The Sound of Wisdom

sound of silenceIn 1966 Simon & Garfunkel could hear
the sounds of silence.

Today are we missing the sound of wisdom?

On the way home from Puerto Vallarta, I wasn’t looking for anything except to endure the long way not expected to end until head on my pillow about 4 a.m.

So I wasn’t expecting

something tailor-made just for me on the flight home and in the days after.

Seventy-two verses in the Bible, especially in the Proverbs, teach that a wise person will quickly respond to correction.   “You can’t tell me what to do!” is not the wise response!

One of those verses came into direct play:

“The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise” (Prov. 15:31).

Sitting in the Los Angeles Airport waiting for our connecting flight to Denver, scheduled for 9:30 p.m., we watched the time ticking down with no loading in sight.   An on-time flight would still have us arriving in Denver about 1 a.m. and arriving home in Canon City by car about 4 a.m.  And the best-case scenario was not happening!

Getting antsy sitting anxiously, I stepped into the Southwest lineup as soon as a few others made the move.  Standing by the A50 post, I commented sarcastically to the man standing across me on the A lower-number side, “Here it is 9:25 and they’re still claiming ‘on-time’ on their banner.”  “Oh,” replied the relaxed and smiling man in his early 40’s, “The pilot will make it up in the air.”

How realistic is that, I thought, but was pricked by his reply.

glass half fullI see myself as a realistic and positive optimist.  It’s half full.  Unless there’s a clear mark on the glass specifying 49%.  And this level was dropping by the minute!

At 9:35 the banner still proclaimed “on-time” but I got tired of standing so sat back down in a chair.  The family from our Colorado Springs church who was on the same plane back to Denver was seated nearby, and I lamented to their oldest daughter, an outstanding senior in high school who seems always comfortable talking  to adults, “So they’re still claiming on-time and they’re five minutes late already!”

Foolish me for thinking this energetic teen would be feeling like this downer old man nearing past his bedtime.   After a telling pause Simon & Garfunkel would have appreciated:   “The plane in Puerto Vallarta left late, and we still got here on time.”  Even yet her comment has not left the runway.

A few days later, on our drive out to Chicago, we were staying overnight in a Knight’s Inn.  When I saw they offered HBO, before channeling my way there, I lamented that HBO in hotels is always worthless because there’s never anything worth watching the night we’re there.

But “Hidden Figures” was on, near the beginning, and we stayed up later than we should have thoroughly enjoying it.

Temptation AdThat night, I couldn’t help remembering these incidents and being convicted that maybe I’m not the realistic and positive optimist I profess to be.

Yes,  me, the one who wrote the recent post about how neuroscience shows that thankfulness or complaining constructs neural networks in our brains that then influence us to do the same next time.

After the wind, earthquake and fire, Elijah was alert for the still small voice (1 Kings 19:11-12).  Simon & Garfunkel tuned in to the whispers.

Will we keep missing the rebukes of life?

This time I heard it.

Map 112

 

Condensed Game of Life

At the Hotel Friendly Resort in Puerto Vallarta,
only three TV channels were in English.
I only managed to find one of the playoff games
between the Yankees and the Indians, and true to the odds,
it was in Spanish.
Just a couple of innings clocked dos horas,
and I could barely guess what was going on beyond ball quatro and strike tres!

In hotels the last two nights on our way to Chicago,
I was pretty sure the Yankees were playing the Astros but couldn’t find any game.

But I just discovered the amazing solution that hits it out of the park:
google the condensed video of a game you missed.

All the action boom, boom, boom!
Each third strike, ball four, hit or out.
All the relevant action of a three-hour game in 10 minutes with no commericals!

Wouldn’t it be nice to see a condensed version of the Game of Life—
a condensed version of what the Bible says about the purpose of life.

In the beginning God and the Word lived, except that they had no beginning (John 1:1).  The Bible specifies nothing else spiritual or material existed.   These two eternal beings decided They wanted to share their joyous way of life.

So They created angels.  The angels shouted for joy (Job 38:7) when God created the heavens and the earth.   God put Lucifer in charge of the earth, apparently to prepare it for the future time when humans would be created to live on it.

But Lucifer’s joy soured to pride and vanity and apparently he didn’t relish the idea of helping future beings become greater than him.  So he convinced one-third of the angels to swoop up to the third heaven to try to replace God (Isa. 14, Ezek. 28).  The spiritual clash rendered the earth and actually the entire universe into tohu and bohu (Gen. 1:2), and God swatted Satan and his demons back down to earth to rule it until the Word would become the Second Adam (John 12:31).

But first there had to be the first Adam.  So God recreated the messed up universe in six days and at the end of it they created mankind, both male and female, in their image (Gen. 1:26).  After the God kind, not the animal kind.

spelling treeGod created Their Sabbath for man (Mark 2:27) by resting from all the very good They made and gave Adam and Eve simple instructions:  you may eat of any tree of the garden except of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

But the snake slithered in Sunday  morning and all too easily tricked them into thinking God was holding out on them.  Nobody has the right to tell you what to do or what is right and wrong.  You “will be like God” (Gen. 3:5) and …

***************************************************************

Hey, you call this a condensed version!  You’re barely up to chapter three.  This post is going to end up longer than the Bible!  You can’t have a post that takes longer than three minutes to read.

When you say you are going to give us a condensed version of the Game of Life—the purpose of life according to the Bible—as Dizzy Dean, the Hall of Fame sports commentator used to put it so colorfully:  “Are you just bumpin’ your gums!”

****************************************************************

Building the Family of God adVery well, here’s the condensed game of life

God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son are reproducing themselves, and you can be in their Family and Kingdom.

new map 88 countries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heard in Puerto Vallarta

This popular resort on the Pacific side of Mexico
is one of the places where many visitors
don’t know how to pronouce where they are.

OK, we’re talking us gringos.
We do okay with ordering tortillas but somehow say “Va-larta.”
A local says the “V” should be so soft as to sound almost a “b.”
Then there’s those who put “eh” on the end,
and I don’t think it was the Canadians.

In addition to those from the north, our group of 700 came together in unity for eight days from Australia, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Guatamala, Mexico, Netherlands, St. Vincent, United Kingdom and United States.  The 11 colorful flags adorning the stage served as a wonderful reminder of the earth-wide importance of what was being heard.

We had the Hotel Friendly resort all to ourselves as we

Enjoyed the sounds

of waves splashing on the beach, families frolicking in the three outdoor pools, pirates arghhhhhing on the replica of Christopher Columbus’ Spirit of Santa Maria, and dophins making high-pitched squeaks as they swam with us and granted a kiss.  Thankfully my wife said mine are better.

Of all the sounds heard in our glorious time in PV, the most important were the daily messages—half in Spanish, half in English, with translation—picturing what the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment will mean for the restoration of this entire earth (Acts 3:21).  Having one pure language (Zeph. 3:9) will be a huge key so that “all may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord.”  I found that even with my best effort I could only get about 30% as much from the Spanish service as from the English.  No wonder Paul said don’t talk in tongues [languages] unless somebody interprets (1 Cor. 14:13).

The opening night message set the tone.  Festival Coordinator Mario Seigle noted that the word “joy” comes from the Hebrew word samach which means something very bright.  Our happy God expects to see his joy expressed in His children’s beaming,  smiling faces.  The Feast of Tabernacles means “the season of our joy” and the joy of the Holy Spirit enables us to cope during the hurricanes of life raging above the ocean but below the surface all is calm.  Mario gave five sources of biblical joy:

♥   the Holy Spirit
   understanding God’s truth
   vision of coming Kingdom of God–you are invited to His Feast!
   trials to count all joy
   content with what we have

This all-inclusive resort means you can eat and drink anytime all you want in five different restaurants.  God says at the Feast we can spend our money for “whatever your heart desires” (Deut. 14:26).  The trick is, said Ben Light, “What does your heart desire?”  As Frank McCrady jokingly put it, “You can pig out on the fruits of the Holy Spirit!”

harvest moonAn annual treat of the first Holy Day is the Harvest Moon when it shows off full, bigger and brighter.  The moon was created for signs and seasons (Gen. 1:14), and the Harvest one dramatically pictures the great spiritual harvest of the earth which will take place during the Millennium and Great White Throne Judgment.

This is especially true of the ending Holy Day called the Eighth Day.  The latest estimate is that 107 billion people have lived on the earth—about 15 dead for everyone alive now.  Right after the Millennium ends, the Valley of Dry Bones (Ezek. 37) will rattle and come back to physical life.  All who have never had their chance at salvation will at that time (Rev. 20:11-12).

The role of teacher will be paramount.  Dr. Frank Dunkle said “There’s no teaching to compare with example.”  He said Jesus Christ is preparing a job specifically for each of  us and He’s going to have us ready.

hugVictor Kubik said more than information or correction, the people will need a hug!  We need to understand suffering in order to rejoice.  God the Father and Jesus Christ didn’t paper over sin and suffering; Jesus came right into it!  He bloodied His hands.  And His body.

C.J. Williams explained how Jesus was compassion in action.  He always did the most helpful service He could do at the moment.  He saw a need and filled it.  He looked for ways to make somebody’s life a little better.

thSF8JW51WA special treat was going to the zoo which doesn’t seem to have as much stringent regulations as ones in the United States.  You could be pretty close, yet safe, to hungry hippos and hyenas while feeding them.  Some got to hold cute and wiggly baby tigers and lions in their arms as they snarled playfully.  What a foretaste of the Millennium when a little child will lead a lion and lamb together (Isa. 11)!  The miracle of changing the very nature of wild beasts will be far less than the miracle of changing the nature of man!

God commanded the temporary tabernacle in the wilderness because He wanted to dwell with His people (Ex. 25:8).  Jesus came down to tabernacle with man (John 1:14).  Now the Church is His temple as well as each individual Christian (1 Cor. 6:19-20).  We must remember that no matter what comes our way, God will be there for us!  As close as you can get:  He lives in us!

In Rev. 21 God the Father is finally going to come down to the new earth to dwell with His resurrected family for eternity (Rev. 21).

geese flyingThe future God has for us is beyond our dreams.  If we make a step toward God, He will make a bigger move toward us (James 4:8).

God sets before us the same choices His called have always faced.

Oh, God, we have heard  

Will we choose to accept our incredible destiny!

World 51 8-30-17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Way to Picture the Millennium: We’re Off to Live It!

You can imagine what the Millennium will be like by reading scripture.
But if you’d really like to picture it, come actually live it
starting Wednesday night.

MillenniumGod’s holy festival called the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:33-36) pictures nothing less than Jesus Christ’s coming rulership of the earth for 1,000 years.  The meek really will inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5) and bring the “restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21).

We’re going to act it out.  A dress rehearsal!  Is God calling you out to be a part?

The Feast begins at sundown Wednesday night and lasts for seven days until sunset Oct. 11.   But we don’t go home yet because the next day is the grand finale Holy Day called the Eighth Day (Lev. 23:36) with a special meaning all its own.  This pictures when most people who have ever lived will receive their opportunity for salvation.

My wife and two of our daughters will celebrate the Feast in Puerto Vallarta, one of Mexico’s renowned beach resorts on the Pacific side.   This was our choice this year from 60 possible sites around the world.  Other Church of God flocks (John 10:16) offer additional sites.

Yes, Mary and I look forward to romantic sunrise and sunset walks on the beach and a pirate ship cruise.  Ahoy, matey, sounds like a wondrous vacation, but far above that it’s really a spiritual gathering to worship God the Father and Jesus Christ and to be trained in how to be a king, priest, teacher, judge or other servant leader in Jesus Christ’s coming government that will rule from Jerusalem (Rev. 1:6, 5:10).

Opening night service

is always so thrilling to look forward to.  Psalm 134, the last of the 15 Songs of Ascents leading up to the Feast, sings about “you servants of the Lord, who by night stand in the house of the Lord!”

Expect goose bumps when you stand to sing the opening night hymns in praise to God.   Seven hundred making a joyful noise in PV!  To be a tenor in a big choir singing four beautiful numbers during the seven days is an amazing privilege.

choirGod the Father and Jesus Christ promise they will be there in spirit, and I’m guessing They and their angelic choir will somehow sing from their heavenly throne along with all their sites.  Awesome uplifting music fills the Feast just like it will the Millennium.

Another big thrill of the opening night service is to discover who all has gathered at PV—maybe an old friend you had no idea was coming to the Hotel Friendly resort.   PV will have brethren from Mexico and the United States, probably from Central and South America, but no doubt from other countries around the world.  What a surprise to find out!

These are brothers and sisters in Christ who are seeking God’s will and committed to looking out for the interests of others above their own.  It’s all to God’s praise, thanks to His Holy Spirit, that His people from around the world whom I mostly don’t know—yet—will come together in temporary dwelling of unity (Psa. 133:1).    The Feast, like the Millennium, is all about family.   Seven days to picture 1,000 years to come!

All of this will be exceeded on a grand scale when God tells the nations they must keep His Feast and His Holy Spirit fills the earth.  Egypt is one of the nations you’d think least likely of coming up, and Zechariah 14:16-19 spells out how God will convince them to come.  Won’t accept My reign?  Then no rain for you!

The main feature of the Feast will be a church service each day to worship and teach.  In the Millennium, all nations will “go up to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths” (Isa. 2:3).

Those who keep the Feast now and are taught now can be in the first resurrection and become one who does the teaching then.  Meek means teachable and responsive without God having to yank the reins.

Maybe you say

“Sounds exciting but I can’t afford to go.”  Would a God who commands the keeping of His Feast not command a way to pay for it?  God directs His people to save 10% of their income, a second tithe commonly abbreviated 2T, so we can afford to go (Deut. 14:22-27).  In years where that gives you extra, God’s way is to share that bounty with those who have need (Neh. 8:10).  That’s how I was able to go to Squaw Valley, CA 48 years ago, when I had only one month to save 2T.

“But I can’t get off work.”  God commands we keep the Feast, especially the first Holy Day and then the Eighth Day.  Hopefully you can manage your annual days off work.  Secondarily, you can ask God for favor and tell your boss that you must go and request leave without pay.  Thirdly, you just go and trust God for the outcome.  Many tell stories of being offered a better job.

“But it’s too late this year.”  Then determine you will be ready to keep the Feast next year.  Start saving your 2T and do not rob or borrow from it, lest you steal from God in your “tithes” [plural!] (Mal. 3:8).

But here’s the good news:  you can

Attend Feast services online! 

It can’t compare with being there in person, but it’s way beyond not being there at all.

Here’s the link for tuning in to services originating in either Lake Junaluska, NC or Bend-Redmond, OR:  https://www.ucg.org/members/feast/sites/2017/celebrating-the-feast-at-home.  This link shares the schedule plus also offers study materials and sermons about the Feast of Tabernacles and Eighth Day.

If God is opening your eyes and urging you onward, step out in faith and experience a foretaste of the Millennium!

World 51 8-30-17