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Bear One Another’s Burdens

A compilation

free-bible-studies-online-anchorBear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
—Galatians 6:2 NKJV

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A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him for dead.

Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite [temple assistant], when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.

But a certain Samaritan [a people despised and shunned by the Jews of those days], as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.”

So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves? (Jesus,Luke 10:30–36)

With the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus taught that our neighbor is anyone who needs our help, regardless of race, creed, color, nationality, condition, or location. If we have love, we won’t just pass by someone in need; we’ll take action, like the Samaritan did. That’s the difference between pity and compassion. Pity feels sorry; compassion does something about it. The compassionate put feet to their prayers and kind deeds to their kind words. Love is making a connection between God and somebody who needs His love, and we do that by showing others His love and manifesting it with action. “The love of Christ compels us.” (2 Corinthians 5:14 NKJV)

Love is the greatest need of man, so love is the greatest service to man. Love is spiritual, but is manifested in the physical. Love is seen as it is put into action. … Love is preferring the happiness of others to our own. Love is choosing to suffer, if necessary, in order to help someone else. Love is courage. Love is sacrifice. Love is never lost; it always has an effect sooner or later.

—David Brandt Berg

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“Bear one another’s burdens,” the Bible says. It is a lesson about pain that we all can agree on. Some of us will not see pain as a gift; some will always accuse God of being unfair for allowing it. But, the fact is, pain and suffering are here among us, and we need to respond in some way. The response Jesus gave was to bear the burdens of those he touched. To live in the world as his body, his emotional incarnation, we must follow his example. The image of the body accurately portrays how God is working in the world. Sometimes he does enter in, occasionally by performing miracles, and often by giving supernatural strength to those in need. But mainly he relies on us, his agents, to do his work in the world. We are asked to live out the life of Christ in the world, not just to refer back to it or describe it. We announce his message, work for justice, pray for mercy . . . and suffer with the sufferers.
—Philip Yancey

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One of the beautiful aspects of the Christian gospel is that we really don’t have to live for ourselves in order to find the good life. In fact, the opposite is true: those who seek to save their lives will lose them. Jesus offered an alternative vision as the one who came to serve. As the apostle Paul encouraged the Philippian Christians to not merely look out for their own interests, but also to have the interests of others in mind, he looked to the life of Jesus. … How different the world might look if each day we took time to think about the needs of someone else—even just once per day?
—Margaret Manning

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Joni Eareckson Tada is the president of JET Ministries, a ministry which aims to serve the disabled. She is herself a quadriplegic. A few years ago she was a spectator at the Los Angeles Special Olympics. Her husband Ken was the coordinator for track and field events. Joni was among a large crowd watching the participants prepare for the 50 meters running race.

The starter’s gun fired, and off the contestants raced. As they rushed toward the finish line, one boy left the track and started running toward his friends standing in the infield. Ken blew his whistle, trying to get the boy to come back to the track, but all to no avail.

Then one of the other competitors noticed, a Down syndrome girl with thick bottle glasses. She stopped just short of the finish line and called out to the boy, “Stop, come back, this is the way.” Hearing the voice of his friend, the boy stopped and looked. “Come back, this is the way” she called. The boy stood there, confused. His friend, realizing he was confused, left the track and ran over to him. She linked arms with him and together they ran back to the track and finished the race. They were the last to cross the line, but were greeted by hugs from their fellow competitors and a standing ovation from the crowd.

The Down syndrome girl with the bottle glasses taught everyone present that day an important life lesson: that it’s important to take time out from our own goals in life to help others find their way. Reflecting on the episode afterwards, Ken was reminded of some verses from Romans 15:

“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. … May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.”

—Author unknown

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God has ordained that we may learn to bear one another’s burdens, for there is no man without fault, no man without burden, no man sufficient to himself nor wise enough. Hence we must support one another, console one another, mutually help, counsel, and advise.
―Thomas à Kempis

 

 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

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The Greatest Story Ever Told

By David Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-anchorThe basic events, characters, and conditions of the future have already been revealed in the Bible and by His prophets, the foretellers of the future. (Ephesians 1:9; Isaiah 42:9; Numbers 12:6) God has already revealed them in His Word and prophecies—some of which have already come to pass and been fulfilled, proving that God’s Word is true. Therefore we can just as surely expect that the remaining prophecies of God’s Word about the future will be completely fulfilled, too, just as those in the past have been. (2 Chronicles 20:20b; John 16:4a; Isaiah 34:16, 40:8; Ezekiel 33:33)

There are thousands of prophecies in the Bible which have already been fulfilled, including prophecies about the history of nations, the rise and fall of empires, even the names of great kings and the amazing fulfillments of prophecies in the little land of Israel, particularly those concerning Jesus Christ, the Messiah, about whom hundreds of prophecies in the ancient writings of the prophets have all been fulfilled in His birth, life, and death for you and me. (Isaiah 44:28; Daniel 8:20–21; Isaiah 9:6; 11:1–5; 53:2–4)

His was a life of love! Born in love, living in love, and dying in love for you and me, so that we too might live in love for Him and others. (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9–10; Ephesians 3:19; Romans 8:38–39; 1 John 3:16) But His story does not end there, because He rose again! And He made many other promises and predictions to His disciples before He finally ascended on high, caught up in the clouds in the air to depart to be with His Father God in heaven and His precious Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:1–7, 18–20; Mark 16:16–18; John 11:25, 26)

Before He went away, He promised His disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there ye may be also.” For He said that “In My Father’s house are many mansions, and if it were not so, I would have told you.” ( John 14:2–3) That place that He is going to prepare for us, that heavenly city is specifically described in detail in His holy book, the Bible, in its last book, the book of Revelation. (Revelation 21–22)

Dear John, the beloved disciple, Saint John the Revelator, described it in prophecy exactly as being 1,500 miles long, 1,500 miles wide, and 1,500 miles high—the greatest, most enormous city ever built, that could only have been built by God Himself. It is surrounded by a beautiful over-200-foot-high wall composed of 12 layers of precious jewels and having 12 gates, each gate a single gigantic pearl, and filled with beautiful dwelling places for His beloved children who have loved Him and been saved through faith in Jesus’ death for them on the cross.

Only they will be permitted to live within it, in its heavenly beauty of gorgeous splendor and paradise! Free forever from pain or sickness or death or evil, to live with Him and each other forever in eternal happiness. (Revelation 21:4; 22:5,14) Only they can walk its crystal golden streets and dwell in its gorgeous mansions in the presence of God forever. (Revelation 21:24, 27)

Each gate is guarded by a mighty angel, for outside, upon the surface of a new earth without seas but watered by rivers and lakes, there are still nations with kings, populated by people who are not yet ready to enter that beautiful city. (Revelation 21:24–26) They are not yet prepared for its purity and holiness, as they at first did not receive Jesus as their Savior because they had never heard of Him. (John 1:12; 3:16–17; Acts 4:12; 10:35; Romans 6:23; Hebrews 11:13, 16) They are the resurrected good of all ages who did not rise in the first resurrection at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in the beautiful rapture of His saints, the bride of Christ, after the terrible Tribulation. (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17; Revelation 20:4–5)

They are the unsaved dead of the first 6,000 years of world history who have been brought back to life and placed upon the earth’s new paradisiacal surface because their names were found written in the Book of Life and therefore deserve their first chance to hear the gospel of Jesus and His love and of the wonderful love of God, His Father, who created all things and made all things for our benefit and our pleasure to know and to love Him.

Here on the surface of the new earth they will be taught to know the Lord. (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4; Philippians 2:10–11; Hebrews 13:14) Meanwhile, they live on this paradisiacal new earth with all of its unspoiled, re-created beauty like the Garden of Eden of old. Perfect in every respect, with no evil, no curse, no thorns, no evil varmints and poisonous serpents and insects and the horrors of the cursed earth that had gone before. (Revelation 22:3) Here in this perfect environment they are learning about Jesus and finding Christ as the Son of God. (John 14:3; 1 Corinthians 2:9–10)

But before they arrive in this beautiful paradise of God, several great periods of world history will have passed by. There was the fall from grace of man and woman, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden for disobedience in eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12–14) Driven out then into a hostile world full of curses and a difficult environment, they now must eat of their bread by the sweat of their brow, and work hard to earn a living, because they had lost the favor of the Lord through disobedience. Tempted by Satan, the king of evil, they passed on to all mankind the vicious sin of unbelief and disobedience to God. (Genesis 3:19; Hebrews 3:12, 19; 10:35–39; Romans 5:12)

Finally man became so evil that God decided that He must send a great flood of water upon the earth to destroy them all! All, that is, except one man and his family alone. That man was Noah and his wife and his three sons and their three wives. Eight souls in all were all that were saved from that great Flood, in an ark which God told Noah how to build. (Genesis 7; 1 Peter 3:20) After the Flood, over a year later, the ark landed upon the top of Mount Ararat, on the border of Turkey and Russia. And as the earth’s surface became dry enough to walk upon it, Noah and his family and all of the animals that they had saved left the ark and spread down the River Euphrates toward the Persian Gulf.

But they had not gone far or lived long before people had become evil again, this time building a mighty tower which they thought was going to reach up to heaven so that they would be like gods in their pride and their earthly might! God was angry with them for it, and He confused their tongues and their languages and divided them into all the various languages that are spoken upon the earth today. So they could no longer communicate with one another or understand each other to finish the tower. So they left off building the Tower of Babel and drifted on down the River Euphrates and began to spread out further across the surface of the earth in all directions. (Genesis 8, 11:1–9)

And it seemed the more man multiplied and populated the earth, the more wicked he became, so that they even worshipped devil gods and idols and images, and practiced worship of these demons, even including human sacrifice and the sacrifice of their own children to these false gods. (Leviticus 18:21; 2 Kings 17:14–17; Jeremiah 32:35; Psalm 106:35–39)

Finally God decided He had to do something about these descendants of the two creatures that He had created in the beginning. So He selected a people who would receive His words and write the Bible—the Jews of Israel—and produce the Messiah, Jesus Christ. But then again even the religious leaders of these chosen people, sons and daughters of Abraham the faithful, had the Son of God crucified, who had been sent to them only to show them love and explain God to them! They also tried to destroy His disciples. (Matthew 27:17–25; Acts 8:1) But God blessed Jesus’ disciples, and the Christians multiplied and spread throughout the earth until the gospel had finally conquered the Roman Empire, and Christianity became the official religion of the Western world. (Acts 8:4; 28:30–31)

But as the Christians became rich and powerful and corrupt, they too began to build temples to worship their God, like the temples of other gods, and developed a priesthood who wrote their own laws and rules and traditions. (Acts 7:48–50; 17:24–25; Mark 7:6–13) Again God sent great men of God and reformers such as Martin Luther to preach the truth throughout the world and reveal again the free gift of God’s salvation by grace through faith, and that not of themselves but the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast, but the free gift of salvation paid for by Jesus Christ with His blood shed on the cross of Calvary. (Romans 10:9–10; Ephesians 2:8–9; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5; Revelation 3:20)

These new Protestant Christians began to spread throughout the Roman Empire and throughout Europe and to North and South America and throughout the known world, until there were many Christian missionaries going to heathen nations. And there these missionaries gained many converts and won many of them with the love of God into true faith in the true Messiah, the true Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. (John 14:6; Acts 10:34–35)

However, it seemed that sin and evil will multiply even more rapidly and spread into every nation on earth. Finally the world will choose a completely godless government, an anti-Christ government and an Antichrist dictator, a false messiah who will pretend to be their savior but who will be the Devil incarnate! And he will declare that he is God and that all must worship him or die. (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4) He will establish a worldwide government and insist that there be no other religions but the worship of himself and his own image, which is set up by the rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem where he is on a throne inside, claiming to be God.

This evil tyrant will then begin to persecute all who will not worship him, and kill and slaughter and martyr them, fighting great wars against the religious nations who oppose him, and trying to conquer the entire world, bringing great Tribulation to the earth. (Matthew 24:15, 21; Daniel 11:31–37; Revelation 12:13–17, 13:6–7)

But suddenly there will appear in the heavens the sign of the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, and He Himself will appear in the sky in the clouds. And there will be a great shout and the trump of God and the voice of the archangels calling the people of God to “Come up hither to your heavenly reward to be with your King forever!”

Suddenly all those who had died as Christians will rise from their graves with new heavenly bodies and begin to fly skyward, followed by the living Christians, who are instantly changed in the twinkling of an eye at that last trump and will rise together with them to meet the Lord in the air—Jesus with His bride, the true church of Jesus Christ from every faith and denomination all over the world. (Matthew 24:29–31; 1 Corinthians 15:51–52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17)

While they are feasting and rejoicing in their great salvation and receiving their rewards for faithfulness, having done their Master’s will, God is raining judgments and His great wrath upon the wicked left behind on the face of the earth through great scourges and plagues. The Bible says that the ungodly gnaw their tongues for pain and yet repent not of their evil deeds. ( Revelation 19:6–9; Revelation 15–16; Isaiah 13:11–13)

God mounts His children upon heavenly white horses of great power and supernatural strength, and with this mighty army of saints and angels they ride out of the heavenly city through the skies to destroy the evil empire of the Antichrist in the Battle of Armageddon! Until only the good, and the people who had resisted the Antichrist and resisted his mark are left, even though they do not yet know Jesus nor have been saved in the time previous. Yet the Lord is going to give all these living their opportunity to hear the gospel about Jesus and His love and His salvation. (Revelation 19:11–21; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4; Philippians 2:10–11)

He will send His angels and His saints to rule over the earth and clean up the mess that has been left behind by the Antichrist and his reign and all of the remnants of man’s unrighteousness, to make it a new world, a cleansed earth! It is the same earth, but its surface purified and with the curse of God against evil lifted, and the Devil and his demons bound in hell for a thousand years! The earth is again restored to the beauty and perfection of the Garden of Eden. (Revelation 20:1–4) For a thousand years the earth is restored to its original beauty and purity and wonder and pleasure, so that all mankind rejoices in the kingdom of God on earth ruled by its King of kings, Jesus Christ, and His saints and angels. (Revelation 2:26–27; Revelation 5:10, 20:4)

All men still living are given an opportunity to know and love Him and to follow Him, and many are saved and regenerated, made new, living wonderful lives of righteousness and unselfishness and love for one another. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

But even in this perfect world with the perfect King of kings, there are many who still reject Him and resent Him and desire to go their own willful, wicked ways, as they had before. So that at the end of that thousand years, many will still not be regenerated and have rejected the Lord and resented His will. (Isaiah 26:10) So He allows Satan to be loosed from the pit of hell and to come back with his evil angels to go abroad through the earth and deceive as many men and nations as he possibly can, until Satan gathers followers from all nations to follow after him in a great war against the saints of God, the rulers of the earth.

God again rescues His saints from the earth, but this time He finishes off Satan and his followers and demons once and for all and forever, and destroys the surface of the earth and all of Satan’s evil rebels with a great flood of fire which completely burns up the surface of the earth and its atmosphere, the polluted heavens and junk-filled space. (Revelation 20:7–10; 2 Peter 3:10–13)

Then He renews the earth and completely remakes it into a new earth, more beautiful and more perfect than ever. (Revelation 21:1–5; Isaiah 60:19–22, 65:17–25)

Once the surface of the earth is purified and made perfect again, the Lord will see fit to permit His beautiful heavenly city to descend from the heavens and settle upon the earth, so that His habitation could be with His beloved people on this new earth in the New Jerusalem, the heavenly city—their home forever. (Revelation 21:2; Hebrews 12:22–23)

In the great White Throne Judgment of God, He has raised from the dead all of the other people of the earth who have ever died, and, sending the wicked to hell, He saves the righteous to live upon the surface of the earth to learn about Him and His love and His Son Jesus and His wonderful salvation from sin so that they too might be saved. (John 10:16, 27–29; Acts 3:21; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 1:10; 2:7)

And all the saved peoples of the earth and heaven live happily with the Lord and His angels in the beautiful paradise of the new earth and the city of God with Him forever in an eternity of love and life eternal. (Revelation 22:3–5)

That is very briefly the story of God and the earth and man’s history and the endtime of man’s rule on earth, and the establishment of the kingdom of God in the thousand years called the Millennium, and that final destruction of the surface of the earth and its atmosphere and all its pollutions and evil in a flood of fire, only to be remade anew for God and His children and their heavenly city forever!

However, many of the details and actual experiences of His children during some of these periods have not been made completely clear. Some of these secrets have not yet been revealed, of the experiences that we are actually going to live through and feel and see in the wonderful world yet to come. (Deuteronomy 29:29; 1 Corinthians 13:12)

 

 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

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Man Shall Not Live By Bread Alone
A compilation of quotations on the Bible

free-bible-studies-online-anchorIt is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
—Matthew 4:4 ESV

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The Word is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold on me.
—Martin Luther

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Believe me, sir, never a night goes by, be I ever so tired, but I read the Word of God before I go to bed.
—Douglas MacArthur

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The New Testament is the best book the world has ever known or will know.
—Charles Dickens

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The Bible is nothing less than God’s written Word—and because of this, it’s just as true today as when it was first written. As the Bible says concerning itself, its writers “spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21)
—Billy Graham

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What makes the difference is not how many times you have been through the Bible, but how many times and how thoroughly the Bible has been through you.
—Gypsy Smith

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An African chief wanted to know the secret of Britain’s greatness. Queen Victoria, holding a Bible in her hand, said, “Tell the chief that this book, the Bible, is the secret of our greatness!” (Psalm 19:9; Proverbs 14:34)

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The majesty of the Scriptures strikes me with admiration, as the purity of the gospel has its influence on my heart. Peruse the works of our philosophers with all their pomp of diction, how mean, how contemptible are they, compared with the scriptures!
—Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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The Bible contains a complete series of facts and of historical men, to explain time and eternity, such as no other religion has to offer. … What happiness that book procures for those who believe it! What marvels those admire there who reflect upon it!
—Napoleon Bonaparte

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The Bible is an inexhaustible foundation of all truths. The existence of the Bible is the greatest blessing which humanity ever experienced.
—Immanuel Kant

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I consider an intimate knowledge of the Bible an indispensable qualification of a well-educated man.
—Robert A. Millikan

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I consider the Gospels to be thoroughly genuine; for in them there is the effective reflection of a sublimity which emanated from the person of Christ: And this is as divine as ever the divine appeared on earth.
—Goethe

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Jesus Christ opens wide the doors of the treasure-house of God’s promises, and bids us go in and take with boldness the riches that are ours.
—Corrie ten Boom

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If a man is not familiar with the Bible, he has suffered a loss which he had better make all possible haste to correct.
—Theodore Roosevelt

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The Bible is far more than a doctrinal guidebook. God’s Word generates life, creates faith, produces change, frightens the Devil, causes miracles, heals hurts, builds character, transforms circumstances, imparts joy, overcomes adversity, defeats temptation, infuses hope, releases power, cleanses our minds, brings things into being, and guarantees our future forever! We cannot live without the Word of God! Never take it for granted. You should consider it as essential to your life as food.
—Rick Warren

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The Bible is the most wonderful, supernatural, miraculous, amazing, marvelous book in the whole world. It tells you where we came from, how we got here, why we’re here, how to survive while here, how to be happy while here, and how to have love, joy, and peace forever.

The Word of God is the most powerful truth on earth.—Words that contain the very Spirit and life of God Himself. ( John 4:24) The Word is the spiritual spark of God that ignites us with His life, light, and power.

His Word is the most powerful weapon in the world, sharper than any two-edged sword, sharper than any weapon on earth. It can do more than split atoms; it has greater power than the hydrogen bomb! For it can even divide asunder the soul and the spirit of man. And can change hearts and change minds.
—David Brandt Berg

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What shall we say of Isaac Newton (1642–1727), who discovered the law of gravity, formulated the three laws of motion, developed calculus, constructed the first reflecting telescope, and whom many consider the greatest scientist who ever lived? Newton wrote an estimated 1,400,000 words on religion—more than on physics or astronomy. Here are a few quotes from him:

“I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by men who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.”

“All my discoveries have been made in answer to prayer.”

“We account the Scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever.”

Then there was Francis Bacon (1561–1626), credited with developing the scientific method. He said:

“There are two books laid before us to study, to prevent our falling into error; first, the volume of the Scriptures, which reveal the will of God; then, the volume of the Creatures, which express His power.”

How about Blaise Pascal (1623–1662), the brilliant French mathematician who developed the science of hydrostatics and helped formulate the laws of probability? From 1658 until his death, he worked on a defense of Christianity. He said:

“Except by Jesus Christ we know not what our life is, what our death is, what God is, what we are ourselves. Thus, without Scripture, which has only Jesus Christ for its object, we know nothing, and we see only obscurity and confusion in the nature of God, and in nature herself.”

Samuel F. B. Morse (1791–1872) invented the tele­graph and Morse Code, built the first camera in America, and founded the National Academy of Design. A dedicated Christian, Morse established one of America’s first Sunday schools and supported missionaries. He said:

“The nearer I approach to the end of my pilgrimage, the clearer is the evidence of the divine origin of the Bible, the grandeur and sublimity of God’s remedy for fallen man are more appreciated, and the future is illumined with hope and joy.”

The first message he sent by telegraph was: “What hath God wrought.”

Though born a slave, George Washington Carver (1864–1943) became one of the world’s greatest agricultural scientists. Working at the Tuskegee Institute, an Alabama school for African Americans, he developed over 300 products from the peanut and 118 from the sweet potato. He showed both black and white farmers how to better utilize land, and revitalized the South’s economy. He did much to improve race relations, and was also an accomplished artist. Like Pasteur, Carver patented none of his discoveries, but gave them away. He turned down an offer from Thomas Edison to leave Tuskegee Institute and work at 60 times his pay. In 1940 he donated his life savings to the Institute. A devout Christian, Carver taught his students from the Bible, in a class that met on Sundays from 1907 until his death. He said:

“The secret of my success? It is simple. It is found in the Bible, ‘In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.’”
—James Perloff

 

 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

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Making Godly Decisions: Finding the Will of God
By Peter Amsterdam

free-bible-studies-online-anchorWe have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
—Colossians 1:9–10 ESV

One of the traits of humankind, as beings created in the image of God, is free will, which includes both the ability to make decisions and the responsibility for the outcomes of our decisions. Learning to make decisions that will glorify God and fulfill His will for our lives can be very challenging at times, and can test and grow our faith, as we seek His will and wait on Him for answers and guidance.

Accepting Jesus as our Savior and receiving His free gift of salvation is the most important decision we ever face in our lives, as it determines our eternal standing in relationship to God and His kingdom. That all-important decision defines our present and our future, as well as redefines our past by canceling out the charges that “stood against us and condemned us, nailing [them] to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13–14 NIV)

The decision to accept Christ as our Savior is one that only we can make; it is a freewill choice to invite Jesus into our hearts and lives. However, salvation is not the end of the road, and once we’ve given our life to the Lord we are faced with numerous other decisions on a daily basis relating to the nurturing of our faith through studying His Word and living our lives according to His commands and guidance.

Decision-making for Christians is meant to be a relational process, involving ourselves and God, as we bring all our anxieties to Him, knowing that He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7) He has told us to “come and let us reason together,” (Isaiah 1:18) demonstrating His desire to carry on a conversation with us. He wants to be present and to participate in the conversation as we make decisions, and has promised that His Spirit in us will guide us into all truth. (John 16:13)

Throughout our lives as Christians, we are faced with course-altering decisions that affect our future, whether they relate to what career to pursue, whom to marry, how to raise our children, what country to live in, or how to commit to our faith and participate in God’s work. One of the most important steps for finding God’s will and making good decisions is acknowledging Him and committing our ways to Him. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.” (Proverbs 3:5–6 NKJV; Psalm 37:5 NASB)

Learning to make decisions that will honor God and align with His will and commands is often accompanied by times of soul searching, desperate prayer, and testing. Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish what God’s will is in a situation or what decision will produce the best outcomes. At such times, we can wish that a lightning bolt would light up the sky or that we’d be knocked to the ground like the apostle Paul to give us a precise, infallible sign. And yet, so often, the voice of God is so quiet that if we don’t calm our spirit and open our minds and listen, it can be missed.

The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
—1 Kings 19:11–12 NIV

How do we play our part in the decision-making process, doing everything in our power to make right decisions, to hush our spirits to hear God’s voice, and to determine the best option in decisions that will alter the course of our lives in some way? God’s Word tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5)

He created us in His image, as rational beings, capable of freewill decisions and of choosing to place Him at the center of our lives. This is one of the ways by which we love God with all our minds: by making conscious decisions to love God, to make Him the center of our lives and our desires, and by seeking to glorify Him in all our decisions and ways. As we love God in this way, rationally and decisively with our minds and with the commitment in our hearts to follow wherever He leads, we are positioned to test and discern the will of God, as Paul explained in Romans: “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 ESV)

This verse indicates that often we may need to put something to the test to find out through experience whether it is the will of God. The decision before us may not be clear-cut enough to know with absolute certainty that it is the right path. Perhaps we need to decide whether to invest in a business venture, or start a new form of mission work, or place our children in a certain school, or move to a new neighborhood. We have sought the Lord for wisdom and guidance. We have weighed the pros and cons. We have done a thorough analysis of the situation. We have asked counsel of those who are in a position to give sound advice. Yet we may find that we are still not 100 percent sure of the decision, despite a looming deadline. In such cases, you may feel that God is nudging you to take a step forward to make a preliminary decision, while making allowance for the testing and discerning stage, and the ability to alter course if the proposed direction doesn’t prove to be the will of God in your situation.

As you take the step of making a preliminary decision, the Lord will often either confirm it or new factors will emerge that will shed new light on the situation. At each new junction on the road to the final decision, you may need to relook at things and pray further before taking the next step. You may need to make course adjustments, as you discover that the coordinates of your original decision, while pointing you in the right general direction, need to be fine-tuned as you zero in on your final destination. Decision-making is often a process involving many decisions, not just a single decision, and each decision lays the foundation for our next decisions.

Most of us would prefer to receive unambiguous direction from God. Yet it seems that often God wants us to do the work of wholeheartedly seeking His will, investigating, analyzing, assessing, and using every means at our disposal to make wise and godly decisions. As so often proves to be the case, God rarely seems to do things for us that we are capable of doing. I’ve often found that I make the best decisions when I work in conjunction with the Lord through doing the background work of analyzing the possibilities and the options, weighing the pros and cons of each one, while seeking His guidance and thoughts on the matter through prayer and hearing from Him.

Making decisions that bring honor and glory to God is one of the ways that we show God that we love Him with all our hearts, souls, and minds. While most of us struggle with the grave responsibility of making godly decisions, it is also an opportunity to glorify God through our choices. As we place Him at the center of our lives, acknowledging Him in all our ways, committing our lives and times into His hands, we can trust that He will guide us and help us to discern His will and to make wise decisions.

 

 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

Your New Life of Love!

David Brandt Berg

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Have you ever wondered what life is really all about?–What you are here for, and if there is anything special that you are supposed to do? Well, the answer to these important questions can be found in the Bible, God’s loving Words to us all!

The Bible tells us that “God is Love!” (1John 4:8)–And that He loves you! He is your kind and loving Heavenly Father Who made this beautiful World as a home for you to live in, and He has given you a wonderful body, mind and heart with which to enjoy it!

God is not only Love, but “God is a Spirit!” (John 4:24) He is the great Spirit of Love Who created the entire Universe! He is so big and so great, that He is far beyond our simple human understanding! But because He loves us and wants us to know and love Him, He sent His Own Son to Earth in the form of a Man, Jesus Christ.

Jesus is like a picture of God to show us what God is like. Jesus talked about Love and showed Love to others and lived Love all the time.–And finally, He loved us so much that He gave His Own life to save us–you and me.

To receive God’s Love and Salvation in Jesus, all you have to do is confess that you re not perfect, that you have made mistakes and that you need God’s forgiveness. We have all done wrong, so we all need to be forgiven, because without forgiveness for our sins we will be separated from God’s perfect Love! (Romans 3:23; 6:23)

Jesus is our Big Brother, Who knows that we have done wrong and deserve a punishment. But He loved us so much that He offered to take our punishment for us, and God loved us so much that He sent Jesus, and promised to forgive us if we would believe in Jesus & accept His suffering for our sins.

Jesus wants to come and live with you as your very dear and close Friend. He says, “I stand at the door [of your heart] and knock: If you hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to you.” (Revelation 3:20) All you need to do is ask Him to come into your heart.

To receive Jesus and His everlasting forgiveness and Salvation is just that simple! There is nothing you can do to earn it or work for it, for it is the free Gift of God! The Bible says, “By grace [God’s Love and mercy] we are saved through faith, and not of ourselves or by our own good deeds. It is the gift of God!” (Ephesians 2:8,9)

If you have not yet received Jesus, you can ask Him to come into your heart right now by simply praying this little prayer:

Dear Jesus, I believe that You are the Son of God, and that You took my punishment and died for me. Please forgive me for all of my sins. I now invite you into my heart. Jesus, I know that I can never be good enough to save myself, so I ask You to please come in and give me Your free gift of Eternal Live! In Jesus name I ask, amen.

Jesus not only saves you, but He keeps you saved. The gift of God is Eternal Life (Romans 6:23), and once you have received Eternal Life, you cannot lose it!–If you could, it wouldn’t be eternal! Even if you fall and make mistakes, Jesus promised, “Whoever has come to Me, I will never cast him away!” (John 6:37) He may have to spank you if you are naughty and disobedient, but you will always be His saved child, for He says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you!” (Hebrews 13:5)

When Jesus comes into your heart, your whole life is changed, like a newborn baby born into a whole new World! Jesus even said that Salvation is like being born again, that you are now a new and different person! (John 3:3; 2Corinthians 5:17)

Of course, like all new babies and small children, you have a lot to learn and a lot of growing to do!–And the way to grow in faith and understanding is to, like a newborn baby, hunger and thirst for the pure milk of the Word of God, and you will grow! (1Peter 2:2)

If you prayerfully read God’s wonderful Word in the Bible, you will find that it is a lamp for your feet and a light for your path, a living guide to you in your new life! (Psalm 119:105)

God’s Prophet, Jeremiah, exclaimed, “I found God’s Words and I did eat them! And His Word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart!” (Jeremiah 15:16) God’s Word is food for your soul, and if you wish to grow spiritually, you must feed and read from it faithfully!

The four Gospels of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, give us the beautiful story of Jesus life on Earth. If you read the fourth Gospel first, the Gospel of Saint John, you will find that it is one of the easiest to understand and contains the most Words of Jesus and His loving plan for your life!

Another great help to you in your new life will be the wonderful power of God’s precious Holy Spirit! When Jesus comes into your heart, you are born again of the Spirit (John 3:8), so you have God’s Spirit living in you already. But you can also overflow with the Holy Spirit, if you simply ask the Lord to fill you with His Power.

We are all like jars or glasses. When we receive Jesus, we are no longer dry and empty glasses, we have received a wonderful portion of God’s living waters! (John 7:38,39) But when we ask the Lord to fill us with His Holy Spirit, He then pours so much of His Heavenly Spirit of Love and power into us that we are filled up to overflowing!

When the Lord fills us with the Holy spirit, we also receive the extra power and strength to boldly tell others about Jesus and God’s Love, to witness to them of the wonderful new life we have found! Jesus promised, “You shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto Me!” (Acts 1:8)

The Bible also says that the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, Who, like a loving mother, tender and gentle with a little baby, hovers over the newborn child of god, waiting, comforting, nursing and caring for us.

To receive this wonderful power, all you have to do is sincerely pray and ask Jesus for it! Ask and it shall be given unto you, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you!–For your Heavenly Father shall give the Holy Spirit to all those who ask Him! (Luke 11:9-13)

Just as every healthy newborn baby cries for his mother when he needs her comfort, help or nourishment, so crying out to the Lord in prayer is something that comes naturally to every born-again child of God.

Prayer is not just a religious ritual or tradition, but it is personal living communication between a child of God and his Heavenly Father! It is the royal telephone that keeps you in touch with Heaven!

Jesus is your closest and best Friend, and will always hear when you cry to Him for help. He says, “Call unto Me, and I will answer you and show you great and wonderful things that you know not!” (Jeremiah 33:3)

Prayer is not just a one-way communication in which you do all the talking and God does all the listening. God speaks to His children today just like He always has! If you sincerely ask Him for answers, He will speak to your heart, and open your eyes to see wonderful things out of His Word as you prayerfully read it. (Psalm 119:18) He will also answer your prayers by supplying all your needs for help, healing, guidance, material needs, etc. (Philippians 4:19)

Another important part of a newborn child of God’s spiritual life is fellowship with other Christians who also know and love the Lord. Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them!” (Matthew 18:19,20) So there is great power and blessing in spiritual unity!

Real Christian fellowship is not just sitting in church listening to someone speaking from the pulpit. It is joining together with others to pray and read and study God’s Word. “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another!” (1John 1:7)

If you don’t know anyone else who has asked Jesus into their heart, and you don’t have any other spiritual brothers and sisters nearby that you can fellowship with, don’t despair!–You can personally lead other folks into God’s Heavenly Kingdom by simply telling them how they can ask Jesus into their hearts, and then inviting them to pray with you to do so!

Telling others about Jesus, explaining god’s simply plan of Salvation to them, is called witnessing. Just as every child should grow up to become a useful member of his family or useful citizen of his country, so the newborn child of God can prove himself a useful and grateful member of God’s Kingdom by witnessing to others!–This is the most important and wonderful job in the whole World, telling other folks the Good News about God’s Love in Jesus! (Mark 16:15)

You can start out by telling your friends and family how happy you are since you asked Jesus into your heart. You can share this comic with them to help them understand how they too can receive Jesus.

God will greatly bless you, inspire you and reward you as you step out and share His Love with others and tell them how they can find Jesus and a new life in Him too!

The Bible not only gives us spiritual nourishment, but it even tells us the future! It is full of many predictions and prophecies written by God’s Prophets thousands of years ago that describe events happening in the World right now! We are now living in the period which the bible calls the Time of the End, the very last days of evil Man’s selfish and cruel rule!

The Bible warns us that a powerful One-World government will arise in these very last days, ruled by a Devil-possessed dictator known as the Antichrist, or Red Beast, who will try to force all of the World’s people to worship him for 3-1/2 years! (2 Thessalonians 2)

–And be branded like cattle with his credit mark or number–666–in their foreheads or hands! The Antichrist’s reign of terror will bring on the world the worst time of trouble it has every known! (Revelation 13 & Matthew 24)

But during this darkest night of world history, the brightest Dawn will suddenly occur!–For at the end of the Antichrist’s reign, Jesus Christ Himself will return, in the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory to rescue His children from the Red Beast’s persecution! (Matthew 24:29-31; 1Corinthians 15:51,52; Revelation 14:14-16)

All of the Christians who have already died will receive new immortal, indestructible, resurrection bodies! Those of us who are still alive on Earth will be instantly changed as we receive new miraculous super-bodies also!–And we’ll all sail up into the sky to meet the Lord in the air! (1Thessalonians 4:14-17)

After a great Party in Heaven, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, we will all return to Earth with the Lord, to crush and defeat the evil forces of the Antichrist in the supernatural Battle of Armageddon!! (Revelation 19)

Then Jesus and all of His resurrected children will take over this World to organise it, rule it and run it the way it should have been run all along!–The Kingdom of God on Earth! (Revelation 20:4)

After a thousand years of this wonderful reign of Christ on Earth, God’s great Heavenly City, 1500-miles high, wide and long will descend onto the beautiful recreated Garden-of-Eden-like New Earth where we will all live with Him forever!

In God’s Heavenly City, we will enjoy more beauty, pleasure and excitement than we have ever before imagined!–And we will be challenged and thrilled with the task of spreading God’s Love throughout the whole Universe!

Those who have been the most faithful to the Lord now will receive the greatest rewards and blessings then! (Revelation 2:10; Daniel 12:2,3)

So be faithful to love Jesus, and to try to help others to find Him here, so that they too can enjoy His wonderful Heavenly City of the Future!

REMEMBER!:
For a wonderful New Life of Love, all you have to do is:

  1. Be born again!
  2. Read God’s Words!
  3. Be filled with God’s Spirit!
  4. Pray!
  5. Fellowship!
  6. Tell others!
  7. Know that Jesus is returning soon!

If you would like to know more about your New Life and how you can live for Jesus, please write us today! God bless you! We love you!

 

 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Would You Like to Know Your Future?

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David Brandt Berg

The Bible and the Words of God’s Prophets are actually the only real NEWSpapers, or NEWSbooks, in the World!–All other newspapers tell you what ALREADY happened YESTERDAY, so they’re not really NEWS papers, they’re HISTORY papers! But the BIBLE tells us what is GOING to happen TOMORROW! It is full of thousands of detailed PROPHECIES, actually describing specific people, places, times, situations and events thousands of years before they came into being! (Isaiah 34:16; 42:9; 2Peter 1:19-21.)

Many of these prophecies are about the FINAL period of World history, just before Jesus returns to stop all of today’s wickedness and to set up His Own Kingdom of Love and Peace on Earth. These last final days of Man’s kingdoms on Earth are known in the Bible as the “TIME OF THE END”, the “LATTER DAYS”, the “LAST DAYS”, etc.–the time in which YOU and I are NOW living! (Daniel 2: 28; 8:23; 12:4.)

When Jesus’ Disciples wanted to know the future and asked Him, “What shall be the SIGN of THY COMING and of the END of the World?”, He didn’t reply with only one sign, but with DOZENS! In fact, the Bible gives us HUNDREDS of “signs of the times”, signs and signals that we are to look out for so that we can know exactly HOW close to the very End we are! (Matthew 24:All)

These signs include: A dramatic upsurge in “famines, pestilences and earthquakes in diverse places” (Matthew 24:7), “the Gospel being preached in ALL the World for a witness to ALL nations” (Matthew 24:14), a drastic increase in international travel, with “many running to and fro, wandering from sea to sea, as knowledge is greatly increased”. (Daniel 12:4; Amos 8:11,12)–A great “falling away” (2Thessalonians 2:3) from the Lord as “evil men and seducers grow worse and worse, deceiving many”. (2Timothy 3:13)–“The love of many growing cold” (Matthew 24:12), resulting in “distress of nations upon the Earth and men’s hearts failing them for fear”! (Luke 21:25,26)–Signs which are all obviously being fulfilled TODAY more than ever before!

One of the most important and final signs of the VERY END that many Prophets predicted is the rise of a totally Godless ANTI-CHRIST WORLD GOVERNMENT led by a demonic dictator who will be possessed by SATAN himself! This man will come to power with a 7-YEAR AGREEMENT, a COVENANT (which COULD be in effect secretly already!) in which he will promise the World peace and religious freedom, and will settle the Mideast crisis, working out a compromise between the Jews and the Arabs to enable the Jews to reinstitute their traditional Temple worship in Jerusalem. (Daniel 8:23-25; 2Thessalonians 2:1-4; Daniel 9:27) Also, the World is ABOUT to go through a great ECONOMIC CRASH!–And HE will promise to RESTORE the economy!

For awhile, most of the World is going to think that this man, the Antichrist, is wonderful, as he will have brought peace, restored the World’s economy, solved the Mideast crisis, etc. But suddenly, toward the end of his reign, after having BROKEN the Covenant, he will INVADE ISRAEL from the NORTH, and will forbid and abolish all traditional religious worship, declaring that HE himself is GOD and demanding that all the World worship HIM! (Daniel 9:27; 8:9-12; 11:21-24,28-31,36; 2Thessalonians 2:3,4,8,9)

At this time he will place an idol, an IMAGE of HIMSELF, in the Temple, an “ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION” which could very likely be some kind of a computerised robot or telecommunications system for his Antichrist regime, as it will SPEAK and somehow even cause those who refuse to worship it to be KILLED! Jesus Himself said that when you SEE this Image, this Abomination of Desolation, standing there in the Temple, THEN would begin a time of “GREAT TRIBULATION”! (Daniel 11:31; 12:11; Matthew 24:15-21; Revelation 13:14,15.)

During the last part of the Antichrist’s reign, people won’t use paper money any more because the Antichrist government is going to set up a ONE-WORLD-CREDIT SYSTEM, and all members of the System who reject Jesus and worship this Antichrist will be issued a credit number, marked in their HANDS or FOREHEADS! The Antichrist government will use this new credit system to try to force everybody to either worship the Antichrist or starve to death, because no one will be able to BUY or SELL without this number or “MARK of the BEAST”!–But GOD’S CHILDREN will REFUSE to worship him or receive his Mark!–And the LORD will take CARE of us, even if He has to drop manna from Heaven to feed us! (Revelation 13:16-18; 12:6,14)

And while the Antichrist and his followers are persecuting and trying to get God’s children, God is going to let loose PESTILENCES and PLAGUES and even strange MONSTERS which will ATTACK these wicked people of the Devil! These days of the Tribulation will be like the last days of the children of Israel in Egypt!–God’s prophets will be doing great and mighty SIGNS, WONDERS and MIRACLES to defend the Gospel and God’s children! (Revelation 7:3; 9:1-11; 11:3-6.)

Near the END of the Tribulation period, 10 “KINGS” will join the Antichrist and together they will DESTROY and “devour with fire BABYLON, the GREAT WHORE”.–A final judgement which, according to many Scriptures, sounds like the 10 leading nations of EUROPE, such as we find in the EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY, uniting with RUSSIA and turning on AMERICA in a nuclear first-strike that will destroy her in ONE HOUR! (Daniel 11:38,39,43; Revelation 17:12,16,17; 18:1-10,17-19.)

The Antichrist’s worldwide suppression and persecution of all who refuse to worship him, plus the horrific Nuclear War, will make this Great Tribulation period a time of TROUBLE such as the World has never known! In fact, Jesus said, “Except those days be shortened (come to an end), there should no flesh be saved. But for the elect’s (Christians’) sake, those days shall be shortened (come to an end).” (Matthew 24:21,22)

Right at the END of the Last 7 Years, just when the fiendish Antichrist thinks he has the World in his grasp, then suddenly–BOOM!–Like a bolt from the blue, JESUS will RETURN and snatch all of His children out of this World! Just after that DARKEST NIGHT in World History we are going to have the BRIGHTEST DAWN!–Jesus is going to come back and rescue His Own, His Church, His people, EVERYONE who loves Him and knows Him and has Him in their hearts! (Matthew 24:29-31)

All of the Christians who have ALREADY died and gone on to be with Jesus will come back with Him to pick up their new, resurrection bodies!–And “the Earth shall cast out her dead!” (Isaiah 26:19) Then we who are alive and remain, having miraculously survived and kept witnessing for Jesus throughout the Antichrist’s reign of terror, will instantly be changed, TRANSFORMED, as we receive our new, miraculous, powerful, supernatural, resurrection bodies–just like JESUS’ body after HE was resurrected!–And up we’ll sail towards the sky, “to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we EVER be with the Lord!” (1Thessalonians 4:14-17; 1Corinthians 15:51-57; Philippians 3:21.)

All of our anti-Christ enemies will be SHOCKED as they see the Lord coming in the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory, lighting up the whole sky like permanent lightning!–The powers of the Heavens shaken!–The Lord descending with a great shout!–A terrific blast on the trumpet of God!–Graves of the Saints bursting open as the dead are raised!–And all of God’s children who are still alive transformed before their eyes, flying upwards to meet Jesus! “EVERY eye shall SEE Him and ALL the kindreds of the Earth shall WAIL because of Him!” (Matthew 24:27-31; Revelation 1:7.)

Jesus will come back to catch His Bride, His Church, out of the evil clutches of the Enemy and then whisk us away to the grandest, most glorious and thrilling wedding party that’s ever been held, the great MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB in Heaven!–At which time we will feast our eyes upon the spectacle of God’s Judgements being poured out upon the unrepentant, wicked World below! Right after the Lord has rescued and raptured us to be with Him, the horrific Vials of the great WRATH OF GOD are going to be poured out upon the Antichrist and his people in horrible, terrible PLAGUES such as the World has never known! (Revelation 19: 6-9; 14:14-20; 16:11-21.)

God’s going to pour out His Judgements and horrors and Wrath upon the Antichrist and his forces to punish and sock it to them with what they deserve!–Until the FINAL Wrath of all, when the wicked gather together at ARMAGEDDON in Israel to try to fight the remaining nations of Earth, who though unsaved, are still trying to resist his evil rule! Then JESUS HIMSELF, along with His resurrected, glorified, Heavenly forces, will return to Earth again on majestic white chargers out of Heaven to utterly defeat and destroy the Antichrist and utterly annihilate his forces in the supernatural, catastrophic BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON, and to rescue the unsaved people who were opposing him! Though they were never saved, Jesus will mercifully allow them to live on into the coming Golden Age of the Millennium so they can have a chance to know Him and believe on Him! (Revelation 9:13-21; 16:12-16; 19:11-21; 17:14; 16:12-21; Daniel 12:12.)

Then we, the Saints of God, along with our King Jesus Christ, will TAKE OVER the World and ORGANISE it and RULE it and RUN it the way it SHOULD have been run if Man had yielded to God! We’re going to set up the Kingdom of God on Earth and restore the Earth to the beauty of the Garden of Eden again! This amazing period will last for ONE THOUSAND YEARS and therefore it is known as THE MILLENNIUM! (Daniel 2:44; 7:18,26,27; Revelation 20:4)

He says, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the FIRST Resurrection (the Rapture): On such the second death hath no power, but they shall be PRIESTS of God and of Christ, and shall REIGN with Him a THOUSAND YEARS!” (Revelation 20:6) Jesus also promised to His faithful ones, “He that OVERCOMETH, and KEEPETH My works unto the End, to him will I give POWER over the NATIONS (of surviving unsaved people): And he shall RULE them with a ROD OF IRON (authority).” (Revelation 2:26,27)

The DEVIL will be BOUND and cast as a prisoner into the Bottomless Pit for this Thousand Year period, and GOD is going to be SUPREME and JESUS will REIGN from shore to shore and WE will rule and reign WITH Him!–And those who live on into the Millennium will be FORCED to do what’s right and forced to obey for a thousand years! Then and ONLY then, under the supreme and powerful rule and reign of Christ and God’s children, will all wars finally cease and the World will at last be governed fairly and well with TRUE justice, liberty, peace, plenty and happiness for ALL! (Revelation 20:1-3; Isaiah 2:2-4; Psalm 22:27,28; 42:2,3,7,8)

The CURSE will be partially LIFTED, which will mean a lot of different and better conditions.–The Earth will be like it was during the days of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden! “And NOTHING shall HURT nor DESTROY in all His holy Kingdom!”–No more stinking automobiles belching fumes, nor big smokey smoke-belching factories! The World is going to go back to animal transportation and carriages and wagons and beautiful, majestic, wind-powered sailing vessels! (Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:2O-25)

During the Millennium, WE–the born-again, saved, resurrected Saints–will be in our new SUPERNATURAL BODIES, with amazing miraculous powers such as indestructibility, no pain, sickness or death, but power to destroy enemies at a thought or a glance or a motion, the abilities to appear and disappear, fly, change our appearance into inscrutable disguises to spy on our enemies and invade their most secret hideouts and even their very thoughts with our mind-reading ability and x-ray eyes to see through walls and across vast stretches of distance to detect their plans and operations! Meanwhile we can communicate with each other by mental telepathy without speaking a word, even over great distances, etc., whereas our enemies will have none of these advantages, so it will be fairly easy to rule over them with the wisdom, power, justice and love of Jesus and His personal leadership!

But the REST of the World, those who have been spared and blessed enough to survive into the Millennium, are going to still be in their old NATURAL bodies. EVERYONE on Earth will SEE His glorious power and Kingdom and EVERYBODY will believe THEN! So there won’t be any UNBELIEVERS, but I’m afraid there will still be some UNRECEIVERS who won’t yield and won’t obey and will STILL be stubborn and rebellious and defiant! These wicked rejectors will probably move to distant corners of the Earth in order to live independent of Jesus’ benign rule, and as long as they do not bother the receivers–the GOOD citizens of Jesus’ Kingdom–we will leave them to their own devices. (Habakkuk 2:14; Isaiah 29:18, 19;32:1; 4O:5)

Then, as a final TEST and a final SIFTING, at the end of the Millennium, Satan is going to be RELEASED from his prison in the heart of the Earth for a “little season”, just long enough to deceive the unconverted wicked who have rejected Christ’s Kingdom of Love. These rebels will again follow him to the full, in open rebellion against the Lord and His Government, and will attack “the Camp of the Saints”, the normal Earthlings who are citizens of Jesus’ Millennial Kingdom. This will result in the catastrophic BATTLE OF GOG AND MAGOG, at which point God is so fed up with them that He just sends down FIRE out of Heaven to DEVOUR them COMPLETELY! (Psalm 2:All; Isaiah 26:9-11; Revelation 2O:7-1O.)

In fact, He will cause SUCH a horrible fire to come down that it will completely wipe out the entire Earth and the heavens shall be rolled back like a scroll and depart with a great noise! It’s all going to explode and be burned up, and the entire surface of this planet is going to be completely melted. After the World has been totally cleansed, it will be RECREATED into a beautiful NEW Earth! (2Peter 3:1O-13)

After this climactic Battle of Gog and Magog, all the UNsaved of all ages will be resurrected for the final GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT! All of the UNSAVED DEAD will finally be raised to stand before God Himself in the final Judgement in which “the books are opened”, and they will all be given their final sentences according to their works and will be assigned to their final places in the hereafter. (Revelation 2O:11-15) God’s great Heavenly SPACE CITY will then DESCEND from above to the beautiful, recreated, Garden-of-Eden-like NEW EARTH!–And God Himself will dwell WITH us right here on Earth! It will be like God taking over the World by invading it from Outer Space–bringing down His Heavenly City and restoring Himself as the King of kings forever! This great Space City is 1,5OO MILES LONG, 1,5OO MILES WIDE and 1,5OO MILES HIGH!–The greatest space vehicle ever created, the most wonderful Spaceship ever conceived, built by the LORD and on its way down to Earth now! (Revelation 21:All!)

The ENTIRE “CITY is PURE GOLD, like unto CLEAR GLASS”! (Revelation 21:18) It’s like clear golden-colored glass, a beautiful CRYSTAL GOLD! So you’ll be able to see out of the City through those transparent walls, out onto a beautiful, fully-restored and recreated New Earth which will be populated by NEW NATIONS and kings and peoples who will then learn the righteousness, goodness and love of God, even though they will be OUTSIDE the Golden City and its jewelled walls! (Revelation 21:1,24-26)

It will be a BETTER WORLD then with BETTER PEOPLE who will have learned their lessons of the law of the Love of God and will be happier than ever before, because at last they will be purged and purified of their sins of rebellion against Him and healed by the LEAVES of the TREES OF LIFE which WE shall minister to them from where they grow by the RIVER OF LIFE within the City! (Revelation 22:1,2)

Only the MOST wicked of all, such as Satan, the Antichrist, his False Prophet and their most ardent Christ-rejecting followers, will have been sent to the Lake of Fire to be punished and purged of their diabolical rebelliousness! If they repent even there, perhaps they may be released and allowed to live on the surface of the New Earth. But if they do NOT repent, God may see fit to just completely DESTROY them! (Revelation 21:8; 22:14,15; Philippians 2:1O,11; 1Timothy 2:4; Ephesians 1:1O; 2Peter 2:12)

Some of this may be a shock to you, but it’s the TRUTH of GOD’S WORD! You can read it in the Bible for yourself if you wish, if you truly want to know the things that will shortly come to pass and if you hunger for the righteousness of God and thirst for His living waters that bring Eternal Life through His Love and the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ! For He has promised that if you DO, you TOO shall be filled and satisfied to overflowing upon others who need Him also! Hallelujah! (John 5:29; Acts 17:11; Matthew 5:6.)

So if YOU want a NEW WORLD and a NEW LIFE under a new GOOD GOVERNMENT by GOD HIMSELF and would even like to help run it with peace and plenty and happiness for all, why not ASK JESUS into YOUR HEART today and JOIN US NOW and work with us to tell the World of His Love and show them what a wonderful World it’s going to be from the Bible and your own happy smiling face and heavenly living together in love, a present-day sample of the Heaven to come! (John 1:12; Revelation 3:2O; Matthew 5:16.)

Prepare for the future TODAY by receiving Jesus NOW! Simply pray,

“Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and forgive me for all my sins. Help me to love and live for You, to hunger for Your Truth, to learn Your Word and to tell others about Your Love.–In Jesus’ name, amen.”

 

 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

The Windows of Heaven!

A dramatisation of Malachi 1:6-14; 3:6-12; Nehemiah 10:35-39; 12:44-47; 13:4-13

Based on the writings of David Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-the-windows-of-heaven

The sky was dark and gloomy, and turbulent clouds rolled over the dry Judean hills as a man came striding down a rough slope through the tall dry grass, leading a heavily-laden donkey behind him. With him was a young lad with a basket in his hand. The man was thin, almost gaunt, and he clutched his rough mantle tightly around himself to keep out the wind. As they came around a giant boulder, ahead of them in the darkened valley was a small village. At its edge was a collection of farmhouses huddled together.

In a few moments they arrived at the door of a humble little mud house. A couple of dry trees, their bare branches rattling in the wind, stood in the yard. From inside the house came the sound of voices. Tying his donkey, the man lifted the heavy baskets off its back. Entering the small dwelling, he found a crowd of people dressed in tattered clothing and a young Levite was reading to them from a worn old scroll.

Looking up from his reading, he greeted them: “Malachi! Little Johanan! What a nice surprise! And what is this you have?”

Setting the basket down, Malachi greeted him and answered, “Grain, fruit, dried figs, a side of lamb!–And there’s more outside.”

“But you already brought your TITHE a few weeks ago!” the Levite responded.

“Yes! And this is a FREEWILL offering above that!” Malachi smiled. We had it to spare and thought you might need it.”

“NEED it?! My good man!–You are an answer to our PRAYERS!” he exclaimed as he and his young wife went to help bring in the rest of the produce. “Why, you are one of the few families who are faithful to give!”

Outside the house, he whispered gravely to Malachi, “These days, most people give very few freewill gifts!–Let alone faithfully give one-tenth of their goods in a tithe. When the poor, the widows, the orphans and the strangers come to me, I offer them what few crumbs I can, but it’s very little. But I can still read to them from God’s Word, so they come for that.”

Malachi pounded the wall and turned away, shaking his head. “And you’re doing such a GOOD job, Eleazar! It’s not right that the people don’t give to you as they should when you’ve dedicated your life to serving the Lord and helping others! I mean, are we the Lord’s people or are we not? If people truly love Him, why do they not give to His servants as they’ve been told to?”

“Papa,” little Johanan asked, “is EVERYONE supposed to tithe like WE do?”

“Yes, they are!” his father answered. “The Lord richly blesses His people, gives them rich harvests and protects them all year round, and He has requested that we, in return, give Him a mere one-tenth of all the increase that He has blessed us with.

“The Lord commanded: ‘Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase that your fields produce.–A tithe of everything from the land BELONGS to the LORD; it is HOLY to the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 14:22; Leviticus 27:3O)

“If it’s GOD’S, then why do we give it to the LEVITES?” the little lad asked.

“That’s HOW we give it to GOD,” Malachi answered, smiling at Eleazar. “Because the Levites are SERVING GOD full-time, every day. So the Lord said, ‘I give to the Levites all the tithes that the Israelites present to the Lord, in return for the WORK they do while SERVING Me!’ (Numbers 18:21,24) The Lord also said, ‘Be careful not to neglect the Levites as long as you live in the land.’ (Deuteronomy 12:19)–But look at dear Eleazar. He’s skinny as a rail. He barely has enough for himself and his wife, let alone to give to others!”

“Really … we manage to …” Eleazar began to protest humbly.

“Nonsense!” Malachi replied. “How can you keep on serving the LORD if the Lord’s PEOPLE don’t help you by giving as they should? We OWE it to you! As He said in His Word, ‘It is your WAGES for your WORK!'” (Numbers 18:21)–And you shouldn’t be too shy to ask for your WAGES, should you?”

Eleazar looked intently at Malachi and said, “What a fire and devotion you have for the Lord! One would almost think that you were…well…a PROPHET!”

Malachi laughed, “I’m just a man trying to do good. But tell me, I’m going down to the Temple at Jerusalem. Is there anything I can do for you or get for you there?”

“Why yes, you can!” Eleazar answered. “Would you take my tithe there with you?”

“Certainly! By all means.”

They carried the last of the produce inside his house and his wife sorted through it, setting aside one-tenth of everything they had just been given, careful to make sure that they gave the BEST of everything. They then put it in a small basket on the donkey’s back, and Malachi and his son continued down the hills toward Jerusalem.

“Papa, why did they tithe the gift we gave them?” Johanan asked. “They have so little, and yet they tithe even that. Why?”

“Because even the servants of God who serve Him fulltime are required to tithe,” (Numbers 18:25-29) Malachi answered. “So because Eleazar and his wife love the Lord, they faithfully obey and tithe to Him!”

Within a couple of hours they’d arrived in Jerusalem and made their way through the narrow streets to the Temple. Accompanied by his son, Malachi carried the small basket to the storage rooms of the Temple and gave it to the steward; then he walked through the Temple toward the inner court. An aged man with a long white beard met him there.

“My lord, Ezra!” Malachi said reverently. He pulled out a bag of coins from his belt and quietly said, “I have saved up the money as I promised, and here it is: To be dedicated to support the servants of the Lord who work on making COPIES of His WORD.”

“Thank you. May God bless you!” the old man replied. “If only MORE of the Lord’s people gave generously as you do! But I’m afraid to say that no copies of the Lord’s Word can be made now. Gifts and tithes have been so few that we just can’t support the Lord’s servants who are needed for this Work. Most of our best copiers have gone.”

“GONE? Where have they gone to?”

“Most have gone to work on farms to support themselves and have enough to eat,” the old man replied. (Nehemiah 13:1O)

Exasperated, Malachi questioned, “But when Nehemiah was here as Governor of Judah, didn’t the people PROMISE that they would faithfully tithe and give gifts to support the Lord’s Work and His servants?”

Ezra answered, “Not only that, but they signed a written statement that they would not neglect to help the Lord’s Work. But in the years since Nehemiah has been gone, the people have forgotten their promises. In fact, the storerooms are practically EMPTY.” (Nehemiah 9:38; 10:28-29,35-39)

In a tired voice, the ancient Patriarch sighed, “And now, if you will excuse me, I am very weary.” As Ezra retired to his chamber, Malachi strode sadly towards the outer courts of the Temple, his son at his side.

“How can we reproduce the Word of God if people do not support the Lord’s workers?” he asked his tiny son.

Thinking a minute, little Johanan said, “Maybe you should REMIND people to give.”

“Maybe I should!” Malachi replied.

Coming to the outer courts where people were milling about, Malachi saw one of the rich nobles of Jerusalem bringing in his tithe. Nehemiah looked at the produce and knew it could be nowhere near one-tenth of his increase. Looking closer, he could barely believe what he saw. The fruit was the worst of the harvest: Bug-eaten and small.

He saw others leading in cattle and rams to be sacrificed. To his shock he saw that most of the animals being brought in were either BLIND or CRIPPLED or DISEASED! Instead of offering the BEST of their herds and produce to the Lord in thankfulness for His blessing, people were trying to get by by giving Him their offscouring and refuse.

Malachi stood there, tears welling up in his eyes. Then suddenly the Spirit of the Lord fell upon him and he leapt up on the Temple steps and cried out, “Thus saith the Lord: ‘When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them to Me, should I accept them? Try offering them to your Governor! Would HE be pleased with you? Would HE accept it?” (Malachi 1:8)

Turning towards the rich nobleman, Malachi continued, “The Lord commanded His people, ‘Bring ALL your tithes so that the Levites, the fatherless and the widows may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may BLESS YOU in all the work of your hands.” (Deuteronomy 14:28-29) (See also 1Corinthians 16:2.)

“How CAN I tithe?” a fat merchant complained. “I ALREADY have to pay TAXES to the government! The ‘King’s tax’ takes up the money I WOULD have given to the Lord!”

“One-tenth of your increase BELONGS to GOD!” Malachi shouted. “You owe it to the King OF Kings, and must pay it even BEFORE the ‘King’s tax’! If you would pay God’s tithe FIRST, He would bless you and see to it that you have enough for your tax AND plenty left over for yourself!”

A farmer protested, “How can I give? The locusts and other pests have eaten the produce of my land and fruit trees! There’s barely enough to feed my family! How could I spare to give one-tenth of it to God?”

“Don’t you see?” Malachi demanded, “your LACK of giving is what BROUGHT these problems upon you in the first place! God would BLESS you and prevent the pests from devouring your crops if you would honour Him and pay Him His tithe!” (Malachi 3:11)

Many of the people were visibly moved at these words, but others were still grumbling among themselves. How easy it would be for them to receive God’s blessing, yet by selfishly WITHHOLDING and NOT paying God his 1O%, they were not only missing God’s blessing, but they were robbing Him as well!

Tears streaming down his face, Malachi prophesied, “Thus saith the Lord, ‘Will a man rob GOD?–Yet you DO rob Me!'”

“Rob God!?” a devout noblewoman retorted, “how do we rob God?” (Malachi 3:8)

“In TITHES and OFFERINGS!” the Lord’s answer rang out above the crowd. “Do you wonder why your land is under a curse, why you are not as blessed as you could be? It is because you are ROBBING Me. Bring the WHOLE tithe into the storeroom, that there may be FOOD in My house!” (Malachi 3:9-1O)

Then, raising his hands upward to the heavens to where beautiful rays of golden sunlight were streaming down through a break in the dark clouds, Malachi prophesied, “‘TEST me in this:’, says the Lord. ‘TEST Me! Give your tithes and gifts and see if I will not THROW OPEN the windows of Heaven and POUR out so MANY BLESSINGS upon you that you will not have room enough to contain them!” (Malachi 3:1O)

It was a beautiful promise!–And several of the people in the crowd were moved to tears and resolved to begin tithing.

It was not long afterwards that Nehemiah, the Governor of Judah, returned. Discovering how the Lord’s Work had suffered in his absence, he set the example by tithing himself, then publicly urged the people to do so also and give to help support the servants of the Lord! Then ALL the people of Judah began giving their tithes faithfully once again, and continued to do so all the days of Nehemiah. (Nehemiah 13:6-12; 12:47)

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

(1) God has always BLESSED people for GIVING to Him and His Work. This is God’s fundamental law of economics: If you put HIM FIRST, then He blesses you for it. Jesus promised, “GIVE and it shall be GIVEN YOU!” (Luke 6:38) That’s the way God is: He loves to outgive you, and He’ll never let you outgive Him! The more you give, the more HE’LL give BACK! “Honour the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your income. THEN your storehouses will be filled with PLENTY, and your vats will OVERFLOW with new wine!” (Proverbs 3:9,1O)

God may not always reward you in mere dollars and cents; it may be in protection, His saving you from accidents, misfortunes or serious illnesses that would have cost you a hundred times more than whatever you have given! But in whatever way it comes, He WILL reward you!

(2) God’s message through Malachi challenged the people to put HIS PROMISE to the TEST! The Lord said, “PROVE ME now (by tithing 1O% of your income) and see if I will not open up the windows of Heaven and pour out such a BLESSING that there will not be room enough to contain it!” (Malachi 3:1O)

It takes FAITH to give, because at first all you see is what you’re sacrificing.–It looks like it is going to hurt and that you’re losing, but when you do give, acting in simple faith, appreciation and thankfulness for all the Lord has already given you, then the Lord blesses you even MORE! When it comes to God and His Work, it’s good business to give to the LORD. It’s a sure investment earning the highest possible rate of INTEREST and DIVIDENDS of anything you can invest in.

(3) Like the Levites of old, we too are actively SERVING GOD FULL-TIME, and without the financial help of our friends and supporters, we would simply not be able to continue our Ministry. Even Jesus Himself had supporters who gave to help Him and His work. (Luke 8:1-3) There were people from all walks of life who, although they weren’t active full-time disciples travelling with Him in His Mission, helped by contributing whatever they could to supply Him and His disciples’ physical needs so that their vital spiritual ministry could carry on.

(4) The Apostle Paul explained, “The Levites which work in the Temple get their food FROM the Temple. In the same way, those who PREACH the Gospel should receive their living FROM the Gospel. If we have SOWN SPIRITUAL seed among you, it is only natural that we should REAP a MATERIAL harvest from you.” (1Corinthians 9:7-14)

(5) Every one of our dear friends who faithfully supports our work plays a vital role in reaching the World for Jesus! Every gift they send to help further our Worldwide missionary effort is a PART of their lives which goes out to the mission field! It is the hard-earned product of their blood, sweat and tears shed for the Lord and His Work, resulting in literally millions of souls saved–lives changed by the Love and power of God!

Would YOU like for God to open His windows of blessing on YOUR life, and to discover the joys of investing in His Work? If so, contact us today! We’d be happy to explain how, by giving on a regular basis or tithing each month, you can become a partner in the GREATEST work on Earth!–And reap ETERNAL dividends in Heaven by helping other lonely souls to find Salvation in Jesus!

 

 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International