Saturday, January 10, 2009

A great Article by Ron Graham

That None Should Perish
By Ron Graham

“Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?” Ezekiel 18:23. Are you wondering why Jesus is tarrying and not retuning right now for His Church? The answer is stated above by God Himself. God takes no pleasure in knowing the wicked perish.

God knows who will come to a saving relationship with His Son Jesus and who won’t. Each day that passes is another day that someone becomes a new creation in Christ and will join the rest of us in the Rapture. You and I can’t see all those who are being saved on a daily basis, but know this, not one day passes that there isn’t rejoicing in Heaven because someone has accepted Christ as their savior.

Think back, if you will, to the day you were saved, I’m sure most of us who are born again can remember that exact day. Now go back one more day, what if the Lord would have come for His Church on that day? Where would you be right now? I’ve often asked myself that same question whenever I sit and ponder why He tarries. It’s humbling to come to the correct conclusion of just why Jesus hasn’t returned yet. There are still those who will be saved, and thank God for that.

I have many family members and friends, as I’m sure many reading this commentary have who still need to come to the truth of the Gospel of Christ. My prayer is that all of those I’ve mentioned would be saved before it’s too late, but I know there’s a time coming in the very near future when God will not allow any more time to pass. That’s a sad thing to contemplate when we know so many aren’t ready. We rejoice in the fact that the Rapture of the Church can happen at any moment, but what about all those who have continued to reject Christ to that point?

“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” Romans 11:25. Although we don’t know how long it will take for this complete fullness to occur, all the signs point to it happening very soon now. God alone knows who those individuals are who will make a profession of faith in Christ before it’s too late. Perhaps the next person you approach with the Gospel of Christ will be that last person God is waiting for. We should all appreciate the fact that there is an exact number of people who will be saved before Jesus Christ pulls His Church out of harm’s way, and only God knows that number.

“Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water,” 1Peter 3:20. God waited 120 years after telling Noah to build the Ark for that evil generation of people to repent. We know, historically, God sent the flood to destroy them. Why? His patience had run out. Only eight people were spared the calamity that befell earth.

God gave the Assyrians four-hundred years to repent; He stayed His mighty hand and allowed Israel to become slaves under Egyptian rule. Alas no repentance from the Assyrians was forth coming so God finally freed the Israelites and instructed them to take the land of the Assyrians and put them to death. Israel, by disobeying God and not wiping out the Assyrians, were given a “thorn in the flesh” as the Assyrians continually harassed and warred against them.

God sent Jonah to Nineveh to warn them of the coming wrath of God. They repented and God stayed His mighty hand. In time Nineveh returned to the evil it once embraced and God finally followed through with His promise and wiped out that once great city.

We know that the Israelites were time and again disobedient to God, and God chastised them for their disobedience. They would return to fellowship with God for a while but only to fall back into their old wicked ways and down would come the hammer again. “The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked,” Nahum 1:3. The Israelites are Gods chosen people, the apple of His eye, but they too are running out of time.

Through all this rebellion it’s obvious God is longsuffering, and patient. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9.

Old Testament or New our God is always the same, and He’s patently waiting to accept His Children into His Kingdom. But one day that patience will run out, and then the Church will be raptured. Left behind will be all those who tried God’s patience to the furthest extreme, basically pushing the envelope just a mite too far.

Life doesn’t need to end that way for anyone. But there needs to be a change in people’s hearts, a change of mind and of direction for those who are perishing. Today we see coldness in the hearts of many in our society. The uncaring, unfeeling people with one intent in mind–it’s the pursuit for that gold cup of wealth and prosperity to the exclusion of all else. Why is it so very important to obtain so much wealth that we can’t begin to spend it, just to leave it behind when we die? God on the other hand is waiting for us to lose interest in earthly riches and pursue the riches that can only be spent in Heaven. Where is your treasure?

Jesus is waiting for everyone who is procrastinating to come to that point where they turn from the love of self, riches, and fame, and turn to the love of God. How long will He wait? Those who have made it their purpose in life to disparage God’s word, or to completely disregard the warnings of their pending destruction are increasingly playing with fire, the Lake of Fire that is. People have turned their backs on God to live a life of debauchery, fornication, homosexuality, greed, hate, malice, you name it. If it isn’t something God’s word promotes as righteousness then it is an abomination to God. Yet He’s patient to wait for those who seem to be stuck in these lifestyles to come out and begin a new life in Christ.

It’s a scary thought to think of anyone going to Hell. Family members who have come to the erroneous conclusion that there is no God, or that they have been basically good all their lives and so God won’t send them to Hell, heard this lie perpetuated by those who follow Satan himself, and they’ve fallen for it. I know many in my family are living under that same delusion. What a burden this places on the hearts of believers. God’s waiting because He doesn’t wish that any should perish. But how long will He wait?

God is patient and longsuffering, we understand that, but at some point we must also realize He will have had enough. He’s shown us many times through His favored nation, Israel, as well as the other nations that I mentioned previously, that He can and will run out of patience. What will that mean to those who haven’t put their faith and trust in His only begotten Son? For the majority of those individuals left on planet earth to cope, there will be utter destruction as a finale. A few will come to repentance and believe, but most certainly Satan will get the lion’s share.

When we read that God wants none to perish we must realize that it’s not His decision to send anyone to Hell. That decision lies in the laps of each individual on the face of this planet. So many have cursed God because they believe He’s at fault, that He damns people to Hell, that He is unloving and unfeeling. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. That scripture verse doesn’t sound unloving or unfeeling to me, but full of love, God’s love which transcends all love.

God loves everyone in the world, not just those who are already saved. We humans are at fault for our disobedience to God and consequently at risk of eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire. The world blames God for every little stubbed toe, not realizing that it’s God who holds the universe in the palm of His hand. The world portrays God in an erroneous way, and people must come to understand that the world’s view is not correct, and the sooner the better. The sooner the change of mind (repentance) happens, the result will be everlasting. After all tomorrow may be too late.

I know many have a very difficult time believing in a God who has created a place like Hell, but God didn’t create Hell for human kind. God created Hell for Satan and all the fallen angels that rebelled against God. They have no choice where they will spend eternity, but we have. God makes it clear that we must make the correct choice. It takes a little thought, it takes a little understanding, and it takes a heart changed for God. All one must do to be saved is “that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:29.

The Greek word pisteuo, which is translated “believe” in English, is used in the Gospel of John ninety-nine times. Believing in the One God sent is the only prerequisite for salvation. People have had access to the English Bible for some four-hundred years now. There is no reason except for unbelief and disobedience, that anyone still living should reject the truth of the scriptures. “And He marveled because of their unbelief,” Mark 6:6. Unbelief is a difficult thing to comprehend, even so, quite prevalent in all societies today.

Where do you stand? If you’re a born again believer in Christ that’s wonderful, praise God! But wait just a minute, where do your family members and your friends stand? God won’t wait forever.

God bless you all,

Ron Graham

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy New Year

Sorry I did not post anything in December. I was compelled to take the month off for health and other more pressing reasons. Thanksgiving day a dear friend was taken to the hospital and within just days was diagnosed with liver cancer and died a couple of days after Christmas. It was so sudden and unexpected that we all are still reeling from the shock of it. It was a wake-up call, though. Life is fragile and can end at any moment. We never expect when we say "see you later," that it may be the last time we ever say it on this earth. I was not able to go home to the U.S. because I had just gotten out of the hospital from yet another major surgery and was unable to travel. I have been trekking back and forth to the hospital every other day for the last month and it will be another week before I am released. I was able to go to church on Sunday for the first time in a month. I went grocery shopping a few days ago also. I am definitely on the mend. The ladies did the cooking for us for a couple of weeks and Tom and I appreciated that very much.

Our pastor and wife will be here on January 13th for 10 days and we are looking forward to seeing them. Alex Coats will be leaving us on the 12th and we so are sorry for that. He has been a real help and blessing to us here in Thailand for the last 3 months. Anne, Carolyn and Pookie are all doing well and working hard. They are a real blessing to us.

I want to thank all of you who have prayed for us and for the many Christmas cards and letters of encouragement that we received. We miss you all very much. Speaking of Christmas. We had a very non-traditional holiday. We didn't exchange any gifts and for Christmas dinner we had hamburgers, potato salad, baked beans and other picnic foods. It sounds really weird, but it was a wonderful, stress-free time and all of us enjoyed it very much. It was so different from the hassle that Christmastime usually is. I liked it so much I may do it again next year. Last year Tom and I had Christmas in November, while our daughter and 2 of our grandkids were here. Christmas has never been "traditional" in the American sense of the word for Tom and our family anyway. We have it when we are together, whenever that happens to be. One year it was in January. That was a great time to buy gifts because everything was on major sale.

Now that I am feeling better, I will try to keep everyone posted on what is happening in my world. Do pray for us. Getting old is not for sissies.