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Mike Runion Posts

Rapture

“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. 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. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess 4:16-18). NKJV

Perhaps you have been a bit troubled lately digesting a new twist of an old subject. Naysayers teaching that there will be no rapture of the church. If you are like me you are tired of hearing the proliferous material of misguided teaching on the subject. There is a gross and maligned effort to focus our attention on anything but the contextual and historical interpretation of the Word of God. We only need to look at what Jesus and his followers taught and it will be relatively simple to put the naysayer’s material to rest.

When Jesus taught the disciples He taught that He would one day “go away” but he would “return” and gather all the believers to Himself. Traditionally we have called this the rapture. The word rapture comes to us from the Latin translation of the Scriptures (i.e., Latin Vulgate). Rapture is the English equivalent to the Latin raptura meaning seizure, carrying off or catching away. While the English word “rapture” is not found in the English Bible the truth of the rapture, the catching away—its meaning, is everywhere in Scripture.

Enoch was the first rapture in the Bible “for God took Him” (Genesis 5:24). Never mind then if a rapture is possible—just ask Enoch and you will hear his answer form the pages of God’s Word. Just because the Latin word “rapture” does not appear in the English Bible it does not mean there will not be a “catching away” of all believer one day. Have you ever thought about the word “Bible?” You cannot find that word in the Scripture itself but that does not mean there is not a Bible (i.e, a collection of books). If you will read the Bible clearly and in its context you will find amazingly that Jesus alluded to an event that would take place in the future that sounds just like the “catching away” so descriptive of this Latin word rapture! (Matthew 24, 25) and Paul spoke of it too, (1 Thess 4:16-18; Corinthians 15:51-52) Luke mentions the same event (Acts 1:9-11) and John describes the same (John 14:1-3). This is a really small portion of the Scriptures that speak of an event we describe with the word “rapture.”

I choose to believe Jesus. In addition, I believe the Scripture written by Paul, Luke, John and all the many eyewitnesses of Christ who heard Him teach and preach on the subject! Jesus is coming soon. If you read the Bible you will see this for yourself and the voices that decry this truth will fade away and you will find the comfort Christ gives through this promise. That is why Paul told us the truth of the rapture so that we can, “Therefore, comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess 4:18). Turn to Christ—believe on Him and when He comes—we will go! How comforting! Today, why don’t you live life on the lighter side, comforted with this truth!

 

 

 

Salt Life

 

     “. . . If the salt loses its flavor . . .” (Matthew 5:14)

Surreal, chilled, shrouded in darkness, and dauntingly deep—the massive cave quarried principally by hand into the Romania underground supplied salt for decades. Surrounded by tons of salt the following question flooded my thoughts. How could salt have been there for millennia waiting to be harvested and still it is salty? Just a minute—does salt ever lose its flavor or purposefulness? Jesus indicated that it could. How long does that take? Jesus said, Christians were the “salt of the earth” but then he asked a searching question, “If the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?”

Why would Jesus refer to salt losing saltiness? Salt has been in the earth thousands of years and it is salty still! Science can demonstrate that salt, even after processed, has a really long shelf life and there is really only one way salt can lose its saltiness—it must become mixed with something that dissolves the sodium chloride. In this way it can indeed lose its saltiness.

For a believer this means that their life becomes mixed or diluted in worldliness so that their testimony is weakened and rendered ineffective. No longer will they display an appetizing faith for someone hungering for true answers. The Christian who lives carelessly close to worldliness can indeed lose his or her saltiness, their flavor, or the taste that makes faith in Christ palatable for those who are searching.

Stay close and clean in Christ….stay salty!

 

Thought Life

    Thought Life

Isa 55:6-9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

 Secure the stethoscope ear tips. Warm the diaphragm in your hands. Now, place your stethoscope over Isaiah’s heart. There—now you can hear it—the heartbeat of God! With every thump you can watch Isaiah pen God’s thoughts and ways from an ancient inkwell onto the pages of God’s Word. How kind of him to share with us the differences he observed between God and us. The dissimilarities in the way we think. You have noticed the same, haven’t you? Our perspectives and viewpoints are unlike God’s.

Perhaps, another-heart beat would be appropriate here. Isaiah writes, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isa 55:7). Could it be that God’s thoughts are totally for our good? He told Jeremiah, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). Is not His thoughts better than my own? We can self-destruct looking for temporary happiness. All the while God dispenses eternal joy! God’s heart-beat, His thoughts and His ways are worth our paying attention to.

For example, we watch a parade go by one float at a time. We hear one band at a time and further into the parade another and then another. We wait to see what is coming around the corner. God though, sees the whole parade at one time. From start to finish God knows the end from the beginning. We must believe that He can see what we can’t—that which is not visible to you and me is clearly known to God from eternity past. We cannot see around the corner but take comfort—He can.

How careful we should be when listening to our somewhat diminished and inferior thoughts? Our minds are so susceptible to error through our pride and our rationale inclined to misconception and fallacy. Our logic is continually influenced by the ever increasing secularization of our world and church. Is not our heart, “deceitful above all things?” Jeremiah observed. He then asked, “Who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9–10). “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind” responds God.

Suppose then we remove the stethoscope, while the warmth from Isaiah’s heart still occupies its surface and place it over our own heart. Place the ear tips now in the Master’s ear. He searches … deep breath … again! What does God listen for …

He waits for it,

To hear what? The pulse of His thoughts and ways in our heartbeat!

“Seek him while he may be found call upon Him while he is near” (Isa. 55:6-9).