End Times, or Chicken Little

Remember the story of Chicken Little? He ran around yelling “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!” He did it so often that when the sky actually fell, no one believed him since he had yelled in error so many times before. That seems to be happening today in our world ….

I won’t be one of those people who stand on the street corner, brandishing a sign, proclaiming “the End is Near!” Well, I say that, and then I remind myself that I don’t know what God has planned for me. Let me rephrase. I don’t expect to be a street corner prophet…. but perhaps I am, in an electronic sense. Still, I find the following scriptures to be fascinating, especially in lieu of the nature events going on around the world.

” ‘In the last days,’ GOD says, ‘I will pour out My Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out My Spirit even on My servants—men and women alike— and they will prophesy. And I will cause wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below— blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and glorious day of the LORD arrives. But everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.’ ” – Acts of the Apostles 2:17‭-‬21 (http://bible.com/116/act.2.17-21.NLT) Also read Joel chapters 2-3

Fascinating, and quite scarey. Watching videos of the record breaking fires in the northwest, in California, and in Canada, the sun is darkened and the moon looks red from all of the smoke in the air. People who were interviewed stated things like “It seems like twilight at noon” and comments on how red the moon appears. Is it time for the second coming of Jesus? I defer to these verses:

“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.” – Matthew 24:36 (http://bible.com/116/mat.24.36.NLT) Also, Mark 13:32, and Acts 1:7

Despite all the people screaming about the end of the earth as we know it because of wars and pollution and global warming, the truth is that this is all a part of God’s plan. Yes, the damage we humans have done to the earth is irreparable; at least, it is for us. Nothing is beyond God. NOTHING. When Jesus returns, whether it is today or in another 2000 years, and after He defeats the enemy (and He will defeat Satan, no doubts on that score!), we will see a new heaven and a new earth. All of the damage with be gone.

“But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth He has promised, a world filled with GOD’S Righteousness.” – 2 Peter 3:13 (http://bible.com/116/2pe.3.13.NLT)

What a promise! I highly recommend reading 2 Peter chapter 3 in it’s entirety as well as the rest of the above noted scriptures. In fact, sit down and start reading the whole New Testament. I know it can be difficult to get through all the genealogy of Jesus, but cross reference some of the names with their stories in the Old Testament. Jesus wasn’t born with a silver spoon, and His human ancestors were a motley crew. Just goes to show you that God can use anyone, no matter how broken, to fulfill His plans.

You have to decide for yourself whether you think we are in the end times, or if we’re all Chicken Littles. Whatever you decide, remember this. No man, I reiterate, NO MAN, can say when Christ will return. Only God knows, and He isn’t sharing the information. This is why Jesus tells us to be ready at any moment. Personally, I believe we are well into the end, and I know without any doubt that He will return. Someday, time and date unknown and unspeculated by me. Chicken Little? No, just a believer.

Side note: I haven’t seen this movie and I am not advocating for anyone else to see it; the image is strictly for illustrative purposes.

Greater Things

What a contrast. As I was watching a newscast of the destruction in Puerto Rico from the latest hurricane, Chris Tomlin came on the radio with this song. Take a moment, and in light of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the floods in the floods in India and Pakistan; the massive earthquakes in Mexico, and the threat of war from North Korea, really focus on his words.

God of This City

Chris Tomlin

You’re the God of this city
You’re the King of these people
You’re the Lord of this nation
You are

You’re the Light in this darkness
You’re the Hope to the hopeless
You’re the Peace to the restless
You are

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this city
Greater thing have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this city

You’re the God of this City
You’re the King of these people
You’re the Lord of this nation
You are

You’re the Light in this darkness
You’re the Hope to the hopeless
You’re the Peace to the restless
You are

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

For greater things have yet to come
And greater…”

As the darkness descends in our world, we are seeing record storms and record famines and record floods. We have dictators who seem bent on world destruction. In the United States, we have violence and looting of our neighbors, conflict between the police and the people, and we are being overwhelmed by illegal immigrants who have no desire to come into the country legally. We have politicians who are more concerned with their personal gain than the care of the people who elected them. Politicians and pro athletes and Hollywood actors who blatantly disrespect our flag and our country.

Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God, given to us for our instruction? I do. After you read these verses, tell me, does it sound like what’s happening on the earth now?

“When the Lamb broke the second seal, I heard the second living being say, “Come!” Then another horse appeared, a red one. Its rider was given a mighty sword and the authority to take peace from the earth. And there was war and slaughter everywhere.

When the Lamb broke the third seal, I heard the third living being say, “Come!” I looked up and saw a black horse, and its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice from among the four living beings say, “A loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley will cost a day’s pay. And don’t waste the olive oil and wine.”

When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living being say, “Come!” I looked up and saw a horse whose color was pale green. Its rider was named Death, and his companion was the Grave. These two were given authority over one-fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword and famine and disease and wild animals.” – Revelation 6:3‭-‬8 (http://bible.com/116/rev.6.3-8.NLT)

As frightening as these predictions are, there is hope for followers of Jesus Christ. Check out these verses!

“After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!” – Revelation 7:9‭-‬10 (http://bible.com/116/rev.7.9-10.NLT)

Salvation only comes from the Lamb, the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!

Oh, Proverbs – How We Need to Heed Your Teachings!

“Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them. Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you. Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.” – Proverbs 4:5‭-‬7 (http://bible.com/116/pro.4.5-7.NLT)

Looking back over my life, it’s very easy to see that I turned my back on wisdom, and pushed her out of my mind and my life when I was in my second year of college. Keeping in mind that I went to a small, conservative, Christian Midwestern college…. No place is safe from the enemy. The first year wasn’t too bad. I had my sister and a good friend from our church to sort of mentor me and help me to stay in my faith. I also was introduced to alcohol and smoking by my dorm-mates, and I experienced snubbing and ridicule from my first roommates. Instead of the Christ-followers I expected, I got professing Christians who took every opportunity to cut me down verbally. It was not a fun first semester in that room, and it seriously impaired the way I began to look at life. Somewhere along the way, I quit reading my Bible, and eventually quit going to church.

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” – James 1:22‭-‬25 (http://bible.com/116/jas.1.22-25.NLT)

James points out quite clearly what happens when we walk away from God’s Word. We forget what it says, and it becomes easy for us to follow the wrong paths in life. Anyone else get this? If not, take a moment to look around you. The arrays on our leaders, both verbal and physical. The mockery and cruelty and disrespect that comprises so much of our “entertainment.” Television shows promoting mob justice, commercials showing complete disrespect for parents. It’s wrong to bully, but it’s okay to make fun of your parents? What???

I guess all of these First Amendment supporters think this is all just part of our rights, but I’m pretty sure that being disrespectful wasn’t what the founding fathers had in mind. I’m POSITIVE they would agree that a lawsuit over a display of raw cotton in a vase is completely ridiculous. I think that they would agree that refusing to be respectful of our flag and our service people is a not a “right”. It’s very simple, folks. If you are so upset by being an American, go live in another country. Please. Just go.

We, the Patriots and Christians, need to be on our knees with this prayer as the LORD said to King Solomon:

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14 (http://bible.com/116/2ch.7.14.NLT)

AMEN.

Speechless

“And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.” Ephesians 6:19
(http://bible.com/116/eph.6.19.NLT)

It’s been a few days since my last post. Watching the unimaginable (until now) flooding and devastation in Texas just withered my voice away. The outpouring of generosity from the American people is breathtaking; a beautiful sight amongst the chaos. Then last night, I watched as a camera crew panned a small apartment complex that was barely standing, and the impoverished families who were trying to salvage anything from their destroyed homes. As one man was being interviewed, a family man who supported his wife and children, he broke down as he told the interviewer that someone had stolen his tools while they were evacuated. That thief has to be among the lowest of the low. That type of behaviour leaves me speechless. Taking advantage of people at their lowest point through outright theft of goods and scams to steal the money and relief supplies flowing in….. there just aren’t going to be any appropriate words.

Speechless.

God tells us to put on His armor to protect ourselves from the schemes and conniving of the devil; to keep us from being sacked in to his evil. Paul tells the Ephesians: “A final word: Be strong in the LORD and in HIS Mighty Power. Put on ALL of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:10‭-‬12
(http://bible.com/116/eph.6.10-12.NLT)

I think this passage is extremely important right now for Christians around the world. Texas is reeling from possibly the worst storm in America’s history. India is inundated with rain, Mumbai has experienced collapsed buildings from the floods, and people are drowning and dying by the dozens from it all. North Korea is busy posturing threats to the U.S. and the world, the fighting is never ending in the middle east and in Afghanistan. Russia is also posturing and flexing their muscles at us, China is as antagonist as ever…. the list goes on.

“When the Lamb broke the second seal, I heard the second living being say, “Come!” Then another horse appeared, a red one. Its rider was given a mighty sword and the authority to take peace from the earth. And there was war and slaughter everywhere. When the Lamb broke the third seal, I heard the third living being say, “Come!” I looked up and saw a black horse, and its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice from among the four living beings say, “A loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley will cost a day’s pay. And don’t waste the olive oil and wine.” When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living being say, “Come!” I looked up and saw a horse whose color was pale green. Its rider was named Death, and his companion was the Grave. These two were given authority over one-fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword and famine and disease and wild animals.” Revelation 6:3‭-‬8 (http://bible.com/116/rev.6.3-8.NLT)

Does any of this sound familiar? If not, perhaps you should watch the world news, because all three are happening, all around the world. There’s more to come, and I can promise that it won’t be pleasant. Folks, believe what you want; believe WHO you want, we are in the midst of the Tribulation that John foresaw and wrote in his Revelations of John. If you don’t believe me, of course that’s your choice and your privilege. I would only suggest you do some reading before telling me how wrong I am. In fact, I encourage your arguments and comments. I’m not a Bible scholar, but I love reading God’s Word to us.

Maybe I wasn’t so speechless, after all. As Paul so eloquently wrote: “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters, and may God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness. May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 6:18‭, ‬23‭-‬24 (http://bible.com/116/eph.6.18-24.NLT)

Irony

I am enjoying what may be the most pleasant morning we’ve seen in central Oklahoma for this entire summer…. while the state to our south is enduring the remainder of the worst hurricane to hit the U.S. in at least 12 years. In fact, I don’t remember an August quite like this one for its weather. So far, it’s the 3rd wettest August on record – and we have a chance for more rain before it is over. It has been the coolest in 20 years, and last year, 2016, was the hottest August on record, EVER, for the entire earth. Climate change! Oh no! Call Al Gore and the climate police! Call PETA and the ACLU and all the “Save the world” campaigns. (Sorry, couldn’t resist a little poke.)

Seriously. Look at the history of the earth. It began from a formless void, and was fashioned by the Creator into a living entity (NOT sentient; LIVING) to support life as He created it. Over the millenia, the earth has changed in a myriad of ways. First, God created the creatures of the sea, then the land, and finally man to watch over and protect it all. From the tiniest organism and the most minute cell structure, to the largest creatures, He created it all, and called it good. Read Genesis 1-2 for a full account. It’s quite beautiful. God created the creatures we call dinosaurs, and He created dragons. You have to realize that all myths are based on fact.

The problem with the earth, and all of the climate changes across the eons, are ultimately our responsibility. Starting with being thrown out of the Garden, we have been on a destructive bent ever since. Because of bad choices made by humans, the enemy of everything good, Satan, has been released to create havoc on and in the earth. Through his fury and desire to take everything good and turn it into evil, not only have humans suffered, but all of the plants and all the creatures suffered; even the earth itself is being brutalized by the enemy. Is it our fault the earth has gone through ice ages and worldwide drought? Is it our fault that the entire earth was covered in water, drowning anyone and anything that was not on Noah’s ark? Are hurricanes and tornados and floods and drought our fault?

Ultimately, yes. It does all rest on our shoulders, and the world is a heavy burden to carry. (Theme song of “The Twilight Zone” plays….)

“And to the man [Adam] He said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” ” Genesis 3:17‭-‬19 (http://bible.com/116/gen.3.17-19.NLT)

Sounds all gloom and doom, doesn’t it? Fortunately for us, and for ALL of creation, this is all temporary. The phrophet Isaiah foretold it: “Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore.” Isaiah 65:17 (http://bible.com/116/isa.65.17.NLT)

John, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, also foretells us: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone.” Revelation 21:1 (http://bible.com/116/rev.21.1.NLT)

We have a responsibility to take care of, and manage well, this pile of dirt and rock and water that we live on. We carry that responsibility for every part of this world, plant, animal, and human. I’m not an advocate for the extremists who scream that we shouldn’t eat animals or use ridiculous schemes to prevent us from using the earth’s resources. We are here to manage and maintain. As any true conservationist will tell you, animal flocks and herds have to be managed, and that entails culling to maintain and do balance. God gave us the earth and did and drill that is within it to oversee. Since we gave the job of overseer to the enemy, we, and all of creation, are suffering. That’s irony. We gave the job that God gave us to the worst thing possible, the one being whose existence is the opposite of God.

The first step to save the world is to submit ourselves to our Lord Jesus Christ. Only then can we began to see how to truly care for the beautiful people and creatures, and the earth itself. Ready for real climate change? Look to the Savior. Start with prayer and thankfulness for the incredibly diverse world He has given us. Love God, love His creation.

Let My People Go

“The godly people have all disappeared; not one honest person is left on the earth. They are all murderers, setting traps even for their own brothers. Both their hands are equally skilled at doing evil! Officials and judges alike demand bribes. The people with influence get what they want, and together they scheme to twist justice. Even the best of them is like a brier; the most honest is as dangerous as a hedge of thorns. But … Judgment Day is coming swiftly now. Your time of punishment is here, a time of confusion. ….. As for me, I look to the LORD for help. I wait confidently for GOD to save me, and my GOD will certainly hear me.” Micah 7:2‭-‬4‭, ‬7 (http://bible.com/116/mic.7.2-7.NLT)

Wow. Even though this was written thousands of years ago, it sounds like Micah is addressing the world as we know it today, politics as usual. A bit scary? I pray that you find this passage mind-numbing scary! The rich and famous rule, whether we like it or not. With enough money, we can get away with just about anything, from lies to murder. And no, this is not directed at President Trump. It is directed to everyone who uses and abuses their wealth and positions to put themselves above the law of the land. Not just politicians, but anyone who thinks they are somehow exempt from the rules. Even those people who may not be wealthy but think they can do as they please, regardless of what it does to anyone else. Selfishness, narcissism, superiority; they are just as much a sin as murder.

“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the Truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to The Truth [i.e. Jesus Christ], so we will be confident when we stand before GOD. Even if we feel guilty, GOD is greater than our feelings, and He knows EVERYTHING.” 1 John 3:18‭-‬20 (http://bible.com/116/1jn.3.18-20.NLT)

I believe there are some godly people left on earth, unlike in Micah’s time. I believe, because I have experienced mercy from some of these people. They embody God’s command to LOVE. “And this is His Commandment: We must believe in the Name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.” 1 John 3:23 (http://bible.com/116/1jn.3.23.NLT)

As Christians, it is our responsibility to to act as Christians. That means loving others as Christ loves us; showing the world what it means to be forgiven of all the garbage. It means telling them about Jesus, and above all, living in Jesus. Anyone can be forgiven if they will just ask, because Jesus doesn’t turn away anyone who seeks Him and Truth. He gives us Forgiveness.

Sinful Nature. Truth.

“So now there is NO condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the Power of the Life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” Romans 8:1‭-‬2 (http://bible.com/116/rom.8.1-2.NLT)

So, WHY do we keep on sinning???

This is a question that really bothers me. I know the answer, and it continues to bug me. We sin because we are human. We are created in God’s image, and we were created to be companions; to worship and fellowship with Him. Our fatal flaw, AND our saving grace, is the free will God gave us. He didn’t create robots to follow Him without question or thought. He made us with the ability and the desire to know Him and to Love Him because we choose to. He gave us bodies so that we can can see the beauty, hear the music, taste the bounty, and feel the creation. He gave us hands to create, and minds to comprehend. We can build incredible buildings and carve things from solid rock that defy imagination. Hearing nature’s music and the music we make with instruments from our hands and our breath can transport us into beautiful places in our minds. And even with all of this incredible talent and ability our God imbued us with, with all of the intellectual ability He created in us, we continue to turn our backs on Him???

We are selfish. We want what we want when we want it. We are snobs to those who don’t meet our standards. We are petty and hold grudges instead of forgiving. We take advantage of the weak and we have little compassion for the hurting. We are cruel when it suits our purpose, and we despise those who threaten us. WE choose the ugly over the beauty, time after time after time. WHY does God allow this to go on? The answer, though simple, is not pretty. He allows it, because we choose it. Free will.

Yep. We CHOOSE the ugliness and the hatred and the despair. We choose the things of the world over God. There’s no one else to blame; it lands squarely on my shoulders and on yours. (Told you it wasn’t pretty.)

“He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand.” #CSLewis | #ScrewtapeLetters

It is up to us…. no, it is up to ME, to choose to walk (stumble, crawl) with God. No one else can choose for me, and no one but you can choose for yourself. We all know how, too:

“For this is how God Loved the world: He gave His One and only Son, so that EVERYONE who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (http://bible.com/116/jhn.3.16.NLT)

Not believe that Jesus is real, but believe IN Him. Even Satan and his demons acknowledge that He is real! Believe IN Jesus Christ as your Savior. Make the RIGHT choice.

Amen.