Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Five Cycles

I must admit, I thought for sure I would lose some followers after last week's blog. The fact that you have stuck around signifies you are seekers like me, and are probably as certain as I am that no one holds all answers other than God alone. This week will be relatively short, but will be a "real doozy":

Daniel 12:4: "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end."

Daniel 12:9: "And he said, 'Go thy way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end."

Possibly you have heard all of the recent chatter about the Mayan Calendar and how it ends on December 21, 2012, supposedly ushering in the end of time. The Mayan people were interesting to say the least: they calculated the exact duration of a year to a thousandth of a decimal point, predicted every solar and lunar eclipse to this day, and found the exact center of the Milky Way (calling it the Sacred Tree---Or the Tree of Life). Considering the Mayans lived around 2600 BC, during a time many would have us believe cavemen were still roaming around with big clubs in their hands, the Mayans should give us pause for thought and consideration. We can all agree, I am certain, they knew a lot about the stars.

The following is something you may not know, that I find very interesting. The Mayan people divided time into five cycles, and every cycle had a well defined end:

Cycle 1: Ended when a Jaguar came and ate everyone on earth.
Cycle 2: Ended in air
Cycle 3: Ended in fire
Cycle 4: Ended in flood
Cycle 5, most interpreters of the Mayan Calendar agree, will end with earthquakes.

December 21, 2012 shares something else in common with the Mayan's prediction of the end of is also a day when the Sun will hold still in the sky right smack dab in the center of our galaxy, the very point the Mayan's called the Tree of Life.

Since most secularists believe the earth has been around for billions of years, this would be no big deal....especially since the Sun passes the "Tree of Life" every 25,800 years (meaning according to their creation philosophy, this event has already happened many times). But for those who believe in a young earth, this becomes a HUGE once-in-creation deal.

Job 38:31: "Can you bind the sweet influences of Pleiades or loose the bands of Orion? Can you bring forth Mazzaroth in season? or can you guide Arcturus with his sons? do you know the ordinances of heaven? can you set the dominion thereof in the earth?

Mazzaroth....are you familiar with the term? The word simply means constellations.

Astrology is very different from Astronomy. Astrology plays into the "all about me" trap while Astronomy can assume an "all about God" strategy. What I am suggesting is that it is possible God placed the stars and planets in the sky in such a predictable order to speak HIS-story to us. It is a fact the Hebrews believed each constellation told a God-story: The Promised Seed = Virgo / Triumph of the Lion of Judah = Leo /Messiah Coming to Rule = Taurus / etc.

Since Satan craftily attempts to corrupt all things God intends for good, it is no surprise to see the constellations (called Zodiac) splattered over the Internet and in newspapers to "predict the future" for humankind. But God says:

Psalm 19:1 "The heavens declare the glory of unto day utters speech and night unto night reveals knowledge."

Have you heard of the software called "Starry Night" that can take our present day alignment of stars/planets and successfully go back to any point in history to see, with great accuracy, what the night sky looked like on any particular evening. Are you ready for this? A little over 2000 years ago, a wonderful phenomenon happened in the night sky when two planets perfectly lined up to create what looked like a magnificent star in the sky. Hmmmm. Can you think of any relevance to a magnificent star and a significant historical event that occurred just over 2000 years ago? (Note: while we celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th as a matter of tradition, it should be noted December 25th was actually deemed to be the birthdate of Jesus under the rule of Constantine in the year 336AD when he attempted to blend the pagan celebration of Winter Solstice with a Christian celebration in hopes of unification---therefore, in my opinion, the "date" of the bright star is not as important as the time period).

To close, I want to wrap all of these facts together into one big bundle of epic thought. Supposing God did indeed put the stars and planets in an orderly fashion in order to shout out His Way and His Truth to us, it can be inferred that the Mayans somehow understood this Divine connection. I mentioned earlier that the Mayans broke time into five cycles for a specific reason. Christians also break time into five cycles:

1. Creation - Flood
2. Flood - Abrahamic Covenant
3. Abrahamic Covenant - Jesus' Crucifixion/Resurrection
4. The Times of the Gentiles/Christian Era
5. The End Times

From the Old Testament:

Leviticus 26:33 "I will scatter you (Hebrew/Jewish people) among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins."

Deuteronomy 4:27: "The LORD will scatter you (Hebrew/Jewish people) among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive..."

Ezekiel 34:13: "I will bring them (Hebrew/Jewish people) out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements of the land."

Ezekiel 36: "And I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds....'Thus says the Lord God, I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the nations....but the nations shall know that I am the Lord when I am hallowed in you before your eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land."

From the New Testament, Jesus says in Luke Chapter 21:

"Then let them (the Jews) which are in Judaea flee....and they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

Jesus spoke these words around 33AD, and in 70AD Titus the Roman completely decimated Jerusalem, burned the second temple to the ground, scattered the Jews and banned them from reentering until Israel was miraculously reborn in May of 1948....and since June 6th, 1967, following The Six Day War, the Jews have ruled Jerusalem.

Prophecy fulfilled. Jews have been re-gathered from among the nations by the Almighty!

If the times of the Gentiles has been fulfilled, then we are living in the 5th cycle called The End Times right now. Next week we will begin to consider world-changing events that are unfolding every day in the form of volcanic activity, earthquakes, flooding, famine, food shortages, economic meltdowns, inflation, rising oil prices, etc. This is an exciting time to be alive!

Psalm 121:1-2 "I look to the hills from whence cometh my help comes from the Lord."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thinking Outside Of The Box: The Mark Of The Beast

Many of us were taught about end time events from pastors and teachers throughout our lives. Have you heard of Dispensational Premillennialism, Historic Premillennialism, Amillennialism, and Postmillennialism? I grew up with the ongoing debate (that is still ongoing). If you have been taught about End Time events, just know you are reading this post with pre-conceived notions. Nothing is necessarily wrong with pre-conceived ideas as long as we are willing to "park" them on occasion to consider other thought. If you struggle with legalism, which I did for most of my spiritual journey leading up to Hopey's birth, this will not be an easy task.

Legalism is a terrible trap basically equivalent to the "P" word (PRIDE). How will you recognize it? If, when reading this post, you begin to become defensive and are experiencing a fit of legalism. Please know that I never presume to speak for the Almighty. I am just like all of you. I am a seeker. I believe in the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob just like the majority of religious people do....and I want to know Him as intimately as possible before meeting Him face to face. Therefore, thoughts and ideas shared in my blog are simply....thoughts and ideas. For this End Times study, however, know that I am attempting to keep it on neutral ground without adding my own influences and beliefs.

Now, for this week's study:

There are many religious viewpoints when it comes to views on End Time Events. For fun, see if you recognize your belief in any one of the following:

An anticipated deliverer will arrive on earth to defeat evil once and for all, raising up the righteous for an eternal life free from sin and suffering.

Oh, go figure, there is really only ONE religious viewpoint when it comes to the discussion of End Time Events. Interesting, huh? The differences are significant from the standpoint of what each religion embodies as their vehicle for salvation, sure, but the variances are only in the details describing "who" and "when".

My point is two-fold:

1. If all major religions, encompassing the overwhelming majority of the population of the world, can agree on two points:
a. the belief in God, and
b. the belief that a Deliverer is coming to destroy evil and rescue the righteous for eternity, then
perhaps these two similarities can provide a source of validity, for argument's sake, for atheists and agnostics to consider.

2. Since an overwhelming majority of the world's population can agree on two significant "religious" points, instead of dividing and separating into our own "camps" out of fear that one might contaminate the other, we could use this link to add more "LOVE" and acceptance into the "religious" equation.

Is Legalism rearing her ugly head yet? Are her eyes rolling as she spits this blog post out as "heresy"? If so, you are not alone, so don't worry. But consider this for a moment: Christians, you believe the Muslims are the Enemy....some even call "Islam" the anti-Christ. Would you be surprised to learn they feel the same way about you? And the Jews....they think both Muslims and Christians are a bunch of nuts. It is kind of humorous if you think about it. All "religions" believe they are right and everyone else is wrong.

"Every way of man is right in his own eyes, but God ponders the heart." (Proverbs 21)

Chappy and I took the girls to the Cracker Barrel on Thursday morning for a pancake breakfast. (I bet all religions could agree on the tastiness of Cracker Barrel's buttermilk pancakes as well). Throughout our breakfast, there was a man "holding court" at the large table directly behind us. He had his Bible and notes laid across the table and was telling his table, in a booming voice so the entire restaurant could benefit from his great wisdom, what he believed as he frequently flipped through his Bible to give scripture references to back up those beliefs. For an hour, we enjoyed our scrumptious pancakes while listening to a worn out sermon we did not want to hear. Chappy, finally, leaned across the table and said: "I wish that guy behind us would shut up!" The girls and I giggled because we were all thinking the exact same thought. This man was not "discussing" scripture, he was out to prove to his table that he had answers about God and discernment of scripture. Whenever anyone at the table would speak up and ask him to consider their thoughts on a particular subject, he would quickly turn to another scripture to prove them wrong and prove himself to be be God's chosen ambassador placed in charge of beating the Bible into the brains of anyone who would listen.

"For the LORD is our judge, the LORD our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is HE who will save us." Isaiah 33:22

"Have you ever commanded the morning, and caused dawn to know its place, that it might take hold of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it? Have you entered into the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have you understood the expanse of the earth? Tell me if you know all of this." Job 38

Coming from a background where I thought I knew everything about salvation, I can now safely say that I remain at the mercy of God. I know my place. He, alone, is God....and I am not. As a result, people who proclaim to be experts in "All Things God" make me very nervous, and I stay far far away from them.

Since most religions deem the Old Testament to be somewhat historically credible and therefore relevant....let's consider the following from Exodus:

1. I am the Lord your God who has taken you out of Egypt (I am your Deliverer)

2. Have no other Gods but Me (I am the God you seek and I am all you need....worship only Me.)

3. Do not take the Father's Name in vain (If you place your identity in Me, --example: a wife taking her husband's name, making her a new woman who is no longer "one" but now joined to her husband with a new identity as wife---, your actions should line-up and show that you are Mine.)

4. Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it Holy (Schedule regular time to make Me your focus, because I want fellowship with you)

5. Honor your Father and Mother (God lovingly gives children parents to teach them about the importance of obeying authority; by learning to honor and obey parents, children ultimately learn to obey and honor their heavenly Father...and the cycle continues with each generation. On a side note, unfortunately, sometimes parents forgo their duty which is why orphanages and foster care systems are overcrowded....the incidence of the "forgotten children" breaking the law is proportionately staggering proving God's plan works when implemented.)

6. Do not Murder (Murder = taking someone's life without full justification. God is the giver of life, so man was never intended to be the taker of life.)

7. Do not Commit Adultery (In Ezekiel 16, Jerusalem is described as a wife that commits adultery...taking strangers instead of her husband. It is arguable that God views marriage as a present-day picture of our marriage to Him)

8. Do not steal. (Be willing to work hard to earn benefits needed for survival. If you have need, however, be willing to humble yourself to ask for help. By allowing another to meet your need, you have brought to them an unexpected blessing.)

9. Do not bear false witness. (The word "devil" comes from the greek word diablos and means "accuser". When we accuse someone without two or more witnesses and/or concrete facts, we are acting like the "devil" and bearing false witness.)

10. Do not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Be satisfied---do not place importance on material things that will pass away or fade out, but focus on eternal things that last.)

Do you know what is so interesting about the infamous Ten Commandments? If you search the absolute genesis of any civilized society of every part of the world, you will find a list eerily similar to the Ten Commandments given at Mt. Sinai. One argument athiests often use to prove their point revolves around this very subject. They site the different cultures who used laws similar to The Ten Commandments, but were in place PRIOR TO the event on Mt. Sinai....then they propose that the Ten Commandments and Exodus was just a copycat (hoax) story used to control people (crowd control, if you will). Funny to me, is they never stop to consider how remarkable it is that these same laws sprouted up all over the globe by many different cultures and civilizations in ancient times when record-keeping was not the main priority of the day.
To me, in contrast to the athiests' view, this fact alone strongly validates how important those Commandments are in setting apart God's people. Only God could do something so remarkable as make the Commandments a world-wide phenomenon without the advent of television, radio, or those airplanes that carry advertisements across the sky!

To wrap up, since most religious people believe an end time event will usher in the defeat of evil while bringing eternal salvation for the righteous....and since most religious people also place significant value on the laws of God, can we safely agree, in generic, taking off our religious hat, terms, the Ten Commandments could be a "Mark" that is placed upon those who belong to Him....equally making the "Mark of the Beast" (the mark of evil) evident in those who don't follow the ways of God through their thoughts (on their foreheads) and their actions (on their hands)?

"And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice: If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14

"He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him." (1 John 2:4)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Heart Full

Yesterday, for the first time, I came to terms with the fact that Hopey may never have language. At 5 1/2 years, she still is not speaking. This morning when I left her at preschool for her 4 hour day of teaching and therapy, one of the teaching assistants looked at Hopey in the eyes and spoke sweetly to her. I watched as Hopey so badly wanted to respond, but could not with words. Instead, she smiled and craned her neck forward to show her reply of pure love and appreciation. I left the room bawling like a baby and cried out to God: "Oh Father, I just want to hear her tell me she loves me, please." Selfishly, I want my baby girl to have a voice.

My next stop was to drop off little red-headed Charlie for his very first day of preschool. At 2 and 1/2 he is still not walking or speaking and wants to be with me all of the time. Well, the truth is, I have never left him before except for a short stay with my parents when they come to visit from out of town. I guess he wants to be with me all of the time, or perhaps he has just never had another choice. Ha! Ha! Anyway, today marks our first official day of separation from each other since he will be going to preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the rest of the school year. I left part of my heart in that special needs preschool room today, and my bawling has continued.

On top of it all, Chappy is out of town, so my tears are wasted. If he were here he would hold me and encourage me the way only he can. Hoping for something to bring cheer, I opened the computer and found a message from Carlene's new remember Carlene, the little angel our family raised money for over Christmas? She shared her blog with me, and if you have time you just have to read it today:

God is so awesome and so tender. This blog post was exactly what I needed to see today, and He prepared it perfectly for me.

My last blogpost was a bit lengthy, because it is sometimes difficult for me to write what the Father places on my heart. The LOVE I suggested in that post that seems to be missing in "religion" today can oddly be summed up by reading Jolie's (Carlene's new mommy) blogpost. You see, when our hearts are in tune to God's work, and we focus on loving others instead of always trying to prove our doctrine/beliefs, then our Lord works everything else out. Beautifully and quite seamlessly, he brings us together and shows Himself to us clearly. Truly, this life is a lesson about LOVE.

Oh Lord, Jesus, thank you so much for loving me today....and for loving Hopey, Charlie, Elizabeth, Carlene (to be called Mollie), and all of your special ones. You are magnificent! And my heart is full!