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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Taming the Tongue

James 3:1) Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2) For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3) If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4) Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5) So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6) And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7) For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8) but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9) With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10) From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11) Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12) Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

No One Knows That Day and Hour

Matthew 24:1) Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 2) But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” 3) As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” 4) And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5) For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6) And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7) For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.  9) “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. 10) And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11) And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12) And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13) But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14) And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. 15) “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16) then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17) Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18) and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19) And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20) Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21) For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22) And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23) Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24) For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25) See, I have told you beforehand. 26) So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27) For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28) Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.  29) “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30) Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31) And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32) “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33) So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34) Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 35) Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 36) “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37) For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38) For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39) and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40) Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41) Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42) Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43) But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44) Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. 45) “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46) Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47) Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 48) But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49) and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50) the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51) and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Usually I do not take upon myself to clarify scripture, and in this case with God's grace he will use me to convey a commentary, not a clarification. I was approached by a gentleman, who in his own way was attempting to do what I hope what he thought was God's command. He was warning others of the impending apocalypse. Normally I would have listened respectfully, and prayed later that in God's message to us all we could all have that same fire inside of us to spread his word as faithfully as he was. Yet he said something that moved me in a different direction one of concern that his message was in error. Not, that the end was near, but he had concluded that our Lord would return on May 21st 2011. My concern had nothing to do with the closeness of the date, but rather that he had affixed a specific date. As you may have read in Matthew 24:36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only." this statement alone tells me, we were never intended to know the exact date. We should not as good Christians, attempt to convert unbelievers by threat, but, by Love. If we spread the word that we have by whatever means deciphered the Word Of God, and have found the "Hidden Code" we do a disservice not only to God, and the Bible, but to ourselves and those whom, we have expressed care for to save. Even if we feel that God has reveiled to us that moment of the second coming, we should keep it to ourselves. Don't get me wrong the urgency of salvation is real for any time. But, that is the work of the Holy Ghost. We are charged with planting the seed, not reaping the Harvest.

Reason 1) If we are in error and we proclaim the second coming too early, there would be those who have followed find themselves rejecting our faith as false, as that date comes and goes. I am reminded about a farmer turned preacher in western Pennsylvania back in the 1850's who converted many and one day waited on a hilltop, for the Lord to come. that day came, and passed and of the thousands who waited with him, most left, and left the church disenchanted with the false promise.

Reason 2) If we are in error and we proclaim the second coming and are off in the other direction, there would be those who would think they have all that time to sin and repent at the last minute. Then those persons would find themselves on the outside as the gates are locked.

Reason 3) There will be those who will call us fools and scoff at our warnings, whereas this will happen anyway, it is just more of justification on their part.

Let me once again express, it is our place in life to spread the word (plant the seed), walk the walk, praise God and pray continually for those not saved, that the Holy Ghost will use our seed to grow faith within those we have touched.