Sword Tips to Return

Sword Tips will be suspended for the next month while I am away on a preaching trip to India, and will resume in late February. Thanks to everyone for reading “Sword Tips” – see you with more soon!

Regards,
Joe

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Going Home #389

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. (Psalm 116:15)

I spoke with a wonderful Christian lady today. We have never met, but, it seemed like we had known each other for years. We spoke of trips to far off places. She knew of my approaching trip to India, and said she would pray for me. I replied that she is in the hearts and prayers of many. She talked about her own trip home. She expects to get there soon. She is in hospice care, and she knows her death is drawing near. But what an impact she had on me today! Oh, what a blessed hope to possess the comforting assurance of the Savior as your life draws to its end. The Lord sees death as a great and valuable experience for His holy ones. And, God’s people see death that way, too. Are you ready for your passage from time to eternity? Live by faith. Walk in the light. Love your God and your neighbor. One day we will also go home. I want to meet Shirley when I get there.

A Heart like God’s #388

So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:6–7)

When the prophet Samuel looked at Eliab, the firstborn son of Jesse, he was confident this was the young man God was selecting to be king over His people Israel. But God does not base His decisions on appearance and other physical attributes when deciding His purposes. God sees the heart, and in the youngest son of Jesse God saw “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22). We should not conclude that outward actions do not matter to God – “as long as our heart is sincere”. God saw a heart in David that would “do all My will”. God expects our obedience to be from the heart. Like David, obedience from the heart is thorough (“all”). What kind of heart does God see in you today?

God Will Hear and Save #387

17  The Lord is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works. 18  The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. 19  He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. 20  The Lord preserves all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy. 21  My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, And all flesh shall bless His holy name Forever and ever.” (Psalm 145:17–21)

God is never to be blamed for evil. Far from it; He is thoroughly upright in character and gracious in all His works. God is ever ready to respond to the person who appeals to Him in truth, reverence and love. By contrast, He will destroy the wicked because they choose to ignore Him and refuse to praise Him, trust Him and love Him. God will be your wellspring of eternal blessing when you call upon Him in truth, fear and love. God is ready to save you. He will not bless wickedness. He will destroy it and all who practice it (2 Ths. 1:8-9). Are you ready to come to God and be saved? The gospel tells you how (believe in Christ and confess Him, repent of your sins and be baptized, Mark 16:15-16; Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 2:36-41).

When Jesus Returns #386

16  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18  Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16–18)

There are many fanciful conjectures and false teachings about the return of Jesus Christ. Foremost among them is that Jesus will return to earth itself. Yet, this verse says both dead and living Christians will “meet the Lord in the air” when He returns, and “thus” (in this manner) they shall “always be with the Lord”.  This passage is a snapshot of what the saved will experience when Jesus returns. We have great comfort in these words because (1) the Lord Himself will descend, (2) all dead saints will be raised, (3) all living saints will be caught up with them, and (4) all the saints will always be with the Lord – not on earth, but in heaven.

Remember the Words of Jesus #385

These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you. (John 16:1–4)

The words of Jesus comfort the faithful. Even though faced with opposition, rejection and threats of death, the apostles of Christ were assured by the Master that they are known by Him and by the Father. The world does not know God and His Son, Jesus. Christians do. The word of Christ gives us strong encouragement and strengthens our faith against very temptation, every trial meant to break us. Remember the words of Jesus today. He will never fail you or forsake you.

Don’t Lead Others into Sin #384

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! (Matthew 18:6–7)

Our words and actions affect others. With a life of faith you can positively impact others (Matt. 5:14-16). But, also see in this verse that Jesus said it is possible for you to cause others to sin. Sin is never isolated; it has an evil, debilitating influence. Here, a Christian may set a snare before other believers and thereby helping them to sin. Christ delivers a divine denunciation (“woe”) on the disciple who leads a believer into sin. We expect unbelievers to set stumbling blocks before us. But, a Christian should never lay a snare before another believer. We must be careful to help one another be faithful to the Lord instead of helping each other sin against Him.