The Answer Man? – Not Me!

2021-06-12 Struck Down But Not Destroyed
Rick Warren once said, “When someone thinks he knows all the answers, one has to wonder if he knows all the questions.”

When one goes on a date, he or she showers, puts on nice clothes, preens in front of a mirror for a while, checks to make sure teeth don’t have spinach between them, and preps their brightest smiles and best chuckles.  The same goes for blogging.  When we get on our computers, we take time to evaluate our words; we check for grammatical errors, examine links and think seriously about the topic: i.e., we put our best foot forward in both cases (at least most of us do!😏).

We tend to be experts when we get online, because no one can see all the background work we do to make a nice blog.  We check our resources and polish the blog and show off how smart, informed, and perceptive we are.  Most of us try to avoid harsh words or crass language (at least the blogs I follow; too much cursing or four-letter words and I will not follow).

Well, I am not that smart or “together” all the time.  I sincerely try to be nice in my comments or just don’t comment (my mother’s words are still there in my head, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”)

But sometimes I do not “have it all together.”  Depression sometimes surprises me with lonesomeness that makes me feel even the sun is dark, as if I am under a rock wi2021-06-12 Pinnedth no light.  I make solitary time either after my bride leaves our bed, or in places where I can get away from everyone, and I cry. . . And I cry. . . And I cry some more.  So many folks in my family are wonderful and I know that I am loved, but loneliness still stands over me like an angry wrestler ready to push me down and hold me to the mat even after I say, “I give up.”  He won’t let me up anyway.

I am not suicidal (See  ).  As my brother is fond of saying, “That ship has sailed.”  But many times I feel like the days are just passing me by, and I am just waiting either for Jesus to return or for Father to call me Home from this world.  Depression makes you question whether anything you do matters; whether your life matters.

But the bottom line is it is not about me . . . or you.  Life is about Him!

Like the man in John 9 born blind, just as we are all born spiritually blind, “Once I was blind but now I see.”  As C.S.Lewis put it, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”  The world, the universe, the animals, the oceans, the mountains, the people; it all makes sense when I begin with the Cross of Jesus and the Bible.  Rick Warren put it this way: “You were made by God and for God and until you understand that, life will never make sense.”

In no other system, no other world leader, no other religious figure claimed to BE GOD.  And if Jesus is not God, then nothing makes sense in the world, the universe or people.  But sinse He IS God, it all does make sense.  I was born spiritually blind and sinful.  Jesus came to bear the penalty for my sin.  He lived a sinless life and died an ignominious death on a mechanism for capital criminals at the hands of the Gentiles and Jews.  But He rose from the dead after three days and three nights in the tomb.  And now He lives to make intercession for any who will put their faith in Him.  It’s ALL about Him!

I do not intend this blog to be a ‘downer,’ but just to encourage you if you are feeling low, if you feel pressed into the ground by a boulder, or if you fight with the angry wrestler who tries to push you down; perhaps you wonder about your value, your worth, whether your life matters.  It DOES!  You matter so much to God that He sent Jesus to the Cross!  And I know that my Redeemer lives, and THAT is all that really matters.

“I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last He will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold Him, and not another’s.”
  Job 19:25-27

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in YHWH.
  Habakkuk 3:17

Memorial Day- Intermezzo Blog

IMG_2530Memorial Day is often marked as only the beginning of summer.

On this first long weekend of the season, gather with your friends and family and remember those who gave their lives for our freedom.  To mark this holiday, the Hillsdale College produced a Memorial Day tribute video honoring American soldiers who died in defense of our liberty.

The video features remarks from President Ronald Reagan.  It is set to the Hillsdale College choir singing the moving hymn “Mansions of the Lord,” which was also sung at President Reagan’s funeral. You can watch the video using this link: https://lp.hillsdale.edu/memorial-day/.

Be sure to read the excerpt from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address that shows up at 3:23 minutes near the end.
And spend some time praying for families of service members who recently joined the ranks of those who have valued our freedom more than their very lives.

Suicide? Don’t Do It!

 

Several blogs I have written address suicide, e.g. , but to get a really helpful handle on suicide I recommend the book, Hope Always, by Dr. Matthew Sleeth.  It is an excellent guide for both professionals and lay people interested in helping friends at the end of their rope.  It is a wonderful addition to any library with 24/6 or Reforesting Faith already on its shelf.  (Note, I do not have any affiliates or compensation from books or items I recommend in my blog.)

2021-05-29 Hope AlwaysHope Always is Dr. Sleeth’s latest.  With the insight of a director of a large hospital emergency room and the traumas endured there, he writes with an understanding of the pathos that drives people to consider suicide.  His personal experience with friends who have chosen this route to end this life did not drive him to despair, but instead to forge deeper into faith that God is the author of Life with a capital “L.”

Written in an easy reading style that will be informative for lay people, without pedantry or complex medical terminology, he presents an argument for life and a plan for preventing suicide, whether the “final option” is one you are considering or you know someone who may be thinking about it.  In all likelihood you have been touched by suicide, either a family member, friend or acquaintance who took their own life.  It may have haunted your thoughts, or you may have even attempted it, and from Dr. Sleeth’s perspective, many are glad you failed.

The timing of this text is significant, as I expect sequel printings to probably include more on the “culture of death” into which the whole world is moving.  Nine states in the USA as of 2019 have legalized PAS (Physician Assisted Suicide). Germany has recognized PAS and suicide itself as a non-criminal act for 150 years and in 1942, Switzerland determined that if a suicide was assisted for non-self seeking motives, the assistance was not a crime.  The Netherlands and Belgium seemed to be racing each other in 2002 to be the first to explicitly legalize PAS to go beyond just suicide for the terminally ill, but to make euthanasia an acceptable way for one to end one’s life simply based on a person’s decision without regard for medical reasons.  Luxomberg, Canada and Spain have joined this morbid club in the last 12 years, though with some constraints, though these are likely to be challenged in courts.  Columbia authorized PAS in 1997 and in 2017 extended this to minors so that even “children could die with dignity.”  Taiwan and Australia since 2015 have both passed laws allowing for PAS.

After a brief overview of suicide statistics, The “Life Continuum Scale” he presents in chapter 3 is alone worth the price of the book.  It scales from the left side at -10 (Has a plan with deadly means) toward the middle of -1 (Experiencing melancholy and pessimism).  Then to the right it scales up to the extreme of +10 (Sacrificially giving one’s life for others).  It is the clearest presentation I have ever seen of essential mental health in relation to suicide and gives readers a clear tool for evaluating themselves or others with whom they may be concerned.

Dr. Sleeth then takes us on a tour of the psychology of suicide examining this uniquely human activity.  Not even lemmings commit suicide, though this myth persists in popular culture.  He reminds us that “There is no one-size-fit-all approach to examining and treating people.  Medicine and psychology, like spiritual care, are a combination of art and science.”  Yet, “50% of those who commit suicide suffer from a mood disorder.”  Thus, he recognizes that while spiritual issues need addressing, the religionist who only tells the suicidal to read the Bible and pray more may miss some critical elements to help the hurting.

However, he goes on to address the real source of suicide, even if it is worked through psychological disorders.  As Dr. Sleeth points out, there is one source for the desire for death: “Satan is always for death.”  While examining many of the psychological and social factors surrounding desires for suicide with the intelligence of a highly trained physician, Part 2 of the book examines the Biblical worldview of suicide.  Beginning with the first recorded suicides of Adam and Eve, Satan convinced our parents to trade Paradise for death!  Though the devil claimed they would surely NOT die, Father had told them they would, and they chose to take that chance; to believe the Lie from the father of lies. 

I suspect many suicides are still in this vein: someone decides to get attention and “attempt” suicide, expecting to be saved at the last minute, but miscalculations on when someone is coming home, the speed of a train, how severe a pill will be, etc., and they buy into the Lie that the enemy told them, “You will not certainly die.” (Genesis 3

In contrast, Paul’s announcement to the Philippian jailer prevented his suicide.  Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.”  Speaking on this passage to a group of prisoners, Dr. Sleeth told them, “When Jesus is in the house, people don’t kill themselves.  They live.”  Though many characters in the Bible voiced a desire to end it all, God shows us through them what He really thinks about suicide.  From Moses, Elijah, and Jonah, he reveals that even God’s best can feel hungry, angry, lonely and tired (HALT), low enough to throw in the towel and die.  But then Dr. Sleeth leads us through the process whereby God brings saving life into the picture.  And he notes, “Jesus is still healing the hopeless!” and that He is always FOR life and against death!

Towards the end of this very readable book, Dr. Sleeth provides many helpful links, including the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255).  Beyond this, he has solid advice for church leaders and participants who want to help people struggling with depression and suicidal intentions.  If the Life Continuum Scale is worth the price of the book, he should double the price for including chapter 10, The Hope Always Toolkit!  From a simple 12-step program anyone can do, to a list of scriptures to help us “take every thought captive to obey Christ,” to music, movies and books that can lift one’s spirit, he provides practical resources to assist one if you are depressed, or that can be used to help others raise their hopes.

If you have felt like ending it all, do not buy the lie!  There is Hope Always!

Coming Soon To A Planet Near You – Part 3: The Mark

Let’s address a concern for many followers of Jesus, called The Christ.  What is the Mark of the Beast, the significance of the “666,” how will it be done, and what are the results of taking or refusing it?  If you are not a Christ-follower, I encourage you to read on, to discover what may happen in the near future.

2021-05-22 HellBoyFirst, the Mark of the Beast will not be called that, any more than the Beast will be called “The Beast.”  It will likely be couched in pleasant sounding euphemisms, e.g. The WISE Mark (Winning Implementation of Supply and Expense) or maybe the KIND Mark (Knowledge-based International Negotiation Dividends).  And The Beast will be called a Miracle Man, a Savior of Humankind, the Answer Man, the Peacemaker.  He will not be an evil-looking HellBoy, but rather a typical looking world leader.  But those who are aware of the Bible’s teaching will recognize him for who and what he really is: the devil incarnate, the Anti- or “Other” Christ.  Keep in mind these events will unfold as repercussions of the most mysterious disappearance in history of millions of people and all babies and little children!  The global chaos will be ripe for someone, anyone, who seems to know what to do.

“[The spokesman of the Beast] causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.” (Revelation 13:16-18)

As for the significance of the mystery of the number, 666, this will remain a mystery until the time it is applied.  Do not let anyone fool you into thinking they have ‘discovered’ who the Beast is by matching a name to the numeric values of the Hebrew or Greek letters.  This was done with transliterations for Emperor Julian, Genghis Khan, Hitler, FDR, John Kennedy, George Bush, bin Laden, Khomeini and a host of others whose candidacy for being the Anti-Christ fell into varying degrees of believability.  We will not know who this “Man of Lawlessness” is until he is revealed.

How is the mark applied?  It is possible it could be a bio-metric identification or a chip implant, something the angel would only have noted as a “mark.”  It could be a nano-activated ink tattoo or simply a literal tattoo, maybe even 666, that would show the wearer was “cooperating” with the government to address the chaos of the missing Christ-followers.  “I’m a loyal (insert any nationality).  Put it big and bold right there on my forehead!”

In any case, it will not be secretly administered as some right-wing . . . umm, conservatives (note, I did not call them “nuts” 😉) surmised in recent months.  It will not be part of a vaccine or some obscure method that will fool people into getting something they do not want.  It will be an open and reasonable method of accounting for your personal income, expenses, assets and debts.  Everyone will be invited to participate as sensible and patriotic citizens of the world.  It will simply be the way the world is working, and if you want to buy or sell, whether stocks and bonds, real estate or groceries, you will need to have an account.

The results of accepting this Mark are explicitly laid out in Revelation 14: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”  So if it comes to the point that you are asked to take a Mark in order to buy or sell, just do not do that!

However, be aware that the results of refusing this Mark will be devastating as well.  One will not be able to do business in any form.  You will not be able to access your savings, your Social Security, your checking or any investments.  You will not be allowed to purchase anything at Walmart or Costco, and forget about Amazon or Apple.  The Kroger and Safeway will be out of your reach as will be any other thing that you want to buy or sell.  Starvation is a slow and difficult death; ostracization by the community may be radical and murderous.

But there is an assurance in the next verses in Revelation 14Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.  And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!'”

Do not believe me!  😉 That is, do not take my word for this information.  Read last week’s list of Bible chapters that address the End Times.  At least take a couple hours and read two very short books: The Gospel of John and The Revelation.  Each of these books should not take more than an hour or two to read in your heart language (the language in which you dream).  The links are to English Standard Version (ESV), but you can select any language in the “Version Button” by selecting All and scrolling down.

So when will these things occur? Again, as noted last week, no one knows the day or the hour!  So do not let anyone deceive you that they somehow have it figured out.  But there are interesting developments that make these scenarios more believable. 

When I was a child, Bible-prophecy preachers would speak of a united Europe to mimic the ancient Roman Empire; skeptics said this was absurd, that nationalism and language difficulties would prevent this; Europe would never be united.  The preachers said money would be accessible only through a mark on your hand or forehead; again skeptics said we would never have computers powerful enough to regulate international commerce; check out Amazon’s latest development in September, 2019.  The preachers said cash would be obsolete; skeptics laughed as they wanted to know how you could do business without a reserve currency; laugh no more; digital currency will soon replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency!  It will be international, accessible anywhere in the world, and if it uses bio-metrics to access, perfectly (?) secure.

2021-05-22 LightningRecall that world events have at times occurred with the speed of a tsunami.  The start of WW1, the execution of the tsar of Russia, the Communist revolution in China, the fall of the Berlin wall, literal tsunamis and natural disasters around the world: all occurred with fire-bolt speed, and the next changes in currency, political fortunes and world government will occur even faster when the Church is removed from the world like a lightning flash!

This is why I appeal to you that if you do not know where you will go at the end of your life, you CAN know!  If you want to know how to escape the judgements of The God Who Is, He has made it very simple.  “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)  If you come face to face with the events herein described, recognize that any death from human hands is nothing compared to missing the gift of eternal life Jesus offers.  My prayer for each of you reading this is that you will take this warning to heart and Be Ready.

“At this also my heart trembles and leaps out of its place.
Keep listening to the thunder of His voice
    and the rumbling that comes from His mouth.
Under the whole heaven He lets it go,
    and His lightning to the corners of the earth.
After it His voice roars;
    He thunders with His majestic voice,
    and He does not restrain the lightnings when His voice is heard.
God thunders wondrously with His voice;
    He does great things that we cannot comprehend.”  Job 37:1-5

 

Pray For The Peace Of Jerusalem – Wordless Wednesday

2021-05-19 Israel and Hamas Peace Deal

Over 3000 rockets have been fired at Israeli cities and villages without discrimination of military or civilian targets.  Israel is the only nation that has ever warned its targets of impending bombs to save civilians, but Hamas uses its citizens as human shields.  Intelligence estimates that Hamas has a about 30,000 rockets stashed in Gaza.

2021-05-19 3000 of 30000 Rockets Fired at IsaelRockets launched from Gaza by Hamas toward Israel Tuesday night, May 18. 2021

Pray for both Jews and Palestinians that they will recognize that they all have dads and moms, sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, and the senseless violence will accomplish no lasting peace.  Only when the Prince of Peace rules in their hearts will they find that for which they are searching.

Pray For India; Wordless Wednesday

Our hearts and prayers are with India that The God Who Is will bring a speedy end to the suffering of its people.

2021-05-12 Wordless Wednesday Pray for India
Multiple funeral pyres of Indian victims of COVID-19 burn in a New Delhi area converted for mass cremation on April 24.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2021/may/pray-for-india-christians-covid-19-virus-oxygen-cremation.html

Coming Soon To A Planet Near You – Part 1

Earth AsiaThis is familiar ground, if you have been following this blog.  However, “to write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.” (Philippians 3:1)  Some may think my urgency in addressing these issues is because I am facing my mortality in perhaps 10-15 years (more or less?).  Yet, there is no denying the world is shaping up differently in our age in order of magnitudes greater than every other world-shaping event.

Allow me to give you a brief synopsis of the End-Time-Events.  When these events will occur, no one knows, and the exact order of some are uncertain; they could begin to fall into place today, tomorrow, next year, 10 years from now or in the next century, and due to the format of the Prophets and Revelation, these details are unclear for good reasons. (*See below.)

So why worry about them now?  First of all, do not worry!  The testimony of Jesus, which is the Spirit of Prophecy (Revelation 19:10), has told us these things so we do not need to be frightened.  In the 21st century, what will make Christians distinct from the rest of the culture is not what they do or don’t do or shouldn’t do. What will make them stand out is that they won’t be afraid.” (Marilyn Elliott)  But to enter the seasons of our world that will wrap out the end of this age, we need to BE READY

In other blogs, I have noted how quickly things changed on the world scene in history.  The Return of Jesus, to begin the last age of the Earth will happen extremely suddenly, like a lightning bolt, like a “thief in the night” (Matthew 24:27; 1 Thessalonians 5:2).  Jesus instucted us not to “get ready,” but to BE READY. (Luke 12:40)

So here is a synopsis of End Time Events, more reliable than any Hollywood hokum.

  1. At a time which NO ONE, not even Jesus knows (Mark 13:32), He will return to Earth and appear to those who believe in Him and “catch” them away (1Thessalonians 4:16-17). This will be an abrupt global event where every Christ-follower will be “evacuated” instantly and without warning (why we need to “BE READY”).
  2. I suspect, but do not know, that this event will trigger world-wide chaos as huge segments of the nations’ populations will suddenly disappear.  Also, all babies and the world’s youngest children will be gone! (See August 7, 2016 for my confidence of this.)
  3. We know that this will open the door for a world leader (aka Beast) to arise from the people of Earth who will have a logical and rational explanation of this event and recommendations on how to proceed forward. Governments will be in an uproar and global war will begin, but unlike WW1 or WW2, the madness will be nations fighting locally, but everywhere.
  4. We know the economic chaos will be immediate and prices for basic foods will skyrocket. This will bring on a global payment system, developed over 42 months, where money is digitized and one will have to have an account, registered by a “Mark” on the right palm or forehead in order to buy or sell anything.  At the end of the 42 months, this will be mandated.
  5. We know that death will be everywhere as one quarter of the remaining population on Earth will die.
  6. We know that at the arrival of the Beast, two “witnesses” will take a stand against him and they will declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ, miraculously preserved from attacks for 42 months.  Most likely, they will operate from Jerusalem.  At the end of 42 months, the Beast will overpower and kill them.  Their bodies will be on display in Jerusalem for three and one-half days, after which they will be miraculously revived and removed from Earth to Heaven.
  7. We know that the Beast will lead nations in war against Israel, (suspected, but not known to be most likely a Russian-Iranian-Chinese alliance) and subdue Israel.  However, in order to bring international peace, he will establish a Third Temple in Jerusalem, either in place of or along side of Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.  He will convince the Arab world, descendants of Ishmael, to make peace with Israel, descendants of his half-brother, Jacob.
  8. I suspect, but do not know, that in this conflict the Beast will be injured with a fatal wound, i.e., killed, but will still survive, which will amaze the world’s inhabitants.
  9. We know that after 42 months, he will go into the new Temple and claim to be the Messiah, the Madhi, the Savior of the World and enter the Holiest Place, essentially declaring himself to be god.
  10. We know that there will be a secondary leader, a “false prophet,” who will arrive at the end of the 42 months and he will perform miraculous signs, even calling down fire from the sky.  He will instruct everyone to worship the Beast.  He will cause “an image of the Beast” to be set up, and will make it appear to come alive.  He will order anyone unwilling to worship the Beast or his image to be executed.
  11. I suspect, but do not know, that this will be the moment when the Hebrews will recognize that Jesus was their Messiah and The God Who Is will remove them from the Earth in another “catching away” that will take them to Heaven.
  12. We know that after the 42 months almost everyone on Earth will give allegiance to the Beast, and buying and selling will be restricted to those with an “account,” indicated by having the “Mark of the Beast” (although it will not be called that, just as “the Beast” and the “false prophet” will not be called by those titles. 🙄)
  13. I suspect, but do not know, that the Prostitute of Revelation 17 and 18, who is hated by the Beast, is organized religion of any brand.  The Beast’s claim to be god and entering the Holiest Place in the Temple is consistent with this.  He will ban all religions in favor of worship of himself.
  14. We know after the first 42 months, God’s wrath will be poured out on the rest of the Earth (except on those refusing the Mark of the Beast; these will be hunted down and executed by the false prophet’s minions).  Over the next 42 months, life on Earth will be horrible, but people will not recognize that the judgments of God are intended to lead them to repentance.  Instead, they will become angrier at God and curse Him, blaming Him for all their self-inflicted troubles.
  15. We know that at the end of this second 42 months the Beast will marshal almost every army and weapon on Earth to fight against Jesus, who will appear in the sky.  With simply a Word from His mouth, Jesus will destroy the armies and their weapons.  The Beast and his false prophet will be thrown into an Abyss for 1000 years, the last age of this Earth.
  16. We know that Jesus will be here on Earth for this 1000 years, ruling “with an iron scepter” along with those who take part in the first resurrection. At the end of the 1000 years, Satan, the Beast, is released for a short time to deceive the world again.  He will muster everyone on Earth who has resented Jesus’ rule and will be determined to make war against those who took part in the first resurrection.  This will be the Final Battle, when Jesus will call down fire from the sky on the Beast one last time. 
  17. We know that The Final Judgement occurs at this time, when everyone who ever lived on Earth is resurrected and we will each give account of our lives and be judged for the sins we have committed. BUT, if your name is in The Lamb’s Book of Life. you are released from the judgment for the things you have done.

There is much more I will say about these events, but one word of caution.  Do NOT be afraid!  To have your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, all you need to do is receive Jesus.  Pray to Him and invite Him to be your Lord, to claim ownership of your life and your decisions.  Admit your need since you know you have sinned, and accept His forgiveness.  He wants to forgive you, but cannot unless you let Him.  If you want to contact me for help, please email me at capost3k@gmail.com.

The following is a list of previous blogs along these lines of the Last Days.
Lastly, check out this free PDF by Dr. James Christie, The Gold Mine.
And I hope to see you in Heaven someday!  Jesus loves you and we do not want anyone to miss Heaven.

 for-what-will-you-be-ready-in-the-end
, be-ready-for
https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2020/september/is-amazon’s-new-hand-scanner-the-mark-of-the-beast
too-little-too-late-but-better-late-than-never
, in-our-lifetime-digital-money-wars
, nearing-the-end
, will-that-be-check-cash-or-retinal-scan
, what-in-heavens-name-can-you-imagine
, the-end-of-the-world-as-we-have-known-it
, the-end-is-nearer
, what-kind-of-people-ought-you-to-be-2-peter-3
, the-last-days-do-not-be-deceived
, corporate-judgment-will-god-judge-america-and-if-so-how-soon

*If The God Who Is had told us Jesus would return on July 22, 2053, how many people would live selfishly until July 21, and then try to “get right with God” on the last day?  And how sincere could their hearts be, leaving them outside of God’s grace?  And what if deaths occurred before then?  By keeping it a mystery, He calls on us to Be Ready at all times, thus developing our hearts and dedication to Him.  In this way we can grow and learn what He is like, what He requires of us, how to really enjoy Him, and to become fully His children.

Prepare or Perish; I Cannot Be Quiet.

“Come, NOW is the time to worship.”

2021-03-27 House on FireI wish this could be more gently expressed, but like a man seeing the house of a friend on fire, I must SHOUT IT.  There is too little time to say, “Oh, maybe I will disturb him or interrupt his nice supper; I’ll call him later and tell him his house is on fire.”  What kind of friend would I be!?  That said, no one can force you out of a burning house if it is your choice to stay there.  But still, I have to warn that Jesus made it clear, we must Be Ready or we will perish.

We have examined the evidence of evil.  There are people who sell other people into the sex trades or some form of indentured servitude.  Just as bad, there are people who buy and use them.  There are people who will sell drugs to anyone with money to purchase, no matter how badly addicted their victims are; others who will turn a blind eye to crises because it is politically inconvenient or will cost them their job or make them look foolish to others; even more who simply shrug and say, “Well, I am not doing that.  It is not my problem.”  The mass of German citizens seemed shocked when they were paraded into POW camps after WW2 and said, “Oh, my, we didn’t know.”  But their complicity was in not listening to the warning sirens of Jews being “labeled” and marginalized; ignoring the buildup of power into a select few, all in the name of “purifying the race;” making life better for “all of you.”

We have looked at the Scriptures for what Jesus, the apostles, and Old Testament prophets taught about hell and its misery.  Gehenna (translated ‘hell’ or ‘fiery furnace’ or similar analogies) was the garbage dump outside Jerusalem in Jesus’ day, “where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.”  This was His picture of hell; a place not intended for human habitation, but where those who cannot serve their purpose wind up; a place of disposal; strangely, a place “chosen” by those who will reside there because they refuse to trust the Creator and Jesus, in [whom] the whole fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily

Evil is evident.  Hell is authentic.  So how can one avoid it?  Jesus spent most of his parables telling about the Kingdom of God and how to get into it.  He gave several stern warnings, though, against being deceived.  In Matthew 24, four times He told His followers to beware.  He then conclude this teaching with a blessing and a severe warning (verses 45-51) .

 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?  Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.  Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.  But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites.  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

He then tells the story of ten women who went out to meet a bridegroom.  In that culture, the groom would come to his bride at an unannounced time after meeting with his friends.  Five were foolish and five were wise.  At the end of the story, this Jesus that everyone thinks would always be so kind and forgiving, excludes the foolish women from the groom’s banquet, and quite harshly!

He then tells a story of a landowner who commits responsibilities to his servants while he is away.  The wise servants invest his loans to them, but a foolish one hides the money so he can give back only what he received.  He gets a tongue lashing that would make Bear Bryant blush, and the land owner orders the worthless servant [to be cast] into the outer darkness . . .  where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

He concludes a trilogy of parables with a story of sheep and goats being separated.  To the “goats on the left” Jesus will tell them, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels . . . And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”  Note, the eternal fire was never intended for humans.

The fearful thing for most people is that Heaven is not our default destination.  In our natural state, the way we are born, we are already condemned to hell!  John wrote in his Gospel, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.  Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already!John 3:16-18

That is why Jesus told the Pharisee that he needed to be “born again!”  Being born into this life was NOT enough!  As lovely or successful or rich or powerful or comfortable as one can be, we are all condemned to hell UNLESS we specifically and personally take a step of faith and “repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” to be saved.

It would be “nice” if everyone would get into Heaven, but Jesus clearly teaches that many will NOT!  How can I invite you to read the Gospels, the Good News, so that you do not have to go to hell?  What can I do to persuade you that you were created for a better life than this?  Are there any words I can write that will convince you to trust Jesus for eternal life?  What can I show you of how much God, the Father, loves you beyond the fact that Jesus died in your place, in my place?

The promise is completely inclusive: ANYONE can come to Jesus, regardless of past sin, problems, ethnicity, success or failure; NOTHING excludes you!
But the promise is completely exclusive simultaneously: ONLY those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved.

Someday, at the name of Jesus every knee [WILL] bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue [WILL] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” when He is fully revealed at the end of time.  But there is a special blessing and fellowship of the Holy Spirit and of other Christ-followers for those who bow their knees now, and confess now that Jesus Christ IS Lord.  Do not be deceived. 

Please, dear friends reading this blog, you to whom I have emailed this link, those of you just stopping by for a visit:
Pray to Jesus to be born again and to guide you by His Holy Spirit.
Begin reading the Bible, especially starting in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).
Find someone near you who knows Jesus and start meeting regularly.

If you do not know of anyone in your hometown or country, email me at capost3k@gmail.com and I will help you find someone out of our international connections.  If you want to Zoom with me, just email me, but I encourage you to find someone locally who speaks your ‘heart language.’  Please, prepare or you will perish.

 

Hell Is Authentic


The result of living without Jesus is .  Not just a fantasy, not just a short-term separation from what is good.  It is a final loss, a final “mercy” of God to those who refuse any blessing.  He will not let an evil person go on hurting others into eternity, or even themselves; so He places them in outer darkness (Matthew 8:11-12), alone and apart from any source of light or life, because that is what they have chosen.  “All that are in hell choose it.  Without that self-choice, there could be no hell.  No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it.  Those who seek find; to those who knock it is opened.” (C.S.Lewis, The Great Divorce)

If they would choose to know The God Who Is Here, anyone can enter into His Life, Light, Joy, Peace and every other blessing that comes from living in consistency with “the universe.”  There is only one way to know The God Who Is Here, and that is by getting to know Jesus, the Messiah, aka Christ.  “Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)  There simply is no other way.  Father loves each one of us so much that if there was another way, He would inform us and provide us with the alternatives.  But THIS is the nature of the universe.  It is what He created and knowing Him is the only way. (Acts 4:10-12)

Like the Children of the Day sang, “Don’t try to drive the darkness out; You just turn on the light.”  Hell is the absence of light.  It is the absence of love.  It is the absence of community.  It is the absence of peace.  It is the absence of selfless joy.  It is the absence of life. 

Note, by that I do not mean the end of existence.  It that were the case, “hell” would not be all that bad.  If when we died we simply vanished into nothingness, there would be no reason for warning and inviting people to Life.  However, God created each of us, created YOU, to enjoy Him forever.  There is no Infinity Stone that can simply snap away our existence.  The gift of existence is without do-overs. (Romans 11:29)  We were created for eternity and “He has put eternity into man’s heart.”  (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

One of Job’s visitors described hell as the destiny of all those who do not know God, a dreadful place he calls the king of terrors.”  Hell will be a place of eternal death, because its inhabitants will be separated eternally from the Source of Life.  There, like the demons who believe and shudder (James 2:19), its occupants will hate God and the exposing light of his glory.  “It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.” (C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain)

Before Him “Every heart will melt, and all hands will be feeble; every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak as water” (Ezekiel 21:7).  Just as the kings of the earth will call to the mountains and rocks, “Hide us from the face of Him who is seated on the throne” (Revelation 6:16), in hell God will give them what they want, a place of complete eclipse, darker than anything we can imagine. (Matthew 22:13; 25:29-30

As we have noted before (see ), anyone who longs for joy can find it.  Moses said in Deuteronomy 4:29, “If you will seek Yahweh your God, you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.” But this is not like trying to find Easter eggs, either in the yard under bushes, or a hidden message in a movie.  You do not have to scour the internet or decode mysterious anagrams or learn a particular language.  God is not hiding, making you wade through mazes or difficult terminology to find Him.  He makes Himself clear to anyone willing to see Him (Romans 1:19-22)  Further, He has revealed Himself throughout history via prophets, priests, church leaders and lastly through Jesus.

It would be nice if we could say those who go to hell will only stay there for a little while and then be granted entry into Heaven, kind of like an earthly prison sentence.  But remember those who go there go by their own choice because they do now want to live in God’s Kingdom; they refuse to live with someone else that is there; they object to His rulership.

So what awaits one who refuses to believe what God has revealed about Himself? 
“This is what Yahweh, the LORD, says:
“Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet!’
But they said, ‘We will not pay attention.’
Therefore hear, O nations, and know what will happen to them.
Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people,
    the fruit of their devices,
because they have not paid attention to my words;
    and as for my law, they have rejected it.…
Therefore this is what Yahweh says:
‘Behold, I will lay before this people a stumbling block against which they shall stumble;
fathers and sons together, neighbor and friend shall perish.’”
(Jeremiah 6:16-21)

You have this opportunity while you live. (Hebrews 9:27-28)  There is no guidance on making this decision after you die, and why would anyone refuse the Lord of Life now while they can learn to know Him before that time?  The choice is yours to make.  we will look a little more at the choice.

An Aboriginal Mental Challenge: Can You Read Without Preconceptions?

2021-02-27 G.K.ChestertonG.K Chesterton is the source for today’s blog: a challenge to do some mental gymnastics to discover something we may have been missing.  In his 1925 philosophical tome, The Everlasting Man, the “prince of paradox” presents an interesting challenge: to read a Bible story from an aboriginal mindset.  You see, we have Christmas and Easter, jewelry and architecture, names of streets, cities and buildings and so many myriad additional references in our world to that unique man, Jesus, that it is difficult to imagine anyone anywhere in our global community that does not know something about Jesus.  And depending on the source of that something, our views of Jesus have been significantly shaped by the introductions we have been given, whether from a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, friend, enemy, or Christian/anti-Christian teaching.  And Chesterton contends that much of our view, even in the “Christian west” is significantly distorted.

So I wish to challenge you, as Chesterton has challenged me, to do some mental exercising.  Set your mind as though you have never heard of Jesus, a Christian church, or anything “christian.”  Pretend for this exercise that your only exposure to the divine has been the thunderous clouds that bring rain and frightening lightning; a starry sky at night and the warm and sometimes burning heat of the sun at day; the long graceful hop of a wallaby or neck of a giraffe; the worrisome growl of a bear or roar of a lion; a baby’s sweet coo and cry and the caress of your beloved.

Begin by beguiling your brain into thinking you have never received a Christmas gift or hunted an Easter egg or walked on Christchurch Avenue or stood in front of the spires of Notre Dame Cathedral.  You have never heard of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, David, Paul or John.  Equally, you have never heard of Aristotle, Buddha, Confucius, Mohammad, Rama or Krishna or Zoroaster.   Add to that, you have never been concerned with politics, social structure or economics; no Communists, Conservatives, Democrats, Greens, Liberals, Republicans, Socialists, Tories or any other ideology for guidance of a nation.

This is a difficult mental exercise, but I encourage you, that it is not impossible.  Settle in your mind that you have never been taught anything about any god or history of creation, whether theism or atheistic evolution.  You have never worried about issues of government or society.  Your mind has been focused all these years on eating and drinking to stay alive and whatever day-to-day activities were required to survive, be at peace, avoid enemies and enjoy your time on earth.

Now, with this mindset, approach a new short book someone has brought you.  Its title is very short, just four letters, L-u-k-e.  If you can find it in its original formatting, without chapter and verse numbers, all the better.  (Chapters and verses were added centuries later to make research and memorization easier.)

However, it is available at a website where you can look up your language in which to read it.  If English is your native language, I encourage you to use the ESV noted in the website connection.  If another language is your “heart language,” feel free to try to find it under the ALL tab when you pull down the languages from the little arrow by the default version that opened.
So sorry, Mongolian is not on the list . . . yet.  But Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, Tagalog and LOTS of others are there.
Any Gujariti readers here? 😉

2021-02-27 Biblegateway

Now that you have emptied your mind of any preconceptions about this little story, begin with Luke’s introduction to his narrative for his friend, Theophilus.  Read the short biography at a single sitting if you can; in your heart language it should not take much more than 90 to 120 minutes .  Remember, you have never heard of these people, Luke, Herod, Elizabeth, Martha or Jesus before.  Your entire impression of these people will come from your reading this for the first time!

You may want to have a pencil and paper handy, and note what you discover about some of the characters introduced to you for the first time.  Questions are sure to come up, as we begin with no information on the culture or history of these people and events; Why did He say THAT!?  Why did she do that!?  Why was He so rude?  Why did that confuse them?  Isn’t Jesus supposed to be meek and mild? Aha, you’ve slipped from the aboriginal mindset and are remembering something you’ve heard.  Try again! 😁

If you want to dialog about your questions, email me (capost3k@gmail.com) or comment here.  No guarantees I have any answers for you.  Either Tim Keller or Rick Warren wrote (but I cannot find the referemce), “When someone thinks he knows all the answers, you have to wonder if he knows all the questions.”   (Similar to a Confucius quote.)

Here’s to hoping you have a good week and discover who Jesus really is.
Enjoy Peter Hollen’s and Home Free’s a-capella performance of Amazing Grace.

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”  C.S.Lewis