Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Christ is Risen Indeed!

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the great turning point of creation. It is the singular moment upon which the Eternal Now rests. The present, past, and future revolve around the point of redemption like the galaxies of the universe in monumental motion.

To the eyes of those who witnessed it, it began as a shattering act of cruelty upon an innocent man– a Man Who walked the earth healing, helping, loving, and delivering from heartbreak. Sickness and pain, oppression, enslavement, loneliness, and even death were no contest for Him.

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An unjust trial condemned an innocent man to the brutality of the cross.

The pinnacle of evil manifested itself in the hatred that was flung upon Him like the spittle of the soldiers who abused him.

Words can’t be found to describe the importance of Christ’s suffering, death, and powerful resurrection from the grave. He who proclaimed, “I am the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11 :25) proved that death could not hold him.

The crucifixion–the epic act of ultimate evil, was turned to serve the magnificent purpose of God, the redemption of mankind.

For the earth and God’s children, it is salvation and the hope of everlasting life.

What Jesus once spoke to Mary he says to us today: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 nkjv)

Alleluia! Christ is risen indeed! All honor and glory and praise belong to our Lord Jesus Christ!

 

What Is to Be Has Already Been

[This is the twelfth post in a series about the Blessed Hope–the return of Jesus Christ (War and Rumors of War)]

I’ll admit I’ve been watching reruns of Johnny Carson and The Tonight Show.

One episode featured the iconic movie star, James Stewart.

On this episode from the 1970’s, Stewart exuded that trademark humor and charisma. Respectful and attentive, Carson asked him about his interest in flying. Stewart shared about the thrill he had taking off in airplanes, beginning in childhood.

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During the 1920’s, rogue pilots called Barnstormers made a living by landing in small towns and taking wide-eyed youngsters on plane rides. Stewart told Carson his first flight took off from an area called “Mines Field.”

Curious, Carson asked, “Mines Field? Is that anywhere we’d be familiar with now?”

Stewart smiled and slowly answered. “Yeah, it’s LAX.”

Fields, roads, buildings, bridges, and landmarks all change. Generations come and go. Kings, presidents, borders, and nations change. The earth has been host to all of them.

So is it any wonder that the nations mentioned in Bible prophecy are now known by different names?

It’s easy to brush off Bible predictions like a dusty old book. Names like Magog, Persia, and Beth Togarmah puzzle us. These reflect powerful countries who have since faded into history.

The ancient names signify land areas and peoples who will come against Israel in the last days. These nations will form a coalition just before the return of Jesus Christ.

The “mystery nations” mentioned above are important players in the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy. So who are they?

They are Russia, Iran, and Turkey.

Recently, the leaders of these countries (Putin, Rouhani, and Erdogan) formed a coalition and met in December of last year. They are meeting again in April, 2018.

These nations now have military strongholds in Syria, within miles of the Israeli border. On February 28 of this year, Iran and Israel clashed in escalating conflict.

If this modern axis of evil attacks Israel as predicted in Ezekiel 38, God has promised He will defeat them. He will catch Magog (Russia) and its allies by putting a hook in the jaw of the invaders.

It ain’t gonna be pretty. Think earthquakes, firestorms, and bloodshed.

Although wars and rumours of wars alarm us, we find comfort knowing we are not destined for wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

When evil invades, God stands and His enemies are before Him as nothing (Isaiah 40:17).

 

Aside

War-Ravaged Damascus

“Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, And it will be a ruinous heap.” (Isaiah 17:1, nkjv)

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[This is the eleventh post in a series about the Blessed Hope–the return of Jesus Christ (War and Rumors of War)]

Wars and rumors of wars are taking place around the world, but in Syria there are at least ten different conflicts playing out to a horrific end for the Syrian people.

In the last year, over 400,000 lives have been lost due to the civil war and the cruel bombing of  civilian neighborhoods by Bashar al’Assad ‘s army. Millions have been driven from their homes into surrounding countries.

Children have not escaped the ravages of war.

How sad it is to see a grieving parent carrying a bundle of blood-stained cloths, knowing a beloved child is wrapped inside.

Gut-wrenching tears mingle with sweat as rescue workers pull families from jagged concrete– a daily 9-11. Chemical attacks fill the air with chlorine.

This is real.

Damascus was a city of over 1.7 million people. Eastern Ghouta has been bombed to near-ruins. Imagine New York, London, or Beijing decimated to smoking piles of rubble. The world should be outraged.

Yet, this genocide continues with barely a blip on the evening news. There is more said about the low ratings of the Oscars than the slaughter of nearly half a million people.

Students of Bible prophecy are witnessing the destruction of  Damascus with heavy hearts. The predictions that the prophet Isaiah wrote 2700 years ago are unfolding before our eyes.

Damascus is one of the oldest cities in the world and has been continuously inhabited for thousands of years. If the warfare continues, it will indeed be a heap of ruins. A long-ago predicted destruction is now coming to pass.

 

 

 

Aside

War, What is it Good for?

[This is the tenth post in a series about the Blessed Hope–the return of Jesus Christ (War and rumors of War)]

“War, what is it good for?”

The first line of Edwin Starr’s famous protest song hits me in the gut, right along with his emphatic “Huh!” (more…)

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No Vacancy

[This is the ninth post in a series about the Blessed Hope–the return of Jesus Christ. (False prophets)]

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No Vacancy

There is a verse in the New Testament that had always puzzled me. It’s Luke 19:13:

“And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, ‘Occupy till I come’” (kjv).

The word “occupy” stuck in my brain like a burr on wool socks.

The above verse is in the midst of a story Jesus told about a nobleman who left on a journey to a far kingdom and left each of his workers a different amount of money to carry on business while he was gone.

I understand the parable. But there’s still that word, “occupy.”

Some Bible translations interpret the word as, “carry on business,” which goes well with the surrounding verses.

Yet I like the King James version on this one, and this is why: to me, occupy means taking up space or holding a position. It’s being in the right place at the right time.

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The Apostle Paul grieved over the people of Corinth when he learned that after he’d left them, false prophets saw an opening and tried to move in. They spread false teaching and had the whole community fearful and anxious.

Paul returned to the city and straightened their course. He wrote:

“But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who . . .  are false apostles,”  (see 2 Corinthians 11:12-13).

Staying in the place of service God leads us to is part of walking in His plan.

It can be a difficult battle. Staying and standing, whether in the workplace, your home, or in the ministry, keeps the Enemy out.

When we serve God, we are taking away opportunity from those who might use or abuse, mislead, deceive, or ultimately, destroy.

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The recent Super Bowl game renewed my hope. The winning quarterback, Nick Foles, is a Christian who wore a cross during after-game interviews. His wife tweeted her euphoria over the win and ended her tweet with “God is good.”

The Eagles’ head coach, Doug Pederson, gave the reason for his success. He said, “I can only give praise to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for giving me this opportunity.”

In the midst of a game fraught with big money, big egos, and big controversy, God is sovereign.

Had the Patriots won, I think the Christians on that team would have given Him thanks, too.

God’s people were placed in just the right place for just the right time. They magnified His Name and their testimony reached 103 million souls.

          

 

Sifting the Haystack

[This is the eighth post in a series about the Blessed Hope–the return of Jesus Christ. (False prophets)]

Sifting the Haystack

Recently, our AT&T guy made a house call to hook up our new television to cable. He asked if I understood everything on the remote.

I glanced down at the black controller. The white, blue, yellow, and red buttons were neon signs taunting me. I had no idea how to use most of them.

Not long ago, televisions had an on/off button and a dial that let you choose from three channels.

Simple.

The only complication was adjusting the V-shaped antenna to tune in to our favorite shows. We’d quickly adjust the “rabbit ears” trying to get a clear picture.

Things are more complicated now.

Our spiritual lives can also become complicated. The flood of Christian media overwhelms us with books, songs, oversize screens, podcasts, tweets, Youtube broadcasts, preachers, teachers, and personalities.

An overload of information.

I’ve noticed two ways the Enemy tries to hide truth. First is by outlawing it and making it rare.

The second is by hiding it in a mound of misinformation.

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Although there is sound teaching to be found, you have to search for it. False teachers are having a heyday, or maybe a hay day.

Recently, my heart ached when I heard a preacher say, “There’s only one time when God spoke and it didn’t come to pass.”  

Huh? My spiritual antennae sparked. I listened carefully, trying to adjust my antenna.

The speaker actually said that God had spoken and His Word had not come to pass.

I knew from Isaiah 55:11 that when God speaks, His words always come to pass.

The preacher continued, “It’s when Jesus prayed, ‘Let this cup pass from Me.’”

The speaker had omitted the last and very important part of that prayer, “nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42 nkjv).

Was this man a false teacher? Maybe he’d misspoken or thought the omission was okay to emphasize some point he was trying to make. Did he understand how the last part of the verse was vital to its meaning?

God taught me  to listen carefully. I shouldn’t assume that the person behind a pulpit, on a platform, or projected on a screen is teaching the Word of God fully and accurately.

If we have an uneasy feeling about what is preached or taught, do we take the time to look it up in the Bible?

 

To Tell the Truth

[This is the seventh post in a series about the Blessed Hope–the return of Jesus Christ]

To Tell the Truth

Most everyone agrees that truth is vital to any relationship.

So how do we easily fall for flattery and false words? How often do we gravitate toward people who tell us, not the truth, but what we want to hear?

If we’re honest, probably most of the time. 

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That is why Jesus warned his disciples about false prophets. Speaking about the times that would usher in His return, He told them false prophets would be like wolves in sheep’s clothing.

In the Bible, Jeremiah stands as a true prophet of God.

During Jeremiah’s ministry, the mighty Babylonian army had conquered the surrounding nations. He tried to convince the people of Jerusalem that they, too, would feel the sharp blade of Nebuchadnezzar’s forces. He warned them not to stay in the city. If they remained, devastation would follow..

On the contrary, the false prophets told the people what they wanted to hear: Babylon would not conquer them. Things would continue as always. Everything would be as smooth and comfy as sheepskin.

At that time, the people of Jerusalem enjoyed flowing wine and abundant bread. Children played in the streets. Women wore fine sashes and jingled their bracelets. They flaunted their beautifully braided hair. The people wanted to believe the false prophets, so they followed them.

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But while Israel partied, King Nebuchadnezzar’s armies camped right outside the city.

Jeremiah begged them to listen. He told them, “ . . .do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your soothsayers or your sorcerers, who speak to you, saying, “you shall not serve the king of Babylon” (Jeremiah 27:9 nkjv).

Sadly, they listened to false prophets and became prisoners in their own city. When Babylon invaded, the people trapped in Jerusalem suffered thirst and starvation. They heard their little ones beg for bread. Horrible, unimaginable tragedies ensued.

False prophets are not harmless. Their words and counsel, like the fangs of a wolf, can be devastating.

When it comes to listening to silver-tongued deceivers, it’s best to turn away.

Can we set our egos aside and seek the truth that God has revealed in His word?

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