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I went to the Lego Movie the other night with my wife.  It was a pretty cool movie and we enjoyed it.  However, in one of the previews of an upcoming IMAX movie on some animals really struck me.  The narrator called the animals mankind’s (or as people would say now humankind) relatives.  He stated it, not as a question but as fact.  It bothered me because of what the statement implied, which is man is only an animal.  There is no glory in him, there is nothing inspiring about him.  He was not created but merely evolved and is lucky.

It is this view that man is really an animal that has enabled him to pursue his own way of life apart form any moral accountability to God (or any god).  He is freed to do whatever he desires.  Some might argue that even those who profess a belief in God live the same way, which is sadly true.  However, a belief in God means that man can be something more and was created to be that way by a God that cares about him.

The prevailing belief today is that man is an animal and thus is his own god.  If everyone is their own god then there is no real truth and life IS meaningless.  Sure we can and do sugar coat it by doing good but there is no substance behind the good deeds.  As much as atheists will claim they have morals (which I do not doubt at all) there is nothing behind the morals but morals for morals sake.  What is then true for one person then is not for another.  There is no set moral code.  I am not suggesting this is anything recent as in the last 50 years.  Man has always attempted to make a life apart from God and even be a god himself.  However, the end of this way of thinking has never been a good one.

Genesis 1:26 tells us that man is created in God’s image.  When the bible says “Let us make man in our image, the Hebrew grammar suggests it means “Let us make man as our image.”  In ancient times an emperor might place statues of himself throughout the remote part of his land.  These symbols would declare that those areas were under his power and reign.  Therefore, God placed man in the world as a living symbol of Himself on earth to represent his reign.  This is why God gives the command for man to have dominion over the earth.  This is the reason God values people so much: We are made to reflect His majesty on earth.  There is a significance to mankind.  There is no chance or survival of the fittest.  One only has to look to the world created around him to understand if this is all random chance then they should go to Vegas and gamble it all.

God has created a world and given man the opportunity to know Him.

 

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When I saw on the news Monday (February 10th) that Iran warships were coming close to the US coast I thought, “Is April Fool’s Day happening sooner this year?”  Fox News reported on their website that Iran is doing this because the US has deployed ships close to their borders.  This is a puzzling development.  Iran is obviously attempting to take a stand against the US.  The US appears reluctant to start a war.  Could this be the beginnings of a new cold war?  That is one possibility.

While the world pursues peace, there will always be a stumbling block for it until the Antichrist strikes a deal with Israel and the Muslim community in the Middle East.  What does this mean for people living today?  The time is now to put your faith in the one true God.  Things are only going to escalate more and more and more in the coming years.  The peace the world desperately wants will never be until the Lord returns (John 14:3).  The bible tells us that God sent His Son to the world to die for our sins and the sins of this whole world and all that is asked is not for us to join a church or give money or be a good person.  All that is asked for you to believe in Jesus for eternal (John 3:16 and 1 John 2:1,2).  You do not need to pray a prayer or become a Christian in order to believe in Jesus.  All you need to do is believe in Him (John 6:57).

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A article in the Austin Statesman by New York Times writer Jim Yardley entitled “Pope urges World Peace reaches out to other faiths,” ran this past Thursday.  The pope in his first Christmas address urged the world to come together for peace.  He went on to say, “True peace is not a balance of opposing forces.  It is not a lovely facade which conceals conflicts and divisions.  Peace calls for daily commitment.”

Peace is a good thing.  I think any one reading this blog post including this writer would agree with that.  However, the bible claims that there will be no such thing as peace especially in these last days.  The Pope is welcomed to urge the world all he wants however, God has already spoken (Matthew 24:6,7).  The conflict in the Middle East is only the tip of the ice berg of what is to come in the Tribulation.

Matthew says there will wars and rumors of rumors of wars and that nation will rise up against nation.  These says are Jewish idioms for world wars.   There have already been two and there is still a yet third world war that is lurking on the horizon.  The third world war or possibly fourth by the end of the Tribulation will be when the Beast brings the armies of the world against Israel.  The Lord Jesus ends the war with His return (Revelation 19:11-21).

The perspective in which I write is a Pre-Tribulational view of Bible Prophecy.  This means I believe the Lord will return for believers before the Tribulation begins (Daniel 9:27, John 14:3, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 5:2-3).  Therefore, when I read that the Pope is urging the world for peace I think “That’s great, but it will not be a lasting peace.”  1 Thessalonians 5:3 says, “Peace and safety then sudden destruction comes upon them as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.  And they shall not escape.”  The is saying that the world will achieve some sort of peace (which I believe will happen when the Antichrist or Beast finally gets a covenant signed with Israel and their foes) this peace will not last because the signing of the covenant will signal the start of Tribulation.

All this talk of peace should be taken as a sign that the Lord’s return is coming soon.  Believers should be looking up (1 John 2:28).

I have not written this blog post in an attempt to scare any one.  The purpose of Prophecy for Today is to prepare saints for the Lord’s return and His future Kingdom.  I take a conservative approach to bible prophecy interpretation in order to ensure and allow the word to speak.  Thank you for stopping by.  God Bless.

 

What Christmas means to me

Posted: December 17, 2013 in religion

I’m that guy!  The guy who puts his Christmas tree up early and takes it down late.  Sometimes I wonder if it was possible I would much like to keep the tree up year round.  Why? Is there something wrong with me?  I’m sure something is most likely wrong with me, but nothing clinical.  I just love Christmas time.

This time every year I read  Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol.”  It is probably my favorite book, because of the characters and themes of the book.  Scrooge is my favorite.  I love reading about his transformation.  It is the transformation of Scrooge that I love.  It reminds me that this time of year is not about the presents or get togethers with family, but it is about the birth of the savior of the world.  Through His death and resurrection we can be transformed thru believing in Him (John 6:57).  For those, who already believe in the Lord there is hope that He will someday return for His church (John 14:1-3 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).

This time of year makes me pause and remember all that the Lord has done for me.  Humbling himself and becoming a baby so that He would eventually die for me and mankind to save the world.  I am touched by my Savior’s great love for everyone.  Jesus did not die for only those who would believe in Him, but for everyone who would ever live on this earth (1 John 2:1 and 2). Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, because we can celebrate the birth of our savior, which gives us all hope.  Merry Christmas!

 

Something to be Thankful for

Posted: November 27, 2013 in religion

These interesting times in which we live in America.  Our nation seems as if it is at roads.  There are continual healthcare debates as well as a great many folks who are already seeing their premiums go up a great deal.  There is uncertainty in the Middle East.  For some the hope of a bright future in the United States is being diminished, because has become increasingly difficult to make it like their parents did.  The world in which our parents grew up is not the same one we live in today.

Yet despite all of these things that are going on, there is much to be thankful for as we approach Thanksgiving.  The early settlers had endured much in not only their travels to the new world but also in their acclamation to their surroundings.  It was a hard life in harsh conditions yet they made it work.  There was still much to be thankful for.

It is in these difficult times that we can find our thankfulness in the simple things like family, friends, and faith.  Life may or may not give us the same opportunities our parents had, but we still have much.  We can find our solace in the fact that we are alive and that life is a gift from God.

Personally I am thankful for my family and loving wife of almost seven years.  We moved from California to Texas to start our lives.  While it was a difficult transition and we would not have done it any other way.  I am thankful to have her by my side.   I greatly appreciate the people who have supported us in our decision to leave California and helped us along the way.  I am thankful for the new job I have, which starts next week.  I will be in ministry again, doing what I love the most.  There is much to be thankful for.  There is much for us to be thankful for.  God is good all the time.

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Revelation 13:16-18, “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom.  Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”

Growing up whenever I would read this passage or here people describe it I was amazed.   I always wondered how it would work or how the technology would be created?  You may or may not have heard about Digital Life it is wireless home security from a AT&T.  You are able to control everything from your Iphone or Ipad.  You could unlock your home from your Ipad if you were at work.  It is pretty cool.  If you have someone who cleans your house, you can freak them out by turning on the lights while your at work through your phone, because of Digital Life.

It is interesting where technology is going.  Soon there will be something called Connect Car and it would build off of the Digital Life.  You would be able to turn on the lights in your house through your car.  Then a few years or maybe sooner is the Digital Wallet.  I heard about this last week.  Everything can be accessed through your Iphone.  AT&T has been working with banks of the world and states to come up with something safe and reliable.  You go to the store, just use your Iphone to pay.  If you buy alcohol, the store clerk might check your ID.  No problem.  Just pull your Driver’s License from your Iphone.  The wallet will be a thing of the past.  Pretty crazy!

The technology is moving to a place where in the future people will no longer need the wallet but will have access to everything via in themselves.  In the verse 16-17 of Revelation 13, no one may buy or sell unless they have the mark.  I have always heard about this technology, but with the Digital Wallet it will make the hard copy a thing of the past.  Eventually the technology of the Digital Wallet will give way for a new tech, which could at some point be what we read about here in Revelation.

What does it mean?  It means that we are getting a better idea of how things are leading up to the Mark of the Beast.  However, if you have put your faith in Jesus (John 6:47) then you will not be here to experience the Mark and the End Times.

How to Overcome Anxiety

Posted: October 6, 2013 in religion

Philippians 4:6, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Anxiety is something I have struggled with most if not all of my life.  Granted, I am not anxious all the time, but I tend to work myself up over nothing.  Why?  I wish I knew. I’m sure if I was lying on a couch in a psychologist’s office they would be able to trace it back to some event when I was younger.  I would probably agree with that assessment.  However, what do I do now?

The Philippians’ verse above has been a great comfort and peace to my soul.  In the last year my wife and I have made some very big decisions.  Now on the horizon are more big decisions.  Nevertheless, this time I am okay with whatever God does.  What is the difference?  This time I am willing, and consciously choosing to accept whatever God wants.  It can be easy to read into events and things that happen.  Certainly God works through circumstances, however, I tend to put the cart before the horse and then work myself up if it does not happen like I thought it was supposed to.

I am learning that it is a good thing to be in this place of uncertainty.   At the end of the day, I do not have to have all the answers.  If I did then life would be pretty boring.  Anxiety can consume us, however, contentment is where God wants us to be.  Contentment is coming to a place where happiness, and trust intersect at God.  Circumstances can change in an instant.  God never changes.  He is more satisfying then anything else.  By relying on the Lord, I do not have to worry or stress about the events of life.

Life is a journey and am excited where God me lead me on it.

A Lesson from being Up a Pole

Posted: September 24, 2013 in religion

A few weeks ago I completed poleclimbing training for a new job.  I have an extreme fear of heights.  I tend to avoid rollercoasters and anything off of the ground.  Yet I wanted this position and part of my training required me to be up an 18 foot pole.  Weeks before my training started I drove around town and looked at different telephone poles and told myself that I could do it.  “That’s doesn’t look so bad” I would say.  However, when you are standing next to the pole and looking up your tune changes.

I had the proper equipment.  I had a contraption, which I moved up and down the pole and it held me in place.  My instructor told me that even if I fell, which would be maybe a foot, I would be caught by the contraption.  I had spikes on the inside of my boots and I used those to climb up and down and hold me in place.  We had to climb 6, 12, and 18 feet.  Then once at each height we had to take three steps to the left and right.  This might not seem very difficult, but again I am very afraid of heights.

The week progressed and I climbed my 6 and 12 feet.  Then the day came for me to do my 18 foot climb.  I had been dreading it the whole.  When I write that it is 18 feet, I really mean that my feet are at like 19 feet and my head is looking out at around 24 to 25 feet.  When you get that high up the pole begins to narrow a bit.  It is strange but I could feel my IQ drop once I got up about 18 feet.

Now if that was the worst part of the week then I would have been fine with it.  However, we also had to do ladder training.  I felt more comfortable with the ladder training, until we did the ladder on the cable.  The ladder is supported by the metal cable running between poles.  You are up there at 18-20 feet and you do not have the same contraption you had on the other poles.  This time you have two straps.  One strap, straps your ladder to the cable and the other your belt to the ladder and cable.

I got up there and strapped myself in, when I heard my instructor say, “Okay, now lean back!”  My first thought was, “Are you crazy buddy?  I don’t want to fall.”  A few seconds passed and my instructor yelled out again, “Just lean back!  You can’t work unless you lean back!”  Leaning back defied all the fears and beliefs that I held.  My body was beginning to shake a bit.  I leaned back and the strap held me.  It was a strange feeling.  The strap held me there on the cable, and I could not believe it.

Throughout all the pole climbing training I realized that the straps and contraptions do work.  I need to trust that they would.  I cannot help but make a comparison to the spiritual life.  Our walk with the Lord is like climbing a pole.  You look up at the pole before you climb and the journey looks long and scary.  However, a journey is about taking each step not accomplishing the whole thing in a jump like Superman.

At times I get tired on the journey, therefore, I stop and lean back my strap or contraption have me.  The same is true of God, He’s got you the entire time.  It might feel like you are flapping in the wind or spinning out of control.  He’s got you.

John 10:29-30 “My father who has given them to me is greater than all and no is able to snatch them out of my father’s hand.  I and my father are one.”

I love those verses, because they show just how secure believers are in Christ.  There is nothing that can cause you to fall out of God’s hands or snatch you out of them.  It may not feel like that at times in our lives, however, it is true regardless of what we might think.  We just need to lean back on the pole and know He has us.

Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

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Are we in the End Times?  It is a question, which is on the mind of many people these days.  One only has to turn on the news and watch the conflict in the Middle East unfold.  Are these the last days?  Maybe.  Or maybe not. The book of Revelation is about God’s plan for future events and how they will be unfolding.

Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “God who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom he appointed heir of all things…”  I hope you were able to catch the words “last days.”  We are and have been living in the “last days” ever since Christ.  In God’s eyes these are the last days and He will come or Rapture His church before the day (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3).

What is next on God’s timetable of events?  I believe the next event is the Rapture of the church before the Tribulation.  The tribulation can only start once the covenant is signed between Israel and the Antichrist (Daniel 9:27).  However, the church is a mystery and was not on the radar of the Jews during Jesus’ time, which is highlighted by the parable in Matthew 22:1-14.  The Rapture can happen at any moment because it is not tied to any event or even what is happening in the world. God could rapture His church up and then twenty years from that point the Tribulation begins.  Or it be more time or less.  The point is the church needs to be ready.

As I look at what is happening in the world I do see events and things being set in place for Antichrist to come to power.  I was watching the news the other day and saw that the pope was taking a different approach or at least discussing a different stance on homosexuality than previous popes.  I thought this was huge.  This pope seems to be more about unity and bringing everyone together, which can be a good thing.  However, during the first three and half years of the Tribulation the world will be united under one religion.  Therefore, the pope’s statement to me is an indication of where religion is heading and will be during the first part of the Tribulation.  The last half of the Tribulation Antichrist will force everyone to worship him as a god.  The Antichrist will dispose of that faith one world faith (Revelation 17:1-14).

What does this mean for believers today?  We need to be ready for the Lord’s return (1 John 2:28).  We will not be in the Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  Over the years I have run across a few pastors and Christian writers, who say that believers who are looking for the Lord’s return are only looking to escape.  They go on to speak about how believers should want to be in the Tribulation so they can make a difference.  While I understand their viewpoint, I believe they are misguided in saying that Christians should be looking to escape.  The Rapture is not about escaping, the Rapture is about God gathering His church to Himself.  The Lord made a promise to His people in John 14:1-3 and Jesus always keeps His promises.  Also since we do not know the hour or day He will return that means we need to be ready.  We should be out telling others about the Lord.  There should be a passion for His word and desire to go and tell.  This life can be mundane, however, God has called all believers to be the light in their corner of this dark world.  Therefore, in the moments, hours, days, weeks, months, or years we have left lets make the most of it.

We are in the last days and now is the time to live for Him.

Recently someone that has been following this blog proposed this question to me.  What happens when a child or teenager dies?  The reason for the question is because the youth may not know Jesus as their savior.   Therefore, what happens to them?  Do they go to a Christless eternity?  The Bible is silent for the most part on this subject, however, there are a couple of passages and examples that might shed some light where a youth would go.

It was almost two years go when a student in my youth group came into my office before youth group to talk, because his friend who was 17 at the time (roughly) had committed suicide.   I remember talking to this young man and counseling him.  After a few minutes he asked the obvious question, Is my friend in heaven or Hell?  I understood the background of the boy, who committed suicide, and knew that he did not know Jesus as his savior.  It was a difficult question to answer.

Before I go on and answer the question let me write that, how you view or answer this question is largely dependent upon your theological view.  I understand from Catholic friends that someone who commits suicide does not go to heaven.  I know some people, who believe in Lordship salvation that they have a hard time explaining a child getting saved or where a child goes when they die.  (By the way: Lordship salvation is the belief that you must make Jesus your Lord before you can get saved.  Meaning you must be willing to get rid of things in your life before you can accept Christ’s gift of Salvation.  The author of this blog does not believe this to be true.)  The person, who asked me about child salvation, hinted that this could be the reason for infant baptism.  I will confess I do not know much about infant baptism.  However, I do offer an alternate view about child or youth salvation for your consideration.

Many years ago I worked at Coast Bible Church in California.  I worked under a pastor, who knew his bible extremely well and was a pastor’s pastor.  I can remember speaking with him about this subject and question.  He offered me a solution or a theory, which I believe to be true.  Again it all depends on how you view God.

2 Samuel 12:22-23 is the only passage that directly deals with the issue of children going to heaven when they die.  David’s son dies as a result of his sin.  David had mourned his son’s sickness and was broken up about it.  After his son dies, David gets up and cleans himself and goes and eats.  His servants are shocked by his behavior.  They ask him about it and why he is now all of a sudden calm and seemingly done mourning.  Here is David’s response in verse 23, “But now he is dead; why should I fast?  Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”  The last phrase is the key.  This is the passage that many pastors and lay leaders call the “age of accountability” passage.  David knew that one day he would see his son again.  His confidence was in God.  He could not mourn his son’s death knowing he would be with him again.  The passage does not directly answer the question, however, I do believe it is implied, that the child is in heaven.

The other passage is a story about the Israelites entering the Promised Land.  They had left Egypt and were journeying to the land that God had promised them.  The Israelites sent about 40 spies out to see the land God had given them.  They returned with reports, which had caused the people to disbelieve that God had given them the land.  Only two spies returned with good reports, they were Joshua and Caleb.  The other spies caused the camp to distrust God.  God punished them.  Their punishment was that they would not be able to enter the Promised Land.  They had to wander the desert for 40 years.  The generation that disbelieved in God died off.  However, God would made it so that Joshua and Caleb were healthy enough to enter in.  Here is the interesting part, did the Israelites during that 40 years continue to have children? Or did they have children when they sinned?  The answer to both is yes.  While the Promised Land was not heaven, it was their inheritance.  However, they had to work and claim their inheritance.  For the NT believer, our inheritance is the Kingdom of God.  While salvation is a free gift the more I work and serve the Lord the better my inheritance will be.  I write all that to say the younger generation the children and teenagers entered the Promised Land.  Why or How?  By God’s grace.

What is the “age of accountability”?  I have heard pastors say it was 12 years old.  Or it is when a child can determine right from wrong.  Both these seem like good answers, however, neither is the based upon what the bible says.  I recognize that my theory equally does not have a direct scripture quote.  However, it stands to reason based upon how God dealt with the generation that entered the Promised Land (the children) that if a child dies or teen then they would go to heaven. I believe in a just God and in my opinion (which this is) this view makes sense.  I do not believe in infant baptism or in a hard line “age of accountability.”

A teenager’s brain is not fully developed until they are in their early twenties (roughly).  Therefore, I would ask the question why would a teenager go to Hell?  Their brain is not fully developed.  They are considered a child by our culture and in Jesus’ time would be considered that.  If God permitted the children to enter in the Promised Land then why would He not do the same here.

There is no passage that directly deals with this question, but I believe we can make some conclusions based upon these two examples.  Lastly the question about suicide, I would simply write that there is nothing in my bible that tells me a person who commits suicide goes to Hell.  I would argue that if it is a youth then they are in Heaven.  If it is an adult then I would need to know if they knew Jesus.  If they were saved then without a doubt they are in Heaven despite their sin.  The only sin, which keeps people out of heaven is the sin of unbelief.  Now the person who commits suicide and goes to heaven will have to give an account for why they did what they did, but God is gracious and just.

I hope this helps and maybe answers some questions.