Saturday, June 23, 2012

United Canceled the Flight!

The boarding pass had been printed, the bags were packed, the
alarm was set and we were fast asleep. Suddenly my cell phone
rang at 1AM, not once but twice,-- so I turned the phone off and went back 
to sleep. At 5AM I checked the messages. Our flight out of DC had
been canceled. No explanation, no “I’m sorry,” only a thank you for
choosing United. Hmmm. Wide awake by now we called United and
waited 30 minutes for a person to pick up. I had been rescheduled
for the same flight on Sunday only now I was seated in the very last row. 
I tried to get something going out today to no avail then asked if something
could be done about the seat. Immediately I was placed in the front of 
the coach section on both flights. Thank you, Papa!
So, what to do with a whole unplanned day? We started with breakfast
out at 7AM, then visited a couple of garden shops for replacement plants for 
the garden; came home and planted the new flowers. The heat has 
broken and so has the humidity. It is a gorgeous day and I am grateful
to God for His plans and for the grace to roll with them. I am so full
of joy as I wait to see what He has planned for me-- tomorrow.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Jewish Bride

There is a beautiful prophetic type found in the Jewish 
wedding traditions of Jesus’ time. After the betrothal, the
groom would return to his father’s house to prepare the
chamber for his bride. Then, at an unexpected moment,
he would return for his bride which meant that the bride
had to be ready and prepared for his coming. When 
everything was ready, he would come to take his bride
back to his father’s house where they would stay hidden
together in the chamber for seven days. After the seven 
days were over, the couple would join family and friends 
for the wedding feast.
Could it be that Jesus will return for his church just prior
to the tribulation and take her back to His Father’s house
for seven years (instead of seven days), the time span of 
the tribulation? After which there would be “the marriage 
supper of the Lamb” as described in Revelations 19?
We are on the cusp of the most exciting adventure imaginable for 
“Eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, nor has it entered into 
the heart of man, what God has prepared for those who love Him!” 
(I Corinthians 2:9) We can experience some of this now, but it is only
a foretaste of what God is preparing for us in heaven.
The early church said the following when saying goodbye
to another Christian: “Maranatha,” which means, “Come quickly,
Lord Jesus.” It was not only a greeting but a prayer.
We do not know the day or the hour but we are encouraged to 
know what season it is. However, I have a picture of Jesus standing
at the door of heaven with Gabriel waiting for His Dad to say, “Now!”
As I finish this topic before going on vacation, I want to say that 
I will miss you, dear reader. I am headed to Idaho to spend some 
UP time with family. How awesome is that!  See you again in a 
couple of weeks.

Wrath or Rapture?

Some believe that Christians will go through the tribulation so there is 
no reason to watch since we are not yet in the tribulation. The tribulation
is a time when God’s wrath is poured out on the earth. So, what does
scripture say about the wrath of God in conjunction with His kids?
“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more
shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” (Romans 5:9)
“We are waiting “for the Son from heaven...who will deliver us from
the wrath that is to come.” (I Thessalonians 1:10)
In I Thessalonians 5 Paul speaks of the sudden destruction that will
come upon those who dwell on the earth. He says that this day will
come as a thief. Then in verse 9 Paul says, “But God has not destined
us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 
who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep (dead) we
might live with him. Therefore, encourage (comfort) one another and 
build one another up, just as you are doing” (I Thessalonians 5:9-11)
Jesus says: “When these things begin to take place, straighten up,
and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
(Luke 21:28)
Here are types in the Old Testament:
Enoch was raptured out of the world before God brought
the flood. (Genesis 5:24)
Noah and his family were lifted above the flood in an ark
and were protected from God’s wrath upon the earth. 
(2 Peter 2:5)
Lot was delivered out of the city before destruction fell.
(2 Peter 2:6,7)
God knows how to rescue the godly from what is coming
upon the earth.  Praise Him! He is able! He is willing! He
has a plan!  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Be Ready!

Yesterday I looked at imminence and the fact that Jesus can come
at any moment. But is it important to anticipate the rapture? What 
does scripture say?
“...You must also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour
you do not expect.” (Luke 12:40)
“Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord
is coming.”  (Matthew 24:42)
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:13)
But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation
and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you
suddenly like a trap...” (Luke 21:34)
There are so many scriptures that deal with His coming and each one
is accompanied with examples of those who do not care, or are not
watching.  Read the chapters concerning what Jesus says in 
Luke 12, and 21, Matthew 24, and 25. Events today are played out 
in the very words spoken by Jesus. Surely, we are in a time of 
world-wide upheaval, uncertainty and apathy. The earth itself is groaning; 
earthquakes, and volcanic activity are reported daily. Ponder this: 
There is a day coming when everything will utterly and completely change. 
How then shall we live?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Imminence of the Rapture!

When something is imminent it can happen anytime--nothing has to 
come first, no prophetic events. The generation that was alive when 
Jesus left was a generation that looked for His return. We tend to think 
that certain prophecies have to be fulfilled and so we feel that His 
coming is not soon. “Besides, it has been all these years and no 
one has been right, so why should I believe that He might come today? 
What difference does it make anyway?”

Well, as always, I want to see what scripture has to say:
“...waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our
great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, being sober-minded,
set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at 
the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  (I Peter 1:13)
“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has
not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall 
be like him, because we shall see him as he is. Everyone who
thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (I John 3:2,3)
“Waiting for the blessed hope...'" I love this verse because it comes
in the now. I live in “the now” and I wait in “the now.”  And, yes, He
lives in me “in the now,” however, there is going to come a day when
He appears to us on earth “in the now.” Glorious day!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Rapture

Paul mentions the rapture in I Corinthians 15--his famous
chapter on the resurrection of the dead:  “Behold, I tell you a mystery;
we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the
twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” (verses 51, 52)
The most detailed revelation of the actual events related to the
rapture is given by Paul in I Thessalonians 4:13-18: 
“For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are
alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those
who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven
with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the 
sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then
we who are alive, who are left will be caught up together with them in
the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with
the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words.”
The Thessalonians church was birthed in persecution. Then someone told
them that the rapture had all ready come and they had missed it!
So now the church was not only experiencing persecution but they thought
that they had been left behind. So, when Paul wrote to them he spent
time on a subject that was so urgently important to them. 
It is important for us today to ponder these things. Why? Because we
also live in perilous times. Actually, I love to let my imagination soar
when it comes to heaven and living forever in the love of my 
Bridegroom, THE KING.  It either begins with my death... or with
the rapture!... 

Paul tells us that the rapture is imminent; we need to be

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Little Girl

Once upon a time there was a little girl who discovered Jesus
and she fell in love. The little girl told Him all of her secrets.
Jesus wanted her to hear about “the rapture” and that He
was coming back and when He did so, He would take all of 
the Christians home to live with Him in heaven. It filled her
with anticipation and delight. She even dreamed about His
coming at night. But deep inside she was afraid that when
He came back, she would be overlooked and left behind. One
night as she lay sleeping the full moon came out from behind
a cloud waking the sleeping child who cried out: “Wait for me!”
You have probably guessed that I was that little girl. The mystery
and awe of of the rapture has never left me. As I look at the
headlines today, I am amazed at how many of the scriptures in 
the Bible line up with current events. It is not something I am 
going to cover in this blog, but in the next few days I do want
to share scriptures that relate to the rapture, or the catching
away of the church, as it is defined by Wikipedia.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Greatest News EVER!

Paul says in Galatians 2:19:
For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.”
Now, how is it that I am dead to the law and how do I live unto God?
Paul explains the whole Gospel in one verse:
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ
liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the
faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 2:20
Other versions say, “I have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live,
yet not I, but Christ...”  When Jesus died over 2,000 years ago we died 
with Him. All of our sins died with Him. Our old Adam was put to death
with all of its rebellion and independence. Oh, yes, we still have our 
fleshly desires and fleshly ways of trying to get life, but we live out of a 
new identity--that of saint, not sinner.
Paul called the Corinthians, “Holy Ones” which is what saint means.
I am no longer a sinner, but a saint who sometimes sins. This is huge! 
The Corinthians were a mess as far as their behavior was concerned 
but their identity, nevertheless was saint. 
Dear reader, if you can grasp this it becomes the first step toward living
the life you have been given. As long as I believed that I was nothing
more than a sinner with a hard heart, I made no progress in the 
Christian life. If I did well, I was proud; if I failed I was miserable.
When it began to dawn on me that I was crucified with Christ in the
past, that He took all of my sin and gave me His righteousness, my
heart began to sing. Yes, I do fail, but now I quickly confess my
failure to draw on His power, the power of the One who lives inside
of me. He loves it when I exchange my weakness for His strength.
My greatest prayer is: “Help!”
Oh, that you might grasp the magnitude of His love and passion for you!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Faith Alone

In Chapter 2 verse 15 of Galatians Paul states:
“We ourselves are Jews by birth and not gentile sinners, yet we
know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through
faith in Jesus Christ, so, we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in
order to be justified by faith in Christ AND NOT BY WORKS OF THE 
LAW, because by works of the law is no man justified.”
The Galatians began with grace alone and then were seduced into 
believing that they also had to obey the 633 laws which not one Jew
had ever been able to keep.
When I attempt to measure up to the standards of a particular church
or group to which I belong in order to feel good about myself, am I 
not attempting to be righteous by living up to a standard? “Do this, don’t do
that, witness everyday, whatever.” Do I try to get life by what I do to please
God and other Christians? Do I try to get points by doing A so that God will
give me B?
Oh, dear reader, the oughts are so subtle. I can remember a time when the
word “ought” defined my whole Christian experience. When I was praying I 
suddenly felt that I “ought” to be reading the Bible, or I really should go over 
to that neighbor and witness, or maybe I had not prayed enough. When I 
discovered that the Christian life is lived by faith, that I live and love out of the 
overflow of His Life in me, it stopped being about ME and started to be 
about HIM. I have a choice everyday. Am I going to try to gain His approval
through my behavior, or am I going to trust that He is crazy in love with
me, and nothing I do will ever change that? Even if I go take a nap....

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Paul Cuts to the Chase

Paul writes a strong message to the Believers in Galatia. He starts out
by giving his credentials then he says:
It was grace that put Jesus on the cross.
It was grace that delivered you from sin.
It was grace that delivered you from evil.
Side note:  I have heard that word, grace, thrown around in
a variety of ways. It rolls off the tongue so easily but behind
the word, grace, stands the mighty God. He does something
for us that has never been done and which is not present in any  
religion today. But, I can so easily be drawn away from the core 
of the gospel. Look at what Paul says in his opening volley:
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who 
called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different
Then on down in Chapter 3:
“O foolish Galatians!  Who has bewitched you? It was before 
your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 
Let me ask you only this:  Did you receive the Spirit by works 
of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish?
Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the
Reread the first three chapters of Galatians. Paul is distraught!
The foundation of Christianity had been attacked in such a way
as to undermine the gospel of grace. A distorted message had 
been received--grace plus law, grace plus circumcision, grace
plus anything--changes the message Paul preached and could
have, will always, bring an end to freedom, to fullness, 
to fruitfulness, and, eventually to the church. Paul saw it so 
clearly. I can imagine the desperate cries and groans uttered by
Paul on behalf of this newborn, newly planted church.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Paul Writes a Letter

The church in Galatia is made up of gentiles in four cities: 
Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, and Derb. Acts 13 and 14 
tells the story of howPaul entered each city; how he was treated 
by his fellow Jews; how he was received by the poor and illiterate 
many of whom were slaves. He never spent more than four months 
in each place where he taught a group of people who knew nothing 
of God’s history with the Jews. Think about it! Paul barely had four 
months to share truth with these brand new babies, and then he left--
for two years. If that wasn’t bad enough, during Paul’s absence 
a man came from Jerusalem to each city. This man with credentials,  
charisma and many persuasive words told the Believers that Paul 
had not given them the whole Gospel. They were told that in order 
to be completely saved you had to be circumcised and you had 
to keep all 633 laws.
Imagine Paul’s anguish when he heard what was going on--and, 
no one was there who could defend him or the Gospel. How could
the message he had given them remain?  What would become of
this little body of Believers. Paul had no way to get to them.

Paul writes a letter...

Monday, June 11, 2012


How DO I live the live the Christian Life?
The church has expectations on how I am supposed to live.
My Christian friends have expectations.
My pastor is supposed to be the role model? Really?  Well,
many Christians try to pattern their lives after him.
What happens to the congregation when he fails to live up to 
his own teachings on how to be good?
Honestly, what is good anyway?
I have been searching for answers for a number of years now,
and find that the Apostle Paul has some great answers to these
and other questions so for the next couple of days I will be
looking into this beginning with the Galatian Church.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Flesh vrs. Faith

Flesh and faith are opposites. When I am living out of my own resources 
to get life and to get life to work, I walk in despair. Oh, if something goes 
right I soar to the top but when my efforts bring failure I plunge down.
Life becomes a roller coaster. I mean, really, how much control do I have?  
When I take time to listen to God and ponder His love and His power, 
I get a new perspective on my situation and my emotions settle down. 
You see, faith has hope in all things. 
“Now faith is the assurance of (things)
hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1.
Dear reader, it is one thing to quote a verse; it is another thing 
to make it my own, to ponder it, embrace it and live it out.  
Papa, My desire is to live out of the life of Jesus and not try to fix 
everything--and everyone, but to be content in whatever comes my way.  
You put the hopes and dreams into my heart, and I believe that You will 
bring them to pass in Your own time and in Your own way.

Faith and contentment walk hand in hand.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Personal Encounter with Grace

Well, I said that it was going to be a Michael Wells week but God
had other plans about what I was to write. I  went to post something 
and then erased it.
I heard a definition of Grace as being: “God’s riches at Christ’s 
expense.” This is certainly true but it does not nearly catch the
riches available to us. Grace is not just manifested at salvation but it
enfolds all of a Christian’s life. 
On Monday I was walking over to a neighbor’s house for a visit
and passed a house where the owner, whom I had never met,
 was carrying a puppy down the steps into her backyard. 
I stopped to chat across her fence and discovered that her pup
 was very ill. I volunteered to pray for the dog and she readily 
accepted my offer. God has healed two of our dogs, both of whom
had terminal illnesses, so I felt confident that God could heal a 
third dog. I stayed and chatted for a bit and the woman shared
some of her story and at the end she told me how that morning
she had dug out her Bible and talked to God--”I didn’t pray,” she 
carefully explained. “I told Him that I felt like I was only a grain 
of sand to Him and I needed Him to show me something--SOON!”
She then told me that she picked up her sleeping dog to take him
outside and I walked up to her fence--the rest is history. 
Now when I woke that morning I had a thought that I should visit
my neighbor. The morning quickly disappeared and toward the end
of the morning I began to think about visiting in the afternoon. But,
there was a “check” or something and I began to get ready to leave
the house. Things came up and it was after 11:30 before I headed
out, in obedience to God, but without a clue that I was being obedient.
Yes, dear reader, GRACE enfolds all of life!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Week with Michael Wells: Grace

...He gives grace to the afflicted. Proverbs 3:34
“There is much written about grace today. Not that my two cents
amounts to much, but I wanted to give my definition of grace. It need
not be preached but it has been proven through experience by many
Grace: At my point of need, God is everything to me that I thought
He was not!
Moses had spent forty years being trained to be everything being a 
young man of the royal family; he was equipped to be a god, a
Pharaoh. He spent another forty years in the wilderness discovering
what he was not. Finally, he was prepared to lead, having realized
that he was a “not.” God told him what to go do, and Moses accurately
responded, “I am not able.” God’s response was, “What is that to Me?
I AM!”
God is all that I am not. First I must acknowledge that I am a “not.”
Next, He tells me what He is, which includes everything to me of 
which I might have need that I am not!. I am not a good father, a
good husband, a good Christian, or a good witness! This is my point
of need. Grace comes and meets me at my point of need! I did not
think He could be those things to me. However, as I recognize
abiding, He is all that I thought that He was not. There is a life in me,
His life, that is a good father, husband, and witness, and He is everything
to me that I am not.
Look at what you are not. Do not determine to work harder, but call on 
the grace of God. At your point of need, He is everything to you that you
thought He was not.
From: My Weakness for His Strength, Volume One
page 197

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Audience

I am not a theologian.
To whom am I writing?
What if it makes no difference for the reader?
What if no one reads it?
What if this is a meaningless exercise?
These and other questions come to mind as I sit down to write
my thoughts today. My thoughts? I don’t want that. I struggle
to go back to the original call: 
“Do this unto Me.”
“You, Lord? You mean it doesn’t matter if my words are not
read, not understood? I am doing this for an audience of 
It is enough.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Financial Peace

Sunday is our final class at Financial Peace University. As in 
most things we have looked at money from different perspectives.
Glen’s view has been, “If you have it spend it,” while my view
has been to “Save for a rainy day.” You can see that these two 
views have spawned some interesting discussions. We have tried 
a number of courses and financial advisors but in each case
have come away disappointed in the application part. Last 
January we heard about Dave Ramsey and found his Video
Course at a church nearby so we signed up. Dave is a man 
who knows what debt and bankruptcy is like--not to mention
poverty. However, out of this pain came principles that have 
kept his family solvent and which Dave has passed on to many 
who have also seen their finances also turn around. He is practical
and his plan is simple--besides, he is very funny! Sometimes
humor is the best way to talk about MONEY. Glen and I now
have a foundation from which to make financial decisions and
are on the same page. Glory to God! We are grateful that our God
is a God who is available to help in all areas of life.