Well, we have just finished a wonderful weekend conference focused on the second coming of Jesus Christ. Our speaker, Dr. William Goetz, has been a student of Bible prophecy for over 50 years. More than 30 years ago he published a book entitled "Apocalypse Next", which was eventually published in nine languages.
As we look around at the events in our world, we cannot help but wonder how close we are to the revelation of Jesus Christ, when he comes to establish his millennial kingdom. The establishing of the nation of Israel 65 years ago, the unrest and conflict in the Middle East, and the return of millions of Jews to the Holy Land, are all prophesied in the Scriptures. Then we see the increase in wars, earthquakes, pestilence and famine as signs of the imminent return of Christ (see Matthew 24).
It is interesting to see all of these things and speculate about what it all means. But one of the things I really appreciate about the ministry of Dr. Goetz is the way he ends every one of his messages. After presenting all of the information he always comes to the question, "So What?" In light of the truths we have just seen, what difference does it make to us here and now? And in this case it always comes down to the issue of being prepared for the day of Christ's return, and more importantly, for the Rapture of the Church, which will precede the coming of the Lord in glory. In the Rapture, Jesus will come in the air and take all of the believers, those who have died and those who are still alive, from the earth to be with him.
As we think of the coming of that Day, and what we need to do to be prepared, I am reminded of two passages of Scripture:
"Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure." (1 John 3:2-3 ESV)
"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works." (Titus 2:11-14, ESV)
Thanksgiving is often associated with family and food. Today was no exception for me. We had almost all of our family here for a turkey dinner today. That meant lots of food and lots of commotion with 8 adults and 9 children (ages 3 months - 8 years) in the house. But now that everyone has left and the house is quiet again, I find myself thinking about how blessed we really are. It is so easy to lose sight of the material blessings that we enjoy in this part of the world where we live.
But even more than the material benefits we have in our country and community, as believers in Jesus Christ we are blessed in ways that most people cannot understand. Yesterday in church we looked at Psalm 92 where the psalmist reminds us that "It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High..." It is good to give thanks... That is what this day is really about - giving thanks to the Lord.
I am reminded of a woman by the name of Katherine Mansfield. She was a gifted writer, but she rejected any knowledge of God. Due to health issues she moved to Switzerland where she was overwhelmed by the beauty of the mountains around her. She wrote to a friend, “If only one could make some small grasshoppery sound of praise—thanks to someone, but who?” How sad that anyone should have a heart filled with thanksgiving but not have anyone to thank.
The key to thanksgiving is not only to recognize our many blessings but also to recognize the source of those blessings and to give thanks to our Creator, the source of everything that we enjoy.
So, what am I thankful to the Lord for today?
There are certainly many more things I could add to this list, but above all, I am so glad that when I feel thankful, I know who to thank. "Thank you, Lord..."
It is hard to believe that the summer is past. It is over 3 months since I have posted anything on this blog. It is not because there has been nothing happening in my life. It is just that over the summer it seemed that this endeavor took a back seat to other things.
We had many family times over the summer, spending time with our children and grandchildren. We also welcomed another grandchild during the summer. Amelia was born to Michael and Katrina in July. What a joy she is, although we do not see them as much as we would like to.
Well, now that summer is over, and things are getting back into routine, I hope to get back to posting some thoughts on a semi-regular basis. I encourage you to keep checking this page to see what is going on in my life and my mind,
Gordon Rowland has been a Missionary-Pastor with Village Missions of Canada for over 35 years. Gordon and his wife Val have lived and served in Clive since 2001. They have four children and nine wonderful grandchildren.