Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thoughts on Time

Time...have you ever wondered what life might be like in the absence of time? Now I know that is very difficult to comprehend. Our lives are governed by time. In fact, before Adam and Eve were placed into God's Garden, time had already usurped its dominion. "And God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years" (Genesis 1:14). By the fourth creative day, time had begun.

Our lives are measured by time. The very first act performed on your behalf upon birth is the recording of the time, and the last act is the recording of the time. Your life is defined by days and years - I have now lived 63 years and 75 days. (I must admit that, at times, it seems longer than that, while, at other times, it has seemed shorter). Your day-by-day life is measured by time; you eat at certain times, you sleep at certain times, your hurry off to work at certain times, your children go to school at certain times, your favorite program on television begins at a certain time, and the baseball game begins at a certain time.

The changing seasons remind us of time. Spring follows winter, only, in turn, to be followed by summer, then fall, then winter again. Again, God says this measurement of time indicates the continuance of the earth: "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease" (Genesis 8:22).

Could time ever be changed? Could a day be possibly something other than a day, an hour something other than an hour? "Hardly likely," you will say. But, would not it be possible for God to "mess with" time? Of course He could! After all, He is the Creator, and the Creator can do whatever He wishes with His creation. He can take five little loaves and two little fish and feed an estimated 20,000 people with them. He can take six large pots filled with ordinary water and turn them into the finest wine ever tasted. He can summon from the grave a man who had been dead for four days.

Did God ever interfere with time? One such occurrence is found in Joshua 10:12-14: "On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: 'O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.' So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a man. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel!" The miracle known as the "long day" is just that...a miracle! It defies human explanation. It transcends human understanding. It surpasses all scientific logic. But to deny that it happened is to lessen the character of God. Remember, God is the Creator of time. God is outside of time. Therefore, although He normally chooses to exercise His authority within the boundaries of His creation, there are those moments when He acts above and beyond those boundaries. And so, one day was longer than 24 hours; in fact, it was as two days. Incredible!

Time...what a world awaits us; a world outside the parameters of time as we now know them. A world with no clocks. A world with no alarms telling us it is time to.... What a day that will be!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More Middle East Rumblings of War

Yesterday, April 20, the nation of Israel celebrated its 62nd anniversary. I know, according to our calendar, this celebration is not until May 14, but you must remember that Israel's calendar is a lunar one, thus the datings are different. But, whether April 20 or May 14, this is another significant milestone in Israel's history. Sixty-two years of independence. Sixty-two years of being in the international spotlight. Sixty-two years of receiving nothing but animosity from its neighbors, and now from nearly the entire world. Yet, the nation of Israel continues to thrive as few nations have. Its agriculture is second to none in the world. Its technology is rivaled by no one. It military is on par with the United States, perhaps even more advanced. One wonders why the world simply cannot allow Israel to exist and to welcome its contributions to the family of nations.

An ominous cloud hangs over Israel today; a cloud of impending war. Just last week it was reported by several news sources that Hezbollah, located in southern Lebanon, had been receiving scud missiles from Syria. These rockets have a target range such that every city in Israel would be a target. And we know that Hamas, the terrorist power in the Gaza Strip, continues to smuggle weapons into its territory in spite of efforts by Egypt and the IDF to close down the smuggling tunnels.

Last week, King Abdullah of Jordan, in an interview with the "Chicago Tribune," stated that the Arab Peace Initiative - presented by the Saudis and approved by the Arab League of Nations for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict - would expire in July. He stated that for moderate Arab states, like Jordan, there would be increasing pressure by other Arab states to go to war with Israel. He stated that such a war might happen as early as this summer.

To further compound the already unsettling picture, Russia announced on April 14 that the Iranian nuclear reactor at Bushehr will be fully operational by August. Will this force Israel's hand to act with a military strike? Their options certainly seem to be limited.

Friends, I urge you to reread Psalm 83. Get a map out and located those ancient people in the context of today's world. I think you will discover that Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia are being described. Yes their plans are for war. Yes they desire to drive Israel into oblivion. But, and pay attention here, God promises Israel a great victory over these belligerent neighbors.

Keep alert for these God-sightings. From volcanoes and earthquakes to political threats from world leaders to the financial collapse that will come - God is at work.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thoughts on the Nuclear Conference in Washington DC

This past Monday and Tuesday, nearly fifty heads-of-states gathered in Washington DC to dialogue about nuclear arms. The focus was upon the persistent pursuit by Iran in developing nuclear capabilities. Many nations expressed strong fears of what Iran might do if they possessed a nuclear weapon. They certainly have trumpeted to the world that they would not hesitate to use it, especially against Israel.

All this nuclear discussion got me to thinking about what the Bible had to say, if anything, about the potential of a nuclear attack. We know from the account of eyewitnesses to the only nuclear bombings in history - Hiroshima and Nagasaki, at the end of World War II - that fire, heat, severe burns, and death are the consequences.

I found it very interesting that I could find no direct link to anything like a nuclear attack, although a couple of passages could be cited that might indicate something like a nuclear explosion. The first is found in Zechariah 14:12, 15 - "This is the plague with which the LORD will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. ... A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps." Of course this passage is a description of Armageddon, of God's victory of those forces of the Antichrist who have assembled outside of Jerusalem. Could this "rotting" be an indication that God will use nuclear fallout? If it is, then it is a miraculous fallout for it appears that the only people or animals that are affected are those who are opposed to Israel. Nothing is said that the people of Judah will be affected. But, this would not be the first time that God used selectivity when sending a plague. Something similar happened in Egypt during the time of the plagues. And, again, it was experienced in Joshua 10 when the hailstorm affected only the retreating, panic-stricken Amorite armies and not the pursuing, excited Israelite army. But I would be hard-pressed to make a case for nuclear attack from this text.

The second possible passage is found in 2 Peter 3:10 - "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare." The context of this passage is the return of Christ. Is Peter saying that when all has been completed - Armageddon, the Millennium, the defeat of Satan - that God will destroy this world and then recreate it? It certainly appears that that is Peter's intentions. And the destruction will come about with a great cataclysmic fire. Could this be a reference to a nuclear destruction? Possibly. But you need to remember that its purpose is not to destroy one nation in order to achieve a victory, but will be the destruction of the entire world so as to experience the recreation of a new earth.

In my study of Old Testament prophetic truths as they relate to Israel, I have found no passage that specifically indicates that Israel will experience a nuclear attack. Iran might have aspirations of nuking Israel, but God will prevent that from occurring. Does that mean that Israel will attack Iran to prevent it from having a nuclear weapon? That is quite possible. The stage is being set for some very interesting events. Watch for God's next chapter.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Smorgasbord of News

So much is going on in our world today that I thought this week I would just share a few interesting news items you might have overlooked - or, more likely, were not reported.

Earthquakes - Have you noticed the frequency with which these are occurring? The most devastating one was in Haiti. But since then strong destructive quakes have happened in Chili, in Turkey, in Mexico (rocking the southern part of California), in Japan, and in Indonesia. And, don't forget the volcano erupting in Iceland that is threatening an explosion from an even larger volcano there. I know I have written about earthquakes before, but I do believe that God is speaking to us through these natural events. It is time we get the wax out of our ears and begin to listen!

Rain Water Tax - Bet you have not heard of this one! Our own Environmental Protection Agency is developing a plan to tax homeowners and businesses for the amount of rainwater that comes off their roofs, down their driveways, and into storm sewers. It seems that excessive rainwater run off is a threat to the environment. Maybe what we will need to do is dig moats around our homes to catch all that rainwater. That would give real legitimacy to the proverb that a man's home is his castle. But I'll wager that the liability would go up. Just thought you would like to know.

Interesting Way of Doing Church - On Easter Sunday evening I was watching one of the local news programs. The story concerned a local church that had created an interesting way to get people into their church: they were raffling off three cars. It got me wondering if Jesus would approve. Well, I know He would not have. We have record that on two occasions He entered into the Temple Court and threw out those who were merchandising. He said that the place was for prayer, not marketing. One of the pastoral staff, in the interview, make this statement: "We will do anything short of sin to get people to come to this church." That statement made me wonder what kind of Jesus they featured inside. Jesus offered no gimmicks to people. In fact the only thing He offered them was a cross that they needed to pick up daily. It is no wonder that people are confused and the church is powerless. By the way, this fall this church promoted a 21 days of sex program. I guess they will do anything to get people to come. Too bad that God is not there!

Nuclear Treaty - As you know our President is flying to Prague to sign a new nuclear treaty with the Russians. Its purpose is to reduce the nuclear stockpiles of both nations by 30%. That still leaves plenty of "nukes" to destroy the world. But here is the dangerous side of the treaty. Our President has proclaimed that: 1) our country will no longer work at developing newer forms of nuclear weaponry, and 2) that, even if our country became the target for biological warfare or even an EMP, we would not retaliate by using a nuclear weapon. Boy have we tipped our hand. I am confident that was great news for those who are seeking our destruction: "Whew! We won't get nuked!" The greatness that was America is crumbling right before our very eyes! I think God is preparing us to NOT be in the end-times picture.

Friends, keep observing the signs of the times. They are pointing to the soon return of Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom.