Monthly Archives: November 2013

Are We Seeing Prophetic Signs?

African Full Solar Eclipse November 3, 2013

African Full Solar Eclipse November 3, 2013

Four Blood Moons, Disasters, Major Weather Events, Comet ISON and Meteors, Economic Uncertainty, Fukushima Nuclear Waste disaster, Iran & Israel, Etc.

Today (Thursday, November 28th) marks the American holiday Thanksgiving, marks the second day of the Jewish holiday Hanukkah and the comet ISON’s hairpin loop around the sun.  Not sure if there’s any significance in those events other than the last two being rare.

Another rare occurrence (according to NASA) and much more significant in my opinion – four blood moons with a full solar eclipse in the middle – begins happening next year, for two years:

April 15th, 2014 Blood Moon on Passover (the time Jesus was killed)

October 8th, 2014 Blood Moon on Feast of Tabernacles

March 20th, 2015 Full Solar Eclipse Nisan 1 (beginning of Jewish calendar)

April 4th, 2015 Blood Moon on Passover

September 28th, 2015 Blood Moon on Feast of Tabernacles.

Feast of Tabernacles pictures Jesus’s millennial reign on the earth.  Blood moons are apparently very rare and may fulfill a prophecy quoted in the book of Joel and restated by Jesus in Matthew as signs prior to His return.  John Hagey (see YouTube videos) has written a book about these four blood moons and what happens when they occur.

As if all this weren’t enough, the end of the Blood Moons on September 2015 coincides within days of the end of a second seven-year time period since 9-11-2001.

According to CNN Money article (http://money.cnn.com/2008/09/29/markets/markets_newyork/), the first trading day after 9-11 on Monday, September 17th the stock market crashed by 684 points.  Seven years afterward, the stock market crashed on September 29th, 2008 by 777 points and the Great Recession started.  The number seven is God’s number of completion in the Bible.  That day (9-29-2008) was the Jewish holy day, the Feast of Trumpets (picturing the trumpet blast prior to Messiah’s coming see 1 Thess 4:16).  September 28th, 2015 ends the second seven-year time cycle.  Rabbi Jonathan Kahn (a Christian Messianic Jew from the Jewish priestly tribe of Aaron) has noted dramatic and interesting details about the events since 9-11-2001.  He lists nine (9) harbingers of God’s warning to America.  It’s more than I can include here.  Search his name and the word harbinger on the Internet or YouTube.

Now mix with these rare and unusual events the fact that the United States, Israel’s biggest supporter, is now negotiating nuclear peace terms with Iran.  This action is apparently disappointing to Saudi Arabia, upsetting to Israel and causing members of Congress from both parties to question the wisdom of these moves.  A few people have even drawn comparisons with Neville Chamberlain negotiating with Adolph Hitler prior to WWII.

Combine the peace treaty with these other concerning events: the fact that significant elements of three of the world’s largest religions are expecting the end of the age as we know it to happen soon (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity); earlier this month evangelist Billy Graham expressed concern over the direction of the United States in what may be his final message; increasing weather and natural disaster phenomena; economic uncertainty; large leaps in scientific breakthroughs; the Fukushima nuclear waste problem in Japan.  One would think people would seem to at least be interested in watching over the next couple years.  Or maybe not.

Some (both Christian and non-Christian) dismiss such phenomena, linking these occurrences to other failed speculations such as:  the transition from 1999 to 2000; the end of the Mayan calendar or other end-of-the-world warnings (a list is provided by Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dates_predicted_for_apocalyptic_events; As an aside, one might consider including Jonah’s “failed” prophecy on this list.  Jonah predicted the megacity Nineveh would fall in 40 days, and God spared that wicked city when they repented – fascinating story).  Others see these events as religious lunacy.  Still others believe phenomena such as these have been happening for centuries and millennia and will continue.

Hagey’s blood moons, Kahn’s harbingers, extraordinary leaps in science, economic instability, the lunacy of building nuclear facilities in earthquake zones, the power of the Internet and the Middle East tensions have me watching for sure.  Things are just too volatile to continue “as is” for decades.  Similarly before Jesus actually arrived on the scene as a baby years ago, people were highly anticipating a great event.  We’ll see what happens.

Whether these are true prophetic events heralding the soon-coming return of Jesus Christ remains to be seen.  Surely from the list of failed prophecies, it causes one to at least be a bit skeptical and others probably a bit more interested or anxious.  But know this truth from the closest friend of Jesus who was Jesus’ only follower of the eleven to avoid being murdered, the great apostle and prophet John, “…the essence (the fundamental nature or quality) of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.” Rev 19:10 Prophecy and prophetic events should point us to Jesus and cause us to evaluate our lives in how we are loving our neighbors and loving God.  Are we sober minded or are we spiritually asleep?  Are we about the business of Jesus?

How many times have you heard Christians say, “We don’t know when Jesus is coming back because He comes as a thief in the night”?

That statement, I believe, is only partially true.  Read carefully.  Get the context – see 1 Thess 5:2.  Paul says Christians know “perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.”  Then he gives some signs to watch for.  Now notice verse 4 – “you brethren are not of the darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.”  So yes, we know the day of the Lord will come as a thief, but no, we should not be taken by surprise like the rest of the world.

Jesus returns as a thief in the night to those who are of the night – those who are drunk and sleeping!  I believe it is high time to sober up and be busy about the work of Jesus.

What is that work?  Jesus tells us.  His work is Kingdom work – making disciples, preaching the Gospel, loving others.  But notice what He tells His disciples in the context of His return in Luke 21:34-36 (NLT):

34“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware,

35like a trap. (In other words, for some people it is possible it will not catch them unaware, they will know and expect it, although it comes upon everyone.)  For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth.

36Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”

Those who are Christ’s should “watch and pray” as NKJV translates it.  We are to be about the business of Jesus.  The world will be drunk on material things, on pleasures, on cares of life, on riches and on sin – all these are “deceptive desires leading to a lifestyle without discipline resulting in the dizzy hangovers of drunkenness” as one Bible dictionary describes it.  These are careless, negligent, and extravagant lifestyles resulting in lack of discipline and control.

More pointedly, will American Christians be overspending tomorrow (on black Friday) in a lifestyle of charging things and going into debt?  Are we overeating without disciplined restraint today?  Are we lying in front of the television or computer entertaining ourselves without restraint?  Is life just one big joke?  Are our children, sports and work driving our lives to the detriment of our relationship with Jesus?  These things ought not be!

But rather than just point out possible prophetic signs and be quite critical of people’s selfish behavior, what can Christians do to prepare for Jesus’ return?  The first and foremost proactive step is don’t get discouraged or give up.  Rather, Jesus says drop the things that weight us down!  Draw strength from Him.  Jesus wants to empower His people with strength.  Are we having our quiet times and listening to Him in His Word?  Are we daily praying, memorizing, reading God’s Word, developing a healthy relationship with Jesus?  The time seems to be drawing much closer.  All of us seek a closer relationship with Him.

Next, watch faithfully!  Watch what?  Watch our disciplines or our bad habits.  Again, spend time with Jesus.  Start a Bible study or family devotions.  Get a spiritual mentor to hold you to the disciplines.  A missionary friend of mine wants to memorize a small book of the Bible.  He recently asked me to hold him to it, and he’s holding me responsible for a disciplined commitment I have made.  Join us in starting something disciplined, whatever it is.  It’s a great adventure.  If my friend makes it, great!  If not, he has at least started, and memorized something. Then after your relationship with Jesus, watch events soberly, faithfully, and prayerfully.

Pray!  Pray for what?  Pray for opportunities to shine the light of Jesus and truth, for opportunities to witness, opportunities to use our spiritual gifts.  Pray for world leaders and governments.  Pray for the body of Christ – those who are strong and those who are weak.  Pray for salvation for friends and families.  Prayer for some of us, especially when we are tired, leads to sleep.  That’s discouraging if we let it discourage us.  But it challenges us to pray more often during the day.  Pray that you will be counted worthy to escape the horrors coming on this earth.

Brothers and sisters, we are of the day and light!  Many of you pray for us!  Thank you so very much.  It has made such a positive impact and I have shared some of these stories here in our blog.

Finally, brothers and sisters, I will close with Paul’s exhortation in his first letter to the Thessalonians, “Do not despise prophecies.  That can be easy to do, especially given all the failed ones.  Rather than despising or getting discouraged, test all things. Hold fast to what is good – who is pointing to the real Jesus, not some false idea.  And finally abstain from every kind of evil.”  Isn’t that awesome?

Take these possible prophetic signs, and test them by watching and praying.  Evaluate our lives.  Seek out and find Jesus – He is good and all prophecy should point to Him.  Cease and desist from evil.  Regardless of what happens, love Jesus and love others.  Later blogs on this site have other proactive steps to take, like stirring one another up to love and good works.  It’s high time to be about His business!

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Week of November 11 2013

This past week Joshua and I visited a home cell Bible study in a local community where there is a large concentration of non-Christians.  A new church plant started in this community that is distantly connected with Francis Chan’s church.  We met on the front landing of a lady’s home.  She smiles often and shares her gift of hospitality.  Our time of worship begins with a welcome from an older teen who lost both his parents in the last few weeks.  Death is a harsh reality in Uganda.  After the welcome, he asks one of the ladies to lead in singing.  There are no instruments, so she sings and claps with joy and a smile.  We all join in, a song in English and one in Luganda, while another one or two locals provide an offbeat clap to give some variety and rhythm.  A few small children from the community who are passing by and watching with much interest, begin to dance.  I love the ability of the Ugandan people to worship and sing joyfully without instruments.

After singing, we prayed, and I led the Bible study.  One of the leaders of the church translated for me.  As we wrapped up and were leaving, the sun settled over the western Africa horizon.  Joshua seemed to enjoy the time there, so as we traveled back home I asked him what he thought.  I was expecting him to politely request to stay home next time, which would have been OK.  But he said he really enjoyed it.  The locals make you feel welcomed and appreciate that we are learning their language.  A new home cell group starts this week in the same area!

English Class

Three weeks ago I started teaching English at a local seminary on a

Equipping Pastors in English

Equipping Pastors in English

volunteer basis to almost twenty pastors.  The opportunity presented itself and after speaking with my supervisor, it seemed clear that this opportunity matched the goals of our mission agency, Equip Uganda, in equipping locals.  These pastors come from various east Africa countries.  They take about twenty-three English sessions, while they work toward their theological degree.  I taught one of the twenty-three English sessions for 1½ hours a day, six days a week, for IMG_6391three weeks.  It was enjoyable.  Alexis visited the class to snap a few photos.

As this week begins and as the Spirit reminds you, would you be so kind as to pray for Alexis?  She has had some pain with her teeth moving as two wisdom teeth have formed, but not yet erupted through the gum.  So we had a dentist from the States, who is visiting Jinja, look at Alexis’s teeth.  Because it would involve surgery, he recommended another dentist that he would personally use. This dentist has a great reputation with missionaries.  So we plan to see that dentist this week about extracting her two wisdom teeth.

Wises Update – November 3rd

Just a brief update since most of you received our October newsletter last week.  This past Tuesday, I began teaching English to 18 local pastors at Uganda Baptist Seminary.  This is a 3-week course (like the 3-week course I taught at Western Youth in Morganton for 2 years), but these folks are so friendly – and humble, with an interest in learning.  The class is 6 days a week for 1 1/2 hours.  This gives me an opportunity to teach, which I enjoy doing.

I also visited a newly planted church today in a nearby small town.  This was its 3rd Sunday and a young man was saved.  You should see the smile on his face.  He is going to change his name to a Christian name.

Eclipse

Total (almost total) solar eclipse in Africa today at 5:22 pm (9:22 am EST). Photo by Jen Recotta Photography (Jen is a friend of ours who attends our Home Bible studies)!

Just before the church began, nearly 60 people made decisions to accept Jesus in a highly concentrated non-Christian area.  I thought this may be a good opportunity for discipleship to new believers, so I visited.  The leadership there seem capable.  So we’ll see how it goes.

Eclipse Lookers

Tamara Boone with the kids looking at the total solar eclipse through x-rays (thanks to Anna & Patrick). Photo by Jen Recotta Photography. Thanks!

Finally after our Sunday afternoon Bible study this evening we got to watch a total solar eclipse from about 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm.  That was neat.  The last one I remember seeing was the summer (June) of 1984 about 11 am in Morganton, NC.  That day I never dreamed my family and I would be living in Africa nearly 30 years later.  God sees things much differently than we do and leads us in ways we do not expect – all for His glory.  Take some time to see what He wants you to do.