Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 24’

Signs of Spring-March Madness

Spring has sprung. It is officially here even though some days do not feel like it yet. There have been signs for several weeks that spring was around the corner. The signs give us hope and anxious anticipation of warm sunshine, sandals, bare feet, digging in the dirt, supper on the deck, flowers, and the smell of freshly mowed grass, a welcome relief from the cold, colder and coldest days of winter. I know, winter has it’s own beauty and it is a vital part of our balance of seasons, but spring is refreshing and energizing.  I pour over seed catalogs and look at the stunning pictures of vegetables, dreaming of my own garden, fresh vegetables and flower beds.  Even though I can never match Burpee’s standard of excellence, something stirs within me to try again and again and again.

Some pictures from the farm….signs of spring and a last wintery snow fling (hopefully).

One day and then…. the next day!

Robins are a sure sign of spring.

 My early broccoli, cabbage and Red Sails lettuce.

Blackberry bushes covered with snow. They were already shooting new spring growth.

Yes, we had a real March snow storm, however, it was the prefect snow storm: it snowed hard, 3-4 inches, was beautiful, and the next day was gone.

Mating Season: The wild turkeys were out grazing in the pasture and the gobblers were in full strut.

 A herd of seven deer grazed for several hours in the pasture in the warm sunshine.


When I flipped the calendar from February to March it felt like spring was already here. After all, it was March 1 and the signs of spring were all around us. But signs only point to the time, the appointed day when spring officially happens.  It reminds me of a another season of time coming on God’s calendar.

Two thousand plus years ago, Jesus came to earth as a baby, to live among humans, to teach and show us the way to the Father and heaven. He was severely tortured and killed in the most cruel and inhuman way-crucified, not because he was a criminal but for the crime of being the Messiah. Satan did not win that battle and death could not hold Jesus in the tomb. After three days, Jesus arose from the dead, as he said he would do.  This is why Christian believers celebrate Easter. Jesus became the sacrifice for our sins so that we could be saved. To be saved is a choice each person has to make. We have to choose to believe, choose to accept Jesus as our Messiah, Lord and Savior. Before Jesus returned to heaven, he told his disciples (and us) that he would return.

Before Jesus returns,  there will be a terrible time on planet earth as it implodes with evil in a way the world has never seen. When that happens, Jesus warns us that end of the world is near. He has told us what to expect and the signs so we can be faithful and ready, prepared and watching for his return. Matthew 24, Mark 13, II Thessalonians 2, II Timothy 3, and Revelations are just some of the scriptures that refer to and tell us the signs of his second coming. The signs point to a specific time when Jesus will return.  We can not point to a calendar and say this is the day as we do with spring.  But the signs of his return give us hope. It stirs in our spirits that a new day is coming, a glorious day of new beginnings and sin and evil will be conquered once and for all.

The disciples were frightened and troubled at what Jesus told them and wondered when that time would be. Jesus tenderly and firmly spoke words of truth and comfort in John 14:1-3,6.

“Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again to receive you to myself so that where I am, there you can be also….I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father (God) except by me.”

If this has spoken to your heart, ask Jesus to open your eyes to the truth of His word. Start by reading the Gospel of John and then get on your knees and ask Jesus to forgive your sins. I promise you, He WILL.


God On the Mountain


Another year (2015) is coming to a close.  Remember fifteen years ago??? We were told doomsday was around the corner and our computers would crash.  The “experts” in Silicon Valley just could not possibility know if our computers could read 2000!  What a scam!  Remember seven years (2008) ago? Our world was shattered by an economical crash that still has lingering effects. Remember two years ago?  Words such as racism, political  correctness, and marriage had totally different meanings.

For better or for worse, the world is still spinning on it’s axis. What will 2016 bring?  Someone asked me that question today. I said, “I do not know but there is one thing I can tell you with certainty. We are in for an unprecedented nasty political season.”  It makes me shutter to think of what we are going to have to endure the next eleven months.

This evening my mind wandered to a true story about a terrible storm.* The disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee in the wee hours of the morning when a huge storm unleashed its fury on them. Jesus was not with them as He had gone into the mountains to pray by himself. The disciples were exhausted and afraid as the waves tossed them helplessly in the middle of the sea. Suddenly, they catch a glimpse of a shadowy figure walking on the water. They screamed with fear and gasped in terror, “It’s a ghost!”  What else could it be? No human walks on water in the middle of the sea. Jesus speaks to them above the roar of the storm and says, “Be of good cheer (be happy). It is I; do not be afraid.”  Peter stammers out, “Lord, if it is (really) You, command me to come to You on the water.”  And Jesus responds, “Come” (Come on Peter. Come to me).  Without hesitation, Peter swings his legs over the edge of the rocking boat and takes a few steps on the rolling sea.  Suddenly a lightning bolt slices through the blinding rain and Peter sees the monstrous wave rolling over the turbulent sea towards him.  Thunder crashes.  Peter instantly is intensely aware of the storm and sees his impending doom. As he sank into the sea he cries out, “Lord save me.”  Jesus instantly reaches out and firmly grasps Peter’s outstretched hands.  Together they walk through the storm back to the boat.  Peter is now walking with confidence.  And then, there is peace. Dead quiet, instant stillness.  The calming, serene, divine presence of Jesus brought them to their knees in worship.

To be honest, I sometimes feel like we are in the midst of a huge storm that is threatening to destroy our very existence. My faith trembles like Peters as I hunker down against the raging wind and shield my face against the biting rain. The noisy clang of political pundits threatens to drown out the calm voice of Jesus gently calling, “Come…walk in the storm… come to me…. do not be afraid…. I will walk with you…I am your peace.”

Where will my eyes focus?

Our pastor has reminded us several times lately. “As Christians, we know how the story will end. We do not need to fear.”  In other words, in the midst of troubling, uncertain and even destructive times, our security, our hope, our faith, our trust is in Jesus.  Jesus has told us with his own words that this world will one day come to an end. But before it does, there will be a terrible time (storm) of war, pestilence, earthquakes, lawlessness, corruption, evil and persecution of Christians. But in the end,  He (Jesus) will return and take all believers, all who keep their eyes focused on Him, to that grand and glorious place He has prepared for us-heaven (Matthew 24).

Some of the last words of Revelation 22 are an invitation to “come”.  I have a choice.  Which will I choose? Do I focus on the storm and coward in fear?  Or, do I trust Him and reach for His outstretched hand?

The storm is raging….

  • Social media slanders, belittles, intimidates and destroys
  • Terrorists stalk our comfort zone paralyzing us with fear:  killing, intimidating and destroying
  • Monstrous storms rage across the globe
  • Love is hate and hate is love
  • Truth is lies and lies are believed as truth
  • Evil is celebrated and good rideculed
  • Political rhetoric spins out of control
  • Political correctness squelches freedom
  • Corruption, immorality and injustice are winked at
  • Respect for authority is mocked
  • The right of someone’s life is mandated by your own “personal rights”
  • Riots, killings, war, and lawlessness of every imagination

….the lightning bolts are striking close and the thunder is booming. The boat is rocking perilously, threatening to capsize.  Do you see a “ghost” on the water?  It is really the Master coming to calm your fear. Don’t take your eyes off of Him.

I love the song God On the Mountain”.

Life is easy when you’re up on the mountain
And you’ve got peace of mind like you’ve never known.
But then things change and you’re down in the valley.
Don’t lose faith for you’re never alone.

For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley.
When things go wrong, He’ll make it right.
And the God of the good times
is still God in the bad times.
The God of the day is still God in the night.

You talk of faith when you’re up on the mountain.
Oh but the talk comes easy when life’s at its best.
But it’s down in the valley of trials and temptation
That’s when faith is really put to the test.

For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley.
When things go wrong, He’ll make it right.
And the God of the good times
is still God in the bad times.
The God of the day is still God in the night.

For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley.
When things go wrong, He’ll make it right.
And the God of the good times
is still God in the bad times.
The God of the day is still God in the night.
The God of the day is still God in the night.

Author Unknown

In several hours the ball will drop in Times Square and bells will chime as we welcome 2016. It will be a new year with the inherited problems of today.  There are many things about the future I do not understand, but, I know who holds my hand.

Happy New Year!

* Three of the gospels record this story: Matthew 14: 22-33, Mark 6:45-52 and John 15:21.

Whats Time Is It?

It struck me today how many times a day I  ask the question, “What time is it?”  I am consumed with time. I am good at scheduling my day, planning for tomorrow and dreaming of the future. Time manages my day;  The clock tells me when to get up, eat, go to work, meet appointments and deadlines, place an order,  go home, fix supper, and go to bed.  We set alarms, timers and punch the time card. Quite often I catch myself coming to the door of my office and say as I look at the clock, “What time is it?” I am checking myself with how much time is left in the day and what needs to be done yet. If you don’t think time is important try oversleeping, let the kids miss the bus, get stuck in rush-hour traffic, take a wrong turn, be late for an appointment, have an unforeseen emergency, over-schedule your day or let someone who wants to talk or ask lots of questions call just as you are walking out the door. Yes, we live by the clock. At least I know I do.

Our lives are also a ticking clock.   The moment we are conceived the seconds start ticking. God knows the number of our days.   Each year I plan to have another birthday but I have no guarantee of tomorrow. I do not know the day or hour of my passing into eternity.  I do not know how close to midnight the hands on my life clock are. I do know at 60 years of age that they are significantly past the half-way mark. This stops me for a few minutes in my tracks!

  • Psalms 90:12  So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
  • Psalms 39: 4-5 Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but a vapor. Selah.
  • James 4:14 …whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a time and then vanishes away.
  • Psalms 89:47-48 Remember how short my time is; for what futility have You created all the children of men? What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave?

Most people have a sense that this world had a beginning and will not last forever.  One day the disciples asked Jesus, “And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?”  Jesus talked extensively in Matthew 24 about the signs of the end of the world, the great tribulation, and His coming again. He told a parable about a fig tree and said, “when you see all these things, know that it (time) is near-at the door!”   In other words, it will be midnight on the clock.  He also said, “No one knows the day or the hour, not even the angels in heaven, but only His Father (God).”  He warns us to watch, wait, be ready, be prepared, and expect His return.

What time is it: 11 o’clock, quarter till 12, 5 minutes to midnight? We do not know, but God has recorded in His Word many scriptures to help us discern the times.   Quite often I say, “it is getting late, I am going to bed.”  I am discerning the time  and know the day is done, it is time to rest. If we read The Word, we can gain wisdom in discerning  the times in which we live.  Most Biblical scholars agree we are close to midnight.  Jesus comforts us with these words, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:20)

Just for fun… some “time” cliches that we use. If you think of some more send me a comment and I will add them.

  • A day late and an hour tardy.
  • A new day has dawned.
  • At a moment’s notice.
  • At the present moment.
  • At this time.
  • Be careful or time will catch up with you.
  • Beat the clock.
  • Behind the eight ball.
  • Can you steal a second?
  • Can you spare a moment? or Can I spare a moment of your time?
  • Cleaned my clock.
  • Countdown.
  • Don’t be late.
  • For a solid hour….
  • Hang on (hold on) a second.
  • If you can spare a minute.
  • If you have time left over…
  • In a split second.
  • I’m in a hurry and I don’t know why.
  • Just in the nick of time.
  • Make every second count.
  • Make the most of your time.
  • Not on my watch.
  • Out of time.
  • Race against time.
  • Redeem the time.
  • Running late.
  • Spend your time wisely.
  • Stall for time.
  • Take a minute.
  • The clock is ticking!
  • Time is moving on.
  • Time is on my side.
  • Time is passing.
  • Time is precious.
  • Time is racing by.
  • Time is flying by.
  • Time stands still.
  • Time will tell.
  • The early bird gets the worm.
  • The hour is getting late.
  • Wait a minute.
  • Wasting time.
  • Watch the time.
  • Where has time gone?

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