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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Circles of Life & Ending Terrorism Part II

                           Circles of Life

    Life has a funny way of going in circles.  Jesus predicted it would when he prophesied that at the end it would be “as in the days of Noe.” Sooner or later we always end up back where we started.  The Bible foretells that, Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.  The Bible definitely has many circles in it.  Things that happen again and again sometimes may seem like different events, but in reality they just repeat something that has already happened in the past. Last week gave me a good dose of that in my own life.

    It was my privilege to attend the United States Parachuting National Championships in Ottawa, Illinois.  On my very first civilian jump I compressed my back.  That ended what had promised to be a real exciting part of my life. A close friend who I taught to jump had offered me a partnership with him in a parachute center he had started.  It did not mean I lost interest in jumping, just that I was not able to participate as I had in the past.  The first people I ran into at the Nationals were a group of riggers, which, was my job in the military.  Things had definitely changed over the last thirty five years, but the basic methods were much the same. The highlight of the event for me anyhow was getting my picture taken with the Golden Knights completing a circle in my life. and meeting the All Woman Eight Person Team from Perris, California who finished first in their class. Perris Moxie Team. 

Sorry guys its Ladies First. The picture is not the best,but I hope to get another chance

                              These guys made an old man feel young again.
                         Or wish I was. Hope to meet some of them at Ft. Bragg
                              for the Skydiving Museum Celebration Weekend

    From there I went to a meeting of the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVoA).  On the way I stopped for breakfast at a McDonalds and met a man who had been stationed at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky at the same time I had back in 1966.  At the VVoA I was in a tent selling memorabilia and started talking to the guy across the table from me. We established that we had both served in Phan Rang, Vietnam at the same time in 1967. There was a bit of irony to it. He was in the Air Force and I was in the Army. I spent 90 days living in a sandbag bunker guarding the pumps that sent water to the Air Force base.  So that he and his fellow airmen could take hot showers and do laundry while living in air conditioned barracks. Where I lived was in the bunker below, but I got to go swimming twice a day in the nearby river to get the sand odd from filling sandbags for the new bunkers.  We built seven reinforced bunkers that took about 4,000 bags each and a command bunker that took 11,000. Oh yeah and the mortar pit which I don't have a clue how many it took.

for 3 months of my life

     The issue of circles has been showing up a lot in my life lately.  If you would like some interesting Biblical revelations use a concordance and find the references to four hundred and thirty years and seventy years.  In Ezekiel the number appears in chapter 4 where it is broken down into two periods.  One period is 390 years and the other if 40 years which total 430 years.  You should find these time periods at least three times in the Old Testament.  The 430 year periods are followed by 70 year periods.  Type those words in the search bar on my blog and they will take you to several of my blogs that explain the significance of those numbers.

    When my daughter Angel was in high school and doing a paper for school she chose Martin Luther as her subject.  In the course of helping her I noticed that from the time Martin Luther nailed his treatise on the door to Israel becoming a state again was 430 years.  Just a coincidence I am sure, except the Word of God says In Daniel that there will be an explosion of knowledge and understanding.  I find it strange that at about the same time the printing press was invented.  Leonardo Da Vince, Michelangelo, Columbus and Galileo were some of his contemporaries.  It was an explosion which opened the whole world up to the Bible which was predicted many times in the Bible.

     For the last couple months I have been stuck in the Book of Jeremiah which predicts more end time events than about any book.   Isaiah and Ezekiel do some pretty powerful end time messages also.  Chapter 16 is really an eye opener as it predicts two things.  It predicts they the Jews will be bought back into the land from all over the earth and it predicts they will be punished double for their iniquity.  The Lord punished them when he took them out of the land.  Then he punished them before he bought them back. That came to me as an answer to a prayer of how could a kind and loving God allow what happened to the Jews, his chosen people, to happen.  He simply did what His Word said he would do.

      That is what a lot of people miss. God is doing and will continue to do what His Word says until it is all fulfilled.  Every jot and tittle as the Bible says.  People tend to pick and choose what they like from the Bible and leave the rest. It says a man should not trim the corners of his beard.  How do you shave it off without doing so?  Shaving is a military thing and definitely an unchristian thing.  Leviticus speaks to things that are common in this day and age. Especially 19:27-28 which I take to mean tattoo, I have one so I am dropping my stone on that one.  We are to love our enemies also.

       Matthew 6:15 makes it clear to be forgiven, we must first forgive and that is one of the things that is tearing the Middle East apart, Islam professes to believe in the prophets, but unfortunately that does not extend to what they say.  When all the religions that claim to be the Sons of Abraham forgive and accept each other, then there will be chance of ending terrorism.

      It can happen because I saw a man on TV who went by Mubin Shaikh and was a former terrorist.  He said he became involved with true followers of Islam who showed him the error of his ways and how terrorism was and is twisting the teachings of Islam for their own benefit. Hatred is taught.  I saw it once in my own life.  A friend of mine I was visiting went to the store. While he was in the store getting what he needed I watched his wife teaching his son to say “Nigger.” He could barely walk, let alone talk, but what he was being taught was to hate people because of the color of their skin. Both of this child’s parents claimed to Christians, but in the 60’s there was a wide divide between the Truth of the Word and what was practiced in America.  I certainly never thought I would see a black man as President of America in my lifetime.  What scares me about it is that from my time of studying the Bible, I realize it is just a sign as it was in the Old Testament.

     One thing I noticed in my Bible studies was that all of the 430 year periods at some point went to or came out of Africa.  Which makes the significance of the events at the time of Martin Luther important as they allowed the Word of God to truly reach the entire world. Probably one of the best written books I have read lately is a book called Power, Faith and Fantasy by Michael B. Oren which explains America’s ties to the Middle East.  America would not even have a Constitution if it was not for events in the Middle East.  The verse in the Marine Corps hymn is not just a verse in a song,  It is a statement about our history.  Tripoli was one of our first Naval engagements. Originally America had the Articles of Confederation, but they did not give power to a central government.  The Constitution was written to overcome that shortcoming and raise a Navy to protect our shipping.  After the Revolutionary War our ships were no longer protected by Britain. That was one of the costs of Independence and why we needed a Constitution.

    Over many years of reading I have seen the circles in the Bible.  Now I can see the circles in my life becoming full circles. Whether it is the end of me or the end of time is really irrelevant.  What is relevant is that God’s Word will be fulfilled because he said so. With that being said another piece of the circle just closed for me with a call I just received while writing this.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Packing My Bags, Are you?

                       Tying Up Loose Ends

       Tying up loose ends can cover a lot of ground.  A year ago, next month, I received my Agent Orange Compensation from the government.  I tried to use it wisely but did make a few frivolous purchases.  We signed some of our property over to our daughter, got our Wills done, put a new well in on our property so we are independent of the property we gave our daughter. We also did all the legal paperwork involved and had surveys done.  Things we could not afford to do on our day to day income.  Oh, Yes I bought a new car for me.  Then it was back to living month to month.  The difference is I have money to finish some projects that I had started a long time ago, like a new garage and a greenhouse.

     This week I had the pleasure of planning my own funeral.  My Dad did it and his Dad, my youngest daughter Glenda did it, and now I have.  It is not that I am worried about dying.  In fact on that count I truly believe I will be standing here on the earth when the Lord returns in power and glory.  So why plan for something that is not going to happen.  It is the thing we were commanded in the Bible to do.  We are to live like we will be here forever, but be ready to go at any moment.

     My reason for believing I will be here is based on a vision/dream I had in January of 1967.  The link I put in will take you to the story if you are interested. It is a testimony of how I came to follow the Lord after running from him for some time. It is also the first entry of a seven part book I posted for free on my blog. There is too much of me in the book, but it also explains how some things happen the same way several times in the Old Testament and that “I believe” we are in a similar time in this day and age.

     It is not my goal to make anyone think I am any kind of Bible scholar, but simply to share some things I learned from spending a lot of time in the Bible.  As I said I ran from the Lord for years.  When I got as low as I could go and had no way to look but up I told the Lord, “I don’t even have a job Lord, but I do have the days of my life that you Bless me with and as I have nothing else to give you, I will tithe my time in your Word.”  For the next several years I spent at least 2 ½ hours a day in the Word of God.  When I had no job it was easy. When I got one it got harder, but I still did it for a few more years.  Then I started to cut back and read most days, but not the way I had.  The Lord has truly blessed my life and taken care of me.  If he hadn’t I would have been gone just over ten years ago when I had a fairly major heart attack.  That story is also in my book.  Again I give a link so you can see how God intervened in my behalf at that time. Just scroll down the story till you come to the header titled Testimony.

     If you read the testimony you will note I said that I was talking to an individual about the Bible.  I always wondered if I would know that individual when I met him.  Just this week I came to the realization that I may have done so.  For some time I have felt I knew or know the exact place I will be standing when it happens,  and now possibly who I will be with.  This last week has had a couple of experiences that made me wonder if God is giving me signs.

     It is my privilege to share a room with my fifteen year old great nephew, whom I call my grandson.  In essence he is one.  At least he is to me. His name is Gabriel.  On my way back from my annual trip to a Christian Writer’s Conference which is a blessing to me.  Especially the way I found it.  I had Gabe’s name embossed on the Bible, which I got for him on the trip, a few days ago.  He asked me where his name was in the Bible and I got out my concordance and that I is when I realized there might be more to him being here than me just helping out my niece. 

     Gabriel was the Angel who told Zacharias that he was to have a son named John who would be the forerunner of the Messiah.  Gabriel also told Mary she would bear a child unto the Lord.  Then he also gave Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks for the end time. My oldest grandson just happens to be named Daniel.  Coincidence I am sure.  Gabe has been trying to encourage me to go walking every day.  The catch is if we do, we will cross that place that I believe to be where I will be at the end both coming and going.

     As I said I had a heart attack several years ago.  I had lost 90 pounds at the time I had it. The reason I was trying to lose so much weight was I wanted to get back into skydiving which I did when was younger.  I did it twelve years in the military with no problems.  My very first civilian jump I compressed my back.  Over time I think my back has healed enough but only if I lose enough weight.  The first time I started down at 350 and got down to 260.  My goal was 200.  Well over the years I found some of those pounds and got back up to 300.  Now I want to jump again.  My doctor gave me the okay.  I thought I couldn’t with a defibrillator, but he said it was no problem.  I discovered that on my trip to Florida in February.  That story is on my blog also.

    Thursday I plan to leave to go to Ottawa, Illinois to watch the U.S. National Parachuting Championships.  From my first experience with losing weight I learned that to lose the weight, diet alone will not do it.  I have to walk 45 minutes a day. That takes discipline and Gabe is willing to do it with me.  The question for me is am I ready to meet my maker.  I believe I am.  Getting back into reading the Bible has been a big help in getting to that point.  I am to a point I have that inner peace in my life that I had in that vision.  So I am ready and all I have to do is do it.

    There were a couple of other experiences this week that sort of gave me a Déjà vu feeling.  In preparation for my trip I had some patches sewn on an old cut off denim duster I had.  The seamstress I got sent to was an older lady, a Christian and she writes Bible studies.  My Mom was a seamstress and made wedding gowns and did alterations for the local dry cleaners and J.C. Penny’s.  Early in her sewing career she made aprons.  Her and I use to go to diners and truck stops and sell the aprons to the waitresses.  When she passed away and I was going through her stuff I did not keep much.  The one thing that did touch me and I kept was her apron patterns.  She had bunches and bunches of them.  Now they are mine.  The lady I went to see was making an apron when I got there.  She said she was kind of winging it as she had no pattern.  Guess they just found a home.  Then I met her husband who is the same age as me, but in much better shape.  He goes to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every year in northern Minnesota.  My family has a cabin in that area and I used to spend my summers up there as a kid.  Needless to say we hit it off.  He used to work for the Moody Bible School and he worked for Jerry Jenkins.  If you do not know who Jerry Jenkins is, well he was one of the authors of the Left Behind series.  That was kind of an irony to me as my first year at the writer conference I attend I met the publisher of the series. (Update, This year 2018 Jerry Jenkins will be speaking at the conference this year)

   So as I prepare to leave on my trip I have to wonder where it is all going.  Sort of, in my heart of hearts know, but having been technically dead twice already, that I also realize I could die before I get out of this chair.  That is the way people tend to die in my family.  My Grandpa was at our cabin in Minnesota, his favorite place on earth, and Grandma went to get him a cup of coffee. When she came back he was gone.  Years later she was going to the grocery store with my aunt.  Aunt Frances called her and got the car out of the garage. She pulled up in front of Grandma’s house across the street. After a few minutes waiting she went inside and Grandma was only the floor with her coat over her arm.  My Dad was getting out of the shower and left to glory in the same outfit he got here in.

     Does all this mean anything?  Well it means I am looking up and appreciating every minute of life the Good Lord has blessed me with.  Lately I have heard over and over people saying they think it is the end time.  If you look at all the signs Jesus gave his last night on earth, we are definitely pretty close.  One of the key ones was that it would be as it was in the time of Noah, the first few verses of Genesis 6, definitely sounds like this day and age.  We also are constantly hearing of wars and rumors of wars.  Yep!!! It might be time, or pretty close.  After all he is coming sooner or later and my last few posts emphasize that we are standing at the gate.