But Mark This

But Mark This

End is Near

2 Timothy 3:1-5There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. (NIV 1984)

This text could almost be taken from the front page of the today’s paper.  But it almost needs one more word to complete the thought – cynical.  Cynicism about the power of the Gospel (many paths/religions lead to God), the power of the Creator (science trumps design) and the power of Jesus’ promise (I will come again), just to name a few.  But while Paul did not include cynicism is his Epistle, Peter did in his.

2 Peter 3:3-4First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers [cynics] will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” (NIV 1984)

The common denominator in both Paul’s and Peter’s writings is the phrase “last days,” a phrase that has fascinated and intrigued Jesus’ followers since His initial promise that He would come again.

With this, I am introducing a new mid-week musing that will kick off this coming Wednesday that is entitled “Studies In Revelation.”

Revelationcoverpage

Cover Artwork by Gustave Dore (1832 – 1883)
Adam and Eve Expelled (Paradise Lost)
The New Jerusalem (Paradise Restored)

These will be excerpts from a book that I have been working on for quite some time.  As noted, it is a compilation of various view points that I have gleaned from a number of scholars and that I have attempted to synthesize into an integrated narrative. Following are a couple of endorsements from my pastors, both of whom were kind enough to review the manuscript and offer their comments as well as their encouragement.

After World War II, interest in the imminent return of Christ began a new eschatological frenzy. Atomic weapons exposed the world to the possibility of thermonuclear annihilation. Israel established herself as an independent state and proved to survive against great attacks of surrounding nations.

The Cold War provided an insecurity that continued to stir the evangelical imagination regarding prophecy. And although the millennium ended with a flurry of predictions, the discourse on the subject seems to have evolved into sensational theories of blood moons, planetary alignments and natural calamities as signs of Christ’s return.

Steve Brewer in his book, Studies In Revelation, has carefully gathered together scholarship from the last century as well as the wisdom from the previous ages to give us a thoughtful commentary of the Book of Revelation. I recommend it for the encouragement of your faith and renewed delight in the soon coming of Our Lord.

Reverend Stephen Persson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Sycamore, Illinois

The capstone of theology is Eschatology {the last days}. Here as in no other field, except perhaps the doctrine of the person of Christ, are the tools of exegesis of each page of scripture displayed. Steve Brewer has done a great job bringing God’s truth to light.

Eschatology more than any other major field of theology has suffered much at the hands of its interpreters. Even among those whose confidence in the Word of God is unquestioned have trouble with the interpretation because of different stands or attempt a detailed presentation of premillennial eschatology such as is provided in this book. Steve has skillfully dealt with many controversial issues, has met and solved many prophetic problems.

Steve has condensed a lot of material often not contained in even larger volumes. This book should serve as personal study or a small group and a Sunday school setting.

Thanks Steve for your hard work on this book.

Pastor William Badal
Associate Pastor
First Baptist Church
Sycamore, Illinois

I hope that you will like it too, and that it will fan into flame your longing for His coming.  If so, please be sure to share the blogs with your friends.  In the meantime, “until Armageddon,” we have a commission to fulfill.  The harvest in plentiful but the workers are few.

 

 

 

 

Hold Out Against Sin

Step 10: Hold Out Against Sin
Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

A: Discovering the Truth

Tempt 1

B. Exploring the Truth

Of course we have all heard the old saying that “it is easier said than done,” which seems to be the case when trying to put down our sin nature. We seem to be powerless to resist. But this is lie from the father of lies (“you will not die”). The truth is, the only power temptation has over us is the power we give to it. Continue reading “Hold Out Against Sin”

Weakest & Least

Weakest & Least

Judges 6:14-16“Go in the strength you have. Am not I sending you.” “But Lord,” Gideon asked, “how can I. My clan is the weakest and I am the least in my family.” The Lord answered, “I will be with you.”

My Musing – Even in our weakness (or especially in our weakness) we can overcome obstacles, barriers and adversaries. Even though we may be weak, we “go in the strength we have” because God goes with us.

My Advice – Do not be afraid to admit your weaknesses. But do not let those weaknesses be an excuse for not doing what you know God wants you to do. His strength is sufficient. It is, in fact, made perfect in our weaknesses. This is because we rely upon Him and not upon our self-sufficiency.

Once Again

Once Again

Judges 3:12, 15Once again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and He gave them a deliverer. (NIV 1978)

My Musing – This is a recurring theme throughout the book of Judges. Israel falls into sin. Israel gets into trouble because of the sin. Israel cries out to God for help. God delivers Israel. While it is much better to obey in the first place, God’s mercy and grace is abundant.

My Advice – Life is full of spiritual set backs. Often it is the same nagging sin that we had trouble with not so long ago. Do your best to resist temptation. But when you do sin, never fall into the devil’s trap of thinking that God will not forgive you this time. God will always forgive if your confession and repentance are sincere. His well never runs dry.

Fade To Black (And White)

Fade To Black (And White)

Eileen and I have now been married nearly forty-two years and have known each other forty-four. This coming January, Joshua will have been gone twenty-five years. Joel has been out of college ten years and is nearly thirty-three.  And now, Eileen and I are back to where it all began – empty nesters.

Fade 1There has been a “whole lot of living” in all of those years. And as promised at the beginning, we trust that we have given you a glimpse into how God has brought about good and how He has blessed us with joy and peace in the midst of affliction and sorrow. Continue reading “Fade To Black (And White)”

A Generation More Devoted

A Generation More Devoted

Judges 2:7Unlike their fathers, they quickly turned from the way in which their father’s had walked, the way of obedience to the Lord’s commands. (NIV 1978)

My Musing – It is a sad fact of life that all too often (but not always!) there is generational drift. Each successive generation is less devoted to God than the previous. That is until, like the Judges of Israel, God raises someone up to save the nation (family).

My Advice – Pay attention to your Christian heritage. The family that you came from and their devotion and obedience to God and Jesus. Learn from that devotion (what to imitate) and from those instances where they (meaning mainly me) departed from that devotion (what not to imitate). Make it a goal of your life to be a generation that is more devoted than the past one, and pass it on.

When Failure To Choose Is A Choice

When Failure To Choose Is A Choice

Joshua 24:14, 15 – “Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves whom you will serve. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (NIV 1978)

My Musing – Few Christians would intentionally and explicitly choose to not serve the Lord. But the sad reality is that many do so “unintentionally” and implicitly simply by inaction. Choices that we do not make are really choices.

My Advice – Be intentional about your choice to serve God. Make this a choice not only for yourself, but when the time comes for your family too.