It Is Appointed

Like so many people around our country, I was shocked and saddened to hear the tragic news of Kobi Bryant’s death yesterday, along with eight other people, including his daughter Gianna.  It was shocking…sudden, unexpected and he was so young as were others on the same flight.

I’ve been thinking about death quite a lot in the past few weeks.  One night I was laying in bed praying and thanked God for the gift my husband Chris.  I realized how much my life has been enriched and changed because of him.  He has brought my life new meaning and the everyday ordinary things like cooking and taking care of our home have a purpose.

As a Christian, I know that our death is a divine appointment.  God knows our end before we were even born.  He has determined and appointed our times…our beginning and end, even where we live.

He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him…Acts 17:25b-27b

Each day is a gift from God.  It’s important for me to be grateful today and not take people for granted because I don’t know if we will have another day.  More important is the truth that we will all die one day and we will stand before God to give an account for lives.

  • 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, – Hebrews 9:27

Every one of us has sinned and broken God’s Law.  We can never be good enough or do enough good works to earn our salvation.

  • 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, – Romans 3:23

That is all of us…you and me!

  • For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
    And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment. – Isaiah 64:6a-b

Apart from God sending His Son Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sin, none of us would or could be saved.  There is One Way to God…Jesus Christ.

  • Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” – John 14:6

The death of those nine people on that helicopter was tragic and unexpected.  We should be in prayer for their families, friends, teammates, and co-workers.

But I want each one of us to consider our divine appointment.  We don’t know when it will happen.  We don’t know how we are going to die.  Will we be on our deathbed and have time to repent and confess Jesus Christ as Lord?  Or will our death be sudden and unexpected?  We don’t know that.

  • Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”— 2 Corinthians 6:2b

Lord willing, you may be granted many more days.  But I beg you…do not delay.  There is nothing more important than making sure that your salvation has been secured.  That your sins have been forgiven.  Because there will be no second chances once we die.

  • But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  – Titus 5:4-7

Our Sovereign God…the One who is Holy, Holy, Holy and Righteous, He is the Righteous Just Judge and His Wrath against sinful man is just.

In the parable of the Prodigal Son, we see a picture of our Heavenly Father.  He is standing and looking out and waiting for his wayward son to return.  Here we can see the Mercy and Grace of God…His Lovingkindness and willingness to Forgive.  The son didn’t deserve the father’s forgiveness…but the father was willing to forgive.  God is rich in mercy and He has made a way for sinners to be forgiven, through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ who paid the sin debt of all who will repent and believe.

The Prodigal Son

11 And He said, “A man had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. 13 And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. 14 Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. 17 But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ 20 So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. 29 But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; 30 but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’” – Luke 15:11-32

Don’t delay…for today is the day of salvation.

 

Healing at the Gate Called Beautiful

Like the lame man
At the gate called Beautiful
I too, have been raised up by Christ Jesus the Nazarene

Unlike the lame man
My healing was not physical
Instead it was far greater, a healing of my soul

I went from being spiritually dead, dead to God
Dead in my trespasses and sins
Unable to even look upon or respond to Him of my own accord

He raised me up and forgave my sins
Now I am alive to God
May I praise and glorify God for His marvelous work

With feet and ankles made strong by the LORD
May I walk just as I was raised
By the power of Christ

May those who recognize me
As the woman dead in her sins at the gate called Beautiful
Be amazement at what Christ can do

By Susan Wachtel
September 28, 2017

For those of us who have family and friends who don’t yet know the LORD, persevere in prayer for their salvation.

 

Is Hell a Laughing Matter

One of the emails I receive on a regular basis is from One Million Moms, a group that notifies mothers and families when there is immorality, profanity, vulgarity, and violence promoted in the media.  They pass along links so people can contact companies to let them know their concerns.

Today, I received a notification that TGI Friday’s has a new ad campaign in which use profanity in their advertisement to promote appetizers customers can get during their happy hour.

I wasn’t able to send an email communication to Friday’s via their website.  So instead, I left a message on TGI Friday’s Facebook page.  I let Friday’s know that I didn’t appreciate their use of profanity in their commercial.  I asked them to please pull the ad and said that if didn’t we would no longer be customers.

A short time later, a man left a rude response and called me a hypocrite.  He had gone to my blog and found instances in which I had used the word hell.  My first inclination was to leave a comment back with a disparaging remark.  Am I a sinner and a hypocrite…yes I am.  But I’m not a hypocrite about this.

Obviously, the person who left the comment calling me a hypocrite didn’t’ seem to be exercising discernment.  He didn’t acknowledge the difference between a company using profanity to promote their company and someone writing about hell to warn people about the realities of hell.

Am I just being uptight?  Should I just loosen up and not worry when companies use profanity and make a joke out or the word hell?

Well I could do that.  I’m sure there’s been times when I’ve buried my head in the sand and ignored something that wasn’t right.

But on this one…on a company casually using the word hell to promote happy hour…I’m glad I spoke up because I know about the realities of hell.

Hell is a real place.  It’s a place of eternal punishment, suffering and torment for those who refuse to acknowledge and repent of the sins.  Hell is for those who reject Christ Jesus.  Or for those who think they can get into heaven based on their good deeds.  They know they are not perfect…but they are better than the next guy.  Hell will have people who didn’t believe in God.  Those who didn’t realize that they will have to give an account for their lives.

So what does the Bible say about hell?

  • But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. Revelation 21:8
  • They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might. 2 Thessalonians 1:9
  • Hell is a place where the fire never goes out. Mark 9:43
  • They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:42
  • ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ Mark 9:8

Hell is a real place.  A place unimaginable suffering that does not end.  I have loved ones who were sinners just like me.  But they died rejecting Christ or didn’t believe in God and recognize they will give an account for their lives.

When you know the realities of hell…it’s not a joke.  It’s not something to take casually.  It’s not a laughing matter.

I’m a sinner…there is nothing good in me that deserves to go heaven.  I don’t deserve forgiveness.  I can’t be good enough to earn my way to heaven.  But through grace of God alone, I have been forgiven of my sin because of Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death on the cross.

That promise of forgiveness is available for all who put their faith and trust in Christ Jesus the Lord.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. – John 3:16-18

If you would like to know what the Bible says about hell and about how you can be forgiven of your sin…click on this link and read these Scriptures:

What the Bible says about hell.

 

Ray Comfort – Hell’s Best Kept Secret

 

Thoughts and Reflections on the Supreme Court’s Ruling

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Last Friday, June 26th, when the Supreme Court’s ruling was announced approving of homosexual marriage we were away on vacation and I wasn’t able to write anything.  That’s probably a good thing because I would have been reacting from the emotions of the moment rather than thinking things through.

Since that day I’ve had time to reflect and want to share some thoughts.

When I heard the announcement my heart was grieved.  I had been praying that the Lord in His mercy would spare the United States from going down that road of approving sin which God has clearly condemned in His perfect and inerrant Word.  Obviously the Lord’s answer was no and the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5 to 4 in favor of homosexual marriage.

Where was God when this happened?  He was on His throne and continues to sovereignly rule and reign over all creation and sinful man.  His Son, the Lord Christ Jesus, is seated at the Father’s right hand ruling and reigning.  This is all under His sovereign control and perfect plan that He is working out.

God has plainly revealed in His Word that this world will continue in its downward spiral of sin.  This ruling just gives evidence to that.  Reading Romans 1:18-32 is like reading today’s headline news.  Repeatedly the Lord reveals that He will give man over to his sin.  Why?  Because man has suppressed the truth in unrighteousness and denies God who has clearly revealed Himself in creation.  We do not glorify God.  As a result, our thinking has become futile and our foolish hearts are darkened.

On June 26, 2015, the United States of America clearly abandoned its roots that were once based on Judeo Christian values.

The five justices, not only ruled in favor of sin which God has condemned, they stepped over the line and went from interpreting the Constitution to making law.  If that’s what they want to do, they are in the wrong branch of government.  They should leave the court system and run for office.

So why go the route of the court to change the law?  Well…because 37 States have passed laws limiting marriage as being between one man and one woman or supporting the Defense of Marriage Act.  Going the legal route wasn’t working in favor of homosexual marriage advocates.

Where is this going to stop?  Will the courts soon be approving polygamy or family members marrying?  After all that’s marriage between consenting adults.  We are on that slippery slope and have a mind darkened by sin and corruption and it’s going to get a lot worse.

What’s so wrong about homosexuality?

God has declared it sinful in His perfect and inerrant Word, the Bible.  He is our Creator and He is God to whom we all will give an account.  In the Bible He declares what is sinful and right and wrong.  He has also declared adultery and all sex outside of marriage as sinful.

God ordained marriage as being between one man and one woman.  He blessed them and commanded that they go forth, be fruitful and multiply.  Apart from adoption or science homosexual couples cannot carry out that command.  Physically men and women are complimentary and are able to procreate.  Having two mommies or two daddies does not make up for not having a dad or mom.  The Lord designed family to be a father, mother and children.

I was very troubled by President Barack Obama’s action of bathing the White House in the rainbow colors of the gay liberation movement.  That was very divisive and beneath the dignity of the President of the United States of America.  President Obama is the President over all Americans, not just people who share his view on homosexual marriage.  He should be uniting not dividing.  There was a day when the President said that he believed that marriage was between one man and one woman.  I guess over time his beliefs changed or he didn’t really believe what he originally said.

This ruling is edging us ever closer to silencing those who disagree with homosexual marriage; who in keeping with the Bible call it sin.  We are a step away from forcing pastors, ministers, priests and clergy to either approve of and marry homosexual couples or face legal consequences including fines, imprisonment and loss of non-profit organization status.  Soon saying homosexuality is sin will be considered a hate crime.  We will be losing our Constitutional rights of freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

All people, including homosexuals, are human beings created in God’s image and as a result should be treated with kindness, goodness, dignity and respect.  Their sin is no worse than mine is.  Homosexuality is not the unforgivable sin.  God has promised in His Word that if we repent of our sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we will be forgiven of our sin and spend eternity in heaven with Him.  If we fail to do that God has warned that we will be condemned of our sin and go to hell.

At the end of the day, the worst thing about the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of homosexual marriage will be the result of fewer people sharing the lifesaving message of the Gospel, that there is forgiveness of sin in Jesus Christ.  A broken and contrite heart God will not despise.

People don’t want to be thought of as a bigot or hater…so they may shut up and not share the Gospel.

Recently I watched a video that my friend Ken Kish shared which showed Penn Jillette, from Penn and Teller fame, talking about someone sharing the Gospel.  In the video Penn, an avowed atheist said that he respects Christians who share the Gospel even though he doesn’t believe it.  I won’t forget something he said, “How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize?  How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”

Is my failure to share the Gospel with fellow sinners hatred?  At the very least it’s caring more about me and my comfort over their eternal salvation.

May Christians be men and women of courage and obedient to the Lord and share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with everyone: family and friends, neighbors and co-workers, heterosexuals and homosexuals.  For we are all sinners in need of forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ.

I know that there’s a lot of good commentary out there on the Supreme Court’s ruling and I would encourage you to read and stay informed.  I would also like to direct you to the Hillsdale College website where you can sign-up to take their course on the US Constitution for free.  With the upcoming elections and charged political landscape we owe it to ourselves and fellow citizens to be informed and know what rights, responsibilities and liberties we’ve been granted in our Constitution.  Be informed and select candidates who are in keeping with your morals and values.

Solace in the Face of Evil and Questions for Followers of Islam

Yesterday, when I heard the news of the latest atrocity committed by ISIS, aka the Islamic State, I felt a mix of emotions: horror, anger, rage, grief and profound sadness.  How can a rational human being understand the utter depravity of the human heart that would lead them to burn a living human being to death?  A person created in God’s image.

I will not watch these awful, obscene videos that Islamic monsters have put out.  I don’t want the images seared in my mind.  Yet, how can I not ponder and imagine what the Jordanian pilot suffered?

As I tried to sleep the one solace that I found in the face of evil is the promise and assurance from God’s word that He will punish evildoers.  The Jordanian pilot suffered unimaginably in the last moments of his life.  But I am comforted by the thought that the unrepentant evildoers will be punished by God who is sovereign, just and righteous.  Vengeance is God’s and He will repay.  He will do so in His perfect timing.

The unrepentant sinner’s suffering will begin the moment they die.  They will be punished, not for a few years, not for a lifetime, but for eternity.  Forever…it will never stop.  Ever!  He will be in a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.  In a place where the fire is not quenched.  In a fiery furnace he will be burned, but not consumed.  It’s a place of everlasting shame and contempt.  A place of torment, gloom and utter darkness.

I thank You God for the day of justice which will one day come…when the wicked and unrepentant sinners will be punished.

What’s equally hard for me to comprehend is that God’s desire is that sinners repent, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved (even the people who have committed unimaginable atrocities).  Jesus bore their sin on the cross, He paid the penalty in full for the horrific crimes they have committed and the “little sins” that only the God knows about.  And the Father stands ready to embrace and forgive the genuine repentant sinner who comes to Him through Christ.

God’s forgiven all my sin.  While I may not have lobbed off someone’s head, I have sinned greatly against the Father.  There’s not a day that’s gone by when I haven’t sinned in thought, word or deed.  I’ve hated people and in my heart committed murder.  But in Christ Jesus, God the Father has forgiven me and He will do the same for all who repent, confess with their mouth and believe with their heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and they will be saved.

I’m left with a question that I’ve really not heard answered.  What is it going to take for decent Muslims to stand up and speak out against these awful atrocities that these monsters are doing in the name of Islam?  Why aren’t you crying out loudly against them?  Condemning their actions?  Are you afraid, afraid they are going to do the same to you?

Why aren’t you storming the talk shows and condemning ISIS and radical Islamic followers?  Why aren’t you writing to newspaper editorial pages and decrying what these people have done in the name of your religion?  Where is your voice speaking out against these atrocities that have now become an everyday event in the news?  Why aren’t you telling your friends, neighbors and co-workers that these people don’t represent your religion?  I don’t hear too many Muslim voices condemning radical Islam.  Why is that?  Why in the world don’t you loudly and publically condemn such actions?  Why don’t you rise up against them?

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

I hear a lot of silence!

Don’t let evil triumph.  Speak up and speak loudly, unapologetically and bravely condemn the evil done in the name of Islam.  The time is now.

Five Minute Friday – Gift of God

For by grace you have been saved through faith, that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9
I’d like to shout it from the roof top, “Salvation is a gift of God”, and have it echo through time.
Daily I pray for those whom the Lord has laid on my heart…that He would move in their heart and mind, bring them to an end of themselves.  That they would recognize that there is a day coming in which they will have to give an account to the God who created them.  That they would recognize that they are a sinner, unable to save themselves before a holy and righteous God.   That they would cry out, confess with their mouth and believe with their heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and they will be saved.  I pray for divine appointments, bold witnesses, hearts to be tendered, eyes to be opened and ears to be inclined to the Lord.
And yet, I need to confess, that while I pray for them, there have been very few that I have had a point blank discussion with about their need for salvation found in Christ alone.  There are times I will look at someone who I know doesn’t believe in God and think if he or she died today, they would be in hell for eternity. 
You want to know the place that I find it the hardest to share my faith?  The workplace.  People know I’m a Christian and I freely talk about my faith with fellow believers and others.  When people are going through difficult times, trials and tribulations, I’ll let them know I’m praying for them. 
But their greatest need, this side of the grave and for eternity is for them to hear the gospel message.  And I remain silent.  I have news about the greatest gift ever and I keep it to myself. 
Lord…I’m afraid at times I fear man more than You.  Lord how can I remain silent when a person’s eternity hangs in the balance?  It’s You that does the convicting and saving, all You are asking me to do is be a witness.

This post is being linked to 5-Minute Friday courtesy of The Gypsy Mama, where you simply write for 5 minutes without worrying if it’s right or not.  Head on over and take the challenge today.

At the Foot of the Cross

It’s time to come
Lay your burdens down
At the foot of the cross

Repent
Receive forgiveness for your sins
At the foot of the cross

Be cleansed
By the precious blood of the Lamb
At the foot of the cross

Old man sin has gone
You’ve become a new creation in Christ
At the foot of the cross

Without Christ you can do nothing
With God all things are possible
At the foot of the cross

by Susan Bunts Wachtel
November 12, 2011

Michael…this is my prayer for you.