Insight: Time – August 2014

This is the newsletter portion for the August newsletter from Grace Evangelical Church.

Did someone say it was August? Where did Spring go? School is already beginning for students? I know that one second today is no quicker than one second 50 years ago, but the days seem to go faster! I remember when I was young, the time was reasonable, but now the days are rippling by like a stream rushing down a mountain! Continue reading

Suffering: How long does God allow suffering to continue? Part 6

This is Part 6 of 6 parts answering the question, “How long does God allow suffering to continue?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?”

God Determines the Length of Time

As Job suffered under the enemy’s assault and the indifferent misunderstanding of his friends, he wished that he had not been born (Job 3:12). By the end of this book, we are reminded that God is sovereign over all the details of life (Job 38-41). Instead of questioning God, we need to put our hand over our mouth and stop the doubting complaints against His sovereignty.   The only godly response is what Job confessed to the righteous Lord, Continue reading

Suffering: How long does God allow suffering to continue? Part 5

This is Part 5 of 6 parts answering the question, “How long does God allow suffering to continue?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Part 6 will be posted tomorrow.

Unbelievers Face the Judgment of Darkness Forever

As a boy, my parents once took me on a tour of Alcatraz. I remember walking through the solitary confinement portion of the prison and into one of the cells, which was behind two doors. When the second door was shut, it was pitch black inside. The tour guide said that most people could not handle this darkness very long. This reminds me of the horrible punishment the unbeliever will experience in the future. Peter said that darkness was Continue reading

Suffering: How long does God allow suffering to continue? Part 4

This is Part 4 of 6 parts answering the question, “How long does God allow suffering to continue?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 5-6 will be posted on succeeding days.

The Unbeliever Will Suffer in Everlasting Fire

There are many passages that record the horrible suffering that awaits those who reject God’s plan of salvation in Jesus Christ. Luke recorded in his gospel the account Jesus told of the rich man who had been blessed on earth, but was in torments seeking to have merely a drop of water to cool his tongue, “Then he cried and said, `Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.‘” (Luke 16:24 NKJ) Continue reading

Suffering: How long does God allow suffering to continue? Part 3

This is Part 3 of 6 parts answering the question, “How long does God allow suffering to continue?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 4-6 will be posted on succeeding days.

Suffering in Time for the Believer Will Seem Light

No suffering is pleasant. The duration of suffering is always too long and too painful! However, there are at least two truths that we should remember regarding all suffering in light of eternity. First, the Divine discipline previously discussed is designed by the love of God for our good, but it is still painful. The writer to the Hebrews wrote, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Heb 12:11 NKJ) Continue reading

Suffering: How long does God allow suffering to continue? Part 2

This is Part 2 of 6 parts answering the question, “How long does God allow suffering to continue?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 3-6 will be posted on succeeding days.

Christians are Warned to Stop Sinning to Avoid Suffering

Each person who put their faith in Jesus Christ receives Him, and the evidence will be seen in a life that is transforming! This process continues until God takes him home to be in heaven. If there is no fruit, then there is a question of whether he actually placed his faith in Jesus Christ as his personal Savior or just intellectually understood the facts of salvation. Continue reading

Suffering: How long does God allow suffering to continue? Part 1

This is Part 1 of 6 parts answering the question, “How long does God allow suffering to continue?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 2-6 will be posted on succeeding days.

The most difficult kind of suffering is that which lasts for an extended time. It’s not hard to endure a needle shot in the arm or detention after school, because the suffering only lasts a short time. But when the symptoms of cancer linger until a painful death or the mental and emotional suffering from the loss of a child lasts for one’s life, the agony can become almost unbearable. Continue reading

Life Insights: Stewardship of Stuff

Life Insights: Stewardship of Stuff
I mentioned recently how our families (we have two families living under the same roof) have moved from a large home to a more modest home.  We went from having two kitchens, separate entrances, living quarters to sharing a normal home with one kitchen, etc.  I’m glad we made the move.
We are still in the process of settling in as we finally put blinds up on the master bathroom window today!  That sheet held up by the masking tape was not what I was used to in our old home.
One of the key things I learned was that I was not as discerning with stewardship as I had thought, or at least I learned a new dimension of stewardship. I had always thought about stewardship as – as long as I do not have to pay a monthly storage cost, I am okay.  Certainly in some situations, outside storage is necessary.  But, from my perspective, the “stuff” that was stored at storage facilities would be getting less valuable with each monthly rental fee expended.
What I did not consider was the time needed to maintain or sustain the stuff.  I must have rationalized that away.  It does not own me, I thought, because I’m not washing and waxing it.  I am not paying a monthly fee to keep it in the attic or on the shelf.  I am not worried about it getting dusty, because it is not valuable anyway and I am not all that concerned about it.  However, those are only some of the ways that stuff can control you more than you control it.
First, you have to provide space to store the stuff.  Maybe you cover your attic floor with the stuff or you build shelves for it, but either way, it takes up space and you PAID for that space.
Secondly, you end up moving it around.  You may rearrange your stuff, because you acquired more stuff either through a good deal, or my favorite – a free deal.  Then you spend the TIME to think through how to organize the stuff, when you could be discipling another soul to the Lord.
Thirdly, you buy bins to organize like articles.  Yes it happens with efficient people that stuff needs to be grouped according to like objects and therefore plastic bins must be purchased and labeled. So now you spend TIME and money, because you PAID for stuff to store your stuff.
Fourthly, you have to remember where you put the stuff.  I despise it when I have to spend 15 minutes looking for my keys, let alone look for something I have stored.  The problem in my old house was that the stuff could be in the garage, the garage attic, in the mechanical room in the basement, in the master closet or the office closet upstairs. Whoa! Timeout! I do not like to waste TIME looking for stuff.  That is a cost I knew each time I incurred, but not as far as the price of the object.
Fifthly, the value of the object is worth about 10% of the cost paid when new.  We have had a few garage sales over the last two years and I learned the value of my stuff – only what someone else is willing to pay – not much!  Some people are not willing to pay a dime for what I paid seven dollars on a trip to Europe! Ha! What is the VALUE in the eye of the beholder?
Sixthly, stuff does not determine my value.  When I realized that the stuff I was storing, because I thought I would need it sometime, was of no value to others, I realized I must be attached to the wrong things or unaware of how much TIME I was using to maintain my stuff.  I realized that my time helping others was worth far more than the time I expended to maintain my stuff.  My value was based on who I am in Christ, not whether I was prepared or not because I had a widget I “might” use at some time in the future.
Seventhly, because you “CAN” store something, does not mean you should.  Just because “out of sight, out of mind” could work, eventually payday (the day you have to deal with the object at moving time or selling time) proves the value of the object – again, not much.  I was not paying a monthly rental fee, but the TIME factor was causing the stuff to become less valuable.  It weighed me down.
Eighthly, when you move, you have to move the stuff.  You have to buy boxes or acquire them somehow and that is a cost of TIME or MONEY to box up the stuff, tape it shut, label it and then figure out a new place to store the stuff.  You need to have gracious friends who are polite enough to not ask, “What’s all this stuff we’re moving???” or you just suffer on your own and move it yourself. 
Ninthly, if you store it, you can’t bless others with it.  How many extra screws do I need to store, just so I “might” have a screw or nut or whatever.  I have rationalized victoriously when I needed a screw or nut and I just happened to have it in the bin of drawers.  It’s just like the golfer who gets one good shot on the 17th hole that makes him think, “I could hit a shot like that again!” and it keeps him going back to the links.  When I have gone out to the garage and found the needed nut, I proclaim, “I have the nut I needed.  Wow, how great I am to have had that stuff!”
Tenthly, the more stuff I have on earth, the less I am likely to think of heaven.  Paul said,

·         20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
·         21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. (Phil. 3:20-21)
What do you need where you are in that station of life and how should you bless others with the stuff you don’t need?

 

Question: Did the ancient people know what a half-hour was?

Question: Did the ancient people know what a half-hour was?

A question came from a reference in Revelation 8:1. It is the transition from the seal to the trumpet judgments. The seventh seal is the initiation for the seven trumpet judgments.  Revelation 8:1 states, “When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. (Rev. 8:1)  Did the ancient people really know what a half hour was?  That does seem to be a small length of time, considering they didn’t have quartz or digital watches!

The Greek word for half hour is ἡμιώριον(haymiorion) (Rev 8:1).  It means literally, “half hour” according to a Scripture dictionary.  It comes from two words “haymi,” which means “half” and “horion,” which is a dimunitive form  “hora,” or “hour”  So it is half an hour to the lines on a sun dial.  It’s only used in this one location in Scripture.

A couple references in Isaiah 38:8; and 2 Kings 20:9 reference telling time by a sort of sun dial.  Half the distance between lines would be the half hour. Sun dials were well known in ancient times. They were common in B.C. 1500 and some say the obelisks were used to tell time back to B.C. 3500.

Always ask the questions; always trust the Scriptures.