Friday, April 24, 2015

A Christian Message to ISIS

You've heard the numerous atrocities ISIS is committing.

Don't give in to Hate

God Commands us to Love our Enemies.

Although God grieves over their evil actions,

God loves ISIS

God longs for them to lay down their evil ways

and to turn to Him.

Pray for ISIS

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Book of Revelation

The Book of Revelation
was written by the apostle John
to Reveal information for Christians
as it was Revealed to John in a vision.

For a Book that was meant to "Reveal" information
it is so difficult to understand that in truth
that it seems to reveal very little!!

That is because of the numerous symbols and imagery 
in this Book make little sense to us today.

Even scholars who spend their careers 
studying this book cannot agree on its meaning.

But I bet it made perfect sense to first century Christians.

This New Testament Book was written during the first century
after the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in 70 AD.
when Roman persecution of Christians 
was wide spread and horrendous.
Christians suffered greatly at this time.

Some Scholars believe that the Book of Revelation was written 
especially (if not only) for these persecuted Christians.

That is, it is not a prophecy for the future
Especially not the distant future, 
where we are living today---or beyond

Other Scholars look at the symbols in Revelation
in the context of other prophetic writings 
such as in the Book of Daniel or the Book of Isaiah
Read more HERE
and determine that it is written to prepare all Christians
for the return of Jesus Christ---the Second Coming.

Some verses in Revelation seem to suggest 
things that could only occur in present day

For example Revelation 13:16-18 seems to suggest a 
cashless society whose members are "marked" 
to identify who can buy / sell products.
Could such a "mark" be an implanted computer chip?

Another interesting verse is Revelation 11:9-10
which states that the entire world will witness 
the death of two great prophets.

Never before present times did we have the technology 
to allow the entire world to view an event live
in real time.

Revelation 9:15-16 describes an army of 200 million soldiers 
from the kings of the East.
That was the entire population of Rome 
under the Roman empire in the first century, thus an impossible thing.

But today, China is East of Israel
and this nation could easily raise an army of 200 million.

So--who is the Book of Revelation written for?
First century Christians?
Or future Christians---maybe even us?

I believe it is for All Christians
in All Times.

Everything I study in the Bible, I am amazed
that wisdom written literally 1000's of years ago
are still applicable today.

And given that God's truths are eternal,
I truly believe the message of Revelation
was written to comfort 

suffering Christians every where
every when

And to remind us to remain faithful
because in the end,

Even if that end is death,

God wins
and His Good conquers all evil.

And that, I believe,
is what the Book of Revelation
Is meant to Reveal

The Many Faces of Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!

Image result for earth day political

But what exactly is Earth Day?

It began in 1970 by Environmentalists in the USA

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not just as a tribute to Mother Earth,
But also to promote Environmental reform through Peaceful Protests.

In 1990 the movement went International to 141 countries
and was largely focused on Recycling.

Today Earth Day is the world's largest Secular Holiday

Image result for earth day 1990

involving 192 countries and celebrated by a Billion people each year.


The first "Face" of Earth Day is a Political one.

Image result for al gore earth day

Protesters push for Government regulation to clean up the environment.

The enemy:  Big Corporations.

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And the attention Earth Day has brought to the issues  resulted in regulations

 being passed limiting the amount of pollution 

that can be produced by any industry or face heavy fines.

As a result, 
Today America has the cleanest air, water and soil 
than ever before since the Industrial Revolution.

Image result for clean air water

The Political Face of Earth Day continues, 
now with the focus on
 "Clean Energy" and limiting "Carbon Foot Prints"

Image result for earth day political


The second "Face" of Earth Day is a Religious one.

Image result for earth day

Protesters push for worship of the environment.

The enemy:  Mankind.

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Activists in this camp believe Nature Trumps Human.

And celebrate Earth Day to increase awareness that Humans are Evil.

Some call Mankind a Cancer or Plague upon Earth.

Image result for deforestation

They claim mankind rapes, pillages and plunders the Earth

These activist rally for people to become Environmentally Re-born.

The Religious Face of Earth Day continues, 
With the focus on "Vegan-ism" and "Minimalism"

Image result for earth day


I'd like to introduce a third "Face"  for Earth Day 

Image result for god's creation

A Christian one

The Enemy:  False Idols

 I don't want to protest anything.

As a Christian we should be spreading God's word

in all circumstances.

And I think Earth Day is an excellent opportunity.

We need to remember that Earth and all of Nature are God's creations.

Image result for earth day

And God's creations are Good.

And God created Mankind in His image

and He called this creation Good as well.

And God gave rule over the land and creatures to mankind.

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God has entrusted US to care for HIS creation!

That is a huge responsibility!

It is a gift and a command.

And if we take this responsibility seriously in all that we do

we would not need regulations to guide our corporations

Image result for clear skies over city

to limit their impact on the environment.

And as good stewards of the Earth we would use the land and animals

in a healthy and sustainable way.

Image result for caring for god's creation

And if we remember that God is the creator of all nature

we would remember to worship Him.

Because His creations are, indeed, Good.

Image result for worship the creator

Read more at:  Wikipedia Earth Day

Sunday, April 5, 2015

He is Risen!

Many of us are celebrating Easter today.  Some of us are celebrating the Resurrection.  There is such a greater meaning to this day than Easter Eggs and Bunnies!   This is the day that Christ is arose from the dead.  tells the story:
On the third day, a Sunday, several women (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna and Salome are all mentioned in the gospel accounts) went to the tomb at dawn to anoint the body of Jesus.
A violent earthquake took place as an angel from heaven rolled back the stone. The guards shook in fear as the angel, dressed in bright white, sat upon the stone. The angel announced to the women that Jesus who was crucified was no longer in the tomb, "He is risen, just as he said." Then he instructed the women to inspect the tomb and see for themselves. Next he told them to go inform the disciples.
With a mixture of fear and joy they ran to obey the angel's command, but suddenly Jesus met them on their way. They fell at his feet and worshiped him. Jesus then said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee. There they will see me."
When the guards reported what had happened to the chief priests, they bribed the soldiers with a large sum of money, telling them to lie and say that the disciples had stolen the body in the night.
The Resurrection is so very important, it is the central component to Christianity!    The Resurrection tells us three things:  
1.  God is sovereign---over Life (he has created) and Death (he has conquered)  Those who saw Jesus after His Resurrection witnessed the great power of God. 
2.  The Resurrection proves to us that we too, can "live" after death.    He promises us, that all who believe, all who accept Jesus as their savior, all that follow Him, will have eternal life.
3. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul explains the disastrous consequences if there were no resurrection--1) preaching Christ would be senseless (v. 14); 2) faith in Christ would be useless (v. 14); 3) all the witnesses and preachers of the resurrection would be liars (v. 15); 4) no one would be redeemed from sin (v. 17); 5) all former believers would have perished (v.18); and 6) Christians would be the most pitiable people on the earth (v. 19). 
Read more:
Jesus appears many times to many people over the next 40 days before he Ascends to Heaven.  I hope you have enjoyed this series of postings and I hope you are encouraged to go to the Bible and learn more!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

So What About Saturday??

On Friday, Jesus dies on the cross.  His body is removed from the cross, wrapped in a clean shroud and entombed.   A large stone is rolled to cover the tomb.  The Pharisees go to Pontius Pilate and tell him that this "imposter" named Jesus has said that in 3 days he will rise.  They are concerned that the disciples might steal his body to make it look like he arose and then riots may occur.  So Pilate orders the tomb to be sealed and guarded by Roman Soldiers.

But this was probably the furthest thing from the disciple's and the 1000's of followers' minds!  Although Jesus had told them he was to die, they didn't really believe it.  They still thought the Messiah would be one to overthrow the Roman Oppressors and build a new Temple of Worship.  His death probably shook them and created doubts.  How could the Son of God be killed so easily by man??  They saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead, surely he could prevent his own death!  Yet he seemed unable to.   The followers disperse and hide.  They fear that they will be punished if they are found to be followers of Jesus.  (Read in the Bible, how Peter denies Jesus: Luke 22:54-62  You see that Peter is afraid.

If we count Palm Sunday as Day 1, then Saturday is the 7th day...the day of rest.    Remember in the creation, God rested on the 7th day.   On this 7th day of Holy week, Jesus "rests" from his work of Salvation.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday: Did Jesus Really Have to Die?

It is hard to understand what is so "Good" about Good Friday.
I mean it was HORRIBLE!

Jesus is Tried and Punished to Death.     The Roman Soldiers "Scourge" Him.

Scourging is whipping some one with a whip that has many strands with nails and glass and rock embedded in it.  It tears at the flesh sometimes to the point of exposing organs!   Then he had to carry his cross, which is said to have weighed 300 lbs (136 kg)!!    Then they nailed him to it, driving spikes into his wrists and feet. 
And they wrapped a crown of thorns around his head, pushing the thorns into his scalp.  

I can't imagine the pain.   Crucifixion is said to be the most painful way to die.  You are hanging there, sagging in a position that will allow you to breathe in, but not out.  To breathe out, you would have to push yourself upward against the nails in your feet which causes excruciating pain.    You could suffer for up to 3 or 4 days before finally dying.    Sometimes, to make you die faster the soldiers would break your legs so you can't hold yourself up to exhale.  

Because the next day is the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders ask the Roman soldiers to break the legs of those who were crucified, so they would die and could be removed before the Sabbath began.   When the Soldiers came to Jesus, he was already dead, so they did not break his bones.  This fulfilled a prophecy:  (Psalm 34:20--He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.)   Then a soldier pierced his chest with a spear and blood gushed out. 

Another amazing note is that during the Passover Meal which consists of Lamb, the lamb's bones are NOT to be broken.......and Jesus is called "The Lamb of God"....and he died during Passover. 

Did Jesus Really Have to Die?

I found a site that does a great job in answering this question:

The author asks:  If I cry out to God to be forgiven of my sins, why can that not simply be done and over with? Why did Jesus have to suffer and die? On the surface, it seems horribly unfair. Jesus was the most perfect person who ever lived, yet he suffered unimaginable pain and agony for my sins. Why did God allow this? Why not just make my sin vanish away?

He then gives this example:  Imagine have young children. Every time your child does something wrong, let's pretend you will simply forgive them, clean up the mess and say nothing.  If they hurt you then say sorry, you must forgive and say nothing else. You must not hurt them or upset them in any way. If they destroy something but then apologize, you must replace it without saying another word. There will be no punishment or judgment for this child so long as they ask for your forgiveness. 

You will still have to teach them right and wrong, but there will never be a consequence for bad behavior. Without consequence and punishment, they will become ultimately selfish because it is impossible for them to know what it feels like to hurt another person -this child will become a terror and a monster, because a sense of right and wrong can never fully develop. You can love a child all you want but  your love will not be able to save them.

And he goes on to say:  And so it is with sin in our lives. If there is no consequence for sin, then how can we truly repent? Like the child who utters a quick, "sorry" with no thought or feeling, our cries for forgiveness will be hollow and automatic. We know that God will forgive us no matter what, so why bother getting all upset and emotional about it?  We will not just do evil, we will be evil.

No, the consequences for sin must be real.  As hard and potentially unfair as it may seem, the debt we incur for sin is death. If we have sinned, we can never be with God in Heaven. We will be eternally separated from Him unless the debt is paid.

And he finishes with:  And here we find yet another dilemma. We cannot pay the debt, for it is too much and we are not good enough. Yet no matter how much God loves us, He cannot simply ignore the debt, otherwise there will not be any justice in the universe.  

So how can you pay this debt of your sins?  
You can't.  

But Jesus could, and he did.

Jesus Took Your Place.

And that is why Good Friday is "Good".

And another prophecy if fulfilled: 

 Isaiah: 53:5

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities (sins); the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.


And with this I pray:  May the depths of God's Love wash over you and may you be new in him, Amen.