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What will we Christians say, as we stand before Jesus for the judgment of our works, when the Lord asks us, “What did you do when you knew that My judgment was indisputable and imminent?”

I want to have a good and ready answer for that question.

My wife, Laurie, has been helping her father’s widow pare down her possessions for the last couple of months, and last Saturday I accompanied her to assist in selling some furniture. I was standing on the little front porch of the house. It was chilly and blustery, and it had snowed/rained that morning. I don’t remember why I was standing there, but it was likely because I had helped in some way with people moving furniture to their vehicles. In the yard across the street stands a magnificent, large deciduous tree. No leaves yet, but it’s not difficult to imagine the grandeur of it in full leaf. It possesses thick limbs and a hefty trunk. The wind blew up in that tree and tossed those sturdy limbs around. Then the Lord spoke.

A little background. In my early experiences with the Lord, He was, as He was with you, surely, very gracious, merciful, and compassionate. He made Himself known to me in you’d-have-to-be-stupid-not-to-figure-this-out spiritual events, but I was stupid. Ignorant. Foolish. The Lord had already done two wondrous acts in my life, but I was clueless. The third event occurred when my friend and I were in San Francisco. While there, I bought some occult books. As I was sitting in the shotgun seat of the truck parked in the driveway of the house where we had stayed, a wind blew up in this dried-up, perhaps dead, bush by the side of the house. In that wind, the Lord spoke to me. He said, “Trouble.” This was not aimed at me, and I had no idea what it meant at the time. So, I began to ask the Lord—after the cluelessness departed in large part—what He meant by that word “trouble” that day. I was answered in the course of time when I was out walking, when the wind shook the trees. The message was “Judgment is coming.” It was a clear but not overwhelming sense of judgment; however, it was sobering, nonetheless. Ominous. Occasionally, that sense returns, in different strengths, when the wind blows in trees.

As the wind blasted through the tree on Saturday, however, the sense of judgment was strong; so strong that when I stepped back inside, it was difficult not to break down in tears. Thus, I am compelled to write to you the message I received: Judgment is coming. It is coming as surely as the day breaks into dawn.

When Paul preached to the Gentiles at Athens, he didn’t mention Jesus by name but said, “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:30–31).1

John wrote, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (John 3:18–19).

Finally, “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And ‘If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’” (1 Peter 4:17–18).

Please pray with me for those who do not know Jesus. Do what you can to glorify Him, to make Him known. Please pray with me for the Church, not just in your country but in all countries. Please pray for the Church in the United States, where I reside. We have a very large influence on churches abroad, and I am saddened to tell you that not all that influence has been helpful. Too much of it has been unscriptural and damaging.

May the Lord be merciful. It should concern us that Jesus said, “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:7–8).

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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blindfolded

It was a bit of a soul-shaking experience, when, last week as I put the blog article together, I was struck cold-dead center with God’s truth. I am not happy with myself. I was guilty—again—of reading over a text without thinking; without applying it to me. I should title this article Reading Over Scriptures and Assuming They Apply to Everyone Else but Me.

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DP159770

After all these years, I may have finally discovered some of what was going on in Pilate’s heart and head when he asked Jesus, “What is truth?” Not that that was ever some kind of goal for me. Not at all. After all, Pilate gave the final charge to crucify Jesus. Who cares what he was thinking? But part of the understanding of Pilate’s question is that he was waist-deep in the politics of his day. And I can’t help but wonder if his response to Jesus’ statement about truth was in some way related to the political maelstrom that was always present in the Roman governmental hierarchy.

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Sodom

A long-time friend and faithful reader of this blog contacted me recently about a series written here for which she was very thankful, entitled The Man of Lawlessness: He Is Coming. I thanked her for reminding me about this soon-to-come-to-pass truth that had fallen off my radar a bit because of, well, the everyday things of life. So, by way of reminder, please allow me to re-visit a related topic. The judgment of everyone in the world is coming, just as surely as the sun rises every morning. Or, to be more scientific, just as surely as the earth rotates.

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We had a great Bible study at our little Christian gathering last Sunday. We were looking at the interesting way the apostle Paul talked to the unbelieving Gentile governor, Felix. Paul had been arrested and brought before this man, who had a “rather accurate knowledge of the Way” (Acts 24:22). Paul had given the defense of his innocence a few days earlier and summed it up, saying, “‘It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you this day’” (Acts 24:21b). 1

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flower on thistle

Who wants to be judged? Very few people desire to be told, “You’re wrong. What you’ve been doing is dreadfully wrong, even though you think it’s right.”

These days, someone saying that might just provoke a string of profanities aimed in his or her direction. At the very least, one might hear, “I don’t care what you think.”

However, there is one who will judge you—will judge all of us—and you will undeniably care what He thinks. You will be speechless, with nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. All your arguments will die in your mouth.

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p1040005

To me, Ezekiel is one of the strangest books in the Bible. The only one stranger is Revelation. When I use the word “strange,” I do not mean that in a negative way at all. It’s just that when I read these two books, my response is, “Wow. What? Really!?”

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Early in his Christian life, William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, had a vision of the judgment seat. He saw that every day of his life, every thought, and every deed had been recorded to be evaluated, examined and judged. When Jesus approached him, he was overwhelmed by the wonder of His presence and the saints and martyrs who were gathered around. When Jesus looked at him, it was not a look of approval. Jesus said, “Thou wilt feel thyself little in harmony with these, once the companions of My tribulations and now of My glory, who counted not their lives dear unto themselves in order that they might bring honor to Me and salvation to men.” Jesus then gave a look of admiration at the apostles and martyrs and warriors gathered around Him. William Booth said that he would have died one-hundred times, that he would have been willing to be torn apart by wild animals, simply to receive that look of approval that He gave to the apostles and martyrs.

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