Pastor Scott's Blog

(for more blog entries, go to:  http://jcctracy.blogspot.com )

12/31/18 - Rev 21-22

Dec 31, 2018

I am coming soon!  My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.  Rev 22:12 

Whatever we made our Lord on earth will be our reward in eternity --- so don’t worship the world, serve the Lord.

One of our mission activities is a fantastic group of people in Honduras, supported by Lifeline Christian Missions.  They have been close to our heart for years, and we have been greatly blessed to work with them.  One year, I was headed down for a training mission trip and they wanted a car part for a failing vehicle (parts are expensive and nearly impossible to get in many countries).  One asked if I would ship it down early, and I tried to find out how to effectively do it.  But with risks and costs, it just wasn’t a guarantee the part would ever arrive.  They wanted the part immediately, but it was smarter for me to bring it with me.

The same goes for Jesus and His believers.  Many times, we want the reward NOW – but Jesus is bringing it with Him.  

When we do good things, or live in obedience, or become disciplined in our Spiritual walk, it’s normal to start thinking God would reward us.  And many times, He does.  There is a blessing attached to obedience in the natural order of His creation.  But not always.  Obedience is not a cure-all for life’s problems.  Devoted followers still contract illnesses.  Disciples still suffer.  In our humanness, we want God to reward us, but Jesus reminds us that the reward is coming when He comes.

Friends, God’s reward for us is TOO BIG for earth to handle.  His reward doesn’t fit inside a luggage travel bag.  It is so big that Jesus Himself must handle it.  The reward is so precious that it takes special care.  And it takes proper administration, so only God’s Son is entrusted with it.  And God has it already planned for YOU!

As hard as it is, be thankful for God’s timing.  Wait for the eternal reward, and stay focused on the work. Your reward is coming VERY soon!!!

12/28/18 - Rev 20

Dec 28, 2018

Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.   Rev 20:15

Judgment is simple---everything is reviewed, actions are rewarded, and those who accepted Jesus as Lord enter heaven. So make Him Lord today!

There are many “books” in the Judgment Records.  God is an excellent recorder.

-          You know the Book of the Law.  God’s word is recorded and the base of all judgment.

-          There is the Book of Works.  Every single good work or kind thought is recorded.

-          There is the Book of Tears.  God records every tear we ever shed.

-          There is the Book of Sacrifice.   God knows every contribution of service and support we make.

-          There is the Book of Words.  He keeps an account of every word (good, bad, broken, fulfilled).

-          There is also a Book of Praise. He remembers all of our praises and worship.

-          Finally, there is the Book of Life.  It records who chose to make Jesus their Lord.

Most of the time, people subliminally think that having their name in any of the books is all that’s needed.  Anyone who did not surrender their life to Jesus is counting on the Book of Works to qualify them for heaven.  Others who suffered are counting on the Book of Tears to support their entrance.  All of those books are valuable to God, and recognized by God.

But the only book that grants eternal life is the Book of Life.  God writes the name of every soul in the book.  But the ink of ONE SIN can blot out our name, and only the blood of Jesus is capable of washing the ink off the page.  It only takes ONE SIN to be found unholy.  It takes the death of a Savior to fix it. 

Scripture says anyone not found written in the book will NOT be granted entrance to heaven.  God truly cares about every single tear.  He rewards well every good work.  He appreciates our encouraging words and testimonies about Him.  He honors our sacrifice.  But unless we come under the saving blood of Jesus, all of those credits mean nothing.

I’m especially grateful God ‘keeps no record of wrong’.  Love doesn’t do that.  We joke (and worry) that a DVD of all our sins is being recorded in heaven.  That’s actually being recorded by our accuser.  But God chose to cast that recording far away – as far as the East is from the West.  What He cares about is our commitment to His Son.

Granted – surrendering our life to Jesus should ENHANCE our record in all of the other books, and reduce the record in satan’s journal.  But that doesn’t begin until we start with the Book of Life. 

Are you in there?
12/27/18 - Rev 19

Dec 27, 2018

At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Don't do that! .. Worship God!"  Rev 19:10

Don't worship Christmas, family, life--only worship Jesus! Everything else is idolatry.

What do you say you love?

The phrase is used so often, we’ve lost much of its true meaning.  People love everything.  We love coffee.  We love chocolate.  We love Disney.  We love reading.  We loveour new car.  We love that outfit.  We love country music. (Okay – that was going too far!)

If you’re like me, it probably is used in your language way too much.

This time of year, it’s used even more.  We love Christmas.  We love time with family.  We love being off from work and school.  We love just about everything that comes along.  It kind of diminishes the sentiment when we tell our spouse or kids that we love them too.  Or when we tell God we love Him. 

In this amazing final scene of John’s revelation, he is overwhelmed by the worship & celebration of heaven.  It is by FAR the best moment John has ever witnessed (after all, John wasn’t there to witness the resurrection).  Like a “love” fest, John just wants to get involved in the worship, and the Angel (maybe Angel Gabriel) who is the messenger that’s been showing John the story is standing there.  John falls to his face to honor the story-teller, but the angel will have NONE OF IT.  “Love God – don’t love me!”  The angel doesn’t want John to make ANYTHING BUT GOD the target of his love and worship.

This scene shows the danger of our hearts to make an idol out of anything – including an angel in heaven.  We are so driven to love someone or something, that we’ll pick anything pleasing to us.  How ironic (and sad) that idolatry was seen in the 3rd Chapter of Genesis, and still is the temptation in the 3rd to last Chapter of Revelation.  It’s still a problem for us – and needs to be stopped.

Maybe it’s time to take back the love.  Reserve it for Jesus.  Show your love for Jesus by GIVING love to your spouse and kids and family.  But truly love God alone. 
12/26/18 - Rev 18

Dec 26, 2018

'Come out of Babylon, my people,' so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues.   Rev 18:4

Supporting or tolerating sin just to get along will corrupt you or kill you.

There’s a saying I was taught by my grandpa and have learned to say it often:  Bad company corrupts good character.  For years I didn’t know that was Scripture (1Cor 15:33), but if you have been reading through the New Testament, you’ve seen many places where this principle applies.  Revelation is the final warning of this principle – and the most serious.

Believers agree with the principle, but often struggle to apply it.  We’re pretty good at seeing the bad company other people hang out with, but also are pretty good at justifying our own choices.  Separation is just so difficult!  Sometimes, it’s our own family members that we need to separate from.  Other times, it’s that boyfriend or girlfriend, or a work buddy, or something else.  Even solid Christians wrestle with this passage in light of trying to reach lost friends and family – how do you balance it?

God’s calling in this passage is less about people and more about practices.  God is calling us away from the practices of sin – ie. Leave the liquor, don’t mess with the marijuana, stop going for the greed, pull away from anger, etc.   If being around the people means being around the sin, then leave the sin.

A great application of this for today would be the TV.  The flat screen in your family room is just an object.  By itself, it is not your enemy.  But when we have the remote in our hands, and activate the screen, MANY of the things on the TV are very sinful.  Take an Inventory for one week:  watch what you watch.  Isn’t it flooded with things you know are sinful?  (Dianna and I have dropped SO MANY shows after an inventory like this – even shows we liked the plots of were filled with sin-encouraging scenes.)  The point isn’t to ban the TV.  The point is: Don’t share in the sins by watching them regularly.

God calls us to live holy lives.  That doesn’t mean we all need to live in a monastery.  It means we must separate ourselves from the sin scene.  We need to remember that there is always a plague coming.  Eventually, there is a price to pay – either in the behavior or in the judgment.   Pull away before it is too late.

I’m grateful my grandpa recited that Scripture so often.  Maybe we would be wise in remembering it and teaching it to our families.  The character we reap comes from the company we keep.  Separate yourself from the sins people are pushing on you.  They are not your friends, and you’re not being a good friend by participating in it with them.  Avoid the plague, and maybe they will learn to avoid it too.
12/24/18 - Rev 17

Dec 24, 2018

They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings-and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.   Rev 17:14

In the end we will either be fighting with Jesus or fighting Jesus---choose your side carefully.

The last war between satan and Jesus is really not much of a battle.  In truth, the WHOLE war between them is not much of a battle, even though the duration seems long to us. 

I think of a scene many years ago when a little 3 year old boy got mad at me and wanted to punch at me.  He was upset that he lost a game of Candyland, and wanted to take his aggression out on me.  Unfortunately for him, my arms were about twice as long as his, and my strength & size were way more as well, so all he could do was flail his arms at me, missing every punch.  If I had really wanted to, that fight could have ended in one swing.  (I chose to be meek in that situation and not respond.)  Finally, he gave up and I hugged him --- and the fight was over.

The fight of good and evil seems to be so challenging to us – and we often think evil is getting its punches in.  But in reality, God is just holding evil at bay for as long as He wants to.  So satan swings at us instead of God, and once in a while evil connects.  But God is always in complete control.

In the last days, evil will try one last time to throw everything it can at God.  But since nothing is bigger or stronger or more powerful than God, it will be an instant defeat.  God won’t even break a sweat.  One blow is all it will take. 

But notice the final part of this verse – at the end of that short battle, the faithful followers are left.  Jesus will stand with all who gave their lives to serve in His army.  And we won’t lift a sword or pick up a stone … Jesus will do the fighting and will triumph completely.  We’ll just be the witnesses.

That’s a word for us today – the struggles we have, the pain we face, the hurts we feel, the problems we are enduring – Jesus will be the victor.  We just need to choose to stay on His side.

When it feels like everyone else is enjoying themselves and you’re the one suffering, remember that last battle.  Don’t be impressed with a bunch of empty swings … stand with the faithful.  When Jesus is ready, He will say “enough” and the victory will be complete!