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Alpha Ministries, Inc

Church in the Woods at ....

Freedom Ranch

Choices

Dear Saints,

All of us are confronted with a multitude of choices to make daily. Many of them seem small and almost inconsequential while others seem overwhelming and life threatening. What makes life so complicated and hard is not just the choices we make but often it seems we really have no choice at all. Much of our confusion and frustration in life comes from the fact that we are not sure what choices we have, if we even have a choice, and exactly what choice we should make in any given situation. Welcome to the world of a control freak!

Seeking to control the people and circumstances in our life comes from a deep need to make ourselves secure in an insecure world. There is no guarantee that we will be unconditionally loved, accepted, and forgiven in this dog-eat-dog and often hostile world. In fact, chances are that we will be neglected, abandoned, or even abused. Likewise, unless we can control the people and circumstances in the chaos of this world it is impossible to find a real sense of importance, purpose, and competence. Wrong or bad choices seem naturally to lead to a meaningless and unsatisfying life.

Underlying all other choices we must make is the most important and basic choice. It is the choice the Bible urges us to make daily and describes it in a variety of terms. Jesus invites us to take his “yoke” upon us (Matthew 11: 28-30). Paul urges us to “present our bodies as living sacrifices unto God” (Romans 12: 1-2). James tells us to ask for wisdom from above (James 1: 5). Peter calls on us to “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God” (1 Peter 5: 6). All these directives (and many more) have one thing in common…surrender. We give up trying to make it happen and let God do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

In the AA program of recovery the 3rd step describes this kind of surrender as deciding to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God. Making the choice to surrender all our decisions as well as our very lives to the control and care of God is the foundation and start of a new and satisfying lifestyle of grace in which God, through his indwelling Spirit, leads us, guides us into all truth, comforts us in our choices, reminds us who we are, and produces the very character of Christ in us. As Paul instructed the Philippians 2: 12-13, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have obeyed, not in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which works in you both to will and do of his good pleasure. “

The fundamental choice we all must make each day is whether we want to let God control our lives. It is really a no-brainer since he is the sovereign creator and sustainer of the universe and loves us so much he gave his life for us. For me it boils down to one simple prayer each morning, “Lord please remind me of who you made me to be in your son and guide me in how you want me to love others around me today”. I really do not have any other choice that makes sense.

John

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The Rapture

Posted on 23 July, 2020 at 13:20

Dear Saints,

 

The next major event on the prophetic calendar is what is referred to as the rapture of the saints. Although the word rapture is not actually used in the Bible it conveys the idea of “a catching away” referred to by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4: 15-18, “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall arise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” This event is the beginning of the second coming of Jesus to this world and will have global effects the world has never witnessed.

 

Space does not permit a full explanation of the rapture here but the fact that it will occur is not up for speculation as far as the Bible is concerned. Although there are many scoffers that doubt such an event could or would occur Jesus promised his disciples that he would come again to receive us unto himself. All the writers of the New Testament make mention of Jesus’ return and John gives a detailed description of it in the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The promise of the second coming of Christ is foundational to our hope as believers and the idea of the rapture of the saints gives us comfort in the midst of dark times such as these.

 

My understanding of the rapture along with what immediately follows in this world has been solidified by the recent events of the Coronavirus pandemic. When every believer in the world is instantly changed and caught up to meet Jesus in the air the world will view that it as a catastrophic event that mysteriously caused the death of millions. Since flesh and blood (our physical bodies) cannot inherit the kingdom those who are raptured will likely leave behind their physical bodies to return to dust. In the ensuing chaos the world will seek a rational explanation for such an event and likely conclude that these people died of some kind of global pandemic rather than believe that Jesus called them to join him in the air.

 

The removal of all believers from this world will also remove the presence and influence of the Spirit of Truth setting the stage for the “the Wicked One” to be revealed “whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders”. The anti-christ or “man of sin”, the “son of perdition”, will establish his rule over all the world in opposition to God and reveal himself as God. At last, the hidden agenda of the “New World Order” will be fully established under the power of the final world dictator and his government. Many will be deceived and put their trust in the ability of humanity to save the world.

 

Because God is gracious the rapture of the saints will be followed by a seven-year period of tribulation like the world has never seen before. It is like Jesus will grab the world by their deaf ears and shake them awake to his power and willingness to save them from themselves. During this horrific time many will turn to the Lord for salvation while Jesus systematically destroys the anti-christ and his kingdom and comes to establish his own kingdom of righteousness. Yes, the future hold many earthshaking events, but the ultimate end is righteousness and peace.

 

John

 

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