Surviving the Tribulation if You Are Left Behind

Jesus began, “I want to talk to you about the coming Tribulation. In all of history there will never again, nor has there been before, a time such as this. Men will be at their wit’s end trying to figure out what to do next. Nothing will make sense to them and everything will be topsy turvy. I am trying to prepare now those who will be left behind.”

The information that Jesus shares here with Clare du Bois, one of His proven prophets, on how to survive the Tribulation, is paramount. Opinions vary as to how many Christians are likely to be caught up in the Rapture. Some teach that very few will make it. However, Jesus’ Parable of the Ten Virgins – young women waiting for the Bridegroom to return (Matthew 25:1-13) states that those who have oil in their lamps will be raptured. These are the ones who are filled with the Holy Spirit and are living for their Lord – not for themselves. In Jesus’ parable, only half the number of those waiting for the Bridegroom’s return went in to the Wedding Banquet before the door was shut.

The most important thing for us, undoubtedly, is to do our utmost to follow the guidelines clearly given in the Word, many of which were highlighted in recent posts. The main point for us to bear in mind is that Jesus will return for a Bride who resembles Him as far as she can, and who longs to be more like Him. Jesus looks upon our hearts above everything else, and where He sees our yearning to be more like Him, in His mercy Jesus imputes righteousness to us.

It is very important, and only fair, to share with all our loved ones and, in fact, anyone we know who may not be ready for the Rapture, this significant teaching that Jesus is giving us here.

Avoid attracting the attention of the NWO!

Jesus continued to speak, “There is no sense in accumulating wealth, position or power because everything will be scrambled and reorganised based on loyalty to the New World Order. Any Christian right now who is posturing for higher positions is going to hit a brick wall after the Rapture. There is no need to be alarmed, just informed. Those who are left behind will have to switch their priorities from making money – to surviving. And I don’t mean surviving physically alone. Yes, survival must also be spiritual, understanding and being sensitive to the movement of My Spirit.

“The most opportune time to escape government control will be immediately after the disasters, because many will be presumed to be dead. That will be before organisation sets in, although that will happen very quickly as food, water and medical necessities will be offered through their agency and they will take down names and numbers for future reference. In this way, they can catalogue very quickly who is still living, by offering necessities. Those who do not come forth, they will assume have been killed. They are relying on people’s vulnerabilities for them to come forward for aid. Those who have no need for that will more easily escape being brought in captive. In fact, in many places that are feeding stations, people will be detained and placed in holding facilities. At first, this will look like benevolence on the part of the government, when in fact it is merely a way to dispose of them. Do not, under any circumstances, go forward for aid.

“Place no confidence in the flesh. Do not imagine for one moment that you can provide or take care of yourself without My intervention… or more properly, without My complete control. When you place confidence in your own flesh – in your ability to defend yourself, your ability to provide for yourself – you set yourself up for failure. There are those who are going to walk into the Tribulation with empty pockets and not a place to go, no food, no preparation at all. And yet they will be fully provided for every step of the way.

When a soul puts all their confidence in Me, I am free to provide everything they need. Rather than providing and surviving, be about My business and all these things will be added unto you. Your insecurity and panic do nothing but give the devils permission to sift you, wear you out and cause you to move prematurely right into the enemies’ waiting arms. But with your focus on bringing souls to Me I am free to provide all you need. My faithfulness is your rear guard and covering. It is a lack of knowledge of Me that causes others to dive in and apply themselves to providing for their own needs. When you know Me, you know I have already provided a way out, complete with food, medicine and cover that will make you invisible to the enemy.

Spiritual Survival Techniques

“It is by My Spirit alone that protection will be rendered to those left behind. Nothing of man’s design will bring peace for families, only My ability to save and protect will be found effective. You must turn wholeheartedly to Me and ask for My protection. I will protect you supernaturally if I am your only recourse. But there are certain rules you must live by. Honesty is first and foremost. Vigilance over your own sins and bad example. The devils are clever and they know how to provoke a soul to cause a breach in their covering. Charity, humility and patience also score high on the list of things targeted and necessary to maintain My Protection.

“Come to Me immediately when you fall. Don’t waste a moment. Make a sincere confession and renounce that sin. I will then restore your covering and add to it protection, and the grace to not repeat those sins. I have already taught you about judging others. The quickest way to lose your covering is to slander, calumniate, or gossip about another. Not only will the enemy use this to divide and conquer, he will use it to make you vulnerable to attack. The more key your position is, the more careful you will have to be about your heart attitude.

Be loyal to your designated Group Leader

“Just as in days gone by, when I supernaturally protected My people, so shall I protect those who must stay behind. There will be one among them who will be designated the leader and to him, or her, I will give supernatural knowledge and wisdom. Protect this one who is critical to your mission. Let not the devils cause division, misunderstanding, murmuring and jealousy. Be on your guard against these poisons they will use to divide and scatter you all.

“Together you will survive. Separated, you will face many dangers without anyone to back you up. Do not let them divide and conquer. Be smarter than the enemy, walk in charity and humility and you will have no problems. Walk in self-will, selfishness, suspicion, and rancour, it will be your demise. There will be many testings among the groups, many testings. Painful decisions to make, life or death decisions to make. I will give you peace when the decisions are the hardest. Use lots to help you determine a plan of action.

“I will give you signs of My love, signs of danger, signs when you are going the wrong way, signs when you are going the right way. Be attentive, pay close attention to the signs I send you. If you suspect you have made a wrong decision, stop and pray it through. Better to wait on me than to move forward into a trap. There will be times to act and times to wait. It is in the times of waiting that trials will be the most difficult.

“Pray always, worship and thank Me for every safe moment of your journey, for every provision, for every time you evade the enemy. Use My Name as a weapon of war “for you fight not against flesh and blood but principalities in high places and against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

“I want you all to remember how easy it is to fall into unbelief, to mistrust, to suspect, to be fearful. These are the weapons the enemy will use against you – forewarned is forearmed. Now, My precious ones, cling to My instructions for in them lies life and death. Be not afraid of what man does to your body, only your eternal soul. Do not compromise for the sake of your body, your children, your wife, or for any reason at all. I will be with you to deliver you from evil. Pray often, ‘Deliver us from evil.’ Pray this frequently, it is a powerful prayer.

“Your emotions will be your worst enemy. Sleep will be very important because of the stress you are under, it will quickly deplete your clarity of thinking and energy. This will be a time of survival techniques…especially spiritual survival techniques. Prayer and charity will increase your chances of survival and prayer will be your number one most powerful weapon.

“The enemy is very sly, and he will insinuate many things to turn you against each other. Sitting down and talking it out candidly, honestly, will completely foil his attempts to turn each of you against another. There will be much need for patience and deferring anger. There is always a reason behind a failure and it is always a test of virtue for you to bear it with charity and brotherly love. Remember: you will be judged as you judge one another. If you want mercy, you must first mete out mercy. You may see yourself as superior in the mix, but I guarantee that it will be your downfall.

“Somehow, Beloved, you must cultivate extreme respect for one another. It may look to you that another is inferior to you, but I look upon the heart. And he who loves more is superior, in My viewpoint. You may excel at many things, but if you have not charity, well… that will only buy you pride and vainglory. There are souls that are so interiorly kindly and well disposed that even the most brilliant and accomplished person is far inferior to them.

“This is no longer the world or worldly affairs you are dealing with. It is strictly spiritual and Our standards in Heaven are so far removed from yours – they are unrecognisable. And remember, none of you have absolutely perfect spiritual or Scriptural understanding. Each person has a gift to add to the mix. Your task will be to find out and cultivate that gift and incorporate it. This will be a real trial of teamwork and deferential yielding to one another; how well you take care of the weakest link will determine your success or failure.

Pray whenever you feel threatened

“Whenever you feel threatened, your first recourse is PRAYER. This should be your very first response. There will be many misinformation campaigns, as there always are in war, to turn attention away from what is really important. If you rely on Me alone for your information, you will not fall for these side tracks. There will also be attempts to flush out believers. Be very careful of those who say that they’re going to make an alliance with you, but underneath it all they really want to find out what your agendas are, so they can report you.

You must be baptised in the Holy Spirit

“Listen carefully to the instructions I am imparting to you. Prayer will be your greatest weapon and I will teach you how to pray – it will flow from within you without any effort, so strong will My grace be among you. Prayer will well up from inside and overtake you in moments of fear and danger, and you will be kept safely hidden, as well as have My Peace.

“Do be baptised in the Holy Spirit. Do pray in tongues. Do sing over people in tongues – you are speaking My language and I am praying through you, the perfect prayer. Do not allow anyone to discourage you from speaking in tongues – the devils will use self-conscious, insecure and poorly informed souls to try and stop you from using this powerful gift. Don’t let them. Now more than ever you need to pray in tongues. I will for some of you give the interpretation while you are praying which will inform you of what your true opposition is, be it man, beast – or even your own self.

“In the Tribulation there will be a great need for supernatural wisdom because so many different opponents will be coming against you. I will warn you of them if you make prayer your absolute priority. More than life itself, you need quality prayer time with Me. No one in your group can go without prayer. The ones who will not pray will be the weak links in your chain. They will betray you and make poor choices under pressure. Better that everyone stay in prayer and allow those who will not pray to go elsewhere – that is, once you have done everything in your power to bring them to Me and still they will not acknowledge or choose to live by My standards. Let them go, they will only bring trouble upon the other members of your group.

“Towards the end, when things get the most chaotic, you will need to cleave to Me with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding or devices. I will inspire you with the proper steps to take, even in your dreams I will come to you and instruct you. Understand that the closer you draw to the end of events, the more chaotic it will become and the shorter the time before your deliverance. Pray for strength, courage, wisdom, compassion and peace. It is by your faith that you will be saved, the flesh avails nothing. Everything depends upon faith and trust in Me alone.

“You will witness people breaking down completely and unable to cope any longer. They will retire inside of themselves where they feel safe. All you can do for these is pray and be compassionate. My grace will carry them. They will be among you as the sick and disabled. Do all in your power to tend to them, do not grow impatient with them or cast them away – they may be your saving grace. Because you took care of them, I will take care of you.

“However, If you must leave someone behind, give them a portion of food and water, pray for them that I will take over their care and commend them into My Merciful hands. Do not walk about in guilt – you did all you could and now it’s My turn. You will be tried to your uttermost limits and when you reach those limits turn to Me and say, ‘Lord, take over for me, I am at my end.’ And I will give you the strength to carry on. Remember that My power is made perfect in your weakness. This is My chance to show you just how much you mean to Me and who I truly am in you. Remember that in all situations I am with you and will not desert you. No matter what you face, I’ll be there with you.

“The only ones to escape will be those who follow Me without wavering. And yet there will be martyrdom for some. That will be a crown, not a punishment. For a while after the devastation hits there will be unprecedented conversions until the government can regroup and begin the regime of the Antichrist. Many have already been conscripted to his service in underground cities… Many have also been trained and readied for induction and it is just a matter of time before they swing into action… All are working together, networked into a massive conglomeration of nations under the strictest control of the Antichrist. As things become more organised and young adults enthusiastically offer their lives to the world government, things will become tighter and stricter and more difficult to slip through unnoticed. This is when the mark* will be instituted.

“The Jewish people will be the leading, number one force of evangelisation world-wide. They will be dedicated to bringing in the reign of Messiah upon earth. Neither family nor life will stop them in their zeal. Rather they will be on fire and infused with a special anointing to carry out My will.”

* See ‘The Mark of the Beast’ at the end.

Guidelines for Group Leaders

“Each person among you has a unique purpose. Try to discover that and nurture and honour it. Do not, under any circumstances, hinder a soul who is wanting to step forward and serve. Give them something to do, but do not deny them a job – that will seriously backfire on you. To feel needed, wanted and important is key to keeping the peace. When all work together synchronistically, all will feel satisfied. When things seem to be falling apart, pray against a spirit of Division. This will constantly be the enemy’s course of action.”

At this point Clare added, “I want to say also, Lying spirits are responsible for division. Lying spirits, Beguiling spirits, spirits of Division, Miscommunication, Twisting Communication – all of that is involved in that dynamic of division.”

Jesus continued, “Yes, this will constantly be the enemy’s course of action: divide and conquer, or set someone up for failure and conquer. Be ever so supportive when one of you fails. Come to their rescue with warmth, security and forgiveness. Reacting in anger will only empower the demons to cause dissent and dissatisfaction, which will gnaw away at the hearts of some until there is a strong current of mutiny and division. Never assume that something is good or a good opportunity. Always pray first and find out from Me if it is something you should do.

“Remember the story of the Trojan horse: everyone thought it was amazing booty from their enemy, but once they pulled it inside the citadel, its true intention became clear pas armed soldiers piled out and took the city by surprise. All in all, success can be had through this most difficult of times. But understand, I do not measure success by survival or prowess. My standard is Love, and to die for Me is gain. The focus must be on charity and virtue, trust and faith in My ability to provide. Without these pivotal attitudes, they will not succeed.

Supernatural provision will be made for your every need

“I will provide safe havens in the deserted areas, places with abundant water, natural caverns and sufficient food. Just as the angels provided manna in the desert, so will I release to all sufficient sustenance. Many stores of food will never run out. Medical supplies and healing will also be sustained supernaturally by Me. Many will come into a full-time healing ministry, tending to the sick and infirm, strengthening and giving comfort to those who have collapsed in fear, those on the edge of death, even some to be brought into the Kingdom in the last moments of their lives.

“I have some wonderful things planned for this horrendous time. Many a wall will come crashing down upon the enemy because of prayer. I will supernaturally and literally move Heaven and Earth to protect the holy ones. Some will be martyred, some will survive but all will be provided for. I will not abandon them to the will of their enemies.

“Yes, unsurpassed suffering will be witnessed but also unsurpassed glory and the triumph of faith. There will be many sent from Heaven as visitations to encourage and provide. My angels will be most solicitous for the welfare of the remnant I am shielding from the full force of My wrath.

“My protection can make you invisible. My protection can turn wild beasts away. My protection can save you from the ground giving way beneath you. My protection can provide water and food when there is none. I can do all things, and I will, for those whose agenda is to gather in souls to the Kingdom. Those who give and lead unselfishly, those who are honest and caring for others, these are the ones I will supernaturally protect and provide for.

“Many I will add to your numbers that need salvation. Their eternity is hanging in the balance and if you make their eternity your priority, I will cover you. Souls are going to be racked with confusion and fear, not knowing up from down, so severe will the trials be on the Earth. They will be so thoroughly disoriented that nothing can calm them down but a supernatural grace. A healing grace, laying hands on them and praying for My Peace to descend upon them.

“And for you who are called to heal, I live inside of you. Remember always, only two things are needed for a healing: a sick patient and a believing Christian. When that Christian calls upon Me to heal, whether it be out loud or quietly from the heart, I will reach through them and heal those who are sick. Nothing more is needed. Healing has become some sort of Miracle Cult, where people with the ‘gift’ are worshipped rather than what it truly is, the natural consequence of Me living inside of you and every other believer who has opened the door of their hearts to Me.

“Place your hand on the injured or suffering and imagine My hand moving from your heart, out through your hand and onto the soul. I will do the rest. All you have to believe is that I am and I live in you. This is all that is required for a complete healing of even the most dramatic sicknesses.

People will betray each other

“Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.” Mark 13:12, KJV.

Jesus said, “Many will betray each other and only discernment by My Holy Spirit will alert you to who cannot be trusted. If you judge by outward standards: what is said, what they look like, how they act; if you judge by normal human standards you will be fooled. You must rely on Me to detect weak souls or those sent to find you out.

“A word to the wise: children will betray parents, parents will betray children. You cannot rely on blood ties, human nature will fail you. There will be so much fear and betrayal that no one can be trusted unless I personally impart the witness to you: they are for real. As was done in one country, men with machine guns crashed through a church service and declared, ‘All of you who are Christians, line up against that wall. The rest of you are free to go.’ More than half the congregation left. Then the men put their guns down and said, ‘Good, now let’s have church!’ Yes, it will be very much like that, except out in the wilderness. Not in churches, which will be seized by the government and taken over for their own purposes.

“My people, even if they should bring you before the executioner for your faith in Me, be not afraid. In seconds, I will embrace you for eternity. Mercy will surround and anaesthetise you in those last moments. Supernatural peace will also engulf you as you are led forth to execution. I will be at your right hand and waiting for you to join Me in Eternity, where I have Joy Eternal planned for you, and you will forever be joined to Me.”

The Mark of the Beast

“And He causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom, Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred three score and six.” Revelation 13:16-18, KJV.

The mark of the beast is a mark that will be placed on a person’s forehead or right hand in the end times as a sign of allegiance to the Antichrist. People during the Tribulation will take the mark of the beast because of deception (Revelation 19:20) and coercion: no one will be allowed to engage in commerce without the mark (Revelation 13:16). Some form of worship of the Antichrist is associated with receiving the mark (see Revelation 14:9; 16:2) and those who refuse to worship the image of the beast will be killed (Revelation 13:15).

The question arises as to whether a person who has received the mark of the beast can be forgiven. The answer is ‘No.’

Revelation 14:10-11, describing the fate of someone who takes the mark of the beast, declares, “He also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshippers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

The eternal destiny of those who take the mark of the beast is the Lake of Fire. Why is taking the mark a damnable sin against God? Taking the mark of the beast is a blasphemous act of wilful defiance against God. Receiving the mark of the beast is essentially worshipping Satan. Those who take the mark have made the choice to serve Satan rather than obey God and receive Christ as Saviour. When people make that decision during the Tribulation, God will grant their request to be eternally separated from Him.

It is the RFID microchip that John described in the Book of Revelation. The reference to it being impossible to buy or sell anything without it, makes that unquestionable. Microchips are the size of a grain of rice and are inserted under the skin between the thumb and forefinger using a syringe. The technology is already in use in Europe and in the US. Personal medical data, banking data, National Insurance Number and much more will be stored on the chip. There is no doubt that it could be extremely useful and companies that are doing the chipping say that it’s the future, and that it’s all about convenience.

They state that the chips will not have GPS tracking. However, this type of technology could eventually be used by governments to abuse people’s rights. It is known that it will become mandatory worldwide around the middle of the seven year Tribulation. Secular people as well as Christians are expressing serious concern about privacy issues, such as Who owns where you go? Who owns what you do? Who owns what you buy? Does the person who has taken the microchip own the data? Legal issues are now being raised.

However, for every Christian it is paramount not to be chipped. It has been said that the microchip changes the DNA of those who have it in such a way that they are no longer able to believe in the existence of God. If this is so, it reinforces the fact that it is absolutely vital to refuse it and to choose martyrdom rather than the unending torments of the Lake of Fire. Jesus gives heartwarming reassurance (above) for those who will be called to lay down their lives for Him.

Jesus said in conclusion, “I bless you now with the peace that passes all understanding, courage and endurance. Run the race to the finish line. And remember, that in all situations I am with you and will not desert you. No matter what you face, I’ll be there with you.”

Note from So Greatly Loved

This post consists for the most part of four messages given by Jesus to Clare du Bois, one of His proven prophets. Several years ago Jesus gave Clare the mandate to prepare the Body of Christ for the Rapture. These timely messages need to be made available to a wider public.

My personal testimony how I ‘happened’ to come across the Still Small Voice channel in 2015, and how it totally transformed my walk with Jesus, is in an earlier blog post of mine, entitled ‘Going Deeper in the Heart of Jesus.’

Satanists trained to pull down anointed channels have been assigned to the Still Small Voice channel. To the glory of God they are being born again through the very teachings that their evil master sent them to discredit!

Still Small Voice is a registered charity and mission which does immense good in many practical ways in the Third World. They are helping sex-trafficked children, and do other greatly needed good works among the desperately poor. I am privileged to be one of their prayer warriors. I regularly share shorter excerpts from Jesus’ messages to Clare on Facebook.

For further information visit the website heartdwellers.org

Ways in which We Can Avoid Loss of Reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ

God is full of mercy and His judgment is always just since, unlike our brothers and sisters and everyone else, God looks at our hearts and does not judge by the outward appearance. There is considerable encouragement for us all here. It filled me with tremendous joy when I realised that our Heavenly Father not only sees the deep yearning of our hearts to be like Jesus, but He also imputes as righteousness our intense longing to be holy. What a relief this is! Let us bear in mind the reality of this as we delve deeper into what the Word says about suffering loss when the ‘wood, hay and straw’ in our lives will be consumed by fire at the Judgment Seat of Christ, just prior to the Bride’s marriage to Jesus and the Marriage Supper.

The Bible makes it clear exactly what the Lord will award crowns for in Heaven. To recap:

These crowns will be bestowed

The Incorruptible Crown (1 Corinthians 9:25). This is a special crown given for faithfulness in running the race and exercising self-control in order to serve the Lord and finish the race.

The Crown of Exultation or Rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19; Philippians 4:1). This crown is a reward given for witnessing, follow-up, and ministry to others.

The Crown of Life (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10). This crown is given for enduring testings (trials) and overcoming temptation.

The Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8). This crown is a reward given for our faithfulness in using our gifts and opportunities in the service of the Lord, and for loving His appearing. Note that these two things go together; to love His appearing is to live in the light of it.

The Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:4). This crown is a reward promised to Pastors and Elders for faithfulness in the discharge of their responsibilities in shepherding their flock.

Further reward: our mansions in Heaven

Not only will each one of us be rewarded with a crown (or crowns) but, in addition, part of our reward will be the size, specification and grandeur of our personal dwelling place in Heaven. We can be certain that the Lord, Who knows us all so much better than we know ourselves, will bear in mind our individual taste in style, furnishings, colour and location of our new home. He knows whether we would like a stream or fountain in our garden, and if we would love to have a magnificent view of spectacular mountain peaks, or even the crystal sea. Jesus and our Heavenly Father are busy preparing all these things for us. Jesus told His Apostles in His final discourse, in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, that He was going to prepare a mansion for each one. See John 14:1-3.

How to minimise loss of reward

Living the lifestyle of the Beatitudes

3. Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit [THOSE DEVOID OF SPIRITUAL ARROGANCE, THOSE WHO REGARD THEMSELVES AS INSIGNIFICANT], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].

4.Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are THOSE WHO MOURN [OVER THEIR SINS AND REPENT], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted].

5. Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are THE GENTLE, [THE KIND-HEARTED, THE SWEET-SPIRITED, THE SELF- CONTROLLED], for they will inherit the earth.

6. Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are THOSE WHO HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS, [THOSE WHO ACTIVELY SEEK RIGHT STANDING WITH GOD], for they will be [completely] satisfied.

7. Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are THE MERCIFUL, for they will receive mercy.

8. Blessed [anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature] are the pure in heart, THOSE WITH INTEGRITY, MORAL COURAGE, AND GODLY CHARACTER], for they will see God.

9. Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favour] are THE MAKERS AND MAINTAINERS OF PEACE, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God.

10. Blessed [comforted by inner peace and God’s love] are THOSE WHO ARE PERSECUTED FOR DOING THAT WHICH IS MORALLY RIGHT, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].

11. Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you WHEN PEOPLE INSULT YOU AND PERSECUTE YOU, AND FALSELY SAY ALL KINDS OF EVIL THINGS AGAINST YOU BECAUSE OF [YOUR ASSOCIATION WITH] ME.

12. Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:3-12, AMP.

Note: The capitals are mine, to emphasise the qualities in our lives that will be rewarded in Heaven.

The teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount is extremely important, and it is with these words that Jesus began His significant discourse. If we are endeavouring to make this our lifestyle, our reward in Heaven will be great. The Beatitudes are a big key.

Further keys to minimising loss of reward

It is grievous to God if we ourselves take any credit for the work He is doing through us. This applies to fruit that we may bear, by His grace, in our ministry for the Lord, and also for success we may achieve as we develop the gifting and talents we have received from Him. God has said, “I will not give my glory to another” Isaiah 48:10, KJV. If we do not carefully observe this Scripture we will suffer loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Testimony: Giving glory to God in India

Many years ago, when my husband and I were working as missionaries for Jesus in India, we were asked one Sunday morning to pray for an elderly disabled lady. This poor soul was suffering horrendously because she could do nothing at all for herself. She was unable to use her very painful, badly deformed hands in any way whatsoever. She could not dress herself, or hold anything at all, and had to be spoon fed by her family. She could only sit, walk or lie down, nothing else. She was totally dependent on her long-suffering family.

We prayed for this dear lady, asking Jesus to heal her in His mercy. The Lord moved powerfully that Sunday and we watched as this lady’s deformed, misshapen hands gently became normal before our very eyes. Overcome with joy, she threw herself on the floor and began to kiss our feet. Horrified by this reaction, I said to the pastor whom we were helping, “Quick! Tell her to get up! We did nothing ourselves — please explain that it was Jesus Who healed her!” The lady got to her feet, beside herself with joy. If she had not stood up immediately we would have knelt on the floor with her. It is paramount to give all the glory to the Lord.

My husband and I had done nothing extraordinary; exactly the same thing would have happened to you if you had been in our shoes, and leaning heavily upon the Lord as we were. We had merely asked Jesus to heal this poor little old lady, expecting Him to do so. I learned very early in my Christian life that childlike faith works. To me it is as simple as this: just as a little child knows that Daddy will do what he has promised to do, and will even tell anyone who will listen, “Daddy’s going to give me …” or “Daddy’s going to take me to …” Little children know for certain that Daddy will never let them down. Likewise, as Christians, we know that Abba, our Heavenly Father, will keep every one of the promises in His Word. He always responds to faith. Jesus said to the two blind men, “According to your faith be it unto you” (Matthew 9:29). To His disciples Jesus said, “all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22).

A judgmental attitude inevitably causes loss of reward

We must be extremely careful with our words. King Solomon succinctly wrote, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” Proverbs 18:21, KJV. Whenever we point a judgmental finger at a brother or sister in Jesus, we are hurting our Lord. We are one Body in the Lord, and Jesus is living inside each one of us, so when we judge a fellow believer it is as though we are judging the Lord; this is grievous to Him. Judging others will inevitably cause loss of reward.

Let us endeavour to shut down conversations that aim to tear others down; this includes disciplining ourselves not to gossip. So often we can find ourselves justifying what we are saying about others by calling it ‘an update’!

What are we thinking in our heart?

Our thought life can cause far more damage to others, and to ourselves, than we realise. Thoughts become words and thoughts also become actions. Solomon wrote “As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he” Proverbs 23:7, KJV. What we think about (i.e. our thought life) determines the kind of people we will become.

A W Tozer said, “What’s closest to your heart is what you talk about, and if God is close to your heart, you will talk about Him.”

If we made the effort to train our minds to think only about beautiful things we would soon be speaking much more like Jesus. And we have already seen that our thoughts can become our actions (just as what we are thinking becomes the words we speak). So if we changed our way of thinking, we would eventually find ourselves doing what Jesus Himself would do, as well as speaking more like Him.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can be “transformed by the renewing of [our] mind.” This means that we can literally change the way we think and, by the grace of God, will no longer be “conformed to this world” as Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:2.

The counsel that Paul gave in Philippians 4:8 (below) is nothing less than life-changing. This is the very thought life of Jesus!

Living the crucified life

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” Galatians 2:20, KJV.

How ‘dead to yourself’ are you?

I remember very well how this came to be written in the late 1980s. My husband and children were soundly asleep, and I was lying prostrate on the floor in the middle of the night having a lovely time with the Lord. I had a notebook and pen beside me on the floor, ready to write what the Lord said. He began talking about being ‘dead to myself.’  I jotted down what He said and, as it meant so much to me to get it all down correctly, I asked Him to repeat it all and He did. This still challenges me enormously and I see here the significance to our present theme.

How ‘dead to yourself’ are you?

To be dead to self means to be on the Cross with Jesus, doing nothing to retaliate when people mock you, hurt you, criticise and judge you unfairly.

It means to pray for them, bless them and show only love for them, thinking not at all of yourself and the hurts they may be causing you so undeservedly.

It means not to want to be right, not to justify yourself, nor even to think about yourself and your situation.

It means not to talk about yourself, and not to seek attention.

It means there is no more self – it is dead: buried with Christ in His death.

How ‘dead’ are you?

Do you still smart when others are unkind and overlook you?

Do you still long to be noticed, to be appreciated, to be thought well of?

Jesus made Himself nothing for you; He made Himself of no reputation. He stooped far lower for you than you will ever be called to do, and in the midst of His agony His only thoughts were of love for His enemies.

How ‘dead’ are you?

Does it still matter to you to have your own way, to have things go well for you?

Does it still matter to you to hear your name mentioned in praise?

Can you joyfully let your will, even your deepest desires, be utterly crucified on His Cross?

Can you say, and mean, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me?”

Only through death comes life. Are you willing to be that grain of wheat which falls into the ground and dies? If it does not die it abides alone, but if it dies it brings forth much fruit.

Are you willing? Are you willing to be made willing?

More guidelines to minimising loss of reward

#. Are we living holy lives?

“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14-24

#. Are we availing ourselves of the grace of God?

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. 9:12 “Ye have not because ye ask not.” James 4:2

#. Do we obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit instantly?

“Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.” John 2:5

#. Are we careful about the words we speak?

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue ” Proverbs 18:21

“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Matthew 12:36

#. Do we do everything without complaining?

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 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.” Philippians 2:14-15

#. Are we obeying the teachings of the Bible?

“Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” James 1:22

#. Are we using the talents and gifts we have been given?

See the Parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30

#. Are we covetous: always wanting to upgrade to bigger and better things?

“Let your conversation [way of life] be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5

#. Are we building up a large bank account, though Jesus told us to give freely to the poor and needy?

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven… for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-20.

See also how Jesus commended the poor widow who gave all that she had. (Mark 12:41-44).

#. Have we abandoned our First Love?

After commending the church at Ephesus for their many good deeds, Jesus said, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come into thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Revelation 2:4-5

#. Are we seeking the approval of men or of God?

Jesus said, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets.” Luke 6:26

#. Is Jesus really our life?

“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:4

#. Are we distancing ourselves from the ways of the world?

“I will set no evil thing before mine eyes.” Psalm 101:3

Have we realised yet that entertainment is the devil’s counterfeit for joy? The Bible states that “The joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

The heart of man readily idolises high achievers: great sportsmen, film stars, singers etc. In fact, we frequently hear the term ‘pop idol.’ This should make us think – but does it? However, if we are struggling here, abundant grace is always freely available to us if we humble ourselves and ask Jesus to help us.

The worldly church

These are many Christians who are living for themselves and not for the Lord. They are following whatever is socially acceptable nowadays, using the false reasoning that “everyone is doing it.” They may attend church when it suits them but they rarely pray, unless desperate. These Christians cannot be raptured because they are not like Jesus; and He is returning for a Bride who resembles Him.

The fierce purging of the Tribulation years should bring them to Heaven eventually, shining like gold, if they remain faithful. However, if they persist in living with a partner to whom they are not married, their eternal destination will be Hell. Apostle Paul makes this absolutely clear when writing to several of the churches on the acts of the sinful nature (KJV: works of the flesh).

Most Christians know it is the will of God for us to be holy, and some can even quote 1Thessalonians 3:4. But how many know what the whole of the verse says? “This is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you abstain from fornication.Fornication is sex outside of marriage (living with a partner to whom you are not married).

The Bible states that this will inevitably lead to the unending torments of Hell. In fact, every one of the many sexual deviations leads to Hell [See below]. People refer to their lifestyle as ‘freedom’ but in fact it is the very opposite! Sin does not make us free, it enslaves us. When we are entrapped by sin, we are crucifying Jesus over and over again as we love the very sins for which He suffered unutterable agony on the Cross to save the world.

The heart of Jesus is breaking over His children who are living in sexual immorality. He longs for every one to enjoy the bliss and the tremendous fun He has prepared for us all in Heaven.

Let us bear in mind these words of Jesus: Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat… Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven.” Matthew 7:13-21

This brings us straight back to 1 Thessalonians: “This is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication1 Thessalonians 3:4

Paul wrote on this subject to the Galatian church: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness…. they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21

And to the church at Corinth Paul wrote, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders… shall inherit the kingdom of God.” – they cannot be saved. 1 Corinthians 6:9, NIV

The Bible could not possibly be clearer on these sins, and the ultimate destination to which they lead.

—————

Note from So Greatly Loved

Writing this post has been a huge challenge to me. I have not written from this perspective before. For my own benefit, I shall probably have to refer back again and again to the words written here. I have had to lean very heavily on Jesus for help in writing this. May He have mercy on us all and grant us much more grace.

Further help will be found in previous posts. ‘Jesus, dress me now in the Armour of God’ throws light on how to protect ourselves from the onslaughts of the enemy. I pray this beautiful prayer every morning. It was written by a fellow prayer warrior of mine and shared with her permission.

‘Childlike Faith Works’ has two personal testimonies of mine which illustrate the effectiveness and simplicity of believing like a little child.

A final word of encouragement:

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Scripture quotations marked TPT are from The Passion Translation New Testament with Psalms, Proverbs and Song of Songs, translated from Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic texts by Dr Brian Simmons. Copyright 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing Group, LLC. Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com

Scripture quotations marked AMP are from The Amplified Bible copyright 1954 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

“Let us rejoice and shout for joy [exulting and triumphant]! Let us celebrate and ascribe to Him glory and honor, for the marriage of the Lamb [at last] has come, and His bride has prepared herself. She has been permitted to dress in fine (radiant) linen, dazzling and white – for the fine linen is (signifies, represents) the righteousness (the upright, just, and godly living, deeds, and conduct, and right standing with God) of the saints (God’s holy people). Then [the angel] said to me, Write this down: Blessed (happy, to be envied) are those who are summoned (invited, called) to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me [further], These are the true words (the genuine and exact declarations) of God” Revelation 19: 7-9, AMP.

Who will be present?

It is the Bride of Christ who will be at the Marriage Supper – those whom Jesus catches up to Heaven in the Rapture. At the present time the church is promised to Christ as a bride; she is engaged to Jesus. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “You need to know that God’s passion is burning inside me for you, because, like a loving father, I have pledged your hand in marriage to Christ, your true bridegroom. I’ve also promised that I would present his fiancée to him as a pure virgin bride” 2 Corinthians 11: 2, TPT.

The Bride will consist of the ‘dead in Christ’ and those caught up together with them to meet Jesus in the air when He comes at the Rapture. The Bride is made up of those who have given their life to Jesus and lived for Him, not for themselves, during the Church Age, from Pentecost until the Rapture.

Righteousness identifies the Bride

The key to identifying the Bride is found in her clothing – ‘fine linen’ (Revelation 19) which represents ‘the righteous acts of the saints.’ Additional scriptures add to our understanding of this important point.

Discussing the responsibilities of husbands and wives in his letter to the Ephesian church, Apostle Paul likened this human relationship to the beautiful spiritual relationship between Jesus and the church. The relationship between Christ and His church will be based on righteousness. With this spiritual relationship in mind, Paul wrote:

“… the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5: 23-29, KJV.

Jesus addresses His Bride

We, the church, are already engaged to Jesus as Paul stated. The Lord Jesus told His Apostles in John 14: 1-3 (using the very words the typical Eastern bridegroom would have spoken) that He was going away to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house (Heaven) and that He would come again to receive them to Himself so that they might be together with Him forever. As I know a little about arranged marriage customs from my previous missionary work in India, where a bridegroom would literally build a spacious, well-designed extension to his father’s house where he and his bride would live together when everything was ready, it is clear to me that the Apostles would have been speechless with astonishment to hear Jesus speaking to them in such terms. Here He was addressing men in exactly the same beautiful, traditional marriage phraseology that an Eastern bridegroom uses as he declares his love to his fiancée at the betrothal. Jesus spoke these endearingly tender words during His long final discourse to His beloved Apostles in the Upper Room in Jerusalem where they were celebrating the Passover together on the evening before He was crucified.

The Bride must live a holy life

Jesus will return for a holy Bride, who resembles Himself. Strong emphasis on being righteous is a consistent theme throughout the Bible. Through Moses, God told the ancient Israelites: “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy” Leviticus 19:2, KJV.

Speaking of those who would be in the Kingdom of God, Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” [practise lawlessness], Matthew 7:21-23. KJV.

The Apostles taught the same message. Peter wrote to the brethren, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation” [referring here to our conduct]. 1 Peter 1:15, KJV.

The Bride of Christ, the church, will consist of people who, upon receiving God’s grace: the unmerited pardon for their sins through repentance and, having been baptised will, with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, live righteous lives.

Who selects the Bride?

In our modern world, most men and women choose whom they will marry. In years gone by, parents often selected their children’s bride or bridegroom. In the Old Testament many marriages were arranged by the parents. An outstandingly beautiful example of an arranged marriage is that of Abraham sending his servant to pick a wife for his son Isaac (See Genesis 24:1-4).

In the case of the marriage of the Lamb, it is God the Father who chooses the Bride for His Son. Jesus made this very clear to His disciples when He said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” John 6:44. Emphasising this point further, Jesus said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to me unless it has been granted to him by my Father” John 6: 65, KJV.

Are we storing up treasures in Heaven?

Jesus said, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6: 20). He linked this command to the desire of our hearts: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21; see also verses 10–20).

We are to treasure the Lord Jesus most of all. When Jesus Himself is our treasure, we will commit our resources – our money, our time, our talents – to His work in this world, rather than using them solely for our own personal benefit. The Bible teaches that the Lord views as extremely important our motivation for everything that we do. In the days of the Roman Empire there were many Christians in the churches who were slaves: men and women who worked for a living as servants to the wealthy. In his letter to the Colossians Paul specifically addresses them, explaining that God has an eternal reward for those who are motivated to serve Christ first and foremost:

Apostle Paul wrote to the Colossian church, “Let every employee listen well and follow the instructions of their employer, not just when their employers are watching, and not in pretense, but faithful in all things. For we are to live our lives with pure hearts in the constant awe and wonder of our Lord God. Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord himself and not merely for others. For we know that we will receive a reward, an inheritance from the Lord, as we serve the Lord Yahweh, the Anointed One! A disciple will be repaid for what he has learned and followed, for God pays no attention to the titles or prestige of men” Colossians 3:22-24, TPT.

When we live sacrificially for Jesus’ sake, serving the body of Christ, we are storing up treasures for ourselves in heaven. Even seemingly small acts of service do not go unnoticed by God for Jesus said, “Whoever gives a cup of cold water to one of my humble disciples, I promise you, he will not go unrewarded” Matthew 10:42, TPT.

Some Christians with more noticeable gifts such as singing, or playing a musical instrument, writing or painting, might be tempted to use their gift for their own glory.

Those who use their gifts coveting the praise of men rather than seeking God’s glory, receive their ‘payment’ in full here and now. The applause of men was the extent of the Pharisees’ reward (Matthew 6:16). Why should we work for the applause of men when we can have so much greater reward in heaven?

The Lord will always faithfully reward us for the service we give to Him. The writer to the Hebrews states, “For God, the Faithful One, is not unfair. How can he forget the work you have done for him? He remembers the love you demonstrate as you continually serve his beloved ones for the glory of his name” Hebrews 6:10, TPT.

Our ministries may differ, but we are serving the same Lord. Apostle Paul wrote, “Now, the one who plants and the one who waters are equally important and on the same team, but each will be rewarded for his own work” 1 Corinthians 3:8, TPT.

In Matthew 19: 16-30 we read that the rich young man loved his money more than he loved God. The issue wasn’t that the young man was rich, but that he ‘treasured’ his riches and did not ‘treasure’ what he could have in Christ. Jesus told the man to sell his possessions and give to the poor, “and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (verse 21). The young man went away from Jesus sad, because he was very rich. He chose this world’s treasure and so did not lay up any treasure in heaven. He was unwilling to make Jesus his treasure. The young man was very religious and Jesus exposed his heart of greed.

We are warned in the Bible not to lose our full reward by following after false teachers. Apostle John wrote, “Numerous deceivers have surfaced from among us and gone out into the world, people who will not acknowledge Jesus Christ coming as a man. These deceivers are antichrists! Be on your guard so that you do not lose all that we have diligently worked for but receive a full reward” 1 John 1:7-8, TPT.

This is why it is so important to be in God’s Word daily. In that way we can recognise false teaching when we hear it. Paul urges Timothy, “Always be eager to present yourself before God as a perfect and mature minister, without shame, as one who correctly explains the Word of Truth” 2 Timothy 2:15, TPT.

The treasures that await the child of God will far outweigh any trouble, inconvenience, or persecution we may be called upon to face (Romans 8: 18). We can serve the Lord with all our heart knowing that God is the One who is keeping a record of our life, and His reward for us will be abundantly gracious.

Rewards in Heaven

Experiencing Jesus, His glory, and the joys of Heaven will be so wonderful, it’s hard to understand why extra rewards would be needed. Since our faith rests in Christ’s righteousness and not our own (Romans 3: 21-26), it seems strange that our works would merit reward.

God will give rewards to us in Heaven for many different reasons. He will reward our faithfulness in service according to His calling on our lives. The rewards will show the reality of our sonship (Galatians 4:7). God will give rewards in heaven in order to fulfil the law of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7-9). Our Heavenly Father will make good on His promise that “our labour in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15: 58).

Jesus will share His own reward with us

One reason for the rewards in heaven is the fact that Jesus actually shares His own reward with us. Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” Galatians 2:20, KJV.

Our lives are “hidden” with Christ, who is seated at the right hand of God (Colossians 3: 1-4). We die with Jesus and we live with Him (Romans 6:8). The Word makes it clear that we will also share in His joy: in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25: 14-30, KJV) the Master says, in verse 21, to the servant who had faithfully used all the talents he was given, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

Our lives are inextricably linked with the life of Jesus. The reward He receives will be shared with all of us: “If we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” Romans 8:17, KJV.

The rewards we gain in heaven are not like the rewards we earn here on earth. We tend to think in material terms – jewels, wealth etc. But these things are only representations of the true rewards we will gain in heaven. A child who wins a school prize treasures the trophy he receives not for the sake of the trophy itself but for what that trophy means. Likewise, any rewards or honour we gain in heaven will be precious to us because they carry the weight and meaning of our relationship with God—and because they remind us of what He did through us on earth.

In this way, rewards in heaven glorify God and provide us with joy, peace, and wonder as we consider God’s work in us and through us. The closer we were to God during our life on the earth, the more centred on Him and aware of Him, the more dependent on Him, the more desperate for His mercy, the more we will have to celebrate in Heaven. Rewards in heaven are the completion of our earthly story, and those rewards will be eternally satisfying.

Crowns that will be awarded in Heaven

#. Stephanos. This was the victor’s crown, the wreath given to the victorious athlete before the judge at the Bema. It is the word used of the crowns promised to believers for faithfulness in the Christian life.

#. Diadem is the word used for the royal crown, the crown of a king. To emphasise that Jesus is King of kings, this word is also used of the many diadems the Lord will wear at His return, and is mentioned in Revelation 19:12. The principle here is that our Lord Jesus is the victor, and our victory is really His victory which is appropriated by faith. Crowns are given as rewards for faithfulness to appropriate God’s grace and Christ’s victory in the Christian life. They remind us of our responsibility to abide in the vine.

#. The Incorruptible Crown (1 Corinthians 9:25). This title describes all the crowns. It contrasts our crowns with the temporal and temporary treasure of this life. It is also a special crown given for faithfulness in running the race and exercising self-control in order to serve the Lord and finish the race.

#. The Crown of Exultation or Rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19 and Philippians 4:1). This crown is a reward given for witnessing, follow-up, and ministry to others. In one sense, the Thessalonians will be Paul’s crown, and the effect at the Bema (Judgment Seat of Christ) throughout eternity will be rejoicing or exultation over their presence in heaven. Paul may also have in mind a personal crown or reward that he will receive because of them.

#. The Crown of Life (James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10). This crown is given for enduring testings (trials) and temptation. The crown is not eternal life, which is a gift through faith in Christ alone (John 4:10, Romans 3:24; 5:15-17; 6:23, and Ephesians 2:8), but a reward for enduring trials and overcoming temptation.

#. The Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8). This crown is a reward given for faithfulness to use our gifts and opportunities in the service of the Lord and for loving His appearing. Note that these two things go together. To love His appearing is to live in the light of it.

#. The Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:4). This crown is a reward promised to Pastors and Elders for faithfulness in the discharge of their responsibilities in shepherding the people.

Since Jesus Christ alone is worthy, and because we can only be fruitful when we abide in Him allowing His life to fill our life, we will all cast our crowns before Him in recognition that everything of any worth that we have done was done by His grace.

We will cast our crowns before the feet of Jesus

In Revelation we see the vision that Jesus gave John of the scene in heaven where “the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: ‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.’” Revelation 4: 10-11, KJV.

Jesus promised various rewards for those who faithfully serve Him on earth. These may be the crowns that John saw the elders lay at the feet of Jesus. In their worship, they indicate that, despite what they may have done on earth to earn these crowns, only Jesus is truly worthy of glory and honour. In the presence of the Lord Jesus Himself, all good deeds we have done will pale in comparison. A crown will seem an infinitesimal gift to present to the One who gave His life for us.

The elders’ response is most likely to be the way we will all respond when we receive our reward from Jesus. We will be so overcome with gratitude because of what He has done for us that our worship will be spontaneous. Regardless of what we have endured on earth our priceless crown will seem a trivial offering indeed, but it will be the best gift we can give Him. Although the Scriptures do not state this, it is likely that we will follow the example of the twenty-four elders in casting our crowns at Jesus’ feet.

How will the Bride be made ready for marriage?

As we noted previously, the Bride will be made ready for her marriage to Jesus at the Bema: the Judgment Seat of Christ in Heaven. She will be handsomely rewarded for everything in her life that has pleased God by bearing fruit for the Kingdom. However, at the Bema every failure to bear fruit in her life on earth, every single oversight, her lack of awareness of how she could be a blessing to poor people in dire need when she had more than enough for herself, her lack of awareness of the calling of God on her life – or maybe even her downright refusal to leave her comfort zone for the sake of the gospel… all these issues come under the heading of Wood, Hay and Stubble and will be consumed by fire (see 1 Corinthians 3).

The Bride will realise to her shame how much eternal reward she has forfeited by not asking for the grace of God so freely offered her, and always more than sufficient for her needs. She will learn where she has failed to be a ‘doer of the Word.’ All our work that was not done out of love for Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit, will be consumed by fire as wood, hay and stubble on that day. The Bride will now be totally perfected: “not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing… holy and without blemish” Ephesians 5: 27, KJV. She will emerge pure and radiant after this purging, which awaits every one of us at the Judgment Seat. She will cast her crown(s) at the feet of Jesus lost in love, wonder and adoration of her glorious Lord.

Jesus will escort His Bride, now perfected, into the Marriage Supper – a splendid banquet indeed! I believe that Jesus Himself, together with the Angels, will wait upon His Bride in love. Then will we forever be with the Lord.

Note from So Greatly Loved

In my next article, unless the Lord leads otherwise, it is my intention to write more fully on how some of us may be forfeiting eternal rewards unawares. I am finding writing this series really challenging, and I pray that it will be a blessing to you, as it is to me.

Scripture quotations marked TPT are from The Passion Translation New Testament with Psalms, Proverbs and Song of Songs, translated from Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic texts by Dr Brian Simmons. Copyright 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing Group, LLC. Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com

Scripture quotations marked AMP are from The Amplified Bible copyright 1954 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

After Jesus returns for us, what happens next?

We have noted previously that the Rapture will mark the end of the Church Age (the Age of Grace) which began when Jesus Christ rose from the dead three days after he had been crucified for the sins of the entire world on Mount Calvary in Jerusalem.

When Jesus returns in the clouds for those who are ready for His coming, graves all around the world will suddenly burst open and, to the astonishment and unutterable terror of onlookers, Christians who had lived their lives for Jesus, and had died during the centuries of the Church Age, will spontaneously be propelled upwards out of their graves and be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Then we who are still alive, and ready for and expectantly awaiting the return of our Lord, will be caught up together with them to meet Jesus in the air. We will instantly find ourselves in Heaven, and then we will forever be with the Lord. See 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-17

Our first experience in Heaven: the Judgment Seat of Christ

The Judgment Seat of Christ has been much misunderstood by the Church. It is not a place where the Lord will punish people for their sins. That would be inconsistent with the finished work of Christ on the cross where He totally paid the penalty for our sins. It is rather a place for the giving of rewards, or the loss of rewards, according to how each one of us has lived his or her life for the Lord. It is about how much fruit the Holy Spirit has been ‘allowed’ to produce in our lives, and whether we failed to receive His freely offered grace and therefore limited His work in our lives.

Jesus said, “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the person whose ears are open to My words [who listens to My message] and believes and trusts in and clings to and relies on Him Who sent Me has (possesses now) eternal life. And he does not come into judgment [does not incur sentence of judgment, and will not come under condemnation], but he has already passed over out of death into life.” John 5: 24, AMP.

The Judgment Seat of Christ is more for the bestowing of rewards than for the rejection of failure.

God graciously provides the means by which all believers may serve Him. The Apostle Paul wrote, “[… Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in You the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” Philippians 2: 13, AMP.

We are free to decide whether or not to serve the Lord, and how far we are willing to be committed in His service. God rewards our diligence. Paul said about himself, “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed on me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15: 10, KJV

It is significant that among the final words of the Book of Revelation, at the very end of the Bible, are these words of Jesus: “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be” Revelation 22: 12, KJV

The ‘Bema’: the Judgment Seat of Christ

Paul’s use of the words ‘Judgment Seat’ (Greek bema) in his letters, is in keeping with its original use among the Greeks in their athletic contests. In the games, contestants would compete for the prize under the careful scrutiny of judges who would make sure that every rule of the contest was obeyed. Paul wrote, “And if anyone enters competitive games, he is not crowned unless he competes lawfully (fairly, according to the rules laid down) 2 Timothy 2: 5, AMP.

The victor of an event, if he had participated according to the rules, would be led by the judge to the bema (platform) where the laurel wreath was placed upon his head as a symbol of victory.

Paul wrote to the Corinthian church about the importance of having a disciplined lifestyle, “Isn’t it obvious that all runners on the racetrack keep on running to win, but only one receives the victor’s prize? Yet each one of you must run the race to be victorious. A true athlete will be disciplined in every respect, practicing constant self-control in order to win a laurel wreath that quickly withers. But we run our race to win a victor’s crown that will last forever. For that reason, I don’t run just for exercise or box like one throwing aimless punches, but I train like a champion athlete. I subdue my body and get it under my control, so that after preaching the good news to others I myself won’t be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27, TPT.

A summary of the Order of Events

The Judgment Seat of Christ, the bestowing of rewards, will be held immediately after we have been caught up to meet Jesus in the air.

#. The Rapture, which includes the instant glorification of our bodies as we are caught up to meet the Lord. Paul wrote, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed…” See 1 Corinthians 15: 51ff, KJV

Jesus said, “But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14: 13-14, KJV

#. The examination at the Judgment Seat of the fruit each one has borne in his or her life, and whether for God, or for themselves.

#. The bestowing of rewards for good fruit, borne for the Kingdom of God.

#. Serious loss of reward for believers who failed to avail themselves of the grace of God. It will be an encouragement to you if you can find time to look up the references to the Crowns and Privileges we may be eligible to receive, in the beautiful chart below:

What exactly is Jesus going to reward us for?

In his first letter to the Corinthian church, the Apostle Paul wrote a call to spiritual maturity to believers there who were “still dominated by the mind-set of the flesh… immature infants in Christ.. acting like people without the Spirit’s influence.” Apparently, the Corinthian Christians were quarrelsome, favouring one leader above another, taking up sides, jealous and self-centred. Paul states that it is Jesus Christ who is the foundation of our lives, and all must be careful how they build on that foundation. He goes on to explain that, “the quality of materials used by anyone building on this foundation will soon be made apparent, whether it has been built with gold, silver and costly stones, or wood, hay, and straw. Their work will soon become evident, for the Day will make it clear, because it will be revealed by blazing fire! And the fire will test and prove the workmanship of each builder. If his work is consumed by the fire, he will suffer great loss. Yet he himself will barely escape destruction, like one being rescued out of a burning house” See 1 Corinthians 3, particularly verses 11-15, TPT. This Scripture throws much light on how the Judgment Seat of Christ will operate.

What will be the basis for the judgment of Christians?

Doctrine: How we put into practice the teachings of the Scriptures:

This Scripture is the key: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” James 1: 22, KJV

How we have been treating each other:

We will be judged according to how we react: whether we react to people according to our new nature, or in the flesh.

“But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ”Romans14: 10, KJV.

Our worldly traits and attitudes:

These are made unmistakably clear in the Amplified Bible: Paul wrote, “Set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory. So kill (deaden, deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God).” Colossians 3: 2-5.

Paul further urged the church to put right all that was wrong in their lives: “But now put away and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your lips! Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices” Colossians 3: 8-9.

Later in the chapter, the Apostle wrote on the qualities that will be rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ, “… tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper]. Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony]” Colossians 3: 12-14

We will be judged according to our faithfulness to our calling:

Have we done what God asked us to do for Him? Have we fulfilled everything?

The Purpose of the Judgment Seat: to perfect the Bride

At the Judgment Seat of Christ the Bride will be totally perfected: “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” Ephesians 5: 27, KJV

Are we ready for our Bridegroom’s return?

In the light of the Scriptures quoted in this article, let us pray earnestly for grace to be ready for the return of our Beloved. May we find grace to move in obedience on everything the Holy Spirit is endeavouring to draw attention to in our lives. He is always there for us, pointing us to Jesus, showing us what Jesus would do… how Jesus would react in any given situation. The Holy Spirit is simply yearning to help us. He wants to reveal further to us what the will of God is for our lives. He is our beloved Comforter, our Strengthener, the One called alongside to help us. There is always so much more that we could be doing together with the Holy Spirit for the Kingdom of God – so very much more!

There could be many things that we have been missing. All of God’s children have the call of God on our lives. Are we fulfilling our calling, by His grace? Are we even aware of what our calling is? Do we know what our loving Heavenly Father has planned in love for us to be doing for Him? He will show us if we ask Him. Paul wrote, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” Ephesians 2: 10, KJV.

Let us earnestly seek His face while there is still time. We understand what season we are living in, and that the Age of Grace (the Church Age) could end soon. The indications are that Jesus could return for us at any time. There is so much in the Bible about the importance of watching for His coming. Jesus will return soon for a Bride who is looking for Him, expecting Him, with oil in her lamp… Jesus is coming for a Bride who is READY!

Note from So Greatly Loved

Scripture quotations marked TPT are from The Passion Translation New Testament with Psalms, Proverbs and Song of Songs, translated from Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic texts by Dr Brian Simmons. Copyright 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing Group, LLC. Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com.

Scripture quotations marked AMP are from The Amplified Bible copyright 1954 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

The Rapture: Purpose and Timing

The purpose of the Rapture, according to Scripture, is to permit the revelation of the Antichrist. The word ‘Antichrist’ does not mean ‘against’ Christ. The Greek word ‘anti’ also means ‘another’ and the Antichrist will be heralded as another Christ; he will be seen as another saviour of the world.

Two questions we must answer:

1.What is holding back the open manifestation of the Antichrist?

2.Who is preventing the Antichrist from being revealed?

The relevant passage of Scripture is found in the second letter which the Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church,Now regarding the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him, we plead with you, beloved friends, not to be easily confused or disturbed in your minds by any kind of spirit, rumor or letter allegedly from us, claiming that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. Before that day comes the rebellion must occur and the “outlaw” – the destructive son – will be revealed in his true light. He is the opposing counterpart who exalts himself over everything that is called “God” or is worshiped and who sits enthroned in God’s temple and makes himself out to be a god. Don’t you remember that when I was with you we went over these things?” 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-5, TPT

“And now you know what is restraining him [from being revealed at this time]; it is so that he may be manifested (revealed) in his own [appointed] time. For the mystery of lawlessness (that hidden principle of rebellion against constituted authority) is already at work in the world, [but it is] restrained only until he who restrains is taken out of the way” 2 Thessalonians 2: 6-7, AMP

This may appear complicated but it is easily explained: The Holy Spirit is the invisible part of God’s agency on earth. The Apostle Paul explains here in 2 Thessalonians 2: 6 that it is the power of the Holy Spirit working through the church that is preventing the Antichrist from coming to the fore. So the power of the Holy Spirit is what is holding back the open manifestation of the Antichrist, in answer to our first question.

Believers in the Lord Jesus with oil in their lamps are those who are preventing the Antichrist from being revealed. Once we are no longer on earth, the Antichrist can come to the fore. It is the Church who is restraining the Antichrist, in answer to our second question.

Jesus said that we, as believers, are the “Salt of the earth” (Matthew 5: 13). As salt, we are preserving society from becoming totally evil. As believers, Jesus also said we are the “Light of the world” (Matthew 5: 14). When we go from the earth in the Rapture, the light will go out here. Satan will be cast down to the earth and there will be gross darkness on the earth. Satan will enter into the body of the Antichrist and some believe that, when this possession takes place, the thunder of it will be heard worldwide. The Antichrist himself is already here: he is a significant political figure who has for some years been actively doing untold harm in the world. Once he becomes fully possessed by Satan there will be no force on earth that can oppose his unbridled, unparalleled iniquity.

To recap: The power of the Holy Spirit is ‘what’ is holding back the open manifestation of the Antichrist (in question 1) and it is the Church – Spirit-filled believers with oil in their lamps – ‘who’ are restraining the Antichrist (in question 2).

Where will the Holy Spirit be after the Rapture has taken place?

It is important to understand that the Holy Spirit Himself will definitely not leave the earth. This has been misunderstood by some Christians. The Holy Spirit is God; He is omnipresent. That means that the Holy Spirit is everywhere at the same time. It is the operation of the Holy Spirit in the church that will go from the earth, not the Holy Spirit Himself. He will operate differently on the earth after those who were ready and looking for Jesus have simultaneously been taken home to Heaven in the Rapture. After the Rapture, the Holy Spirit will continue to lead souls to salvation in Jesus and will comfort, strengthen, protect and guide them throughout the indescribably horrendous rigours of the Tribulation.

Jesus taught on the Holy Spirit in John chapters 14 and 16. He said during His long final discourse at the Last Supper, “I will ask the Father and He will give you another Comforter (Counsellor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby) that He may remain with you forever” John 14: 16, AMP.

How the world will react to the Rapture

The world will reel in disbelief. They will have seen Jesus coming in the skies and will have witnessed people being drawn upwards to join Him in the air as though attracted by a magnet. Maybe the Rapture will have been caught on camera? Worldly Christians will be stunned when they see that Jesus has left them behind. They will scream out in terror, beseeching Him to come back for them. The media will announce this unprecedented event as the greatest Breaking News of all time. There will be many accidents worldwide as cars, lorries, buses or trains may suddenly be without a driver. There will be multiple crashes everywhere. Airline pilots will find themselves left without their co-pilot. At least one well known airline has for many years prohibited any two Bible-believing pilots from working together in case the Rapture took place while they were in flight.

People will be instantly thrown into major panic, desperately searching for loved ones who seem to have disappeared. Police Stations will be bombarded by reports of missing people, many of them children, and they will be at a loss to know how to even begin to cope because there will be so many missing at once. The Police will soon realise that in this crisis some of their own best officers have also disappeared without trace. It is more than likely that the Internet will crash. However, the Antichrist will soon get it up and running again in order to enforce his leadership of the iniquitous New World Order.

What will happen to children?

Jesus will take in the Rapture all children who have not yet reached the age of accountability. They will not be left behind to suffer the terrifying events of the next seven years. Likewise, pregnant women who are not raptured will suddenly find themselves no longer pregnant because, by the mercy of God, their babies have been taken to safety in Heaven where they will be raised by the Angels. On earth, all Maternity Hospital cots will instantly be emptied, to the indescribable consternation of parents and nurses.

What will happen to Christians who are left behind?

For those Christians who are left behind when Jesus comes (because they were living for themselves and not for Him – the ‘worldly church’) the Tribulation will be a purging and purifying process. However, they will emerge in the end shining brightly like the sun, to receive their eternal reward in Heaven. The Holy Spirit will guide all believers throughout the critically dangerous Tribulation years by warning them of the enemy’s whereabouts, for example, and leading them to safe hiding places.

The precious gifts of the Spirit (See 1 Corinthians 12) will be fully operational during the Tribulation. The gifts of the Word of Wisdom, the Word of Knowledge, Prophecy and Faith will be vital to them in those hazardous times. The gifts of Healings, and the Working of Miracles, will be greatly needed during those critical years too. All believers on the earth will be Spirit-filled at this time; they could not survive the Tribulation otherwise. Doctrinal differences will have long since have failed to be an issue.

Many will turn to Jesus immediately after the Rapture

Huge numbers of people will be born again immediately after the Rapture. Some will be astounded to see that Jesus did indeed rise again from the dead. Every eye will see Him coming in the skies, and nobody on earth will be able to deny any longer that Jesus rose from the dead and is alive today. Others will learn with a shock that family and friends who had warned them about the Rapture were right after all. However, they will not be left on earth to go through the Tribulation without the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. It is believed that Ministering Angels will also be on the earth to help newly born-again Christians.

Some readers may already know that, for at least twenty-five years, certain caring Christians have been fulfilling their calling to prepare safe houses for Christians during the Tribulation. These dedicated believers have been equipping such places with everything that could be needed. Some mature Christians have even offered to stay behind instead of being taken in the Rapture in order to help those who will be going through the Tribulation. I know of one intercessor who bravely volunteered, but the Lord told her that He has other plans for her.

When will the Rapture take place?

A close study of Matthew 24 throws some light on this question. In the King James Version of the Bible the three distinct time zones referred to by Jesus are separated by the word ‘then’ in verses 9 and 16.

In Matthew 24: 4-8 we read a graphic description of the days in which we are currently living, and have been experiencing for many years:

#. Verse 5: many will come preaching in the name of Jesus Christ, claiming to be Jesus Himself, and will deceive many.

#. Verse 6. there will be many wars, and rumours of wars being on the verge of breaking out.

#. Verse 7: nations will rise up against each other, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be severe famines, epidemics on a large scale, and earthquakes worldwide in places where earthquakes had not been known before.

#. Verse 8: Jesus sums up this unsettling period as “the beginning of sorrows.”

THEN. . . It is suggested by theologians that Matthew 24: 9-15 describes the first three and a half years of the seven year Tribulation:

THEN. . . It is suggested that Matthew 24: 16-27 describes the second half of the Tribulation: a time of increasingly severe misery.

Who is the Bride?

We are currently living in the Church Age – the Age of Grace: the period between the Resurrection of Jesus and His coming again in the skies to take His Bride to Heaven to be with Him forever. The Bride consists of Christians who are living for Jesus only, not for themselves; they have made themselves ready for His return and are expecting His coming. Notice the significance here of our first picture: “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory” Colossians 3: 4, KJV. The Bride of Christ is head over heels in love with her heavenly Bridegroom. He IS her life. Scripture makes it clear that only these Christians will be taken in the Rapture. Jesus is coming for those who give Him first place in their lives and honour Him in everything. The Bride resembles her Bridegroom.

Indications that the Rapture will be before the Tribulation

#. In Revelation chapters 1-3, we read the letters written to the seven churches in Western Turkey. “The seven churches become a representation of all churches, for the number seven denotes completeness, fullness, wholeness, and perfection.” Dr Brian Simmons’ footnote to Revelation 1: 4 in The Passion Translation New Testament.

#. Then in Revelation chapter 4 we read of the catching up (rapture) of the Apostle John into the throne room in Heaven: “After this I looked, and behold a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice which I had heard addressing me like [the calling of] a war trumpet said, Come up here, and I will show you what must take place in the future. At once I came under the [Holy] Spirit’s power, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with One seated on the throne!” Revelation 4:1-2, Amplified Bible.

#. It is highly significant that neither the word ‘church’ nor ‘churches’ is mentioned again throughout the Tribulation period shown to the Apostle John, and so graphically described by him in the book of Revelation. It is clearly not the intention of God that the church should go through the Tribulation. In future articles we will examine how we may ensure that we are ready for the coming of our Heavenly Bridegroom.

#. Scripture consistently makes it clear that God’s perfect will was not that believers should have to endure the Tribulation period. The Apostle Paul wrote, ” And now you eagerly expect His Son from Heaven – Jesus, the deliverer, whom he raised from the dead and who rescues us from the wrath to come” 1 Thessalonians 1: 10, TPT.

#. This view is further corroborated by Paul in the same letter, “God has not destined us to experience wrath” 1 Thessalonians 5: 9, TPT.

#. Luke writes about making sure that we are ready for Jesus’ return, making it clear that we can indeed escape the Tribulation, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” Luke 21: 36, KJV.

#. 1 Thessalonians 5: 3 states in the context of the Lord’s return, “When people are saying, All is well and secure, and, There is peace and safety, then in a moment unforeseen destruction (ruin and death) will come upon them as suddenly as labor pains come upon a woman with child: and they shall by no means escape, for their will be no escape” AMP.

NOTE: this sudden destruction will come upon them, not us, because we are well aware of the Rapture that is shortly to take place, and are learning how to get ready so that we will not be caught unprepared.

Why the Rapture can neither be Mid-Trib nor Post-Trib

No man knows the hour of the Lord’s return (Matthew 24, verses 36, 42 and 44). However, we know from the Book of Daniel that the Tribulation period begins with a seven year covenant. This seven year covenant is generally believed to be a peace treaty made by the Antichrist to give lasting peace between Israel and the Arab nations. This means that if the Rapture was “mid-Tribulation” or “post-Tribulation we could easily pinpoint the time of Jesus’ return from that date of the signing of that peace treaty. Jesus clearly states in Scripture that no man would know the time of the Rapture, but His Father only. The Pre-Tribulation view is irrefutable.

Make Sure You are Ready!

Note from So Greatly Loved

I intend to share much more teaching in future articles on how to be ready for the return of Jesus for His Bride. This is teaching that has revolutionised my own life, and which I have been encouraged to publish. You may find these articles that I have already published helpful: “Get Ready for Your Journey” and “Jesus Teaching on ‘Without Love You will Not Be Taken in the Rapture.'”

Scripture quotations marked TPT are from The Passion Translation New Testament with Psalms, Proverbs and Song of Songs, translated from Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic texts by Dr Brian Simmons. Copyright 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing Group, LLC. Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com.

Scripture quotations marked AMP are taken from the Amplified Bible, copyright 1954, by the Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

What is meant by the ‘Rapture’?

Christians from many different denominational backgrounds are eagerly looking forward to an event widely known as the ‘Rapture.’ End time Bible prophecy is unfolding before our very eyes and the excitement is mounting from day to day.

Unfortunately, a number of people are posting on YouTube videos in which they confidently announce that the return of Jesus in the Rapture will be on this or that day, giving their own personal reasons for their opinion. Many such dates have come and gone, and we are all still here as I write.

It is very unwise to waste time in speculation about dates, particularly as Jesus Himself told us in Matthew 24 that even He does not know when His Father will send Him to take home to Heaven those who are ready and looking for His coming. Jesus said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” [Matthew 24: 36, KJV]. Rather than speculating, we should prioritise getting ourselves ready, making sure that we have plenty of oil in our lamps. It is helpful to read Jesus’ parable about Ten Virgins who were waiting for the arrival of the Bridegroom. Only those with oil in their lamps were able to go into the wedding supper when the Bridegroom eventually came for them [Matthew 25: 1-13].

Topics on the Rapture to be covered in this series

In this series of articles I aim to cover the timely, highly significant subject of the Rapture from various angles. Together we will consider the following, among other topics:

#. The origin and meaning of the word ‘rapture.’

#. What will happen at the Rapture.

#. Who, according to the Bible, will be taken in the Rapture.

#. The main views regarding the timing of the Rapture.

#. The probable explanation of the Rapture that will be given by the New World Order leaders as they come to terms with the unprecedented event of the simultaneous disappearance of millions of people worldwide caught up out of sight in the clouds as all those left behind watched. It is written, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him” [Revelation 1:7, KJV].

#. The Bride of Christ must resemble her heavenly Bridegroom. He is not coming for a worldly Bride. Guidelines will be given on what we can all be doing in order to be ready for the return of Jesus.

#. The importance of leaving a letter, a Bible and other relevant literature, in a conspicuous place for our loved ones who do not believe in the Rapture, or whose lifestyle indicates that they may well find themselves left behind. It would be criminal not to warn our dear ones of the horrendous, irreversible consequences of taking the micro chip during the Tribulation. They need to be told that it will not be too late to be born again after the Rapture, provided they consistently refuse to take the RFID micro chip. A full explanation will be given in a later article.

The origin and meaning of the word ‘rapture’

The English word ‘rapture’ describes a state or experience of being carried away. It comes from the Latin verb, rapio rapere raptum, meaning to seize or snatch away in ecstasy of spirit, or the actual removal from one place to another. It means to be carried away in spirit or in body; the Rapture of the church specifically means the carrying away from earth to Heaven of believers in Jesus who are ready and are looking for His coming.

The Greek word from which the term ‘rapture’ is derived is found in 1 Thessalonians 4: 17 where it is translated ‘caught up.’ The original Greek New Testament word is ‘harpazo’ which means ‘to snatch or take away.’ Elsewhere the word ‘harpazo’ is used to describe how the Holy Spirit caught up Philip near Gaza and instantly brought him to Azotus [Acts 8: 39-40]. The same Greek word is used to describe the Apostle Paul’s experience of being caught up into the third heaven [2 Cor. 12:2-4]. There can be no doubt that the word ‘harpazo’ is used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 to indicate the actual removal of Christians from earth to Heaven.

Some argue that the word ‘Rapture’ is not in the Bible. The answer I give to this objection is that in the early translations of the Bible, neither are the words ‘trinity,’ or even ‘grandfather’ found, but the concept of both definitely is.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” [2 Corinthians 11: 2, KJV]. Our Heavenly Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus, will come for those who resemble Him, those who share His nature, those whose life is Christ [Colossians 3: 4]. He will return like a bridegroom coming for his fiancée who is head over heels in love with him. Our Heavenly Bridegroom is coming soon for those who are one with Him – those who are showing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in their lives, and are eagerly looking forward to His return to take them to His Father’s house in which are many mansions. The marriage has been arranged according to eastern custom, and the Bridegroom has promised His Bride-to-be that He is going away to prepare a place for her and that He will return to take her to Himself [John 14: 1-3].

The Rapture is a Mystery

The Rapture of the church is a mystery: that is, it is revealed in the New Testament only, and is not specifically mentioned in Old Testament Scripture.

The foreshadowing of the Rapture in the Old Testament

However, the Rapture is foreshadowed in the life of Enoch, the seventh generation from Adam and great grandfather of Noah. It is recorded in the book of Genesis that Enoch enjoyed a remarkably close walk with God: Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God; and he was not, for God took him [home with Him]” [Genesis 5:24, Amplified Bible]. God caught Enoch up to Heaven before the Flood judgment. It is thought that Enoch had given his book, the ‘Book of Enoch’ to his great grandson Noah for safekeeping. It is possibly the oldest book in the world and, incidentally, is available in paperback from Amazon. We have a copy in our family.

Another Old Testament event that dramatically foreshadows the Rapture is the extraordinary way in which the prophet Elijah did not die but was caught up to Heaven in a horse-drawn chariot of fire [2 Kings 2: 11-12].

What will happen when Jesus comes for His Bride? Consider these Scriptures

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” [John 14: 1-3, KJV].

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Listen, and I will tell you a divine mystery: not all of us will die, but we will all be transformed. It will happen in an instant – in the twinkling of his eye. For when the last trumpet is sounded, the dead will come back to life. We will be indestructible and and we will be transformed. For we will discard our mortal “clothes” and slip into a body that is imperishable. What is mortal now will be exchanged for immortality. And when that which is mortal puts on immortality, and what now decays is exchanged for what will never decay, then the Scripture will be fulfilled that says: Death is swallowed up by a triumphant victory! So, death, tell me where is your victory? Tell me, death, where is your sting? It is sin that gives death its sting and the law that gives sin its power” [1 Corinthians 15: 51-56, TPT].

Jesus said, “Be careful that you never allow your hearts to grow cold. Remain passionate and free from anxiety and the worries of this life. Then you will not be caught off guard by what happens. Don’t let me come and find you drunk or careless in living like everyone else. For that day will come as a shocking surprise to all, like a downpour that drenches everyone, catching many unaware and unprepared. Keep a constant watch over your soul, and pray for the courage and grace to prevail over these things that are destined to occur and that you will stand before the presence of the Son of Man with a clear conscience” [Luke 21: 34-36, TPT].

The Apostle Paul wrote, “This is the word of the Lord: we who are alive in him and remain on earth when the Lord appears will by no means have an advantage over those who have already died, for both will rise together. For the Lord himself will appear with the declaration of victory, the shout of an archangel, and the trumpet blast of God. He will descend from the heavenly realm and command those who are dead in Christ to rise first. Then we who are alive will join them, transported together in clouds to have an encounter with the Lord in the air, and we will be forever joined with the Lord. So encourage one another with these truths” [1 Thessalonians 4: 15-18, TPT].

The Apostle Paul also wrote, “Now, beloved brothers and sisters, concerning the question of God’s precise times and specific seasons, you don’t need me to write anything to you. For you already know quite well that the day of the Lord will come unexpectedly and as a complete surprise. For while some are saying, “Finally we have peace and security,” sudden destruction will arrive at their doorstep, like labor pains seizing a pregnant woman – and with no chance of escape! But you, beloved brothers and sisters, are not living in the dark, allowing that day to creep up on you like a thief coming to steal. For you are all children of the light and children of the day. We don’t belong to the night nor to darkness. This is why we must not fall asleep, as the rest do, but keep wide awake and clearheaded” [1 Thessalonians 5: 1-6, TPT].

Who will be caught up?

Those “in Christ” – 1 Thessalonians 4: 16

Those who belong to Him – 1 Corinthians 15: 23

Those who are worthy – Luke 21: 36

There can be no shadow of a doubt that, although we cannot know the day of the Rapture, we can, and certainly do, recognise that we are in the season of Matthew 24: 6-8, in which Jesus will be sent by His Father to take His bride home. Since the middle of the last century the incidence of earthquakes and volcanoes, wars and deadly epidemics has increased to a previously unprecedented degree of frequency and intensity. How great is our responsibility to warn the lost, and to be much in prayer for their salvation.

A Note on The Passion Translation

Many Christians, like me, are finding that when they read verses in The Passion Translation that they’ve read maybe a hundred times before, those verses are suddenly springing to life. As I have quoted a number of verses from TPT in this article, it seems a good place to share something about how this powerfully impacting Bible translation came to be written.

A few years ago, the Lord granted Dr Brian Simmons a visit to Heaven and commissioned him to write for Him a new translation of the Bible that would be ‘full of passion.’ Jesus promised to help him, and His hand can indeed be seen throughout Brian Simmons’ work. This is what he writes on his website about his Translation:

“The Passion Translation is a new, heart-level translation that expresses God’s fiery heart of love to this generation using Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic manuscripts, merging the emotion and life-changing truth of God’s Word.

“So why another translation? Many wonderful versions of our Bible now grace our bookshelves, bookstores, software programs, even apps on our phones. So why add one more? The reason is simple: God longs to have his Word expressed in every language in a way that unlocks the passion of his heart. The goal of this work is to trigger inside every reader an overwhelming response to the truth of the Bible, revealing the deep mysteries of the Scriptures in the love language of God, the language of the heart.

“If you’re hungry for God and want to know him on a deeper level, The Passion Translation will help you encounter God’s heart and discover what he has for your life.”

Dr. Brian Simmons

Note from So Greatly Loved

Sid Roth interviewed Dr Simmons on ‘It’s Supernatural’ several years ago. It is an enormously uplifting interview, simply full of the miraculous. I feel the Lord would have me share the video link. May you be blessed as much as I have been.

In this first article in a series on the Rapture, Scripture quotations marked TPT are from The Passion Translation New Testament with Psalms, Proverbs and Song of Songs, translated from Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic texts by Dr Brian Simmons. Copyright 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing Group, LLC. Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com.

Jesus Teaching on ‘Without Love You Will Not Be Taken in the Rapture’

“Lord, I pray that You will bless us with courage and honesty beyond the normal amount, and that Your Grace would truly be with this message, and Your peace and Your love would just cover everyone in this message. Amen.”

Jesus answered Clare, “Many are so sure they are ready to stand before Me, but they’re not taking a good look inside themselves or in My mirror. This concerns me, Clare. It concerns Me that they are so ready, and yet they still quarrel and bite at one another. They still gossip and tell lies about one another. They still accuse with impunity, thinking they are so right, and the other is so wrong. Yes, I tell you, they are not ready to stand before Me. They are blinded by self-righteousness. They are on a crusade to set the world straight, but they are unfit for the Bridal gown. I cannot put a clean, white garment on those who are still jealous and destructive with their tongue. I cannot put that gown on anyone who does not love their brother as they love Me.”

“I count your will. If you wilfully put down your dislike, hatred, resentment, jealousy, or distaste for others, I will help you and fill in the rest. It’s all in the will. If you wilfully engage in jealousy, gossip, hatred, pride and self-righteousness, you’re in serious trouble. All I am asking of you – so you will fit into your pristine bridal gown – is an honest self-appraisal. If you’re holding scorn and contempt for anyone voluntarily, wilfully… you will not stand before Me on that day.”

At this point, the Lord quickened a Scripture to Clare, “Watch, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” Luke 21:36

“If I love you, and you are not committed to loving others, you are not worthy to escape what is to take place on the Earth. Love will be the acid test, not doctrine, for that shall pass away; not prophecy, for that, too, is fleeting. You may be a prophet, full of the Word of the Lord, but if you have not love, you will not stand.”

Clare replied, “Oh Lord, that seems so hard. It really seems hard to me, even though I know that lack of love is so destructive, it still seems hard.”

Jesus continued, “I did not say you must be perfect in thought, word, and deed, for none is perfect. But, your intention to be perfect, to love perfectly, to be kind, merciful, and entertain absolutely no malice toward others… if you have made this resolution, you will stand. But, if you are standing in self-righteousness, pointing the finger, quarrelling, judging, standing in My place, giving out judgments, then you are doomed to remain in the Tribulation. Why do you think I’ve given you all these meditations, Clare?” She replied, “To prepare us?”

“That’s exactly right. I want to leave no one behind, but some of you have hardened your hearts toward each other and have trampled the innocent and the blind. Many of you on the Internet have taken shots at one another. You’ve wounded, crippled, and left them to die, isolated, despised, and without the fruits of their labor. Unless you repent and are found to be a blameless one, you might as well start making plans to stay here. You will not be taken. Love is My standard: patience, long-suffering, kindness, mercy, meekness, the Beatitudes. This is the description of My Bride. If you are wilfully countering the Beatitudes, you still don’t have My heart. You still don’t resemble Me. My Bride must resemble Me.

“Some of you will say, ‘This is too harsh!’ But, I say to you that you have not repented of these sins. You are harbouring hatred. Am I to marry a Bride steeped in rancour, jealousy, and hatred? If you truly repent of these sins, you will be taken. Shall I wait until after the Rapture for them to find out that they were not worthy to stand before Me? Why do you think that I chastise you so severely when I see one of these attitudes in you? Do you realise the seriousness of this behaviour? Shall I reward a soul with an incorruptible body and a place in Heaven? A soul who hates his brother and sister, the very one I suffered and died for? I don’t care what others have done to you. If you are My Bride, I have given you the grace to forgive and make an act of will to love that person, for My sake. I have given this grace to every single one. If you don’t exercise it, what am I to think? ‘She’s My wife, but she hates that soul I died for?’ Is that an equal yoke? You see, I can overlook your weaknesses, but I cannot overlook your wilfulness. There are those among you who are, perhaps, very weak, or lacking in mature understanding to do as I say. For them, there is mercy. But for you, who call yourselves My disciples and teachers and prophets – you must walk in My ways.

“Is it not written, ‘not everyone who says to Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of My Father, who is in Heaven, will enter?’ Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name? And in Your name cast out demons? And in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from Me.’

Then the Lord quickened two more Scriptures to me: “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing” 1 Corinthians 13: 2

“Come now, though your sins be red as scarlet, I shall make them white as snow” Isaiah 1:18.

“I’m standing here before you, waiting for you to repent; to turn from your evil ways and embrace what is right. I have not come before you to chastise and leave you bleeding. I have come to bind up your wounds and grant you greater and greater graces for the building-up of My Kingdom. Seek Me in the still and quiet morning hours, when I may move upon your hearts and expose those things not pleasing to Me. I have compassion and pity for you. I will embrace and restore you and surely take you to Myself on that soon approaching day. I love you, and those whom I love, I reprove. Nothing would be sadder to Me than to remove the blinkers after the Rapture. That is why I have brought this before you.

“Please, take me seriously. Go back. Look more closely into those hidden and dark places in your hearts. Allow Me to pour My healing balm over those infections, that you may be presented to Me, whole and entire, lacking nothing. My Brides, I love you tenderly. Do not pull away.”

Note from So Greatly Loved

This message was given by Jesus to Clare du Bois and posted on the Still Small Voice channel. This anointed channel is drawing many thousands of lovers of Jesus deeper into the heart of their Lord. The enemy of our souls, Satan, hates Still Small Voice with a vengeance and has assigned trained satanists to discredit and pull the channel down. To the glory of God, numbers of these satanists are being led to Jesus by the very teachings they were making every effort to discredit.

For further information on Still Small Voice please visit the website

heartdwellers.org

Defeating Distractions

We are in a war right now. We are definitely under fire! The Lord has released tremendous graces to many people all over the world, and the devil has come to steal, kill and destroy those graces and the missions and the destinies that we have; that is exactly what he is all about. And along with the graces the Lord has given, the demons have come to steal them.

Jesus speaks on distractions

Jesus said, “You are being buffeted by demons of distraction and this is a move that is occurring all over the Earth. It is a campaign to sidetrack My People from following their destinies and the anointings I have distributed around the world.

“First of all, cleave to obedience. Compromise opens the door for the demons. Secondly, pray against them, confess your weakness to Me, ask to be forgiven and empowered to resist this evil force. Spirits of Chaos and Distraction: renounce them and make a firm resolution not to give in to them and ask Me to protect you.

“Your greatest protection is obedience. There is no power to move forward like obedience. I know what is needed, how much is needed, and how to motivate you. But if you do not obey My counsels to you in your heart, you end up being taken over by Chaos and Distraction. You do not have to be victims; you are overcomers. I lay the path you are to take before you. You have only to obey and keep on obeying.

“If the enemy cannot cause you to disobey in the beginning, he waits for another time when you are not paying attention and then leads you astray. So often it is the harmless little things that cause you to compromise in obedience. ‘Oh, I’ll just take care of that quickly and be right back, Lord.’ No, that is not how it works. When you give in to that voice to leave the place of obedience, you open the door and the enemy lines up more and more distractions to keep you from coming back.

“This is not an easy lesson and you tend to forget. You are, of course, getting assistance in forgetting from the enemy, and so far he has succeeded. Now is the time to put your foot down. Things you should have done are passing their time to do and now you are behind in what I had planned for you. Dear ones, I cannot use a disobedient soul effectively. Obedience is the very hinge on which other things depend. Those who understand this and are brutally faithful, taking their will by force and making it behave, are the ones who reach the high calling.

“Those who compromise and put off obedience are the ones I must set aside from the mission I had intended them to have. Please, do not be one of these any longer. Do what is right when it is right, and do not delay. Delayed obedience is not obedience at all.

“Now I do not want you mourning over this, but grabbing hold of the rope of the grace of obedience and never letting it go. Obedience is your protection and guarantee of graces continually flowing and feeding those around you. Once you abandon obedience, you have abandoned all the benefits I could have given you had you stayed with it.

“This is a massive problem in your society, because so many distractions present themselves and are laid at your feet as traps to ensnare you and frustrate My will for you. Pride is also behind this. Giving in to your own wisdom instead of cleaving to My instruction. Satan brings many down this way. Please do not be another one of his victims; rather, do violence to your will and follow steadfastly in My footsteps. This is how you will reach the high calling I have for you.

“The most direct path to pleasing Me is obedience; it opens the windows of Heaven and pours forth graces on you and all those around you. Conquer your flesh with the power of obedience. When you are lacking, cry out to Me, ‘Lord! Deliver me from evil’ – that is, the evil of disobedience. The battle is raging, raging and raging.

“Distractions are the number one way your missions will be frustrated. Do not let this happen. Press in, be resolute, ignore the invitations to go another way. The devils are trying to set you up to give in to despair, frustration and another mission under the guise of being a better choice. Ignore these invitations to digress; hang onto your missions with all your might. You cannot go wrong by obeying Me.

“The last two areas I am focusing on with you now are building with one hand and fighting with the sword in the other. This is a time like Nehemiah’s. The enemy is at the door, in many cases even in your own household. But the enemies that will steal your destinies, if you will allow it, can be overcome with simple obedience and refusing to think on your own, rather relying on Me 100% and deferring to My wisdom no matter what it looks like. It is time to raise another standard of prayer, My dear ones. Fight. Fight in the spirit for your country. Make your prayers heard on High. At the same time, move forward with what I have given you to do. Do not drop it. Do not stop building. Do not stop obeying or expanding. Continue to carry on with what I have given you to do. And wield the sword in the Spirit. In this way, your individual destinies will succeed.”

Note from So Greatly Loved

This message was given by Jesus and recorded by Clare du Bois on the Still Small Voice channel. This anointed channel is helping thousands of Christians around the world to grow in a deeper walk of intimacy with their Lord and Saviour. Satanists who have been trained to bring down anointed ministries hate this channel with a vengeance. The enemy is not pleased to see such huge numbers of Christians move up to a higher level of faith and receive assignments to do for the Lord. Many satanists who were formerly malicious in their ongoing vicious attacks on the teaching on this channel have been so challenged by the Truth that they are now disciples of Jesus. To Him be all the glory. I pray that this message challenges and blesses you as much as it does me.

For further information visit the website heartdwellers.org

Whatever Jesus tells you…

“Now on the third day there was a wedding feast in the Galilean village of Cana and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were all invited to the banquet but, with so many in attendance, they ran out of wine. And when Mary realized it, she came to him and asked, “They have no wine, can’t you do something about it?” Jesus replied, “My dear one, don’t you understand that if I do this, it won’t change anything for you, but it will change everything for me! My hour of unveiling my power has not yet come.” Mary then went to the servers and told them, ‘Whatever Jesus tells you, make sure that you do it!‘”

John 2: 1-5, The Passion Translation

Jesus tested my obedience

Years ago, when my children were still at school, I had an extremely busy schedule as a working mum. I was teaching full-time in a school 40 minutes’ drive from our house and had to be at the school before 8 a.m. every day. At home, I always seemed to be trying to catch up on jobs waiting to be done. My evenings were spent marking pupils’ homework, lesson preparation and encouraging and helping my own three with their school work. I frequently found myself putting my washing machine on around midnight. I used to spend some precious time with the Lord in the middle of the night; it worked best for me that way.

One winter morning after a particularly heavy snowfall, I went into a skid on my way to school. I managed to control the car, but I knew that with a journey on very difficult roads ahead of me, a skid less than three minutes after leaving home was a clear warning. I gingerly turned the car round and phoned the school as soon as I was back in the house, saying how dangerous road conditions were. This was sympathetically received, and I learned that I was not the only teacher to be unable to make it to school that day.

Immediately one hundred and one things that I needed to do, or would love to do on my unexpectedly free day, crowded into my mind. What bliss to be able to do some long overdue jobs at last! And maybe for a while I could snatch that rare commodity: some ‘me’ time! Thoughts of how I could spend my day went spinning round and round in my head.

Then Jesus spoke: “I want you to give your day to Me.” Give away my precious day? Could Jesus mean that He wanted the whole of my newly acquired freedom? Did He really mean that? Yes, He did mean exactly that. It was an obedience test and, as I made sure to do exactly what Jesus had said to me, putting Him first, it turned out to be a day of Heaven on earth – in fact it was one of the most beautiful days I had had for a very long time indeed.

Jesus and His disciples visit Martha and Mary

“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their journey, they came to a village where a woman welcomed Jesus into her home. Her name was Martha and she had a sister named Mary. Mary sat down attentively before the Master, absorbing every revelation he shared. But Martha became exasperated by finishing the numerous household chores in preparation for her guests, so she interrupted Jesus and said, “Lord, don’t you think it’s unfair that my sister left me to do all the work by myself? You should tell her to get up and help me.”

The Lord answered her, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these distractions? Are they really that important? Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing the most beautiful place of sitting at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her.”

Luke 10: 38-42, The Passion Translation

Several years ago, we had a prophecy in our church in which the Lord said, among other things, “You love the things that I love, but you do not hate the things that I hate.” When we returned home, I asked the Lord, “What are the things that You hate, Jesus?” His reply was immediate: “I hate the works of the flesh, the self-life!”

What the Lord hates

Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian church: “The cravings of the self-life are obvious: sexual immorality, lustful thoughts, pornography, chasing after things instead of God, manipulating others, hatred of those who get in your way, senseless arguments, resentment when others are favored, temper tantrums, angry quarrels, only thinking of yourself, being in love with your own opinions, being envious of the blessings of others, murder, uncontrolled addictions, wild parties, and all other similar behavior. Haven’t I already warned you that those who use their “freedom” for these things will not inherit the kingdom realm of God!”

Galatians 5: 19-21, The Passion Translation

Doesn’t the Apostle’s list sound like the content of many popular films these days? How are we spending our free time? If we love the Lord, do we really want to watch the ‘cravings of the self-life’ graphically depicted on the screen, knowing that Jesus died on the cross in prolonged, indescribably excruciating agony for those very sins. It is a grave warning to us all that ‘those who use their ‘freedom’ for these things will not inherit the kingdom realm of God’ but will go into the excruciating torments of the flames of hell for ever.

Jesus’ teaching on how to be ready for His coming

Jesus spoke to those who are looking for His soon return on how to be ready. He said to His proven prophet, “Many, many of My Brides have not simplified their lives and cut off things that bind their time. Many. I want this to change, I want them to begin to live right now as they will in Heaven. Yes, there are duties to attend to, but if they re-assess these things they will find ways to cut the time spent on the things of the world by at least half.

“I impart to each one in their quiet time. However, in their involvement with the world, be it a seemingly harmless TV show, a trip to the store, a magazine, all these things are fraught with ideas that stick in their heads and rob them of peace. It is so important to have a pure heart AND a pure mind. The mind can only handle so much and if it is secular in nature it erodes what takes place in My presence. It clutters the mind so there is no room left for Me. I don’t want their minds in this place. I want everyone focused on Heaven and My coming for them.”

A Parable about Ten Virgins

“As the time of my coming draws near, heaven’s kingdom realm can be compared to ten maidens who took their oil lamps and went outside to meet the bridegroom and his bride. Five of them were foolish and ill-prepared, for they took no extra oil for their lamps. Five of them were wise and sensible, for they took flasks of olive oil with their lamps. When the bridegroom didn’t come when they expected, they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. Then suddenly, in the middle of the night, they were awakened by the shout ‘Get up! The bridegroom is here! Come out and have an encounter with him!’ So all the girls got up and trimmed their lamps. But the foolish ones were running out of oil, so they said to the five wise ones, ‘Share your oil with us, because our lamps are going out!’ ‘We can’t,’ they replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. You’ll have to go and buy some for yourselves!’

“While the five girls were out buying oil, the bridegroom appeared. Those who were ready and waiting were escorted inside with him and the wedding party to enjoy the feast. And then the door was locked. Later, the five foolish girls came running up to the door and pleaded, ‘Lord, Lord let us come in!’

“But he called back, ‘Go away! Do I know you? I can assure you, I don’t even know you!’

“That is the reason you should always stay awake and be alert, because you don’t know the day or hour when the Bridegroom will appear.” Matthew 25: 1-13, The Passion Translation

Jesus teaching further on being ready for His coming

Jesus continued, “Part of the foolish virgins’ problem was that they were so tied up in the world it didn’t occur to them to bring oil for their lamps. They thought, ‘Well, I’ll just be a little while and back to work.’ Their minds were on what was waiting for them to do at home, not really on Me or My agenda, very much like Martha. But the wise virgins, like Mary, thought they could wait, and wait and wait for Me. It wasn’t a waste of time, it was bliss, because all they had on their minds was Me. Everything else was a burden and so they were happy to think, ‘He might be delayed. Good, then I can just be quiet and wait. So I’ll bring more oil for my lamp.’ I’m serious here. I want to get a concept across, the foolish virgins were carnally minded, taken up with the doings of the world, they considered having to wait a waste of time.

“Keep your minds strictly on Heaven, My coming, and what simple thing you can do for your neighbour in a spirit of brotherly love. Don’t get seduced into any worldly endeavours that take attention off Me. Keep your eyes on the Prize. Military people do not get involved in secular affairs. Spiritual people do not get involved in secular affairs. Stay vigilant, stay alert. Stay calm and deliberate, I need your full attention on Me. I will help you. You are not alone. My Spirit will whisper in your ear, ‘don’t do it’ and you will feel a check in your spirit. Obey that, follow what you know is My path. Put ME first and I’ll take care of the rest. I am with you My Brides. Stay vigilant and save your time and energy for Me and Me alone. You will never regret it.”

Whatever Jesus tells you, make sure that you do it!

Going Deeper…

There are such depths for the hungry heart to enter into and enjoy with our Lord Jesus. He never ceases to amaze me; there is always more – so very much more!

To prepare ourselves for going deeper, these heart-searching prayers are an excellent starting point. Since I am housebound, and can hardly walk now, I am unable to go to church. I pray this prayer every morning, then I receive Holy Communion on my own. Jesus makes it a very precious, special time for me to enjoy with Him:

“My Precious Father, my Beloved Jesus and my Dear Comforter, I enter Your Court with a thankful heart for You have preserved me and given me all I need to serve You. Spirit of God, teach me to worship You continuously in spirit and in truth, and to see, hear and understand You clearly in every way You speak to me. Father, I forgive and bless from my heart, those who have hurt me. I pray for restoration, healing and conversion for them.”

“Holy Spirit, my Comforter, please reveal to me if I have hurt You, or opened doors to demonic oppression, or planted seeds of bitterness. Have I forgiven everyone? Have I judged, compared or secretly criticised, falsely accused, gossiped or cast a slur? Did I exaggerate, colour the truth, or lie? Did I spend money meant for other things or take something that belonged to another? Did I covet, lust, or entertain sinful thoughts? Was I disrespectful to anyone, to those in authority? Was I arrogant, proud or jealous?

“Have I failed to believe and act on Your promises, or been lazy, wasting time, disobeying, complaining and ungrateful? Have I taken Your love and forgiveness for granted? Lord, I repent, rend my heart and long to return and please You. You are gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. I renounce these sins as well as pride, fear, doubt, unbelief, complacency, apathy, bitterness, resentment, and believing lies against Your character. Please forgive me and help me break this cycle of sin, and deliver me from evil.

“Jesus, please pull these up by the roots and remove the doors I have opened to the enemy. Grant me the grace to sin no more, and avoid every occasion of sin. Please heal anyone I have injured and keep me from being the cause of another man’s sin, but rather make me a blessing each day, leading them to You. I lay my life, and my will, in Your hands. Please lead me in purity as I receive Your gift to me in Holy Communion. In my heart, I kneel before You to receive with gratitude the Cross and Grace You have chosen for me today. Amen.”

– Written by Clare du Bois, 2017

Litany of Humility

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me:

from the desire of being esteemed, from the desire of being loved, from the desire of being extolled, from the desire of being honoured, from the desire of being praised, from the desire of being preferred to others, from the desire of being consulted,from the desire of being approved,

. . . deliver me, Jesus!

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me:

from the fear of being humiliated, from the fear of being despised, from the fear of suffering rebukes, from the fear of being calumniated, from the fear of being forgotten, from the fear of being ridiculed, from the fear of being wronged, from the fear of being suspected,

. . . deliver me, Jesus!

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire:

that others may be loved more than I, that others may be esteemed more than I, that in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, that others may be chosen, and I set aside, that others may be praised, and I unnoticed, that others may be preferred to me in everything, that others may become holier than I provided that I become as holy as I should . . .

. . . Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

– Written by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930)

To me, it is a comfort to know that Jesus looks at our longing to be like Him more than He looks at our track record. He is altogether lovely.

Prayer of Sr Josefa Menendez

“Jesus, Your intercessors need Your help today! We ask You for help… but we need a miracle. We ask You for strength… but we need a miracle. We seek endurance… but we need a miracle. We hope and pray for graces… but we need a miracle. We ask for healings… but we need a miracle. We long for cures… but we need a miracle. We pray for restoration… but we need a miracle.”

Spirit of Burning, Come!

“On Your altar, precious Lord, I lay down all there is of me. Try me, O God, and know my heart. I gladly yield to the searchlight of Your Spirit. I surrender, Lord. At last I give in. Blessed Spirit of God, have Your way. I lay down my life a living sacrifice for You, Lord. How can I do less when You laid down Your life for me? Satisfy this yearning of my soul, this hunger which You have created.

“My God, all-consuming Fire, Lord God of Elijah who answers by fire, come fall upon the altar and consume all my darkness. Let the fire fall! Spirit of Burning, come! Purge and purify my soul. Penetrate the deepest recesses of my heart, dividing between soul and spirit. Sift me and separate all that is of self from that which is truly You, Lord. Shake me and shake me again until only that which cannot be shaken may remain. It is Your goodness, Lord, that has brought me to repentance, that has given me these tears.

“How I love Your deep dealings with me, for I can trust You whatever You may do. As I seek You with fasting, on my face before You, I yearn to be like You, Lord Jesus. I weep, I mourn over the sin which still so easily besets me; it has long grieved You, and now it grieves me too. So great is the intensity of my desire to be like You, Lord Jesus, that it hurts. Lord, hear the cry of my heart as I call out to You from the very depths of my being. I ask You for grace to yield to the mighty working in me of Your Spirit.

“Dear Lord Jesus, You baptise with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Baptise me now into the fire of Your Spirit, that He may burn all selfishness out of me. Conform everything in me to Your image, Lord. Set my heart free from self; burn up every trace of sin. Refining Fire, go through and through my heart, purging out the dross until only the purest gold remains. Then shall I be able to offer unto You, Lord, an offering in righteousness with clean hands and a pure heart. Make holy and set me apart – a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the Master’s use.

“O sacred Fire of God, kindle in me a flame which burns with Your love for the lost. Touch my lips, Lord, with a coal from off Your altar. Cause me to speak only the words which You give, for they are Spirit and they are life. Break my self-centredness; melt the hardness of my heart. Anoint my eyes that Your love may shine through. I yield to You, dear Spirit of God. Mould me into someone useful in Your service. Set my heart afire with Your love. Come with that precious unction from above, anointing my life to be a sweet perfume for You, Lord. Set me apart for Your glory, utterly yielded, consecrated unto death. Baptise me with Heavenly energy. Nail to Your cross my will – forever. Empower, embolden me for Your calling on my life. Without You I have nothing and I am nothing. Cause me to listen; give grace to obey. Dear Spirit of Burning, Come!”

[A heart-cry that I wrote in 1989]

I was raised Methodist, and am now Pentecostal. For me as I was growing up, the highlight of our Church year was the Annual Methodist Covenant Service in which we renewed our covenant of total surrender of our lives to God.

My Covenant With God

“I am no longer my own, but Yours. Put me to what You will, rank me with whom You will. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed for You, or laid aside for You, exalted for You, or brought low for You. Let me be full, let me be empty; let me have all things, let me have nothing: I freely and whole-heartily yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal. And now, glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, You are mine, and I am Yours. So be it. And the Covenant now made on Earth, let it be ratified in Heaven.”

[This is the Covenant Prayer of the Methodist Church, renewed on the first Sunday of each New Year]

John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace

John Newton was born in London in 1725. He started his career in the Royal Navy at a young age. Later he worked in the slave trade for several years and captained his own ship. God saved him from certain death: from drowning in a shipwreck. John was soundly converted and saw himself as ‘a wretch saved by grace.’ In time, John Newton was ordained into the ministry of the Church of England where he was a powerful preacher. He became a prominent supporter of abolitionism, living to see Britain’s abolition of the African slave trade in 1807.

John Newton’s epitaph:

Amazing Grace

I asked the Lord that I might grow

A heart-cry of John Newton

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith and love and ev’ry grace
Might more of His salvation know
And seek more earnestly His face.

Twas He who taught me thus to pray
And He I trust has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favoured hour
At once He’d answer my request
And by His love’s constraining power
Subdue my sins and give me rest.

Instead of this He made me feel
The hidden evils of the heart
And let the angry powers of hell
Assault my soul in ev’ry part.

Yea more with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe
Crossed all the fair designs I’d schemed
Blasted my plans and laid me low.

“Lord why is this?” I trembling cried,
“Wilt Thou pursue Thy worm to death?”
” ‘Tis in this way” the Lord replied,
“I answer prayer for grace and faith.

“These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free
And break thy schemes of earthly joy
That thou may’st seek Thy all in Me.”