Thursday, March 26, 2009

Are some already "raptured"?

For a while now, I have been contemplating and re-examining my anti-rapture stance. I had previously been certain that Christians were not going to heaven and that when a man dies, his soul sleeps until the day of Jesus' advent or coming.

Today, as I set out to examine the spiritual issues, the issue returns.

In Ephesians 1:10 (KJV)it says (breaking into the thought):
That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

The issue raised th question of whether there are currently persons living in heaven. Are some persons already "raptured" (for want of a better term)?

Two weeks ago, at a Millsborough Bible Study group, I was trying to defend my position against the adherents of Pre-tribulation rapture on John 14. The perspective was that Jesus is gone to prepare a place for us to take us there. I opposed that perspective, stating that the place being prepared could either be that of being a position of authority or if it was physical, it would be relocated to the earth for us to live in.

On checking the Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary (p. 392), I found that the term "mansions" coming from the Hebrew word did not suggest a physical dwelling, but rather a "staying" or "abiding".

Yet by March 17, I came across Revelations 3:21 (KJV), which says:
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

I examined the above verse and began to consider where would Christ's throne be located. Is it currently in heaven? Does the above verse imply that Christ's throne is in heaven?

The reward to be given is a seat in the throne of Jesus. However the L-RD in the passage states that Jesus sat down with His Father in his throne. Thus, it tells me that Jesus is yet to sit on his throne. He is awaiting coronation. Those who overcome will be found at his coronation and have a seat with him.

Just like how not everyone could be present at Barack Obama's installation ceremony and lunch, I picture the privilege of being at Christ coronation to be similar and even with even more grandeur.

Then, I came across in March 20, Ephesians 2:6 (KJV), which states (breaking into the thought):

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

This sitting in heavenly places - raised again the issue of whether the sitting in heavenly places means that saints and believers will be taken to heaven to even sit or be seated. For me it is clear that the heavenly places refer to the positions of authority and not physical place.

Today, I read Ephesians 1:10 (KJV) which I already alluded to in the blog, which got me thinking that there are inconsistencies with the scripture and my thoughts. Clearly there are some already with Jesus, while there are a people on earth to be gathered for the coronation.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Going Missional

The following post makes for interesting reading. It is what I am personally convicted about myself.

From The Christian Post
Missional Church Movement – The Next Big Thing?
By Michelle A. Vu
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Mar. 12 2009 02:56 PM EDT

We need to return to the house church and the dialogue with unbelievers where they are. No more can we afford to be building edifices and be concern about filling buildings, pews or benches.

Church need to revert to small group meetings where all worshippers actively participate and share in the proceedings.

I also think we need to have a kingdom focus. We are not waiting to depart, but rather that we are actively participating in spreading the influence of the kingdom through our good works. Our works motivated by love, the fear of God, obedience to his commandments and reliance on his Scriptures and the Holy Spirit.

Persecution & discrimination against Christians in Post-Christian West

Persecution and discrimination against Christians in Post-Christian West has certainly began to manifest itself.

That is the conclusion that I have drawn after reading the following articles.

From The Christian Post : "Christian Party Offices Vandalized After Launch of Bus Ads"

by Maria Mackay, Christian Today Reporter, Monday Feb. 16 2009

The above article speaks about the attack of a Christian political party office after advertisements were run. Hate crimes against Christians in London, committed not by followers of Islam?

From the University World News
US: University bans Christian group from campus
Writer: Robert L Shibley
Date: 08 March 2009

Now this article speaks about the denial of the rights of a Christian society to exist on a college campus, because of their beliefs and how they structure their club to conform to their spiritual beliefs.

If it is happening in universities, when will it move into governments. A time seem to be coming when Christians will be denied the right to organise meetings and congregate because of their beliefs?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Spoilt Lime Juice and Hospitality

Yesterday, I wrestled with my flesh and earthly mindset over a issue that I historically would not have a problem with.

My wife had some friends over in the evening. However during the day, from she came from church, she slept out the entire day. (She attends a first-day church). My soul kind of felt resentment for that, as in my heart and my mind, her rest should have been Saturday and not Sunday.

In addition to this, she complained that we had no juice to give our visitors or guests. And she lamented how she felt not having such juice and that we might have to go on the road to purchase juice. I found myself saying to her that the guests invited themselves, and as such they may not be expecting anything in return. Because they invited themselves, I declared that we were under no obligation to provide juice or refreshments.

In addition, I had a whole lot of work to do. I was trying to complete some readings for a certificate course, plus I had not yet had a bath. But I did not want to bathe yet, until I clean my shoes for school. In fact I had even wanted to do some hedge clippings. And I wanted to do all of this before my daughter woke up (she is 13 months).

Any way, I gave into my wife, suggesting that we could make some lime juice. The guest called to let us know that they were five minutes away. I arose from my study and went to squeeze lime. Yet I was resenting the activity, and fighting my earthly mindset which had not wanted visitors and did not want to be fussy about getting juice for them.

To make matters worse, our house was a mess. Things were out of place and untidy. (When you have an active 13 month old, it is hard for you to keep the house in order.)

The friends arrived, and the juice was not yet ready. Neither was I appropriately dressed, for I wore a shorts with a hole. It was a disaster! The juice ended up being spoilt by one spoilt lime. I attempted to redeem it, but I could not rid the juice of the spoilt lime taste. There was no artificial juice flavours in the cupboard, and I thought in vain about an alternative fruit that we stored that I could use. Eventually, I improved the taste of the juice, but that spoilt lime taste was still there.

This I served my guest, but knowing that I did not give my best. Secondly, I was struggling in my mind saying that I had so much work to do, and I did not need guests now. In addition, the guests are coming mainly for my wife sake. My wife will benefit more from their visit. In my heart I wanted to address the work that existed and not entertain guests.

Yet the Word of G-d came to my mind declaring that my father Abraham was always ready to show hospitality and to stop what he was doing to entertain persons (Genesis 18:2). However, at the time, when the word came to my mind, I counteracted it saying that Abraham could afford to do that for he was rich and had man servants and maid servants.

Then to mind came the stories in the Gospels, where persons were always ready to entertain guests. Zacchaeus also came to mind. Also the fact that Jesus was always be entertained. Martha and Mary's story also came to mind. This counteracted the complaint I had that I had too much work to do and could not receive guests.

But what was even more condemning was the story that Jesus told about the person who in the middle of the night went to knock up his neighbour because he had no food to give his guests (Luke 11:5-8). This person had guests at an inconvenient time, and had to beg his friend/neighbour for food.

As I reflect today, I see how wrong my attitude was. I was a spoilt or sour lime. I tried to mask my distaste for entertaining persons at the time, but the juice betrayed me. I could see that my guests did not particularly enjoy the juice, but they were polite and tolerated it.

Apostle Paul states that we must not be "forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" (Hebrews 13:2 (King James Version))Even though my guests were not strangers, how much more am I convicted of wrong as I should be ready at all times to entertain people in my house.

As I reflect other scriptures come to mind. Lot before Sodom was destroyed was at the gate looking for opportunities to be hospitable. The persons that the L-RD sent to investigate the city and its wickedness appeared and Lot immediately went to meet them and invite them to his house to be entertained (GENESIS 19:1-3).

I am learning, and I pray that G-d will give me another chance to redeem myself. I feel like a miserable failure. But G-d has given me life today, which means I have another opportunity to be hospitable to someone.

Even this morning, I resisted the word, stating that being hospitable is a cultural thing and not necessary a spiritual trait expected by G-d of us. I argued with the L-rd saying that in my time, we are very busy and have no time in our culture to entertain guests. Yet I realise how foolish that argument is. Because the L-RD gently stated that so is the Sabbath and all the feast days.

I thank you G-d that your mercy is everlasting and that you plead with me to display righteousness. To the readers of this blog, I say, do not be spoilt limes! Be hospitable! It is a command - God does it (Deuteronomy 10:18)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Human beings need meaning and purpose

I pondered this morning that humans need meaning and purpose to cope with life and existence. We are naturally wired to create, seek and derive meaning from our experiences, events and interactions with others or even with nature.

I do not know how to explain this point, but I recognise that human existence is about deriving meaning from this life.

When you have discovered your spiritual purpose and destiny, then you will be able to gain eternal life.

21st Century Values and Morality

I read an article yesterday where various men were speaking as to why they did not want virgins anymore. The consensus among those who did not want virgins boiled down to impatience. They all could not wait to get their high! They wanted instant gratification, and virgins required too much time and patience before they can reach where they want to be sexually. One specific argument presented is that the more experienced male will have to take time with the virgin as she might tear and is usually in a lot of pain, which takes away from the sexual experience.

In addition to that, I heard a conversation yesterday among young men and women on the campus. In the conversation, the young men were saying that any values or ideas that come from persons born in the sixties or before were old school and not applicable to today. Their argument suggested that values prior to the seventies are no longer relevant to the twenty-first century.

My soul is still pondering these matters. There seems to be a profound shift in morality in this world.