Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The End Times

As a Methodist, I don't hear a lot about end times prophecy in my church. This annoys me at times. But, after years of reading countless web pages and books on the subject, I can understand why. I've yet to read any one opinion that I completey agree with. Any pastor preaching on the subject would, no doubt, alienate at least half his congregation.

I've come to the conclusion that no one person has got it right, yet. Every author I've read (fiction and non-fiction) has come to the table with his or her opinion of how things will or have shaped up. They then stretch a few prophecies to fit that opinion.

While I believe that most of the book of Revelation is directed at the fall of Rome, I also believe that history, and prophecy, tends to repeat itself. I believe that Jesus will return to establish the final "Eden" here on earth. I believe that He will gather His elect from the four corners of the earth.

What I don't believe is the literal translatioin of the imagry used in Revelation (most clearly used in the Old Testament as well), nor do I believe that all has been accomplished and we're living in the new earth now.

When will Jesus return? Don't know. Will I still read all those websites and books? Yup. Nothing will bring me greater joy than the return of our Lord. How can I not watch for it? Like all believers, I'm like a kid on Christmas Eve who wants to open just one present. Just a little taste of what's to come. The problem is, though, if we really got a taste of what's to come, we wouldn't want to spend another second in this world. We'd be useless. Ever asked a kid to get his chores done on Christmas Eve?

Watch with me, brothers and sisters, but get to work on time, okay?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Writing chum Robin has been issuing prayer requests for her husband. I'm not sure if I'm at liberty to say what for, so I'll leave it at that. He needs healing...physically. By now, maybe some spiritual. If it were me, I'm sure I'd need both.

It's always toughest to see those you love going through hardship. Helplessness is probably one of the worst feelings a person can tolerate. We often wish the pain upon ourselves. At least, then, we have options, even if they're not good ones. How often does a parent sit up with a child in pain, praying for God to transfer that pain to themselves?

I don't want to place Robin's situation on the same level as a child with an ear ache, but one can imagine the torment she's going through. I imagine several breakables in her house have come to violent destruction.

I often wonder what it was like for the disciples as they watched Jesus die on the cross. Such torment to their souls would have been comparable to a few moments in hell. To watch the man they loved and knew as the Messiah being whipped, spit on, and laughed at. All the while standing silent. Can you put yourself there? Can you even come close to feeling their pain?

But it was that pain that launched the incredible wave of evangelism that spreads to this day. Perhaps even Saul witnessed the crucifixion, laughed and scoffed with the other onlookers. Imagine his shame later as he preached to the gentiles. No thorn in his side would even compare to the suffering of his heart.

I will pray for Robin and Case. Not just for the physical healing, though, but that their faith will be strengthened. God has a plan for them, though they're only concern right now is to get through this day.

Grace and Peace be with you all.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Yesterday, as I was filling up the Avalanche's 31 gallon tank, a guy pulled up next to me, said, "There goes another two weeks pay," and took off. He was obviously bitter. I only shrugged and smiled, not having time to respond. And I wondered, if he had some good news, would he have stopped to share it with me? I think probably not.

You see, I can't seem to let all this bad news get me down. I've never felt happier, standing there pumping $3.79/gal gas into my gas guzzler. Can something so trivial possibly overcome the joy of knowing my Lord and that I have eternal life waiting for me at the end of this very short road?

It strikes me as odd, that Christians in America, who have more than they could possibly use, let such little things trample their joy when Christians in Africa, who have nothing, are constantly smiling and singing His praises. How can I possibly complain? How can any of us? Jesus was right about the rich. But it's not greed that keeps us from the Kingdom, it's the distraction of all that we have. We cling to our possessions and money like a passenger on the Titanic clinging to the last life boat.

I wonder if I can let it go. Can I be like Peter and trust in Jesus to give me the power to walk on the water? I hope so.

As I sit in my nice house writing this, with heat (yes, in May) pumping through the ducts and filtered water pouring from the faucets, I don't feel rich. I feel like my life boat has become an anchor. It all keeps me from doing His will.

No, I'm not unhappy. But my happiness doesn't come from my job, my house, or my money. Jesus is the source of happiness. He must be the only source. I'll keep my eyes on Him. Because if I don't, like Peter, I'll begin to sink in the mire of this world.

Praise God! When Jesus returns, I'll be looking up. If anyone wants my stuff, you're welcome to it!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Real Freedom

In this morning's Oakland (Michigan) Press, I read an article about a family that moved to South Africa to work with children who are victims of the AIDS epedimic. The thing is, this guy had a good job in computer programming, a wife, and three beautiful little girls. He also had a very nice house in an upscale neighborhood.

He quit his job, sold the house and everything in it, and hauled his family on a mission trip. And they're all happy about it.

Now that's freedom.

That's the kind of freedom Jesus talked about. The thing is, the freedom is already there. We just have to have the the courage to reach out and take it. Why do we believe that we're trapped in whatever situation we're in? Who's richer: the guy making a million dollars a year or the guy who can sell it all off and go do the Lord's work?

I don't know what will happen tomorrow, next week, or next year. The RV market (my business) can come crashing down and I'll be left with nothing. But here's my freedom: I'll still be filled with joy, even if I'm working the double shift at Wal-mart and living in my trailer.

19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Mt 6:19-21

That's freedom.