In My Time

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My Musings – Coming soon, to a location near you.  We’ve been blessed in the United States.  Up until a generation or so ago, the rule of law and Judeo-Christian values were rarely in conflict, with the glaring and shameful exception of slavery.  The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, in part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  A veritable two-way street; no imposition of a state religion and no impediment to the free exercise of a citizen’s religion of choice.

That may soon be coming to an end.  The cracks have been visible for quite some time now, and they are rapidly growing deeper and wider.  And if permitted to mix my metaphors, the handwriting is on the wall and our days may be numbered. On that day, and it may be soon, we may be joining our Christian brothers and sisters in certain third-world, communist and Muslim countries where the free exercise of our faith, or at least certain aspects of it, become illegal.  Even to the point of confiscation of property, imprisonment, or even death.  This should not surprise us. Jesus said we would be hated because of Him (Matthew 10:22).  But, “we must obey God rather than men!

My Advice – “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.  “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”   (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring).  All we have to decide is,  do we “obey God rather than men?” “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15, NIV 1984).  Who’s with me?

 

It’s Getting Late Early

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My Musings – “It gets late early out there” – Yogi Berra.  Another profound quote from that baseball sage.  It’s getting late, indeed.  It may seem early, but in the fullness of time, Christ will return. How do we want Him to find us?  Living Godly lives or living ungodly lives?  Sometimes it seems like we are living like its getting late later. Kind of like the Hebrews acted when Moses delayed coming back down from the mountain. How we live shouldn’t matter whether it’s sooner or later.

My Advice – Let’s live like we should whether its earlier or later.

Breaking The Bonds Of Fellowship

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My Musings – Let there be no mistake about this.  The Day is rapidly approaching.  “When you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” (Matthew 24:33-34, NIV 1984).  Read Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, and pay attention to current events.  Are we not at least beginning to see “all these things” happen?

And yet, are we not also seeing an increase in forsaking the meeting together?  The habit of some is becoming the habit of more and more?  It has always been important that we not give up meeting together, but the urgency today is more so, because the day is approaching.   And yet the congregations in many places are dwindling.  Maybe their “itching ears” are not hearing what they want to hear?  Perhaps they are following another gospel that  “is no gospel at all?”  It could be that other priorities have displaced their “first love?”  How many have simply decided to “abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons?

God said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  (Hebrews 13:5, NIV 1984).  So why are so many forsaking Him?  Because Jesus said they would (Matthew 24:10).

My Advice – “A day may come when we forsake our [Lord] and break all bonds of fellowship! [Let it] not [be] this day!  By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand!”  My paraphrase of Aragorn’s speech before the black gate in “The Return of the King.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

In My Life, I Loved Him So

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My Musings – The above picture was taken three years ago today.  We had gotten dad into DeKalb County rehab for what we thought would be a short stint to get his strength back.  His heart condition had been worsening, but we had no idea how near the end was.  He looked pretty good that day, but my dad died from heart failure on September 15th, less than three weeks later.  The man who used to carry me on his shoulders, was carried away by the Angels to his reward.

In My Life
The Beatles

There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed.
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain.

All these places had their moments
With [family] and friends I still can recall.
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all.

But of all these friends and [family]
There [are few who] compares with you.
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new.

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before.
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you [still].

Songwriters: John Lennon, Paul McCartney
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
For non-commercial use only.

One of my favorite Beatles’ songs.  The lyrics move me.  “In my life” I can recall many male roles models that have helped shape my life.  But Dad, there is no male role model that “compares with you.”  We often “stop and think about” you.  The void left by your passing can never be filled. Gone, but never forgotten, and we’ll “never lose affection.”

Time has allowed the grief to dull a bit, but not completely.  But we do not “grieve like the rest of men who have no hope.”  For “according to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:15–18, NIV 1984).

My Advice – We are encouraged by these words. My wish for you is that you share the same hope.  If so, be encouraged.  If not, you can share in this blessed hope by believing and receiving Jesus Christ as you personal Savior.  My series of musings on “The Born Again Experience” (see archives) can show you how.

For an inspiring version of the above song, google  “In My Life” by Selah.  It will give you chills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Return of the King

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My Musings – “We who have lived long under the Shadow may surely listen to echoes from a land untroubled by it?” (From “The Return of the King,” J. R. R. Tolkien). The shadow we live under grows longer and the darkness and distress spreads. For “immediately after the distress of those days ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’” (Matthew 24:29, NIV 1984).  But once again, “the people living in darkness [will see] a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light [will] dawn.” (Matthew 4:16, NIV 1984).  “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:27, NIV 1984).

Afterwards the “distress of those days” will be no more than “echoes from a land untroubled by it.”  For “now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:3-5, NIV 1984).

My Advice – Just try to imagine it. The “great glory.”   What John saw was so unimaginable, that the best way he could describe it was what was not there.  The things (tears, death, mourning, crying, pain) that we will be “untroubled by.”  For “the old order of things has passed away.”  Yes, in this world we will have trouble that we have to live under.  But take heart, He has overcome the world!

 

The Two Powers

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My Musings – “It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass.”  (Sam Gamgee, The Two Towers, by J. R. R. Tolkien).

All the great stories are full of darkness and danger.  Good pitted against evil. Suspense over which would prevail, as they were equally balanced against each other so that the outcome balanced on the edge of a razor.  Good did not always triumph.  Evil was never fully vanquished – only for a season before it took shape once again.

What about our great story?  In these “last days” as the darkness grows, “how could our end be happy?”  “How [can] the world go back the to the way it was, when so much bad [is yet to come]?” It cannot.  But that does not mean evil wins. Evil has been doomed from the beginning. Even though very powerful, it “will be [overthrown] by the breath of His [Jesus’] mouth and [destroyed] by the splendor of His coming.”   “In the end, it’s only a passing thing.  Even darkness must pass.” Because light always extinguishes darkness, chasing away even shadows.  Darkness cannot dispel light.  With all the power this “tower” of darkness has, it does not have that power.

My Advice – There stands two towers.  You must swear allegiance to one or the other.  No choice is a choice for the tower of the prince of this world.  As we’ve seen, his time is short.  In the end, he is the one who loses.  That end has never been in doubt.  Wouldn’t you rather stand with the tower in God’s Kingdom?  Choose Christ and His Kingdom of Righteousness.  It’s coming.  He’s coming.  Can’t you hear the trumpet sounding?  Can’t you hear the shout of the Arch Angel?  Look to His coming, look to the east for “The Return of the King.”  It won’t be much longer now.  It is sooner now than when we first believed.  “Amen, come Lord Jesus!

The Fellowship of the King (of kings)

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My Musing – “The world has changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost. For [few] now live who remember it.  Some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth.”  (Galadriel, The Fellowship of the Ring. J. R. R. Tolkien).

It exploded in the first century in the face of great persecution.  Later, persecution gave way to proclamation as Christianity was became the official religion of the Roman Empire. There have been times of retreat (the dark ages) and resurgence (the great awakening), but the “gates of hell” have never fully prevailed.

Yet in my lifetime, “the world has changed.”  I feel it and smell it. History, is now largely regarded as myth.  The age of “reason” has relegated Christianity to no more than a crutch to the superstitious.  Even those within the Church are abandoning the faith and “sound doctrine” in favor of whatever their “itching ears” want to hear.  Things that should never have been forgotten have been lost.  The “breaking of the fellowship” is well underway.  The “Return of the King” is near.  Yet much evil is yet to come.  Which also reminds me of these quotes from “The Fellowship of the Ring.”

Frodo – “I wish none of this had happened.”

Gandalf – “So do all who live to see such times but that is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”

My Advice – What will you decide “to do with the time that is given to you?”  Be a beacon of light in an increasingly dark world?  Be a herald of truth in an age of deception and lies?  Be the salt that gives flavor to what is becoming more and more unsavory?  Be faithful to the end?  We’ve been given a commission to be the “ring-bearer” of the greatest story ever told.  Will you be part of the “fellowship?”

Stay-tuned for tomorrow’s blog – “The Two Powers.”