Saturday, April 11, 2015

Blood moons, the future of Israel & Iran and the "end of time"

Why are so many people interested in the future of Israel -- could their present circumstances indicate we about to experience Armageddon?   Maybe more importantly: Have our Blood moons sealed a Biblical “End of Time” countdown?

Let’s be clear: America (and the rest of the free world) should continue to support Israel as an ally and strive to bring peace to the Middle East.  Our relationship with Israel is based on common interests and similar views on freedom.  The horrors the Jewish people experienced throughout their dispersion until they were recognized as a nation on May 14th 1948 was nothing short of evil.  The hateful way Jewish people have been mistreated is shameful.  We need to stand strong with Israel, but not because they are the Promised land, because that “Promise” has been fulfilled.   

Israel is no longer a Theocracy, meaning it is not a God-led government today.  It once was, but today Israel is simply a democratic, secular nation.  Israel is not a “believing nation” either, they don’t have a State religion.  The Temple mount is not the center of guidance for the nation of Israel.  Israel is an ethnic nation established on human political ideologies, yes they have religious citizens, but it is not a religious nation.

Today’s nation of Israel doesn’t imitate the nation of Israel we see from ancient times.  They don’t have a king from the lineage of David and they don’t have a Levitical Priesthood presiding over any religious affairs either.  Plainly said, Israel doesn’t make the same claims we in America make about Israel and today’s Israel is not the same nation we read about in the Bible.

Too many believers take the word of TV evangelists as “Gospel” and they neglect to read the Bible for themselves.  Read the book of Hebrews; the old covenant is over.  The Temple is just ruins now, it’s not the foci of our faith.  The Kingdom of God is in the hearts of each and every believer, it is a spiritual reality and it doesn’t have an earthly Capital -- the Kingdom will never have an earthly Capital.  

What makes matters worse, confusing Christians about the role of Israel today, there are influential Christian leaders sensationalizing the events that take place today in Israel and they try to anachronistically slide current events back into the Bible.  Similarly to the way people are trying to force the “Blood moons” of this year into the Bible or to make claims that these Blood moons will change the tide of history.  

When Jesus mentions wars and signs in the heavens, “Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.” (Luke 21:10-11 ESV) and, “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  (Luke 21:25-26 ESV) Jesus was referring to the destruction of Jerusalem that would take place in the year 70 AD.

Also, we are going to have earthly battles and wars till Jesus returns.  Everytime we read about a war and we are tempted to think this means it’s tied into the end of time, we need to remember what Jesus said, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.” (Matthew 24:6 ESV)

Plus, we don’t need to try to interpret the moon or signs in the heavens -- the need for those type of prophecies are already fulfilled, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” (Hebrews 1:1-2 ESV)  

Israel's strife with Iran today isn’t an End Times issue.  We need to contain Iran, but not because it’s the beginning of the end of the world.   Our “blood moons” this year are not a footnote in your Bible.  Anytime a preacher or scholar tries to tell you they know when the end of time is coming based on current events remember Jesus Himself did not even make that claim, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (Matthew 24:36 ESV)

When Christians make alarming claims that the Bible doesn’t support and then those claims never materialize, the faithful lose credibility and reaching the lost becomes even harder.  The world doesn’t need to see current events artificially laminated onto the pages of our Bible, what the world needs to see a timeless God authentically active in the lives of His people.  Be the salt & the light -- never resort to smoke & mirrors to prove the Bible.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Knocking on Heaven's door #prayforDash

These things don't happen "to us" or our family, or so we think.  
Medical tragedies happen to, people out there somewhere, or so we think.  

When our oldest son Drew called this past Saturday, he was so distraught, I couldn't understand a word he said.  Tammy held the phone close, and made out the words, "Dash's kidneys shut down and they have failed."

We jumped in the car immediately, and drove all through the night.  With a thickness in our throats and tears in our eyes we raced to be with our family.  

I haven't prayed this hard or often in my whole life.  I've been knocking hard on Heaven's door, begging God, as I know many of our friends and family have been.  Holding Dash, and watching our son and daughter-in-law go through hell puts a lot of life in perspective, quickly.  

The news then got worse.  Just when you think it can't get worse, it was discovered Dash was born with a triple heart defect, including a restricted aorta.  He will now stay in the hospital after his kidneys begin to function, for heart surgery.  

And, Dash's dialysis procedures have all been difficult.  Why can't anything be easy? 

I'm not the person of prayer I should be.  I'm embarrassed to admit it, but prayer isn't my strong point, or at least it wasn't.  Bible reading, that comes easy.  Singing, worshipping, serving, or doing a lot of other Christian activities, those all come easily, but praying hasn't before.  Now, I don't think five waking minutes have passed, since we heard the news about Dash, that I haven't been in prayer.  

The first sensation -- once I finally comprehended the news was fear, the chilling ache that hits the pit of your stomach.  Then you feel helpless, as a grandparent and a parent to children (son & daughter-in-law) whose child is fighting for his life.  Then comes the bargaining with God part...  Those were all probably fruitless.  But a peace does come, a sense of God's hand at work.  Even though the road ahead is longer than we would like, it is a road our family won't walk alone.  Prayer does work.  

The love and support and encouragement of so many people across so many spectrums has shown us God's love in many unexpected ways.  God must have huge plans for our grandson Dash, and I can't wait to hear all the ways God is going to be glorified through this.  I don't doubt, not for a second, God's hand on Dash.

"The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.  The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.  When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.  The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit."  (Psalm 34:15-18 ESV)