Friday, October 31, 2014

Samuel Offs Agag

And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.
1 Samuel 15:33

In this passage, we see Samuel has come a long way from the days when his mother made him a little garment for her yearly visits. Where is the rebuke for this action? There is none. Samuel acted before the Lord and as a minister of God in cutting up Agag.

Many would say that this is the "God of the Old Testament", a real meanie. Aren't we glad that God does not act this way any more?

As we proudly put medals on the shirts of men who send out drones to blow up innocent people in far away lands. Got another wedding party that might have included a "terrorist". Brave men, not at all like murderous Samuel.

The cognitive dissonance of those who say they live by the Sermon on the Mount, and shrink from the very idea of killing (unless someone else does it), shows how sick and confused we are. Praise to you, Samuel! You got the right man and wielded the sword yourself.

You really needed to know Agag, maybe by reading about him. But there is a way to "justify" God's sentence, and the man who carried it out. We'll just say that Agag was a terrorist!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Security of the Unbeliever

Yes, I meant unbeliever. Not all of them, of course, but God's chosen, born as all people are, in sin and unbelief. I can speak personally of being guided and protected by God's hand while yet denying Him.

The wonderful story of Joseph is such a story on the grandest of scales. Not that Joseph was an unbeliever, but that he was protected while yet a youth. As Joseph was preserved, even through a plot on his life, so we are kept. I speak of the elect who are kept from the evils and perils of the world, from the devil himself.

In the story of Joseph, had he not been put into a pit, and later into prison, he could not have been lifted up to serve in the world's mightiest nation. His story is a guide to all of us. Have patience through our own versions of pits and prisons. Someday we will be lifted up.

But as for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Genesis 50:20

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Unspeakable Words

How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 2 Corinthians 12:4

And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. Revelation 10:4

A young lady I know prayed that God would reveal to her the utterings of the seven thunders in Revelation. She promised not to tell anyone about them. She was not told, but I can appreciate her desire to know. With all the things that are revealed in this wonderful book, there are things, revealed to John, that we are not yet to know.

I am surprised that we are told of the seven thunders at all. But we can be certain that there are even greater things in store than those which have been revealed. The timing of the coming of the Kingdom (Mark 13:32) was not known even by Jesus during his earthly life. So much for those who set dates today. They claim to know more than Jesus did.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Santa Stole My Toys!

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded , you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. Matthew 23:15, NIV

Let's say some parents saved up to send their boy to college. Or a church took some of its wealth to send off a young man. Nothing unusual in this unless he is going to seminary.

I actually overheard an exchange from inside a church office about such a transaction.

"We're sending young so and so to seminary."

"Oh, which one?"

"I believe it is Gordon Conwell."

"Well at least it's not totally liberal."

By totally liberal I think they meant that this theological cemetery did not refer to God as "Her".

Amazing what you can hear while using a copier!

So why the reference to Santa? I am borrowing Mr. Claus for an illustration only. Imagine a family putting up a tree and sending their young one to bed with the expectation that he will soon get lots of toys. When the poor kid wakes up, he finds that Santa not only did not bring toys, but he stole the ones the child had.

This is what happens when some so-called outfits get through with a young preacher to be. What he once believed is taken from him and false ideas are implanted. Why, you hardly know the young man when he returns. Now he is prepared to make clones of himself by passing on lessons he learned in "How to lose your faith 101".

Think I'm exaggerating? Those inside the church know that places that once fitted men to take up the ministry, have become the number one place to lose your hope.

The church is the world's quietest battlefield. Example, Harvard. It was founded as a seminary, but soon became non or even anti-Christian. Yale was supposed to be its replacement, but followed the same course. Christian publications tell the story.

My drunken artist friend Vance said it well. "Take any religion as set forth by its founder, and you'll find it has been turned upside down."

Am I angry? I'm too sweet and loveable to get angry, but sometimes I make other people feel that way.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Unnatural Selection

Not that selection, but the process of evolving theology. It's very simple, really, and has been going on since Eden. Anyone can do it. In fact, almost everybody does do it.

First you choose a doctrine. Then as you study, or more likely, just run into things, like sermons and opinions, you collect the things that agree with your doctrine and throw out the ones that do not. Soon you will have a custom tailored, form-fitting theology of your very own. Then you can square your shoulders, look the world in the eye, and proudly declare, "I agree with everything I believe in."

This tried and true technique avoids the trauma of ever being wrong. Your ego remains intact. In fact it gets bigger and bigger with the passage of time.

"But what if I don't have a starting theology to build on?" you may say. Not to worry! You are born with a set of beliefs that are just fine. Plus, the Father of Lies will give you a set if you are still unsure. It worked with Adam and Eve. It worked with their son Cain too.

So you see, we all have a kind of "sourdough starter" theology to build on. We can give some of it to neighbors and friends, and soon they'll have plenty of it too. And this is just the beginning! You may have a desire to associate with those with similar theologies. These associations are called "denominations". They can be as varied as you want. So-called "sexual orientation" is no bar, and atheists can have theirs, too.

Building upon inborn and Satan-acquired prejudices works. Humanity and its history have proven that. You will find comfort and ease in this course of action. You will fit in. And, perhaps best of all you will not have to think, and nobody wants to do that.

Are there any who do not follow this natural process? Only a few. Poor, isolated souls they are too. Some follow and study the Bible alone, as if that was important! They claim that they commune with Christ, and that He has even promised to sup with them. Some believe that online evidence proves that their numbers are growing. Pay no attention to them. May their immortal souls "rot in hell", whatever that means.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Man's Almighty Free Will

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:13

Almighty? Surely I exaggerate. But according to many--even most--Christians, God must await man's Almighty Free Will before He can save anyone. God, they maintain, wishes to redeem all mankind. The lack of missionaries prevents this in many cases. So God fails to fulfill His wish, mainly as result of just plain lack of funds. But as grievous as this is, even where the Word goes forth, God bows to man's free will thing.

Such a titanic struggle is proposed. God tries to save everyone, but despite His great desire, many turn Him down. So, reluctantly, God must cast them into an eternal flaming pit to suffer for eternity.

The Lake of Fire, which comes later, does not exactly fit this scheme--like, first the torment, then the trial. Hell then is merely a holding pen. Later, the tormented souls suffer even more in the fiery lake. All this because they did not exercise their (unfallen) free wills!

In this theater of the absurd, God is merely a spectator, helpless, while people make their decisions. Amazing what paganism can do to a Bible-based religion. Even more amazing is what the Bible can do to such paganism!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Cause As Killer

One of the sorrows of being such an old cat is to have seen so many lives destroyed. Not all the casualties of this war on people are fatal, but some are. It is not really war I am speaking of, but murder--murder of people and their emotions. For unlike war, murder has no winners.

So who is this murderer I speak of? Not some violent attacker who could be fended off or evaded, it is the Cause. As a child during WW2 the Cause, was of course, the war effort. Everything was subservient to it. Lives were destroyed by it, even those of people who were noncombatants. Of course this was unavoidable, you might say. We must fight the banker induced wars. Debts must be settled and profits must be made.

So allow me to scale it down, way down to single households. We may eliminate international conflicts for the moment.

Causes come in all sizes. Many of the victims I speak of are children. Not shot or bombed, but assigned to second place as a sacrifice to the Cause. I think of so many causes as I reflect on this.

I have seen three children and a wife sacrificed to music. I knew them very well. I worked with the father and dined with the family many an evening. Upon returning home, do you think the father hugged his sons or swept his daughter up in his arms? His wife had the evening meal ready, which was quickly gobbled so he could stride to his hi-fi (as they were called then) and begin his evening of listening to music. For a friend of his, eight hours of music listening per day was not unusual.

In my childhood, Methodist church meetings were the dominant theme. The name "Methodist" was derived from such ordered busy work that could occupy all of one's non-work time. Only the Masons with Golden Dawn and DeMolay for women and children can approach the Methodists for their mania of meetings.

I could mention some more of the multiple Causes--sports, computer games (average age of players is 37), politics and of course, "religion". So what am I bitching about? I have seen the Causes destroy lives with their great message--you as a son, daughter, wife or husband are unimportant, secondary at best to the Greater Good.

My text for today's rant is, of all things, the movie Mary Poppins! This entertaining film has a chimney sweep straighten out a disfunctional family. He shows that Women's Lib, and a banking career, are destroying them. The children most of all.

I know of many such cases. I lived in one. For all who would "squeeze the last drop out of life", let me say that, rather, you are squeezing the last drop of life out of those you should put first. Israel had their Moloch. We have our Causes.

Friday, October 24, 2014

"...He Being Dead Yet Speaketh"

Gerald Charles Franz, June 19, 1935 - October 23, 2014

This post has been written by John Wesley Smith, Gerald's good friend and administrator for this blog. The title above contains the last phrase in Hebrews 11:4, KJV. It is taken out of context to use as a clever title to make a very sad announcement. Gerald Franz, The Last Robin, has died. But you'll see more of his writings in months to come, so he yet speaks.

I've written much of this post ahead of time because I knew it would be dificult working through tears of grief at a time like this. Since I didn't want to create a new user account just for this occasion, the byline will still refer to The Last Robin, but only future posts will have been truly written by him.

Gerald didn't want more than a brief notice here announcing his passing. Though I mean no disrespect to him, I beg your indulgence for a few minutes because he deserves more than a scant obituary. Allow me to share thoughts about the man first, then about this blog. This won't be his biography, but I'd like to share some personal reflections.


The Man as I Knew Him


The above photo shows Gerald and his wife Janie at an unspecified date in the late 1990's, when they were dressed up to take our children to a classical music concert.


My relationship with Gerald was like that mentioned in Proverbs 27:17--Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Gerald was like a second father to me. In fact, he was three years older than my father. I became closer to him than to my own father. He was my all time best friend and worst critic. He once asked me, somewhat in jest, who would criticize me and keep me in line after he was gone. But don't get the wrong idea. He taught me much about many things and was a positive influence.

He had a way of patiently explaining things so they made sense, and he didn't come across as belittling. He was a mentor to me, though that role diminished somewhat after his stroke.

Since I first came to know Gerald in 1987, he frequently amazed me with the depth of his intelect and variety of interests. He could quote--or on rare occasions misquote--lines from movies or things he'd read years ago as if he'd just recently heard them.

There's no doubt in my mind Gerald was gifted, perhaps even profoundly gifted. We talked about that a few times, and I'm not sure he believed it. He fit the profile exactly, based on what I've read and heard of giftedness. I'd love to know what his IQ was, but I can tell you with all confidence it was quite high. We have lost a great mind.

His sense of alienation from the rest of the world is typical of those who are gifted. As I once heard it put, a gifted person may not think he's superior, but he wonders why the rest of the world is so stupid. That was Gerald.

Let me show you what I mean. Sometimes his thoughts in conversation and writing seemed disjointed. This was more apparent after his stroke. However, when I would ask him for clarification on the topic at hand, it became evident to me that he expected others to fill in the gaps. After all, couldn't people engage in what he thought was normal conversation? Were people so dumb that they couldn't infer what was "between the lines" and draw conclusions? To him, most just didn't get it.

Something that always astonished me was how he could take things to their conclusion. For example, if I had said two plus two was four, he would have said two times two was four. That's not a very good example, but many times when I brought up an idea, he would take it two steps beyond my thought processes. I might have gotten there eventually, if I put my mind to it a while longer. I could seldom find fault with his reasoning.

He had a multifaceted sense of humor. You've been exposed to it in several of his posts. He and I often traded puns and engaged in some pretty wild thought associations. He was also a master of sarcasm.

Sometimes his humor took unexpected twists. For example, I relayed to Gerald the account of one of my son's online "conversations" with a girl he wanted to befriend. The girl said she never talked to anyone on the phone longer than three minutes. Gerald said my son should tell her he couldn't talk longer than two minutes because so many other babes wanted to talk to him. My son agreed that was funny and wished it were true.

Gerald was both persistent and insistent with his ideas and beliefs, too. He wanted to be sure he was right about something. While he denied being a perfectionist, he was definitely one when it came to studying the Bible. When he was convinced he was right, everyone else had better fall in line. As you might guess, this put off all but a few people. His friends were not--nor could have been--weaklings.

He described himself as an ideas person. He would come up with ideas and wanted other people to follow through with them. That didn't happen all that much, as you might guess. But before his stroke, he would often overwhelm me with e-mails with articles he'd found online or pages from Web sites featuring certain products.

In that same vein, over the years he and his late wife Janie provided my family with many things and experiences we wouldn't have had otherwise. For a few years we kept aquarium fish. Gerald purchased most of the equipment for that venture. Later he bought materials for six square foot gardening beds and helped me put them together. He thought I should have 50 more. But then, there's all that work...

I once told Gerald I could never pay him materially for all he'd done for me and my family over the years. He said we'd paid him bac 135 times over because of saving his life after his stroke. He was grateful that my wife Carol did what seemed like moving mountains to find the apartment he lived in before he died. We assumed the role of his caregivers, since his next of kin was several hundred miles distant, and he often said he wouldn't have made it without us.

Several times he said Carol was his angel. That wasn't meant merely as a term of endearment. Rather, he believed angels can appear in human form.

But back to the subject of giftedness for a bit. A mutual friend of ours once told me she thought Gerald wasted his life because he could have been a teacher, or he should have done something with his talents that would have benefitted more people. However, gifted individuals sometimes don't find a profession like that. They swing from interest to interest mentally, while perhaps holding down a meager job just to pay the bills. One expert's term for people like this is scanners. They do indeed make contributions to society, but not in the usual way.

With regard to teaching, he said he was a Bible teacher. You'll note from his posts that he taught classes on prophecy in a church many years ago. When our family did home church with him and Janie for a few years, he was indeed very good. He lamented not being able to do more Bible teaching for others. A couple of his efforts to start other Bible classes fell flat. This is one reason he wanted to do The Last Robin blog. It was an important outlet for him.

On a less positive note, some would describe Gerald as a hoarder. It got worse after his wife Janie died in August of 2005. You'd be shocked by all of the stuff at the trailer and in the sheds at the place he lived before his stroke. On that fateful day in late July 2012 when my wife and I found him unconscious, there was no room for medics to bring in their equipment. He was hauled out on his bed sheets.

I won't go into all that it took to clean things up at his former place of residence to bring it to some sense of reasonableness. It's sufficient to say several people put in a total of hundreds of hours of work. He told me he would have had more junk, but he was only born in 1935.

Seriously, going through his things at his old place was heart wrenching for me. The saddest thing was seeing so many projects he'd started and never finished. He cobbled together several contraptions, in whole or in part. While some may not have been practical, it would have been fantastic if the right person could have improved upon his designs and carried his ideas to fruition.

Plus, he owned thousands of books. Hundreds had to be pitched because they were in such bad shape, having been left in an outbuilding for years, barely protected from the elements. And still thousands of books remained. We found homes for a portion of them, but most were sold to someone who said he wouldn't just throw them away.

Incidentally, my wife and I were his power of attorney. Last fall (2013) Gerald agreed to let us sell his car for him, since he hadn't driven it and wouldn't be driving any longer. Then this past March he agreed to let my wife and I sell the possessions and property at his old place. This represented quite a change for him. I know he was sad to see things go, but he was also relieved not to worry about who would deal with all of his stuff. And he was comforted to know his trailer and possessions wouldn't be damaged when severe storms came.

There was truly a method to the madness of accumulation though. Gerald had what he called manias, where he'd absolutely obsess over a subject and milk it for what it was worth. This resulted in the purchase of numerous books and materials for projects. He bought so much from Amazon, I can't help but wonder if they'll notice his absence.

When an obsession ended, he'd go on to another one, carelessly leaving the previous one behind with all it had wrought. However, I learned much second-handedly from those obsessions, as if I were getting crumbs dropped from the banquet table.

Gerald was proud of his German ancestry and could come across as quite hard hearted. Many times he was. He dropped associations with friends and acquaintances when they didn't do or become what he expected.

But that hard heartedness wasn't the case as much as he led on. He was more sensitive to the needs of others than he would admit. You've seen it in some of the posts he's written here when he appeals to readers to look after those who could be described as "little people." Finding and spotlighting obscure people in the Bible or from his own life was important to him.

Gerald did more for others than he realized. I hope he'll get a rich heavenly reward for his charitable acts. I told him so more than once.

Years ago he and Janie conducted a Braille Bible class to help a handful of blind people in Cincinnati study the Scriptures together. A few years later in the 1980's he helped Susan Hall Franklin, a blind woman, to start a foundation and cassette library of Christian materials for the blind. From that effort sprang the Ruth Berry Versaw Library for the Blind, a large Christian library based in Oklahoma City. Neither library exists today.

Sadly, in the summer of 1987, Susan Franklin died in a drowning accident. I knew of Gerald through my correspondence with Susan, but I didn't even know his last name, until he and I began to correspond. Things grew from there. It was most humbling that he and Janie moved to central Missouri in the spring of 1993, within three miles of me, because he wanted to be near me.

He also had an interest in doing aquaponics--a combination of fish farming and hydroponic gardening--and I had been the one to introduce him to a man in southern Missouri who had such an operation in a greenhouse. As it happened, shortly after he and Janie moved to Missouri, I wrote a magazine article for "The Growing Edge" and Gerald took the photos for it. Neither of us ended up doing aquaponics.

One day while Gerald was in the hospital after his stroke, he told me I knew him in his declined years. I assume he was the better judge of that. I'm just glad I knew him when I did and for as long as I did. I knew him for nearly half of my life to date.


The Last Robin's Blog

Though Gerald did a tremendous amount of Internet surfing, he never wanted to learn how to blog. Thus, he was very grateful for Kymber's help in getting The Last Robin up and running. It wouldn't be here if not for her generous help initially. Then later he expressed thanks to me for putting up his posts. He expressed his thanks publicly to several here.

If you've followed this blog over the years, you may be aware that in the beginning he wrote what he called his "Glen stories" about a revered Bible teacher. Glen was who Gerald wanted to be. He said those stories, and even his later writings, came to him easily. I, on the other hand, struggle to write because words don't come readily.

All but one of the Glen stories was written before his heart attack and stroke. They have appeared on this site out of chronological order. Many have typos and errors in punctuation and paragraphing. But Gerald didn't care about that. All he wanted was to get the material out there. It's not too much of an exaggeration to say he was almost frantic about it. When I began putting up posts for him in 2010 or 2011, being a perfectionist, I made an effort to use better paragraphing and clean up as many errors as I could find.

He never wanted any of his wording changed. He was most unhappy when I showed one of his stories to a member of a writing group I belong to, and she made some minor changes. He never again asked me to have someone else review what he wrote. So, I always left his wording as it was, unless he left out a preposition or an article. This happened more often after his stroke.

When he had recovered sufficiently from his ordeal in 2012, he began writing enough short pieces to post one each day. He was more prolific than ever before. At one point he was over eight months ahead on daily posts. But as before, he didn't care if they showed up in any particular order. While many are on a given topic, they're not strung together in a series. However, if you're a regular reader, you've probably noticed he had his favorite themes on which he loved to rant.

Perhaps you've noticed several of his posts have contained the bitterness and laments of an old man. I suppose that's to be expected after all he'd been through over his 79 years. I hope that hasn't distracted you from seeing the real jewels, especially among his writings about prophecy and the need for each of us to know God's precious Word for ourselves.

Gerald firmly believed the laborer is worth his hire. In times past he paid me for doing work on this site. When my son did some posting for him, he paid him, too. Since the summer of 2012 he wasn't able to pay me for anything. That was OK with me because I believe publishing his posts is a ministry to him and his readers. Only God truly knows who he has reached and in what manner. My hope is for a heavenly reward for both of us, but especially for him.

Most of the Glen stories have been put into a handful of binders and distributed to prison inmates through a ministry conducted by his late wife's aunt. It was my dream one day to compile and publish all of his stories and pieces from this blog into something for wider distribution. It may happen one day in the future.

Kymber would like to see Gerald's writings live on and on. He left a tremendous impression on her as well. It's a key reason she started this blog on his behalf. Get a glimpse of her thoughts about Gerald here.

Incidentally, the title of this post today came about during one of the countless animated phone conversations between Gerald and me. It was his intention to write as many blog posts in advance as he could so they would go on for a time after his death. He quoted the Hebrews 11:4 phrase as a joke, but I thought it was appropriate for this post's title.

You've probably noticed Gerald had a thing about writing catchy titles, some of which had nothing to do with the content that followed. While he scorned cleverness when he thought it was inappropriate, he counted on his titles and the ideas contained in posts to stick in his readers' heads like catchy advertisements.

In fact, the name of this blog--The Last Robin--fits into this category. I think the name was intended to conjure up the image of a desolate world when one lone robin stays behind to sing out a message.

Gerald appreciated each of you his readers and marveled at those overseas who viewed this blog. He lamented to me often that he wasn't getting readers' attention because hardly anyone commented.

I should confess that we didn't try to make this site search engine optimized. Honestly, I'm not sure how that could have been done with the nature of the material here. Nonetheless, I assured Gerald he was making his mark because people who were meant to find it would, and I pray that is indeed the case.

Posts will continue through June 9, 2015. Then, obviously, afterward there will be no more new writings from The Last Robin. It was Gerald's hope for the end date of his last post to be June 19th, which would have been his 80th birthday. He came close. In the meantime, I do hope you'll keep reading because there are more insights to come. Feel free to leave comments as usual.

Kymber and her husband have said they'll make sure this blog remains available to all online, presumably as long as there's still an Internet.


A Concluding Note

As indicated in numerous posts, Gerald looked forward to death. He was by no means suicidal. He desperately wanted to leave this world to be with our blessed Lord. Staff at the hospital and nursing home two years ago didn't understand this. It's likely he was thought to be an unusual case by the kind workers with Hospice Compassus here in central Missouri as well.

Perhaps you don't understand his attitude toward death either. But be assured, he left us in good spirits--or at least much as was possible with the physical discomfort he experienced in the last week of his life here on Earth. He was very much concerned that he leave those around him with a positive Christian witness about death. I believe he has done that.

There will be no funeral service, per Gerald's request. He wanted no attention drawn to himself and requested the most minimalist burial possible. Anyone wishing to memorialize Gerald should send gifts to Hospice Compassus, 3050 I-70 Drive SE, Columbia, MO 65201.

You'll note from Gerald's writings here that he didn't believe the Bible taught we have immortal souls. He would want you to know that he's not flouncing around somewhere in heaven. He will be there--as all believers in Christ will--upon resurrection or Rapture. I'm convinced he's right on this, and I look forward to seeing him again when we're in the Lord's presence.

Here's one more quirky observation I feel compelled to share. Now and then Gerald would bring to my attention the appearance of the number 23 in movies and TV programs. He said that number represented change. You'll note he died on the 23rd of the month. The number 23 certainly represents change for those of us who knew Gerald, now that he is gone.

The Last Robin is greatly missed in this present world by those of us who knew and loved him. Thank God we will meet again under better circumstances. And it's all due to the wonderful workings of our blessed Lord.

- John Wesley Smith


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Just a Little Brook Am I, Singing As I Hurry By

I sang this as a little boy, before my voice had changed. Yet it describes my actions now. Omar said he was never deep in anything but wine, but that is not me. It is just that almost every subject is so interesting that a would-be Nexialist tries to look into them and tie them together.

Near the end of my life I have a criterion that works. Every good thing reflects glory on God. What does not, is not worth looking into.

This, of course, applies to people also. Bitterly, I reflect on those who, on first acquaintance, seem to hold so much promise, but fall short of the mark. Many of these have achieved goals unworthy of eternal merit.

If a gadabout could raise a question to one who is truly deep, or tempt a person of thorough disposition to look at an old question in a new way, has he not served a purpose?

For all those who have not achieved the heights, I offer this old proverb: "Next to excellence, is the appreciation thereof."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What Will We Do in Heaven?

I pondered this question, knowing that we have no answer. Some things we must take on faith until the time for their revealing. Yet there are those who have tried to tell us. To reveal our ignorance should not take a two part video. But there are those who try to fake it, and who should know better.

A common answer is "Serve." That doesn't help much. It's like asking about a job and being told it involves "work". So, I continue to ponder. I have no answer.

Some believe it will be a continuing use of our spiritual gifts, but these are given to serve the church in a worldly situation. Will there be two aspects--one to run the world during the millennium, and another in the eternal state afterwords?

The first is plainly the role of Israel and is revealed in the gospels as ruling over cities. Will angelic or church leaders assign us jobs? I imagine a giant board showing positions to be filled. Or a roll call where our names are called and jobs assigned. Will we have off duty times when we can just enjoy our mansions?

Every attempt to even ask such questions is an extension or projection of our Earthly experiences. Israel's rewards are so tangible. But the future life and duties of the church remain a mystery. An extension of our roles in the temple or church is posited, but does not seem to fill the bill.

Like a teen aged job applicant's inquiries about retirement benefits, my questions are inappropriate. We have our job assignments for now in the church epistles. We will know our fates soon enough, in the world to come.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Degrees Instead of Knowledge

I told you of the ritzy church I once belonged to. Money and degrees were everything. After our pastor warned us that a person could "become constipated with knowledge", he announced he was taking a year's sabbatical to acquire his Phd. I guess he meant we could get too much knowledge?

A year later, he appeared in the pulpit wearing his doctor's togs. Trouble is, I could never see his great knowledge--before or after--he attained such heights. I do know that his congregation could faithfully attend church for years and never gain any depth of Bible understanding. In his study he told me that I must have been reading Kierkegaard, and further that he was no longer certain of the validity of Calvin's Institutes.

I believe in knowledge of all kinds. I even believe in education! But without a solid understanding of God's Word, learning can lead one further and further astray. Like giving a poor driver a more powerful car. This chap did not have such understanding, so naturally he could not impart it to others. Like a president, controlled and used by unscrupulous backers, he was a shill--charming, but ignorant.

Soon he ran out of inspiring themes. He offered to pay me to supply him with sermon topics. He realized he was in over his head. Eventually he left the ministry. I really believe that, although he occasionally referred to the Bible, he did not love it enough. Those who do find themselves in a different world from those who have degrees, but no real knowledge.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The "Experience" Store

This is an obsession with me. Not experiences, but being victimized by those who live for them.

There once was a terrific Bible store in a nearby city. I was in awe of it. It had two stories and an elevator and was filled with classic books. Everything written by DeHaan, even all the works of Clarence Larkin, the brave pioneer of the twenties. It was a university and a library combined.

But they finally moved to the suburbs to a shopping mall. Guess demand was down for books of true learning, in fact, learning itself. When I visited the new store I was shocked to see how far it, and its customers, had fallen.

Where were the books? There was a section in the back for books. But the big sellers were music, praying hands plaques, posters, and wearables. So what of the books? An entire section was devoted to "Christian humor", how to put on skits that were meant to amuse the young.

I asked a clerk if there was a book on confessions. I wanted the text of the Westminster Confession. She thought that someone named Westminster had finally confessed. Guess the police finally beat it out of him. She referred me to a nearby customer, supposedly an "elder". He had never heard of such a text.

Christian humor? The whole place was one big joke.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

How Bright Are You?

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:3

You may be quite familiar with angels, and our Lord Himself, glowing with light. But can you picture yourself like that? Not in this world of course, but in the next.

Those who "shine" today are not always the good or holy. I remember a preacher lamenting on those presently esteemed. He described the terrible lives of the famous and the productions that they appeared in. "And you call them stars!"

So let's think of your present status. You may even be considered dull in wit or conversation. But God has a different standard, and a different venue in which to award us. How good to be free of those who would judge us in this world.

Our gracious God will some day glorify us. He will dress us in garments of light, as the prophets have promised. Such a hope we have, as we await the great Awards Ceremony!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Future is Not Up to Us

Yea, the first Morning of Creation wrote
What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.
- Omar Khayyam

I told you how I grew up in a church and world where everything was the responsibility of man. For a little boy, that was a heavy load. For anyone, really. God was nowhere in the picture, except as one who would someday judge us, based on how well we would do. Duty, and its attendant guilt, was everywhere. We were marinated in it.

But isn't this what Christianity teaches? Now here comes the tricky part. Christianity--the formal religion part--often does teach us that the outcome of things are our responsibility. For instance, salvation is up to us to accomplish--an unending job. Unless you want to go to hell, better shape up, try to get a good score on your behavior. You might make it. Keep trying.

How did a little boy know that this was a form of "behavior mod"? Over three decades were to pass before I was to learn that this was a lie. At first, it seemed that grace, election, and foreordination were nothing but heretical doctrines. Yes, much of what we do is our responsibility and yields heavenly rewards. But salvation is predetermined and completely beyond our control.


I love to refer to the great prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 24. Are these calamities--so great that, without God's intervention, all life would perish--avoidable? Could they be nullified by human effort?

As an Adamic race, we are doomed, no matter what we do. But through the grace of God, some will survive. These have been chosen before the world was made. That is why Jesus calls them the "elect".

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Last Chapter of the Book of Acts

Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. Acts 28:28

Like a little boy getting his first haircut, the book of Acts just won't sit still. Of course, it is filled with action. We are all familiar with Paul's ministry, ship wreck, beatings and imprisonments. It can be looked at as an action-filled adventure story, and it is. But what we may miss is its story of rapidly changing and developing theology.

When a pope seems to struggle with the question of "Who killed Jesus", and exonerates the Jews, Peter tells them (Acts 2:23) that they are responsible. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is given and explained, though many people still misunderstand it. So while the birth of the church and the preaching of the Gospel to both Jews and Gentiles is shown throughout Acts, why do I emphasize the last chapter?

Because it is there that a great transition occurs. The once mostly Jewish church becomes Gentile. Paul argues with the Jews and says, in effect, you have had your chance and blew it. This from one who totally loves Israel. It is both dramatic and sad.

At the first church council in chapter fifteen, Jews were dominant. Finally though, the break is made. Anyone of the elect can come into the church, but when they attend a church breakfast, they can eat bacon.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Whole Lot of Judaizing Goin' On

It's always been there, but recently Judaizing is on the march, at least in the USA. It seems to be in a western part of the country where Christian groups feel that the more Jewish they are, the more holy they are. They Hebrewize the name of Jesus, for example, in an attempt not only to be separate from the world, but from the church itself.

Perhaps these people feel that Jews are more "religious" than other people, so imitating them will boost their religious quotient? Today, the Jews are among the least religious of people, especially in Israel. The True Torah Jews being a notable exception.

Maybe they are thinking of Old Testament Jews, and here they are closer to the truth. Stephen, in Acts chapter 7, speaks of their religion. Trouble is, it was not the religion of worshiping God, but of star gods and other pagan deities. God denounces the practice of sacrificing babies to Moloch, live infants being put into the hands of a heated image.

Rather than the pious Jews of the movies, Israel was a nation that God described as "stiff necked". How quickly this false idea of super-righteous Jews could be dispelled with just a little reading of the Bible! But image wins out over words.

What is next among these poor deceived Christians? Will they begin to wear yarmulkes and prayer shawls? Cammo ones, that is.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Plugging in the Christmas Tree

As a child, my big day was Christmas day. Nothing unusual in this, except that it was my only gift day. Birthdays at my house were no big deal. A cake with candles after the evening meal, maybe a dime store gift--nothing memorable, believe me. Forget guests, party favors, etc.

So I am, to this day, not a birthday party guy. I feel they just inflate little egos and reward them for no reason. To me, the party should be for the kid's mother. She carried him and brought him into the world. Her ego should be inflated, and she should get the gifts.

So Christmas was the one day of the year when I got gifts. My parents were very generous to me on this day, and I was always excited. On Christmas morning, when it was still dark, my older sister would come into my room to wake me up. I still remember the sound of her voice. We would go downstairs in the darkness. My teeth would be chattering from the cold and the excitement. I had the honor of plugging in the tree lights and revealing all the gifts beneath the tree.

I no longer observe Christmas, though I do honor the birth of Jesus, even in July. Soon I will take a short nap, asleep in Christ. Like all the Christians who have died, I will awake, not to a Christmas tree, but to heaven itself. What of gifts and rewards? I only know of one for sure, a crown given to all who love His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Elected, But Not Yet Inaugurated

Please forgive me for using a political term, but it really is a good example of our status as Christians. Just as a president who has been voted in has not yet assumed office, we the elect of God are not yet in our final blessed state.

Christianity sure involves a lot of waiting, does it not? In fact, it is the hallmark of our faith, the ability to wait. If you have ever been in a church that teaches that the millennium has arrived, you will be surrounded by people who feel that our present situations are a result of God's reward.

Got lots of money? That means you have pleased God and have been given your reward. It's rough being poor in such a church. But these people are ignorant of the Bible. According to them, Jesus was out of the favor of God because he was not rich. Certainly, Peter and Paul were in the same category. Silver and gold, they had none.

But Jesus plainly taught that our reward is future, not in the present. So, we were elected by God before the world was made (Ephesians 1:4). Our "offices", our rule, will take place on God's inauguration day.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Church Theology or Bible Theology?

Seems like an obvious choice. But people who otherwise would never think of "religion" opt for church theology every Sunday. You can see how tempting this is. Tempting, because the theology of the corporate church has been designed to please. "But we follow the Bible" is the plea of every division of our religion.

So, why so many churches, and why such deep divergences? If you invent (or someone invents for you) a theology of your own, you may expect variations as different as the private lusts and fears of humanity. That is pretty varied.

Let me suggest a simple way to escape this confusion. It is a way to escape from the domination of ideas found nowhere in the Word of God. A simple, and uniform solution is to base your religion on a study of the Bible instead of one where you interpret the Bible according to your preconceived ideas garnered from our fallen natures.

But this would involve new seminaries, ones free from man and devil-made concepts. Yes, and this is just what I would love to see. You know my formula--a study Bible and a concordance.

Seems awfully sparse, but what a start. It could mean two new books in your living room book shelf. Then--and this may seem contradictory--Bible books of all kinds, from Augustine to modern writers. Check each one using your study Bible.

A pattern will develop--a pattern of truth. This pattern will guide you to understanding the Bible as no corporate preacher can.

It will also (guaranteed) brand you as a heretic. You will be in the best of company though, with Jesus and Paul, for example. You will not find peace with your family, friends, or church members. Only chaos and enmity will result as you contradict fallen human nature, even Satan himself.

But as one who has lived this path for many years, I offer another guarantee. You will have peace with God.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Someone to Trust In

I don't like heights. After stepladder high I get nervous. But in my youth I became an airport "bum". I hung around a little private airport. My friends liked to parachute and urged me to try it. I decided I would, and a date was set.

First, I was to see my 'chute packed by a professional in the basement of his home. Not as rough and ready as it sounds. He had a nice finished basement and it was equipped with a series of long smooth tables, each over the length of a parachute panel and its shroud lines. He laid out my 'chute which had recently been jumped. He carefully picked off leaves and sticks from the recent jump and laid it out on a long, smooth table. Then he blew his breath under each panel at a time creating a bubble that saved walking the length of the table as it traveled along and laid that section in place.

On the walls were pictures of him and some 'chutes he had used. One was triangular. To be certified he had to jump a chute that he had packed. His kind, calm manner soon put me at ease. I became convinced that if anything went wrong, it would not be on his part.

The last step was to place release pins in the cover, attached to the all-important rip cord, or release. Soon I was standing on the step of a light plane. The pilot nodded and I released my hold on a wing strut. I counted to three and pulled the rip cord. After a short delay there was a tug as the 'chute opened and I began my slow descent.

A preacher I knew asked how a chicken like me could make such a jump. The answer was easy. I had watched the preparation and come to know the packer.

As you know, I am soon to die. And friends ask, "Aren't you afraid?" I marvel at this common question. God has assured me of salvation in such a foolproof way that not even I can mess it up. Jesus has told us that he is going to prepare mansions for us so that we can be with Him forever. My question is, why would anyone not want to take Him up on this offer? Don't we trust Him?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

These Men Aren't Drunk, It's Only Nine O'clock!

For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. Acts 2:15

Is this not a strange defense against drunkenness? It's too early in the day! Not, as some would have us believe, that the wine of the Bible is merely unfermented grape juice. According to these people, the folks at the Pentecost meeting only drank Welch's grape juice, which they kept in refrigerators so it would not go "bad".

You may rightly ask, in a world falling apart and filled with Adamic people, who know not the way of peace, what difference does the "wine or grape juice" argument really make? I only mention it because it is an example of how Christians misinterpret the Bible to favor their private agendas.

"But alcoholic beverages are evil," they will say. As if it was an excuse to try to wrest the Word of God.

This morning I was listening to the Acts of the Apostles in a modern version. When it came to the story of Simon the sorcerer, they had the apostle threaten him with hell. In the original, he was warned about "perishing". For Simon was a baptized believer and in no danger of eternal death.

God can and does bring about premature death to people in deep sin. This is what Simon was in danger of. There is no record of him dying in such a manner. He was warned, and I believe, repented of his mercenary ambitions.

The Bible has sufficient warnings. Must people try to modify it to attempt to make it fit their private doctrines?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Baptist Mythology

I love Baptists. Most of my Bible books were written by them. They are my favorite denomination, though they get mad if you refer to them in that way (or call them Protestants). But Baptists drag around more myths than Marley did cash boxes.

Let me list them:

  • that Baptists are the original church, the only true one
  • the immortal soul
  • the sacred cow of fallen man's free will
  • the Age of Accountability
  • the omission of elders
  • the almighty infallible dictatorial Baptist Pope, their preacher
  • and, I believe, their favorite, the flaming Baptist "Devil's hell". Baptists love hell!

Let me start with their idea that they are the first church. In extreme cases (Landmark) they may teach that Jesus was the first Baptist, being baptized by John the Baptizer. "My, Grandmother, what big egos you have!"

I know that all of them do not teach this, but they are very firm on their being the original church. So their timeline is this: John the Baptist to Jesus, unto this day. They brag that every church has an historical starting point, except them.

The facts are quite different. There were no Baptists until Martin Luther had been dead for 63 years. The original Baptists, first called Anabaptists, or "re-baptizers" started with Roger Smythe in Leyden. The issue was that they were against infant baptism and did not consider it effectual. In comes the issue of "believer's baptism".

But what if a child dies before it is 12? Will it go to a Baptist hell? Not the kid's fault. So in comes the 12 year old age of accountability. A cynic one suggested that all children be machine gunned before the age of twelve. Then they will all go to heaven.

The idea that man's free will remained intact at the Fall in Eden is, of course, shared by many Roman Catholics and is nowhere in the Bible. There, it is plainly taught that we all have a sin nature.

I will not go on with my Baptist bashing. Though the Baptists are plainly wrong on these points, they were willing to die for their beliefs on baptism. Many were martyred. Their worst critics cannot say that the Baptists lack zeal. That is why I love them so much.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The End of the Times of the Gentiles

They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Luke 21:24, NIV

We all have our favorite Bible verses, and rightly so. We see them posted on billboards in front of churches. John 3:16 is very popular. There are even John 3:16 churches.

But there is a verse spoken by Jesus that is not ever so posted. In fact, in some churches, it is never read at all. I was in such a church. I taught Bible there. It was my joy to read it aloud each time I taught Daniel chapter two. For even the second part of Luke 21:24, though never ever read aloud in some churches, is very, very, important.

Jesus spoke it near the end of his earthly ministry. Poor, faithful Jews were puzzled. Where was the promised Kingdom of David?

The church I was a member of taught that the Kingdom of David had been transmogrified, taken over by the church. After all, they said, His kingdom is not of this world. This strategy works for most people. That is, those who do not take the time to read the verse that contains these words. The church--and they--leave out the all-important word NOW (John 18:36). For when it comes to time, these churches are as blind as mole rats.

His kingdom is not of this world NOW. You would think they could get the meaning of a three letter word! But they choose not to. So while Jesus supposedly has His heavenly kingdom, these guys will run the only one they really care about--the world- and its money, property and prestige.

But the times of the Gentiles are coming to a close. Jesus will take His beloved church out of the world, judge the disobedient Jews, and then return to re-establish the kingdom of David.

Gabriel promised Mary and Joseph (Luke 1:32) that their virgin-born son would sit on the throne of his father David. This is to be an earthly throne. It will be of this world. But not until Daniel 2 is fulfilled. Just not NOW!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Woman Who Sits in Seven Chairs

The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. Revelation 17:9

Ever hear of anyone distorting the book of Obadiah? Imagine someone storming out of a church, never to enter again, because of what they consider a false interpretation of Micah? You might say, "These books are pretty straightforward, aren't they? Besides, who really cares about them?"

But when you come to the book of Revelation, things really change. Like a balloon man at a children's party, the trick is to see how many things you can create. "Can you make a giraffe?"

You can see how important a book is by how many ways it is distorted or even villified. "You can read anything into this book," people often say. I'm sure some folks can, but others, like myself, really try to be more logical, more stringent.

So let's look at the woman who sits on seven mountains as an example. She is much discussed. Usually it goes like this: "Seven mountains. Must be Rome because it is the city of seven hills." Hills, mountains--close enough. And what is in Rome? The Vatican! And what religion does the Vatican represent? It's the Roman Catholics. Therefore, the woman who sits on seven mountains = The Catholic church.

Boy, that was easy. I mean how logical can you get? And, how wrong!

For the history of the woman is of one who has dominated, or been carried, by seven kings (verse 10), five of whom have fallen. At this point, the "hills of Rome" analogy breaks down.

Five of the hills of Rome have not fallen. In fact we're not looking at physical hills (or mountains) at all, but nations. And what nations are they that have fallen? Out of the empires of Egypt--Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and restored Rome of the last days--five had fallen when the book of Revelation was written.

So the woman has dominated--and will dominate--all the great empires. Far earlier than the Vatican, and far greater in scope and influence, this religion has ever persecuted God's elect. She is the mother of all evil religions. Like the big fat whore she is, she sits on a series of chairs. Wherever she is, at whatever time, she has a throne in all of them.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Will You Please Shine the Light Over Here, I think I Lost My Prejudice

After many years of witnessing the belief systems of people, including my own, I am convinced that real, original thinking is impossible to achieve. Something is going on all right, but it is not free thinking.

As a youth, I looked at formal logic and thought that this is a way to achieve pure truth. You can see how naive I was. If two people plug in the same facts concerning a problem, we can expect totally different results. We will be haunted by the ghost of "I still say."

Then I thought that certainly philosophy was the answer to truth finding. More incurable optimism on my part. I guess it resulted from my being more familiar with books than with human nature. After all, who did I think wrote those wonderful books I trusted in, and who devised the systems that I once believed could lead to truth? Pig headed, perverse, Satanicly twisted people--like me!

It got so bad that I despaired of finding Absolute Truth at all. This, of course, was before the age of computers, which are currently the object of so much trust. And these computers are marvelous indeed, until you ask the Big Ones, like one of my favorites--"If a man die, shall he live again?" Try that on your laptop.

Job asked this, oh so long ago, and his answer did not come from logic, philosophy, or even a computer. Rather, Job proved that if you seek to escape from human nature, and deeply inbred prejudice, you must go outside the whole damned system. Even scientists know this.

Don't ask someone if they are smart or good-looking. They do have a tendency to say "yes". But as a young man, I was unable to go outside the system. Or rather, I was unwilling. I knew there was a perfect Source of truth, but I feared Him and His judgement of me.

Mr. Science Lover just couldn't humble himself to believe in God. After all, ignorant country people could do that. So I had to be broken like the wild horse I was. And life sure did that for me. I had no way to escape except to submit to God.

How patient He has been, to work on me. I did not just need improvement. I needed a whole new heart and a whole new nature. While I vainly searched for truth, He had searched for me, and found me.

Monday, October 6, 2014

This Little Piggy Went to Market

And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly broken. Daniel 2:42

Imagine if we had a chart of the future world governments, right up to and including the return of Jesus Christ in power and glory. (Oh, no, not another chart!) well we do have one, but it is purely visual. No x or y lines. Ironically, for this split screen imagery generation, it is very easy to interpret, though it was first revealed around 586 B.C.

God wants us to know what to expect in the way of future world governments. So, in Daniel chapter two, He shows us an image often called the "polymetallic man". It's quite simple really, only four metals, four parts of a statue, to remember. I say simple, though it took me two years to see what God was revealing. I had the "insufficient background blues". If you look at a map of Barcelona, it helps if you can read Spanish.

Finally, I got the message, and I have loved it ever since. For Daniel 2 is one of the rare Old Testament prophecies that we are in. In fact we live in a period of time that corresponds to the Great Image's legs, might I even say feet. Only the toes remain to be formed, and some think that we are in the process.

Regretably, this has been said to be the time of the "ten nations of united Europe". This by people that are totally fixated on Europe. Even an amatuer (and these people are amatuers) knows that this all-European interpretation leaves out Israel, and Israel and the nations holding power over it, are what Daniel 2 is all about.

Don't forget the Middle East and North Africa. God does not. He has much to say about them throughout the Bible, because of how they relate to Israel. So, the image represents countries of three continents.

Where are we in all of this? We may not be in the image nations. We may be from Asia, for example. But no matter where we live, we are in the times of the gentiles, and these times are rapidly coming to an end. It is shortly to be "Kingdom Time". Only the toes remain to be formed and their duration will be brief.

I have been called loveless and stoic. A sentimental "devotional" passage may leave me unmoved. But after all these years I get tears in my eyes as I read these words by the prophet Daniel:

the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure. Daniel 2:45

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Don't Blame Wars on Religion, Jesse

For the love of money is the root of all evil: 1 Timothy 6:10

I just watched a video where Jesse Ventura blamed all wars on religion. I like Jesse, even though he does bend the truth when he says he was a Navy SEAL. There were no seals when he served. He was in Underwater Demolition. I even like him though he proclaims he is an athiest and hates all religion.

He has proven himself as a governor, running on an independent ticket. He is a plain-spoken, down to earth man who understands politics. But Jesse has been taken in by one of the Devil's great scams. He says that all wars are caused by religion.

People of very different religions have coexisted in many places in total peace. Of course, when they are hungry or otherwise stressed, religion can be used to incite them to violence.

But who would gain from such activity? Who always makes money out of war? And who never goes to the wars that they create? It is not farmers. Their sons die in them. It is not the whole spectrum of people of every occupation who will be called to die--in or out--of these wars.

So let's see, profit from wars. Of course, munition and weapon manufacturers. But they don't cause them so much as supply them, often both sides. Based on the quotation from 1st Timothy, and going right to the top, I would say it is the international bankers.

Do they use religion to create wars? Yes, and anything else, like ethnicity, or territory. Anything to help settle debts that nations owe. Can't pay? They will "collect" like any other system that can foreclose.

I remember my first book on this subject. What a shock to my young mind! It's thesis: see who owes the most to whom, and cannot repay. Then, expect a change of borders, a seizing of assets, another financially motivated war.

So, who do those in the U.S. owe the most to? There is already a land grab. Perhaps a war will come. Like someone betting on all the race horses, these guys can't lose. Not until God ends their tragic game.

See the following:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Upside Down "J"

Hold my hand, I'm a stranger in covenant land.

I had the temerity to teach the Biblical doctrine of the "catching away" of the saints by Jesus, also known as the rapture. People who teach the Bible with no fear of losing their jobs know the rapture is revealed from Genesis to Revelation. No problem there.

But there is a huge lobby that will not hear of it. These are people highly respected in the corporate church structure. They have a lot of power on their side--tradition, originating in the Middle Ages, the god of money, and multiple layers of academic degrees. Sounds formidable, doesn't it?

Yet with all the above weapons, those who deny the doctrine of the rapture can easily be taken down by such as you and me. I did it, so I know. For these Worldly Wisemen lack the one great essential needed to deny the truth. They lack basic knowledge of the Bible.

They are, rather, equipped as spokesman for the corporate elite. If they ever had a thorough study, it might well be titled "Wise Investing, or How to Be a Millionaire by Age 25". I have stood outside a preacher's study and heard just such talk. For these people, we are now in the millennium, and wealth represents a sign of God's favor. Calvinists have long been marinated in this idea.

Though I am a Calvinist, there is something else I have learned. It is the imminent return of Jesus, to take us out of a world that will be destroyed--yes even silver and gold, even the stock market.

But what about the upside down "J"? In covenant theology the church will rise in the air to meet Jesus, then return with him to the earth! Maybe they think He will rescue the stock market?

A little girl I knew rode in a shopping cart. Pinned to her garment was a bronze pin showing a "J" right side up. It represented, in the leg of the letter, Jesus descending from heaven with a shout to gather His saints alive and dead and take them home.

Though she was very young, she knew what the pin stood for. I know, because her father was my best friend. We did home church together. What does this prove? That a well taught four year old girl understands this great doctrine better than a Ph.D. in the Presbyterian church.

Friday, October 3, 2014

In Praise of the God Who Made Me

I anticipate dying pretty soon. This can be a blessing when you are falling apart, and it will be for me. Right now, I feel fine. Life is easy. Friends take care of all my needs. But I forsee the day when I will need lots of pain medicine. Leaving will be a relief in lots of ways. I have never felt at home here on earth--never fit in.

As I learned the Word of God, I found that He has a wonderful plan for me and for all His children. First, He chose us to be His before the world was made. Then He gave us a wonderful Savior to die for us, to pay for our sins. His Holy Spirit keeps us sealed and safe. His Word, the Bible, instructs and comforts us.

To those who rely on human effort, there will always be the poisons of pride and anxiety. But for those who depend on the mercy of God, there is peace. Every thing that we need is in God's plan. So I look forward, not with grim resignation, but with joyful anticipation of being with God and all His people, forever.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

60 Years in High School?

Of course, this would be ridiculous. With all their many faults, our schools at least teach you how to read before you leave. Then you can educate yourself. Now wouldn't it be wonderful if churches would do something similar?

Imagine a church that, instead of just reading the Bible to you, as an opening theme for a sermon or Sunday School lesson, would teach you how to study for yourself? Then you soon would learn how little they have taught you, and how much of that is in error.

They do not teach you how to study on your own. Many corporate churches don't even have a church library. So, wait patiently each week for the little they are willing to feed you. It will be mighty thin gruel indeed! Because their jobs are in danger if you learn anything "too much".

People commonly attend churches for, say, 30 years, and learn nothing new. Had they listened to a 15 minute sports broadcast for the same period of time you may be assured that they would learn much, much, more than Ty Cobb's batting average.

Are you content with what they give you on one day of the week? Can you put your head down each night with assurance of your salvation? Are you willing to be fed with pagan myths interspersed with parables and the sermon on the mount?

The deep things of God are now open to us all. Like ripe fruit on a beautiful tree, you can pick them for yourself.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

An Unpaid Pro

Sounds like a contradiction, does it not? But I only meant unpaid in this world. So what enterprise are we thinking about? Most professions are sealed up and not available to "amateurs". But there is one open to Christians. Imagine yourself becoming a professional grade Bible teacher without spending time and money to attend a theological "cemetery".

It's been done. Blackstone, known as W.E.B., did it. A man without credentials wrote a book on a Bible theme that no one can contradict, though some would like to. He wrote Jesus is Coming Again, a jewel of a book.

He has been called, along with Scofield, a Zionist. Kind of like saying the polar bear is a tropical animal. The opposite is the case. These two men did teach that Israel will be restored, but after the church is complete and raptured.

Point being, that God can use uncredentialed people. There has never been such a time as now, when you can become a pro in Bible teaching. God calls and equips teachers. The resources are there to enable you to do a good job. Your pay will be waiting for you in heaven.