“My Kind of Town”

Frank Sinatra
You probably know some of the lyrics
from this popular song.

They’ve been running through my head
for our 13 days in Chicago.
Feel free to hum or sing along as you read.

“Now this could only happen to a guy like me and only happen in a town like this.”

I grew up in Las Animas, Colorado, a very small town kind of town.   We never traveled farther away than a rare shopping trip to Pueblo, 86 miles away.  So when my best friends would come back from a visit to Chicago relatives, how I’d ooh and ahh that they got to see a Cubs or Bears game.  Somehow they’d come home with an autographed ball!  They got to see Ernie Banks and Gayle Sayers in person!

Fast forward to my late 20s and 30s when I made up for my confined boyhood by traveling abroad and into all 50 states. Admittedly I fudged counting Illinois since all I did was stopover at O’Hare Airport—where I didn’t even step foot outside the terminal.

“Bet your bottom dollar you’ll lose the  blues”

Today, the news about this kind of town:  murder and mayhem.  Where you’ll lose more than the blues!  “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”—what a toe-tapper but nobody wants to set foot in his neighborhood!  Mary and I prayed for protection as we rode the red El down to see the Oriental Institute centered on the University of Chicago campus, reputed to have the finest collection of Middle Eastern archeology in the northern hemisphere.    My pastor told me don’t dare miss it.  So we dared to get there!

Our whole day riding the Els and walking this kind of town, not once did we feel threatened.   The Kingston Trio wisely picked on another city for “the man who never returned.”

Also making the news, this kind of state is ILL all right—facing bankruptcy!   In spite of all the toll roads.  Thankfully smartphones are so smart they can show you only routes that don’t ding you with $1 to $2 tolls that will bust your budget!

We really enjoyed our visit to this kind of town after helping our youngest daughter drive the 1,025 miles from Denver to her new position and new life at her corporate office in Chicago.  We can be happy about it because she is actually in a beautiful, peaceful suburb to the north.   Where she works and lives is graced with trees full of singing birds, beautiful landscaping, lush lawns, parks and dog parks.

On the way out we listened at times to Frank Sinatra. I didn’t realize he sings several famous songs about Chicago.   Surprised that my millennial daughter would love an old Rat Pack singer, I asked her why. She heard Frank sing about another great American city, New York, and she was hooked. Lo and behold, a few years later she’s moving to the kind of town Frank was lauding in his hit recording of 1965.   We who trust God to direct our paths find inspiration in such “coincidences”!

Composed by Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Sammy Cahn, “My Kind of Town” was originally part of the musical score for “Robin and the 7 Hoods,” a musical film starring several members of the Rat Pack.  Though nominated for the 1964 Academy Award for Best Original Song, it came in second to “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from Mary Poppins.  Too bad, what better place to go fly a kite than the Windy City!

Franks town in more ways than one

Once in this kind of town, my first order of business was to treat myself to an official Chicago dog.

“The 10 Best Chicago-Style Hot Dogs” by Nick Kindelspergen defines what a Chicago dog must be like:

hotdog Chicago“An all-beef hot dog with a crisp natural casing from Vienna Beef (skinless dogs lack any snap and also tend to get lost when fully dressed). But even a natural casing isn’t a complete guarantee of success. Stands need a diligent owner to maintain high standards, so that each dog is juicy and not overcooked.

“Freshness is also paramount for the toppings, especially if going with the fully loaded style. The onions, sport peppers, and the pickle spear should be crisp and crunchy, while the tomato slices should be red and juicy. Even layers of mustard and relish ensure a uniform bite. A final dusting of celery salt lends an unmistakable final touch, but too much mucks up the whole thing.”

no ketchupAnd don’t even think about ketchup!  Chicagoans think it’s the unpardonable sin.  One tourist guidebook said nobody gets it unless under 18 or a foreigner.   True confession, I ate the first half according to the rules but caught up to sensibility by squirting on a layer for the final bites.

Tuesday we enjoyed our trip-ending dog at the local favorite only a mile from my daughter’s place. Dave, the owner of the popular “Luke’s,” pointed out two important truths. Chicago dogs is not just a tourist passion. “Chicagoans love their dogs.” And Dave astutely noted, “What makes a Chicago dog is not the dog but the accessories.”

Dave noted that many rate Gene & Jude’s as serving the best dogs in the windy city.  He said the line snakes around the building daily to the tune of over 6,000 dogs a day.  Their twist is mixing their hot dog in with their awesome French fries so you get a mouthful of both at the same time—all for only $2.25.   At last a fast food joint that doesn’t bother asking “You want fries with that?”

“My kind of people, too, people who smile at you”

Dave graciously took time to talk to me during his busy noon hour.  He talked with admiration about his dog competitors.  But with a confidence from knowing that every body raves about Luke’s being a local favorite.  He noted that he has to charge a little more than Gene & Jude’s because his product has more ounces.  He referred me to a local literary classic called “My Dog Is Bigger Than Yours.”

Dave is a prime real living example that what makes this kind of town is its people.  Chicago people we met were everywhere impressive for being friendly and helpful.  Every time I asked people of all ages if they liked living in Chicago, not a one said they didn’t.

So we are happy our youngest daughter will be working and living here.   She is always positive, recognizes opportunity, and will make it her kind of town.

“Tuggin’ our sleeves, calling me home”

Mom and Dad happily flew home Thursday to Canon City, Colorado, our kind of town as we live out our physical lives.

Every day we’ll gladly trade it all in for God’s city—the one sought by those in the Hall of Faith—prepared for us in His better country (Heb. 11:16).  God’s kind of town, wherein righteousness dwells (2 Pet. 3:13).

Chicago lived up to Frank’s lyrics.  Good songs promote good living.  That’s a good reason why we should follow Paul’s advice to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16).

world-37-red

 

Designer Pumps & Wedding Dresses for Men & Women

red pumpsIsabelle Marant and Chloe win acclaim for their stilettos, wedges and boots.
Men are pained to ponder
how women walk in them!

When it comes to designer pumps,
nobody beats your human heart.

Men and women,
God fashions our hearts (Psa. 33:15).

♥  Your first heart cell beat as early as four weeks.
♥   Your heart beats about 100,000 times per day, 35 million times per year, 2.5 billion times a lifetime.
♥   Men average about 70 heartbeats per minute, women about 78.
♥   About the size of two hands clasped together, your heart weighs about 10 oz., slightly less than a can of soda.
♥   Through heart valves about the size of a half dollar, your heart circulates about six quarts of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels that if laid end to end, would wrap around the world more than twice.
♥   Each minute your heart circulates 1-1/2 gallons of blood, which in your lifetime would fill 1,000,000 barrels—enough for three supertankers.

God circulates this absolute miracle to all His children. But the real miracle is that

God fashions our hearts “individually” (Psa. 33:15)

“Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever” (Deut. 5:29)Is our Great Designer talking about a hard-working muscle in our chest?  Of Kors not!  He wants us to “gird up the loins of your mind” (1 Pet. 1:13).

Parents learn that each of their children have different temperament, aptitudes and talents and must be worked with individually.   God our Father and Jesus Christ our Brother know us intimately and have amazing designs for our future.  All men and women, including Yves Laurent, will have opportunity to become Saints.

God has given us talents—-maybe five, two or one (Matt. 25:15).  God distributes gifts of their Spirit to each individually, as They will, for the profit of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:7, 11).  The sewing we do is of Kingdom seed so many will have opportunity to reap.

God is pumped when we

♥   Passionately desire to build our relationship with Him.
♥   Model “Thy Kingdom Come” not Heidi Klum.
♥   “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Php. 2:12).
♥   “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man” (Prov. 3:3-4).
♥   Seek the Christian Door and open every time Jesus knocks.  Instead of sashaying down a runway, we “walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:6).
♥   Adorn ourselves—even in summer—in “modest apparel,” not with gawdy get-up (1 Tim. 2:9) so at the wedding to the King of Kings we will be “arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Rev. 19:8).

Sound Farfetched?  Not if we men and women are helping God fashion our hearts individually.

world-37-red

Wanted: Prove Readers Not Proofreaders

When I read I can’t help proofreading,
and it makes me cringe at some scriptures.

Why didn’t God write them plain?

So there wouldn’t possibly be any contradictions.  The day when I write a book, if some guy named John W. Haley writes a classic about its “alleged contradictions,” I’d be mortified and go fix each one of the issues.  I’d want my words of life to be understood by every reader.

I’d want people talking about the amazing way I caravanned  Joseph from slave to the #2 man in charge in Egypt so I could then have Jacob’s family positioned in Egypt ready to be delivered from slavery via the Red Sea.

Jacob into EgyptInstead they get sidetracked into worrying about just how many of Jacob’s family trekked to Egypt—70 or 75?  Too bad we don’t have a selfie providing an indisputable count!

Since the Old Testament scriptures all agree on 70 (Gen. 46:27, Ex. 1:1-5 and Deut. 10:20), a believing proofreader would be tempted to change Stephen’s 75 (Acts 7:14-15) and wonder if that might have kept him from being stoned!

Alas, such a well-meaning proofreader would change an inspired reasoned defense as a stellar example of apologetics into never-ending apologies.

What?!  And take away the need for all the interesting intricate explanations about how 70 and 75 were both right.  It’s all great fun for those who love studying genealogies.   Paul did his part to promote that, probably quite unintentionally, by mentioning “baptism for the dead” (1 Cor. 15:29).

Does  it really matter:  70 or 75?  Whoever went, went.   The big deal is that then Jacob multiplied like crazy.  Until it was time for God to deliver them from Pharaoh (representing satan) and Egypt (sin) and open up the Red Sea for their passage (baptism) to the Promised Land.   Seventy or 75, Cecil B. DeMille makes his blockbuster.

But baptism is another matter.  It does matter (John 3:5, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38).  Paul everywhere in his many writings taught that baptism is an outward expression of a person changed inside.  What good could it possibly do for a person to be baptized on behalf of another who by now could have no insides left!

So this proofreader would like to help out Paul and make it “baptism for the hope of the dead,” which of course is the resurrection, which is what Paul was expounding in 1 Cor. 15.

But  beware!  The author of  the Bible ends His book by warning that He doesn’t want my help!!  He promises plagues for adding to His book and blotting out of His Book of Life for taking away words (Rev. 22:18-19).  OK, I put away my red pen!

Here’s why

God says He deliberately wrote His book so people would be puzzled by it “that they might go and fall backward, and be broken and  snared and caught” (Isa. 28:13).

When His disciples asked Jesus why He spoke in parables, He didn’t agree with the common belief that He did it so people could easily understand his everyday stories.  Rather, Jesus said “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given” (Matt. 13:11).

Bottom line, God the Father controls when He decides it’s the best time to open our minds to understand His plan of salvation that’s revealed in His book (John 6:44).

Those who died unbaptized will have their chance to be resurrected and become a saint in the really latter days—called  the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-12).

“All  scripture is inspired by God” (2  Tim. 3:16).  It is truth (John 17:17).

God is looking for those who

♥   tremble at His word (Isa. 66:2).  Who don’t twist Paul’s writings and “the rest of the Scriptures” “to their own destruction” (2 Pet. 3:16).

♥   receive “the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).  Not “not so.”

♥   prove all things and hold fast what is good (1 Thes. 5:21).

God wants prove readers not proofreaders.

world-37-red

 

 

 

 

The Rapture of Driverless Cars

You’ve seen the bumper sticker:
When the rapture occurs, this car will be driverless.

You probably chuckle, not sweat.  The way the guy drives, you figure he won’t be counted among the righteous!  And so many cars on the road are driverless now, thanks to texters.

driverless carDaily you hear new ecstatic predictions of driverless cars:  Audi plans to introduce one by 2020.  The Chinese talk of mass production by 2021.  Intel forecasts a $7 trillion driverless car industry by 2050.

So maybe you snicker at the sticker:  “Big deal, if the secret rapture ever comes, all cars will be driverless!”  And if the same goes for the airliners, you can rejoice that there will probably be lots of empty seats to spread out in!  More left for behind!

scofferPew Research in 2010 found that only 41% of Americans believed Christ would return by 2050.  Ironically, as we careen loser to His return, scoffers will abound (2 Pet. 3:3-4).

If you know your Bible, here’s

The real secret: 

lightningThe Bible teaches no secret rapture.  When Jesus Christ returns to collect His saints, He’s coming like lightning from the east  flashing to the west (Matt. 24:27) so that “every eye will see Him” (Rev. 1:7)  The seventh trumpet blasts in every ear (1 Thes. 4:16-17)—enough to wake the dead!

OK, it’s obviously no secret.  But don’t Christians change from physical to spirit “in the twinkling of an eye” and rise up in the air to meet Jesus in the clouds (1 Cor. 15:51-53)?  If that sounds like a rapture, the Bible calls it the first resurrection–the better one  (Heb. 11:35) with double portion for the firstborn (Deut. 21:17).   OK, but could there still be crashing cars and plummeting airliners?

A Different Place, Different Time

The rapture theory calls for Christians being whisked off  to heaven to escape the Great Tribulation.  Actually the Bible promises God’s people will be transported by “two wings of a great eagle … into the wilderness” to the Place of Safety for this same 3-1/2 years preceding Christ’s return (Rev. 12:14).

So escaping the Great Tribulation, but in the Place of Safety, not heaven.   God’s people would be resurrected from there–at the end of the 3-1/2 years, not the beginning.  A much different time!

If it’s from Petra, the mode of transportation is camels,  and those sure-footed beasts would probably easily come to a safe halt.

There are exceptions, such as the Two Witnesses, but Revelation says they rise from lying dead in a street of Jerusalem for three days (Rev. 11:8).   Nothing about any transportation carnage.

When you read about all the chaos in the book of Revelation at the time of the end, where one-fourth of the earth has been killed by the end of the fourth seal (Rev. 6:8), and the Great Tribulation will be the worst time ever experienced so that no flesh would be saved alive if Christ didn’t intervene (Matt. 24:21-22), you have to wonder how many cars and airliners will be in operation anyway.

So let’s not worry about the rapture of driverless cars ahead.  And when the seventh trump blows, here’s hoping we rise to the occasion!

world-37-blue

 

 

Entertaining Angels Unawares

It looks like a stranger, but it might be
an “angel unawares” (Heb. 13:1, King James Bible).

puttoThat makes no sense if you think angels resemble the putto of early Renaissance Italian art.  If you saw a Cupid flying around, you’d be aware of it!  Unless you’re from Texas or Florida and used to the size of their flying critters.

angel with haloYou’d especially notice one sporting a halo like the ancient Egyptian sun god.  Ra Ra, people would cheer and hound such  an extraterrestrial so it would hurry home rather than try to phone.  How could such an oddity visit among us incognito?

Nowhere in the Bible are there winged babies referred to as cherubs, so that idea needs to be kaputto!

When God sends angels down to earth, they blend in by appearing as adult males (Gen. 18:2, Acts 1:10).  They are “ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation” (Heb. 1:14).  They usually help with physical needs, not spiritual ones—such as making sure Elijah had enough to eat before his arduous journey (1 Kings 19:5-7) and mothering Peter to slow down long enough to dress and put his sandals on when the angel sprang him out of prison (Acts 12:7-8).

Angels deliver their message in a straightforward businesslike manner and then disappear.  You won’t encounter one in a chat room.

Angels we don’t want to be unaware of

Angels want us to worship God and build a relationship with the Father and Son, not with them.  That’s true of the two-thirds good angels.

But not true of satan the devil and his one-third demons.   He swooped up to heaven wanting to be God (Isa. 14:14), and he pulls out all stops to thwart God’s would-be family.  Amazing that he gets anybody at all to openly worship him or want to become familiar with him and his demons.

His better plan is to con people into believing he doesn’t exist.   In spy thrillers, the best trick is to fake your death so the other guys aren’t watching for you anymore as you come to take them out.

devil red pitchforkClear back in April 2009 in a Barna survey, nearly six out of ten Christians either strongly agreed or somewhat agreed with the statement that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.”  Did you catch that?  Christians!  Who read that Jesus faced the devil in the wilderness.  How  much higher is the percentage at the very end-time when satan is about to bring the greatest deception and tribulation ever suffered (Matt. 24:21).

Satan a myth?  Naturally it follows that people would be ignorant of his devices (2 Cor. 2:11).  He broadcasts powerful satanic atttitudes through his power of the air using pervasive media, culture and peer pressure (Eph. 2:2).   For the spiritually unaware, it’s just entertainment, art and life.

Such sad confusion because so many who sincerely want to be true Christians have no idea that satan has “his ministers” who “transform themselves into ministers of righteousness” (2 Cor. 11:15).    Read that shocking scripture again.

Ezekiel warns about false shepherds (chapter 34) and prophets (13:3).  Matt. 24:24 sounds the alarm that satan’s “false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

So yes, let’s entertain strangers who might be good angels unawares.  But let’s be aware of the Enemy, acutely aware of his devices, resist and flee (James 4:7).

world-37-red

 

 

 

 

Does the Book of Life Include More Than Just Your Name?

Our names must get written into the Book of Life (Rev. 20:15).
And our names must not get blotted out of it (Rev. 3:5).
But is the Book of Life more than just a list of names?

Why would our omnipotent all-knowing God need or  want a Book of Life anyway?  Our Ancient of Days does not share our senior moments!

Well, yes, but the Bible shows

Records and lists are very important to God

So it’s no wonder they’re important to us.  Many of us have a cherished family book.  My oldest and youngest sisters have put one together and shared it with me.

genealogyOur Creator who fashioned us in His image knows we love genealogical research.  The Book of Genesis contains nine genealogies (chapters 4, 5 and 11).  Chapter 10’s Table of Nations is technically an ethnography.

Nations keep census records.  In Num. 1:2 the Lord directed Moses to take a census of all men age 20 and older who could go to war in Israel.  In Nehemiah’s time, God put it in his heart to register the nobles, rulers and people (7:5).  During the reign of  Darius the Persian, a record was kept of Levites and priests  who had been heads of their fathers’ houses (12:22).

censusIn Acts 1:15 instead of saying there were about 120 disciples gathered  for Pentecost, the wording is “the number of names.”  A church directory?  Granted, they didn’t need phone numbers!  Thanks to Saul, maybe cell numbers.  But don’t we always want to keep track of and contact each other.

God’s Church of the firstborn is registered in heaven” (Heb. 12:23) because they become citizens of God’s Kingdom and Family (Php. 3:20) when they are written into the Book of Life upon receiving the Holy Spirit.

More than our names

Estimates of how many people have ever lived range from 50 billion to 150 billion.  How many names would legibly fit on an 8-1/2″ x 11″ yellow ruled sheet?  If 50, that would require one billion pages.  It’s a good thing the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev. 21:27) is a spiritual book!  After Jesus adds a name, I’m not sure a human could tote it back to the shelf!  Oh, pardon me, back to the cloud?

The Bible indicates that the Book  of Life holds more than just names.

tears in bottleDavid wrote “You keep track of all my sorrows.  You have collected  all my tears in your bottle.  You have recorded each one in your book” (Psa. 56:8), New Living Translation).   God wants an intimate relationship with His children and watches us every day (Psa. 139:1-3).  Is the Lamb’s Book of Life like a diary?

Apparently this is the same “book of remembrance” written before God when “those who feared the Lord spoke to one another” (Mal. 3:16).   God treasures good fellowship that builds the Family of God!—that builds life!

A third scripture to consider regarding what’s recorded in the Book of Life, Rev. 20:12 says, “And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were  written in the books.”  This verse mentions the books of the Bible and the separate Book of Life.  Our works will be judged by the standards of the Bible but will our works be written in the Book of Life?  Does the Lamb use a good court reporter for those of us under judgment now (1 Pet. 4:17)?

Is Jesus recording in His Book of Life not only our names but our

Life stories?

Who doesn’t love a good biography!  And what better author than the Lamb to give us all a true and fair write-up!

As we’ve seen, the Bible gives some short but very interesting clues about the Book of Life that we can ponder and speculate about.

What we know for sure:  Let’s each pray we respond to God’s calling.  The goodness of God leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4).  Let’s repent, be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit when a minister of God lays hands on us (Acts 2:38).  Our names will  then be written into the Book of Life.

Let’s end this three-part series on the Book of Life by continuing with the Father and Son living in us (John 10:10) through their Holy Spirit until They resurrect us to eternal life in their Family and Kingdom!

world-37-blue

Staying Alive in the Book of Life

golden calfIn  the first mention of the Book of Life in the Bible,
Moses asked God, if you won’t forgive Israel
for making the golden calf,
then “blot me out of Your book
which you have written” (Ex. 31:32).

Is he daft?!  Why did Moses make such a consequential offer—to give up his eternal life?

Yes, he loved his people that much!  Paul expressed the same incredible love in Rom. 9:3:  “For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren.”

But Moses said what he said in response to what God said to him.  “Let Me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven” (Deut. 9:14).  Did God only mean physical destruction and they would have their opportunity for salvation in the Great White Judge Judgment?  Moses saw how furious God was and must have thought the worst!

Moses knew about the Book of Life. And he saw that God was “provoked” (verse 7) and “angry enough with you to have destroyed you” (verse 8).   No wonder Moses graciously intervened with a second fast of 40 days and nights.  A simple “They’re sorry and won’t do it again” wouldn’t cut it!

Good thing for Israel that their leader was Moses!  Good thing for Moses that God (the One who became Jesus Christ) rejected Moses’ replacement offer:  “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot him out of my book” (Ex. 32:33).  Yes, it’s

the “Lamb’s Book of Life” (Rev. 21:27)

We mankind should be eternally thankful that our Judge is the Son of Man (John 5:22) who came down and lived 3-1/2 years on the earth and was tempted in all points as we are (Heb. 4:15).

Well-meaning but false teachers wrongly claim “once saved, always saved.”  They try to explain away the warning about sinning willfully in Heb. 10:26-29.  They ignore  Paul’s statement about making sure he wouldn’t be disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27).  They pardon Jesus for talking about unpardonable sin (Matt. 12:31-32).  They add  or take away words  from the Bible, or simply reject and disobey the ones there,  which means “God shall take away his part from the Book of Life” (Rev. 22:19).

David also knew about the Book of Life.  After his terrible sins regarding Bathsheba and Uriah the Hittite, and the courageous life-saving rebuke by God’s prophet Nathan, David humbly pleaded, “Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me” (Psa. 51:11).

In Psa. 69:28 regarding people who “add iniquity to their iniquity,” David asked God, “And let them not come into Your righteousness.  Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and  not be written with the righteous.”

Jesus is the One who writes our names into the Book of Life when we receive the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9) and He will be the One who erases or blots out somebody.  It is so encouraging that Jesus said nobody can pluck us out of His hand” (John 10:28).

When satan asked for Peter, to sift him as wheat, Jesus prayed for him that his strength would not fail! (Luke 22:31).  Satan was only allowed to trouble Job as  much as God (Jesus back then) permitted.  Jesus has our back—and the rest of us!

If Jesus is forced to remove our name from His Book of Life, it will be because we neglected so great a salvation (Heb. 2:3), let another take our crown because we  don’t hold fast what we have (Rev. 3:11), or buried our talent as an unprofitable servant through laziness and fear (Matt. 25:14-31).  It will be our fault!

Acts 2This

Sunday, June 4, we celebrate God’s Holy Day called Pentecost

  God and the Word’s plan before the foundation of the world was to start the New Testament Church of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Pentecost is also called the Feast of Firstfruits because it pictures calling and harvesting firstfruits who will help Jesus Christ reap the big harvest during the Millennium and  Great White Throne Judgment on earth.  The firstfruits will become kings, judges, teachers and priests.

It’s interesting in Nehemiah that priests who returned from Babylon wanting to serve in Jerusalem, unless “registered by genealogy … were excluded from the priesthood as defiled” (Neh. 7:64).  What a striking parallel!  We would-be priests coming out of modern Babylon better be found in the Book of Life!

powerPaul says to each of us:  “This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.  For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline” (2 Tim. 1:6-7, New Living Translation).

We must “be even more diligent to make your call and election sure” (2 Pet. 1:10).  We must “follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Rev. 1:14).

VW accordWe must be like the disciples gathered at Pentecost in Acts 2:1.  Topping modern attempts to see how many bodies they could stuff into a VW, the 120 were “all in one Accord!”  Hope that wasn’t the unpardonable sin in your book!  Today Church of God leaders are ramping up brethren to live in harmony with what the Father and Son are doing, in unity through the Holy Spirit.

bride of ChristWe must “overcome” so we can “be clothed in white garments.”  Engage to become the Bride of Jesus Christ and be registered in the wedding book as the Bride, not a guest!  With God’s help we must overcome now because there is no greater power  than the Holy Spirit so we have everything we need now.  Then the Lamb and husband will say “I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life” (Rev. 3:5).

world-37-gold