Caught up with Jesus, yet?

The_Late,_Great_Planet_Earth_coverHal Lindsay’s book The Late Great Planet Earth was first published in 1970 the same year I received Jesus as Lord. It was about 10 years later I finally read the book whereupon I was gripped by tribulation-mania and the possibility of being caught up at any moment in the rapture with Jesus. How well I remember deliberating whether to renew my subscription to the Wittenburg Door Magazine for 1 or 2 years. If the rapture were imminent, renewing for 2 years would be a waste of money, so I renewed for just 1 year.

It’s a silly story, but the fact is Hal Lindsey’s book and others like it, have sewn much yeast into the body of Christ. Christians fixated on the impending rise of the antichrist, the tribulation and the rapture have been rendered ineffective in the present by constantly fixing their eyes on a future escape from reality. Instead of living and rejoicing in our Savior who is here even NOW and who said “the kingdom of God is WITHIN you” (Luke 17:21), they await a future encounter with Jesus.

What an utterly useless way to live!

Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today. Matthew 6:34
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You do not need anyone to teach you

Before retiring a few years ago, I was an auditor and analyst. A successful auditor requires a well developed nose for error, i.e., we’re a suspicious lot, but hopefully not to the point of paranoia. Likewise, a good analyst is all about the facts and data. So I suppose it was only natural that my suspicions together with my need for fact-based truth, would compel me to sit down with a large stack of church bulletins spanning several years of worship services, to inventory and analyze the many scriptures that were read for the sermon. My “gut” strongly suspected us pew-warmers were not getting the whole story and so I set out to confirm my suspicions.

holyspiritandbibleIt was quickly apparent that the same scriptures were read year after year in the weeks preceding Passover, Easter, Pentecost and Christmas, while entire books and chapters of scripture were never read at all. The first time I attempted such an investigation back in the early 80’s, I discovered that the pastor read just 10 verses of scripture on average, before giving his sermon. A few minutes of number crunching demonstrated it would take almost 60 years** to preach through the Bible at that rate, assuming no scriptures were ever repeated. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking; “how anal” and I don’t deny that. It’s just one of those things us analyst and auditor types do for fun when we’re not digging through the freezer to sort TV dinners in order of the “best used by” date. Suffice it to say, the exercise showed me IF I wanted to know what was in the Bible, I would have to read it for myself. Continue reading

Thoughts on Offense

offendedopinionsIt seems like everyone is offended these days. Whether social media, talk shows, news programs or the print media, the self-appointed PC (politically correct) police are always on the lookout for someone to vilify over a slip of the tongue, or worse yet, a statement they disagree with.

So what does the Bible have to say about “offense”?

In John 6, Jesus is telling His followers a solemn truth:

“I am the living bread come down out of Heaven. If a man eats this bread, he shall live for ever. Moreover the bread which I will give is my flesh given for the life of the world.” (John 6:51 WNT)

How did the crowds react? Continue reading

The overcoming power of our testimony

And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11 ESV)

When it comes to teachings about overcoming the adversary, teachers often ignore Revelation 12:11 and instead cite Matthew 4:1-11 wherein Jesus rebuked the devil 3 times by reciting scripture.  For all the messages I’ve heard and read that admonish believers to do the same, you would think Revelation 12:11 actually said:

And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony reciting scripture. (Revelation 12:11 ESV)

fireinbonesLet’s consider for a moment, what Jesus was really doing when He rebuked the devil with those 3 scriptures. John 1:1-14 says that Jesus is the ‘Word become flesh’ and Revelation 19:10 says that “the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Thus when Jesus was reciting scripture and prophesying, He was giving His own testimony. In fact, when addressing Pontius Pilate before He was sentenced to death by crucifixion, Jesus said:

“… I have come into the world to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38 ESV)

Pilate should have asked “WHO is truth?” Continue reading

A log for every eye

Could that “log in the eye” parable be a matter of perspective? Surely Jesus did not mean we can never help a brother with a splinter in his eye, because each of us has a log in our own eye. Or at least, that’s the way I’ve heard most believers apply the log and splinter parable, effectively rendering everyone unqualified to help another.

The splinter in my brother’s eye looks like a log from his perspective, when from mine, it is just a splinter. Likewise, the splinter in my own eye looks like a log to me because I’m so close to it. To my brother who sees it from a distance, it’s just a splinter.

At any rate, thank the Lord for brothers who see clearly to remove what to me looks like a log, but in reality, is just a splinter.

Matthew 7:3-5