Prophecies and Predictions

Some have seen the recent blood moons as an opportunity to give “prophecies” and “predictions” about current and future events.   The moons are in themselves interesting, but jumping to conclusions about what they mean is presumptuous at best.

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I’ve enjoyed the moon this week.  I was bummed we had too much cloud cover the night of the eclipse to see it.  Last night it was beautiful, big and bright in the sky.  I find it fascinating that God knew these events would coincide with the Jewish feasts. He is big enough and sovereign enough to orchestrate something so massive that it leaves no doubt He is behind it.  It excites me that people are looking for answers, and intrigued by it all.

The important thing is to filter ALL events, prophecies, and predictions through the character of God.

Is He in a bad or good mood?  Is He angry or happy?  Is He punishing or patient?  Is He frugal or generous?  Does He withhold or does He provide?

If you’re fearful about “prophecies” and “predictions” that you are hearing, I challenge you to filter them through the goodness and kindness of God.  Always ask yourself if it sounds like Him.

I am excited about the day we are living in.

The Bible tells us:

“Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this.”
Isaiah 9:7 ASV

Let’s filter predictions and prophecies through a biblical grid.  The Bible says that His government and His peace will only increase in the earth!

Can God warn us of impending doom?  Yes, He did that in the Bible. He warned and gave clear instruction that led to protection.

What is going to happen in the future?  I have no stinking idea.  He keeps things hidden because He knows the joy we experience in chasing answers and discovering hidden treasures.  He loves to surprise us, just like we enjoy surprising our own kids. Sometimes He gives clues, and other times He gives clear instruction.  Sometimes He gives specifics about future events, but most of the time He only gives hints about how things are going happen, with the knowledge that prayer is always a game changer.

This is what I know for sure:

Jesus came to destroy the works of Satan.  As His followers, we get to be a part of the devil’s annihilation in the earth today.  It’s time for the Church to rise up in our secure identity, stomp on the Devil’s head and walk in the authority we’ve been given.

Confusion and fear about impending doom will cripple the strength we’re commissioned walk in.

Let’s rise up and be a force of prayer, restoration, and reconciliation in the earth.  No weapon fashioned against a church like this will prosper.  We will transform the world around us, as we humbly love and serve the hurting and broken.

“For this is what the Lord says— he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited— he says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other.”
Isaiah 45:18 NIV

As you listen and digest people’s predictions, be careful to filter all of it through the knowledge that God is a good God.  This one thing can ease a lot of fear and bring peace and rest to your soul.

Too Scary to Read

A couple of years ago I was outside after a huge hail storm.  One of the college students who lived in our neighborhood was having a smoke break on his deck and commented about the crazy weather.  He said, “It’s like we’re living in the end times or something… like the book of Revelation.”  I don’t know what his spiritual beliefs were, but current events were making him wonder about spiritual things. And that was two years ago.  Before Ebola, ISIS, and some of the crisis we face in 2014.

If you type in “Is this the….” into Google – guess what will come up 1st, 2nd, and 3rd?

You guess it:

  1. End
  2. End Times
  3. End of the world

That means a lot of people are wondering if this is the end.  Some of them might be looking for answers.  Motivated ones will research the Bible, the book of Revelation in particular.

I’ve had more than one person tell me the book of Revelation scares them, or that it’s, “too scary to read.”   If you’ve had any apprehension at all about reading this book of the Bible, this post is for you.  If a few people have told me, then there are probably many who feel this way.  Don’t worry, I’m not asking for a show of hands.  Now, take a deep breath and another sip of whatever you’re drinking…I promise, I’m not going to scare you!   I want to encourage us today to take a deeper look at this book.  Revelation has encouragement for us in any time.

Being afraid of what it might say is not a helpful foundation for studying it.

I’m not going to go into a big hermeneutics lesson here, but rule #1, for the purpose of this post, is:  fear and Bible interpretation do not go together.  It’s always important to interpret scripture in light of God’s love and character.  He’s NOT scary by nature, therefore, His Word is not designed to scare anyone.  The only reason to have any fear while reading scripture would be if you do not have a relationship with Jesus.  And if that’s the case, you can read more about developing that relationship here.

Revelation is filled with 22 mysterious, yet amazing chapters about Jesus and His bride. There’s not one individual who can say they completely understand everything that’s written in it, but all of us can find strength and encouragement there.

The name of the book itself is AMAZING….The book of REVELATION.  Wow…revelation is an amazing gift…and this book was given to John (the author) as an incredible revelation.  I believe everything from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 is revelatory.  God gave us the Bible; it’s alive. He reveals Himself on every page.  I love that John simply shares the revelation and does not go into a big explanation about it.

More often than not we complicate things that are meant to be more simple.  The book of Revelation is meant to bless and not scare.  John said in Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it…..”  So, I’m thinking, if you want to be blessed, read the book.  But don’t just read it, ask God to bring you clarity and understanding as you read.  I’m not saying that you’ll “get it” entirely, but  you’ll be blessed and encouraged as the eyes of your heart are opened.

The book of Revelation has encouraged me on many levels.  I’ve been comforted, convicted, and intrigued.  It’s given me a hunger to experience more of Jesus.  John was privileged, but the blood of Jesus has bought us all similar privilege.  None of us will be adding to scripture, but all of us are welcome into revelatory encounters with the word of God, which is not only a book, but also a person!  If you’re weary or dry, I encourage you to take time and meditate on the book of Revelation.  Your spirit will be refreshed as you “eat” His words of life.

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Are we living in the end times?  I don’t know, but we are living in some exciting times, and God is not surprised by anything that’s happening.  Are things getting better or worse? Yes. Both. (Isaiah 60:1) Can reading the book of Revelation encourage us in these days?  Yes. Will it answer every question we have? Probably not.

Is the Church called to be a light no matter what time in history it is?  Absolutely.  Will encountering God in His word equip us to be more of a light to the lost and hurting?  Without a doubt!

 

Here are the facts:

  1. These are troubling times.
  2. God is our refuge and strength in times of trouble.
  3. We discover more of God when we read His Word.
  4. God is in the book of Revelation.

There are a few ways we can respond to the times we live in.  We can bury our head in the sand, caving to fear; Or we can be brave and face head on that which in front of us, equipped with His power, Word, and love.

As I was typing, this song came on and I think it sums up what I’m saying perfectly.

No matter what happens…it is well with my soul.  When I have saturated myself in Him and His Word, I am confident in who I am and Whose I am.  Indeed, it is well with my soul.