’s coming, however, far greater tribulation will fall upon the world.

In our text, at the coming of Christ, great changes will take place in the heavens. Christ’s glory and power are so great, He will outshine the moon, stars and even the sun.  In comparison to Christ, all of these will appear as if they are dark.  Or perhaps, the sun, moon and stars will actually be darkened and misplaced at His coming.  Remember, this is God, Himself, coming in the heavens to take His people home to be with Him; who knows exactly what effect His coming will have on the created world?

“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” 

Please notice that the “secret rapture” of God’s people is not taught in Scripture.  Here, we find that when Christ comes back to take us home to be with Him the entire world will see Him (Rev 1:7).  Both lost and saved will see Him as He appears in the heavens.  Again, when He comes, we see Him coming with “power and great glory” … this is probably why the heavens will grow dark at His coming.

“And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Here is the great purpose for His coming back in the heavens.  It is to take the living saved (and the bodies of the dead saved) home to be with Him (1 Thess 4:13-18).  This will entirely remove the saved from the world before His wrath falls against sinful mankind.   Note, that the angels play a big role in retrieving the Lord’s people from the earth.

This event is the FIRST reaping as described in Rev 14:14-20:

“And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

The SECOND reaping is the beginning of His wrath falling upon sinful mankind in Rev 14:16-20:

And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.”

The promise of His second coming, and of the saints removal from the earth before His wrath falls, is commonly described as “the Rapture”.  This is the event we are talking about in Matt 24:29-31. This is the beginning of the last phase of the earth’s existence.  Within a short period of time, immediately after the Great Tribulation, the earth will be totally renovated preparing the way for our Lord’s return to the earth to reign. (2 Pet 3:12-13, Isa 65:17, Rev 21:1-5)  These promises are a source of great encouragement and strength to believers everywhere. (2 Thess 2:1-2)

Today, with joy in our hearts, let’s live our lives for Him!  ….

 “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luk 21:28)

In our final part to this study, we will be seeing the end result of these events and what our responsibility is concerning these events.

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace”  “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike”  http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”