Friday, November 28, 2008

"I Promise...." says Jesus (part 4 of End Times)

For the introduction to this series see: A Pillar or A Wind

While Jesus warned His followers to be on guard and Watch, making sure that we would be ready when He returned … He also left us promises that we can hang onto - Promises that we can trust in !
I always smile at how early a child learns to ask "Promise?" to make sure that he can really count on what is being said to him. We never lose that yearning to have something 'promised' to us...something that we can 'take to the bank' !
We can know... that ALL of the words of Jesus are 'promised' with that divine stamp of authority that trumps all authority !!

When we look at our world and we see the very signs Jesus said to watch for is so easy to let fear fill our minds and hearts. But Jesus said... "Do not fear!" and He gave us His promises to hold onto when everything around us is shaking.

Let's refresh our minds to know that Jesus promised...........

1. That He WILL return…
“I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." (Matt. 26:64)
“You have heard Me say to you, 'I am going away and coming back to you.'” (John 14:28)
"Behold, I am coming quickly" (Rev.3:11)
One of the temptations is to feel discouraged with waiting and think maybe it is never going to happen. Peter warned against this kind of thinking ... saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." (II Peter 3:4)
Jesus IS coming back... It is an event already recorded in God's history !! We can count on it !!

2. That when He comes He is bringing rewards….
"And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” (Rev.22:12)
I am often amused at how even though the world continually tries to distance itself from the God of the Bible.... they just can't seem to get away from Him. Even in the fabled Santa Claus, this thought is build into the story children are told... 'If you are good you will get good things.. if you are bad you will get black coal'.
There will be a reward for us one day ... what no one notices in this life is being recorded and one day it will make the headlines of the Eternal Proclamation ! And there will be an award ceremony.

3. That we need not be afraid , in fact , we can rejoice when we see the end coming!
“Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid!” (John 14:27)
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; because your redemption draws near.” (Luk 21:28)

Satan has done a very good job in building fear into people's hearts regarding the end times. Yes.. it may be difficult ... things that are important to us now may lose their importance... but Jesus' promise is that we do NOT need to fear !! Can we not trust His word, that if He says "don't worry, don't be afraid' that we really CAN hold our heads high and look to what is about to happen ? The joy of seeing Him come in the clouds?

4. He is preparing a place just for us !!
“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 to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
(John 14:2,3)

The only time we do not panic with stress and anxiety in leaving our home is when we are excited about moving into our 'dream' home. Jesus addresses man's fear of being 'homeless'. He promises that He has our new home ready for us and He will be our closest neighbour.

How exciting is that ? I know whenever I've moved (which has been as few times as I could manage.. smile) it was absolute chaos with everything uprooted and packed in boxes. For the brief time between two 'empty' houses I felt very lost... but it was also filled with excitement and anticipation of setting up my new home. Is that not how it will be when Jesus is at the doors with the Angel-Moving-Co ? Should the small inconvenience of being separated from the things of this world not pale in anticipation of what is awaiting us ?

5. That we will need no lawyers to defend us !!

"Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say." (Luke 12:11,12)

I know that many of us are hesitant to speak of our faith....afraid of offending ....afraid of sounding 'preachy' ... but we may well be coming into a time where keeping silent about our faith in God will not be an option. God in His mercy .. says.. "Don't worry about it!" If we are falsely accused and brought before the courts...we don't even need to hire someone to represent us. It is interesting that Jesus refers to us not needing to worry about how we will defend ourselves...... was He thinking about how in our times as soon as we are accused - falsely or otherwise- we run to find a lawyer ? It may well be that lawyers in the time just before Jesus comes back will not want to represent Christians... but we need not fear even then. We have the best lawyer we could wish for... the Holy Spirit Himself and He will tell us what we should say.

6. That His Words will NEVER fail - they will never be proven to be false and every word will stand… even though the destruction of both the heavens and the earth will come!
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away." (Matt. 24:35)

It is impossible for God's words to ever fail... His promises are more sure than the fact you lived through yesterday! His promises can simply NOT fail! When nothing in this world is sure anymore and changes swirl faster than we can keep track of, we have this promise. God will never change and I love this verse.... "
" I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, And nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him."
(Ecc. 3:14)

7. He will never leave us !!!

"For He Himself has said. "I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU!" (Heb. 13:5)

I am not an adrenalin junkie.... I do not admire people who love extreme sports and so recklessly take their life into their own hands. But maybe there is something of the love of excitement in all of us .. we just vary in how far we push the safety net.

When we find ourselves in the end time scenario , we may be tempted to fear what we see coming but KNOW THIS - Our safety net is secure enough for the most timid among us!! Jesus has promised never to leave us ... He will go through it all with us. We are sky jumping in tandem with Him. Need we fear ? Definitely not !! In fact we may boldly declare the rest of the Hebrews passage..... "THE LORD IS MY HELPER; I WILL NOT FEAR. WHAT CAN MAN DO TO ME"

With Jesus' promises above me.. and my hand securely held in His... I do not fear what may come. My heart is filled with excitement for what is to come. How reassuring it is to know I will not be left alone! God already knows exactly what will happen and has already made all the arrangements necessary to keep His followers under His watchful care - that we will be able to stand strong and true, our hearts centered on Him and His promises!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Prophetic Events in Focus (part 3 of End Times)

For the introduction to this series see: A Pillar or A Wind

There are many prophetic scriptures regarding end times that were so difficult to understand they hardly even seemed possible. But recently, many of these obscure passages have come into sharp focus.

I’d just like to present a few that have been of particular interest to me, ones that show how when a prophecy is fulfilled it becomes very 'normal'.

Two End Time Prophets

Revelation speaks of two end time prophets. I’m not about to predict who they could be. At the end of their ministry, they are killed by the antichrist and their dead bodies left lying the street. Look at what Revelation then reveals about a key detail concerning the times in which they will live …..
Rev 11:9,10 "Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves."

I used to read that verse years ago and think.. how can that be possible? How can the whole world see their bodies in a street in Jerusalem? Even if by some miraculous means of transport the whole world could gather in one spot… the crowd would be so thick and so deep that only a few standing in front would be able to actually view the bodies.
But read with today’s live media technology in mind, no-one would even wonder at this verse. Of course the whole world would see them – we take live coverage of world events for granted !! Who doesn’t have a television – even the poorest people in third world nations have TVs and now Internet access is possible from hand held iPods.

Pandemic Plagues

The bible end time scenario also speaks of horrific plagues .
I remember not so many years ago these bible prophecies were scoffed at. Since medical science had developed anti-biotics scientists insisted there would never again be another plague. And yet now we are told because of the super bugs it is not a matter of IF but WHEN a world wide pandemic strikes.

There is an interesting description of a plague in Zec. 14:12 “And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet …”
Hmmmm…. Couldn’t be Necrotizing fasciitis - flesh-eating disease….. could it ??

No Repentance

Rev 16:9 “And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.”
Rev 9:20 "And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not.."

I remember as a child reading about the horrors of plagues and disasters that would come upon the world in end times and I read that men refused to repent! I marvelled at that, thinking .. “How could they NOT?” Always down through history, man recognized that natural disasters were a judgment from God….and they feared and repented. Have you noticed how lately if anyone dares to say that ANYTHING could be a judgment from God they are very quickly condemned – even by Christians? “Mother Nature” is blamed for natural disasters now, and she demands no repentance.

Motor Vehicles

Cars have only a comparatively recent history … The Model T Ford made its debut in 1908 – a mere hundred years ago.
Imagine that you lived thousands of years ago where the fastest mode of travel was a chariot drawn by horses. God shows you a vision of what the world will be like in the end times and you see a multi-laned freeway at night. Since descriptive words like cars…headlights….freeways… traffic…are not in your vocabulary, how would you describe what you saw ?? How about Nahum’s attempt here…. “The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall jostle one against another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings.“ (Nah.2:4)

Knowledge and Travel

God told Daniel two things that would mark the end times.
Dan 12:4 “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”

Run to and fro ? With modern travel , people are able to fly almost instantly anywhere in the world….and so they do ! To and fro -- back and forth!

Have you read the lastest statistics on knowledge increasing ? We now have knowledge increasing at such a rate that men no longer have time to assimilate information into wisdom.
I found this quote on the internet,

“The question to consider is, "How quickly does what we know change?" What would happen if we assumed that all of the scientific knowledge that mankind had accumulated by the year One AD equaled one unit of information. "How long did it take that one unit of knowledge to double?" This research was actually done and the answer was 1500 years or until the sixteenth century. The next doubling of knowledge from two to four units of information took only 250 years or until 1750 AD. By 1900, one hundred and fifty years later, knowledge had doubled again to 8 units. The speed at which information doubles was getting faster and faster. The doubling speed has now reached every 1-2 years”.

Heart attacks

I have read reports that prove that our fast pace of living and overload of information is very stressful. Stress is the leading cause of heart attacks and medical science defines stress as a form of fear.
Look at this end time prophecy…. “Men’s hearts failing them for fear.” (Luk 21:26)

One World System - Computers?

How quickly we have taken computers for granted. But do you realize that in as little as 12 years the internet has completely changed our world? I remember when my oldest granddaughter was born, I was just beginning to hear the words 'internet highway'. Stop and think how drastically that one discovery has changed how we do life, and how it has interconnected our world with no boundaries or borders into one Global Village.
Has it helped to create an environment that facilitates a one man world dominance? I think more so than any other one thing.

I mention the things listed above to show you how 'normal' end time prophecies are... prophecy fulfilled loses its power to terrify by strange misunderstood images.
I'm not suggesting that the end times will not be hard, or that we will not need to be strong in the face of serious presecution.
Times are already hard and persecution very real in many parts of our world. People are dying for their faith! We are now facing a global financial crisis.....will man find a way to solve it? or is it a piece of the final end scenario that allows the 'antichrist' to stand up declaring he has the answers the world is desperately looking for.

Recent changes in our world have brought about conditions that fulfull prophecies that could not - until our lifetime - have been fulfilled! I believe that we are very close to Jesus coming back. He says that when we see these things happening to look up and take heart... our deliverance is coming!

Luk 21:28 "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."

** next post - promises Jesus makes to those who live in end times.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Two Stories - One Teaching (part 2 of End Times)

For the introduction to this series see: A Pillar or A Wind

Israel looked for a Messiah for 4000 years !
They expected someone who would come as a conqueror, a King ! Someone great and wonderful who would come with power to destroy all their enemies, freeing them from oppression and set up a perfect kingdom for them on earth !
But, instead, a baby was born in a stable who for 30 years lived a quiet humble life helping his father as a carpenter. When He began to teach, He seemed far too ordinary to be the Deliverer that they had been waiting for ! Even His disciples were confused and when Jesus appeared to them after His resurrection they finally outright asked Him, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6)

We have all seen movies and read books depicting the author's view of what end times will look like. I’m thinking that many have taken license for dramatic effect. I have a suspicion that the time before Jesus comes back will be much more ‘normal’ than many of the end time teachers have portrayed !
Yes, times will be difficult (as they are now – we need only watch the evening news) and the signs that Jesus said to watch for will be happening but there will also be places on earth where life just carries on !
Why do I say that ?

Look what Jesus says will be happening just before He returns.… people will be eating and drinking and planning and attending weddings (Luke 17:26) . People will be carrying on their daily tasks, preparing food, working in the fields or sleeping in their beds! (Luke 17:34) If things were not going to be distractingly ‘normal’ would He have had to tell us over and over to Watch! So we don't miss it ?

Can we know what to believe about end time scenarios? Would Jesus not be the One to ask? He gave us two OT examples that He says picture for us what the end times will be like.

The two examples are Noah and the flood, and Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah. Isn’t it interesting that these two stories are two of the best known bible stories even among those who have never darkened the door of a church ? Listen and take note of how often they are referred to !

Let us look at these two stories. If Jesus says they are important then they must hold the key to unlocking the end time scenario.

The two examples Jesus points us to are amazingly similar for a purpose, because where they are similar, reinforces the teaching they reveal.

Lets look at the what they show....

A Supernatural Rescue

In both stories, there was a supernatural rescue ! God shut Noah into the ark and the angels grasped Lot’s arm and led him out of Sodom.

Are we looking for a supernatural rescue ? Yes, definitely ! Jesus has promised !
1Th 4:17 “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

Preaching to the Lost

Noah preached to the people of his world for 120 years !! By the time he stepped into the ark every person had heard this “preacher of righteousness !” (II Peter 2:5)

Lot is described as…..”that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds" (II Peter 2:8)
In the Sodomites own words, they complained that Lot set himself up as a judge constantly accusing and condemming their deeds. (Gen. 19:9)

Does Jesus not say that the gospel will be preached throughout all the world before the end comes ?
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." (Matt. 24:14)

No repentance - not ready!

In both stories although Lot and Noah begged the people to repent there was no repentance .. and the people were not ready when the end came.
We see Jesus encountering the same problem …. "Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not" (Matt.11:20)
And again at the end in Rev 9:20 "And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk"
Do we not see today a resistance to the gospel… and an openness to everything else? People following after the gods of their own making!

No Second Chance

Once God closed Noah into the ark … there was no longer any way for anyone to be saved. I’m sure people ran toward the ark when the rain began to pour from the heavens and rise up from the earth… but it was too late ! and Noah could not have opened the door had he wanted to.. God closed the door from the outside.

In Lot’s story the same was true.. no one was saved from Sodom and Gomorrah after Lot and his family were taken out.

Will there be a second chance for anyone who is not ready when Jesus returns? Not according to the examples Jesus gave us to look at … nor according to His parable of the 10 virgins - once the door was closed the five found not to be ready when the bridegroom came found no entry and were turned away. Jesus ends the parable with this warning. "Watch therefore , for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming!"

Swift Judgement- The Wrath of God

Again in both stories , the wrath of God fell immediately after the supernatural rescue. As soon as the door of the ark was closed the rains came ! and Lot was barely out of the city before the fire consumed it !

Will it not be the same when Jesus comes back ?
“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” (IThess. 5:3)
“Those who do not obey the gospel … these shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord …… when He comes in the DAY to be glorified in His saints…” II Cor.1:8-10)

And agian in Jesus’ own words… Mat 13:47-50 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away.
So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

There is one harvest time when both the wheat and the tares will be havested. (Matt.13:27-43)

Nothing Secret

When Noah was rescued into the ark.. the ark was not a spiritual invisible thing. It was clearly visible to all the people who were left outside.
When the angels came for Lot, they did not come secretly. The angels were visible to all.

So also Jesus says that when He will return it will not be secret !
Rev 1:7 “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” (Rev.1:7)

Perhaps there have always been disagreements about how the end would play out. Paul addresses this very problem among the Thessalonians. He says, “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering to Him…” (I Thess.1:8)
There is no argument from any theological corner that the ‘gathering to Him' is referring to anything other than what we today call the rapture.
Greek scholars such as Ward or Williams say that the way the sentence is structured there is a single article joining the two things Paul is talking about here, which, they say, can only mean that Paul is talking about a single event. ( )

But really, we do not need to be Greek scholars to understand that. I think it was not by accident that Paul writes the order in the way that he does… Paul is saying… “Do not be soon shaken in mind about the second coming of Jesus and the rapture.”
I know that the popular teaching has the rapture coming first and then some years later, the return of Christ but scripture does not support that.

Paul goes on to tell the Thessalonians two things that must happen before this event of the second coming and the rapture will happen…. There will be a falling away and the antichrist will be revealed.

Yes… the believers will still be here when the antichrist appears on the world stage.

Could it be in our lifetime ? Is he already alive and waiting in the wings? He could well be ……

Next post … recent changes/events that have brought the hands of the clock much closer to midnight when this earth will be changed for ever !
And also – the promises of Jesus to us who live in the end times.

Please NOTE !! - If any of you have comments, opinions or questions.. I would love to have either a dialogue in the comment section or I could try to answer your questions in a separate post !

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Watch !! (part one of End Times)

For the introduction to this series see: A Pillar or A Wind

Maybe you are asking .. “Does it matter? Do we need to know what the bible says about the end times ? It ‘s all so confusing, no one seems to agree!”

But to your question I answer , It MUST be important.. or Jesus would not have told His disciples to “Watch!” and lest we think He didn’t mean us .. He said .. “And what I say to you , I say to ALL, WATCH !!”

The book of Revelation begins with a promise -- “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep in it, for the time is near!” And the book ends with “Behold, I am coming quickly!” If you listen, you can hear the echo of His warning, “Therefore, Watch!”

Why would Jesus tell His disciples to Watch for His coming when it was still more than 2000 years in the future ? And why should every believer since then also be ‘watching’ ?

I think I know….
If you stop to think, you will realize that everything you do , you do for an end cause or purpose. Would you go to work in the morning if there was no remuneration or reward? Would you plan and prepare a dinner fit for company if there was no company coming ? Would you keep walking if you knew there was nothing to walk toward? Would you save for your vacation if you knew you would never go ?

We clearly need a goal that gives purpose and reason to what we are striving for. It keeps us on track – otherwise - we give up, we sit down, we lose our zeal , we are distracted, we fall asleep !

There fore, Jesus said “Watch! Because you do not know when I am coming!”
That was to be the focus, the impetus to keep the church steadily moving forward , yearning, longing for the day that Jesus would come back ! Each generation was fuelled by the hope and it kept their love strong!

After the fall, God promised Eve that a deliverer – a Messiah- would be born through her. Eve thought it was Abel, then she thought it was Seth….. but it was to be a long 4000 years that this torch of hope was kept alive , passed from generation to generation , from mother to daughter, each hoping that she would be the blessed woman to give birth to the Coming One !! Then, when hope had almost died, the Messiah WAS finally born - to a virgin in Bethlehem!
And now the promise remains of His second coming ! Once more He returns… and this time it will be the culmination of all life as we know it. A new ageless eternity will begin and how you and I fit into that depends on what we do with this present earthly sojourn.
Look what Hebrews 9:28 says…. “To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”
To those who are watching… who have kept the eagerness alive in their hearts… will He return the second time!

Do you think about Jesus coming back ? Does that figure in to the decisions , choices, plans you make?
Do you know and keep yourself aware of what Jesus tells us to watch for ?

If you don’t, let’s look…….. if you do , let’s review !

Jesus says……..

1. Watch your ‘WEIGHT’ …..
Luk 21:34 "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly."

2. Watch the barometer of your Faith !
Luk 18:8 "...... Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?"

3. Watch to keep your hope alive….
Rev 22:7 "Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."

4. Watch and keep your ‘clothes’ clean ….
Rev 16:15 "Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame."

5. Watch that you are faithful in your life work
Luk 12:43 "Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes."
Mat 25:21 "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' "
Mat 25:30 "And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' "
(parable of the servants.. Matt. 25:13-33)

6. Watch the gospel being preached to all peoples…. and do your part!
Mat 10:23 "When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes."

Mat 24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come."

7. Watch that you have enough ‘oil’ Keep your lamp burning !!! Stay strong and ready !
(parable of the wise/foolish virgins) Mat 25:13 "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
Luk 12:35 "Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning;
Luk 12:40 "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."

8. Watch for the following signs….
· Nation rising against nation
· Famines
· Persecution of believers
· Believers turning away from the faith, betraying and hating one another
· Many false prophets, even doing signs and wonders , but deceiving many
· An increase of wickedness and lawlessness
· Love growing cold
(from Matt. 24)

When you see these signs begin to happen - The end is near
Mat 24:32,33 "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.
So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!"

9. Watch and pray ….
Mar 13:33 "Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is."

Therefore, “He who has ears to hear”, Listen ! We are called to WATCH !!

Mar 13:35-37 "Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.
And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!"

**Next post --- "What are Jesus’ promises regarding His second coming ?"
and "Could it be that we will be the generation to see Jesus’ return ?"
"What will the end look like?"

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Pillar or A Wind

When you need security, something you can trust….would you choose a pillar or the wind ?
The answer a given ? Maybe not, considering how many people choose to put their trust in the ‘wind’.

Eph. 4:14 talks about how ‘children’ "are tossed to and fro" following the wind … teachings, doctrines, opinions of men that blow and swirl around them. The wind is tantalizing, exciting, something you can ‘FEEL’ ! It moves you to toss aside rational thinking and go with the heady flow! Join the crowd!

In contrast stands the pillar. Tall, strong, made of stone or marble! Unmovable, let the winds blow! A strong support! A beacon … seen from a distance, grounded firm and reaching for the sky! The ageless pillar standing through countless generations.
A pillar does not come to you … you must go to it !

In I Tim. 3:15 truth is compared to a pillar ! “the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth”

So man's opinions, erroneous doctrines are pictured as a wind, and God's unchangeable truth as a pillar !

Have you ever been caught up with a current fad teaching that had everyone buzzing with excitement … and then after a time it became passé …. until a new wind began to blow ?

I think this is especially true about end time teaching.

Look back and remember the winds of teaching that have blown through through the church, ….. whether it was someone with an infectious charismatic zeal complete with charts and predictions or whether it was a movie or book series. All of them had their time and then receded , just like a dying wind.

Someone asked if I wouldn’t share my thoughts about end times, considering the current state of affairs in our unstable world.

I hesitated at first because I really don’t like conflict ….. and I know there are many varying opinions on what the end time scenarios will look like.
But as I prayed about it I began to sense where the Lord would have me go. A simple path toward the pillar, ignoring the winds.

So, if you are interested.. come back over the next couple of days and I will share my thoughts with you as to how I see the simple teaching of scripture regarding the return of Jesus - without the frills and ruffles of man’s hype and creative license.

Other posts in this end time study:

More to come ...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Have a New Label

Have you ever considered how empowering a label is ?
When I was young a favorite wedding prank gift was to buy a dozens of tins of food and take off all the labels before presenting the 'gift' to the bride and groom!

A label not only identifies contents but allows you to make well informed decisions on what to do with the contents. A label also explains what you could not see with your naked eye - hidden ingredients that could hurt you if you have a sensitivity to them or it informs you of the valuable vitamins and minerals the food contains.
Without labels we are stabbing in the dark.... floundering without the knowledge that empowers us to walk in wisdom and confidence, making well informed choices.

I was given a 'label' a couple of days ago that made me so excited !

Vic and I were watching the early news as I was finishing details for dinner. Suddenly, my attention was riveted on the screen.
The announcer was reporting on a new discovery made by the University of British Columbia! A study has shown that a problem medical science had believed could only be a result of some trauma to the brain, has been discovered to also be a brain disorder in 'normal' people !!

This brain disorder is called "Selective Developmental Topographical Disorientation".

EVERYTHING they said about it .. I could SOOOOO relate to !!!
All my life I have known the horrible feeling of being 'lost'. I have learned to deal with my lack of a sense of direction and have let it be a source of amusement among my friends and family!
Laughing at something always makes it better, doesn't it ?

I was out with a friend of mine a few weeks ago and she exclaimed at one point... "I don't know HOW you can be so smart in every other area of your life .. and then sooo hopeless when it comes to finding your way around ! It makes no sense to me !"

What the researchers have discovered is that this brain disorder does not allow people to use the spatial memory part of their brain, which results in an inability to form 'maps' in their head. So finding their way around is a major challenge.

I was so excited to have a 'label' . At least now I can understand what has been soo frustrating to me. My husband, thankfully , has always been most patient with me ... drawing detailed maps to even familiar places so I won't get lost.
One thing I have always found amusing is that no matter where I am -- a public place or even just walking along the road... people invariably will stop ME to ask for directions. I usually smile and say .. "Well, I'm probably not the best person to ask..." but then because I really do want to help them I will try to give them directions as best I can. I'm really not sure where some of them ended up !!

But just think !!!.... NOW if someone stops me to ask for directions ... I can just say .... "I'm really sorry , but I have a brain disorder called 'Selective Developmental Topographical Disorientation'. "
How impressive is that ?
Can you see the expression on the poor person's face who was hopefully expecting some easy directions in response to their innocent question ?

After my excitement - over discovering that there was a label identifying a troublesome part of my brain - settled a little , I started to think about labels. The labels we put on the things we deal with in every-day life.... people.... actions.... diseases.... habits..... character traits.
I thought - how important it is to get the labels right !

A packaged food with the wrong label on it can be much more than just inconvenient can be life threatening !
God, who is the Manufacturer of all His creation, has in His Word given us the right 'labels' to put on things. The labels the world puts on things are often wrong - Only God's are always the right ones !!
If He puts the label 'Sin' on immorality .. then we cannot re-label it with another name , except we do so at our peril.
If God puts the label of 'Only Way' on His Son .. .then anything else with a label promising eternal life is just simply life-threateningly wrong!

In our world where things are being relabeled every day, how quick should we be to run to His Word to 'check' a label before we accept it as truth !!

"The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgements (LABELS) endures forever !!" Psalm 119:160