Sunday, September 27, 2020

Signs of the Times - What They Mean, Part One

Hey Friend,

When school was in session, I served as the crossing guard for a nearby elementary school.  It was hard to miss me because I wore a neon yellow-green reflective vest with lovely matching hat and gloves.  The key accessory to my uniform was a giant, red, octagonal sign that read S-T-O-P!!  

It never ceased to amaze me how drivers reacted to me and my sign when I stepped out, bravely, to the middle of the crosswalk.  Some alert drivers, with their eyes on the road, were aware of the sign from a long way off.  They slowed and stopped at a safe distance from the crosswalk.

Other drivers, who were talking on their cell phones, checking their makeup, eating, or were otherwise distracted, would slam on the breaks and come to an abrubt stop - sometimes within a couple feet of me.

And then, there were those who were just completely oblivious, lost in their own thoughts, or were ticked off that they were late for work and this sign was going to make them even later, chose to blow right through the cross walk because they didn't even see the giant "STOP" sign that was right in front of them.

Right now, in this generation, we are witnesses to many major signs announcing the coming of the Day of the Lord, and our reactions are mixed.  We aren't, however, the first ones in history to miss some pretty obvious signs.  

Jesus' ministry was building steam and His following was growing.  Many had seen signs and miracles - casting out demons, healing the sick and the blind, making the lame walk, and turning water into wine, yet the Pharisees and the Sadducees (both united in their hatred for Jesus) came to Jesus and demanded that He "show them a sign from heaven" to prove that He was, indeed, the Messiah.  

I find it ironic that Jesus had just finished feeding thousands from a little boy's lunch and had raised someone from the dead, and these guys needed a "sign"...really?  In Mark's account of this, he records that "Jesus sighed." I envision Jesus smacking His palm to his forehead while muttering, "Oy Vey!!"

At the same time, I wonder if I would have missed the signs and would have been shouting, "Crucify Him!" on that horrific day??

Yet, here we are witnessing sign after sign and we don't want to admit that the Day of the Lord, perhaps, is not as far off as we think.  No, we are not to be sitting around debating the exact day or hour because no one will know this - not even Christ Himself; only the Father knows.  (Matthew 24:36)

We are, however, to be watching, be prepared, and be the Bride at the ready for her Bridegroom to return.  We are promised a blessing for reading Revelation and the prophetic books of the Bible (which comprise 30% of all scripture).

So what are some of the signs that scripture tells us will happen as the Day of the Lord approaches:

1.  Shrinking of America:  Students of Biblical prophecy have been perplexed that the United States is not recorded in the events of the last days.  America seems to be missing from the end times scenario.  We see the rise of the Antichrist with ten nations configured under him.  We also see another mega-power referred to as "the kings of the east."  (Revelation 16:12)

If you follow the news, at all, you can't miss how strong China has emerged in recent days, both as an economic powerhouse and as a military superpower.  They are pouring billions into armaments and military.  Some experts say that within just a few years, China could overtake the US as the world's top economy.

Also, be on the lookout for world news as it relates to Israel. Israel is God's chosen nation and the Jews are His people.  God will defend them zealously against any foe that dares to come against them.  Jerusalem will be "ground zero" for the final battle.  

2.  Push for New World Currency:  We are already seeing cash disappear as a form of currency.  There is definitely a push for a new world currency.  In our nation, there is a lot of talk about mandatory, hi-tech, national ID cards.  Might they be a precursor to the "mark of the Beast," without which no one will be able to buy or sell?  (Revelation 13: 16-17)

Know this:  I don't claim to be a Biblical scholar, nor do I ever pretend to begin to know the mind of God.  I do read and study His Word, and I feel led to share what I'm learning so that we can look forward with hope and anticipation. I invite your insights as well. In my next post, I'll continue with more signs of the times - including the "billboard" of signs.  I'll explore what might be next and what we can choose to do with that information.  

Meanwhile, know this, God does not give us prophecy in scripture to scare the bejeebers out of us- just the opposite.  He offers us prophecy so that we can be reassured that He is in control, is omniscient, and none of this is taking Him by surprise. It is there to comfort believers. He reassures us that Christ, the Bridegroom will come for his Bride (the body of believers/the church) and will spare her (us) the hell on earth that will be the Tribulation.  

If you/we believe, we can be looking forward expectantly and with rejoicing to Christ's coming again during the Rapture. We will, finally, get to hug the neck of the Son of God. Can you even fathom that? He will wipe away our every tear and we will be gathered together, with Him, at the wedding supper of the Lamb. That, is something to truly be excited about!

If you would like to become a believer and have the comfort and reassurance that Christ is coming just for you, might you want to pray to receive Christ as your personal Savior? I promise it will be the best decision you will ever make!  Pray with me...

Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins and rebellion against Your authority.  I receive You into my heart as my Lord and Savior.  I also receive Your blood on the cross as the payment for all of my sins and believe I'm totally forgiven by You.  Thank You for the free gifts of forgiveness and eternal life.  Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and give me the power to change and follow You all the days of my life.  In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Want some uplifting television?  Check out The Chosen.   Click HERE to 

Congratulations to Jeanne T., the winner of the Moment to Breathe devotional!!

Be blessed...

ps.  If you've enjoyed what you've read, perhaps you'd like to SUBSCRIBE to my weekly blog (and nothing else).  Go to the SUBSCRIBE tab, enter your contact info and BE SURE TO LOOK FOR AN EMAIL THAT CONTAINS A CONFIRMATION LINK THAT YOU MUST CLICK TO CONFIRM YOUR SUBSCRIPTION.  Thanks for reading...

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Are We There Yet? Plus Devotional Giveaway!

Hey Friend,

This post appeared on DaySpring's (in)courage blog one year ago, and now it is part ot a new devotional - "Take Heart - 100 devotions for seeing God when life is not okay."  This power packed devotional tackles the hard feelings and experiences we are all dealing with like anxiety, fear, fatigue, loneliness, depression, uncertainty, doubt, suffering, and wondering where God is in all of this?  Most of all, it offers hope and vital encouragement to hearts that are not okay.

I'll give you information as to how to preorder and get a free book of prayers to share.  But first, here's a sneak peak of what you can expect when you pre-order "Take Heart"...

Are We There Yet? 

We thought we were pretty "high tech" cruising down the road some twenty plus years ago in our Pontiac Transport minivan (lovingly known as the dustbuster on wheels).  For long family road trips, we were among the first to have a "deluxe" video tape player that plugged into the cigarette lighter.

Cell phones and video games had not yet burst onto the scene, so when my kids invariably asked, "Are we there yet?" I would put it in terms they would understand.  "One more Winnie the Pooh [thirty minutes] and we'll stop for something to eat."  "One more Sandlot [ninety minutes) and we'll be there."  This along with a Mary Poppins bag of treats and toys that came out at crucial moments, is what got us through those long ventures.  

As an adult who is cruising toward sixty, I find myself asking God "Are we there yet?"  

God has been so faithful to answer prayers in ways that I would have never imagined.  Some prayers went on for over twenty-five years, and it's beginning to dawn on me that some prayers will not be answered on this side of eternity.  We are drawn into thinking that this life is all there is and prayers need to be answered during this limited time we have on earth.

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.  (2 Corinthians 4:17)

God's promises, however, go far beyond our short life spans.  His focus is an eternal one and He calls us to get on the bandwagon with this way of thinking.  In a seminary class I took, one of the things they had us focus on in Scripture was repitition.  When God really wants to make a point, the point is often repeated several times.

Psalm 136 chronicles God's steadfastness throughout biblical history, and after every point the psalmist makes, the chorus is repeated. "His faithful love endures forever" is repeated twenty-six times.   

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.
His faithful love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1)

I think God is trying to get the point across that His love is not just for this world, but will be especially present in eternity - what hope, what joy awaits us!
The Bible talks a lot about forever, and eternity, and life everlasting.  The gospel's main theme is that man is not doomed forever for his sins, but by grace, can have life everlasting, and salvation in paradise forever.  

I am convicted that I need to adjust my lens for a more eternal setting.

This life is not all there is.

So, when I want to ask God, "How long, O Lord?" it's kind of like I'm asking as a child, "Are we there yet?"  As I try to patiently wait upon the Lord, I take heart that even if my prayers aren't answered on this side of the pearly gates, they will certainly receive a glorious answer in eternity.  

I thank You and praise You, God, that this life is not all there is.  Thank you for sending Your Son to die for me so that I may live forever in eternity with You. Help me to be patient through these trials and periods of suffering, because I know they are building my character for eternal puposes.  Help me to look not just to the end of this lifetime, but to the blessing of eternal life, where all unanswered prayers will finally be answered once and for all.  Grant me the patience until I am with You forever.  In Your eternal name I pray. Amen.

Now for the FUN!!!  Here's how to get 3 books - one you pay for and two for FREE!

1.  Pre-order "Take Heart" devotional (above) before OCT. 15th and you will get a FREE book "Prayers to Share."  After you go to the link below, be sure to fill out the REDEMPTION FORM in order to get the  FREE Prayer book.

2.  Enter a FREE Giveaway of (in)courage's first devotional - "A Moment to Breathe."  (it contains 2 devotions I've written). All you have to do to be entered is SUBSCRIBE to my blog.  To do this, go to the SUBSCRIBE TAB above and enter your contact information.  BE SURE TO LOOK FOR A CONFIRMATION LINK IN YOUR EMAIL INBOX to complete the Subscription. I never share my email list!

3.  Get a second entry on the FREE Giveaway by pre-ordering "Take Heart" devotional and then leave a comment below that says, "I want to take heart!"

Drawing for "A Moment to Breathe" to be held Sept. 26th.  US and Canada residents only for Giveaway. Thanks for reading...don'f forget - subscribe to win!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

The Space Between is Wearing Thin - Guest Post & Giveaway

Hey Friends,

I just finished reading this beautiful post by my good friend and sister-blogger, Jana Schmitt, and I knew immediately that I had to share it.  Her words echoed what has been on my heart and playing on a continuous loop in my mind.  I can't stop thinking about it and at times I have wondered if I was alone in my ponderings.  

I am blessed to work with Jana who is the Chairman of our wonderful Board of Directors for Redeemer Christian Foundation (RCF, Inc.)  God has truly blessed me by orchestrating our paths to cross years ago as our passions merged to share the gospel in hard to reach countries.

I invite you to read Jana's wisdom-filled writing and then click over to her blogsite to continue reading and then leave her some lovin' in her Comments section.  Before you leave, be sure to enter the GIVEAWAY below.  Drawing to be held Sept. 26th.

Jana is a licensed counselor and full time “Jja-Ja” to her two grand babies. Despite being an empty nester, you’ll find that her house is rarely empty. She loves hosting gatherings, has a special knack for assembling charcuterie boards, and can usually be found Pinteresting her next renovation project. Jana is the matriarch of the writing trio that pens their thoughts at The Space We Share.

The Space Between is Wearing Thin   by Jana Schmitt

I want to share some things that have been on my heart. In fact, there’s so much welling up within me I’m not even sure where to begin. But I pray God gives me the words that offer hope and comfort and most clearly reflect HIS heart.

It seems every single piece of correspondence I’ve received for months now starts out with something about “these unprecedented times”. None of us would deny the truth in that. It’s no big revelation to say we’re living through some strange times. And in our imperfect humanity we each react differently to the uncertainty. Some of us withdraw. Some fight back. Some live in denial. Some grow ever more intent upon not letting these things affect their life plans while others fall prey to depression, anxiety and isolation.

But underneath it all - on some level - I think we’re all asking what is happening? Will things ever be normal again?

What if the answer to that is no? And what if that’s a good thing?

Click Here to read the rest of Jana's post at The Space We Share

Don't miss this GIVEAWAY!! In honor of being on the cusp of my favorite season - FALL! I'm giving away a FREE copy of A Moment to Breathe - 365 daily devotions that help you find beauty in the ordinary and sometimes messy moments of your everyday life.

Featured writers include: Holley Gerth, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Becky Kiefe, and yours truly...

SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG and be automatically entered in the DRAWING to be held on Sept. 26th. If you subscribe already, then leave a comment that says "Enter Me in the Drawing" (Having trouble - try the Anonymous option.)

NEW SUBSCRIBER?: After you enter your contact information, be sure to check your email inbox. YOU NEED TO OPEN THE EMAIL FROM ME AND CLICK THE CONFIRMATION LINK TO COMPLETE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION. ~ thanks for reading...

Be blessed...