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Friday, May 26, 2017

Pentecost is Coming, Is Christ?

Full Circle

     Sometimes life throws us curve balls and that is when it gets interesting. Especially if we are alert enough to catch them.  This week a lot of things have come together all at once. My blog post Coming Full Circle of June, 7 2015 deals with the issue of circles in our lives and how at times we do not see the full picture till much later.  I have had or recognized three such events in the past few days.

     Saturday my great-nephew Gabriel will be graduating from high school. He has lived with my wife and I the last three years and attended the high school near our home.  My wife and I got married about forty-five years ago this year.  We met in October 1971 and one of the first events we attended together was the graduation of her brother Luis from high school, but not just any high school. It was the same high school we will watch Gabriel graduate from this Saturday.

     In the post I mentioned earlier called Coming Full Circle I spoke of several circles and events in my life. One of them was attending the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference. I attended it for three years and I think it helped me a lot in becoming a better writer.  This is the third year I have missed. This year’s conference started last Sunday. I made up my mind at the end of the 2014 conference, if my writing did not pay my way I would not go back till it did.  I also mentioned my desire for God to open the door and use me in some way.  The last two years I have been taking care of my five year old twin great-grand-daughters about fifty hours a week so their mom does not have to hire a babysitter and so they did not have to be dragged out in the cold in the middle of winter at six in the morning.

   Having a lot of time to reminisce while the girls watch cartoons allows me to see things I might otherwise have missed.  Last Thursday the twins graduated from Head Start and are now ready to start Kindergarten this fall. It was the same Head Start Program our daughters graduated from about thirty-five years ago.  It was in the same building my wife spent half of her working career working in.

  This Easter I also realized that my post Israel’s First Jubilee in Two Thousand Years dated May 17, 2016 has also come full circle. My Bible readings got me interested in the day of Pentecost which is the fiftieth day after Easter. This year that works out to be June 4th. The Israeli Six Day war I mentioned in the post was from June 5th to June 10th 1967. I was on orders for Vietnam at the time and was supposed to leave Germany but everything got put on hold till things worked themselves out in Israel.  I do not think I am stretching to see the significance of the time.  It makes me a little unsettled to see world events unfolding with our President in the Middle East and going to the Wailing Wall where the whole fifty year cycle began. Shortly after that he will be meeting with the Pope. 

      Yep I am out there and a bit of a conspiracy theory nut, but in my opinion the Bible stresses the significance of the Pentecost and Jubilee’s for a reason. God initiated the time tables that define them. Jesus said no one would know the hour or the day of his coming, but he also said “we would” be able to discern the time we are in. There are a lot of things left to happen that are mentioned in Old Testament Prophecy, unfortunately not many of them are good things or things that will bring joy to our hearts. Jesus spent his last night on earth warning us of things to come for a reason.  So we would not be caught unawares.

    Some time back I wrote a light hearted piece about one of my experiences in life.  It was about how I discovered that God is in control and that He has a sense of humor. It was titled, When God Says April Fool!! The highlighted link will take you to it. Over the seventy years of my life God has used my experiences in life to help me better understand His Word and how He is still working today to bring His Word to fulfillment. Jesus said for us to put our hand to the plow and if we looked back we were not worthy to enter the kingdom.  Shortly after Jesus was resurrected we find Peter and his friends went back doing what they were when Jesus found them. They went back to fishing, but when Jesus returned he knew where to find them. When he called them to spread The Word, they did it.
              Yes those are gourds and they do grow to provide shade, just as the book of Jonah says.

   For many years I was a sort of Jonah type Christian, I believed God, I knew His Word, but I was running from him and not committing my life to Him. That all changed on April Fool’s Day of 1969.  It took years to get my life turned around and to actually follow His Word and not just read it.  I still come up short all the time, but I now know the way back to the right path is thru His Word.  Now that I have run my course I am ready to take a rest.  I grow gourds and decorate them. Jonah sat under a gourd God provided to protect himself from the sun. In the Bible story it wilted. Well this year mine are wilting before they even get started.  I have even bought seed at the store, but not one of my seeds has sprouted and I planted hundreds.  It is another reason I wonder if we are near the end time.

     In First John 2:27 the Word makes clear to us. That we need no man to teach us the things of the spirit, the Lord said he will provide the knowledge we need.  In Jeremiah 17:5 it says we are to put our trust in no man.  Looking at the events going on in the world today America is not following God’s direction.  Some think Trump will be America’s salvation. When I look at his actions though, many verses tell me he is not the answer. James 1:8 says a double minded man is unstable in all his ways and as time progresses we are seeing how unstable Donald Trump really is.  Then in Proverbs 6:16-19 make clear that there are seven things God finds to be an Abomination and Donald Trump is seven for seven as I read threw the list.  Finally the Word of God says pride goes before the fall, Trump and America in general are very prideful. The recent meeting of Trump with NATO shows his arrogance and pride clearly.  He very rudely pushed the Prime Minister of  Montenegro out of his way just to get in a picture.  Watching his face change   during that encounter is enlightening to those who will see it.

    So what does all I have said prove?  Nothing really, but if you are using the Bible as a measuring stick we are definitely in the end of days. Jesus said it would be as in the days of Noah. Genesis 6: 5 and 11-13 make clear we are in that kind of time.

    Trump seems by his actions to have an utter contempt for the poor.  Yet the Bible and our Constitution both say we have an obligation to help those in need.

Micah 6:8 says 
    He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? 

James 2:14-20
      4What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  19Thou believe that there is one God; thou do well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?  23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith,  Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. 

    James makes clear what is required of us as Christians.  Forgetting the  poor and helpless is not what we are to be about.
        James1:27  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep yourself unspotted from the world.

     Even the Constitution of the United States requires Congress in Article 1, Section 8 to provide for the defense and welfare of America.  Webster defines welfare as taking care of the poor and the needy. In America today the poor and needy are looked down on and the rich and powerful are to ignorant to realize that it is only by the Grace of God that they are not in that situation. If Donald Trump continues on he will bring America to its knees.  He is not the successful person he claims to be.  He got most of his wealth from defrauding people who were stupid enough to do business with him.  Bankruptcy to him is a tool to get more wealth by not paying his creditors, but this is the fool that America has chosen to follow.

     It may be too late to turn the cart around.   It is not too late to come to your senses and actually start reading and heeding God’s Word and applying it to your life. We need to make a concerted effort to bring those we care about to the Lord.  The time to do that is definitely running out.  According to Revelations there are events coming that will destroy a third part of mankind. I used to hate the thought of that, but it is appointed all men one time to die. The only thing that tears my heart out about that is the loss of the children who had no fault, but I finally realized God will take care of them.  So as I sit here with nine days to go before Pentecost I wonder what will unfold in the near future.  Christ gave us warning and it will come to pass whether we are ready or not.  Now or in the not too distant future, but it is coming. We have God’s Word on that matter.

     In Amos God said he would judge the nations four times. He has clearly brought Israel back into their land after a period of two thousand years fulfilling His promise to the people of Israel. God had given His Word to Israel on four occasions that can be documented.  He gave them the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. Then after the Babylonian captivity he gave them His Word again as it says in II Chronicles 34.  Many years later the Word came forth incarnate in the being of Jesus Christ.  Then after two thousand years and only a year or so before Israel returned to the Promised Land the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. So God has delivered His Word to Israel four times. Just as Amos said it would happen almost three thousand years ago.  That is a pretty good track record for prophecy.

   There are three provable periods of history in which God dealt with the people of Israel in the Old Testament. Are we living in the fourth period of time now?  Daniel gave a prophecy that knowledge would be increased in the end times.  So when are the end times?  I had always wondered why the Bible says in Exodus 12: 41 that they left Egypt after four hundred thirty years, to the very day.  Then they wandered in the wilderness for forty years, it was another thirty years after Joshua entered into the Promised Land before they took full possession of the land or a period of five hundred years.  I lay all this out in some of my older blogs.

    There is a kind of irony that from the time Martin Luther nailed his paper to the door of the church in Germany and Israel becoming a nation was four hundred and thirty years.  History definitely entered a period during which knowledge definitely increased.  This day and age shows no signs of that explosion slowing down. It also became a reality that The Word could be preached to the “Whole World.”  The key is that all the four hundred and thirty year periods were or are followed by a period of seventy years.  The coming Pentecost will be seventy years since Israel returned to their land. All of it is just coincidence I am sure.  Regardless I will be looking up from now till my dying day or the Rapture whichever comes first.

    My post of 6/23/16 “A Tale of Life and Death – My Last Post” has a section in it called “The Vision” and tales the tale of why I feel I will be here when the Rapture happens.  Having been dead twice already I know that may not be the case but it does tell how or why I came to study the Bible.  The only thing I have left to say on the matter is that if the Bible says it is going to happen, you can take it to the bank that it will happen.  Almost sixty years of following and running from God has shown me that His Word is truth, we need to not only read it, but heed it.

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