Family Discussion

My family became engaged in a conversation last night regarding the hubbub around the prediction that judgment day or the rapture of the Church is going to occur on May 21, 2011, and the end of the world is going to take place on October 21, 2011. I posed the question to everyone “if this prediction is true, what does this mean to you?”

For the sake of clarity, I do not accept the notion that any man knows the exact day and time of Yeshua’s (Jesus’) return.

Everyone expressed how they would want to repent of any sins they have committed; those wrongdoings they were aware of; and those acts they may not have recognized as sin before a holy God. My older children communicated (if this prediction is indeed true) they would want to take this period of time (between yesterday and May 21st), to “get things together.” After inquiring about what “things” they needed to “get together” and having a time of repentance, I took the opportunity to share with them…

The greatest concern with providing a specific date and/or time regarding Messiah’s return is this: What makes any of us so certain we are going to wake up and see tomorrow (let alone May 21st)? As a matter of fact, how do we even know we are going to rise up from this table at this very moment? What guarantees do we have that Jesus is not going to part the sky tonight and return for us? James 4:13-16 (KJV) Go to now, ye that say, today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. The Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) reads: Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such-and-such a city, stay there a year trading and make a profit”! You don’t even know if you will be alive tomorrow! For all you are is a mist that appears for a little while and then disappears. Instead, you ought to say, “If ADONAI wants it to happen, we will live” to do this or that. But as it is, in your arrogance you boast. All such boasting is evil.

What authority do any of us have to think we have the exact timing of His return determined? Was the precise date given by revelation of the Holy Spirit or were these calculations formulated by man’s so called intellect? Far too often people spend too much time claiming to understand the things of God from an intellectual standpoint. 1 Corinthians 2:14 (CJB) Now the natural man does not receive the things from the Spirit of God – to him they are nonsense! Moreover, he is unable to grasp them, because they are evaluated through the Spirit. I do firmly believe Jesus’ return is imminent (Mark 14:61-62)! No one can accurately articulate the exact day or hour.

The main point I wish to convey here is – stop taking things for granted! The only way to be prepared for either His return, or your departure from this life, is to accept Yeshua (Jesus) as your Lord and Savior. Confess this with your mouth and believe this in your heart that Jesus became the sacrificial Lamb for your sins and that He paid the complete penalty for you (Romans 10:9-10). Acceptance of Him and His sacrifice is the only way you can be reconciled to God! Invite Jesus into your heart right now! Make Him Lord over every area of your life! Renounce and repent of your sins and, while you are here, live (daily) a lifestyle that is pleasing to God. Do not ever assume you have time to get yourself together – you may not. Jesus said in Matthew 25:13 (KJV) Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

AB

Being Christian in a Corporate Environment

More than a decade ago, I accepted an offer from a prestigious corporate employer. After going through a lengthy interview process where we discussed literally everything (including faith and what that means), the Executive Vice President extended an offer to me with one condition…  I was not allowed to proselytize while at work. My response was I was there to fulfill my responsibilities and I would apply all of my efforts and energies to take care of all the employees and protect the organization.

Afterward, I pondered the offer and my response sincerely concerned whether or not I compromised my faith and I searched the Scriptures to guide my thinking.  I read Colossians 3:22-24 (KJV) Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. The Message Bible reads: Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ.

I recognized the fact I was/am required to work vigorously in all things as to the Lord, and not to men. While I was not allowed to walk around the office conversing about religion or religious issues, I was able to “let my walk do the talking.” In that particularly intense, highly demanding environment, I was able to be a calming presence; to treat employees fairly and help them through their problems and issues; provide sound guidance to the leadership; influence positive change; mentor younger Associates; and demonstrate God’s love without quoting scripture or verbally trying to convert anyone. Eventually, employees found out I was a minister and they oftentimes sought me out for help, support and direction for themselves and for others. I respected and complied with my employer’s wishes and never had any of those discussions during office hours or on their premises and I believe God honored my obedience.

In conclusion, follow the rules of your employer! Be the man or woman God created you to be and as the old saying goes, “talk is cheap!” Your best witness is not what you say, it’s how you behave. How do you respond to circumstances (whether they are positive or negative)? Are you a person with integrity? Are you putting forward your very best effort each and every day in the workplace (as unto the Lord)? Do you realize in these tumultuous times, you are extremely fortunate to be employed? I cannot express to you enough how many very qualified and experienced people are not able to find work period, let alone in their areas of expertise, and many would give their right arm to be in your position. Keep everything in its proper perspective and glorify God in all you do!

What I Believe

On God

There is only one true and living God: the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who is the Creator of heavens and earth (Genesis 1:1; Isaiah. 42:5,8); and who has a triune nature – God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 48:16).

On the Son

Yeshua (Jesus) is the promised Messiah and Redeemer of the human race. By His life, death and resurrection, He fulfilled the prophecies of Old Testament Scriptures pertaining to Messiah’s first coming. Jesus was the only begotten Son of the Father, lived a sinless existence on this earth; and became the sin offering for us so that in Him, we might become the righteousness of God (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7, 49:6, 53:1-12; Psalm 16:9-11; Matthew 5:17; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

On the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit indwells the heart of every born again believer. Those who are born of the Holy Spirit become members of the Body of Christ. Baptism of the Spirit is an impartation distinct from the born again experience (Acts 8:15-17, 10:44-46, 19:1-6). This impartation is power given to the believer, to be a witness of Jesus (Acts 1:8; 5:32); and is accompanied by the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit, for the benefit of all, i.e.: words of wisdom; words of knowledge; faith; gifts of healing; the working of miracles; prophecy; the ability to judge or discern spirits; the ability to speak in different tongues; the ability to interpret tongues. The Holy Spirit distributes these gifts of the Spirit to each person as He chooses. All of the gifts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit are real; they are essential; and they are absolutely still in operation today (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

On Man

God made man in His own image and empowered him to replenish and to have dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:26-28; Genesis 2:7). Man’s disobedience to God resulted in separation between man and God (Genesis 2:16-17; Isaiah 59:1-2). The ONLY provision God made for reconciling man to Himself was through the atoning work of  Jesus, who was crucified; died as the sacrifice for man’s disobedience; and rose again manifesting His victory over sin and death (Leviticus 17:11; Isaiah 53:1-12; 2 Corinthians 5:19). The atonement in Jesus includes both spiritual and physical healing and the blessings of obedience promised to Israel in the Old Covenant are still available to any believer under the New Covenant today (1 Peter 2:24; Isaiah 53:5; Psalm 103:3). All who genuinely repent from their sins and, by faith, accept God’s message of salvation in Jesus, receiving Him as Lord and Savior, have eternal life and are spared from the well deserved punishment of an eternity separated from God. There is no other way for man to be reconciled to God (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:24-27; John 1:11-13; Romans 10:9, 10).

On the Bible

I believe in the Divine inspiration and authority of the 66 books of the Holy Bible as God’s testimony to mankind and esteem all Scripture as the Word of God. I do not accept any doctrine that opposes Scripture or the notion that certain parts of Scripture are for man today and other parts irrelevant. Both the Old and New Testament Scriptures are God’s Word to man and is the only reliable source for faith and living (Numbers 12:6-8; Isaiah 8:20; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).