The last three weeks (1, 2, 3) I covered book reviews of The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, Love And Respect by Emerson Eggerichs and His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley. Today’s book review, The Gift of Sex by Clifford and Joyce Penner, more than any of the others, is for married people, although singles can benefit by understanding some of their married friends’ issues. Remember, the best expert on ANY relationship is Jesus, who was an adult single and never experienced sex, even though He “invented” it.
“Men and women are different. Women desire sex and open up sexually when they feel loved by and connected with their husbands; men connect and feel loved through sex.” This preliminary explanation in the preface sets the tone and direction for the rest of the text. Men traditionally start this connection by asking a woman for a date and getting to know her. The Penners compare this process to Christ loving the Church and initiating the model by which a man is supposed to love his wife illustrated in Ephesians 5:22-33.
“The husband loves, adores, and connects with his wife;
His adoration allows her to open up sexually;
His affirmation ignites her passion;
She invites him sexually;
He feels validated, so they both end up happy;
It’s a win, win!”
Two major contentions of the Penners are 1) that a man is never truly satisfied unless his wife is; 2) that a woman must believe she is worthy of pleasure and that she has a right to be sexual; her body is designed not just for reproduction, but also for sexual satisfaction and pleasure. They note that there are many individual permutations of the assumptions they lay out in the book, but there are general principles that can be applied to enhance sexual function in marriage to make the partnership most satisfying to both.
The first major section of the book is subtitled “A Biblical Perspective.” They point out that sex was not a result of the fall or a human idea. Maleness and femaleness was God’s design to enable humans to understand the relationship between Him and His creation. “It is part of the original perfect creation of mankind.” There is nothing dirty or sinful about sex as long as it is practiced in the guidelines the Designer set up: an exclusive monogamous husband and wife in a covenant commitment for as long as they both live. Throughout Scripture the husband-wife sexual relationship is used to symbolize the Divine-human one.
The Bible teaches sex is for unity, procreation and pleasure and assumes a healthy passion. “Our sexuality is not something to be diminished as we become more ‘spiritual.’ It is part of us as spiritual, godly persons and is good.” Its guiding foundation is that men and women are equal – not identical in either roles or behavior, but in terms of value, ability and position before God. We are expected to give ourselves to each other in marriage under the mutual command of 1 Corinthians 7:2-5, “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband… Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time.”
Paul recognized, that while he would prefer people to be unmarried as he was (he was most likely a widower), human passions are very strong and for many, marriage is the best way to avoid falling into sins of adultery or fornication. “Let them marry (i.e., and enjoy sexual release) – it is no sin.” (7:36)
From this basis, Penners go on to describe as clinicians in “The Physical Dimension,” the body parts involved, with more details about the sex organs than many need to read. However, this also provides helpful material, especially if one is in any measure uninformed about sexual responsiveness of the opposite sex from a biological perspective.
Following this, Penners characterize “The Total Experience” with such chapter titles as “Getting Interested,” “Having Fun,”… “Meshing Your Worlds,” … “By Invitation Only,” “Letting Go,”… and “Cleaning Up.” With skills developed by teaching hundreds of Christian Perspectives in Sexual Enjoyment seminars, they adeptly address pragmatic details many texts on marriage relations omit, usually on the assumption that Christ-followers will discuss intimate details – an assumption that is often inaccurate. Frequent references back to the basics of 1 Corinthians 7 and Ephesians 5 ground their advice solidly in Scripture.
Although “The Total Experience” mentions a few obstacles that may come up, “When Sex Isn’t Working” goes into great detail to help couples find and explore the roots, evidences, and solutions to problems in a sexual relationship. The longest section in the book suggests that there are lots of dysfunctions that may occur within marriages. From “You Want To Do What?” to “Pornography and the Internet,” the Penners take us on a survey of some of the most common obstacles to sexual fulfillment in marriage.
Parts of this section hark back to The 5 Love Languages, Love and Respect, and His Needs, Her Needs. “The starting point for resolving any difficulty is always effective communication.” While the Bible strictly confines sexual activity to the marriage relationship, no guidelines are given about what is acceptable in lovemaking activity. Again, using Biblical ethics (e.g., Paul’s concern not to offend a brother by eating meat sacrificed to an idol; see Romans 14:13-16) they proficiently address differences in views husbands and wives may hold toward lovemaking actions and move a couple toward a satisfying acceptance of each other. The entire section is filled with very practical and explicit advice for how to meet and overcome apparent dilemmas in sexual satisfaction.
The final brief section, “Enhancing the Sexual Experience,” explores how to invite God into the bedroom. Remembering that sex was His idea, the Penners go on to address how to talk lovingly with each other about sexual issues, if outside help in the form of counseling is needed, and they close with some questions asked in various seminars.
Good reading for any couple considering marriage, for enhancing an already good one, and great helps for any in conflict over sexual issues. And it is helpful for the unmarried to sympathize with married friends. The underlying assumption, only addressed specifically in Love and Respect, is that the involved parties are people of good will toward each other. If this in not the case in your life, there are other issues that need resolution first, with books and resources available to help.
“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled.” Hebrews 13:4
Two weeks ago and last week I mentioned the four books (The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs, His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley and The Gift of Sex by Clifford and Joyce Penner) that most influence my thinking on love and marriage, but each has lessons that are applicable to other relationships in life. In fact, last week my elder sister, who never married, and I were discussing these blogs and her comment was that she grew a lot in her understanding by reading a couple of books on love and marriage. They helped her in her association with our Father in Heaven, in communication with others and in talking with married friends about their relationships.
Today’s review of His Needs, Her Needs is perhaps the most focused on marriage so far, in that his subtitle is “Building an Affair-Proof Marriage.” In fact, pages 21-34 and the entire chapter 13 (How to Survive an Affair) concerns the assumption that an affair has already occurred. We will focus our attention on issues he addresses to avoid this scenario, which in turn, can have applications to other relationships.
Dr. Harley has found in interviews with thousands of couples over twenty-five years that most “marital experts” fail terribly at helping couples save or enjoy their marriages. The common thread he discovered (and what Chapman and Eggerichs allude to) is that people get married because they find each other irresistible; the common problem is that somewhere in their life together, they “fall out of love,” i.e. they need to restore the feeling of love that drew them to each other in the first place. However well they may communicate and problem-solve, “unless this helps trigger the feeling of romantic love, spouses feel cheated in their marriage… If you’re in love, you are caring for each other the right way. If you’re not in love, you should learn the right way to show you care… to create and sustain romantic love.”
In answer to the question, “What could your spouse do for you that would make you happier?,” Harley classifies almost all the responses into “ten emotional needs”: (alphabetized) 1.Admiration, 2.Affection, 3.Conversation, 4.Domestic Support, 5.Family Commitment, 6.Financial Support, 7.Honesty/Openness, 8.Physical Attractiveness, 9.Recreational Companionship and 10.Sexual Fulfillment.
He provides a very helpful Emotional Needs Questionnaire in Appendix B to help the reader determine and evaluate their spouse’s effectiveness in meeting those needs. (The questionnaire is attached here, and permission is granted by the publisher to photocopy or print for use in your marriage.) At the conclusion of the questions, he challenges each to rank the five most important of the ten. This should not be just in terms of most desperate need. For example, a woman whose husband does not take care of himself, maybe smells bad and is generally a slob, may think that Physical Attractiveness that drew her to him in their dating life is her most important need, where it may be simply the most felt need. But as he begins to work on meeting her needs, this may slide into the background as she recognizes this simply interfered with their conversation or letting him show affection.
“Often the failure of [spouses] to meet each other’s emotional needs is simply due to ignorance or each other’s needs and not to selfish unwillingness to be considerate.” From his surveys and research, he has found that while no “one-size-fits-all,” there is some commonality to how most men and women answer the questionnaire and rank their most important emotional needs.
The First Thing She Can’t Do Without is most often Affection, the “cement of a relationship.” And he guides us guys on how any man can learn to be affectionate without sex; yet he affirms that within a marriage, “when it come to sex and affection, you can’t have one without the other.” He suggests asking one’s wife to write up a list of “Affectionate Habits to Create” and another of “Affectionate Habits to Avoid.” Knowing what your spouse needs never meets that need; we must learn new habits that change that knowledge into action! Just as James says, “Faith without works is dead,” so good information and intentions are worthless if we do not follow through. A woman’s need for Affection is one of the most common and deepest emotional needs.
The First Thing He Can’t Do Without is most often Sexual Fulfillment. “The typical wife does not understand her husband’s need for sex any more than the typical husband does not understand his wife’s deep need for affection.” And so begins an excellent examination of the differences men and women experience when approaching this intimacy that takes a marriage into the picture of Christ and the Church. He even notes counseling couples in their 70s who discover sexual incompatibility was simply a matter of not understanding each other’s needs.
He applies the Golden Rule as Jesus taught, “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.” Affection and sexual expression must be mutual, demonstrated in a husband’s care and sensitivity to his wife’s needs and if one meets the other’s needs as they would want their needs met, they will usually find a spouse willing to meet theirs. If either spouse is unwilling to meet ‘your’ needs, the first place to look is at oneself: Am I meeting his/her needs?
The second most common needs found in women and men are Conversation and Recreational Companionship, respectively. Both of these areas take specific and determined effort on the part of the companion lacking that need to learn how to converse and how to enjoy recreatonal times together. But Harley does not leave us hanging with a guy wondering, what does she want to talk about and why 🤯; nor the gal thinking of the horror of every Monday night having to watch TV football! 😱
With perceptive questions at the end of each chapter, the readers are guided into discussing how to meet each other’s needs within a framework that will prove satisfying to both; Questions for Her; Questions for Him; To Consider Together.
Remember how we talked when we were dating; we could spend whole nights chatting and wonder where the time went? Remember the fun we had together as a couple learning what pleased each other? Each of the ten emotional needs is dealt with per chapter with practical proposals to work out in ways that will enliven each other’s spirits and take a couple “from incompatible to irresistable.” “Couples start out irresistable and only become incompatible as they leave each other’s basic needs unmet.” You’ll enjoy reading his description of The Irresistable Man and The Irresistable Woman. 😉
His helpful appendices include a detail on each of the ten emotional needs (Appendix A), the Emotional Needs Questionnaire (B), and a Recreational Enjoyment Inventory (attached here) to help couples explore how they can renew the pleasures of leisure activities they enjoyed while dating. His hope for couples reading his books or visiting his website: “Learn to become an expert in making your marriage the best it can be.”
Last week I mentioned the four books (The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs, His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley and The Gift of Sex by Clifford and Joyce Penner) that most influence my thinking on love and marriage, but each has lessons that are applicable to other relationships in life, as Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages for … illustrate. The principles are easily adaptable to any interconnection that one values.
Love & Respect (The Love She Most Desires and The Respect He Desperately Needs) begins with The Crazy Cycle. This is Dr. Eggerichs’ description of the merry-go-round many couples run on day after day, week after week, even year after year. He presents a “simple secret to a better marriage” as a principle that is much simpler to state than to act out: “When a wife feels unloved, it is especially hard to respect her husband. When a man feels disrespected, it is especially hard to love his wife.” I.e., if a man unconditionally loves his wife, she will probably respect him; if a woman unconditionally respects her husband, he will probably show her love.
“A husband is to obey the command to love even if his wife does not obey the command to respect, and a wife is to obey the command to respect even if the husband does not obey the command to love.” This leaves no room for selfish thinking on the part of either spouse: “I will love my wife after she begins to respect me;” or “I will respect my husband after he begins to love me.” Without love a wife will tend to act without respect; without respect a husband will tend to act without love . . . and the Crazy Cycle takes us on a ride that never seems to end!
It is as though we keep flipping a light switch without lights coming on, and instead of checking a light bulb, breaker box or circuit, and trying to find the cause of the problem, we just stand at the switch like idiots and keep flipping it, wondering why the light does not come on. “Craziness happens when we keep doing the same things over and over with the same ill effects.”
One of the cultural conflicts he addresses is the idea that respect should be just as unconditional as love! He notes in Ephesians 5:33 that Paul instructs “let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” In our society we tend to accept the idea that love should be offered even when it is not earned; in fact, if someone does something to ‘earn’ love, we tend to discount that action as self-serving. In the same way, we should view respect as something that does not require ‘earning,’ but should be offered because the Bible says so.
That unconditional respect is taught in the Bible is clear from 1 Peter 3:1-2: “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” This refutes the deception of our enemy that respect must be earned.
Wives tend to be wired to show love, but without understanding how important respect is to a man, she will not show him love in a way he understands. God made men in such a way that respect does to the soul of a man what love does to the soul of a woman. In turn, men try to earn respect by demanding it from a wife who wants more than anything to show him that he is loved. And his attempts to demand respect nullify any attempts he may make to show her love.
Dr. Eggerichs believes this happens because men and women are wired differently, as though men have blue sunglasses and hearing aids and women have pink sunglasses and hearing aids. What is done and said by a husband with love for his wife does not communicate the love he feels because she sees and hears it through a different lens and hearing aid. In the same way, a wife may try to express respect for her husband, but because he has different “receptors,” he fails to see it correctly. And so the Crazy Cycle continues.
The challenges of the Crazy Cycle are tremendous, but hope is to be found in the Energizing Cycle. With a clever acronym (COUPLE), Dr. Eggerichs makes valuable suggestions to a man who wants to show his wife that she IS loved, with six chapters to guide a man with good intentions to his goal of loving his wife as Christ loves the Church.
He describes a wife’s basic needs as desiring for her husband to be Close, Open, Understanding, Peacemaking, Loyal and to Esteem her (COUPLE). If a man faithfully applies the principles the good doctor explains in these chapters, he will go a long way on the Energizing Cycle by showing his wife that she IS loved. Each chapter coaches a guy even on how to say that he wants to get close, be open, etc.. We guys need directions in spite of our tendency to try to put together Christmas toys and read the instruction sheet later. 🙄
The next six chapters spelling CHAIRS as an acronym will help wives discover how to “spell respect to their husbands.” An interesting experiment Dr. Eggerichs tried with some women was a challenge for them to test the importance of respect to their husbands: “Spend some time thinking of things they respected about their husbands… then go home and, wait until the husband was not distracted and say, ‘I was thinking about you today and several things about you that I respect and I wanted you to know that I respect you.’… After saying this, they were not to wait for a response, but just to gently begin to leave and see what would happen. Then he goes on to help women who may have difficulty coming up with anything to respect about their husbands, which may take a woman back to why she married him in the first place, but emphasizes God’s design for marriage, that alone is worthy of respect.
CHAIRS stands for Conquest, Hierarchy, Authority, Insight, Relationship, and Sexuality. Each of these is presented in a Biblically sound fashion that does not suggest “the man is in charge,” but rather reflects the way a godly man will see leadership. Conquest addresses a man’s desire to conquer the challenges of life with success at what he does. (If you ever ask a man, “Who are you?” most of us will respond with what we do.) Hierarchy presents a man’s desire to protect and provide for his wife and family; Authority uses Jesus’ model of it: “I am among you as the one who serves.” (Luke 22:24-27); Insight deals with a man’s desire to analyze and counsel; Relationship addresses a man’s need for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship with his spouse; and Sexuality deals with a distinctly “blue sunglasses” phenomenon of desiring intimacy through sexual union.
Part Three of the text talks about the Rewarded Cycle in which his love is expressed regardless of her respect with is demonstrated regardless of his love which is expressed … And as a new cycle is begun, Dr. Eggerichs explains that the real reason for Love and Respect goes beyond whether or not a spouse responds appropriately. Unconditional love and unconditional respect will be rewarded! Matthew 5:46-48 says, “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet [respect] only your brothers, what more are you doing than others?… You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Ultimately, you are obeying your Father in Heaven and He is 100% reliable and will reward you according to His grace and love, even if we do not see the results here on earth.
“If you were on trial for being a Christian, would the evidence convict you?”
This was a question I read on an Intervarsity Press poster back in the 1970s. (Good stuff, usually, from IVP. 😉)
The question got me to thinking back then, and now again, about whether people recognize that being a Christ-follower is the most important item in my identity. A man was speaking to a bunch of us working for the census in 2020 and began to explain how we were to perform our jobs, but without introducing himself. One of the attendees wondered about his qualifications and asked, “Who are you?”
He presented his name, and then to all our surprise said, “I am first of all a follower of Jesus Christ; an American citizen by birth; a philosophical conservative; a census bureau supervisor by training . . .” Interestingly, no one challenged his claim to follow Jesus nor commented on it. However, you can bet, he was watched closely to see if he really followed Jesus!
Such should be our identification: “first of all, a follower of Jesus Christ.” If you are one of “us,” how many people that you work with know this? What evidence have you presented, both in words and actions that signifies your priorities? This must be more than “tee shirt or jewelry evangelism.” How many lewd songstresses have you seen with sparkling diamond crosses around their necks as they sing about illicit love affairs or angry lyrics about culture or death? I remember honking at a car in the ’80s that had a “Honk If You Love Jesus” bumper sticker and the driver flipped “a bird” at me with his middle finger! 😒
Wearing jewelry or clothes that signifies one’s devotion to Jesus is fine, but if that is the total of our announcement of who we are, we are far short of what Jesus calls us to be. “Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33)
So how have you presented your faith in the Resurrected One to those with whom you associate daily or weekly? Do people you have met for a short time know that you believe Jesus is the uniquely born Son of God? Have you warned your friends and colleagues that an eternal destiny separated from Life awaits them if they do not receive Jesus as their savior? Do you care about them enough to warn them as though you consider their houses are on fire?
One does not need to be a theologian or have all the answers. “When someone thinks they have all the answers you have to wonder if they know all the questions.” (Rick Warren) Like the man born blind in John 9, all you need is this truth, “
This does not mean everyone will accept our testimony or receive Jesus. To work together and fulfill our responsibilities on jobs or in relationships does not require anyone to agree with us. But they should know that we love them; that Jesus loves them enough to die for them; that He went to the cross and arose from the dead FOR THEM! If we love them as Jesus loves them, very few will put us on trial. But if they do, there should be enough evidence for a conviction!
The Gaither Vocal Band is bringing their sweet gospel music to Lexington, Kentucky, November 5, 2021 for a concert at Lex City Church at 7:00 pm. General admission is $25/person, $22/old person like me 😤 or children 12 and under. If you buy as a group of 10 or more, it goes down to $20/person. If you haven’t heard Ladye Love Smith’ angelic sound or listened to Kevin Moore “fiddlin’ around,” these each would be worth the ticket price. But the venue is stacked with other gospel voices worth listening to, not to mention the Gaither Vocal Band, one of the most iconic groups to bless the Heavens and earth with their original melodies.
Bill and Gloria remain one of the most beloved and musically gifted musical duos in America.
“They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’” 2 Peter 3:4
“God won’t send anyone to hell, He’s too loving and nice to do that.” This is an opinion uttered by many who believe God is all-loving and compassionate. And with good reason: He IS. However, those who express this view do not seem to understand the depth of His mercy: He will not violate anyone’s free will. THAT is how loving and compassionate He is.
Many people will articulate this viewpoint in one breath and then in the next condemn someone who has done something they consider wrong, especially if it was done to them. They do not like the idea of living next door to a witch, a rapist or child-molester, a murderer, or a greedy thief or liar. How would they enjoy sharing Heaven with one such as these?
There are evil people in the world, those who get pleasure out of watching others suffer. There are those whose only joy is to feel powerful over another or to use people as their toys. Many a shoplifter or liar has stolen or told a fib without any need, but just for the delight of it. These are the ones Revelation 22:15 calls dogs, sorcerers, sexually immoral, murderers, idolaters and practitioners of falsehood.
“But,” they will say, “when they have learned their lesson by suffering for a while in hell, God will let them out.” True enough. In fact, God’s mercy is SO immense that if Lucifer, the devil himself, ever apologized and admitted that he was wrong to try to take God’s place, God would even forgive him! How soon will that happen? Try never. The devil is so self-deceived that he continually thinks that somehow, someday, in some way, he will be able to overthrow The Uncreated One. Even into the eons of eternity he will continue to plot, plan and program what he believes will be his ultimate win: “I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:14)
In the same way, those who have believed his lie, “and you will be like God, knowing good and evil,” (Genesis 3:5) will follow him to their doom. It is true that if they would learn their lesson, if they would turn from their selfishness, enjoyment of others’ pain, their immorality or greed, Father would forgive them and allow them into Heaven. But habits are hard to break, and the older habits get, the more set in the avenues of our minds they become until they are unbreakable, even for God. Thus Revelation 22:11 says, “Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
We see this in the judgements of Revelation 16:9, 11, and 17. Even when they are facing unquestionable judgements of God, instead of repenting and asking for mercy, people curse God and blame Him as though all the problems being visited on them are HIS fault. Even then, if they would just ask, God would be merciful, but they simply refuse to see what should be plain in front of their eyes. “They did not repent and give him glory.”
The bottom line is that God will not send anyone to hell. In fact, He did not even make hell for humans. “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no hell.” (C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce) But God is so merciful, He will not allow anything evil to enter into Heaven. In His Final Mercy, He will isolate the recalcitrant sinner so they cannot go on sinning, injuring others and themselves. And that final separation from all others who live in God will be hell.
In this series on The Promise of His Coming, I have presented The Lie, The Truth, The End and Your Choice, details of what The End might look like, and how the enemy of our souls has deceived the whole world with pseudo-science to deter people from believing that Jesus will come again. It is my sincere hope that someone reading this will begin to investigate: Did Jesus arise from the dead? What are the implications if He did? Will He come again? What will the End Times look like, if not like our present troubles?
There is always hope for anyone, no matter what you have done, how you have lived your life, how ignorant of The God Who Is you have been, how far from God and any goodness you have moved. All you need is Jesus. He will forgive; He will restore what was broken; He will give you eternal life . . . if you will receive Him. (John 1:12)
Maranatha, even so, come Lord Jesus.
“They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’” 2 Peter 3:4
As I noted in Part 1 of this series (initially titled, “The Lie, The Truth, The End and Your Choice”) we humans are a short-sighted race. Peter realized this when he penned the words in his letter about the question that would arise in a few years. Even in that first century that was as yet to be marked by the life and death of Jesus dividing between B.C. and A.D., philosophies of life already abounded that said nothing ever changes.
From the various human origin stories of ancient times, the central idea of all false religions is that we somehow have to please a god in order to arrive at a state of perfection. Most people live their lives with no hope of eternal life, but simply anticipate that when you die, you no longer exist or get recycled for another try. The Great Deluge (whether in the Hebrew tradition or religious myths about a local flood) is now considered an old wives’ tale, so most think the world will simply continue as it has since they were born.
In the case of the Hebrew story of Noah (see Genesis 7–11), only eight people survived to repopulate the earth. By the time Abram arrived on the scene, many had already forgotten the Creation and the Flood story. Myths about the beginning of human history began to evolve and people began to worship “gods” that had nothing to do with the creation of the world. Noah and Shem had recently died and language had been confused at Babel, so their story was not getting much traction in the widening world. Only in Abram’s ancestry was the story of Creation and the Great Flood still told accurately. Noah’s grandson and Shem’s son, Arphaxad, born two years after the Flood, was the most reliable source for history, although all the generations between Noah and Abram had known Noah before he died, including Terah, Abram’s dad.
Now, removed from the Flood by more than 3000 years, we have come up with new stories to explain human origins apart from any divine power or design. Who would have thought that a first century prophet like Peter could have foretold of Darwinian evolution and its deceit of the entire world? Even among many Christ-followers, excuses are made for accepting a directed, but billions-of-years process of selection of microcosmic changes, that have resulted in humans, butterflies, whales and cattle.
Scientific establishments are often the last to continue fighting scientific discoveries. Copernicus and Galileo were denounced by both the Church and scientists of their day for proposing that the sun was the center of the universe and not the earth. Louis Pasteur was ridiculed by “modern medicine” for claiming that disease could be spread by bacteria too small for the eye to see. And in our generation Stephen Hawking and populists like Richard Dawkins refute the evidence for Intelligent Design (ID) that would destroy their ideas that the universe is a self-directed (i.e. NON-directed) cosmos with no Designer. (Not to mention, more general acceptance of ID would put a damper on their book sales.)
This is in spite of Darwin thinking that cells were self-contained and very simple machines that could replicate themselves. Now we understand that the complexity of the machinery, even in parts of a cell, are so extreme as to be unimaginable that all the pieces needed could somehow come together at once, by chance, to make a living thing. Leave any one item out (of the thousands to millions in each part of the cell), and all you get is a non-living blob that cannot reproduce. But, of course, the scientific community continues to deny the obvious that the earth revolves around the sun . . . I mean, that life is too complex to have evolved, even over the billions of years that they fabricate to claim that this is exactly what happened.
Most important is the focus of Peter’s argument. The idea that everything continues as it has invokes the concept that it will keep on continuing, at least for the next few billion years. Therefore, they reason, there is no need to fear an end of all things the way burlap robed hippies and crackpots warn, carrying signs, “The End Is Near.”
So at the risk of sounding like a burlap robed hippie, I will assert again that the end IS near. “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.” Romans 13:11 If this was true in 55 A.D., how much nearer is it today?!
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord WILL come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” 2 Peter 3:10
Jesus is coming soon, and in order to be saved all one needs to do is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, repent of sin and be baptized for the removal of your sins. Then you can begin living a life filled with God’s provision for every need, protection from every danger, and recovery from every disease, even death! You can live forever, and that will be with Jesus, who loves you so much He would have gone through all those miseries of His crucifixion and lousy Easter dramatizations (😉), even if you were the only one who needed Him.
It is my sincere hope that someone will read this and follow the links and consider that the truth of the Bible will lead to the only life worth living, actually the only life that will live, and that will be forever.
If one refuses, against all evidence, to believe in the Name of the Son of God, they will not stop existing. For that person, God who IS love, has reserved a Final Mercy, the topic of next week’s blog and the last in this series, .
Maranatha. Even so, come Lord Jesus, come.
“They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’” 2 Peter 3:4
The world is becoming more global, communication more instant, money more digitized and immigration/emigration movements more regulated than ever before in history. Also, alliances are forming that want to eliminate Israel from the map. New regulations regarding showing vaccination proof are spreading faster than wildfires as nations and communities want to protect themselves against the CCP virus (Chinese Communist Party). Presently a patchwork of means of identifying who has been vaccinated, the technology is easily in place to document online when and where one gets the shot. Soon it could be as simple as taking a pill, but the documentation will still be required.
No pill, No vaccine, No entry, No access.
Soon one will need documentation to buy and sell almost anything. Eventually any transaction will require a government issued “mark” of some kind, either on the hand or forehead. However, it will not be administered secretly (like hidden in a vaccine 🙄). It will be clear when you receive this mark that you need it to buy and sell.
No mark, No groceries, No business, No access.
Remember, it is not the Revelation of St. John; it is “the Revelation of Jesus Christ” given to John. The entire book is from God’s perspective in Heaven, looking at the events on earth. As such, the timeline is somewhat confusing with flashbacks and foretelling, but to one open the Holy Spirit, it can be clear.
EMPHASIS: This is not to predict the next war, earthquake, tsunami or economic meltdown; it is not to read next week’s headlines before they are printed. Jesus laid down the “Operational Principle of Prophecy” in John 14:29: “And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.” The purpose of studying prophecy is not to amass money or stockpile a bunker for self-protection. It is to build our faith so as we see Bible prophecy unfold, we will be ready for whatever Father brings into our lives, even if He is bringing our lives to an end.
For the Christ-follower who has “read the back of the Book,” yes, “we win.” But before we do, there will be trouble in the world, building to a scale as yet unseen in human history. Never before have we had so many people on earth. Never before have we had the means of monitoring everyone. Never before have we had such instant communication around the world in seconds. Never before has global commerce needed a digital monetary system transferable across national and political lines. Never before have we seen a coming together of the major factions of religious leaders.
Dr. James Christie presents in chapter 7 that there will be a tri-part rapture, or “catching away” of the redeemed. Explored in his classic text, The Gold Mine, he bases his ideas on an original reading of the last book of the Bible. By “orginal reading,” I mean he approaches the book as one with minimized preconceived notions of end-time events. His is an attempt for a “new reading of the book focused on what the text itself says.” (Page 12)
The first chapter of Revelation emphasized the book’s primary message: the time is near; be prepared. Compared to Aesop’s fable of the boy who cried, “Wolf, wolf” too often, many have become jaded to the idea of Christ’s second coming. When the wolf really came, no one believed the boy in the fable and we are being dulled to the idea that there is any truth to the book. It appears to be just the stuff of Hollywood movies and fantasy. Ooooh, the anti-Christ, ooooh, 666, ooooh, angels and demons!
Dr. Christie tells us that the Church, those who believe in their hearts that Jesus is the Son of God, will be taken from the earth in a cataclysmic event prior to many events in Revelation. This is called Pre-tribulationalism, in that the Christ-followers are spared from the troubles to come during the last seven years of this age.
However, God is not unmerciful and always is open to anyone who wishes to be changed and saved. Therefore, continued instruction is provided so that those who do not know Jesus at his second coming in the clouds (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11) can still prepare and refuse cooperation with the Beast who will be taking the world stage after the ‘first’ rapture, and fully revealed at the half-way mark of the seven-year “Tribulation.”
Next, Dr. Christie looks at those in Revelation 7 who clearly are saved out of the Tribulation period (Revelation 7:13-14). This is Mid-tribulationalism. There is no indication that these have been martyred (killed because of religious beliefs). The martyred are referenced in 6:9-11, and they are awaiting for their number to be filled, but there is nothing about this group being among those. Those who are to join these “souls under the altar” are found in Revelation 14:13: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on,” an event immediately preceding the final harvest from the earth.
These worshipers of Revelation 7 may have suffered terribly in plagues called down by the Two Witnesses of chapter 11, who spoke for God for three and one-half years, but they have survived the first half of the Tribulation. They are very possibly “the cloud” that surrounds the Two Witnesses. The call from Heaven and events at the ‘rapture’ of the Witnesses parallels well the rapture of the Church in chapter 4.
Finally, after three and one-half years (a time, times and 1/2 a time) of intensive judgements on the earth (Post-tribulationalism), there is one more group who joins the throngs in Heaven: the Jews who have refused the Mark of the Beast. They have not been able to buy or sell, and the False Prophet has been hunting them down and killing any he could find who refused the Mark, but he may missed some of them. Again, God is not willing that any should perish, but that all might come to repentance, so there may be Gentiles in this group as well, those who have refused the Mark.
The Beast’s entry into the Holy of Holies in the newly constructed Third Temple in Jerusalem likely opened their eyes to the Truth that Jesus was their Messiah. In any case, even if the entry to Heaven of this Jewish cohort is mostly through death, they are assured in Revelation 14;13, that they will be blessed, even if it costs them their lives.
Where does that leave us? As last week, Jennifier Bagnaschi noted, we can prepare for the End Times in a couple of ways;
- Prepare to take the Mark of the Beast* with zero chance of making it to Heaven.
- Plan on getting decapitated for refusing the Mark.
- Somehow, figure out how to make it through seven years of the most dangerous times in history.
- Be ready for Jesus Christ’s return.
*It will NOT be called the Mark of the Beast, just as he will not be called The Beast! 😏
Read the Book. Begin with the Good News (Gospel) of John. Read Romans, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and Revelation. Each one should only take less than an hour in your native language which is probably available at Biblegateway.com. In English I recommend the ESV (English Standard Version), but any of the Scriptures here will do.
Receive Jesus as your savior by praying and asking Him to come take rulership of your life, starting with water baptism and finding a group of like-minded disciples. If you need help finding these, just email me from anywhere in the world at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help you.
Jesus IS coming soon. Maranatha, even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Some folks bought property in the Rockies to “survive” the “Y2K problem” that never occurred. Would have been nice if they had invited anyone else, but they went alone to the mountains, as would have been the case if they had invited me, anyway.
My life is in Christ Jesus, and if I live, it is for Him; if I die, that is also for Him. Jennifer explains this phenomenon of prepping for the Great Tribulation better than I could (with some minor edits). A couple more blogs in the works on prophecy, and one on The Final Mercy of God coming soon. But if Jesus returns before I post them, we may have to talk them over in Heaven. 😁 Hope to see you there.
Can you really prep for the Great Tribulation? What are the chances if you could?
This world has gone stark crazy! My husband and I like to joke and say that we are living in the Matrix, but I wonder if there is some truth to that. Since world powers and entities have designed such a state of panic and chaos over the very soil God gave us dominion over, it has birthed widespread pandemonium! In response, thousands have begun to prep for The Great Tribulation mentioned in the Book of Revelation.
What does it mean to “prep”? It simply means to prepare. But some important questions must be asked, “Can you really prepare for the Great Tribulation considering its severity?
And more importantly, “Did Jesus tell us to prep for it?” Let’s dive into it.
If You Plan to Prep for the Great Tribulation, Consider the Following:
The Military Can See Through Walls
It is true! Within the past 10 years, MIT and a Czech radar manufacturer have developed high-end technology that can detect walking, limb movement, and even breathing behind walls. You may be thinking, “Well, not behind concrete!” But oh, touché, they can! As of 2011, it has gone public and is now in the hands of the military.
So if you are hoping to hide out off-grid for seven years during the Great Tribulation, and build yourself a nice sturdy compound in the middle of the Amazon Rain Forest, you may be out of luck.
Living Off-Grid Has Become Illegal
Since we are on the topic of off-grid living, did you know that living off-grid is now illegal? Well, in the Divided United States it is.
There are some people who just want to live a life away from all of the hustle and bustle; therefore, they choose to live with nature. Building their own homes, growing their own food, chopping their own wood while enjoying the ease of having solar panels for energy — this has become good enough for them. But since these are the End Times — based on the Word of God and the fulfillment of prophecy, these God-given human rights have come under attack.
An 81-year-old man named David Lidstone from New Hampshire was recently arrested and placed in jail for living in the woods, off-grid for 27 years. The cabin that had been his home for almost three decades is in grave jeopardy of being demolished. But this is only one of many stories!
Therefore, if you are planning on living off-grid during the Great Tribulation, more than likely you will be sought out, as it is now (pre-Tribulation) criminal to keep your private residence . . . private! An existence without government knowledge will be far more illegal than it is now.
I am not certain on this one as of yet, therefore, it is hearsay. But there has been chatter about body scanners that will detect if a person has been injected with the Covid-19 “jab.” Whether it is true or not, it is an idea that is out there. If it is already out there, that means it is likely a consideration.
I personally believe that the “jab” is a precursor to the Mark of the Beast. (No, I do not believe the current vax is the “mark”.) Remember, the devil is the great imitator. Just like God does dress rehearsals, the enemy copies.
What am I saying here? If there is talk of body scanners for the “jab,” then there will more than likely be body scanners for the Mark of the Beast. Therefore, it would be extremely difficult to fake the “mark” if that would be a part of your prepping plan.
Comparable to WWII, the Nazis had dogs trained to smell out those hiding in complex places and spaces, and this included underground shelters and bunkers. Some dog breeds can pick up scents and odors 40 feet deep. So if you were thinking about hiding underground for seven years, you are going to need more than your standardized shovel.
Sure, you have your firearms ready; you may even know a little martial arts; but ask yourself, “Would bullets and Kung Fu be able to stop robotic policemen and dogs with unbelievable strength?” That has already been established.
One of the most popular End Time words floating around nowadays is “prep.” There’s absolutely nothing wrong with prepping, especially for known upcoming shortages or possible emergencies. I have friends who are prepped with enough water, food, and firewood for a year, and I am impressed! Our family stocks up as well, it does not hurt — but would it hold during the Great Tribulation?
Let’s weigh it based on the Holocaust of the 1930s thru the 1940s. During the reign of Adolf Hitler, Nazi soldiers were ordered to go door-to-door looking for Jews. If they were found, they were taken from their homes unwillingly (most times). Not only were they ripped from their houses, but their belongings were confiscated, as well.
People can prep for the Great Tribulation until the cows come home, but if that time period will be the worst the world will ever experience, then the Holocaust would be minuscule compared to what is to come. Therefore, everything you have prepped for will eventually be in the possession of the anti-Christ. Whatever was done during WWII will be repeated, enhanced, and polished for the devil’s inevitable “field day” on earth.
With all that being said, you cannot prep for the Great Tribulation, unless you:
- Take the Mark of the Beast with zero chance of making it to Heaven.
- Plan on getting decapitated.
- Somehow, skillfully figure out how to make it through seven years of the most dangerous times in history.
- Be ready for Jesus Christ to rescue you instead of having to go through the Great Tribulation.
All hands on deck, I choose #4!
When I read through the Old Testament of when the Lord rescued Noah and his family from the Great Flood after warning them to be ready, and how God sent his angel to snatch Lot and his family from Sodom and Gomorrah after warning them of its destruction, I fell in love with Jesus all over again!
He never goes outside of His character and neither does He change. The fact that He rescued the righteous while giving them a “heads up” coincides with what He also instructs us to do in Matthew 24:42-44: “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord will come. But know this, that if the owner of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for in an hour when you least expect, the Son of Man is coming.”
We are instructed to watch and be ready for Jesus to take us to be with Him. If you are prepping for the Great Tribulation, you are looking for the anti-Christ instead of the Christ.
The Bible says the children of God are not subject to God’s wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9), which is why we are not the ones crying out, “Hide us from the wrath of the Lamb,” in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 6:12-17). Jesus urged us to pray that we are found worthy to escape the horrors to come (Luke 21:36).
Do not forget that Jesus also assured us that, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3). That is His promise to us that He is going to take us to be with Him to a place He has prepared for us.
All throughout scripture, the Lord has a great track record of protecting and withdrawing His children from great catastrophes. I was amazed when I read the surety of Isaiah 26:19-21 when the Lord tells us to come into His chambers for a little while until the indignation passes. And who can forget the famous scripture: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17
And it concludes with, “Comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18). There is no comfort at all in going through a real-life horror show for seven whole years! But Jesus Christ promised us an escape, a way out, and that is only through Him. We do not want to be like the five foolish virgins who did not make it into the chambers of the Bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13). We want to be the ones always watching, waiting, ready, and prepping for His promise to gather us up in the sky with Him. (It does not sound crazy when you remember that Enoch, Elijah, and Jesus were raptured up, too.)