Sunday, April 25, 2010


Matthew 25: 25 “ And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth; lo, there thou hast that is thine.”
Matthew 25:30 “ And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

There are a few verses I left out that give the complete story of the parable of the talents. But for the sake of this discussion, I want to focus on the third servant of the parable and his consequences for his inaction.

In the parable all three servants were aware of the Master’s eventual return. The third servant certainly knew his master well, for the missing verses tell of this knowledge. But the key here is the first three words out of this servant’s mouth. “ I was afraid”.

Most of my life, especially in my younger years growing up, I wanted to be accepted by my peers. My dad was blue collar and I grew up in a community of college professors and doctors. Most of the kids I went to school with were the sons and daughters of these “professional” people. It was the age-old story of growing up on the wrong side of the tracks. The few that had blue collar dads were from a hard drinking, rough and tumble lifestyle that was completely foreign to me. I was an outcast. I was afraid.

I accepted the Lord as my Savior when I was 16. Over the next 35 years of my wandering and often misguided life, I slowly began to accept Him as my Lord. In all that time I have encountered many situations where “I was afraid” to speak up and tell someone about Jesus. I was afraid to invest my Lord’s payment entrusted to me for His gain. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was His payment, the talent entrusted to me. The investment He made in me for the salvation of mankind. Should I hide that payment for myself then I am no better than the servant in the parable of the talents. I was afraid to be an outcast, an oddball. I was afraid of persecution, ridicule, and harassment. I have been afraid.

Matthew 10:32 “Whosever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” Read on through verse 42.

As the prophecies in the Bible continue to unfold, we see the evidence that Jesus will soon return in the clouds and call those who are His own to the marriage supper of the Lamb, often called the rapture of the church. The scriptures tell us that the final 7 years before Jesus final return as King to rule the earth will literally be hell on earth.

In Revelation 3:10 Jesus revealed to John the promise of an escape for those who are faithful. Escape from the “hour of temptation” that will come to the world. Elsewhere in scripture we are told to “pray that ye are counted worthy to escape the things to come” Luke 21:36, and again in 1 Thessolonians 5:9 the promise that believers can escape the wrath to come. In the parable of the talents and Luke 21:36 there is a strong hint that knowledge of Jesus, and even belief in Jesus, though sufficient for our salvation, may not make us “worthy” to escape the seven years of tribulation. There are many that believe that salvation insures your attendance in the rapture, and that may be true, or not….
If it were true, why would Luke write “pray that ye are counted worthy”?

The servant with the talent certainly knew his master, knew him quite well. He knew that his master would return for an accounting of his talents. Yet this servant was cast out. Why? Because, as the verses indicate, he was slothful. Lazy is another word for slothful. So mindful of his own skin that fear could and did immobilize him. Too afraid to go out and invest his master’s talents that had been entrusted to him.

Oh how often do the cares of this world sidetrack us from the things of God? We get busy, and though God tugs us, we fear to step up to tell someone about Jesus. Though we may be saved, we tend to coast along on that. Luke was talking to believers when he wrote “Pray that ye are counted worthy”. Why would this be necessary for those that have already accepted Jesus as savior? The scriptures are clear that we CAN NOT ever be “worthy” for salvation. Salvation is a free gift. The Bible says so. Worthy of what then? Jesus is fast returning to claim His bride. The rapture of the church is real, though it is not called rapture in our Bibles, it is written of there. To be worthy is to serve our Lord. My fear is that many who know Jesus will be caught asleep, without investing as it were. The scriptures tell us that salvation is free, but the rapture is for those that are worthy. Pray ye are counted worthy.

In conclusion read 1 Peter Chapter 4:12-19,

Verse 12 Beloved think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you……….
Verse 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified...
Verse 19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

Simply walking in faith

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Are You Ready?

My wife and I were talking this winter about how would we have survived if we had been born in the time of our grandparents. The struggles they endured without the modern conveniences we have taken for granted. Who has not fantasized about what it would have been like to live in a different age? My wife has often said that she felt that God has blessed her to live in the most exiting age of all time. Watching prophecy unfold into reality before our very eyes.

The scriptures tell us that God knew us before we were born, that He formed us in the womb. As we were talking about this, this evening it seemed as God spoke to me. Not only did He know me as I was being formed, He selected each of us for this time. The Bible tells us that as we walk in faith, God Himself will place our footsteps. It is no accident that we live and work where we do. As we have been faithful He has placed each of us where are today.

In my prayer time and Bible reading, I have felt a growing urgency to get ready. The purpose the Lord has for my life is preparing to unfold. I have often wondered at the miraculous interventions in my life in times of danger. How God has preserved me and shown His hand as He intervened in circumstances that most likely would have resulted in my death. He has shown me that He has preserved me for His purpose. He has staked His claim on me as I have trusted my life to Him. HE knew me before I was born. He placed each of us in this time in history. We were born for today. Are we ready?

I believe the Lord is putting the last pieces of the puzzle in place. Each of His people are where He has placed us. He has a job for us to do as the closing act takes the stage. He is calling His own to get ready for the grand finale. Get ready. It is no accident where we live and work. It is no accident what school or job we go to daily. It is no accident where we shop, work or play. It is no accident, for the Bible tells us that God directs the steps of His faithful. Get ready.

As the stage is set for the final act, those who are ready will be called for the finale. Those who do not heed the call will be thrust aside, for God’s plan will go forward, lead follow or get out of the way. I believe the Lord is calling His own to get ready. Our Lord and Savior has His plan set for the final act. Get ready. Don’t miss the call. Cast off the cares of this world and get ready. Be ready to give cause for the faith we have in Christ. Draw nearer to Him. Listen for His voice. Our Sovereign God will complete His plan, and I believe that if we miss the call we will be replaced at this final act, for His plan will go forward. Are you ready?

Simply walking in faith,

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Am I Guilty

Is guilt a feeling or a condition? Often have I heard folks say, “I’ve done nothing to be forgiven for.” “Why do I need a Savior?” “I don’t feel guilty.” I’ve heard more than once of the inherent goodness that all people think is in us. I have to ask a question. Does anyone believe in the inherent goodness of a screaming two-year-old in the middle of a tantrum? Before a child is old enough to have been taught, what is their natural tendency? Do children have to be trained to obey or do they get training in disobedience? Ask a disobedient child if they feel guilty for hitting their sister, and unless they have been punished previously for it they will tell you no they don’t feel bad about it at all. Where is that inherent goodness? Sin comes naturally, with no feelings of guilt.

The Bible tells us that this is a fallen world, fallen from the presence of God because of disobedience, and that we all are born into a sinful world, whether we feel sinful (guilty) or not. Romans 3:10-18

Just as a small child needs to be trained to good behavior we all have the “sin” nature in us at birth. No one can claim that in order for a child to disobey he/she has to be trained to disobey. It comes natural. Whether we “feel” it or not, we are born guilty. We are born in sin.

The next question. Is there evil in the world? I have heard that certain members of congress and even the president are evil. I have heard those that believe in the basic goodness of humanity declare that former President Bush is evil. That could be debated endlessly. Would someone who looked into the eyes of four teenagers who brutally hacked a mother to death with a machete and stabbed and hacked her daughter nearly to death, be able to say that there is no such thing as evil? I looked at the photos, into the eyes of these four teens, and read the news reports that stated that there was no remorse in their behavior. It would seem to be true then, they feel no guilt. Think on that for a moment. With murder, lawlessness, drug abuse, and wars and killing, you are left with no other conclusion than there is indeed, evil in this world we live in.

“I have not done anything illegal or wrong since I was old enough to understand right and wrong” Really? What were your thoughts the last time someone barreled through a stop sign and you had to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision? I know what mine were the last time that happened to me. “If I could get my hands on you right this minute……..” you finish the thought. Been there done that. Or perhaps a man who has never committed an act of unfaithfulness against his wife, yet how often has he turned to look at a short skirt and thought of what he would like to do? Jesus said in Matthew 5:28 that the thought is all that is needed to be guilty of the sin. So again, is guilt a feeling or a condition? It would seem that, especially in the case of this murder that happened a few short months ago, that guilt is a condition regardless of any feelings. Or the lack thereof. It would also seem that there is the ability for evil or sin in even the very young, or innocent.

“O K. So maybe I do need some kind of forgiveness, maybe. But what kind of loving God, would allow all this evil in the world?”

Let me ask this? What kind of loving parent allows their children to make mistakes? Do parents not use the mistakes of a toddler to train children toward good behavior as they grow older. Or do they chain them down so they can never do wrong? Would a loving parent lock up their children to never experience the fullness of life or allow them the opportunity to make their own decisions? It has been said that if you love someone let them go, if they come back to you, then they are yours. If they never come back they never were yours.

God the father, our Creator, wants our love. Not because He commands it, but freely given, He desires it. Just as any parent, He warned of the result of disobedience, yet mankind disobeyed. The result is the sinful nature we are all born into. The evidence is beyond dispute. It is an evil world we live in. Otherwise good people have sinful thoughts that put them at odds with a Holy God. Throughout time mankind has proven that they could not be “good enough” to build a relationship with Almighty God. In our fallen state, we would be incinerated to be in the presence of God. It is the very nature of God that requires His separation from us to protect us. It would be the same as walking on the surface of the sun to try to be in the presence of Holy God. The very nature of God requires a covering of sin, a payment for sin.

A loving God, who desires His creation to love Him and be with Him, has provided a way for us to come to Him.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”John 3:16 & 17.

God doesn’t send people to Hell. Jesus died a horrendous death on a cross to pay the whole price for all the world’s sin. The debt is paid. The choice is ours. It is an evil world. There is sin in each of us. Forgiveness is offered to all. Jesus has it covered with His perfect sacrifice. The choice is yours to make. The Bible promises eternity for all. It is our choice where we spend it. Accept Jesus Christ as Savior, and choose life.

Simply walking in faith,

Monday, April 5, 2010

In These Final Hours

I want to share an article that we found over the weekend. After discussing it, we contacted the author and received permission to post it here and on Mountain Home. We encourage you to read & ponder this. Feel free to print, forward, or email this as you wish, the author asked only that the words remain unchanged.

In These Final Hours
Matthew 25:1-5

1 "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. As I was praying for us all this morning, the Parable Of The Ten Virgins came to mind; half of them were prepared, half were not, but all of them were asleep. Every time I read those words over the years, I wondered how that applied. Serious Christians make genuine efforts to be paying attention, and that shows. For all that, Scripture cannot be broken, so there is something there that isn't obvious. In that way, the Parable Of The Ten Virgins is rather like a plant of some kind coming up, but the gardener won't know exactly what it will be until it gets big enough to recognize...

The people of Rapture Ready, and this does fully include myself, agree that the Rapture will be the definitive announcement of the beginning of the Tribulation. Yet we are seeing the world around us sliding into a sink of depravity, confusion and a shocking failure of leadership that we didn't honestly think could happen, especially in America. We just didn't think that lawlessness could become as widespread as we are actually seeing it unfold before our very eyes! From the climate to the crime rate to our political and church leadership, we are absolutely stunned at how fast things have gotten so weird. We honestly thought we had been building a better society than we see around us. How could we all have possibly been so mistaken??? I think, right about now, we are all at least somewhat numb with shock, wondering how so much effort to build this nation under God seems to have become anything but...

If we look carefully at the whole Parable Of The Ten Virgins, the Lord is clearly not disappointed that any of them were asleep, so the five wise virgins with oil in their lamps didn't disappoint Him. So the Christians who have been taking the Bible, prayer and serving the Lord seriously haven't failed. The fact that the five wise virgins were called wise in the first place illustrates that this group had been doing their job. So we are not failing, even though that might not be how it looks this morning... Yet some very strange teaching has been creeping into the church at large, and leaders who it seems should have known better, seem instead to be falling for some very strange deceptions. How and why is this happening?

Christians, by nature, don't go poking their noses into pagan practices, therefore Christians, by nature wouldn't know a whole lot about those things. No sane person, let alone a Christian person, would go into the bars and private clubs my homosexual late best friend blundered into when he "came out". So Christians, by default, had no idea what could possibly go wrong if a lesbian got elected Mayor of Houston for example. Christians had no idea how much could possibly go wrong when, in an effort to love our enemies as instructed in Scripture, decided to try tolerating homosexual behavior and other inadvisable lifestyle practices, we tried to love others... Many, many well-meaning people tried to give peace a real chance by permitting others around us to live in peace, rather than batter them with condemnation as was once done in the first half of the 20th century. It seemed like a good idea to some people back in the 1970's and 1980's when enough of the real depravity was still restrained, and nobody guessed what the depraved were actually capable of. But the Lord knew... He knew the whole time... I think He had to let all this happen, so that when the time comes, no one will be able to get in His Face and accuse Him of being unjust in judgment. What we are seeing in these bizarre new age and gay pride agendas, and in the Muslim militantism as well is the fulfillment of Romans 1:25-27 while the Holy Spirit is not only still active on Earth, but being poured out as never before, exactly as God promised He would.

So, dear brothers and sisters, and be of strong heart and bold faith. Yes, we were all sleeping, and we were all taken by surprise by the evil that had been hidden until these last hours. That’s OK, we can hear the Bride Groom coming with His friends singing and playing music as He approaches to claim what is His. There is still time to trim our lamps and make sure we are ready. Things are not as out of control as they look, and the Lord God will highly exalt His Son Jesus Christ through the great harvest of all who are truly His! He Will Triumph, His Holy Light will Blaze in these darkest of hours...

Behold, He is coming and will not tarry...

Amen... Come Lord even so...

May the Lord bless you as you seek to serve Him.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Standing On Our Rights

... And Knowing what they are.

A Christians Conclusion

In light of recent events, I have decided to address this business of rights a little differently than I had planned at first. As American citizens we all have been blessed with a constitutional guarantee that the government cannot infringe on our rights of worship. Some who declare to be Christians have actually done more damage for the cause of Christ than good. As I have stated in part 2, some have used scripture out of context to justify their behavior. When I talk about standing on our rights, I am talking about lawful procedures to protest against our government overstepping its constitutional boundaries.

As a Christian I believe in responsible and lawful citizenship. We need to study the scriptures to understand God's direction in this. We need to read the constitution to understand what our rights actually are. We need to trust in the Lord and do good so as to be above reproach. 1 Peter 2:13-21. Actually all 1 Peter chapter 2 applies here, but especially these verses.

1 Peter 2:13 "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
17 Honor all men, love the neighborhood. Fear God, honor the king. 18 Servants be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man of conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:"

Nowhere does the Bible condone or permit murder or insurrection. Jesus spoke of the things to come in Matthew 24. The only action He suggests is to flee. The book of Matthew was written to the nation of Israel. Those scriptures tell of a time of evil power coming against the nation of Israel, and Jesus told them the sign to watch for and then flee. In the books of 1Peter and in Ephesians, 2 Timothy and Philippians, we as Christians are told to submit to God's delegated authority, for all authority is given through Him and by Him. We are told not to murmur and dispute but do good.

Philippians 2:14. "Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world."

The very idea of a Christian militia is a Biblical oxymoron. The tactics of the devil in the days to come will be to sway public opinion against Christianity. We will be viewed as just another radical religious group. It is now more important than ever that Christians act peacefully in society, to do good as God directs, and stop the bickering and squabbling. Yes as citizens of The United States we have rights and must exercise them. Vote, stand against evil, unarmed and on our knees. Philipians 2:12-15

In part 2, I talked of preparation. I am talking of preparing to show the love of Jesus to our nation. Help your neighbor, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, give to God's work and prepare to meet The Lord when he comes for His own, read the Bible. Our government will fail us; we need to show a nation of unbelievers that God will not fail us. That is preparation.

I call to mind the quote of John Adams,

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

It is truly a government for the people by the people and of the people. Our constitution was written for a Godly people. We have become a nation without Christian morals. Law breakers and lovers of self. There is no hope in government. Our only hope is in Christ.

Simply walking in faith, Ray