Naomi’s Baptism Pictures and Stories

This morning at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist church, I had the privilege of baptizing Naomi, who wanted to give all of herself to Jesus, since Jesus gave all of Himself for her.

Naomi Bible Study

When Naomi was in the 4th grade, she attended my baptism class at Tampa Adventist Academy.  (Naomi is in the red shirt.) After the class, I asked her when she wanted to get baptized. She hinted that she really was not ready yet, so I left it alone. I don’t like to pressure people to get baptized. It is a very personal and meaningful event between them and God.

As the years went by, I could see God working in Naomi’s life. Naomi

In 5th grade Naomi attended my Bible chain referencing class, where I taught my students to give Bible studies. In her family worships at home, Naomi asked to give the Bible studies she had learned in class. In 6th grade I had all the students give a Bible study presentation on video for a grade. You can watch Naomi’s presentation here. 

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This year Naomi is now in the 7th grade. I became aware of several deliberate and intentional choices Naomi was making in her life to get closer to Jesus and honor God. I had not talked to Naomi about baptism since she was in the 4th grade. Like I said, I don’t like to pressure people, but something told me to just casually mention it to her again. When I did, she told me she was already thinking about it, and we arranged the date for her baptism today. Her birthday is tomorrow.

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Naomi’s mother Helen, writes,

“Naomi was born and raised as a Seventh-day Adventist, but saw no need of baptism or Bible studies, until William asked her. She had worship at home, went to church, and went to TAA where she had Bible classes. William asked her to take a Bible study class and she decided to go. After the Bible study class she went about her daily routines, and started doing some worships at home with the Bible William showed her how to chain reference. Nothing was said about baptism. One day, recently, William asked her, “Are you thinking of baptism?” She said she was interested! Thanks to William, she took the Bible studies, chain referenced her Bible, and has now made her decision to be baptized! Thank you William, and those faithfully supporting his ministry.

You may watch Naomi’s baptism, as well as Pastor Rolando’s first sermon at Tampa First, here.

 

 

Don’t let the sun set on your life before giving your life to Jesus! I would love to help you make this decision. You may contact me at Bibleworker@TampaAdventist.net

Proverbs in Light of the Cross; Kind Words, we all Need Them

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:24 NLT 

Yesterday, when I showed up at Tampa Adventist Academy to teach my baptism class, a teacher, beaming with pride, showed me an e-mail one of her former students had just sent her the night before. In  the e-mail, the student was telling her former teacher about her new school and scholastic programs. The student was doing well at her new school. The student then thanked the teacher at Tampa Adventist Academy for “never giving up one me” and “always pushing me to do my best.” This made the teacher’s day! Kind encouraging words are honey to the soul. Is there a teacher you need to write a nice thank you letter to?

Earlier this school year, I was on the playground following up with one of the teachers about one of her students who wanted to attend my baptism class. While the teacher and I were talking, on the far side of the playground I saw a glimpse of a little girl running with a football, being chased by by some boys. I yelled her name and shouted, “Run! Run!”

The next morning the little girl’s mother came up to me, and told me, “My daughter told me yesterday, “Mama I was playing football with the boys and they were about to catch me, when I heard pastor William yell my name. That gave me a burst of energy and I made the touchdown!”

Who knew what a kind encouraging word could do? Is there a child you need to speak a kind encouraging word to today?

Growth Group Lesson #3 – Success

DIALOGUE #3 – SUCCESS
by Pr Denis Sand – sanddenis@gmail.com

Objective of today’s dialogue: Challenge your group to make the Bible their guide and final authority for all their decisions.

Welcome (15) – Fellowship
• Were you ever appointed to replace a very talented and successful person? Share how it feels.
• What do you think is the reason why some people are successful in life while others are not?

Worship (15) – Worship
• Read Psalms 34:1-3
Breathe
Above all
• Do a popcorn prayer in which each person can give thanks to God for what He is doing in their lives.

Word (30) – Discipleship
• Read Joshua 1:1-8
• What is God promising Joshua and the people of Israel? v1-5,8
• How would you feel if God promises you prosperity and success? v5
• Why do we need to be reminded that God will be at our side at all times? v5
• Why is God telling Joshua to be brave, courageous so many times? v6,7,9
• What does it mean not to turn to the right or left from the law? v7
• What do you think God is trying to tell us in v8?
• How can we meditate on it daily and keep it in our mouths? v8
• Why is success and prosperity tied with obeying and following God’s counsel in the Bible?
• What benefits could we experience if we make the Bible our guide when making daily decisions?
• Share an experience where following God’s advice gave you success.
• How are you integrating the principles of the Bible to your daily life?
• Would you like to study the Bible, get to know Jesus, and discover the divine principles for success?
• What is God telling you tonight?

• To do: Write now on a small card the key text of this week Joshua 1:8. Carry it in your wallet or pocket, place it in your fridge and memorize it.

Works (15) – Ministry & Evangelism
• What can we do as a group to promote the Bible as the key to a successful life?
• Do you know anyone that needs to make the Bible the foundation of his/her life? how can we help them decide to follow God and His word?
• Write their names and invite them to next week group meeting
• Share the vision of reaching others so they can have Jesus as their Savior and experience real success in life.

Refreshments– Fellowship
• Find the way by which you can talk to people during refreshments. Try to talk to those new in the group. Build relationships!

Each one Reach one in 2015 at Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church

This Sabbath, December 20th the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church will collect our Christmas offering.
Remember that this is not about money, but about the people that will be forever touched by it.  There are people inside and outside our church that need to know there is a loving Savior that longs to give meaning, purpose and forgiveness to their lives.
Our goal is to raise funds to continue to change lives through Bible studies, literature, training and the preaching of God’s Word.  We are praying to raise $20,000 for Evangelism for 2015.  Remember to bring your offering this Sabbath.  If you did not get an envelop in the mail we will have some available in the lobby.
You can also give online by Clicking here.

20 Things Your Bible Worker Will Never Tell You

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Since this is my 20th year of being a Bible Worker Lay Pastor, in keeping with the theme of “20”, here is my list of 20 things your Bible Worker will never tell you. While I have put the list together mostly myself from my own experiences, it is not entirely my own.  A couple other Bible Workers have chipped in too with a couple contributions of their own. No names, as the whole purpose was to give them a voice while remaining anonymous, so they can truly tell you what they will never tell you. If some of these points seem a little harsh, they are not intended to be. They are only intended to be real.

Twenty Things Your Bible Worker Will Never Tell You

  1. If I seem pre-occupied when you try to have a conversation with me at church, it’s because I am. I’m teaching Sabbath School, probably preaching too, and keeping an eye out for the people I invited to church today. Call me during the week and I can give you my undivided attention.
  2. I really appreciate the $25.00 gift card you gave me for Christmas. I know since I’m still wearing my worn out shoes it looks like I haven’t used it yet but I have. I used it to buy school supplies for a struggling family I’m working with.
  3. Tell me you can’t read and I can work with you and help you. Keep telling me you forgot your Bible or can’t find it and we will never get anywhere.
  4. When you tell me your family is praying for me every day, it means the world to me. When you call me and pray with me it makes my day.
  5. When I called and told you about a Bible student I have who needs a ride to church, and you told me it’s not on your way, I wasn’t really asking if it was on your way. I was just asking if you would do it. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but I go out of my way for people all week long. Why should I be the only one? Fact is I do try to match people up in the same area, but I also try to match personalities and male to male and female to female.
  6. Don’t be afraid to hang out with me because I may see you’re not perfect. I’m not perfect either.
  7. You may have driven by and seen me on the golf course this afternoon. What you didn’t see was me spending the entire night before, in the Emergency waiting room, praying with one of my Bible students, while their wife had emergency surgery.
  8. I mean it when I say call me anytime. If everyone is afraid to call because I may be busy then that means no one will call and I won’t be busy. I depend upon you to call and keep me busy. I like to be busy.
  9. You may not feel like you know the Bible very well, but that observation and comment you just made about that verse we just read was pretty good. I will be sharing it with all the people I study with from now on. Thanks!
  10. When I am studying with your children in your home I would really like you to join us. If you do not care to join us, please don’t leave the house to run errands. I know you trust me, but the question is, do I trust your family?
  11. I really am interested in what you have to say, but I can’t answer your question until you quit talking.
  12. I use my lap top when giving Bible studies, and following up on leads and making appointments. That’s why it looks like I’m on Facebook a lot. Plus Facebook is another way I stay in touch with my Bible students.
  13. I may use you as an illustration in one of my sermons, but I won’t use your name and may even switch your city and gender in my story to protect your identity.
  14. I truly appreciate your offerings in support of evangelism and the Bible Worker fund, but just so you know, I work for Jesus and not the richest person in the church. He is the One who died for me and the One I am going to be faithful to.
  15. When I ask you to greet for an evangelistic meeting I need you there for the whole night. I may need something handed out at the end, plus it does not look good for you to greet everyone and then, them watch as you get in your car and go home. Same for special music. Watching you come up on stage, sing a song, and then go home before the speaker begins, does not do much for the continuity of the meeting.
  16. The literature in the literature rack in the church lobby is for visitors. Please buy your own literature if you are a member.
  17. I wish you wouldn’t use that study Bible, or would at least understand that the study notes are not inspired and are not 100% accurate.
  18. On my day off I will gladly explain to you the plan of salvation, but I really don’t want to use my day off debating whether Adam had a navel or not.
  19. Remember last fellowship lunch, when you were huddled with your little clique and the visitor I am studying with was sitting by himself? Yes, after I asked you went over and invited him to your table, but he saw me ask you. It would have been a lot more effective if you had reached out to him without me having to ask. Thank you for offering to give him a ride to the doctor that week though.  Connecting with him outside of church was a nice touch.
  20. Our study group has 10 members and meets for 75 minutes. We really care about you and what you have to say, and will give you the floor all night if you really need it. At the same time please be respectful of the other members of the group and that they too may have something on their hearts as well. Thank you to those who are mindful of the math and realize 10 people can’t talk for 20 minutes each within 75 minutes.

Hell In Light of The Cross-With New Living Translation

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You may download a printable copy of In Light of The Cross Bible Study Guides -NLT here.

You may listen to the podcast presentation of this topic here. 

The Punishment of the Wicked

 

Brief overview: The wicked will be destroyed by fire. The punishment will be everlasting but the punishing will not. The wicked will die instead of being tormented for all eternity. See John 3:16Romans 6:23Obadiah 1:16Matthew 10:28Ezekiel 18:420.

 

Why it is important to know the truth about the punishment of the wicked:

I have a friend who is involved in a prison ministry that visits a juvenile detention center. My friend was telling me that they had recently shared thetruth about hell with the young men there. My friend said the Chaplin at the jail got very upset with him for letting the young men know that the punishment of the wicked is not an eternity spent in hell but rather death just like the Bible says in John 3:16 and Romans 6:23. The reason the Chaplin did not want them to know the truth about the punishment of the wicked was because he wanted the fear of being tormented for all eternity to motivate them to behave.

The teaching of people being tortured throughout all eternity is the most satanic false doctrine of all! It totally misrepresents the love and character of God making it impossible to love and know Him the way He loves and knows us.

Why it is important to understand the punishment of the wicked in the light of the cross:

Many churches use hell and fear as a motivation for doing good because they do not properly understand the love motivation. They do not understand the depths of Christ’s sacrifice in dying the second death. They make the Cross out to be a mere pain endurance marathon instead of seeing a Savior who was actually willing to say goodbye to life forever in order to save the world. When the early church saw the depths of Jesus’ love and sacrifice it turned the whole world upside down! Meaning it changed everything! It was God’s love that constrained, empowered and motivated them. This love is the only motivation that will actually succeed. Galatians 5:6 talks of a faith that works by love, not a fear of punishment. In John 14 Jesus says, “If you love Me keep My commandments”, not if you don’t want to go to hell you better keep my commandments. We must uplift the cross and the truth about the cross like never before. Young men in juvenile centers and people everywhere else need to know that there is a God who did way more than suffer for six hours on a cross. He faced the second death for them. He loved them more than He loved his own life. He loved them so much that when tempted to come down from the cross and go back to heaven He chose to die instead. Simply put, Jesus stayed on that cross for the young men in the juvenile detention center because the thought of heaven without them was hell to Jesus! When the love motivation receives its due power it will accomplish so much more than the fear motivation invented by men. Some people quote John 3:16 all the time while preaching of an eternal torment of sinners while that verse clearly says those who do not believe will “perish” instead of being tortured throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.

Further study on the punishment of the wicked

 

What is the opposite of eternal life?

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NLT

Note: Those who don’t believe perish. They are not tortured for all eternity. God did not kick Eve out of paradise just because she took a piece of fruit she was told not to. The serpent told lies about God’s love and interest in Eve’s welfare, that Eve and all mankind bought into. When Eve stopped believing in God’s love she stopped believing in her only Source of life. At the cross Jesus died for our sin of unbelief, and when we believe again in His love, we gain back the life we lost when we stopped believing in His love. This is the message of john 3:16.

What is the wages of sin?

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23 NLT

Note that the wages of sin is not eternal torment in hell.

What becomes of the soul or person that sins?

For all people are mine to judge—both parents and children alike. And this is my rule: The person who sins is the one who will die. Ezekiel 18:4 NLT

Note: KJV says soul, NLT says person. Both the KJV and NLT make it clear that the entire soul or person dies in hell and will not be tormented throughout eternity.

How long does the devil have?

Therefore, rejoice, O heavens!
And you who live in the heavens, rejoice!
But terror will come on the earth and the sea,
for the devil has come down to you in great anger,
knowing that he has little time.” Revelation 12:12 NLT

Note: The devil does not have eternity in hell or anywhere else. He has but a little time left to exist.

What will happen to the devil or Satan?

You defiled your sanctuaries with your many sins and your dishonest trade. So I brought fire out from within you, and it consumed you. I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All who knew you are appalled at your fate .You have come to a terrible end, and you will exist no more.” Ezekiel 28:18-19 NLT

Note: Satan, like all sinners, will be annihilated and exist no more.

What happens to both body and soul in hell?

“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28 NLT

Note: Neither soul nor body are tortured throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. Both are destroyed.

What is the final end of the wicked?

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says, “The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed—roots, branches, and all. But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Malachi 4:1-3 NLT

Note: There will be nothing left of the wicked – nothing but ashes.

 What does the lake of fire stand for?

Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. Revelation 20:14 NLT

What is God’s promise?

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”Revelation 21:3- 4 NLT

Note: Sinners cannot be eternally tormented in light of the promise that there will be no more pain. The promise is unconditional.

Can we trust that promise?

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”  Revelation 21:5 NLT

The Second Coming In Light Of The Cross- With New Living Translation

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You may download a printable version of the In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides -NLT here.

A podcast version of this study is available here. 

The Second Coming

 

Brief overview: The second coming of Christ is the blessed hope of the church, the grand climax of the gospel. The Saviour’s coming will be literal, personal, visible, and worldwide. When He returns, the righteous dead will be resurrected, and together with the righteous living will be glorified and taken to heaven, but the unrighteous will die. The almost complete fulfillment of most lines of prophecy, together with the present condition of the world, indicates that Christ’s coming is imminent. The time of that event has not been revealed, and we are therefore exhorted to be ready at all times. (Titus 2:13Heb. 9:28John 14:1-3Acts 1:9-11Matt. 24:14Rev. 1:7Matt. 24:43441 Thess. 4:13-181 Cor. 15:51-542 Thess. 1:7-102:8Rev. 14:14-2019:11-21; Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; 2 Tim. 3:1-51 Thess. 5:1-6.)

Why it is important to understand the truth about the second coming:

Jesus Himself says many will try to impersonate His coming, so He told us exactly how He would come so we will not be deceived. See Matthew 24.

 

Why it is important to understand the second coming in light of the cross:

 

There is a difference between believing He will come, and loving His appearing. Children who are misbehaving at home while mother is out running errands believe she is coming again but since they have misbehaved and made a mess out of the house they do not love her appearing. A true Adventist is one who not only believes in Jesus’ coming but is in love with Him and His appearing. They are like Paul in Galatians 6:14 and in love with the Cross and crucified to the world!

The Bible often refers to the church as a woman (Revelation 12). Revelation 19:7 mentions a bride who is ready for marriage with the Lamb. Who could the Lamb be but Jesus and who could this bride be but His church? Now when you go to a wedding you will notice a very pretty little flower girl all dressed up. She is prepared for the wedding. But the groom does not wish to marry the flower girl. Oh she is pretty all right, and she is prepared. But she has not come prepared for the groom. No, she has come prepared for the cake and punch after the service! The groom does not want to marry a flower girl and neither does Jesus. The groom, Jesus wants to marry the bride. You see the bride has come and is prepared for one thing and one thing only. It’s not the cake and punch, no all she cares about is the groom! You see Jesus is not returning for “flower girls” who just get all excited about the cake, punch, golden streets and mansions. Jesus is returning for a bride who cares about Him! Even Satan believes Jesus is returning, but that belief will not do him any good since he is not in love with Jesus.

At the cross we see how much Jesus loves and desires to be with us, and it inspires us to love Him and want to be with Him.

Further Study on the Second Coming

What did Jesus promise to do?

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.  John 14:1-3 NLT

How will He come?

After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him.  As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.  “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” Acts 1:9-11 NLT

Was He a real person?                                                                                                   

 And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them.“Peace be with you,” he said. But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!  “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt?  Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.”  As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet.  Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he ate it as they watched.  Luke 24:36-43 NLT

 

To what does He liken His coming?

 For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Mancomes.  Matthew 24:27

What type of glory accompanies Him?

And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Matthew 24:30 NLT

 

Whose glory is it?

If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. Luke 9:26 NLT

 

What do the angels do?

And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven. Matthew 24:31

 

What happens to the righteous dead?

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves.  Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:16- 17 NLT

What happens to the island and mountains?                                                                 

The sky was rolled up like a scroll, and all of the mountains and islands were moved from their places. Then everyone—the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person—all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?”   Revelation 6:14-17 NLT

 

How many will see Him coming?

Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him—    even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen! Revelation 1:7 NLT

Why is Jesus coming back?

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. John 14:1-3 NLT

The Millennium in Light Of The Cross -With New Living Translation

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You can download a printable version of the In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides-NLT here.

A podcast version of this topic is available here.

The Millennium

  Brief Overview:  The millennium is the thousand-year reign of Christ with His saints in heaven between the first and second resurrections. During this time the wicked dead will be judged; the earth will be utterly desolate, without living human inhabitants, but occupied by Satan and his angels. At its close Christ with His saints and the Holy City will descend from heaven to earth. The unrighteous dead will then be resurrected, and with Satan and his angels will surround the city; but fire from God will consume them and cleanse the earth. The universe will thus be freed of sin and sinners forever. (Rev. 20; 1 Cor. 6:2,3Jer. 4:23-26Rev. 21:1-5Mal. 4:1Eze. 28:1819.)

 

Why it is important to know the truth about the millennium:

There are many erroneous teachings about the millennium, including the idea some will be given a second chance after the second coming. This is a false security leading many to disregard the exhortation of Paul, “For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you.  On the day of salvation, I helped you.”Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2 NLT

Why it is important to understand the millennium in light of the cross:

Only when we get to heaven will we see and realize what Jesus left to come and die for us.

Further Study on the Millennium

 

What happens to the earth when Jesus comes?

Look! The Lord is about to destroy the earth and make it a vast wasteland. He devastates the surface of the earth and scatters the people. Isaiah 24:1 NLT

What happens to all of the wicked?

In that day those the Lord has slaughtered will fill the earth from one end to the other. No one will mourn for them or gather up their bodies to bury them. They will be scattered on the ground like manure. Jeremiah 25:33 NLT

What happens to the righteousness?

We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 NLT

Note:  When Jesus comes the wicked are all slain, the righteous are all

taken to heaven, and the earth is left in a desolate state (“without form and void” Jer. 4:23; as a “bottomless pit” Rev. 20:1).

How long is Satan bound to the earth?

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a heavy chain in his hand. He seized the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan—and bound him in chains for a thousand years.  The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while. Revelation 20:1-3 NLT

Note: Satan is chained up by circumstances. All the wicked are dead. The righteous are in heaven, and he has no one to tempt or torment. Before his expulsion from heaven he thought he would make a better ruler than God. SeeIsaiah 14:14. Satan now gets to roam the world for a thousand years and consider the fruits of his empire.

 

What will the righteous be doing?

Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Revelation 20:4 NLT

Whom shall they be judging?

Don’t you realize that someday we believers will judge the world? And since you are going to judge the world, can’t you decide even these little things among yourselves? Don’t you realize that we will judge angels? So you should surely be able to resolve ordinary disputes in this life. 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 NLT

 

Jesus spoke of two resurrections.

Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son, and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment. John 5:28-29 NLT

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. John 5:28-29 KJV

When are the wicked dead raised?

This is the first resurrection. (The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years had ended.)  Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years.Revelation 20:5-6 NLT

What does Satan do when they are raised?

When the thousand years come to an end, Satan will be let out of his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations—called Gog and Magog—in every corner of the earth. He will gather them together for battle—a mighty army, as numberless as sand along the seashore. Revelation 20:7-8 NLT

 

What descends down from God?

And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. Revelation 21:2 NLT

What does Satan attempt and what happens?

And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God’s people and the beloved city. But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them. Revelation 20:9 NLT

What is this fire called?

Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. Revelation 20:14 NLT

What will God create from the ashes?                                                                       

   But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment. Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live,  looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness. 2 Peter 3:10-13 NLT

What will the new earth be like?                                                                                      

    In those days people will live in the houses they build   and eat the fruit of their own vineyards. Unlike the past, invaders will not take their houses   and confiscate their vineyards. For my people will live as long as trees, and my chosen ones will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains. They will not work in vain,  and their children will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the Lord,   and their children, too, will be blessed. I will answer them before they even call to me.  While they are still talking about their needs,  I will go ahead and answer their prayers! The wolf and the lamb will feed together.   The lion will eat hay like a cow.   But the snakes will eat dust. In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain.  I, the Lord, have spoken!” Isaiah 65:21-25 NLT

What promise of God does John see in vision?

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone.  And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”  And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:1-5 NLT

Christian Living In Light Of The Cross -With New Living Translation

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You may download a printable version of the In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides -NLT here.

Christian Living

 

Brief overview: We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with the principles of heaven. For the Spirit to recreate in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things which will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives. This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty. While recognizing cultural differences, our dress is to be simple, modest, and neat, befitting those whose true beauty does not consist of outward adornment but in the imperishable ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit. (Rom. 12:121 John 2:6Eph. 5:1-21Phil. 4:82 Cor. 10:56:14-7:11 Peter 3:1-4)

 

Why it is important to understand the truth about Christian living:

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ…” 2 Corinthians 5:20.  We are to represent Christ to the world.

Why it is important to understand Christian living in light of the cross:

 

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14

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

Last year I went with a friend to The Tampa Bay Ray’s stadium, Tropicana Field, where we watched the first place Rays defeat the second place Red Sox 2-1.

While at the game I noticed several Red Sox fans. You could easily spot them with their Red Sox shirts, caps, and jackets. I even sat by one. He assured me that the long fly that Ortiz hit to deep right center for an out would have been a homerun at FenwayPark, where the Red Sox play their home games.

I noticed something about the Red Sox fans. They came into our home ball park but still dressed and acted like they would at Fenway. They did not buy the Tampa Bay Rays t-shirts and caps and try to blend in at all. While most of them were very polite and pleasant to be around they still made it clear that Tropicana Field was not their home and the Rays were not their team. They did not mind looking like visitors. They did not mind that they dressed and looked different. They were proud of their team and where they were from.

As Christians, let’s let the world know earth is not our home. While being as polite and pleasant to be around as possible, let’s still let it be known, our home is in heaven, not here. We do not blend in with the world because we are not a part of this world. Let’s not be afraid to look different and act different. Let’s be as proud of where we belong as the Red Sox fans were proud of where they belong.

Further Study on Christian Living

 

Christian living in the family

 

Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship. For the Christian a marriage commitment is to God as well as to the spouse, and should be entered into only between partners who share a common faith. Mutual love, honor, respect, and responsibility are the fabric of this relationship, which is to reflect the love, sanctity, closeness, and permanence of the relationship between Christ and His church. Regarding divorce, Jesus taught that the person who divorces a spouse, except for fornication, and marries another, commits adultery. Although some family relationships may fall short of the ideal, marriage partners who fully commit themselves to each other in Christ may achieve loving unity through the guidance of the Spirit and the nurture of the church. God blesses the family and intends that its members shall assist each other toward complete maturity. Parents are to bring up their children to love and obey the Lord. By their example and their words they are to teach them that Christ is a loving disciplinarian, ever tender and caring, who wants them to become members of His body, the family of God. Increasing family closeness is one of the earmarks of the final gospel message. (Gen. 2:18-25Matt. 19:3-9;John 2:1-112 Cor. 6:14Eph. 5:21-33Matt. 5:3132Mark 10:1112Luke 16:181 Cor. 7:1011Ex. 20:12Eph. 6:1-4Deut. 6:5-9Prov. 22:6Mal. 4:5,6.)

Christian living in the church

 

The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. In continuity with the people of God in Old Testament times, we are called out from the world; and we join together for worship, for fellowship, for instruction in the Word, for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, for service to all mankind, and for the worldwide proclamation of the gospel. The church derives its authority from Christ, who is the incarnate Word, and from the Scriptures, which are the written Word. The church is God’s family; adopted by Him as children, its members live on the basis of the new covenant. The church is the body of Christ, a community of faith of which Christ Himself is the Head. The 18.)church is the bride for whom Christ died that He might sanctify and cleanse her. At His return in triumph, He will present her to Himself a glorious church, the faithful of all the ages, the purchase of His blood, not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish. (Gen. 12:3Acts 7:38Eph. 4:11-153:8-11Matt. 28:192016:13-2018:18Eph. 2:19-221:22235:23-27Col. 1:17,

The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days, a time of widespread apostasy, a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This remnant announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent. This proclamation is symbolized by the three angels of Revelation 14; it coincides with the work of judgment in heaven and results in a work of repentance and reform on earth. Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness. (Rev. 12:1714:6-1218:1-42 Cor. 5:10Jude 3141 Peter 1:16-192 Peter 3:10-14Rev. 21:1-14.)

The church is one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us. We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we share the same faith and hope, and reach out in one witness to all. This unity has its source in the oneness of the triune God, who has adopted us as His children. (Rom. 12:451 Cor. 12:12-14Matt. 28:1920Ps. 133:12 Cor. 5:1617Acts 17:2627Gal. 3:2729Col. 3:10-15Eph. 4:14-164:1-6John 17:20-23.)

The Lord’s Supper is a participation in the emblems of the body and blood of Jesus as an expression of faith in Him, our Lord and Saviour. In this experience of communion Christ is present to meet and strengthen His people. As we partake, we joyfully proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes again. Preparation for the Supper includes self-examination, repentance, and confession. The Master ordained the service of foot washing to signify renewed cleansing, to express a willingness to serve one another in Christlike humility, and to unite our hearts in love. The communion service is open to all believing Christians. (1 Cor. 10:161711:23-30Matt. 26:17-30Rev. 3:20John 6:48-6313:1-17.)

 

Christian Living and Entertainment

 

 

What should we avoid?

Stay away from every kind of evil.1 Thessalonians 5:22 NLT

What should we not fall in love with?

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 1 John 2:15-17 NLT

Note: No one in this world will love and care for us the way God does. God does not want us to let the gods of this earth to come before Him. Not because He is on an ego trip or being selfish but He is jealous for our welfare. He knows He is the only one who cares for us the way He does. No Hollywood celebrity, rock star, or athlete is willing to give their life for us the way Jesus did. Let’s give our live to the One who gave His life for us.

 

 

What is Paul’s counsel?

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Philippians 4:8 NLT

What is David’s resolution?

I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them. Psalm 101:3 NLT

Christian Living and Dress

 

Can we make our own rules?

I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own.  We are not able to plan our own course. Jeremiah 10:23 NLT

What happens when we make our own rules or follow our own inclinations or opinions?

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. Proverbs 16:25 NLT 

 

What should we set before the people?
Go out through the gates! Prepare the highway for my people to return! Smooth out the road; pull out the boulders; raise a flag for all the nations to see. Isaiah 62:10 NLT

Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.  Isaiah 62:10 KJV

 

Note: The NLT and KJV tell us to raise a flag or a standard, and also to remove stone or boulders, which could cause others to stumble. This effects the way we dress, as the way we dress could cause others to stumble spiritually.

What are we and what are we to do?

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.  1 Corinthians 6:19- 20 NLT

What did God tell the people to take off?

For the Lord had told Moses to tell them, “You are a stubborn and rebellious people. If I were to travel with you for even a moment, I would destroy you. Remove your jewelry and fine clothes while I decide what to do with you.” So from the time they left Mount Sinai the Israelites wore no more jewelry or fine clothes. Exodus 33:5- 6 NLT

Note: When God’s people experience revival they remove their jewelry and “flashy” or “fine” clothes. They dress modestly.

 

How does god portray apostate Israel?

I will punish her for all those times  when she burned incense to her images of Baal, when she put on her earrings and jewels  and went out to look for her lovers but forgot all about me,”  says the Lord. 

 Hosea 2:13 NLT

 

How is the corrupt church described?

So the angel took me in the Spirit into the wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that had seven heads and ten horns, and blasphemies against God were written all over it. The woman wore purple and scarlet clothing and beautiful jewelry made of gold and precious gems and pearls. In her hand she held a gold goblet full of obscenities and the impurities of her immorality. A mysterious name was written on her forehead: “Babylon the Great, Mother of All Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World.” Revelation 17:3-5 NLT

How should God’s people adorn themselves?

And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.  1Timothy 2:9- 10 NLT

What should be the only ornament of a Christian?

 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.  You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.  This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands.1 Peter 3:3-5 NLT

What kind of people are we to be?

 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.  And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.  He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. Titus 2:11-14 NLT

Twenty Things I’ve Learned in Twenty Years of Bible Work

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I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

While I became a literature evangelist in 1990, it just occurred to me, that it has now been 20 years since I first became a Bible Worker in the Owasso-Claremore district of the Oklahoma Seventh-day Adventist Conference in 1993. A lot of water has passed under the bridge and through the baptisteries since then, and over time I would like to share some of my experiences over the last twenty years. Tonight, I would like to begin with a list of twenty things I have learned in twenty years of Bible Work. Please enjoy.

Twenty Things I’ve Learned in Twenty Years

 1. Don’t take it personally when people love you. That’s right when they love you. After leaving a district in Oklahoma, I went to work in a three church district in the Fort Worth-West Texas area. Everyone loved and supported me so much I started thinking I was a good Bible Worker. Fact is I was very inexperienced and was making mistakes left and right. After a few years I finally woke up and realized, these people don’t love me because I am good Bible Worker, they love me because they are kindhearted loving people. They were so good they could love anybody. Even me.  Lesson learned: Just because people love you, it doesn’t mean you are good.

2. Ask people if they like to read out loud before you ask them to read a Bible verse. You would not believe how many adults can’t read well or at all. Don’t embarrass them.

3. Don’t assume people know where the books of the Bible are. You may know where to find Main Street in your hometown, but that’s because you grew up there.

4. Try to keep your Bible Studies just under an hour. Even less for kids and teens. Leave them wanting more, instead of just wanting you to leave. If they keep asking questions, that’s fine. You can stay longer.

5. Don’t send people on a guilt trip for missing or cancelling a Bible study. When they call and say “we are just too tired” tell them to get plenty of rest, have a good week and you will see them next week.

6. Be flexible. I am a Bible Worker. That means I teach the Bible and encourage my Bible students to search the Scriptures and do their lessons. At the same time I have learned that I also have to be prepared to not give a Bible study. A while back I was studying with a lady who would meet me after work and talk about her work problems, before I would finally stop her and begin the study. One week we met and I decided I was just going to listen and not say a word until she quit talking. About an hour later she stopped talking. I had a prayer and she went home happy. Another time I was studying with a married couple who had toddlers and a lot of stress. After several weeks of studies, I told them the next week when I came by, instead of having a Bible Study I would be taking them out to eat at the local Mexican Restaurant, nothing fancy. They got grandma to babysit and when I picked them up they were all dressed up like we were going someplace ritzy. I don’t know how long it had been since they had a night out, but it turned out to mean more to them than I imagined.

7. Ask your Bible students to do three or four lessons a week, so maybe they will do at least one.

8. Be very punctual and dependable with your appointments, but if you have an appointment tonight with someone who has already stood you up three times in a row, and someone else calls and says they have free tickets to tonight’s game, go to the game. Odds are your appointment was going to fall through anyway. Nothing I hate more than turning down an invite so I can keep an appointment with someone who is going to stand me up. Of course don’t stand them up. Call and reschedule.

9. In the past, a new Bible study student would call and talk my ear off while my dinner grew cold, about his theory of UFOs and Martian invasions. I don’t let that happen anymore. I finally realize the difference between people God has put in my path, and people Satan has put in my path just to distract me from the people God has put in my path.

10. If a woman calls you at 12:30 in the morning, and says, “I would not have called this late, but I just drove by your place, and saw your lights on,” be sure you keep your distance from this woman.

11. Don’t take money from a woman who takes you out to eat, and then tries to slip you $100.00 for gas for your car and ministry. Believe me.  It’s not really for gas or your ministry. I found that out when she called me at 12:30 in the morning when she “just happened to be passing by my place.”  Dodged that bullet. Thank you Jesus!

12. I know you are not going to believe me, but I am going to tell you anyway because it’s the truth. Whenever someone mails in a Bible Study request card, do not call them! Just show up at their house. You will never get an initial Bible study appointment from calling them first. Never. I have been doing this 20 years and I swear it never works! You can call and ask if they want Bible studies, and then just tell them you will drop them by sometime, but if you try to set up an initial visit over the phone it will never work! Never! Let me guess, you are still going to call aren’t you? Okay, don’t be surprised if 20 years later it has never worked.

13. When you get a request for Bible studies 100 miles away, just mail the request to a church in that area. However, if they are 15 miles or so away, go see them yourself, even if it is just outside your area. Don’t mail the card to the church in that area. I hate to say it, but odds are nothing is going to happen with it. Do it yourself so you know it’s been done. If the people are interested and you get a study going, and decide it’s too far away for you to drive, invite someone from that church in the actual area to come with you a couple times, and then they take over the study.

14. Don’t let people send you on guilt trips for not doing tasks they should be doing. You don’t have to do everything that the church needs done. I bet other people go to your church besides just you, so why are you doing all the work? Because no one else will do it? That doesn’t make it your problem. You are not the Savior of the world, so don’t let people lay that responsibility on you.

15. Jesus is your pastor. The first thing I noticed working in a three church district was, I was always where the Lead pastor was not. I felt like I did not have a pastor, until an elderly mentor pointed out to me that psalms 23:1 says the Lord is my pastor. (Shepherd in English, Pastor in Spanish. Same thing.) When Samuel died in the middle of David’s crisis with Saul, David wondered who was going to help him now. In psalms 121 he declared God would be His helper.

16. Write down where you preach each sermon. It’s so embarrassing to preach the same sermon twice in the same church.

17. Be leery of the church member who keeps boasting all the time about being vegan. Like the car salesman who keeps talking about the nice stereo, hoping you will like the stereo so much, that you won’t notice the car has no tires, so the member boasting about their diet is hoping to divert your attention so you won’t notice their porn addiction.

18. Don’t waste so much time trying to make other people interested in the Bible, that you neglect the people who already are interested.

19. Whenever you enter a home, unless you are sure the entire family knows you are there, try to sit with your back to the hallway. Just trust me on this.

20. A good night’s sleep will solve most of your problems. A lot of the things that worry you are not even worth worrying about. They are just little distractions trying to get your mind off the big picture and greater purpose of your ministry. Instead of obsessing over things, keep busy and play a little golf to keep things balanced. The more balanced your routine the less you will find yourself obsessing over things.