Light on the Rock Blogs

The blogs are short articles, almost like a “sermonette” compared to a sermon. They are on a variety of topics, please enjoy.

A not-to-be-missed summer destination

The Most Amazing place

Summer’s here and many of us will be taking off a week here or there to go see wonderful sites, cities, campgrounds, nature vistas – or just hanging out with family and grand-kids – which is amazing all by itself. Could we end up missing the most amazing summer destination of all though? 

Be sure you go there. It’s astonishing how so many of God’s kids bypass this destination, or rush through it when they finally get there on their summer travels. It’s SO good, so important, you need to go to this place often! This summer, be sure you spend a lot of time at this #1 place to go be at. There are so many places to see and so much to do in the short summers – it’s not surprising so many end up missing this one all summer long.

Perhaps many of you are ahead of me already. The #1 destination site, especially in the busy summer months, surely is the throne room of our heavenly father and of His Son – our future husband, Jesus the Christ. All this is set on the sea of glass – a vast plain of exquisite crystalline, shimmering beauty. The light from our Father creates rainbows all around as His light is transformed by the crystal. There are powerful, radiant angelic beings coming and going. Some look like us, some look like intelligent white stallions or other creatures we are familiar with. There you’ll find thundering and lightning-like flashes of fire. Before you get to see this vast area of crystal and the throne of majesty, you’ll see hills and mountains soaring up 1,500 miles. Gates of solid mother of pearl. Streets of spiritual gold. We have a very interesting sermon on our website given by an elder who is a friend of mine – and so look for “the Big Picture”, as he goes into much more detail about this wondrous city in that sermon.

But think of it, how could we possibly miss this? Surely this tops anything “out there”, if we have eyes to see and understand what’s up there.

Anyway, you know the drill. We get busy, way too busy, to even pray each morning and night as we talk to, and listen to, our Father. We should never be so busy as to miss this #1 destination site. And yes, we can listen to Father and our Savior in prayer as well as being able to talk to them. I have a sermon series on the website about hearing God speak to us. Be sure to check it out….

And most of all, make the time to stop by your heavenly home every day and to say hello to our Abba, our dear Father as well as our wonderfully loving King Jesus. We have to seek first this kingdom. It must be put into first place in our lives. It won’t just slide into first place on its own. We will all find time for what we find most urgent, most important, most interesting and the most fun. If we have spiritual eyes to see, clearly the throne of God IS the most urgent, most important, most interesting and yes, even the most fun, of all possible summer destination sites.

Why wait? It’s easy to visit there. Why not take a few minutes right now to zoom into Father’s glorious presence? Without a doubt, I know he’d love to hear from you -- His kids. I’ll join you there.

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A new look at the “Gates of Hell”

Matthew 16:18. Do we have this all wrong?

I've heard countless sermons where Matthew 16:18 is used to show God‟s church will never die. It can‟t, the preacher says, as “it says right here „the gates of hell shall not prevail‟ against the church.” We know the word “hell” here is hades in Greek, meaning death, the grave. So on first glance, the preacher is right. It does, after all, speak of something “against the church”. But that leaves the picture of God‟s church barely hanging on by a thread, and somehow it manages to survive.Since when do gates go on the attack? 

That‟s not at all what our Master is saying. Read it again. The Messiah is saying he will build his church and he‟s not acting timidly and defensively but going on the attack against death and hell! When attacking a castle or fortress, the final defensive line is the gates of the castle. We've always read Matthew 16:18 to say hell/grave is attacking us, the church, but death/hades won‟t prevail. In fact, it’s the other way around! Read it again. We, the church, are the ones doing the attacking! We, the church, are the ones on the offensive against hell and death. I don‟t know about you, but I‟m not into being a timid, cowering Christian. And I've never heard of gates going on the attack!

We’re the ones attacking sin and death. Christ is simply saying that in the end, hell‟s gates won‟t withstand our barrage. The gates of hell/death won‟t prevail against the church‟s attacks. That‟s the correct way to read this passage and it clearly is saying that. We WIN, in other words. We go on the offensive and win. God is not timid. God‟s church is not timid. We can be strong and go on offense with the sword of God‟s spirit.

Strong gates are defenders‟ last hope against an invading army attacking a fortress. Strong, closed gates keep an invading army from marching right on in to the fortress. Death and hell are the ones on defense; we‟re attacking. I like that much better.

Our King is saying he’s building a church that will be so strong that over time it will overcome everything in its way, including death itself. Christ is not making the point that his church will never die but that He and His way will bring an end even to death itself. WE are the ones on the attack against hell and the grave. Hades won’t withstand OUR attacks against it.

1 Corinthians 15:25-26 - For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.

The LAST enemy is death. That is why Yeshua, our Savior, says death/hades won’t prevail.

1 Corinthians 15:54-57
54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."
55 "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"
56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


By the blood of the Lamb. Sin, breaking God‟s law, is the sting of death. We‟ve all sinned and therefore earned death as our wages. The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:33). But God sent His Son to pay our death penalty so everyone who believes in Him and surrenders their lives to him will never die the 2nd death – but have everlasting life (John 3:16-17).
Hebrews 2:14-15 (also see 2 Timothy 1:10)

14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?

Not to be seen when it is all said and done. In the new world that our King will set up, there will be no more death, no more dying, no more tears.

Revelation 21:4
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."

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"The Islamic Antichrist"

Recommended reading: intriguing book by Joel Richardson

 Over the past couple years, I've been advocating that in terms of prophecy, we need to be willing to “pivot” and being willing to adjust our cherished notions about prophecy as we see events unfolding.  This blog will encourage you to look at a best-selling book which will at least make you pause. You will learn about the Mahdi and the Islamic view of Jesus, the son of Joseph and Mary of Nazareth. What Islam says about Jesus will absolutely blow you away.  This book goes into this, and much more – in fascinating detail. 

If Joel Richardson’s theories are wrong, you still will have learned much about looming Islam and how that will affect western cultures more and more.  If he is right, or even just partially right, you will at least have learned of news, people and areas in the world to be watching that you probably are not doing right now…and maybe, just maybe, be watching a whole area of world news in a way you hadn’t before. Net result? Less likely to be totally caught off guard.

 Keep in mind Yeshua our Messiah (Jesus the Christ) prophesied he will return at a time we think not (Matthew 24:36,44).  And yet the apostle Paul says we of the light should not be caught totally off guard (1 Thessalonians 5:3-5). The hints I see from scripture tell me the timing and even the events leading up to the return of Messiah could be very different than we have thought.

 For example, most Christian groups – not just the "Church of God" groups by any means – have taught there will be a final 10 nation group that will be unified under one “Beast” leader and a "False Prophet".  We call them simply "the Beast and the False prophet". Many believe the final "false prophet" will be a future Pope.  Even apart from Joel Richardson’s book, I've for years said that probably will not be the case. We have said the 10 nation Beast power will be composed of 10 western and eastern European leaders, led by a super leader.  We've also taught that the European union will be the "king of the north" and Islam will be "the king of the south".

 What if all this is only partially right or not right at all? Whether right or wrong, surely Islam will play a major role in end time events.  Islam already is playing a major role in world events.

 Even a few years ago I’ve taught it could be very different. I've said it could be ten regions of the world -- not just Europe – each under their own "king".  The world has been divided into ten regions for quite some time now. Revelation 13 says this coming "beast" power will be heralded by all nations, all people, all tribes and all languages!

 But Joel Richardson presents yet another case.

 This blog is simply to say this book "The Islamic Antichrist" is worth reading. I am not yet saying I have been convinced of his conclusions, but I’m pondering them carefully. By reading it, you will learn about the expected coming 12th Imam, the Mahdi. You’ll learn how Sunni Muslims view the coming Mahdi differently than the Shiites.

 On September 17, 2005, Ahmadinejad – the new leader (at that time) of Iran (Persia of Biblical days) addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York. At the end of his message, he openly prayed for Allah to reveal the mysterious Islamic messiah figure called the Mahdi.

 To quote the back jacket of Richardson’s book:"This groundbreaking book examines in detail who the Mahdi is according to Islamic belief and the many striking similarities that he bears to the biblical Antichrist.  Through theologically sound research, Christian author Joel Richardson makes a convincing case that the Antichrist, his religion, and his empire will emerge our out of the heart of the Middle East rather than Europe, as many prophecy scholars had assumed."

 What I personally found fascinating was Richardson’s examination of the Islamic view of Jesus Christ.  He shows us how the Islamic view of the return of Jesus clashes with Holy Scripture. Remember Jesus warned us not to believe it when someone claiming to be him appears in the desert some place (Matthew 24:23-28). This book will make Jesus' prediction of the end-time confusion surrounding his coming come to light. Find out what Islam teaches about the coming of a Jesus to Islam, and this end-time Jesus’ ability to work miracles, and what their end-time Jesus, the son of Mary, will say and do to Christians and Jews. It’s fascinating. Don’t be caught off guard. Matthew 24:23-28 "Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it.  24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  25 See, I have told you beforehand." 26 "Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it.  27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.  28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together."

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A new look at Amos 3:3 and walking together

(Have we misused and misunderstood this verse before?)

“Two (or more) can’t ‘walk together’ unless they first be agreed” is quoted over and over for the reason we remain separated from other family members -- brothers and sisters in Christ. We separate in many cases to the point where we won’t visit each other’s congregations, or invite brothers and sisters in Christ to dinner. We've misread Amos 3:3 and have misused it to our shame, partly resulting in the splits upon splits we see happening in the church organizations. I know most of you understand that “the body of Christ” is not the same thing as the organizations calling themselves “church of God” or some variant thereof. Most of you understand the body of the Messiah is the group of people who are being led by His spirit regardless of where they meet.But back to Amos 3:3. Pastors have applied it to explain that brethren can’t – and mustn’t -- come together unless they first agree on every doctrinal point (or variations thereof). 

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Coming…the REAL Royal Wedding!

The Marriage of the REAL KING to His Bride

I’ll bet a lot of you – especially the women – spent some time watching the Royal Wedding with Prince William and now Princess Kate. Indeed it WAS exciting watching the pomp and ceremony, precision of everything, sharing in the joy of a kingdom with its royals as two bodies came together as one. All that preparation and rehearsing, all that hard work to make sure it came off without a hitch, the security protocols – and the love of each for the other that made it happen in the first place…. Priceless. 

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Well Done, Our King, well done!

We've finished Passover -- washing each other’s feet, breaking the bread and drinking of the Master’s cup of the new covenant. Now what? Jesus will say to those sheep on His right, “Well done…” Have you ever wished YOU could say to the King – “Well done, King! Well done”? It struck me, as I read the chapters of John 13-17 at the end of the service, what an incredible “command performance” we see from our Master and Savior on that Passover. 

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I Don’t Call my Brother “Mr. Shields”

A gentleman and a lady recently called me – from two different states – as they had discovered this website. They called me “Mr. Shields”. About the 2nd time they did, I had to stop and follow my Master’s command in Matthew 23 and said, “My name’s Philip. Since I’m a brother, I’m Philip, not “Mr. Shields”. We don’t call brothers or sisters by their last name”.There was a long pause, then a delighted chuckle. 

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“Why Just Three Arrows?”

Are we limiting what the Eternal would do?  

There’s an old, lesser known story in the Scriptures about Elisha and one of the kings which has intrigued me for years. Elisha was old and about to die. Joash, one of the righteous kings of the northern ten tribes of Israel, had come to pay his last respects apparently. Elisha asked King Joash to shoot an arrow out of an east window, and then explained that arrow symbolized victory over Syria at a future battle. Now let’s read what happened. 

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WHAT are you praying about?

Don’t miss God’s commands to pray about these things also.

It’s very common for ‘prayer warriors’ and children of God to have prayer lists. Why? So we can go down our check list to be sure we’re praying for everyone and everything we think we should be praying about. These would include praying for people who are mentioned on various prayer request lists we see. It’s a noble thing to be spending precious prayer time in intercessory prayer for others.We would also normally be praying the central points found in the “the Lord’s Prayer”. That too, is a good list of topics to be praying about. This would include elements of “thy Kingdom come”, praying “thy will be done on earth…” and providing for our daily physical and spiritual bread. As you continue on down that sample prayer, there are other elements, such as “forgive us our trespasses”, even as you ask for help in forgiving others. There are other points as well. So far, so good.

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We Don’t Get to Choose Our Brothers and Sisters

So many of us talk about being “children of God” or in the family of God. We say Yahweh – the Eternal God – is our Father. We call people who are of like mind, our “brothers and sisters in Christ”, or simply “brethren.” 

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