Sunday, April 19, 2015

Do You Know What A Chiasm Is?

As I was studying yesterday, I came across an unknown word to me in one of my commentaries.  It was describing one of the methods many of the prophets used when they spoke to the people to get across their main point or to emphasize something. It sounded simple, like a take off of when things are mentioned 3 times, but I was curious to see if there was more to it then that, so I looked it up. I'm so glad I did because it opened up a whole new way of looking at God's Word!  Some of you may be familiar with this already.  It's called a chiasm.  Rather then try and explain it myself though, I'd like to just share a bit from the article about it that I read and then give you the link so you can read it yourself as well.  The author shares several verses and shows exactly how it's done so you'll be able to recognize them and have a try at getting a deeper meaning from the verses yourself as well.

Those of you who know me, know I would never go in for something that would change the meaning of God's Word, and this does not do that.  It's not looking for "hidden meanings" that you wouldn't find otherwise.  What it can do though is clarify what the person was really getting at with what they said, and by doing so may change your perception of what you thought was "most important" about a verse or verses, or what their main thrust was about. Or of course, it could also be a confirmation for you that what you thought was correct.  I've found it to be a really fascinating and exciting way to view scripture and a great aid to understanding too.  Like all study of scripture though this should be done with the Holy Spirit guiding and teaching you.  So always ask Him to help you first.  The Lord has already used this idea to link a number of scriptures together for me and show me their intended theme and how it linked them even closer together.  It was a theme I was already aware of to some extent, but didn't realize just how obvious and clear it was in those scriptures, or how they were linked together.  Here's a bit from the article now and a link:

What is a Chiasm (or Chiasmus)?

by Thomas B. Clarke

A chiasm (or chiasmus if you rather) is a writing style that uses a unique repetition pattern for clarification and/or emphasis. Chiasm is pronounced ky′-az-um. Often called the chiastic (ky′-az-tic) approach or the chiastic structure, this repetition form appears throughout the Bible yet it is not well known. The way you approach the Scriptures should be dramatically enhanced as you learn what a chiasm is, how to recognize chiasms, and how to glean a fresh application from these New or Old Testament passages.

Chiasms are structured in a repeating A-B-C ... C′-B′-A′ pattern:





   As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you  (5b)

   Be strong and courageous … be strong and very courageous  (6,7a)


C    Be careful to obey all the law … that you may be successful  (7b)



D    Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth  (8a)



D′ Mediate on it day and night  (8b)


C′ Be careful to do everything written in it … you may be prosperous and successful  (8c)

B′ Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged  (9a)
A′ for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  (9b)

(Joshua 1:5b-9)
Simply put, a chiasm is a repetition of similar ideas in the reverse sequence. The importance of the chiastic structure is found in its hidden emphasis. (See Being an Overcomer for an interpretation of the above chiasm, adapted from my book). And it is not insignificant – I suspect there are more than two thousand examples in the Bible!


The above is taken from the following page:
http://www.bible-discernments.com/joshua/whatisachiasm.html 
Please see the second page to get a clearer idea of this as there are some other types that you may not recognize otherwise:
 See Two Examples That Help Explain Chiastic Structures
http://www.bible-discernments.com/joshua/whatisachiasm_two.html 

May God bless you as you have fun digging for the many treasures of God's Word as you study it together with Him! 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

May our Words and Thoughts be Pleasing to Our Lord

This is a favorite and well known scripture for many of us, but not one that we often really reflect on:  Psalm 19:14 —May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. *  In it, we’re asking that every word we speak, and every thought in our minds, would be pleasing to our Lord.  Have we ever really thought about the kind of thoughts that go through our minds on any typical day, or the words that come out of our mouths throughout that day?  It’s something I think about regularly and no matter how much I want my thoughts and words to please the Lord, I have to admit that there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wind up having thoughts that I know aren’t pleasing to Him. How about you? 

Have you ever wondered why this would be important?  Why does the Lord care about what our thoughts are since no one can hear them anyway?  For one thing, the Lord hears our every thought even before we do. (Psalm 139:2–4) Jesus teaches us that our thoughts are what ultimately cause our feelings and our actions, and of course this is shown all through the Bible. It began when Adam sinned and his thoughts were corrupted, which also corrupted his feelings. Think about that a moment.  Prior to their sin, they already had the knowledge of “good”.  When they sinned, they added the knowledge of evil to their hearts and minds.  That’s what corrupted everything and has been passed down to everyone since then!  It makes me shudder to think of their pure hearts and minds, suddenly having the knowledge of evil.  How horrible!  And look what it did to them, to their children and ultimately to us.

In the bible, the words used for “heart” or “mind” are words that include what we would think of as both.  So most of the time, when the Bible says “heart”, it’s meaning what we would say as “heart and mind” and the same when it says “mind”.  The word in the original language actually means, “the inner man”, “the seat of the emotions and thoughts”.  So when the Lord tells us,  “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)  What it’s saying to us is that both our feelings and thoughts, our hearts and minds are deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  It’s the same with this passage as well: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) 

We’re to guard our hearts and minds, our feelings and thoughts, above all else. But at the same time we’re to realize that our thoughts and feelings are deceitful and not to be trusted at all.  We can’t trust them because they’re corrupted by the knowledge of evil. This sounds like an impossible command then doesn’t it?  Why would we need to guard our hearts and minds if they’re already corrupted?  Honestly, for the unsaved, it wouldn’t matter, and it wouldn’t do them any good to do so.  But for those who are saved, it’s very important, because at our salvation, God gives us the mind of Christ. However, just because we have it, doesn’t mean that we always use it.  In fact for the most part, many don’t, because they haven’t developed their ability to know His mind and use it. That comes through daily study and application of God’s Word, as we grow in Christ. 

Now, if the Lord tells us that above everything else, we’re to guard our hearts and minds, how are we supposed to that?  The Lord never commands us to do something without also telling us how to do it, and giving us the ability to do it.  For this, He is very clear and gives a great deal of instruction on it all through His Word.  First He tells us that we are to always be in control of our thoughts.  By being in control of our thoughts, that will influence both our feelings and our actions.  He says we’re to take any thoughts that don’t agree with His Word captive and make them obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) What that means is that when we find ourselves thinking something that’s contrary to His Word, we’re to stop thinking it and immediately replace that thought with the Truth from His Word. 

This goes right back to that scripture we started with, making every thought pleasing to our Lord. If you’re thinking something like how stupid you are, then that is a lie and must be taken captive (stopped) and you must tell yourself the Truth, which is that you have the mind of Christ.  If you’re thinking no one cares about you, again it’s a lie, take it captive and tell yourself that the Lord delights in you and calls you His precious child.  And so forth.  We’re to do this with every thought that’s contrary to His Word, and we’re to do it constantly every day.  This is the true spiritual warfare for the spiritual battle being fought is for our minds and hearts.  Satan wants them and will get them if we don’t consciously obey God’s Word and make our thoughts pleasing to Him. 

As we grow spiritually, the Lord will constantly show us thoughts that need to be brought into agreement with His Word. While doing this is difficult at first, after some practice it becomes second nature and a habit and really isn’t hard at all.  Obviously, the better we know God’s Word, the more we will be able to recognize thoughts that aren’t in agreement with it.

Another reason this is so important to the Lord is because He loves us and wants the very best for us.  He doesn’t want us enslaved to Satan and evil by our thoughts and feelings.  He also wants to be able to reward us for obeying Him and warns us in Matthew 12:36–37 that we will have to give account for every careless word that we speak. To help us know what kind of thoughts are pleasing to Him, what kind of thoughts we should allow in our minds, He tells us: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

If you’d like more information and instruction about taking your thoughts captive, you can find more by clicking on the tab above called “Taking Thoughts Captive”, or by clicking on this link: Taking Thoughts Captive

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Mark and 666

I was reading in John and John 6:66 caught my eye, and considering the meaning of the verse, along with it's number, and knowing that John wrote both John and Revelation, it left me with some intriguing thoughts...

John 6:66 —From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. *

Revelation 13:18 —This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666. *


In John 6:66, in the original language, it suggests that their leaving was decisive and final. It wasn't a spur of the moment thing that they might change their minds about later. We all know that the one unforgivable sin is the sin of rejecting salvation through Jesus' sacrifice. (The Unforgivable sin is found in Matthew 12:32 —Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. *   Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit happens when we know that the claims of Christ are true and reject them anyway, because it's the Holy Spirit who testifies to us about Christ and makes the Truth known to us. Paul rejected Christ before his experience on the road to Damascus - he sinned against Jesus.  If he hadn't accepted the Truth  when it was presented to him on that road, it would have been a sin against the Holy Spirit because at that point, he then knew it was true.)  That's what the disciples in John 6:66 had just done.

In Revelation 14:9–11 we're told too that any who take the Mark won't be forgiven. Often people fear that this is some kind of second unforgivable sin, but it's not. Because of that, there's been all kinds of fear and concern about having any kind of mark or number given to us or put on us. But this is still the same sin of rejecting salvation through Christ. The only difference is that they've also chosen to state publicly at the same time, who they are accepting as their savior instead, which of course is the Antichrist. That's why taking the Mark is unforgivable. It has nothing to do with the mark itself or with the number or anything else.  Let me repeat that:  The only unforgivable sin is rejecting Christ when you know His claims are true. Taking the Mark of the Beast (the AntiChrist) is unforgivable only because they will know that Christ is the True Savior and that they are choosing to worship someone else instead. .

Many Christians fear the Mark and are concerned about the possibility of unsaved loved ones taking the Mark unaware of what they're really doing. This simply isn't possible though, for two reasons. First, as we just said, the sin isn't in the mark itself, the sin is what taking the mark means - that the person is rejecting Christ in favor of the Antichrist. Remember, all through the Bible, God reminds us over and over again, that it's what is in our hearts that concerns Him, not what's on the outside. Secondly, God Himself will make sure that every human being alive during this time, will have heard the Gospel and will know what the meaning of taking the Mark really is and what will happen to them if they take it. God will not allow anyone to take the Mark unknowingly. (This is explained starting at Rev 14:6 among other places.) Therefore there can be no chance of anyone taking the Mark that won't know what they're really doing.  If you read the Left Behind books you saw how they handled the idea of someone being forced to take the Mark against their will. As the authors showed, this would not be an unforgivable sin, since it was done against the person's will, even if that person was unconscious.  We tend to think that God is out to get us and is just waiting for us to "mess up", at least that's how we often act.  The Truth is though that He loves us, and wants to help us, not hurt us!

With that out of the way, let's go back to John 6:66 and how it might relate to the Mark. In John, this takes place right after Jesus had again explained that He would have to die for us and told us to drink His blood and eat His flesh. Meaning of course, as the Jews of that day understood, that they were to identify with Him, His life and sacrifice, make His life, theirs. In other words, they were to submit to Him, or as He said another time, deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Him, etc.
The people, who knew scripture and knew Jer 31:31–34 quite well, would have understood the concept of receiving His Word and making it part of their inner beings.

That's what caused many of the disciples to turn away from Him. Up till then, they'd been willing to play the game, but now it was starting to get dangerous. Now He wasn't just telling people to be good and play nice with each other, but was demanding that they go against the crowd, be different, and stand up for the Truth. They didn't want anything to do with that. They liked their lives just fine. While it had been fine to follow Him and be able to tell their friends they knew Him and had heard this famous man talk etc. they for sure didn't want to irrevocably separate themselves from everyone else! So they rejected Jesus. They rejected Him as their Messiah. They rejected His offer of Eternal Life in Him. Instead they chose to live for themselves and this world.

During the Tribulation, the choice about the Mark will be similar. People will be choosing to reject Jesus and live for themselves and the Antichrist who they think will be able to provide them with all they want in this life. Among those who choose the Mark, will be people who were supposedly interested in the gospel. They will probably have been meeting with real believers who have been trying to teach them the Truth. They may even have pretended to accept it for awhile. But now, knowing the Truth, they reject it. As the popular game show would say, that is their "final answer", and that is why they are condemned to Hell.

I found it very interesting and instructive though that those particular words in scripture would have been labeled as 6:66. Words that speak of those who have decisively determined to reject Jesus once and for all time. They have turned their backs on God's Truth and His Son and live for themselves. Isn't that really what Satan did, and what we all tend toward? Isn't that really why we sin even after we're saved? We want what we want when we want it, regardless of what God says. The number that has always described mankind is 6 - one less then God's number which is perfection.

Rev 13:18 seems like an additional warning, a warning not to be taken in by lies and that this man is not what he appears to be. A warning that not everyone is what they appear to be, that looks and words can be deceiving. Interestingly verse 17 links the number with his name too, and that's not the first time names are mentioned in this chapter. The whole chapter seems to be dividing people between those who truly follow Christ and those who don't, and warning folks that soon they will have to give their final answer.

Obviously the warning is for those living during the Tribulation but I think it can also be a warning to us as well. We're constantly seeing signs showing that the Tribulation is near. We know that because the Lord told us these signs would become more numerous and more destructive as time went on. Having studied the judgments during the Tribulation, we know that the signs we're seeing are like milder mini previews of what's to come. I think it's the same way with the both the deceptions of the AntiChrist and with the defection of so called Believers and followers of our Lord.

We see these milder, mini previews of the Antichrist in a number of political figures, including Obama, to the point that many have wondered if he might not be the AntiChrist. If we look back, we can see how these mini previews have intensified and happen closer together, just like the other signs. There's no doubt too that we've all seen the previews of John 6:66 and that it's getting worse and worse. God has drawn a line in the sand and many have turned back to the world, no longer following Christ. As it gets more dangerous to be linked with Christ, more are abandoning ship. They'd rather lose Him then the good will of their friends.

We've been told that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and that it's the Lord who gives true understanding, yet this beast, the antichrist, will tell people that he is wise and that he can give them the answers and save them from all that's happening. Isn't that what some are already saying and what everyone is already clamoring for? 

I fully realize that there were no verses or verse numbers in the original manuscripts and that the numbers were put in much later to help us. However, I also know that God is in control of everything and that especially goes for His Word. Therefore I don't believe it is a "coincidence" that this verse has that number, nor any other verses number for that matter. However, I do not make a habit of looking for things like this as I believe that wouldn't be correct or what the Lord intends for us to do. I do believe that it was the Lord who brought the fact of the so called "coincidence" to my attention and that it was He who guided my study about it as well. That certainly doesn't mean that all my conclusions are always correct by any means, only as I said, that the Lord guided me. I still have a great deal to learn and I know the Lord will teach me as I'm able to receive it.

The Lord teaches us that He is always in control. There is no such thing as "coincidence". And that, because the Bible teaches it, I firmly believe. I hope others are able to get something helpful from this.
 
 There's certainly a lot to reflect on with these verses!

John 6:66 —From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. *

Revelation 13:18 —This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666. *
 
Proverbs 9:10“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. *

I'm starting a new Women's Lib movement!

I've decided that it's way past time to start a new women's movement. I was thinking about this last night when the news was on and I suddenly heard a story about a woman (some kind of star I think) who people were all upset at because she said women needed to submit to their husbands. I had to laugh then because that showed me I wasn't alone. There are other women who believe God's Word. So let's start our own "Women's Lib" movement!

Here's what our Women's Lib movement will be standing up for:

1. We want the right to be wives and mothers without having others looks down on us or ridicule us.

2. We want the right to have husbands who:
  • love the Lord and aren't ashamed of letting the whole world know that they do.
  • aren't afraid to cherish us and aren't ashamed of letting the world know they do.
  • are intelligent, who want and accept our ideas and opinions but are not afraid to be the head of our family and make the final decisions.
  • aren't afraid to be the man God made them to be; who want to protect us and provide for us as God intended.
  • aren't afraid to treat us with gentle respect and open doors for us, carry things for us, stand when we rise, assist us when we want to cross the street, or any of the other many ways that true godly men showed respect for women in the past.
  • knows the Lord and wants to help and guide us into an ever closer relationship with Him; who's greatest desire is to see us become more and more like Christ, every day until we are perfectly conformed to Him at last.
  • submits Himself to Christ, endeavoring to obey Him in all things
  • are involved with their children, teaching them to know the Lord and His ways.
3. We want the right to submit to our husbands, as we endeavor to obey our Lord in all things, recognizing that this is for our good and has nothing to do with "equality".

4. We want the right to have as many children as we want and the Lord feels pleased to grant us without being ridiculed for it

5. We want the right to stay at home and take care of our husbands and children the way the Lord intended without being ridiculed or put down for it.

7. We want others to acknowledge that
  • there is no harder job then raising children, whether you have one child or 10.
  • and no job in this world that's more important then raising children.
  • there is no job more fulfilling or more noble then being a wife and mother.
  • There is no higher position that any woman could possibly want or have then that of being a wife and mother.
8. We want the right to dress modestly without having others laugh at us or ridicule us.

9. We want the right to have the beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit that leads by example.

10. We want the right to raise our children the way we see fit, without government -town, city, state, or federal - interference, including homeschooling them if that's our desire.

That should be enough to get us started...what do you think? Anyone want to join me? What should we call our Women's Lib movement? What else should we add to our list?

Why God doesn't want us to know when the rapture will be

We hear all kinds of stuff about when the rapture is or might be; whether or not we're supposed to know and if so how much we're supposed to know etc. It's pretty clear to me though that God doesn't want us to know exactly when He's going to call the Church home. Tonight I was considering the reasons why He doesn't want us to know exactly when it will happen.

First I was thinking about when He first left. Remember the scene? He was standing on the Mount of Olives and talking to His followers. It's covered in several different places so we have a couple of different views, but here are two different things that He said to them just before He left:


Matthew 28:19–20 (NIV) — Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Acts 1:6–11 (NIV) — So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Can you imagine what was going on in their minds at that time? We know from the Gospels that the disciples assumed that Jesus would be starting His Kingdom very soon. As of this time, they had no idea that another whole age would pass before that would happen. I've tried to put myself in their shoes and can only imagine what they must have been feeling then. Here they've walked with the Lord for 3 years learning from Him; and what they learned in 3 years takes many of us a lifetime! Then He dies and they're crushed, but then He rises from the dead and they're thrilled! He again walks with them for another 40 days, though not constantly apparently....popping in to teach them or encourage them when they needed it, and finally toward the end (though they don't know it) He tells them to meet Him on the Mount of Olives. So they all gather there...none knowing what He's going to do or say this time. I'm sure that at least some of them thought THIS would be the momentous day that the Lord would begin His Kingdom and they were probably more excited then we can imagine thinking of it. When He didn't, and the meeting seemed to be winding to a close, they couldn't stand it anymore and asked Him about it.

Instead of telling them when it will happen, He tells them basically that it's none of their business and that they should instead concentrate of the job He's given them. He also gives them a tiny hint, that He will be with them always, even to the end of the Age. I bet they all thought about every word He said, many times over the years, trying to figure out when He'd return and when the Kingdom would start. I know I would have been! And then He was gone again, only this time to Heaven! What a roller coaster their emotions were on for those last couple of months!

Bek has read the books in
the Mark of the Lion trilogy that starts with A Voice in The Wind so I know she's aware of how the early Christians, including the apostles, thought that the Lord would return for them literally any time, any day. One of the many things I liked about those books was that they showed what it would look like if Christians lived as though they really thought He might return at any moment. That was very revealing and convicting! Remember, these people had seen Jesus die, come back to life and then pop in and out of their lives at the drop of a hat, through locked doors even, for the next 40 days, so it wasn't a stretch at all for them to think He'd return yet again for them at any moment. As Bek can attest, I'm quite sure that the Christians of that time, lived quite differently then we do, and one of the big reasons they did was because they thought He'd be coming back at any moment.

I remember at first when reading that book and realizing the ramifications of it all, I felt like it was kind of mean of Jesus to lead them on that way and not let them know that it wouldn't be in their life time. But the more I read of the book, and of course the more I read His Word at the same time, I realized that instead of being mean, He was actually being loving.

It reminds me of when I was a child and would do something wrong... I'd immediately look around quickly to see if my Mom or especially if my Dad was around cause if they were, I knew I was really gonna get it, and I'd immediately apologize; and when I knew they were home and could walk in my room at any moment, I was careful not to do do or say anything that they'd disapprove of. If another child started to do something we weren't supposed to, I'd quickly tell them not to because my Mom or Dad would catch us. I guess because I was obviously so sure that we'd be caught, they'd believe me and stop.

This is how the early Christians lived. They didn't "believe" He was coming back soon. They KNEW He was coming back soon! That complete and total assurance they had that He would be back any time, colored everything they said and did. They figured that they might have days at most to clean up their lives and live the way He told them too and to learn all they needed to learn, so they didn't put anything off. When they sinned, they dealt with it. When someone told them they'd sinned, they blessed that person and rejoiced because now they could confess it and repent of it before the Lord returned! When they were tempted to sin, within seconds they'd remember that He'd be returning any moment and what if they were sinning when He did??? They were horrified at that thought so temptation didn't have the pull it does on those who don't know He could be here at any moment. When they were horribly persecuted, and when they went through severe trials, they could sincerely rejoice because they KNEW it wouldn't be long and Jesus would return and everything they went through till then would be repaid to them 100 times over when He did! So they knew exactly what Paul and Peter meant when they said to "Rejoice in the Lord always" Philippians 4:4 and that they should "rejoice even though "for now" they're going through trials and suffering".

1 Peter 1:6–9
(NIV) — In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.


Everything they did and said was colored by their knowledge that their Lord would be returning shortly and that got them through the good times and the horrible times of being martyred even. It helped them overcome temptation, it increased their faith and helped them be obedient to the Lord's commands. It helped them to discipline themselves for godliness because they knew that time was short and it helped them tell others, warn others, because again, they knew there wasn't much time. So the Lord wasn't mean to let them think that, He was being kind and loving and because they thought that, they lived their lives in such a way that their lives were testimonies to Him and a guide for us as to how we should live. (1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17;)

I honestly believe that this is the main reason the Lord doesn't want us to know exactly when the rapture will happen. I don't think He's pleased when we try and figure it out and say things like "it can't happen for another 20 years" or whatever. When someone really believes that, they're not going to live as though it could happen today and that's the problem. He wants us to KNOW that it will happen, to see the signs and KNOW it will happen SOON, and so live our lives in such a way that reflects that knowledge. Interestingly, in many ways the Church has come full circle and we are now back in very much the same situation that the early Christians were in, and this is yet another way we've come full circle. I know that I constantly feel the pressure of knowing that the Lord will return soon and that it could be any moment, and I'm quite sure that at least some others do as well. That's why I'm always begging people to study their bibles, to admit their sins, to reconcile, to love, to help others, etc, because there really isn't much time left. I honestly don't just believe that. I feel that deep in my soul and Know that with my entire being. It's like I can hear that clock ticking and I'm just waiting to hear His call.

I heard a song the other day that said exactly what I feel. It said the signs were happening all around us all the time but that they weren't looking for signs anymore; instead, because they knew the Lord would be returning soon, they were listening for His call. That's what I'm doing too. There really isn't much time left and I desperately want everyone I know, and myself too, to not just be ready, but to be at their best when He returns! Honestly, everything I say is colored by that, so if you ever wonder why I've posted something, that's the reason.

Heavenly Father, I pray that the truth & power of the scriptures will be revealed in each of our lives, & that Your Word will penetrate deeply into each of our lives, making us each ready & fit for the coming of our Lord Jesus. I pray that we will be continually controlled by the life-transforming knowledge of Your will, which the Holy Spirit imparts as we prayerfully study and reflect on Your Word. I pray also that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened in order that we may know the hope to which You have called us and live lives worthy of Your calling. In the Name of our great Savior, Jesus, I pray. Amen



 
(originally written a couple of years ago) 

I feel like I'm reading about the US!

Wow!  As I read Judges 10, I really feel like I'm reading about the US and the rest of the world as well right now! Even the commentary which was written in the 90's is like they've somehow read today's news headlines. I can't post all of Judges 10, but let me post a few verses and a bit of the commentary for you which will give you an idea of what I'm talking about. It's amazing and scary and it makes a lot of sense out of what's happening around the world and in the US!  This is from Wiersbe's, Be Available commentary.  Just replace the word "Israel" with "the United States" and you'll see what I mean.
 
Judges 10:11–14 —The Lord replied, “When the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, *the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you and you cried to me for help, did I not save you from their hands? *But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you. *Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!” *

A nation in decay (Jdg. 10:1–18)
There were three deficiencies in Israel that gave evidence that the nation was decaying spiritually.
 
1. Israel’s lack of gratitude to the Lord (vv. 1–5). For forty-five years, the people of Israel enjoyed peace and security, thanks to the leadership of Tola and Jair. We know little about these two judges, but the fact that they kept Israel’s enemies away for nearly half a century would suggest that they were faithful men, who served the Lord and the nation well. Tola was from the tribe of Issachar, and Jair from the Transjordan tribes, the area known as Gilead.

The people of Israel, however, didn’t take advantage of these years of peace to grow in their relationship to the Lord. After the death of Jair, the nation openly returned to idolatry and once again invited the chastening of the Lord. They enjoyed forty-five years of peace and prosperity but didn’t take time to thank the Lord for what He had done for them. The essence of idolatry is enjoying God’s gifts but not being grateful to the Giver, and Israel was guilty.


Thanksgiving glorifies God (Ps. 69:30) and is a strong defense against selfishness and idolatry.

2. Israel’s lack of submission to the Lord (vv. 6–16). If the people had only reviewed their own history and learned from it, they would never have turned from Jehovah God to worship the false gods of their neighbors. From the time of Othniel to the days of Gideon, the Jews endured over fifty painful years of oppression from the enemy. By now they should have known that God blessed them when they were obedient and chastened them when they were rebellious. (See 3:7, 12; 4:1; 6:1.) After all, weren’t these the terms of the covenant that God made with Israel, a covenant the nation accepted when they entered the land? (Josh. 8:30–35)

The Lord had given Israel victory over seven different nations (Jdg. 10:11–12), but now Israel was worshiping seven different varieties of pagan gods (v. 6). No wonder God’s anger “was hot against Israel” (v. 7). What foolishness to worship the gods of your defeated enemies!

For the people to abandon God was one thing, but for God to abandon His people was quite something else. The greatest judgment God can send to His people is to let them have their own way and not interfere. “Wherefore God also gave them up.… God gave them up.… God gave them over” (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28). This was too much for the Jews, so they repented, put away their false gods, and told God He could do to Israel whatever He wanted to do (Jdg. 10:15–16).

Their hope wasn’t in their repenting or their praying but in the character of God. “His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel” (v. 16). “In all their affliction He was afflicted” (Isa. 63:9). “Nevertheless in Your great mercy You did not utterly consume them nor forsake them; for You are God, gracious and merciful” (Neh. 9:31, NKJV). “Yet He was merciful; He atoned for their iniquities and did not destroy them. Time after time He restrained His anger and did not stir up His full wrath” (Ps. 78:38, NIV).

3. Israel’s lack of adequate leadership (vv. 17–18).
The people were prepared to act, but from all the tribes of Israel, there was nobody to take the lead. Whether in a nation or a local church, the absence of qualified leaders is often a judgment of God and evidence of the low spiritual level of the people. When the Spirit is at work among believers, He will equip and call servants to accomplish His will and bless His people (Acts 13:1–4).

In his book Profiles in Courage, John F. Kennedy wrote, “We, the people, are the boss, and we will get the kind of political leadership, be it good or bad, that we demand and deserve.” What’s true of political leadership is often true of spiritual leadership: We get what we deserve. When God’s people are submitted to Him and serving Him, He sends them gifted servants to instruct and lead them; but when their appetites turn to things of the world and the flesh, He judges them by depriving them of good and godly leaders. “The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart” (Isa. 57:1, NIV).

When I was a young Christian, I heard an evangelist preach a powerful sermon on the text, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” (2 Kings 2:14) “We know where the Lord God of Elijah is,” he said; “He’s on the throne of heaven and is just as powerful today as He was in Elijah’s day.” Then he paused. “The question is not so much ‘Where is the Lord God of Elijah?’ as ‘Where are the Elijahs?’ ”

Indeed, where are the Elijahs? Where are the spiritual leaders who can rally God’s people and confront the forces of evil?

Wiersbe, W. W. (1994). Be available. “Be” Commentary Series 
 
(originally written over two years ago) 

Coming Full Circle

I've been studying in Revelation again recently, specifically the letters to the churches. As I studied today I was struck yet again at how we as believers, the Church--the body of Christ and the world in general have come full circle since it started. Of course it makes sense that would happen at the end of an age, and I see this as yet another sure sign that the rapture is indeed very close. I've only studied about the churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, and Thyatira so far today but even that is more then enough to show how much like them we've become today.

There's a lot about false teachers from within the church itself leading the people astray, and as we know that is certainly very true today! What's more amazing is that the things these false teachers taught is the same that's being taught today; it just has a different name now.

Today pastors preach for monetary gain because they're greedy and con people out of their hard earned money. They teach that God wants you to be wealthy and of course the first thing you have to do to be wealthy is give them your money. If this wasn't done under the guise of religion, they'd be locked up instantly as con artists and no one would believe them! God says they're just like Balaam and makes it clear that they will be judged as will their followers.

Today they teach people that immorality is perfectly ok, that you're still saved even though you practice it regularly and that there's no need to repent of it. Makes me think of the many threads in the Today's Teacher's forum about today's pastors doing sermons and writing books about sex and having disgusting public displays to promote it. It reminds me of the homosexual pastors teaching that homosexuality is perfectly normal and ok.


Balaam also got the Israelites to start eating food sacrificed to idols by getting them to marry aliens and accept their customs. When the Jews did that, they became tolerant of sin and began doing it themselves, because "it wasn't a big deal after all". So it is today as well. I don't know how many pastors we've posted about that claim we're to be tolerant of evil and sin and that it's even ok to do it ourselves at least to a certain extent, after all, just like the Jew's thought before God killed 24,000 of them because of it, they were just being "good neighbors" and that's what the false teachers tell us today.

The false teachers told them it was perfectly ok to light incense, affirming your loyalty to Caesar, after all, we're supposed to obey the government and we really don't worship Caesar, we worship God; it's not an actual lie because we're not actually saying that we think Caesar is a god...and God wouldn't want us to lose our jobs and not be able to work anywhere and go hungry would He? What purpose would that serve? God wants us to be able to worship Him and give money for the poor but we can't do that if we're the poor ones...and that's assuming they don't kill us for not doing it! Sound familiar to you? It sure does to me! I can't even begin to count how much as been posted here about pastors who teach that today.

In Thyatira, the Lord commends those who have not fallen for the false teachers and tells us something important about those teachers too. He says they teach the "so called" deep secrets of Satan. To me that says these teachers hooked people into what they taught by telling them that they would learn the "deep secrets about God" which is what the Gnostics taught then and still teach today. On the other hand, God tells us that everything we need to know is in His Word and that if we're obedient He will reveal His secrets to us. We don't need to go anywhere else, join any organization or listen to any teacher to learn them. The Lord tells us Himself, quite freely in His Word if we will but study it with Him.

Another similarity hit me hard too and that's was about
Pergamum
. That's where the great medical school was and it's symbol is still used today for doctors and hospitals: It's the symbol of a snake curled around a staff. The snake is also a symbol for Satan but it was used there for the god of healing, Asklepios. What struck me about it was that then medicine was mixed in with a lot of superstition and the superstition was all centered around the false gods which we know were and are demons. Medicine eventually cleaned up it's act, thanks in large part to God and Christianity, but today it is once again become greatly mixed with superstition surrounding the demons still worshiped by eastern religions. Those "superstitions" have gone from being consider cultist and on the outside of real medicine to being fully accepted by the medical field today.

Like I said though, God wasn't happy about it then, and He most certainly isn't happy about it now either. Another thing that struck me as interesting was the way God said He would destroy the false prophetess and her followers. He said He would give them a bed of sickness and kill them. The word used actually means "pestilence" and is also translated as "plague" in some verses. God said He wasn't going to wait to judge this particular false teacher and her followers, that it would happen soon if they didn't repent. From what we know of history, they obviously didn't repent because the city is no longer there. God indeed removed their lampstand. The point I'm getting at though is that we are seeing this again now too. It reminds me of Aides right off the bat as well as other things that even now the doctors are beginning to call a plague--like that skin eating disease or the super infections etc.

So today like in Ephesus we have people who are zealous for the Truth and doctrine but who don't have a close relationship with Christ; they've lost their first love. Like Pergamum and Thyatira, we have people who have plenty of love for Christ, but have no discernment and so go along with and are tolerant of evil. Thankfully we also have people like those in Smyrna who love the Lord and His Word, know it well and stand up for the Truth, even though it means suffering for them here and now. And last but not least, we have the Lord's assurance that He is in control and that He is coming soon! Because things have so very obviously come around full circle, it tells me that the rapture cannot be very far away!
(originally written over a year ago) 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Parental Mythbusting

Myths—they intrigue, entertain, and sometimes even humor us. From health and history to sports and science, myths and misconceptions seem to find their way into every realm of human thought and activity—including parenting.

As Christians, we probably dismiss most of the parenting myths we encounter without a second thought, right? After all, we’re Christians, those who look to and depend upon God’s Word to determine our reality, not worldly platitudes or cultural traditions. If you’re among those who think only na├»ve and untaught Christians fall for unbiblical substitutes when it comes to parenting, maybe you’d better take a look at our list.

Here are ten of the most common myths confronting Christian parents these days. Mom and dad, as you endeavor to raise your children to the glory of God, take note of them:


Myth # 1: “Children must be the first priority in our family.”

Heard that one? According to this myth, the child-centered family is the successful family, so the more attention you give your children, the better they’ll turn out. Basically, you’ve got to prioritize your children over your spouse. No matter how pious they make it sound, it’s not pious at all. The Bible says your spouse is your priority, second only to God. Husbands, you understand this…God commands you to love you wife as your own body (Eph. 5:28). Why? Because you’re in a “one flesh” relationship with that woman (Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:31). There is no such relationship between parent and child; it’s a different level of intimacy. To elevate the relationship with your children above the more intimate relationship you have with your spouse isn’t positive in any sense. It’s a subtle but dangerous myth that always weakens and sometimes wrecks a home. Beware.

Myth # 2: “I should rely mainly upon the church—particularly the children’s ministry, to teach the Bible to my children.”

Most of us would probably deny believing this myth, but how we live tells all. Evaluate your habits at home, parents. Where does the majority of your children’s spiritual instruction take place—church or home? Who provides that instruction—an Awana leader or you? We’re not belittling the role of your local church’s teaching ministries. We are pointing out that Sunday school and youth group should supplement your teaching at home, not replace it. Both the Old and New Testaments assign parents, not pastors, the responsibility of teaching their children (See Deut. 6:4-9; Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21).

Myth # 3: “The behavior of my children is a sure measure of successful parenting.”

That statement would cease to be a myth with a slight adjustment: Your response to the behavior of your children is a sure measure of successful parenting. See the difference? Your child’s behavior is mostly out of your control; your response is not. None of us, especially after the early years, can control our child’s behavior. But you can and must control your response to their behavior. God’s simple instruction to parents is found in Ephesians 6:4, “Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Your success as a parent relates to how faithfully you carry out that charge, not how well your children receive discipline and instruction.

Myth # 4: “Quality time with my children is more important than quantity time.”

Some parents use this myth to ease their guilt for spending too little time with their kids. That’s not the biblical model. When God instructed parents to impart His Law to their children, notice how much time is involved: “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:6, 7). We’re mistaken to think we can somehow schedule those teachable moments into a few scattered, “quality” interactions between dinner and dessert. Faithfulness to the parenting task requires more time than that. As you make yourself available, you’ll begin to see how many unplanned opportunities arise out of those times of sitting, walking, lying down, and rising up.

Myth # 5: “My children belong to me.”

Behind this myth is the false notion that, “My children are my property, and it’s my right to raise them as seems best to me.” Psalm 127:3 says, “Behold, children are a gift from the Lord.” Even life itself is a gift, isn’t it? But it still belongs to God. Parenting is a stewardship, and we are stewards of all God’s gifts, including our children. We provide care, impart instruction, and teach them to fear God, and one day we’ll give an account to Him for how we carry out our charge. Children belong to God.

Myth # 6: “My wife should take responsibility for training our children since I work.”

Husbands, don’t turn God’s calling for your wife (Titus 2:4-5, to love you and your children, and keep the home) into a fatal parenting myth. God’s instruction to your wife doesn’t excuse you from parental responsibility. Scripture presents parenting as a joint-effort, and it also issues several commands directly to you fathers—it’s your responsibility to train your children (Eph 6:4, Col. 3:21). It’s true, your wife will spend more time at home with the kids while you work, but that doesn’t eliminate or diminish your responsibility to join her—in fact to lead her—in the parenting task.

Myth # 7: “My children won’t be able to understand spiritual truths until they are much older.”

Biblical history, human history, and common experience demonstrate how young children can comprehend spiritual truth. Remember the prophet Samuel, or the young king Josiah? Samuel’s close relationship to the Lord began at a very young age (1 Sam. 2:26), and king Josiah instigated spiritual revival in Judah when he was only a teenager (2 Kings 22:1; 2 Chronicles 34:33). In 1735, during the American Great Awakening, God saved Phebe Bartlet, a young girl in Jonathan Edward’s congregation, when she was only 4 years old. Parents and pastor alike thoroughly examined her comprehension of gospel truth and found clear evidence that she was born again. Time proved the genuineness of her profession. One of her favorite activities was attending church to hear the preaching of her pastor, Jonathan Edwards (not a theological lightweight). Don’t fool yourself parent—and certainly don’t try and fool your children. They are sharper than you think.

Myth # 8: “If I spank my children, it will exasperate and provoke them.”

Sadly, this myth is alive and well in many Christian homes. It intimidates parents and spoils children. Contrary to our anti-spanking culture, Proverbs 13:24 says, “He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” Truth is, if you want to provoke and spoil your children, just continue to shelter them from the painful consequences of disobedience (Prov. 29:15). No kid loves a spanking, and we don’t like discipline either, do we? But the writer of Hebrews tells us that discipline yields peaceful, productive fruit (Heb. 12:5-11). (Here are a few other Scriptures to counter this insidious myth—Prov. 19:18; 22:15; 23:13; 29:17).

Myth # 9: “Spanking my children is the key to successful biblical parenting.”

For some of you, spanking your child seems quicker, easier, and more effective than the relentless dawn-to-dusk instruction called for in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (see Myth #4). Ephesians 6 also calls for “discipline,” but Paul clearly has more in mind than spanking. The positive command, “Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (v. 4), refers to the systematic training and instruction of children. Literally, the word “instruction” could be translated “putting in mind.” As a parent, you want to impart the knowledge of God regularly and lovingly to your child under the guidance of Scripture. That is the key to successful parenting. Spanking is just one part of that larger task.

Myth # 10: “If I teach my kids properly, God promises they’ll eventually turn out well.”

No doubt you’ve heard this myth. It’s a popular interpretation, and application, of Proverb 22:6—“Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it.” How many times have you seen a parent cling to that verse in desperation as they watch defiant children forsake all they were taught? Some children sit under loving, prayerful instruction from their parents, only to later shame them with a scandalous lifestyle. It’s heartbreaking, isn’t it. But Solomon’s proverb is not meant to be a gilt-edged guarantee your child will eventually trust Christ and live righteously. Solomon is simply saying early training usually secures lifelong habits. It’s a charge to give great care and consistency to how and what you teach your children. God promises to bless us for parental faithfulness, but that doesn’t necessarily mean our children will be saved. They have their own relationship with God to work out.


Posted with permission:
http://www.gty.org/Blog/B101022

Going Down the Drain?

Since I've been studying the Old Testament a lot lately, I've also been relating what I learn with the times we're now living in as well as with the rapture, tribulation and millennium. I was thinking about creation last night, and how the fall contributed to all that we're experiencing now and wanted to share something with you all that I find really exciting.

I'm sure we're all aware of what evolutionist say about the earth, humans and everything, as we've all been taught it since we were children. I could never accept a lot of it, even before I knew God. It just didn't seem "right" to me. What I'm going to share next, is not exactly stated in the bible, but is extrapolated from what is stated. So it's certainly not gospel truth, but it is quite possible. To me, this makes a whole lot more sense then what the evolutionists say though. I know we talked about one aspect of this on another thread, so some may be familiar to you.

First, just to explain the theory, let me share my notes from a book I have called
Tonopah by Christopher A Lane:

Before the fall, Adam and Eve were super extraordinary creatures. They were supremely intelligent, highly advanced, beings that put today's finest scientific minds to shame. Contrary to popular secular thought, they were wise beyond imagination, knowledgeable beyond belief, gifted in understanding the secrets of the universe. Drawing on the full capacity of their complex brains, they were undoubtedly the most brilliant, insightful human beings ever to walk the earth: Godlike in the true sense of the term. Until the fall.

Free will was perhaps their most astonishing trait. God created Adam and Eve with the ability to choose the depth, and quality of their relationship with Him. Unfortunately they chose poorly. Instead of "evolving", many believe that the bible supports an entirely opposite movement: a de-evolution from near perfection to a state of chaos. We see this in the universe itself - the principal of entropy: everything moving from available energy to a state of disorganization. Instead of getting smarter and smarter, becoming more civilized and advanced, mankind is moving backwards, degenerating.

Consider some of the marvels of the ancient world: the great pyramids, the hanging gardens of Babylon, Easter Island.... we can't even figure out how to build these using modern technology. So it's been suggested that aliens from other planets may have helped construct them. But if the theory of de-evolution is true, if ancient man was incredibly advanced rather then primitive....

Adam named and cared for all the animals, so he was apparently quite knowledgeable in the area of veterinary biology. He and Eve took care of the Garden - they must have had a pretty good grasp of animal husbandry and botany. Cain built an entire city. Jubal invented musical instruments, Tubal-Cain invented all manner of bronze and iron tools - and they were starting from scratch. We're talking about a metallurgist ushering in the metal age a few short generations after the creation of the world!

The Fall twisted all of creation: tame creatures became wild; safe, kind beasts became predators; plant eaters began to seek meat. Death entered the system and mankind had to struggle to survive. That was all part of the curse. We're still seeing the results of that today, entire species becoming extinct as the ecosystem sputters and stumbles along, out of control.


Maybe I'm nuts, but that makes a lot of sense to me. I've always felt that mankind was a whole lot smarter then we give him credit to be, back in the beginning. And once sin and death entered the picture, what happened was natural, all that knowledge and intelligence was turned toward evil and so everything became very corrupt in a very short period of time. If you look at the time span between creation and the flood, it's really not all that long, not as long as we've been around since the flood anyway.

So why didn't things get just as bad, just as quickly again? Simply because humans were devolving. By the time the flood was over and they were starting over again, they'd already devolved some so they couldn't have progressed as fast as they did before. Plus, we're told that this time God limited the evil we were able to do and He still does. Even so, one of the very first things to happen once the flood was over, was evil! (Noah got drunk and his son found him naked) Then, also to slow things up, God dispersed people all over the earth instead of allowing them all to be in one big group together. Then He confused the languages so we didn't all speak the same language which further slowed down the progression of evil. So those things and others, helped prevent us from destroying ourselves again quite so quickly, giving God time to call Abraham and begin the line that would ultimately bring Jesus into the world to save us.

Look what's happening now though. Basically, due to technology, (which is not evil in and of itself) we have gotten back the ability to all be together again like we were in the beginning. While we still have nations and we're still spread all over the earth and have different languages, all of that is overcome by technology such as the internet and translation devices etc. Daniel 12:4 tells us that during this time of the end, knowledge will increase and it most certainly has. We haven't gotten smarter, we're still devolving, but we can now share knowledge with each other more then ever, faster then ever, and plot yet more evil.


Think back again to just before the flood and what happened then. We have the "sons of God" and the "daughters of men" getting together and creating a foul race of "giants". This was also during the time that God shows us just how quickly human kind advanced and how very intelligent they were. They most certainly weren't "cavemen." Knowledge was increasing exponentially, and at the same time, so was evil. That's when it got so bad that God decided to destroy it all, even the animals were becoming evil!

Jesus said it would be the same way in our time, the last days, and so it is. Knowledge is increasing exponentially, so much so that encyclopedias are out of date before they can finish printing them, which is why they no longer print them. Knowledge has increased so much that it's impossible for us to keep up with it, even with our technology. And with that knowledge, evil has also increased exponentially as we're all very aware of. Even in the animal kingdom this is true. We see news reports of certain wild and tame animals doing things that were unheard of or very rare before - seeking out, attacking and killing humans, of animals for the very first time (that we know of) having homosexual relations! If you recall, one of the judgments during the tribulation will be animals
seeking out, attacking and killing humans, so this is like a mini preview of that judgment.

Now, leaving this a moment, I'd like to go out on a limb with something that came to me recently as I studied. it's about the sons of God and daughters of men. (Gen 6:1-2) Here's a wild idea for you. What if for us, in our time, this is simply showing how the "sons of God", those of us who have been saved and are now children of God, saw the "daughters of men" those who are unsaved, and saw they were "beautiful". In other words we liked what we saw, and "married them" or in other words, yoked ourselves to them - no longer living the way God commands but living like the unsaved do? Isn't this a picture of exactly what's already happened to the majority of the body of Christ? It's a picture of "bad company corrupting good morals, " another thing the Lord warns us about, as well as a picture of what happens when we become "friends with the world" to any degree. It's right after this, in Gen 6:5 that we're told that God sees how great the wickedness on earth had become - like this is the final straw. Could the final straw be that God's people are corrupted or in danger of it? It looks like it just might be so to me.

In Noah's time, God allowed this to continue until at the end only 8 people were saved. Only one man and his family were found to be decent enough that God saved them from the flood. I put it that way because they most certainly weren't perfect.

We've also talked about this, but I think again that this points to the fact that we're going to discover that there's a lot fewer people that are really saved then is normally thought. But, we know for sure that God will indeed take us from this earth before He begins His judgement of it. And we know for sure that while He keeps the body of Christ safe with Him, He will also save a remnant during the tribulation. So we can rejoice in that as well.

One other point I'd like to bring up though and another reason why this resonates with me. Often people wrongly believe that once we're in heaven we will suddenly know all the answers to everything and understand everything. The bible shows this isn't exactly true. What is true is that our minds will no longer be finite and we'll be able to use all of our minds instead of the less then 10% we now use. (which reminds me that even our scientists have discovered that we used to use more of our minds then we do now and that for some reason we've been using less and less as time goes on) Therefore our ability to learn and understand things will be tremendously better then it is now. Better then we can really imagine I suspect. Because of that, things that we "kind of get" but not quite, will become clear to us then, like a veil has been removed from our minds. But, things we never thought to ask about and that actually need some thought and study before understanding, we still won't know. We will have to study them to learn the answers, but once we do, we will certainly be able to learn and understand them. So no, we won't know all things as soon as we get to heaven, but we will have the ability to learn and understand that far surpasses what we can now do or imagine.

I believe that's how Adam and Eve were before the fall - before decay and degeneration and de-evolution set it. After all in Gen 1:26 God tells us that He created mankind to rule over the whole earth and everything in it. He most certainly wouldn't want dummies doing something like that, so to me that says they had to have been very intelligent. Of course many other things in His word point to that as well too. It's exciting to me to know that one day soon we'll be able to use all of our minds again the way the Lord intended us to, without the taint from the Fall.

All of this points again to everything coming full circle and to me shows me yet more of what our Lord meant when He said that these times would be like the days of Noah. What do you think? 
They were supremely intelligent, highly advanced, beings that put today's finest scientific minds to shame. Contrary to popular secular thought, they were wise beyond imagination, knowledgeable beyond belief, gifted in understanding the secrets of the universe. Drawing on the full capacity of their complex brains, they were undoubtedly the most brilliant, insightful human beings ever to walk the earth: Godlike in the true sense of the term. Until the fall.
Every time I consider this, it makes more and more sense to me. God made man in His image and made mankind to be "perfect" in every way. He never gives us a job to do without first giving us the ability to do the job. And He gave them the job of overseeing everything on the earth! Plus, God walked and talked with them every day in the Garden. I would think that would be pretty boring to Him if they were dumb. I think it'd get pretty boring if they were only as intelligent as we are now, actually. But, if they had full use of their brains instead of only using a tiny portion of them like we do, that makes sense then. Even just thinking back a couple thousand years ago when Jesus was here we see a huge difference between what people did then and what they do now with their minds. Back then, Jewish children began memorizing the Torah as soon as they could talk practically so they had it down, word for word by the time they were adults. When the epistles were written, the Christians memorized each one and then sent it on to another church so that church could memorize it. Long before they were put into book form as we have them, the early Christians had memorized every book of the NT verbatim! That's incredible to us, but to them, it wasn't. It was "normal".

On the other end of the spectrum, look at how quickly evil grew too. Because they were so advanced, they were also able to come up with horrible evil. A really stupid person isn't very imaginative and can't generally come up with things that are really evil, but the more intelligent you are, the more evil you can conceive. So even the fact that evil grew as fast as it did, shows their intelligence.

Plus, I'd never really considered or reflected on the fact that the evil contaminated the animals as well as the humans. I knew that sin had corrupted them as well, but just hadn't really thought about it much. But God did say that everything, including the animals were evil by the time of the flood and that's why He wanted to wipe out everything. If they hadn't been evil as well, God could have simply caused every human being to stop breathing and have been done with it. And that brings us to the plants, the vegetation. Even that was corrupted!

Now think of what's going on today. We're seeing more and more allergies to plants and animals, finding more and more plants that are dangerous to us and animals are becoming more dangerous to us as well. Remember the news reports of the little girl and the adult who'd been attacked with a disease that was literally eating their brains??? It was an amoeba!!!


There have been all kinds of weird new diseases caused lately by plants, animals, and who knows what, as well as old ones, so called rare ones, and even ones from third world countries that are now flourishing in civilized countries. With all our knowledge and technology, instead of getting healthier, people are getting sicker and are often told by doctors that they just don't know what's causing their pain or suffering. 

Instead of getting smarter and smarter, becoming more civilized and advanced, mankind is moving backwards, degenerating.
We've talked about this in numerous threads before too. For example, we've often talked about how much smarter children were in previous generations. (kind of like that show, "are you smarter then a 5th grader".) I remember we had a thread in the chat forum years ago that showed either a 4th or 5th grade test that I believe was from the 1950's or so and asked if we could pass it now. None of us could have and none of our kids or grandkids could either!

Now days though instead of realizing just how marvelously we were created to be, most folks would rather believe we used to be apes and aliens came here and did all the neat things we've found from the past. 
It gives me a whole new thrill now when I read:

Psalm 139:14 —I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 

Signs, Signs, Everywhere A Sign

I've been thinking a lot about the weird weather all over the world, the so called "natural disasters", as well as the terrorist attacks, and the political and economic problems around the world. The Lord told us about the many signs there would be that would show us that the time was near for the tribulation to start and of course that would mean that it was also time for the rapture to happen as well. I'm sure you all noticed long before now that many of the signs are simply milder versions of the actual judgments that God will send on the earth during the tribulation right? The signs that didn't have to do with that, seem to be signs of how people will react toward everything.

Anyway, every sign the Lord gave us seems to be getting stronger lately. There seem to be more of them and each one is often "bigger' then the one before. That too is scriptural and no surprise to any of us I'm sure. I thought it might be interesting though, to look at the tribulation judgments and see if there had indeed been a "sign" showing that yet.

What I did was look up each judgment during the tribulation and whittle it down to as few words as possible to describe the effect it would have, such as "famine" and also the cause, such as "earthquake". Then I put all the effects in one list, and the causes in another. Next with each repeated effect or cause, I put the word "more" in front of it. I then deleted all the extra "mores". leaving only one, since that's all we need one to know more will be coming.

Before I show you the lists themselves, let me share 4 scriptures that I think describe "why" all this happens:

Matthew 24:12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, *

Matthew 24:37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. *

What was it like in Noah's time?

Genesis 6:5The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. *

Genesis 6:11Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. *

Ok, here's the lists, which I've kind of combined, but note that Everything listed just keeps getting worse and worse with each succeeding judgment.

people killed for their belief in Christ
people torturing and killing just for the sake of doing so
terrorism

war(s)
Grief and mourning
jobs lost
Economic disaster

famine

thirst
The gap between the rich and the poor becomes constantly wider.

disease
unusually painful sores, stings and bites
animals killing people

earthquakes

soil erosion,
wildfires,
floods
mudslides
Air pollution

tidal waves

meteors
ecology will be in chaos
Extreme heat
severe worldwide earthquake
100 pound hailstones falling

Extreme cold
fear
more wars
more lost jobs
More deaths

more severe weather

more famine
more thirst
more disease
more painful sores etc for unbelievers that last for months
more fear

etc.

When I look at all of that, I can honestly see that I've not only seen "signs" of each of those, but the signs I've seen have been getting progressively worse over the last year or so.

I think the one that surprised me the most though, was the recent talk of meteors and that there are now official groups who are trying to get government funding in order to locate all that are in earths vicinity in order to destroy any that might threaten us.


People aren't as friendly toward others anymore and that would be easily covered in the fact that God says their love will turn cold. That's very obviously happening. In fact, I'd say you could say it's already happened and is happening more so every day. I'm blessed in that I also live in a very good neighborhood, but that's just the immediate homes next to me. Not far down, we've got drug dealers who sell to children and other stuff just as bad.

As far as diseases go, not only are their new illnesses, but old ones that were wiped out have returned with a vengeance and many diseases that were only seen in third world countries are now running rampant here in the US and other advanced countries! On top of that, old diseases or maybe you could call them "regular known diseases" have become even worse then they were originally. Also some that were considered for most people minor nuisances are now major problems that affect people's ability to work and live their lives normally. Allergies are one of those I've noticed like that. I've always known people that have had allergies. I have them myself. In fact, when I was a child, even the doctors would have said mine were pretty bad. Not by today's standards though! It seems as though a huge number of people don't just "have allergies", but have them so badly that they can't function without getting regular injections for them! Illnesses and diseases that existed, but were rarely seen when I was a child or young adult, are now rampant all over the world and considered "normal". On top of all of that, we have diseases from all those categories that medicine can't cure, and many that are killing people. I've also seen that "normal" things like bug bites and insect stings are affecting many people differently now days then they did before. All my life until the last couple of years, a bite or sting bothered me because it itched or stung, but it was only a nuisance - no big deal. And except for people who happened to be allergic to bee stings or something, that's how it was for everyone. Not anymore though. More and more people are reporting bites and stings that really hurt and or itch terribly for a week or even weeks instead of days! I sure hate to see what it's going to be like during the tribulation, although the Lord gives us hints with the stings that cause severe pain and last for 5 months etc.

Because of all this and everything else that's happening in the world, I no longer say we're living in the end times. Instead, I say and believe that we're living in the last days - the last days of the end times to be exact. I say that because the end times actually started when the church was born and have been progressing ever since then. Now, however, the birth pangs of the next age have become very obvious and are happening faster and harder then ever. Just like a woman in labor. Labor can last a very long time, but when it gets to this stage, every woman knows her time is at hand. And so is ours.


The sinkholes are another sign and even that's going nuts lately, happening more often, and with them getting larger and larger and people losing their lives because of them.

And then of course there's the wild fires too. Those too seem to be happening more frequently and cover more ground then ever too. Even happening in places that it doesn't normally.
 
We can all say that the weather has been very unusual for the last few years and instead of going back to "normal", each year seems worse then the year before it.  Hardly a day goes by that we don't hear about some so called "natural disaster" that's happening somewhere in the world, and often it's right here in the US.

The same with earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and everything else! Just look at the recent past at all the tornadoes and that alone should be enough to make people think! Those too are happening in places they don't normally happen, like New Hampshire! In fact, we've had several actually sighted this year already and some have touched down and caused damage. It got so bad that the local weatherman in trying to calm people's fears, made the statement that it wasn't "really" true that we never had tornadoes here in NH, because we normally had one every year somewhere in the state. When pressed on it though, he had to admit that they didn't normally touch down or cause damage, but were more often just that they would form and then break up right away. Up until last year, in the 25 years I'd lived here, I could honestly say I'd only seen one and was concerned a second time that one would form, but it didn't. We've had a number of them in the last year alone though!

There's also been a lot of activity in the heavens as well. And all of this is again pointing (strongly) toward the end of this age.
Soon, the Father will be sending Jesus to come and get us. I honestly cannot imagine Him allowing us to stay here for "years" longer.
 
(I originally wrote this well over a year ago)