For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. — 1 Thessalonians 4:16 (NIV)
Jesus has promised to come back sometime in the future, and as a matter of fact, he is coming back at this moment. The Bible tells us when he comes back, the whole world will be restored from the control of Satan. There will be no more sins, no more aguish, no more sadness, no more tears… Moreover, the dead in Christ shall be raised up as well.
When the scripture says, ‘the dead in Christ will rise first’, it means what it says. God has raised Jesus from the dead three days after the crucification. He was given a spiritual body which allows him to eat and drink, and walking through the walls at the same time. He lived with his disciples for 40 days and appeared to the public before he was taken up to heaven.
The resurrection of Jesus occupies a significant place in Christian belief. One of the reasons is that it gives us hope even after death. God has raised our Saviour and he also has promised to do the same to the people who believe his son. So the Bible refers to the people who have passed away as ‘the people fallen asleep’. The dead will come to live again just as simple as you and me wake up every morning after hours of sleep. One day you and I will be given a spiritual body and live with Jesus in his kingdom for eternity.
That’s the hope we have.
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. — James 1:27 (KJV)
We are on the book of James today. The letter of James underlines that a person whose faith is ‘ALIVE’ will bear fruits (do good works) for God. In today’s verse, we learn about the kind of religion the Father accepts as pure and undefiled: Those who care for orphans and widows in their affliction.
Why does God have special compassion for these two groups of people? As we known, orphans and widows had very little means of economic support or emotional care. Unless a family member is willing to care for them, they are reduced to begging, selling themselves, starving, homeless, crime and worse. By caring for these powerless people, we are putting God’s teaching into practice. The Father honours it! God says, remain in his Love so that we are able to Love others as ourselves!
Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. — Ephesians 6:11
In today’s verse, Paul has revealed two important things. First of all, we have a battle to fight that is not against the physical powers but spiritual forces of evil.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. — Ephesians 6:12
Secondly, we are not fighting the battle on our own but God has given us the mighty power of the Holy Spirit and equipped us with spiritual armours.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. — Ephesians 6:13-17
What are the items of spiritual armour according to above verses?
1. The breastplate of Righteousness
2. The belt of truth
3. The Shoes of Gospel
4. The helmet of salvation
5. The shield of faith
6. The sword of the Spirit.
With these resources we become part of the Father’s army alongside Jesus. We will overcome the world of evil with the power of love!
And he said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away — 1 Kings 19:14 (KJV)
Today, in this verse, ‘He’ is referred to ‘Elijah’. Elijah is a prophet raised up by God in the old testament time. Elijah’s name means “My God is Yahweh”. He is one of the most intense and enigmatic people of The Bible. His story makes for a fascinating study. Let’s have a look at this video to find out more about him and the history after the division of israel.
Here is a little about the story background:
Ahab was a sinful king who had married Jezebel, a priestess of the pagan god Baal. Ahab allowed his wife to create a large entourage if pagan priests and prophets devoted to Baal – a god associated with sexual immorality. It is into this dire situation that Elijah is called to pronounce the Father’s warnings and judgments.
Today’s verse comes shortly after Elijah’s successful challenge to the 450 prophets of Baal on the Mount of Carmel (Story shown in the video above). Elijah is on the run from the wicked queen Jezebel and hiding in a cave for the night. There he tells the Lord How he has been standing along against the tide of darkness in the nation because he is jealous for the Lord’s name.
It is upsetting to see Israel, a God blessed nation, has gone downcast as bad as this since the time of King Solomon’s heart has turned away from God. However, it is nothing worse than to see God’s people have established gods of their own. God, the father must be devastated.
Elijah stood up for God, and successfully challenged 450 prophets of Baal, he declared the words of God, also He raised the dead, brought fire down from the sky – He has testified the power of our one true God. In here, Elijah called to God, and the father heard him. As we known, he was so highly honoured by God that he was ascended into heaven with God.
So, Why should we be afraid to stand up for our God?
“There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” Deuteronomy 1:31 (NIV)
The book of Deuteronomy basicly is a speech that God gave to the Israelites through Moses before they entered the Promised Land. Before the Israelites reached ‘this place’ which is the east of the Jordan—border of the Promised Land, they wandered in the desert for 40 years as a punishment of rebelling against God. So by the time they were about to finish their wandering, most of the people who would enter the Promised Land was the next generation of the exodus.
During the 40 years period of wandering, God did take care of them as a father carries his son. He provided everyday’s water and food. He delivered all the enemies into their hands. Moreover, his presence went all the way with them in the Ark of the Convenant. He is faithful to his chosen people no matter how rebellious they were.
God has given Israel a Promised Land of milk and honey about 3000 years ago. Today he has also prepared a place for his children—the kingdom of God. In John 14:2 Jesus told us this: ‘My Father’s house has plenty of room; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to preare a place for you?’ Yes, our heavenly father has prepared a place for us in his dwelling place. Moreover, he has sent his son and the Holy Spirit to carry us to his place. God is faithful and he loves us as a father loves his sons. We are carried to his place because we are his children.
Then say to Pharaoh, “this is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son.” — Exodus 4:22 (NIV)
“God tells Moses to inform Pharaoh that Israel is his firstborn son. What is telling about this statement is that God is clearly saying that he has a Father – son relationship with his people. He has adopted Israel as his very own out of all the peoples of the earth.” — Mark Stibbe
In many further scriptures, God also refers : Israel is my son, my first – born – Precious in my sight, honourable, and dear to me.
Just as Israel, we are also God’s chosen people, precious in his sight, honourable and dear to him!
Though I am a sinner but I am so pleased to know that my heavenly father loves me so!
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has send me to you.” — Exodus 3:14 (NIV)
Who is Moses? Moses was the leader who brought Israel out of the slavery of Egypt by the power of the Lord. When Israel was put into slavery by the Pharaoh, they cried to God and God heard them. He sent Moses as the liberator. This verse is what God said to Moses when he spoke to him from a burning bush. NIV translation doesn’t use the name of the Lord. In Hebrew Bible, God reveals his name here as Yahweh or Jehovah in English. Later in verse 15, God also says, “this is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation”.
Why did God choose Moses? Moses was not a very brave person before God raised him and blessed him greatly. He was an orphan child but now he has met his Father — God, the One who thinks highly of him!
God has given Moses a great mission – Set Israelites free of slavery by bring them out of Egypt. Moses has no confidence in himself:’ How can I managed this, why choose me?’ However, God has promised that He would be with Moses all the time, moreover, He promised POWER and AUTHORITY in his name that conquers all things.
Can you see the picture? — Trust in God, our father, for he has promised that he will be with us ALWAYS and Nothing is impossible in this mighty name.