VIDEO Angelic Escort – A Double Portion

Angelic Escort

Suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire… and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 2 Kings 2:11

Paul Enns wrote about his brother-in-law, who, while dying, exclaimed, “Who are all those people?” He saw the room filled with unseen figures. Paul said, “I realized the reality: Angels had come to escort him home, and he was already seeing the people who were welcoming him into heaven! … The angels are God’s royal attendants, giving the believer a grand entrance into the royal court of the Lord Jesus.”1

Jesus said as much in His story about the beggar, Lazarus, who was escorted to heaven by angels (Luke 16:22). Elijah was escorted to heaven by chariots of fire, and Jesus said that at the end of the age, He “will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds” (Matthew 24:31).

When it comes to our final moments, we have nothing to worry about. Christ has paved the way, and the angels will make sure we don’t have to make the trip alone.

The very moment earth’s door closes and heaven’s door opens—at that very moment—there will be an excited, joyful, and exuberant reunion. Paul P. Enns

  1. Paul P. Enns, Heaven Revealed (Chicago: Moody, 2011), quotes from chapter 2.

2 Kings 2

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Dangerous Distractions

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John 13:35 nlt

Artist Sigismund Goetze shocked Victorian-era England with a painting entitled “Despised and Rejected of Men.” In it, he portrayed the suffering, condemned Jesus surrounded by people of Goetze’s own generation. They were so consumed by their own interests—business, romance, politics—that they were shockingly oblivious to the Savior’s sacrifice. Indifferent to Christ, the surrounding crowd, like the mob at the foot of Jesus’s cross, had no idea what—or who—they had missed.

In our day as well, believers and unbelievers alike can easily become distracted from the eternal. How can followers of Jesus cut through this fog of distraction with the truth of God’s great love? We can begin by loving one another as fellow children of God. Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35 nlt).

But real love doesn’t stop there. We extend that love by sharing the gospel in hopes of drawing people to the Savior. As Paul wrote, “We are . . . Christ’s ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

In this way, the body of Christ can both reflect and project God’s love, the love we so desperately need, to both each other and to our world. May both efforts, empowered by His Spirit, be a part of cutting through the distractions that hinder us from seeing the wonder of God’s love in Jesus.

Read the Discovery Series booklet Truth with Love: Sharing the Story of Jesus at discoveryseries.org/hp141.

To a world living in the fog of distraction, we bring the light of the good news of Jesus.

By Bill Crowder 

INSIGHT

Consider those Jesus chose as His first disciples (Luke 6:13–16). While they were all men and all Jewish, there was much that could (and sometimes did) divide them. Most were from Galilee in the north, but one (Judas Iscariot) was from Judea in the south. While most were fishermen (Mark 1:16–20), Matthew was a tax collector (Matthew 10:3) who served the Romans—harming his own people. Matthew would have been despised by everyone, especially Simon the Zealot (v. 4), a member of a radical Jewish group determined to drive Rome out of Israel. Add to that the attempts by James and John to seek higher places of honor in the kingdom (Mark 10:35–37), and you have a fertile environment for friction. These factors and more would have intensified the difficulty of loving one another. Yet, just as we love God because He first loved us, we love one another—despite our differences—in the power of the love we have received from God. As we seek to dwell together as followers of Christ, loving one another isn’t easy, but it’s vital.

Do you need God’s help to love a particular person in an intentional way this week?

Bill Crowder

Getting Ready

1 Peter 1:13-16

We all face difficulties in life. Biblical thinking and balanced judgment can help us prepare to deal with challenges, and 1 Peter 1 contains valuable instructions. We are to …

Fix our hope on Jesus (v. 13). No matter how hard the circumstances, life has purpose and meaning in Christ. The heavenly Father has promised always to be with us and to keep watch, like a shepherd caring for his sheep. (See Matt. 28:20John 10:14.) Through the Holy Spirit’s transforming power, troubled times can become opportunities for us to learn more about God’s faithfulness, draw on His strength, and experience personal growth.

Resist our former lifestyle (v. 14). When troubles come, it is tempting to revert to ungodly habits or take up new ones. In these seasons of life, Satan will encourage us to pursue any path that leads away from the Lord. We need to remember that we are new creations whose lifestyles are to match our position as God’s children. That old behavior does not fit us anymore.

Make holiness our goal (v. 15). Being “holy,” or “set apart,” begins with giving up control over our life and yielding to the Holy Spirit’s rightful authority. As we submit to Him, He will begin to express the life of Christ through us. By learning what pleases God and acting accordingly, we cooperate with His efforts to conform us to the Son’s image.

While struggles are part of everyday life, we do not have to be overcome by them. Think about a specific step you can take to start carrying out these instructions today.

Remarkable Psalms

“And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” (Acts 13:32-33) 

Here is a clear instance in which the gospel (“glad tidings”) was preached in the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit, through the psalmist David, promised that one day the Son of God would rise from the dead—the “first born from the dead” (Colossians 1:18). The Lord Jesus actually used certain psalms to prove His own deity, quoting Psalm 110:1 (Matthew 22:43- 45) and Psalm 82:6 (John 10:34-36) in support of His claims.

This unique passage in the book of Acts offers another fascinating item of information that is often overlooked. By identifying the second psalm as such, the writer (guided by the Spirit) tells us in effect that the chapter divisions of the book of Psalms were there by divine ordination right from the first. Furthermore, since each of the psalms is a poem, with clear-cut verse divisions, this longest book in the Word of God was evidently subdivided into chapters and verses by divine inspiration. Similar divisions were later added to the other books by biblical scholars in the Middle Ages, but they were in the psalms from the beginning. It is not surprising, then, that we can find many remarkable examples of design in the very structure of the book of Psalms (e.g., the 22 stanzas of eight verses each in Psalm 119).

This second psalm is the first of the so-called Messianic psalms, but actually, the Lord Jesus Christ and His glorious gospel of salvation are clearly present in every one of the 150 psalms. “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalm 2:12). HMM

Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity

2 Timothy 2

2 Timothy 2:1-4

Soldiers must be free from other business, and it is well for ministers not to encumber themselves with any other pursuit, but give themselves wholly to their Master’s work. If so, their people must see that they are supplied with all they need, even as a nation sees that its soldiers have their rations and all other necessaries.

2 Timothy 2:8, 9

This was his consolation, he was bound, but the gospel was not.

2 Timothy 2:10-13

Here we have another Christian proverb, and in fact a hymn of the early church. It should be learned by heart, and often quoted by us.

2 Timothy 2:14-16

We must keep clear of mystifyings, spiritualizings, traditions, and idle controversies. Plain sailing is best for Christian men.

2 Timothy 2:19

The sentences inscribed upon the seal are precious and practical: there is the secret of the Lord, and the open manifestation of it. Election and holiness are bosom companions.

2 Timothy 2:20, 21

Fit to be used of God! Is not this a glorious condition? Prepared not for some good work, but for every good work! Is not this a grand attainment? Let us aim at this, and never rest till we reach it.

2 Timothy 2:22-26

Leave theories for those who like them, and by the grace of God, love and live the realities of religion, whatever they may cost you.

 

Grant, oh, grant thy Spirit’s teaching,

That I may not go astray,

Till, the gate of heaven reaching,

Earth and sin are pass’d away!

 

Have You Answered God’s Call

The Lord called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak, for thy servant heareth. (1 Samuel 3:10)

When will men and women realize that when God calls us out He is completely faithful to call us into something better?

In his faith, Abraham was against idolatry and idol-making, but that was not his crusade. Because of his faith, God led him into a promised land, into possessions and into the lineage that brought forth the Messiah. The call of God is always to something better—keep that in mind!

God calls us into the joys and reality of eternal life. He calls us into purity of life and spirit, so that we may acceptably walk with Him. He calls us into a life of service and usefulness that brings glory to Himself as God. He calls us into the sweetest fellowship possible on this earth—the fellowship of the family of God!

If God takes away from us the old, wrinkled, beat-up dollar bill we clutch so desperately, it is only because He wants to exchange it for the whole federal mint, the entire treasury! He is saying, “I have in store for you all the resources of heaven. Help yourself!”

 

Well, Could This Be Next?

“‘Dear Mom:

 

‘Gosh, can you believe it’s 2023 already?… It seems just yesterday I was sitting in first grade celebrating the century change. I know we haven’t really chatted since Christmas. Sorry. Anyway, I have some difficult news and I really didn’t want to call and talk face-to-face. Ted’s had a promotion and I should be up for a hefty raise this year if I keep putting in those crazy hours. You know how I work at it. Yes, we’re still struggling with the bills.

 

‘Timmy’s been ‘okay’ at kindergarten although he complains about going. But then, he wasn’t happy about day care either, so what can I do? He’s been a real problem, Mom. He’s a good kid, but quite honestly, he’s an unfair burden at this time in our lives. Ted and I have talked this through and through and finally made a choice. Plenty of other families have made it and are much better off.

 

‘Our pastor is supportive and says hard decisions are necessary. The family is a ‘system’ and the demands of one member shouldn’t be allowed to ruin the whole. He told us to be prayerful, consider all the factors, and do what is right to make the family work. He says that even though he probably wouldn’t do it himself, the decision is really ours. He was kind enough to refer us to a children’s clinic near here, so at least that part’s easy.

 

‘I’m not an uncaring mother. I do feel sorry for the little guy. I think he overheard Ted and me talking about ‘it’ the other night. I turned around and saw him standing at the bottom of the step in his PJ’s with the little bear you gave him under his arm and his eyes sort of welling up. Mom, the way he looked at me just about broke my heart. But honestly I believe this is better for Timmy, too.

 

‘It’s not fair to force him to live in a family that can’t give him the time and attention he deserves. And please don’t give me the kind of grief Grandma gave you over your abortions. It is the same thing, you know. We’ve told him he’s just going in for a vaccination. Anyway, they say it is painless. I guess it’s just as well you haven’t seen that much of him.

 

Love to Dad:

 

Jane'”

 

You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13)

 

 

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