Saturday, January 23, 2016



I took this picture of a rainbow during a cruise on Glacier Bay in Alaska a year and a half ago.  I think I've seen only one rainbow since that time.  Do you see rainbows very often? 

I'm always so excited when I see a rainbow.  Not only are they a beautiful phenomena, but they also represent a wonderful promise God made to His children in the ancient past.  In Genesis 9:13, God says, "I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth."  In that instance, God was promising Noah and his descendants that He would never again destroy the earth by a flood.

Three other times Holy Scripture speaks of a rainbow.  Twice, it refers to the rainbow surrounding the throne of God.  Both Ezekiel and John saw this glorious rainbow in the visions God gave to them of things in heaven (Ez 1:26-28 & Rev 4:3).

Since the first sign of the rainbow at the dawn of a new world (after the flood), it has symbolized God's mercy.  When Ezekiel and John saw God's holy throne of judgment wrapped up in a rainbow, they were encouraged, because they realized, God's judgment to His children is always wrapped in mercy.

The final appearance of a rainbow in the Bible is a prophetic vision in Revelation 10, when John saw an angel "...robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head..."  This angel will make his appearance during the tribulation.  The fact that the angel's head is wreathed in a rainbow indicates mercy in some form.

"For the Lord your God is a merciful God; He will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which He confirmed to them by oath" Deuteronomy 4:31.

And so, rainbows should thrill our soul, because they are a reminder of our Lord's great, unfailing mercy to us.  "Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old" Psalm 25:6.  And the verse that reminds us of the two visions:  "Mercy triumphs over judgment" James 2:13.

My new 2016 calendar begins the month of January with this inspiring quote:  "Count your rainbows - not your thunderstorms."  God is good and His mercy endures forever.  Praise the Lord - and thank you, O Father, for the beauty, wonder and promise of the rainbow.

Photo of stained glass window is in a church in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Fig Tree

The Fig Tree

In Jeremiah 24, God shows the prophet two baskets of figs:  "One basket had very good figs, like the figs that are first ripe..." verse 2.  The luscious figs pictured above were on display in a market we wandered through in Pisa, Italy.  I think they're a very good picture of what Jeremiah saw in that basket of good figs (the second basket had "bad figs").

God went on to tell Jeremiah that the good figs represented those Israelites that had been taken captive from Judah to the land of the Chaldeans.  He said, "For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land; I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up.  Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart" 24:6-7.

Various times in scripture, God likens the nation of Israel to a fig tree and its fruit.  In the New Testament, on two occasions, Jesus comes across fig trees that do not bear figs (Luke 13 & Matthew 21).  Both times, the fig tree and its fruit are symbols of the nation of Israel.

In Matthew 24, Jesus is telling His disciples about the signs of the end of the age, the tribulation and of His second coming.  He ended with the admonition, not only to those disciples, but to us as believers, that we could know when that time was near - that if we're paying close attention to His prompts, we will know His return is imminent -- and once again, it has to do with figs.

Jesus said, "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.  So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near - at the doors!  Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place" 24:32-34.

Here's what Britt Gillette writes in his book, Signs of the Second Coming, "Jesus said when we see the fig tree (Israel) grow leaves (regenerates), we should pay close attention.  Why?  Because when that happens, He will return within a single generation."

Britt also writes, "Just as the fig tree of Israel withered and died when it failed to recognize the Messiah, the fig tree of Israel will regenerate and sprout its leaves again just prior to His Second Coming.  In other words, Israel will be 'in season' once again, ready to receive her Messiah.'"

And when did this fig tree begin its regeneration?  On May 14, 1948.  In a single day (as prophesied by Isaiah), Israel was reborn as a nation for the first time in nearly 2,000 years.  Israel is a modern miracle, just as God foretold it would be.

Although we cannot know the day, nor the hour of Christ's return (only the Father is privy to that info), we can know the season.  In fact, several times Jesus made it plain that He wants us to watch and be ready and recognize the signs of that season.  And guess what?  We're in it.  The signs point to this being the season.  We are the generation.

Those beautiful, ripe figs are a reminder of the Lord's promise.  Just as God told Jeremiah He would bring His people back to the land, He promised to bring them back to the land in the last days as well.  We are seeing prophesy fulfilled before our very eyes.  In Luke 21, Jesus said, "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."

I borrow words from our brother John as he ended the book of Revelation:  "..Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Great Dragon

The Great Dragon

Throughout the book of Revelation, one of the descriptions of Satan is as a dragon.  In each case, he is fierce and deadly and evil.  This is the opposite of our friendly Puff the Magic Dragon, of the old folk song by Peter, Paul and Mary.  This is a fire-breathing dragon with sharp teeth, sharp claws, and wicked intentions.

"So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" Revelation 12:9.

The picture of a dragon hanging from the outside of an umbrella shop in Barcelona, Spain, features a fierce looking dragon, tail curled, body coiled, ready to pounce.  I imagine it being a real living, breathing creature -- something you would not want to meet up with in your worst nightmare.  This is something I would want to avoid at all costs.

So - why is it that so many people readily flirt with Satan and what he offers?   Some people laugh about Satan, considering references to such an entity as fairy tales, while others consider him almost like a "pal," out to help them have a good time.  Satan is the master of deception and can easily manipulate the minds of unbelievers (and even some Christians) into only seeing the sheep's clothing he has disguised himself with, or even as seeing him as an "angel of light."  Those people fail to discern the dragon hiding beneath the theatrical garb he uses.

Satan uses political correctness, open-mindedness, false religions, morality, and fun times as tools to bolster his cause and blind the eyes of the vast majority of humanity.  His whole goal is to keep unbelievers from realizing their need of a Savior and accepting the Lord's free gift of salvation.  If he loses an unbeliever to Christianity, then his tactics change and he works to dull their testimony and keep them from the path of victorious living through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Make no mistake, he is the absolute enemy of God -- and of those of us who belong to God our Father.  He is ever swinging that mighty tail and trying to knock us off our feet as we stand up for the Lord.  As strong as this great, evil dragon is, however, our God is far, far stronger.  Praise God, "Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world."

Here's a thought I had this week as I studied the Bible study, "Daniel," by Beth Moore.  We are studying about the Second Coming, the tribulation and the rapture.  We know that NO ONE knows the time that Jesus will return to earth except the Father Himself.  There are, however, signs that point to the nearness of this blessed event, and Satan is smart enough to read those signs. 

As I pondered all of this, I suddenly wondered, Could the rapture be the signal to Satan that the stopwatch on the seven-year tribulation has begun?  Otherwise, how would he know when to begin his big power play?  It's certainly an intriguing thought!  What do you think?

You can probably tell from my thoughts that I am a dispensational premillennialist, but whether this is what you believe, or not, no matter, if you're a born-again believer, we'll meet in the air sooner or later (:

I'd love to hear what you think about all of this.  I look forward to your comment!