Friday, December 9, 2011

The Last Day - A Blog Book - Chapter 2

A Closer Look at Endings and Beginnings

Chapter Two – Biblical Examples of Last Days

One of the first Last Days mentioned in the Bible was in Genesis 2:1-3, the seventh day of creation. God completed the cosmos and rested from His labor of creating. You and I didn’t even exist within the context of matter or thought, yet God completed His work.

It was several thousand years later that God so loved each of us, that He sent His Son in human form to suffer and die for the sake of all humans, that our sin would be removed and that access to eternal love and relationship with God the Father would once again be restored.

But the curious thing about the Genesis 2 Last Day event was this: Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection and ascension were already completed in the mind of God (in physics that’s called potential energy). Revelation 13:8 states the fact that Jesus the Lamb of God was slain, in the mind and plan of God, even before the foundations of the earth were set. In other words, at God’s Last Day of labor, all things were set and completed. Only time had to pass for them to be manifest.

Then there was the Last Day in the garden for Adam and Eve. I can’t imagine the grief and sense of loss. One day you are free and destined to live in peace and harmony with God and all of creation. The next day you are banished from access to food that would keep you alive indefinitely and a close personal relationship with your Father Creator – not to mention then being at odds with the rest of creation. This was a very significant Last Day for them, and us.

Albeit God, set up access for us to return to that place of communion, there was indeed a Last Day that they stood in their precious home, only to be driven out into a realm they had never known. That’s a pretty big Last Day ouch if you ask me.

Then there was the Last Day before murder became a devilishly popular slap in the face of our Father God the Creator. I wonder how much of a strain there really was upon Cain and Abel’s relationship. I wonder when the seeds of jealousy and greed were planted in Cain’s heart. There had to be a Last Day that he ceased to obey and do what was right.

Had he chosen rightly regarding his relationship with Father God, murder may not have become so popular at the hands of his decedents. There was a Last Day when Cain, heard the voice of God, who offered wisdom and life, because God had seen that he was depressed and angry. God simply told him to do what was right, what possibly had been originally instructed, and his feelings and situation would change for the better. Cain declined. And a world free from murder saw its Last Day.

How about the Last Day before God flooded the earth? The account of Noah is peppered with Last Day moments, yet few to none heeded the warning signs – nor still do. The payment was met at a great price.

Last Days are scattered throughout scripture. The Last Day men acted as sheep herders then became leaders of people for the sake of God’s redemptive plan. Simply amazing!

There are Last Days of tyranny and fear brought to an end, by unwitting and unassuming men and women, found to be instruments of God, despite their hiding in wine presses or gleaning on the edge of fields, or who themselves had suffered under the whip of a taskmaster. On those Last Days they were converted into victorious champion sickles in the Hand of the Divine Reaper of Justice.

On and on through the ages, Last Days in the lives of men and women became pivot points of human transformation and access to God. It’s actually hard to imagine let alone document each and every Last Day that brought powerful change for one or the many. Millions of times, since day seven of creation have there been Last Days that were of enormous significance – and oh how easy it is to forget them.

There was a Last Day for this earth and mankind that caused all other Last Days to pale in comparison. That Last Day was the day before Mary gave birth to the actual Son of God. It was the day prior to Emanuel arriving in a stable. It was the day all hell and its minions sought to eliminate. It was a day the Savior was brought into this world.

Prior to that day, on the Last Day of demonic tyranny, all of creation groaned with no visible hope of relief, yet that Last Day did arrive. Jesus was born. And despite the most hellish efforts of the enemies of His Kingdom, He arrived.

And just a short thirty three years later, the consummation of God’s original Last Day of work came to pass. Sin was terminated as the final separation between God and man. Jesus was crucified, and death saw its Last Day of permanence. And the wrath of God toward all men was placed upon the spotless sacrifice, Jesus, and thereby we no longer are bound to face His wrath and eternal judgment.

And to cap it all off just three days after, the Last Day for sin and judgment, there was the Last Day that eternal entombment and death were able to call the shots. Jesus rose from the dead, and remains alive to this very day.

Wow, so many Last Day events. Not to mention all the Last Day events in the New Testament and prophesies yet to come. Over and over God has ordained the Last Day. He has ordained the turning point or the day of change so as to advance His plan and His Kingdom, even when we are unaware.

The Bible and the rest of recorded human history are filled with Last Day events; so why should you and I be dumbfounded or even amazed that our lives too would be filled with Last Days? Should we be surprised when one thing ends and another begins?

Rather, shouldn’t we simply embrace Last Days as part and parcel of how God brings the Genesis Last Day (day seven), to pass and so be proven True? I know I must, and albeit challenging some days, with His help I will. I will embrace the doctrine of Last Days and continue being sanctified and glorified for His sake.

For just as the passing of one day into another, is no longer seen as profound, but simply mundane; so too will I embrace God’s design for Last Days. And I pray that as I take each and every Last Day as not profound, but simply the mundane process that leads to an ultimate profound moment. The Last Day when all the old is passed away and new has finally come.

To Be Continued
Chapter Three - What is My Last Day

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Last Day - A Blog Book - Chapter 1

A Closer Look at Endings and Beginnings


Something unique but not simply proprietary to me happened this morning. It was something that everyone, everywhere faces. It was something that for many, it wakes them in the middle of the night. For others it stops them cold in their tracks of daily life. And even for others, it marks the beginning of great and unforeseen experiences.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about Last Days. I’m talking about points in human history, and each of us lives our own history. I’m talking about fulcrums in life that are strategically placed so as to tip a life one way or another; yet often overlooked as significant.

When change comes in this life, often it comes at the cessation of one thing and the creation of another. Granted there are times when change results not because something was removed, but simply added. Whether the altered states of our lives come from inductive process or deductive process or even a combination of the two, change happens to all of us.

The real question is: am I experiencing The Last Day?

Chapter One – Why Last Days are Significant

So why are last days significant? Well for one, they can mean the end of a life on this planet. Everyone, everywhere on this planet, should the return of Christ be postponed, will physically die. The Bible states clearly that “it is appointed unto men once to die” (Hebrews 9:27). Simply put, since the fall of humanity, physical death doggedly pursues everyone ever born; with very few exceptions.

Now granted Jesus taught that if we believe in and upon Him, we shall not die spiritually or eternally, but no place does Scripture indicate we who believe shall be exempt from physical death. It’s just something that’s with us until all things are made new.

Last Days are significant because for each of us, our mothers conceived, gestated, labored and gave birth. At which time pregnancy ended and new life came forth. Every mother experiences the Last Day of her pregnancy and we in turn experience the Last Day in the womb.

Last Days are significant because for some it marks the ending of one job and the beginning of another. Which many people view as a good thing. As long as the change is for the better, we all would agree.

For some folks, their Last Day is about starting a diet. For others it’s about quitting a destructive habit. For still others it’s about breaking up a relationship in hopes for a better one. Regardless of what our Last Days are comprised of, we all have them.

The Bible tells us that ultimately, there will be a Last Day or a moment of change that is irreversible and transcendent. The Day of the Lord could be that Last Day. This is the day when Christ actually physically returns to this earth to establish His Kingdom once and for all. Several New Testament authors write about the Last Days, meaning the days leading up to God’s cataclysmic and final actions upon this planet and her people. Their language is very poignant and telling.

Acts 2:17 “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh.”

2 Timothy 3:1 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”

James 5:3 “Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.”

2 Peter 3:3 “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,”

Whether Luke, Paul, James, or Peter; they all indicate a very perilous time leading up to The Last Day, even under the watchful eye of the Spirit poured out upon all flesh. It appears that if we are alive and on the planet during this lead up, our mettle will be tested. For regardless of what Last Day you and I face, the pattern seems the same. Pressure to fail, bail, or stall out in disbelief just before that Last Day is upon us.

Please consider this principle and pattern. Regardless of which Last Day one refers to, everyone faces the temptations and trials that have the potential for derailing that Last Day. For instance, sickness and affliction may come to the expecting mother, so as to derail that Last Day before life comes forth. Or how about the temptation to not follow through on the Last Day before starting a diet? Or the moment of hesitation before one confronts addictive behavior that has so long held that person in chains; self or otherwise. Because for anyone bound, there will be a Last Day of bondage before their day of freedom. Except if they ignore the power of a Last Day.

Worse yet, the fear and apprehension, that bombards a heart convicted of sin and distance from God, just days, hours, minutes and even seconds, before their Last Day of being eternally lost. Those moments when the enemy of our souls wages his last ditch efforts at keeping us from the Kingdom and Life in Christ. Not to mention our flesh and its tacit refusal to die without our will and God’s grace to extinguish it.

Last Days are Significant. And for each of us, Last Days may come and go without much sense of repercussion or remorse, but ultimately everyone faces Last Days of great significance. May we not sleep or ignore the very fact that Last Days happen. And for many a Last Day, they are permanent.

To Be Continued
Chapter Two – Biblical Examples of Last Days

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Like Sand through My Fingers

One of the most enigmatic aspects of our Father’s love is how He works meticulously behind the scenes; ever eroding and ever dividing our allegiances to anything but Himself. Yet all the while He delights in our delight of creation and the joy found in the Life that only He can bring.

I really love a good pizza. And I believe God takes delight in my taste buds being stimulated to the point where I say “WOW! That pizza tastes great.” And I believe that God takes delight when I’m overwhelmed and in awe of an artist’s rendering of subjective beauty, simply because I get it, I really get it. And others do not; yet He still delights in our delight and empathizes with those still searching for meaning in the abstract strokes of said rendering. He tends to really want us to get things, you know what I mean? But when we don’t He’s not mad about it.

It’s like those amazing computer generated abstract images that look like nothing but psychedelic wallpaper until you let your eyes relax and all of a sudden an image pops out and you say “Oh there it is!” I think God gets great delight when His children experience revelation, at any level.

But what I want to focus on is His desire that any and all things I hold dear on this earth, are not held so tightly that I am anchored here nor hindered from providential lateral movement. Like Sand through My Fingers, should all my affections be, so as not to be able to hold onto anything that could form a solid foundation other than He my Rock.

For if and when I think something is worth holding onto in this life, my Father’s benevolent mercy will find a way to weaken my grip, or cause such a thing to evaporate like a mist, so that my disappointment, may once again turn me back to Him. Granted, He is a gracious Father who lavishes perfect gifts upon His children and frankly loves for them to enjoy those gifts; but woe to him who loves the gift more than the gift Giver.

For if and when I would ever foster desire of creation above Creator, Like Sand through My Fingers, may it fall to the ground and be beaten into the footpath of a better way; a narrow way. A path paved with things left behind in the Name of a higher pursuit, that only the loss and gain of the love cycle can know.

I really love life in general. And if I’m not careful, I can love things in specific, but may I always and ever understand that any thing, any one, any place, any hope, must be balanced and held sway with the Love of God as my most dominant pursuit and passion.

I want to go play on the beach. I want to build sand castles and enjoy the sun and the waves, but likewise I must fully know, by revelation and divine collision if necessary, that in the end, Like Sand through My Fingers must be the kingdoms of my heart be.

Friday, December 2, 2011

If Only it Were That Easy

Nothing in life and on earth is as unstable, unsettling or stabilizing and settling than deep personal human relations. There are days when I wonder; If Only it Were That Easy, why wouldn’t more folks be in a positive statistical place rather than a negative?

Are you a statistic? Or are you a pending statistic? Either way, it’s not how we originally entered into this covenant. For most of us, we dreamed of life and peace ‘till death do us part,” right? We just didn’t think that the “death do us part” would involve pain. Or would involve tearing and shredding of sacred clothe. Maybe I’m an old schooler; but sue me.

I believe marital covenants are permanent, even when dissolved. Which makes divorce all the more grievous and loathsome to Father God. But I surely understand the dilemma of Moses; as well as what Jesus said regarding the matter; due to the hardness of hearts. Do you know what I mean?

I’ll let you go for now, but If Only it Were That Easy, we’d all be living in a Jerry Mather’s world. Leave it to Beaver, right?

This was short but visceral. Take it and fry it… and see what cooks up in the end. Call me with questions 515-491-8285. But not after 10:00 pm central or before 7:00 am central.

Agape and fried pork rinds!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Our Spiritual Check Book

Right up front let me say I am no financial genius nor an accountant be (I leave that to my longtime friend Thomas Hammar CPA – Rock Island, IL – see him on the web). But what I am is a man vaguely concerned about the bottom line of my balances in life.

By the grace of God I live with overdraft protection not only at the hand of my Wells Fargo financial assistant and his said, products of protection for my checking account, but I also live with overdraft protection from eternal consequences, lest I stray out of Christ. For both protections I am grateful.

But my presumption upon either safety net is something I cannot indulge. For if and when I do I commit the “great sin” of presumption that David spoke of when approaching an all seeing all knowing God, I am mocking the very covering my providers have installed. And what might that “great sin” of presumption look like in either arena? Not reconciling my check register. Not balancing my books.

You see, because in many cases we hold to some provided safety net of grace, we may find ourselves slack in balancing our books when the regular statements of conviction and exam arrive in our mail. We may simply assume since the bank tells me I have more than I think I do, there should be no reason to reconcile any outstanding checks or debts. And for the most part that may be true, especially when you are in the credit side of the ledger versus the debit side. And the same is true with faith and conscience.

But what about the times when the balance is upside down? I mean really, are you willing to just settle for the fact that the bank has told you, you are short several hundred dollars? And the only reason you didn’t know it sooner was because you have “overdraft protection”; therefore no checks bounced?

Could the same not be said of our faith and conscience when it comes to the bookkeeping with God? I really don’t think God is looking to find errors on a daily basis. Nor do I think He resents His provision of gracious overdraft protection when it comes to our daily misbehavior, but I do think if we are not careful, we can lean way too much upon that said accounting service.

Don’t get me wrong. In Christ, my problem is not SIN. That has been dealt with on the Cross never to assail me again. What my problem is, are the “lies” that continue to foster my misbehavior and thereby force me into the great sin of presumption. Now granted, I am not in heaven one day and hell the next and heaven one day and hell the next, but I am in presumption one day and out of presumption the next. And that is where my concerns rest.

If I am not daily, if not hourly keeping my life under exam, not in an evangelical legalistic OCD way, but in a genuine conscience of honest report, I am prone to then to ignore my provider of divine overdraft protection. And for that I never want to do. Proverbs 3:5-6

So the next time you write a check or draft a debit from your accounts on earth and in heaven, please don’t take for granted the overdraft protection and for goodness sakes, balance your books once in a great while. Okay?

Remember, the unexamined life IS NOT worth living.