Bible Study

This is a copy of the Sunday School Lessons presented to an adult class each Sunday.

Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States

Retired, Lobbyist in Washington,DC - Management - BS Chemistry and various continuing education courses

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Bible Study - Stand Up (1) - Be Ready to Stand - Esther 2:5-10, 15-17 - April 22, 2018

Bible Study – Stand Up (1) – Be Ready to Stand – April 22, 2018

This is lesson one (1) in our series entitled “Stand Up: How to Fight Injustice.”

Our focus scripture is Esther 2:5-10, 15-17.

GOD is always at work behind the scenes.

For the next six-weeks we will study one of my favorite books of the Bible. It is the only book where GOD is not mentioned by name but certainly HE is manifested throughout the book. GOD is the invisible presence. The book is named for the heroine of the book, Esther.

Esther, born a Jew, became the Queen of Persia and her position enabled her to save her people from destruction. GOD always has HIS plan to save a remnant of HIS chosen people to ensure that the “Branch of Righteousness”, JESUS, The promised Messiah, which we studied in last week’s lesson, is maintained and fulfilled.  

GOD places us at the right time in the right place to achieve HIS purpose. Each Christian is vital in accomplishing GOD’S plan and purpose. We may never know that we have achieved that purpose because GOD works in mysterious ways. It may be a pat on the back or a cup of cold water at just the right time that a person may need to carry on. Life is exciting when we are willing to live it for our JESUS!

Let’s explore!

Let’s read Esther 2:1-7:

1 Sometime later, when King Ahasuerus' rage had cooled down, he remembered Vashti, what she had done, and what was decided against her. 

King Ahasuerus, also known as King Xerxes, ruled the Persian Empire from 486 to 465 B.C. He ruled over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. In the third year of his rule he had a banquet at his winter place located in Susa, aka Shushan. He invited the leaders of these provinces to visit him. Over a 180 day period he showed his guests his vast wealth. Then he had a banquet that lasted 7 days. On the seventh day of the banquet the king was tipsy and asked that Queen Vashti be brought before him wearing only her royal crown. She was to be naked except for her royal crown. The king wanted all to see her beauty. She refused and the king went into a rage. This led to the removal of Vashti as queen and for the king’s personal attendants to find a replacement for Queen Vashti. ---- The king’s leaders and male subjects were concerned that the queen’s refusal would empower the ladies in the provinces to also refuse their husbands. Let’s read Esther 1:15-22:

15 [The king asked,] "According to the law, what should be done with Queen Vashti, since she refused to obey King Ahasuerus' command that was delivered by the eunuchs?" 
16 Memucan said in the presence of the king and his officials, "Queen Vashti has defied not only the king, but all the officials and the peoples who are in every one of King Ahasuerus' provinces. 
17 For the queen's action will become public knowledge to all the women and cause them to despise their husbands and say, 'King Ahasuerus ordered Queen Vashti brought before him, but she did not come.' 
18 [Before] this day [is over], the noble women of Persia and Media who hear about the queen's act will say [the same thing] to all the king's officials, resulting in more contempt and fury. 
19 "If it meets the king's approval, he should personally issue a royal decree. Let it be recorded in the laws of Persia and Media, so that it cannot be revoked: Vashti is not to enter King Ahasuerus' presence, and her royal position is to be given to another woman who is more worthy than she. 
20 The decree the king issues will be heard throughout his vast kingdom, so all women will honor their husbands, from the least to the greatest." 
21 The king and his counselors approved the proposal, and he followed Memucan's advice. 
22 He sent letters to all the royal provinces, to each province in its own script and to each ethnic group in its own language, that every man should be master of his own house and speak in the language of his own people.

GOD orchestrates and makes history according to HIS plan and purpose, yet within the freewill of people. GOD knows each of us and our decision making process.

When we obediently serve HIM, HIS will and purpose is accomplished through us. When we see GOD at work that is our invitation to discern and join HIM in HIS work.

The key is that we recognize and acknowledge GOD at work as we journey through life. It is not responding to what we like to do, although that is a temptation, but it could be what we like to do. When our Spiritual eyes are opened and we see GOD at work that is our invitation to join HIM in that work.  

2 The king's personal attendants suggested, "Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king. 
3 Let the king appoint commissioners in each province of his kingdom, so that they may assemble all the beautiful young virgins to the harem at the fortress of Susa. [Put them] under the care of Hegai, the king's eunuch, who is in charge of the women, and give them the required beauty treatments. 
4 Then the young woman who pleases the king will reign in place of Vashti." This suggestion pleased the king, and he did accordingly. 
5 A Jewish man was in the fortress of Susa named Mordecai son of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish, a Benjaminite. [Mordecai means “little man.” Mordecai is a Jew. Son of, can be thought of as descendant of --]
6 He had been taken into exile from Jerusalem with the other captives when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took King Jeconiah (AKA Jehoiachin and Coniah) of Judah into exile. 
7 Mordecai was the legal guardian of his cousin Hadassah (that is, Esther), because she didn't have a father or mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was extremely good-looking. When her father and mother died, Mordecai had adopted her as his own daughter. [Hadassah means “myrtle” or could be “bride” and Esther means “star.” Some think “star” related to or was derived from Ishtar a Babylonian deity – a goddess of fertility. ]

Those searching for a replacement for Queen Vashti found Esther. Esther was a Jew and an orphan but her cousin, Mordecai, adopted her as his daughter. She was a beautiful young virgin with a great personality and intelligence.

Now, let’s see the hand of GOD at work in the life of Esther, Mordecai and the Israelites.

Let’s read Esther 2:8-10:
8 When the king's command and edict became public knowledge, many young women gathered at the fortress of Susa under Hegai's care. Esther was also taken to the palace and placed under the care of Hegai, who was in charge of the women. 

This was a huge beauty contest. Some translations use the word “taken” to the palace by force or simply taken to become considered for becoming the new queen. The latter seems to be implied. As we read on, we see that Esther not only was great to look at but she was intelligent.

9 The young woman pleased him (Hegai) and gained his favor so that he accelerated the process of the beauty treatments and the special diet that she received. He assigned seven hand-picked female servants to her from the palace and transferred her and her servants to the harem's best quarters. 
10 Esther did not reveal her ethnic background or her birthplace, because Mordecai had ordered her not to. 
11 Every day Mordecai took a walk in front of the harem's courtyard to learn how Esther was doing and to see what was happening to her. 
12 During the year before each young woman's turn to go to King Ahasuerus, the harem regulation required her to receive beauty treatments with oil of myrrh for six months and then with perfumes and cosmetics for [another] six months. 
13 When the young woman would go to the king, she was given whatever she requested to take with her from the harem to the palace. 
14 She would go in the evening, and in the morning she would return to a second harem under the supervision of Shaashgaz, the king's eunuch in charge of the concubines. She never went to the king again, unless he desired her and summoned her by name.

The selection process is revealed. How many young ladies were selected? According to the Jewish historian, Josephus 400 young ladies were considered.

It is clear that Esther received special treatment for her debut before the king. The young virgins could select the clothes and jewels they would wear for their audience with the king and they could keep them. Once the young virgins appeared before the king the next morning they were sent to a separate location which housed concubines.

Let’s read Esther 2:15-17:
15 Esther was the daughter of Abihail, the uncle of Mordecai who had adopted [her] as his own daughter. When her turn came to go to the king, she did not ask for anything except what Hegai, the king's trusted official in charge of the harem, suggested. Esther won approval in the sight of everyone who saw her. [Esther’s father was Abihail which means “my father is powerful.”]

Esther trusted Hegai’s counsel. Esther received the approval of everyone who saw her. She was ready for the king to see her. This process took some time to complete as revealed in our next scripture.

16 Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus in the royal palace in the tenth month, the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. 

This time period reflects our months of December and January. King Ahasuerus’ reign was from 486 to 465 B.C. So in the third year of his reign he held a banquet where Queen Vashti was dethroned. This would be 483 B.C. SO the king’s seventh year of rule would be 479 B.C. While the king was waiting for a new queen, he was busy fighting against Greece.

17 The king loved Esther more than all the other women. She won more favor and approval from him than did any of the other virgins. He placed the royal crown on her head and made her queen in place of Vashti.

GOD’S plan for Esther was at work. The king crowned Esther as his queen. She found favor and met the approval of the king over all the other women. So a Jewish virgin and a pagan king would be instrumental in GOD’S plan and purpose.  It is interesting that the name of the former queen is not mentioned again in the Book of Esther. There was great celebration.

18 The king held a great banquet for all his officials and staff. It was Esther's banquet. He freed his provinces from tax payments and gave gifts worthy of the king's bounty. 
19 When the young women were assembled together for a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the King's Gate. 
20 Esther still had not revealed her birthplace or her ethnic background, as Mordecai had directed. She obeyed Mordecai's orders, as she always had while he raised her.

GOD orchestrates those to accomplish HIS will and purpose. Can you look back over your life and see HIS hand at work? You are precious to HIM and he has a plan for you but you have to be willing to be obedient to HIS call. HIS call to Esther was to be queen and her role will be made evident as we continue our study. Step one is to be born into GOD’S family through faith in JESUS. Step two is to be willing to obediently serve GOD as HE reveals your path forward. “Here I am LORD JESUS, take my life as it is and use me according to your will and purpose. Help me to be the man or woman YOU want me to be.” This may mean that you will continue doing what you are doing but with a Spiritual eye open to the opportunities around you or it could mean a lifestyle change. The key is to let the Holy Spirit lead you according to the will and purpose of GOD.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Bible Study – GOD is --- (6) Our Righteousness – April 15, 2018

This is our sixth and final lesson in our series entitled “GOD is ---. “

Our focus scripture is Jeremiah 33:3-8, 14-16.

Because GOD is righteous, HE will ultimately make all things right.

GOD knows what is in the future. GOD makes history according to HIS plan and purpose for mankind. In GOD’S plan, Salvation will come to mankind for all who will place their faith in HIS only Son, JESUS. GOD used the physical and visible to reveal what faith in JESUS will mean to those who acknowledge HIM as their Savior and make HIM the LORD of their lives. Let’s explore!

Background – Jeremiah 32:1-44:

GOD spoke through the Prophet Jeremiah to King Zedekiah. The king did not like Jeremiah’s message so he had Jeremiah locked up in the king’s 
courtyard jail:

1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. 
2 The army of the king of Babylon was then besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was confined in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace of Judah. 
3 Now Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him there, saying, “Why do you prophesy as you do? You say, ‘This is what the LORD says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will capture it. 
4 Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape the Babylonians but will certainly be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and will speak with him face to face and see him with his own eyes. 
5 He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, where he will remain until I deal with him, declares the LORD. If you fight against the Babylonians, you will not succeed.’ ” 

Prophets have to speak GOD’S Word even when it is not what others may not want to hear. But there is hope in the midst of turmoil. As a positive sign that Jerusalem will be rebuilt after its destruction, Jeremiah bought a piece of land to confirm that Jerusalem would be completely restored and thrive after utter destruction:

6 Jeremiah said, “The word of the LORD came to me: 
7 Hanamel son of Shallum your uncle is going to come to you and say, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth, because as nearest relative it is your right and duty to buy it.’ 
8 “Then, just as the LORD had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me in the courtyard of the guard and said, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. Since it is your right to redeem it and possess it, buy it for yourself.’ “I knew that this was the word of the LORD; 
9 so I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel and weighed out for him seventeen shekels of silver. 
10 I signed and sealed the deed, had it witnessed, and weighed out the silver on the scales. 
11 I took the deed of purchase—the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, as well as the unsealed copy— 
12 and I gave this deed to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel and of the witnesses who had signed the deed and of all the Jews sitting in the courtyard of the guard. 
13 “In their presence I gave Baruch these instructions: 
14 ‘This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Take these documents, both the sealed and unsealed copies of the deed of purchase, and put them in a clay jar so they will last a long time. 
15 For this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.’ 
16 “After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed to the LORD: 
17 “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. 
18 You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the parents’ sins into the laps of their children after them. Great and mighty God, whose name is the LORD Almighty, 
19 great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind; you reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve.

Jeremiah reminded the Israelites of their heritage as GOD’S chosen people and how HE revealed Himself to them through mighty acts. But there is also a reminder that when their forefathers entered the Promised Land they did not do as GOD had instructed them to do. They fell into the worship of the gods in the Promised Land and forsook the One True GOD of the Israelites, YAHWEH. Jerusalem would be destroyed because of their unfaithfulness to GOD but the good news is that it would be restored:

20 You performed signs and wonders in Egypt and have continued them to this day, in Israel and among all mankind, and have gained the renown that is still yours. 
21 You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror. 
22 You gave them this land you had sworn to give their ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey. 
23 They came in and took possession of it, but they did not obey you or follow your law; they did not do what you commanded them to do. So you brought all this disaster on them. 
24 “See how the siege ramps are built up to take the city. Because of the sword, famine and plague, the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians who are attacking it. What you said has happened, as you now see. 

Often we have to look back at the times GOD has been with us in the dark times in our lives to give us hope and encourage us to face dark times which are coming. Do you recall Dr. Vance Havner saying “We must practice in the dark what we learn in the light.”

Jerusalem was a well-fortified city. The enemy built ramps to destroy its walls. As the enemy would destroy a portion of the wall, the Israelites would take materials from their homes, buildings and palace to plug the holes in the walls. Yet, their efforts were in vain because GOD’s plan was for Jerusalem to be destroyed. GOD assured Jeremiah that Jerusalem would be rebuilt. Sometimes GOD allows those HE loves to be attacked for them to rebuild on a solid foundation. False notions about HIM must come down in order for a solid firm relationship with HIM to be established. After many years of walking with my LORD this is still true in my life. It is not grievous but exciting when we see Spiritual truth and come closer to our LORD:

25 And though the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians, you, Sovereign LORD, say to me, ‘Buy the field with silver and have the transaction witnessed.’ ” 
26 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 
27 “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? 
28 Therefore this is what the LORD says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who will capture it. 
29 The Babylonians who are attacking this city will come in and set it on fire; they will burn it down, along with the houses where the people aroused my anger by burning incense on the roofs to Baal and by pouring out drink offerings to other gods. 
30 “The people of Israel and Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth; indeed, the people of Israel have done nothing but arouse my anger with what their hands have made, declares the LORD. 
31From the day it was built until now, this city has so aroused my anger and wrath that I must remove it from my sight. 
32 The people of Israel and Judah have provoked me by all the evil they have done—they, their kings and officials, their priests and prophets, the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem. 
33 They turned their backs to me and not their faces; though I taught them again and again, they would not listen or respond to discipline. 
34 They set up their vile images in the house that bears my Name and defiled it. 
35 They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molek, though I never commanded—nor did it enter my mind—that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin. 
36 “You are saying about this city, ‘By the sword, famine and plague it will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon’; but this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 
37 I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. 
38 They will be my people, and I will be their God. 
39 I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them. 
40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. 
41 I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul. 
42 “This is what the LORD says: As I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity I have promised them. 
43 Once more fields will be bought in this land of which you say, ‘It is a desolate waste, without people or animals, for it has been given into the hands of the Babylonians.’ 
44Fields will be bought for silver, and deeds will be signed, sealed and witnessed in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the towns of the hill country, of the western foothills and of the Negev, because I will restore their fortunes, declares the LORD.”

Has America abandoned GOD? GOD did not spare HIS chosen people from capture and their cities from being destroyed. We embrace many things and practices in America that become our gods and idols. Can our self-sufficiency as a nation become an idol? GOD is sovereign. We might have all the might a nation can muster but if we turn our backs on JESUS, GOD will show us who our strength resides in.

The Prophet Jeremiah was locked up in jail and GOD had given him HIS Word to pass on to the king and others.

Let’s read Jeremiah 33:3-5:
1 While he was still confined in the guard's courtyard, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah a second time
2 "The Lord who made the earth, the Lord who forms it to establish it, the Lord is His name, says this: 
3 Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and wondrous things you do not know. 
4 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the houses of this city and the palaces of Judah's kings, the ones torn down [for defense] against the siege ramps and the sword: 
5 The people coming to fight the Chaldeans will fill the houses with the corpses of [their own] men I strike down in My wrath and rage. I have hidden My face from this city because of all their evil.

Jeremiah was confined in a physical jail but GOD’S Word is never confined. Yes, GOD was going to allow destruction to come to Jerusalem but GOD did not abandon HIS chosen people. As GOD’S chosen people they could still call upon HIM and HE would respond. Not only would HE respond, HE would reveal HIS ultimate plan to them. Yes, their physical property would be utterly destroyed but this was part of GOD’S plan and purpose for HIS chosen people. Although painful, GOD had a redemptive plan that included all the people groups of the world. Just as Jerusalem would be destroyed physically, GOD would raise up an eternal Messiah though a branch of King David. Jerusalem’s destruction and resurrection would be a physical example of what sin does to the lives of all people and the rebuilding is an example of the restoration of these shattered lives when a person places his or her faith in JESUS.

Let’s read Jeremiah 33:6-8:
We need to consider the time span:
Jeremiah was called by GOD to be HIS prophet about 627 B.C. Jeremiah served GOD for 40 years. In 597 B.C. Jerusalem was captured by the Babylonians and remained under their control until Judah’s King Jehoiachin and thousands of the Jews living in Judah were exiled to Babylon. The Prophet Ezekiel was exiled to Babylon. Then around 588 B.C. the Jews remaining in Judah rebelled again which prompted the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar to surround Jerusalem and deliver defeat after 18 months of battle. The walls of Jerusalem were destroyed and the bodies of those killed piled up in its streets. This was about 586 B.C. Then about 538 B.C. the exiled Jews were allowed to return to Israel. GOD says what HE means and means what HE says. We often overlook the span of time. GOD promised Jerusalem would be restored but that would not happen overnight. Our next verses are GOD’S promise of restoration. In HIS wisdom, GOD spared a remnant of HIS chosen to fulfill HIS covenant promise. 
6 Yet I will certainly bring health and healing to it and will indeed heal them. I will let them experience the abundance of peace and truth. 
7 I will restore the fortunes of Judah and of Israel and will rebuild them as in former times. 
8 I will purify them from all the wrongs they have committed against Me, and I will forgive all the wrongs they have committed against Me, rebelling against Me. 
9 This city will bear on My behalf a name of joy, praise, and glory before all the nations of the earth, who will hear of all the good I will do for them. They will tremble with awe because of all the good and all the peace I will bring about for them. 
10 "This is what the Lord says: In this place which you say is a ruin, without man or beast-that is, in Judah's cities and Jerusalem's streets that are a desolation without man, without inhabitant, and without beast-there will be heard again
11 a sound of joy and gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the bride, and the voice of those saying, Praise the Lord of Hosts, for the Lord is good; His faithful love endures forever as they bring thank offerings to the temple of the Lord. For I will restore the fortunes of the land as in former times, says the Lord. 
12 "This is what the Lord of Hosts says: In this desolate place-without man or beast-and in all its cities there will once more be a grazing land where shepherds may rest flocks. 
13 The flocks will again pass under the hands of the one who counts them in the cities of the hill country, the cities of the Judean foothills, the cities of the Negev, the land of Benjamin-the cities surrounding Jerusalem and Judah's cities, says the Lord.

Sin destroys the life of every sinner but GOD restores that life when he or she places his or her faith in JESUS. When JESUS forgives us for our sins and JESUS comes into our lives there is joy but this is also when the real work of restoration begins. A life restored through faith in JESUS brings unspeakable joy through an intimate, loving, personal relationship with GOD through faith in JESUS and the miracle of rebirth into GOD’S family. It is a daily walk with JESUS. As a Christian, we are grafted into the One true vine, JESUS. Through this intimate relationship Christians experience Spiritual growth and produce Spiritual fruit. GOD has a plan and a purpose for each Christian. GOD had a plan and purpose for King David. King David was not perfect but GOD used him. We are all sinners saved by GOD’S Grace. The shed blood of JESUS makes Christians pure in GOD’S sight. Christians are to confess their sins to remain a healthy branch in the vine and fellowship with GOD through JESUS.

Let’s read Jeremiah 33:14-16:
14 "Look, the days are coming"-[this is] the Lord's declaration-"when I will fulfill the good promises that I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 
15 In those days and at that time I will cause a Branch of righteousness to sprout up for David, and He will administer justice and righteousness in the land. 
16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely, and this is what she will be named: The Lord Is Our Righteousness. 

Truly the LORD is our righteousness through faith in JESUS as we consider 2 Corinthians 5:20:

21 He (GOD) made the One (JESUS) who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

King Cyrus of Persia issued an edict allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple in 515 B.C. and they began to rebuild their homes and the wall around Jerusalem around 445 B.C.

In Jeremiah 23:5-6 we read: 5 "The days are coming"-[this is] the Lord's declaration-"when I will raise up a righteous Branch of David. He will reign wisely as king and administer justice and righteousness in the land. 
6 In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. This is what He will be named: The Lord Is Our Righteousness. 

The days are still coming when JESUS returns to earth for a second time. In the meantime we, as Christians, are to obediently work while there is still light and the harvest for souls is available.

GOD has a plan and HIS plan is always fulfilled. HE has a plan for your life but HE will never override your will. Please do not be stubborn. Turn over your life and will to JESUS for you to be used as HE desires.

Ephesians 2:4-10
4 But God, who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, 
5 made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. By grace you are saved! 
6 He also raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavens, in Christ Jesus, 
7 so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace in [His] kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 
8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift- 
9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 
10 For we are His creation-created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

When JESUS gave HIS life upon the cross, so did all who place their faith in HIM. When JESUS was buried so were all who place their faith in HIM. When JESUS was resurrected so were all who place their faith in HIM. When JESUS ascended so did all who will place their faith in HIM. As a Christian, we are citizens of Heaven and children of GOD in HIS Kingdom but reside upon earth to be HIS ambassadors and be obedient to HIS will and purpose for our lives. One day every one of us will leave our earth suits and reside eternally with JESUS and GOD. Have you asked JESUS to forgive you for your sins and asked JESUS to come into your life? If not, why not this moment. HE waits for you. If you have asked JESUS into your life but have not been living for HIM, confess it and ask HIM to forgive you and to restore you. GOD never leaves you or forsakes you. We leave HIM. HE waits for us to come to HIM. GOD made us with the freedom to choose. Choose wisely!

1 Peter 5:6-8:

6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in due time, 
7 casting all your care upon Him, because He cares about you.
8 Be sober! Be on the alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.