Saturday, May 21, 2011


Will Jesus return today?  

What if he doesn't?  

The false prophet Harold Camping is at it again, setting dates, presuming to know things we are told in Scripture that no man knows, not even the Son, but only the Father knows.  We know he's a false prophet from his track record in the 1990's when he predicted one date, missed it, then said he miscalculated and missed it again.  This is all reminiscent of the 1988 Edgar Whisenant books "88 reasons why the Rapture will occur in 1988", or something like that, and I believe he also claimed to have recalculated and tried it again, and still "missed it again".

However, I can remember back in 1988, having conversations and witnessing opportunities with friends and strangers that would never listen to the Gospel prior to that "prediction".  I was driving an 18-wheeler at the time, and had a fellow driver who definitely not a follower of Christ at the time, pull over on the side of the interstate with me and have me pray with him to receive Christ.  I can recall many other witnessing encounters, opportunities and doors opened to share the Gospel with people at that time.  Were the conversions genuine?  Some probably were, some probably weren't, only God knows.  But I recently talked to one of the guys I prayed with who surrendered to Jesus in 1988, and he told he me he is still following Christ.  

I listen to many Christian programs on my MP3, and one of my favorites  is Todd Friel, Ray Comfort, and Kirk Cameron on  "Living Waters-The Way of the Master.
Ray Comfort, of "Living Waters, The Way of the Master" posted on his facebook this morning:
The bad side (rapture coming 2day) is the mockery it'll bring tomorrow, but the good side is that it can open conversations with the lost.
Here's my facebook comment in response to Ray's post:
Amen, Ray! I agree that Camping is a false prophet as are all date setters, but i think we need to be careful to critique them & their false teaching, but not Scripture, and not to become "scoffers and mockers" of Jesus' promised coming, see 2 Peter 3:3-4. Many Amill's and Postmill's are already having a heydey with this, but I would hope that whatever our Eschatology, we will all agree with the plethora of Scripture passages (Acts 1:11 for example) that Jesus will return, perhaps today, perhaps tomorrow, perhaps many years, decades, centuries, etc. from now, but He will come again, and we should be always looking for "that blessed Hope".
2 Peter 3:3-4  
...knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.  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.” 
So let us "occupy" till He come, and always be ready to share our Faith.
1 Peter 3:15 
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the Hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect..

Sunday, May 15, 2011

"I have a Key in my bosom called Promise"

I love the 17th Century classic masterpiece "The Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan who was imprisoned 12 years in England for preaching without a license. It is reportedly second only to the Bible in number of copies sold worldwide. It chronicles the allegorical journey of the main character named "Christian" from this life to the next, on his quest for the "Celestial City", leaving his hometown, the "City of Destruction" behind. Everything and everyone in the book represents symbolically something or someone we encounter in our Christian lives.

I was reading it again the other day and came across this passage, where CHRISTIAN and his friend HOPEFUL have ventured off the "NARROW WAY", and find themselves in "DOUBTING CASTLE", and imprisoned by the "GIANT DESPAIR". How did they get out? They leaned on the Promises of God found in Scripture! Christian could say as David did in Psalms, "Thy Word have I hidden in my heart"...and this ties in with my last blog on Adoniram Judson, who said: "The Future is as bright as the Promises of God". The Bible is full of the Promises of God, and if we would rely more on His Word, we would find the answers (or keys) to getting through life's difficulties.

Here's the passage from Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress:
"I fear," said she (Giant Despair's wife), "that they live in hope that some will come to relieve them; or that they have picklocks about them; by the means of which they hope to escape." "And sayest thou so, my dear?" said the Giant; "I will therefore search them in the morning."
Well, on Saturday, about midnight the pilgrims began to pray; and continued in prayer till almost break of day.
Now a little before it was day, good CHRISTIAN, as one half amazed, break out in this passionate speech: "What a fool," quoth he, "am I, thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty! I have a key in my bosom called Promise; that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle." Then said HOPEFUL, "That’s good news; good brother, pluck it out of thy bosom, and try."
Then CHRISTIAN pulled it out of his bosom, and began to try at the dungeon door; whose bolt (as he turned the key) gave back, and the door flew open with ease: and CHRISTIAN and HOPEFUL both came out. Then he went to the outward door that led into the castle yard; and with his key opened that door also. After, he went to the iron gate, for that must be opened too; but that lock went exceedingly hard: yet the key did open it. Then they thrust open the gate to make their escape with speed; but that gate, as it opened, made such a creaking, that it waked Giant DESPAIR: who, hastily rising to pursue his prisoners, felt his limbs to fail, for his fits took him again, so that he could by no means go after them. Then they went on, and came to the king’s highway again; and so were safe, because they were out of his jurisdiction.
My Dad (the man I respect and look to the most for spiritual insight) & I exchange good books all the time, and he gave me "Pilgrim's Progress" for a birthday present years ago and highly recommended I read it. I put it on my shelf, intending to read it when I got around to it.

Not long afterward, I heard several preachers on my MP3 itunes sermons referencing it. I started flipping through, and felt drawn to read it, but had other books I was still working on. "As luck would have it...", (just joking, there's no such thing as luck), Collin Wimberly, our Pastor at the time, quoted from it the following Sunday and said
"all Christians should read through "Pilgrim's Progress" at least once a year.

I took that as a "Word from the Lord", and went home that afternoon and started reading it. Man, was I blessed! I gave copies of it to several people, and to my knowledge only 1 person, a friend I work with named Mark actually read it. He, however, was as blessed by it as I was.

If you've never read Bunyan's book, maybe this will whet your appetite. Maybe not.
The choice is yours. You'll miss a huge blessing if you don't.

Charles Spurgeon
is reported to have read it over 100 times. It was his favorite book outside the Bible.
Alistair Begg references it frequently in his sermons, as do many other solid preacher/teachers of today.

Of course, the Bible itself takes priority over any other books written by men, but I think we all could make time to read more than we do. It's how you prioritize your time.
In case you're wondering how I feel about books and the Bible,
click the link below -my older blog entitled Bring Out The Book!
Bring Out The Book!

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Christian perspective on Osama Bin Laden's Death. To celebrate, or not to celebrate?

Without a doubt, as an American citizen, this morning's news headlines of the death of the terrorist mastermind behind the 9-11 Twin Tower attacks incites emotion, and a sense of relief that "justice has been served".  I vividly remember watching and praying, with feelings and emotions I can't begin to describe, as the attacks were happening live, glued to the TV, as the events of the morning unfolded in a downward spiral.

As I learned the news of Bin Laden's death 10 years later this morning, I've seen a variety of responses on facebook, in the news, and other media sources.  Some seemed relieved, vindicated, somber, thankful, patriotic, while others seemed jubilant, arrogant, prideful,  full of gloating and revelry.  The latter being not much different from some (certainly not all) Muslims we see on TV getting worked up into a riotous frenzy against Americans routinely as they burn our flags, Bibles, and images of our leaders, which got me to thinking.

How should we as Christians respond to the news that our enemy, Osama Bin Laden is dead? As always, we need to go to Scripture for our answer.
Proverbs 24:17-18 (ESV)
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away His anger from him.
Sounds pretty plain to me!

While pondering this news and our proper response, a couple of Biblical examples come to mind.  I think of King David in the Old Testament when he received the news that King Saul, who had hunted David like a dog and attempted to kill David for years, was dead.
2 Samuel 1:11-12 (ESV) Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him.  And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.
Now I certainly realize this passage describes a different event, in a different context, and Saul was much different than Bin Laden, and that there's really little or no comparison between the two.  They definitely are not parallel events, but I think it gives us a glimpse of David's response (or lack of celebration) being in line with the Proverb quoted above, and we can learn from David here.

I was also thinking of King David's response when Absalom, his wayward and rebellious son, who also had David on the run and attempted to kill David and take his kingdom from him, was reported to be dead. 
2 Samuel 18:33 (ESV) And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept...
Again, I admit there's no real comparison with this event and the one at hand, but David's response (and lack of celebration) to the death of another of his "enemies" is the thing that strikes me.  In both of these passages, the messengers of the news of the death of his enemies were expecting him to be jubilant, ecstatic, and ready for a celebration. 

However, David's actual response was drastically different.  Isn't that the way of the Christian life?  On many levels, in various situations, and at different times, our response should be different than that of the world.  God has chosen the foolish things to confound the wise, paraphrasing the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians.

Many Americans were anxious and impatient as they awaited justice to be served to Bin Laden over the last 10 years or so, and understandably so, especially for those more closely affected with family members killed during the attacks, or family and friends killed or injured during and after the events, but we do well to remember the Lord's words:
Deuteronomy 32:35 Vengeance is Mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly.’
I believe Scripture teaches consistently  (see Romans Chapter 13, and 1 Peter Chapter 2 for two examples) that Government, Military, etc. are tools used by God to accomplish His purposes many times, and I'm thankful for ours (yes, even under the current administration with which I disagree on many issues), and I commend our U.S. Government and U.S. Military Servicemen, as they carried out their mission, being used by God to accomplish His purposes.
But let us always be careful to remember our Lord Jesus Christ's Words in Luke 13:3 (ESV)
...I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
I invite you to leave comments below for further discussion.