Thursday, June 30, 2016

Why There Will Be No Meat In Heaven

Now, from the very beginning, please understand that I love meat. I enjoy the taste, tenderness, texture, and juiciness...especially of an all-American cheeseburger. I would say that most of us even look forward with great anticipation to specific holidays where certain meals and meats are provided. Holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas for example.

In fact, I believe that the Jewish people very much looked forward to celebrating the Passover each year. As Christmas is a holiday where we remember Christ's birth, Passover is a Jewish holiday when they remember God rescuing them from the nation of Egypt. This is a time when the Jewish family comes together and serves lamb as the main course.

The 1900's was a revolutionary time for mankind. It was actually the very first century out of all of human history where meat became the main course for almost every meal. Before grocery stores, refrigerators, and the mass production of animals many people did not have enough money to purchase meat nor could they afford to kill off some of their own livestock.

However, now it seems that with the growth and expansion of technology, you and I can drive two miles down the road and pick up as much beef, chicken and pork as we want. We live in a world now where everything is pre-cut and pre-packaged into a cute little tray covered in saran wrap.

And while we may look forward at times to having our next meal with an 8oz steak plopped right onto our plate, there is coming a day when you and I will be eternally satisfied with not eating meat at all.

You see, the convenience of everything in today's world prevents us from seeing what meat represents. It signifies death and often we forget that. Yes, God allows us to eat meat, but driving through a McDonald's drive-thru at least once a week has the power to desensitize us from what is really going on.

It is the gruesome reality of death which I miss when I stand in line to order a McDouble for a $1.49. The cost of that meal was not just what I had to pull out of my wallet, but the true price that was paid was the life of the animal. A hundred years ago if you wanted meat, then you would likely be responsible for killing it yourself. This would cause you to gain another small glimpse at what your sin has caused.

When you and I stand before the Lord and see Him face to face, the guarantee of Scripture is that our eyes will be opened and we will see in greater depth the realities of life and death, holiness and sin, righteousness and judgment, and ultimately the price that was paid for you and I on the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.

When we get to heaven we will see that everything there has true life flowing through it. The flowers, stars, animals, rocks and even we will be forever filled and indwelled by the Holy Spirit of God. Death is a result of sin and heaven is the place where you and I will finally and forever be freed from the presence of sin and death. Nothing will die nor be destroyed, but everything will experience life forevermore!

No more sin means no more death. No more death, yes, means no more meat, but it also exemplifies the glory of Christ's victory over the grave. And with heaven's perspective in view, we will not only be satisfied with not eating meat, but grateful. There will never come a day when we ask for bacon bits on our salad. Seeing Christ will drive our eternal passion to keep life sacred and appreciate it as one of God's greatest gifts ever given!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Greatest Symphony Ever Performed

Do you ever wonder what Heaven will be like? The scenery? The temperature? The feelings we will have? What about the music that will be played?

You see, God is not only the Creator of music but He is the Conductor who will conduct the greatest symphony ever performed! It will be the loudest and most eloquent sound the universe has ever heard! When He comes back to receive His bride the eternal praise band will begin playing its chords. The songs of life will be sung for ten thousand years and then forevermore.

Revelation 7:9 says...
"After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, 'Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'"
There will be a great multitude of people before the throne. Some from every culture this world has ever known. Think about what the music will be like!

There will be choirs, bands of all sorts, and orchestras. Instruments galore! The noise alone will rattle the heavens and shake the earth under our feet as we worship the Lamb forever and ever.

Praise bands, rock bands, country and rap. Hip hop, DJ, and heavy metal. Bluegrass, disco, funk and jazz. Every form of music since the creation of the world will play a part in this beautiful masterpiece. And the best part about it is that it will all declare and proclaim the infinite name of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Those who scream will be screaming for God. Those who rock will be rocking for Christ. And for some, headbanging will be a form of worship.

Hymns will be sung. Chants will be chanted. And forever we will sing with the angels, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!" (Rev. 4:8). Yet, these are the lyrics that we [the Church] will add when we are all there together, Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing! To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" (Rev. 5:12, 13).

He will conduct us and bring the universe in unison as we worship the Lamb who was slain!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Lukewarm Laodicea Video Message

Do the terms Hot and Cold really mean what many of us are taught? Does God really desire us to be either extremely on fire for Him or completely against Him? Because of our culture, many of us just instantly believe that being Hot is a good thing and Cold is bad. But how did the people of Laodicea understand this point John made at the end of Revelation chapter three?

Laodicea’s undoing was not through persecution, rather the thing that made them disgusting to the Lord, was how they handled prosperity.
In being “hot” we are to follow Christ’s example in bringing not merely physical, but emotional, and spiritual therapy and healing to this broken world.
Reference – Luke 4:16-21 & Isaiah 61:1
In being “cold” we look to the Lord’s example as He brought the captives back and promised, “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”  Reference – Jeremiah 31:23

The video can also be found on YouTube at:

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Kings of Israel and Judah

Have you ever turned to the beginning of, oh I don't know, let's just say Isaiah, and began reading verse one which says:
"The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah."
I remember a time before Bible college when I would read a list like this and instantly be lost in confusion. Even today I find that because I have a very limited understanding of the Old Testament, passages like this one can often leave me scratching my head because I find it difficult to see these individuals in my mind and struggle to put them within their appropriate time and place.

This is where I become a visual learner and find charts and outlines to be very helpful for me as I seek to study God's Word.

The list I am giving to you was given to me by one of my teachers at Bible school. Dave Hodgdon opened up the Old Testament for me and excited my passion to understand the heartbeat of God through the pages of Genesis - Malachi with greater clarity. This is only a one-page document out of years that he invested into my life, but I pray that God will use this list of the kings to better equip all of us, His saints, for the work of ministry.

May it be used to bless Christ's body as we seek to spend our lives on knowing God and His Word as much as possible!

To view the downloadable version, click here.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

God's Presence and Deliverance in the Midst of Suffering

 Do you ever wonder why life can be so difficult? Why pain comes so easily at times? Why things or even people seem to be ripped from your hands? When a boss hands you the pink slip or a family member passes away? When you find out that a friend has been gossiping about you behind your back or you learn the awful truth that your spouse has been having an affair?

We all understand that these things happen and we all know based on God's Word that the Lord is good even in the midst of whatever circumstance we may be finding ourselves in, but simply knowing these things doesn't always make it easy. Rather, it may at times even make it a thousand times harder to know the truth that God is good and in control yet my life seems to be falling apart.

Shouldn't the Christian life offer freedom in every area, not just the penalty of sin? Freedom from suffering? Freedom from guilt and shame? Freedom from all forms of physical, emotional, and mental pain?

I would be elated if this were the case that as soon as you become a Christian all of your worries will go away, but that is not the truth. God did not promise us a life of happiness. He never said that having relationships with other people would be easy. He never promised good fortune all the time.

The sad reality is that tragedy happens. People are sinners and eventually some of them will come against you to do you harm. The Israelites experienced this truth over and over again. Sure, a lot of it was a consequence for their wrong choices, but in Deuteronomy 28:7, in the middle of a section regarding blessings upon them for their obedience, God says:
"The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways."
You see, even in the midst of blessings being lavished upon God's people, God never promised them a life of peace at all times. Instead, He councils them and tells them that enemies will rise against them and the promise is that He will take care of them in the midst of suffering. He will be their God and defend His people.

Christianity is not always knowing the truth intellectually, but rather knowing our God personally. I have found that when my wife is hurting, she does not always want me to tell her why she is hurting. She doesn't want me to explain to her all of the reasons. What she wants is me. She wants me to hold her and to be their with her.

While it is true that God did eventually allow other nations to conquer Israel for their disobedience, He has never left them and His promise in Romans 8:38-39 has rang true from beginning to end as the text says:
"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
You see, God will bring storms into our lives in order to test us, develop our character, and learn what it feels like to be carried by the Holy Spirit. And the promise of His Word is that no matter what evil may come against you, He will never leave you and most assuredly He will deliver you from the evil one (Matthew 6:13)! We may not always have lifelong happiness, but our eternal joy started the moment we entered God's family and it is all because of who Christ is and what He did on our behalf! Praise Jesus that there is now an eternal bond between us and Him and that He has given us to experience His true and all-fulfilling life everlasting!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Quick Summary of Genesis 1 - 5











Chapter 1 - The Creation Account

Everything began with God. He is the Creator of the planets and stars and He is the Administrator who organized them all into their glorious galaxies. Through spoken word all things were made out of nothing and He alone holds all things together so that they may remain as something. He is the great Creator and Sustainer. From the smallest particle to the biggest star, He governs all of creation with a firm hand. And the best part about all of this...He made it all for us! For our enjoyment! For our pleasure! He is not only our Creator and God, but He alone is to be our Great Satisfaction!

Chapter 2 - Creation and the Placement of Man

Mankind is the epitome of God's creative acts. Rather than speaking man into existence like the rest of creation, God Almighty comes down to Earth and builds us with His own hands. He made us a home of beauty and majesty where everything was provided for our enjoyment by Him. He gave mankind the right to rule over His creation and He sanctified for us the amazing gift of marriage by bringing one man and one woman together for a lifetime of love and devotion to one another in Christ Jesus.

Chapter 3 - The Fall of Man

Man rebels against God. While this chapter is referred to as the Fall of Man, it might be better stated as more of a jump on our part. You see, God brought everything into existence. This means that He is the Owner. Therefore, He is the Ultimate Authority who set the parameters and boundaries for us to live by. However, through trickery, deceit, and the lust of our own evil desires, we decided we didn't need God to tell us how to live. This is the horrific chapter in Scripture where man sticks his hand in the face of God and goes his own way. Yet at the same time, this is the absolutely incredible chapter of Scripture which shows God coming in for the rescue. Even though man turned away, God is reaching out to forgive us and it is here where He first promises to send the Savior of the world whose name is Jesus Christ!

Chapter 4 - The Effects of Sin

Sin is now prevalent in the heart of man. Cain, Adam and Eve's firstborn son, murders his brother Abel because of his jealousy. In chapter four we are presented with the effects of our sin and the outcome that it has even on other people. Sin is never private. It is always like a bomb with shrapnel flying everywhere. And even through all of Cain's wickedness stored up in this chapter, God shows His grace to this murderer by coming to him and offering Cain life. Not just physical life, but spiritual life with Christ. What was Cain's response to God's offer? The text says in verse sixteen that "Cain went away from the presence of the LORD..." Cain, like natural sinful man, wanted nothing to do with God or His grace. He walked away from the Lord and the rest of the world followed.

Chapter 5 - The Result of Sin

Adam lived 930 years, and he died. The apostle Paul says in Romans 6:23 that "the wages of sin is death..." Sin always brings death and it is here that we see the result of our disobedience. These guys may have lived a long time according to our standards, but they still suffered the same fate that all of us will face one day. The incredible truth of this passage however, is that by the end of chapter five God has raised up a man named Noah whom He will use to rescue mankind from eventually destroying themselves. Even in the midst of rampant sin all over the earth, God is lovingly, mercifully, and graciously involved in all human affairs and is always seeking for our welfare.

Friday, June 24, 2016

FREE PDF - Cain's Fear

This is a book of charts. Apart from being a visual aid for us as we look through the lens of Scripture, the only reading portions include pages 5 - 10 and 279 - 281. That's it! The rest is purely to be served as a visual reference that shows the reader what Cain meant when he said in Genesis 4:14, "...whoever finds me will kill me..."

I believe that he is not just referring to mom and dad and maybe a few brothers and sisters, but a city with the population into the thousands! Cain was indeed fearful for his life that an avenger would come to take it from him, but God had mercy on Cain and rescued him from the avenger's hand.

See this book as a conservative and theoretical viewpoint. There is no direct number in the text given for the population at the time of Abel's death, but I believe that Cain implied baby booming type generations and we should see his fear as legitimate.

Click here and enjoy.

*For supplemental reading check out the following after looking through the book:
  1. Cain's Line
  2. Was Cain Born Before Sin?
  3. 5 Reasons Cain and Abel were over a Hundred Years Old.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

When Opposition Comes, Where is Our Focus?

Have you ever been betrayed? Ever have anything stolen from you? Has anybody ever judged you wrongly, even purposefully? Lied about you? What about bullying you or demeaning you for who you are?

We live in an imperfect world where these kinds of things happen. I venture to guess that most if not all of us have felt shame and fear posed on us by others. But where do you go when you feel isolated and alone? When the trials of life come your way, what do you do?

In the book of Ezra, God commanded His people who were living under Persian rule to rebuild His house which was destroyed some seventy years earlier as a result of their disobedience. The people obeyed the Lord for a time and began doing His work, but as soon as opposition came against them, they stopped.

For sixteen years construction on the temple was at a standstill. Why? Because the people lost their focus. They forgot that God was the One who stirred the heart of the Persian King of the empire. At first, their perspective was incredibly high. They were on cloud nine and felt as if nothing could touch them. Yet, when the storm, came they ran. As soon as they turned their focus away from God and looked intently at their problems, they became overwhelmed by their isolation and attacks.

Now how many of you know that when you look away and wander far from God He is right there to raise you up again?

God will never forsake His own! He may allow us to experience hard times, both from outward circumstances and people as well as when it is self-inflicted. However, His greatest desire is to restore us to Himself and to grow us in our faithfulness. So this is where it gets good. In the account of Ezra, God comes back to restore His people and give them yet another opportunity to trust Him.

He sent His Word through the prophets, and look what happened in Ezra 5:1-5
"The prophets...prophesied to the Jews...and then they arose and began to rebuild the house of God..."
Immediate obedience without hesitation. Yet, with obedience often comes persecution and this was no exception. What we see next is the local government coming against the Jews questioning their motives and threatening them to cease and desist work on God's house. The officials sent word to the King in hopes to once and for all shut down the Israelites. However, look what the text says:
"But the eye of their God was on the Jews, and they did not stop them..."
There is huge significance in the terminology used here of God's interaction with His people:
  1. God is protecting His people
  2. God is watching to see how His people will respond to the present circumstances
Sixteen years earlier these same people chose to fear man rather than God. Now, the response has changed. They didn't even wait for a decree from the King to begin building. As soon as God spoke, they obeyed. As soon as trials came, they looked at God and acknowledged His authority over the entire situation.

There is always a response that we have to make when it comes to God's Word. We always have a choice. Will we obey or disobey? Will we fear God or man? The choice to be faithful is ours.