Finishing up what I was talking about in my last post, are these the last days? I'm sure you know that I don't know. I do know that Jesus informed His disciples what to look for, so we take those recorded words, look at the signs, and read the times. It is sort of a headline news story for future events. Jesus, in Luke 21, is saying that when the fig tree begins to bud, you know that summer is near. This is the way we see the end times based on prophetic scripture. I do know, and I'm sure you're aware, that there are many different sects that have various versions of the way we end, that is of no major importance itself. The signs pointing to that event are important. Wars, catastrophies, signs from outer space, pestilence, and famines, all of these happenings back-to-back with regularity.
These things, from a secular standpoint, are just recurring events throughout history, no big deal. But the other part of end time Christ's prophetic words, are the litmus test of the winding down of days. These are some of His words:
"But take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be weighed down with carousing, drunkeness, and the cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth." Luke 21:34-35
These words do not give us the awareness of end-times within themselves, these are the warnings to the believer that is waiting for their redemption, but life's cares, pleasures, busyness takes their minds off of what they should look for, regarding the end. Now combine all of prophetic passages, catastrophic events, and warnings of our conduct as followers of Christ, with the nature of people in 2 Tim 3, (my last post), you can see these are pointing toward the Day of days. You will not see this at all with your physical eyes, or your carnal mind. These facts are spiritually discerned, by those alive in Christ, with the Holy Presence living within their hearts.
In my last post I asked what you thought, whether or not these were the end of days, your opinion. Out of over a hundred and twenty people reading, there was one comment. I read dozens of blogs on various subjects, and always see many comments on most posts. My posts, however, I normally do not get many comments, and few likes, because I know people really like to read without the hassle of commenting, or even clicking the "like" button. I do wonder, are people really disconcerned about the times and possible end? Perhaps. My one comment, from my friend Robyn, she comments, "how can you look around and see what's happening in the world and not wonder, how much longer Lord?" Precisely.
Complacency, disbelief, apathy, and disinterest in the spiritual, seems to be the place we are as a community of believers and nation of people. That is not because you didn't comment...not at all. It is the fact that in conversation, the attitude from most is, it is what it is. The people seem to really care only who is elected, how their pay and benefits are affected, and what will I get. I believe that we should do at least two things regarding this topic. One, pray. Ask God to awaken you spiritually, and open your mind to how you can be ready, actively watching for His return. Two, read. Take a little time to review prophetic passages, mainly, Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, etc, as well as Jesus' words, Paul's, and Peter, in the New Testament. Don't forget, Jesus said He was coming for those watching for Him.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith
America has changed in the past fifty years, I almost do not recognize her. She stood tall among the nations, took in the tired, the poor, the down-trodden. The nations surrounding us, allies, and foes alike, were jealous of the freedoms and prosperity American citizens enjoyed.
Everyone living inside her borders seemed to have a courtesy, a kind word, and as you drive through a community, your arm would get tired waving hello as you passed. We were one. Neighbors knew each other by name. Attendants at the fuel station were courteous, we trusted in God and loved our country.
No more. We are divided. We had problems back then too. Many of the problems we have today, but then we helped each other. Then, when a crime was committed, there was punishment. Then, there were few frivolous law suits, and when there was, people thought the suers were pretty evil people to try to get something for nothing. No delusions here. There were child-molesters, racketeering, mobs, gangs, good cops, bad cops, prostitution, drug dealers, thieves and murderers. But today, we have all of that, and much more.
We have division today. We have people who intend to drive us further apart. We have dumbed down this entire society, drunken with pleasure and self-service, willing to place principles into the dung heap and sell ourselves out for things that quickly fade from importance. There is a free lunch from the government everyone! Seems to be the message of hope people want to hear. No personal pride, no values or standards of conduct, no God to answer to. Yes, we removed deity from the the place of prominence, beginning at home...then to the schools, public places, and coming soon to your places of worship, if they have their way.
The great society that began in the early 60's, was the initial steps in the families destruction, the need to help a neighbor, and the start of over-crowding prisons, and progressive education. Today, our education system has taken this countries rankings from the top ten to the upper twenties. Illegitimacy rates are off the charts. Heroin, cocaine, meth, you name the drug, is on every corner in urban areas, and reached into small communtities. Alcoholism is now a major worry among adolescents.
Enough! Have I brought you down far enough yet? There is a way out of this mess. Do you want to know the way? It may cost you some of your "pleasures."
"if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and PRAY, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and heal their land." 2 Chron.7:14
Yes? No? What will it be? Is it too late? Some think it is. Some think that the Sovereign Lord God is finished, ready to wrap things up. That could be. This is what the end is supposed to look like.
"But know this, that in the last days perilous times shall come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of PLEASURES more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 2 Tim.3:1-5
Doesn't sound like anyone I know, does it you? It sounds like everyone I know including me! Maybe this is it. God has had enough. Why wouldn't He? Kicked out of schools, homes, government buildings, and churches, Why wouldn't He say, times up?
We can follow the advice in 2 Chron, and repent, really repent, starting at home, then our church. God will finish when He chooses. Are you prepared? Do you think now is the time? Comment if so. I will have more, next time, adding some of your thoughts if you're brave enough to do so.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith
Great people know a secret that hides from mediocrity. Great people are confident in their God given talents and abilities, and seem to have no fear of the success of those around them. Great people DELEGATE their authority and prominence to others. They do not care who gets the credit as long as the job gets done or the hurting receives help.
This is a secret hidden, not because in itself it hides, rather because the mediocre doesn't seek its worth. The mediocre insists on center stage, insisting that their control of every situation is necessary to maintain order or in their thinking, if I don't do it, it will not get done! As a result, less is achieved, God is not credited, a few may receive help...and the mediocre is praised, the real goal of the mediocre.
Let me try to make sense here. I have often been placed in charge of a project and it may be huge in scope of who the project may effect. There are many involved to help, but if I involve them, they may end up with all of the credit for my project. Well I won't let that happen. I will do it all, suffer sleeplessness, do a halfway job, and ignore great ideas because it is mine, all mine! I forgot one thing, God promotes.
Look at the exact opposite approach. I am placed in charge of this project, fully aware of the talent around me. I wonder why, in humility, why I'm in charge with others with more qualified or talented. But I immediately seek advice, and delegate duties to the talent around me. The result will ALWAYS be, a successful event, especially if I have given the credit where it is due. If I intentionally place myself in second position, God will be pleased, He can promote me...rightly.
Why is this important? In the family, the husband or wife want to have the credit for the union's success. The manager wants credit for the underling's hard work, the pastor want to be acknowledged for the church's growth, and you could name other similar situations you know of personally, I'm sure.
I have noticed this in churches over the years, and it is truly sad. Many talented people come and go through the church doors, unabled to use the abilities God gave them because it may infringe on the pastor's glory. Or they may be self-promoting, seeking accolades and praise...neither will do.
"Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted"...Luke 14:11
Become great. Determine to surrender your talents and abilities to promote others. Do not intimidate or proclaim your worth, that's noisy and clamorous. If you are a leader, tell those above you how good your crew is, or talk about your spouse's strength in keeping the marriage strong. Teach your children to hold in high esteem their siblings good qualities. If you are a pastor, or a leader in your church, lean heavily on the people in your charge...listen to their ideas.
Bury, put to death the small seed of your self-awareness and self-promotion, and God will cause it to grow into a mighty tree for all types of life to feed from. Delegate and appreciate, plant, water...the increase will come.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith
Keep it simple stupid. This is a saying quoted regularly in recovery meetings, and for good reasons. Mainly, a person seeking to recover from addiction to drink and drug use, must not complicate anything in their life that may drive them back into the old way of thinking and living. This is a good way of approach to anything and everything we do lifelong.
Simplicity begins from the moment we awake to face the new day. Thoughts we have in those first few seconds, set the tone, or the pace for the new day. Do you want to have a good day? Start the day right, surrender the day to God, seize the day in prayer. There is freedom in this surrender.
"My voice shall you hear in the morning, O Lord, in the morning i will direct it to you, and I will look up." Ps 5:3
A simple, God help me stay sober today, is all most people need, when asked with sincerity. God isn't waiting for you to learn to speak in the old English way. Thees and thous are not what He wants from you. He merely wants you to look to Him for help...and He will give that help. This was key for me in my early days of recovery. I have to remember, even now, not to kneel in prayer, and over-complicate a simple conversation with the Lord of Life.
I am also keenly aware that I have to keep this morning exercise simple to the next step in the new day's beginning. It is very essential to put something into the thinking part of me, to mull over as I go through my day. A short verse from the Bible, a short devotional, a paragraph from AA/NA's Big Book, and there are other plans that work...but remember, KISS. (Not the band)
Meditating on what I have just prayed and read, is the next step in a great start in this new morning. Do you know how to meditate? Can you believe that most people don't know how? There is a good reason they do not know, that being, most have the perception of the one meditating, sitting with their legs crossed, chanting and focused on...nothing. That isn't true at all. Meditation is mulling over in your mind, the thoughts you have from what you have prayed and read. Do this exercise without complication. Meditation also means, "to mutter," repeat it over and over.
This process only takes minutes, not hours. Every individual I know in recovery, that has maintained their sobriety, have maintained a similar day-starter like this. No complications, KISS.
"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for His will for us, and the power to carry that out." The Big Book of AA, step 11, pg.59
You can pray as long as you like, read as much as you want, meditate for hours on end, but that is no more effective if performed insincerely. The long drawn out prayers seem to come from the part of us, where are faith is weak, thinking that this petition will not be heard if the request is too short, but that isn't so.
Spending time with God is great, is faith building, but that isn't the key to answered prayer. The request once made, is to be received by faith. Spend the rest of the time on other needs, or other people, or just to talk to Him. KISS.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith...kiss.
Tomorrow is Father's Day. I am thankful to be able to celebrate another year with my dear father, and count it a real blessing to have him with us at 82...he looks younger than me. Many friends have lost their parents over the past few years, and I really hope they take the time to remember their dad by saying happy Father's Day to dads they know.
Many people in America, and the number steadily grows, have no dad to share the holiday with. It isn't because their dad is in heaven, its because they have no clue who their dad is, or he bolted on them when they were born or very young.
In an article dated 12/1/2006, the Washington Times reported that 36.8% of children born in the US were illegitimate. In 1960, that number was 5.3%...and the people thought that was outrageous. A more recent article on the website, discoverthenetworks.org, site subtitled, "a guide to the political left, entitled the article, "Breakdown of the Black Family," stated that the black community had an illegitimacy rate of 70-80%...!!! This is tragic! White and hispanic communities do not fare much better!
When a young man becomes fully aware that he has fathered a child, and walks away from that child, determining to have nothing more to do with their young, for whatever reason, he may be sentencing that child to live in utter poverty, to face imprisonment, have psycological problems, and send his posterity on a downhill slide that it may never recover from. Both of the above articles mentioned noted that the young children from the loins of these fleeing fathers" face more possibilities of living in poverty, placed in prison, with all sorts of other pathologies and problems.
Babies having babies is the best way to describe this problem. There is another entirely different problem in fatherhood this country faces, well actually more than one, but this is a blog, not a book. There are children who have their father at home their entire life, but he is merely a household decoration more than a father. His best advice to his children, "do as I say not as I do." Are you kidding me? That is how you teach your young? They fully expect their wife, or the church, or their public schools to instruct the children the way to live. The children want their father's attention and love, but he's busy...the game is on right now.
The first 7 chapters of Proverbs give you all the instruction you need, on how to raise your children by emphatic, practically pleading to them, about what to watch for in life. In chapter 1vs. 8 My son, hear the instruction of your father... and each of the next six chapters start that way. But in chapter 4, read it all, make your children wise.
"Hear my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding, vs.1, Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth!" vs.5
This father is teaching, and imploring his child the way of living. If you take the time to read these chapters, it may change your child's future, and your future Father's Day will be viewed as a day they truly honor their father.
Of course, you don't have to stay around, be a man, and raise your sons and daughters. You can let them be a statistic of illegitimacy. You don't have to instruct your children, you can go dig them out of the barrooms later on when they are spending the money to feed their children a few years from now. Or you may have the pleasure of seeing them through the glass in a nice federal pen...at least they have food.
Think these things through. Pray for those who are fatherless. Think about how often you sat down with your little ones, and talked about life, and the importance of family, about integrity, and justice, and their importance to you. You can teach them how to play sports anytime, but today, teach them about God, about Jesus, love, etc. and if you bailed on your child, make it right, find a way, ask God to help you do so.
Happy Father's Day, thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith
If I sat down and made a list of my lifelong fears, I would be writing for quite a long period of time. Healthy fears, like falling, drowning, or being burned with fire, wouldn't have to be mentioned. Reality checks can cause me to see that a good majority of my fears are unnecessary worries. That is where fear fails...when I can stop and think through the scenario of these petty fears. they don't all make sense. I watch a show on TV where a mountain climber is hanging by his index finger, three thousand feet below is solid ground, and I'm having cold-sweats watching the action. That is where, thank God, I realize that this is not me hanging there.
Those fears vanish the moment I change the channel. I cannot however, change the channel on fears that I face in real life. The fear of man, of not being liked or accepted, the fear of failure, the fear of missing out, of not being loved, and of rejection, are real, and really unnecessary. Addictions to drink and dope, to food, to gambling, and every unhealthy habit, is fear based.
If I don't at least take a hit of that joint, they won't think I'm cool, or they may think I'm a coward, the teenager thinks. So he takes a hit, and thirty years later he comes out of the seventh time in rehab thinking, I'll never get off of this dope, I may as well be dead. Then he proceeds to commit those most selfish of acts, and end it all. His fears rule and master him, though his wife, children, parents, and friends really believe he will make it this time. His little boy, looking at his father in the coffin says to himself, I hate you, look what you did to mommy and me, I'll never be like you! Within a short period of time, he is just like daddy.
These are real fears, real people deal with. We all have them. They must not have us. My long list are fears that arise through past failures, bad "breaks," we think. We should look in retrospect at those failures. We may see the failure was a good thing, and improved us. If that is the case, fear failed again, we can let that fear be wadded up and thrown into life's trashbucket.
When I wrote some of my first blogs, I really feared that people wouldn't like them, so why start? But facing the fear like David against the giant, I blogged, some people liked the blogs, and became regular readers. Those numbers grow, and I am grateful to God and the readers. I didn't fear when I sent the manuscript to my book to a publisher. I knew they only took less than 3% of the books that they are sent the manuscript to. When fear set in, was when I knew the book was soon to be released...what if no one buys it? what if they hate it? It's ok Keith...the Voice whispers, you know what to do.
I do. I know what to do. Keep going. Keep trusting. Stay surrendered. So long fear, you lost once again. As my faith in God grows, fear weakens. When I catch a glimpse of the reality, that Christ is for me, fears fails.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2Tim.1:7
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love." 1John 4:18
That young boy who's father could not face his fears and ended his life, could not have helped his son face his fears, nor teach him the way of love and life. It was that fear of man, not being one of the "cool cats," that took him to his early selfish end. I know people have this struggle day to day, facing these fears. Don't face them alone. Ask God to help you, get to professional help that will give you godly direction. Fears can always fail when we enthrone God in the center of our hearts through Christ Jesus. Let Him teach you how to put fear in it's place, under your feet.
Change the channel on those petty fears, go to God with life altering fears. Fears fail when faith and love rises up in us through Jesus. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith
The hubble telescope has brought, and continues to bring wonder and awe to science with discoveries of the universe. The photos of galaxies, stars, and planets are nothing less than fantastic. Twenty-five years ago science estimated there were 25 billion galaxies in the universe. With Hubble's help, that number has changed to perhaps a trillion galaxies! God is omnipotent!
As vast as the universe is, so vast is the human body. The discovery of DNA in the 1860's, but not a factor in medical discoveries until the past decade or so, has revealed the wonders residing in every living human. The pic to the left is of a cell adhesion molecule called a laminin. These joint one cell to the other and without laminins, we fall apart, literally. Funny shape, huh. That looks like...I don't know...a cross? (I know there is a cross that holds me together.) God is omnipotent! He made everything in space, and in this world's creation with a word. The "big bang" was His doing when He said "let there be light." Nothing is too hard for Him. He specializes in the impossible.
As man discovers more and more of the universe we dwell in, our knowledge of the physical realm grows. The spiritual realm is a place of discovery that only the ones who hunger and thirst after God discover His regal presence, and become aware He is all powerful, present, and knowing, but beyond our comprehension. When the spiritual is desired above the physical, the mentality is satisfied, but remains with questions that are aloof. Peace and tranquility comes, but so do questions.
The most perplexing question I have regarding The Almighty Self-Existent Creator is the same question David had:
"When I consider Your heavens, the works of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?" Ps.8:3-4
It seems that there would be no reason that God would even look our way after the treatment He receives from mankind. But He shows favor toward man, just because He loves us. Grace astounds me far more than the depths of space or the marvels of cells. It is that this great God sees us and gives us grace through Christ. No other religion worldwide offers grace. All depend upon what you do for salvation, following Christ depends solely on your belief in what He did. And furthermore, He actually wants to hang with me, right in the center of my being. There is no one like Him.
I'm interested in scientific discoveries knowing that the One who gave us so much to discover, I know personally. One day I will pass through the veil of this life, and He can tell me face to face, all of the hows, and the whys of His unceasing love and grace toward man. Perhaps those far off galaxies we wonder about is the place He tells me about it all. I'm not in a rush, but look forward to that day.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith
I know the importance of prayer and asking for God's help, especially when it comes to major decisions. Alcoholism, and the ensuing time in recovery has taught me that God hears and answers every word I say in petition to Him. The problem is, I am impatient, He doesn't answer my prayers fast enough. My lack of patience can certainly cause poor choices. I think, maybe I should have referred to another's idea, you know, seek advice. Maybe I should wait on God a little longer, like when I was new to sobriety...I never got in too big of a hurry.
God is merciful and kind. When I get ahead of Him, make that snap-decision, and wallow in the pain of a terrible choice, He, unlike me, is patient, and when I approach Him for help, He takes the in-solvability of my problems, and gives me the help needed. This is where I, or you and I, must see ourselves as fallible, and need divine directives to live life with real answers, and knowledge how to solve real problems.
"Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe you will receive them, and you will have them." Mark 11:24
The first thing I need to understand regarding prayer is that God hears me. That takes faith. That takes alot of faith. Throughout my life, I have been given that advice...pray. As a child I didn't question that God heard my petitions, and was concerned with my needs. Secular education, and humanistic doctrines of man's origin led my thoughts to believe that as vast as the universe is...how could I continue believing in anything but what science knew to be reality? After all they have proof. My faith waned. I continued to believe in God, but at a great distance from what I believed as a child. I believed in Him in an insulting way.
I discovered through many hardships, some intense study, and by asking God to reveal truth, that science had no real physical evidence of man's origin, science accepts, by faith, man's wisdom in our being, blindly. It takes great faith to believe Darwin's Origin of Species, like faith to believe the Bible. I saw that receiving anything from God required faith to merely ask Him, the answer would follow. It was the desperation of a broken alcoholic, asking God for help with child-like faith, that He looked past my insulting view of Him, and gave me the help I needed. Science cannot do that, so farewell...waste someone else's time.
Since I have departed from very idea that the physical had the answers, and tossed completely aside the faithlessness of coincidence, God has brought so much wonder and awe to life. The impossible has become reality by prayer in faith to God. Things science could not do, create a desire to know the incredible, the peace that transcends any serenity in self-reliance, and the desire to disregard pleasures of self-seeking for the joy of serving others. All of these things are wrought by pray and faith in the Unseen.
The choices a follower of Christ makes, can still be knee-jerk and wrong entirely. We fall, we get up. We sin, sometimes willfully, often unwittingly, and God forgives if...we ask. Ask in faith...in great faith we obtained through Christ's redemption. It is our's in prayer the moment we utter the words. Choose to pray.
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men liberally, and without reproach, and it will be given him.. but let him ask in, faith, with no doubting...for let that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his way." Jas. 1:5-8
I can ask God for many things in life. I have learned to be patient and wait on the answer, and I'm glad for the lesson. As I have waited in frustration for an answer to my prayer...my situation changed, I no longer needed what I asked for. God knew. If you and I received everything we asked for the moment we asked; we would see God as a celestial Santa, handing little brats their wants because they want. He is Wisdom, He holds the understanding, ready to distribute to the spiritually needy, thirsting for knowledge of the Holy.
I realize now, that making choices in life are much easier when made with prayer. I hope you feel the same. If not, think about it. By choosing prayerfully, you can save yourself from much grief. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith.