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Your Last Christmas

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IMG_2439No. I don’t mean the one you had last year. I mean, like, what if this Christmas is your last one? Health is only one reason why this may be your last Christmas. I know many people who had their last Christmas in 2013 and are no longer going to be with us this year. But, I want to speak about another reason why this may be your (our) last Christmas and, given that, why we should celebrate as if it were the last one we will ever have.

I have collected several documents over the years where someone has predicted a certain catastrophe to happen. I don’t think any of them has come true. Things like the infamous Y2K scare or an economic collapse like the depression of the 1920’s. But I don’t recall seeing as many predictions about pending disasters as I have seen recently for the coming year — 2015. I hope and expect that these will pass into history like all the past predictions have done. We have to realize, however, that there are many around us who buy into these for one reason or another and for that very reason, we should at least try to be a little knowledgeable about them and not just shrug them off.

Some that I have found are these:

– Financial crash. One date is 26 April, 2015. Source: Annie Lowrey for New York magazine.

– A ’25-year Great Depression’ between 28 May and 1 June, 2015. Source: Money Morning.

– Various problems (stock markets, Ebola, ISIS) attributed to the Shemitah. This is based on a 7 year biblical cycle for wiping all debts clean every 7 years. This Shemitah year started Sep 25, 2014 (based on the Hebrew calendar). Source: Leo Hohmann for WND

– Blood Moon Tetrad from April 15, 2014 to Sept 28, 2015 could signal anything from the tribulation to the return of Christ. Source: Mark Biltz and others.

– Asteroid will hit earth on Sept 24, 2015. Source: Before It’s News

There are still other reports about solar flare activity, EMP blast from IRAN, government overthrows around the world, and extreme weather causing death and destruction. Some are interesting while others seem to be a result of too much caffeine or other substance.

The whole point here is not to focus on any of these questionable predictions. I was just doing a study in Isaiah and ran across this from chapter 52:

Isa 52:7 How delightful it is to see approaching over the mountains the feet of a messenger who announces peace, a messenger who brings good news, who announces deliverance, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

We might say, “Our God reigns!”, or “God is in control.” That is the one and only ‘good news’ in light of all the bad news and predictions for the year ahead. Any one of these coming to fruition could possibly lead to no Christmas next year. However, I fully expect Christmas next year to be pretty much like this one with all the shopping and Black Friday madness. Does that mean we should be less earnest in our duty as messengers of God? So, I ask again, “What if this is your last Christmas?” That is certainly true for thousands of people around the world. So, make known to the little world around you the Good News of salvation through Jesus. It is a free gift (Romans 6:23) to all who would be bold enough to open and look inside.

Before “the beginning”

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Hubble_Horses1Saw this picture from the Hubble telescope and it got me to thinking…

“In the beginning God…” But did you ever think about what was there before the beginning? When God created the universe as we know it, I do not believe he created something like a fish bowl in the center of His heaven. Stay with me now — this could be rocky. The Bible tells us that God is spirit and everything in heaven (before the beginning) is spirit, as well. When everything is spirit that means there is nothing that is physical as we know it. There is nothing that has mass — no elements or even atoms. No protons, neutrons, or even quarks. If you can imagine Casper the Friendly ghost, you know that nothing physical impeded his movement. Physical matter does not matter to that which is spirit. With that in mind consider this. When God created the Heaven and Earth, sun, moon, and stars He put all of this within his heaven. It filled heaven without displacing anything that existed in heaven.

When God created a single atom, He created them all. All at once he populated heaven with every atom and element that will ever be needed. When He created the universe, His light was blocked and all appeared to be dark. It was dark in the physical world, but His light still shown in heaven — the spiritual world. When you think about light supposedly taking billions of years to reach from a distant galaxy to the Hubble space telescope, consider how long it takes God to move his finger from one side of heaven to another. I contend that there is no difference between the size of the universe and the size of heaven — both have no boundaries. God is not ‘out there somewhere’ or beyond the borders of the universe peering in periodically to see how we are doing. God, and all his angels are everywhere in our known universe because it all exists within His Heaven. God and His angels can be anywhere on earth as easily as he can be anywhere in Heaven. That is why prophets such as Ezekiel and John could easily peer into the heavenly realm when allowed by God. Look at 2 Kings 6:16-17: He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Heaven is not “up there” or “beyond the stars”. Heaven is here and so is God. Someday we will pass from this physical world to the spiritual one where God lives eternally. The writer of Hebrews says this when speaking of things to come: Heb 12:26 “Then his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “I will once more shake not only the earth but heaven too.” 27 Now this phrase “once more” indicates the removal of what is shaken, that is, of created things, so that what is unshaken may remain.” What is ‘unshaken’ and will remain is the spiritual world that existed before Genesis 1:1. We are born into this realm when put our faith into God’s Son Jesus Christ.

The Face In The Mirror

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MirrorWhat do you see when you look in the mirror? Most would simply say that they see their own reflection. At first read, that is what you would think James is talking about in verse 23 and 24 of chapter 1 of his letter.

“For if someone merely listens to the message and does not live it out, he is like someone who gazes at his own face in a mirror.  For he gazes at himself and then goes out and immediately forgets what sort of person he was.”

Further inspection of the original Greek phrase makes it to be more like “the face of his beginning or origin”. That makes the whole passage and following verses in James make a lot more sense. We are to look into the mirror that is God’s perfect Law — the Bible. What we see is where we came from before we met Jesus. We were not born ‘saved’ nor did we earn it. It is only by God’s grace that we have access to Him and have the ability to live eternally with Him. He gave up His Son Jesus Christ on the cross so that our sins – the sins of the whole world — may be forgiven once and for all. That is the only way that God can grant us the privilege to live with Him eternally. We must accept what he did for us nearly 2000 years ago on the cross on a hill called Calvary. To reject it is to live eternally apart from God in a place reserved for Satan and his followers. It is a free gift given to all who would take the time to open it.  We were all once sinners — that is what we see when we look into God’s mirror. God sees his child saved by grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Hide!

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Where is the monster

Monster? What monster?

Have you ever tried to hide from a monster by pulling the blankets over your head? Ranger is trying to hide under a tarp from monsters in the pasture. I don’t think it is going to work unless they are afraid of blue tarps. In real life we just can’t hide from real or perceived monsters. Whether it be financial, personal, or spiritual matters they will eventually catch up with us. Problems must be dealt with sooner or later. Even Christmas has to be dealt with in some form or another. Its roots begin with Christ and that is hard to ignore. When it comes to all things spiritual, nobody can hide from God. This, obviously, holds true for believers as well as those who don’t believe in Jesus and the God of our Bible. People are generally lazy and simply believe, or trust, in whatever is first told them. It takes a little effort to uncover the truth and most of the world just does not want to take the time to discover what is really true. Sometimes, truth is suppressed by governments or lack of education, but God breaks through to those who seek Him.  Evidence in history points to a real Jesus.  Evidence in nature points to a real God. Evidence through science points to a young earth that could only be created supernaturally. Facts from only a few inches of dust on the moon discovered in 1969, human and dinosaur foot prints in same layer of earth in Texas, helium still existing in the atmosphere today, comets made up of ice that melt as they orbit around the sun, or the fact that a single cell can’t decide what it wants to be when it grows up. Obviously, all of these and more require that you look at each one individually to find out just what I am talking about (Google it). The sciences (astronomy, geology, biology, physics) all point to the God of the Bible as the creator of all things — unless you are too lazy to check it out.  Everyone will meet God someday – you will never find a blanket large enough to hide from Him. You can’t cover your head and pretend He is not there. Death will show you He is real. The question is, “Will you spend eternity with Him or apart from Him?” Ask Jesus for a chance to meet him today before it is too late. Merry Christmas – He is the real reason for the season.

Silent Night — 14 December 2012

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Boss_GAFGod is good all the time, but that does not mean that this evil that broke loose today in Newtown, Connecticut was good by any stretch of the imagination. Nor can we expect to find ‘good’ in it even though some may come out of it.  We may never know this side of Heaven, why God allowed such a thing to happen.  God was there as He has been since the beginning of time and we need to look to only Him for comfort and strength. I am certain from Biblical teaching that these 20 children are at rest in the arms of Jesus tonight regardless of the beliefs of their parents. I cannot speak for the spirits of the adults whose lives were also taken. I am not going to try to make sense of this senseless act of unspeakable evil but fall on my knees and pray to my God, the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for comfort for the families involved.

On behalf of South Carolina Equestrian Ministries and Great Adventure Fellowship, our prayers go out to those who are left behind on this Silent Night.

Signs of the times

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Back in October, we spent 3 days at Camelot Farm outside of Beaufort.  (Click on ‘Camelot’ tabe above for pictures)  A really beautiful and secluded place.  Not a whole lot of trails, but it was certainly relaxing and peaceful. Trails mostly consisted of dirt roads through the local community. Hardly any traffic as most of the homes looked like vacation properties. We were even able to ride along a small section of beach where our horses had a hissy fit.  There were some trails around the farm property, as well.  We knew that there was not much riding, so, we planned on sight-seeing in the afternoons. Took our kayaks and went to Hunting Island State park to paddle around their lagoon. Also, went to the same beach that our horses loved so much and ventured out in the ocean a short ways. The owners of the farm — the Kennedys — were awesome – extremely gracious and friendly.  We were shown some horse tricks and given a few tips to try on our guys. They have a small gift shop there, also. Of course, we had to try the local cuisine. There were several real nice eateries in the area that we tried and enjoyed.

ON or OFF

ON or OFF

On one of the roads/trails we ran across this sign. At first glance I was just wondering where the ‘OFF’ switch was. As you can see, the sign is upside down. How often do we misread the signs of the times in our own lives? I remember spending a few months in the desert of Saudi Arabia back in 1990. At that time, many folks were writing articles saying that it was the ‘end times’ unfolding before our eyes. Many times throughout the past 2000 years very learned individuals came up with good reasons why the end was at hand at any given time. I can think of half a dozen just in my life-time.  Once again, things are getting tense in the Middle East and people are wondering what is going to happen. We need to be careful not to misread the signs. I believe when God wants to make them clear to us, He will turn them right-side-up for all to see.  We just don’t know when God has ordained the end of this earthly home. We certainly don’t know when God has ordained the end of our own lives.

Our responsibility and mandate is to tell others about God’s Good News about his Son Jesus Christ. He died on the cross to forgive the sins of all. It is up to us to accept the free gift that God has given us while acknowledging the price that was paid for it — His Son.

Echo Square

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Echo Square on River Street

We traveled to Savannah last weekend and had a wonderful time sight-seeing and eating great food. I could fill this blog with all the things we saw and did, but I won’t bore you with that.  One of the last things we visited was a place called Echo Square. We ran across it by chance in a travel magazine the night before. It is right on River Street across from the Life Is Good store. We had walked right by it the day before. There is not a single marker or sign anywhere near this magical spot. You see, if you stand exactly in the middle of the square and speak, you and only you hear your echo.  There are a few different stories as to why — look it up and you be the judge.  The point here is that if it weren’t for an article in an obscure travel magazine, we never would have known about this spot. It would have remained silent and we never would have experienced the mystery of Echo Square.

That got me thinking about silent Christians. How many ‘Christians’ are undiscovered by those outside the church? Some might say that if we have to tell someone that we are a Christian than we must not be living right — our life styles should reflect our beliefs.  To some extent I would say that is true, but many times we don’t have the time to let someone see how we live.  We may be passing through a new area or at a horse event where nobody knows us.  Something to tell others we are religious in some form may lead to conversations or prayer requests.  It may even lead to a little persecution, but you are in good company if you are reviled for the name of Christ.

Someone once said, “Preach the gospel always, if necessary use words.” Of course, that means that our walk, or lifestyle, should tell those who are watching us that we are a Christian.  Now, I don’t think there is anything wrong with jewelry, tee shirts, or stickers on your truck or trailer that let someone know that Jesus is Lord. Even certain items on your tack and saddle can let others know you are a Christian. Just make doublely sure that your walk is consistent with your sign.  Living like the devil while promoting Jesus is the highest form of hypocrisy.  Be authentic – echo the light of Jesus into a dark world.

Matt 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven.

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