A Lesson From the Bear

How does Mama Bear know what to do?

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I have recently been greatly blessed to have a vacation in Alaska. While there, I experienced several of the wonders of God’s creation. This time, I would like to talk about the bear. The guides on several of our excursions talked about bears, their habits and their life cycle. Being from Maine, I already knew a bit about bear. We have a few black bear around. However, I learned some details on this trip that I didn’t know before. Perhaps some of them are unique to the Alaskan Black Bear.

I generally knew that the bear fatten up to prepare for the winter’s hibernation, but I didn’t know about another step they take to prepare. They eat gravel to stop up their bowel. I also knew that the mother gives birth and nurses her young in the den, before coming out in the spring. At this time, she is semi-dozing, not fully asleep. Here’s another fact I didn’t know: After they come out of the den in the Spring, the Alaskan bears eat skunk cabbage root as a laxative to get rid of that gravel plug.

A bit of research has revealed that the western skunk cabbage is a somewhat different plant than the eastern skunk cabbage. I don’t know whether the eastern bears do the same thing.

I ask myself the question: How does the bear know to do that?

  • One answer might be that they learn it from their mother. She does teach her young a lot about how to be a bear, but does she teach them to eat gravel before hibernation and skunk cabbage root afterward?
  • Another answer might be that the bear are somehow genetically “programmed” to do this. Instinct, in other words. That answer is OK to a point, but it leaves one wondering how did their instinct get programmed in the first place?
  • A more far-out answer might be that there is some form of communication that the female bear receives from the Creator/Regulator/Shepherd of the Universe that tells her to do these things and when to do them.

The more I learn about God’s magnificent creation, and the intricate details of how it all works, the more strongly I believe the following points:

  1. This didn’t all come about by a series of random events, without any guidance. There absolutely was an intelligent Creator involved.
  2. Whatever means the Creator employed to develop and bring about all the wonders of the natural world, the results reflect the immensity of His intelligence, His power and his Love.
  3. We are truly blessed by the habitat that God has provided for us. We should appreciate it, respect it, and nurture it.

How do YOU think that Mama Bear knows what she knows?

Meeting my Soul – Part Two

The conversation continues

If you are new to this blog, Welcome. You may want to start reading the series of articles at the beginning, or pick an article from the Table of Contents.

Whether they be reasons or excuses, a few other interests, projects and distractions have kept me from my writing for a while. Tonight, I want to at least do my promised Part Two of Meeting my Soul, which has been sitting in rough form for a while.

In Part One, I related the first two of my Soul Journaling sessions. The concept and technique of these sessions was based on Elisa Romeo’s book, Meet Your Soul. I wanted to ponder on my 3-16-17 session before turning it into an article for this blog. I have pondered long enough, and I have decided that I will neither add to, nor subtract from, what I recorded initially. The statements and questions from my “normal” Ego self will be in normal text and the responses from my Soul (whose nickname is Dan) will be in italics:

3-16-17 Session

Dan – I reread the chapter in Elisa’s book about the Spirit and the Soul and the relationship between them. I was curious why she emphasizes the Soul and doesn’t say as much about the Spirit. I wanted to understand why she advocates a dialog with the Soul and not with the Spirit. After reading again, I am beginning to understand, but maybe not completely. Let me try to describe my understanding:

The Spirit communicates in a different way to my Ego self (the part that I am most aware of) and also to the Soul self. The messages from the Spirit are more like direct transfers of knowledge and understandings, and not like a conversation. The Spirit has a strong influence on me, but seems to just be part of my “nature.” You (the Soul) are part of my nature, too, but you and I also have the ability to converse. Elisa said something along the lines that the Soul is the most trustworthy guide, because the Soul is the best interpreter of the Spirit. She also said that my Ego self contains my analytical abilities. I think I am more analytical than many folks. Elisa said that the Spirit and the Soul work together. If I am understanding correctly, things work out best when the influences of the Ego, Spirit and Soul are all in balance and harmony.

Am I on the right track here? Does this make sense?

Yes, you have a good basic understanding. You have progressed a long way in a short time. You, the analytical engineer, are asking me, your touchy-feely, emotional and relational soul, about whether your theory makes sense? (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) “Making sense” depends on who you ask, but since you asked me, it does make sense.

This morning, while in the shower, I had a small revelation. I had wondered why, even though I have not yet had much success with the meditations that Elisa recommended, I was able to jump right into this Soul Journaling exercise and seemed to have a good conversation going from the start. What I realized was that you and I have been doing this for years, but in a different way. I am frequently having mental conversations with a “voice” in my head. Much of my habitual “thinking” process involves conversations with that voice. Sometimes, I thought of that voice as my conscience. On a few rare occasions, I thought it might even be the Holy Spirit, though that usually did not seem like the right explanation. Now, it sure looks like that voice was you, my Soul. What say you?

Yes, we have been talking for most of your life. The differences are that you now understand better who the voice is, and that, in these journaling sessions, you are taking notes. You have been more connected with your soul than many people are. On the conscience thing, yes, that was me, too. One of my functions is to be your conscience. As I told you earlier, I have a connection to the Holy Spirit, and a part of Him does indeed live within me (and in you, in a general sense). The Holy Spirit instructs me sometimes. I interpret those instructions and pass them on to you. The reason it doesn’t feel like it’s direct from the Holy Spirit is that it’s not. Direct contact with the Holy Spirit is much too intense for you to handle at this point in your development.

I spend most evenings in my recliner in the living room, where my wife is also watching TV. She even keeps the TV on while she reads, alternating her attention between the two. I tend to ignore the TV and either read or “work” on my laptop computer. After having my hearing aids tuned up recently, it is harder to ignore the TV. That is likely the biggest problem with my feeble attempts at meditation so far. I need to go to another part of the house where it’s quieter and I can concentrate better. Maybe I’ll take the hearing aids out, too. I plan to make a better try this coming weekend at some of the meditation exercises. Will they do something more for me?

Some folks need the meditations in order to even get the conversation with their soul started. As you now have seen, you don’t need them for that purpose. There are other benefits and abilities that can be developed thorough some of the meditations. I would be wary of taking advice on meditations from just anybody, but Elisa’s recommendations seem sound. Give them a try.

We have had another good session. I think it’s time to call it a night, Dan.

Good night, Dennis.

I have not gotten back to Soul Journaling since the above session, though I have often thought I should. I have had some of those mental conversations more recently, but not with the journaling. I wanted to give it a rest for a bit and see if I still felt the same way about it. I still believe it was real and worthwhile.

Before reading Elisa’s book, I didn’t think this way, but I now believe there is some degree of autonomy between the different components of myself (or of my personality). In other words, my ego self, my spirit, and my soul do not march in lockstep with each other. The sayings “I am of two minds about this” or “part of me thinks this” may have more basis in reality than some of us might have thought. I do believe I should try harder to understand and know my soul.

While some folks cringe, and run in the other direction at the mere mention of the idea, I think it is interesting, and potentially fruitful, to explore our spiritual side. After all, we are not merely physical beings, we are spiritual beings as well!


Meeting my Soul – Part One

Getting to know my best friend

If you are new to this blog, Welcome. You may want to start reading the series of articles at the beginning, or pick an article from the Table of Contents.

I am reading Meet your Soul, by Elisa Romeo. This author has a somewhat different definition of “Soul” than I have read before. She says that our Soul and our Spirit are not the same thing, and they complement each other, in a sort of Yin and Yang relationship. On the one hand, she says that our Soul is our true Self, but she also says that our Soul is the Divine part of us – sort of like the Holy Spirit living within us. The author uses examples from both Jesus Christ and Budda. She advocates prayer, though some of what she recommends is prayer to the Soul. My reaction, on reading this, is that it reinforces the idea that we have a connection to God, not that we are Gods on our own.

If your faith is strong, and you are able to integrate the best parts with your faith, I feel that this book should do no harm to your Christian beliefs. However, be warned that some might take this book otherwise. My perspective is that it is good to test your faith by reading other points of view.

Ms. Romeo describes a few meditation methods, then recommends that we communicate with our Soul through a journal after meditation. I made a few attempts at meditation, but definitely need more practice at it. At first, I was skeptical about the journaling, but as I read the examples in the book, I came to understand it better. The journal is done in a conversational style. The conversation is between your Ego (physical mind) and your Soul (spiritual mind). The responses from the Soul come through the imagination, but are dependable (with practice).

I once had a similar writing experience when I started a piece called “A Conversation with God”. I didn’t take that one very far because I didn’t trust my imagination. Maybe I should find that file and work on it some more, taking Ms. Romeo’s advice not to worry, just let it flow.

I have also had a similar experience at times, when writing articles for my Secret to Happiness blog. Sometimes the inspiration was flowing and I wasn’t quite sure where it was coming from.

I decided to give this Soul Journaling thing a try. The following are the transcripts of my first two attempts. I am using the same convention as the examples in the book. The statements and questions from my “normal” Ego self will be in normal text and the responses from my Soul will be in italics:

3-14-17 session

Elisa says that I should give you a name. It can be temporary. We can pick a better name later, if we are inspired to do so. She also says that the Soul has feminine characteristics, even a man’s soul. Which should we use, a feminine name or a masculine name?

Either will work. Maybe we will talk later about previous incarnations. I have been female sometimes and male sometimes. You thought about Denise, because it is similar to Dennis. I think the journals will be easier to understand if we choose something that is more distinct.

How about Dan? As a kid, I went through a period when I wanted to be called “Dan” as a nickname because I didn’t like “Denny.” My middle name, “Elden,” came from one of my father’s friends, who had the nickname “Dan.” In fact, most people in the community didn’t know his actual first name.

Dan, it is, then.

I must admit that I was surprised by Elisa’s statements about the Spirit and the Soul and the relationship between them. I would like to understand this better.

All in good time. You have much to learn. You will understand this mystery better if you get a few more basics down first.

Jesus said that He would send a Helper (generally understood to be the Holy Spirit) to dwell within those that believe on him. Some of what I have been reading about the Soul suggests that you might actually be that Helper. Can you clear this up?

This is a big question to deal with so early in our conversation. I will answer in a general way at first. As you know, God, the Father, Jesus, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are very tightly connected. You can consider that they are different presentations of the same entity. Everyone’s Soul is also connected to the Holy Spirit, though the nature of that connection depends on the strength of the person’s faith. Your faith is strong and growing, so my connection to the Holy Spirit is more intimate than many. Be assured that Jesus’ statement in 1 John 4:13 is very true. You confess that Jesus is the Son of God. You have come to know and believe that God is love. You are trying to abide in love. Therefore, you abide in God and God abides in you. I am the part of you that God truly abides in.

Thanks. Between my recent reading, and my conversation with you, I understand a bit better now.

Dan – In her book, Elisa said something interesting about getting started in communicating with our Soul. She said “Fake it ’till you make it.” She was referring to the exercise of my “imagination muscle” as I learn to communicate with you. She also said that I must learn to trust the responses. Am I faking it, or making it, or some of both?

As I said, you took us into a big question very early. I think you typed a very good response that well represents the inspiration I gave you. If the effort was “some of both,” we did a good job together. Trust that the collaboration among your various parts (including your Ego and your Soul) is working well (and has in many instances before this exercise). I am pleased you are making this effort and look forward to more. However, let’s give it a rest for tonight and try again tomorrow night.

Sounds like a plan – Good night, Dan.


Dan – I’m pretty tired tonight, after the snow clearing last night and the training presentations today. I tried to meditate and immediately fell asleep.

That’s OK.

I have been reading, in Elisa’s book, that I should start off with easy questions, that I should get to know you better before going into the harder subjects.

Ask whatever you like, though she does make a good point.

I feel a little awkward, typing messages to another part of myself.

Don’t you think our sessions have been productive, so far?

Well, yes they have. Amazingly so, really.

So, what’s awkward?

Perhaps it’s my skeptical side, saying that I am just playing imagination games with myself.

So, what’s the problem with that? After all, I am another part of your self. Your imagination is the best connection we have right now. I feed thoughts to your imagination and your ego translates them to words in your computer.

So, are we something like one person with multiple personalities?

Yes, we are something like that. In our case, we don’t really have a “multiple personality disorder” going on, though. I’ve heard you say things like “part of me believes this or that.” You need to come to grips with the fact that there are multiple parts to your whole being.

Are there multiple parts to God’s being?

I thought you said you were going to stay away from the hard questions tonight. Yes, God has multiple parts to His Being. That is part of the explanation of the mystery of the Trilogy. There is one God, but the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are parts of his whole Being.

My conscious ego mind just wanted to edit your last response. I thought of what might be a better way to word part of it. However, I resisted the temptation and left it as first typed.

I think your first interpretation was close enough. I agree that you should refrain from editing the thoughts I give you. That could muddle them. As you translate my thoughts and inspirations into words the first time, you are using your writing skills, with good grammar and spelling. I give you permission to fix obvious typos, but otherwise, please do not edit.

I am pleased with how our first two conversations have gone. The dialog looks good enough to use in one of my blog articles. What do you think of that? Would my readers think I’m nuts?

First off, if you are being honest and true in your writing, you shouldn’t care whether the readers will think your are nuts. Let them think whatever they will. You will know what the truth is. I, too, am pleased with our conversations. However, let’s do two or three more before making a blog article out of them. I know you want to share what you have learned, and you will. Let’s just let our relationship mature a bit more, then you can glean some of the best for an article. You don’t need to give them every little detail.

Thanks for the good advice, Dan. I’m tired now. Let’s call this enough for tonight.

Good night, Dennis.

I didn’t take Dan’s advice fully. The above are the entire transcripts of our first two sessions. We have had more since. I may take some excerpts for another article.

Dan’s answers flowed to me as I typed them. His voice is subtle. At this point, he does not come across as an entirely different personality. However, there are parts of the discussion that never occurred to me in quite the same way before his answers came in these sessions.

So far, I haven’t seen anything in this activity that runs contrary to my Christian beliefs. It has helped me to better understand how our spiritual side could be connected to God. There has been more on this in subsequent sessions that I will incorporate in another article. Stay tuned.


Body and Soul

As Landlord and Tenant

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My Soul and my Body have a sort of business arrangement.

My Body is the landlord. He is the host of my Soul. Without a physical body to inhabit, my Soul could not live and participate in this physical world. God set up a very strict rule about that. Souls with no bodies are not allowed to reside here on Earth.

My Soul pays rent. He supplies my Body with the one thing he needs most to survive – the Spark of Life. My Soul also provides direction and intelligence to my Body. My Body is just a bumbling fool when he tries to act without help from my Soul.

In addition to a place to live, my Body provides other amenities to make life in this physical world more comfortable for my Soul. My Body provides eyes to see the world around it, as well as brain function to help interpret the scene. My Body provides ears to hear music as well as warnings and communications from others. My Body also provides other senses, such as touch and the ability to detect warmth and cold. My Body provides transportation, in order to navigate around this physical world.

They need each other – Body and Soul. Neither could get by on this Earth without the other.

One of God’s greatest miracles is the interface that allows a constant and intimate communication between Body and Soul. This interface is so seamless that most folks don’t understand where Body leaves off and Soul begins.

My Body is made from imperfect and perishable materials. It has an amazing ability to replenish itself, but that ability has limitations. Several of the functions do not work as well as they once did. At 70 years and counting, age is starting to take its toll. My Body is a product of the physical realm and is made of materials that can’t escape it.

My Soul is a product of the spiritual realm. The spiritual realm is every bit as real as the physical realm, but modern western culture knows almost nothing about it. Some of the more “primitive” cultures, including the Native Americans, had a better understanding of the spiritual realm than our society does. Our science (if you can call it that) refuses to acknowledge anything except the physical and material realm. Our scientific community turns a blind eye to any evidence of spiritual entities, such as God, the Creator, our own Souls and Satan. This is an example of ignorance posing as enlightenment.

I’ve been told that my Soul can last forever! In light of that fact, I have been taking a few steps to strengthen and improve it. I have renewed my acquaintance with God, and have been on a quest to understand Him more completely. This quest has taken me to reading some very good books about God, Man, the Soul, Creation and the Universe. I am also reading more of God’s Instruction Book – the Bible. I am finding that the more my understanding increases and the more my faith matures, the more interesting the Bible becomes.

If our culture, and our education system, continues to reject all understanding of the spiritual realm, our society will continue to decay. However, there is a glimmer of hope in the knowledge that a few of our scientists are coming around to acknowledge God and the spiritual realm. See my Proof and Truth article and the mini-reviews of several books, especially The Spiritual Brain, in my Recommended Reading article.

Another way of expressing the relationship between Body and Soul is this: My Soul is my real self. My Body is its support system.

The thoughts expressed in this article are my own, and are based on conclusions and beliefs I have drawn from life experiences and my reading. I don’t claim to know, or fully understand, the details of the relationship between Body and Soul. This is a subject area that should be important to all of us, yet there is little information readily available. If you have something to add, please leave a comment.

Proof and Truth

More thoughts on Science, Religion and Creation

If you are new to this blog, Welcome. You may want to start reading the series of articles at the beginning, or pick an article from the Table of Contents.

This article will be largely based on an excellent book that I have just read, but will also include some of my own thoughts and reactions to it. More about the book after my introductory comments:

Imagine what it might be like if you were suddenly presented with the absolute truth about God, the Creation of the universe, our own Souls, and our role in the system. What if some of your religious beliefs turned out be wrong? What if some of the science you learned (and believe) turned out to be inaccurate? What if you have misunderstood your relationship with God? What if the very foundations of your concept of reality were shown to be in error? What if the majority of popular opinion was shown to be way off base? Are you open-minded enough to accept and understand the real truth?

Many experts in the academic, religious and scientific communities are not open-minded enough to accept the truth, even if it is proven by overwhelming evidence. If new discoveries are contrary to the popular narrative, or not politically correct among their peers, the “experts” will dismiss, rule out, or just ignore the discovery, no matter how well-founded it is. That is the situation we find ourselves in, relative to recent scientific discoveries about the creation of the universe which prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that there was an intelligent Creator involved.

Wow! I just made quite a statement! Can I back it up? Yes, I can! My quest for knowledge of these subjects has led me (with God’s help) to a very interesting book, God and Soul – The Truth and the Proof by Jim Denney. This 2012 book pulls together information from many sources that shows that there is convincing and overwhelming evidence that God exists, that the soul is real, and that the universe was designed with you and me in mind. Everything the author presents is sourced, footnoted and verified. He presents both sides of every argument and urges the reader to fact check him.

I will list some of the major points of this book here:

  • The universe was designed to bring forth intelligent life forms (us and perhaps others). This is known as the Anthropic Principle. Many of the parameters that govern physics, from the smallest particles, and the forces governing them, to the “Big Bang,” had to be set just right in order for the universe to form the elements needed for life, and to create our well balanced and regulated Solar System and Earth. The odds against these things happening by accident or coincidence are discussed in the book, and are beyond our capability to comprehend. The only explanations for this, other than a Creator, are variations of a “many worlds” or “multiverse” theory that says that all possible universes exist at once. For reasons discussed in the book, the multiverse theory is less rational than the concept of a Creator.
  • We need BOTH Natural Selection and the Anthropic Principle. These concepts have been misunderstood by some, which has led to a false either/or choice. The New Atheists, especially, cling to their denial of any kind of Intelligent Design or Cosmic Designer.
  • Physicists, in the study of quantum mechanics have discovered what seems like a very strange principle – in order for something to be real, it has to be observed by a conscious being. Electrons, photons, or other quantum entities, exist in a range of possible states until they are observed. The act of observation collapses the wave function to a discrete state. That’s when they become a physical particle. Physicist John Wheeler said we live in a “participatory universe.” We participate with the quantum world in making reality real.
    Given this principle of quantum mechanics, along with the fact there were no human beings in the universe for most of its 13.7 billion year existence, the author suggests that the Cosmic Designer was also the Cosmic Observer, “who collapsed the wave function of everything that is, creating objective reality out of quantum potentiality. … When we arrived on the scene, the Cosmic Designer gave us the ability to collapse the wave function of our own little corner of reality.”
    The book goes into a discussion of why the author maintains that this is a more viable solution than the MWI (Many Worlds Interpretation) or multiverse theory that is espoused by scientists and academics who refuse to acknowledge the possibility of a Creator.
  • “You don’t HAVE a soul. You ARE a soul. You HAVE a body, temporarily.” (quoted from a novel, cited in the book.) Most of the argument for the reality of the soul is made by citing NDE’s (Near Death Experiences). In one of those, the patient said that she could move herself around the hospital, while outside of her body. She described seeing a blue tennis shoe on a 3rd or 4th floor window ledge, scuffed in the little-toe part, with the lace tucked under the shoe. A nurse, who previously had her own NDE, checked it out. She searched for, and found the shoe. It was not visible from the ground, and was exactly as the patient described. In another case, a woman was visited by a friend who had just died moments before the visit. The author ends the section on souls with this: “To those who insist that ‘there must be a rational explanation,’ I say, Of course there is. The soul is real.’ And that’s the most rational explanation of all.”
  • “Our very existence is a miracle. In a purely scientific sense, we should not exist.” The book goes on to discuss experiments that have been made to prove the concept of spontaneous generation of life in a primordial soup. These experiments failed. Scientists have calculated the odds and found that such an occurrence is hopelessly improbable. Evolution must have had help.
  • Earth, the planet we inhabit, is the result of a convergence of incredibly unlikely conditions. The book goes on to describe many of these conditions that make life possible here. The author states that “the ordinary works of the Cosmic Designer are the most spectacular miracles of all. Nature is God’s objet d’art, the tangible expression of the intellect, imagination, and soul of the Cosmic Designer.”
  • “Everything we think of as ‘solid matter’ is mostly nothing. Matter is composed of atoms. Atoms are composed of electrons, neutrons, protons and lots of empty space. What are electrons, neutrons and protons? They are not hard little objects, like tiny marbles. No, they are probabilities, they are tendencies to exist. … In short, they are bits of information.” The book goes on to explain that matter and energy are digital. Even our perception of reality is digital.

The above are not all the points made in the book, but I think I have summarized the major ones. Each of them is thoroughly explained, with references citing where the information comes from. While it might be deep reading for a lot of folks, I think this book is one of the best I have encountered at explaining how the pieces of the puzzle fit together.

I’m not the least bit worried about the fact that this book doesn’t match the account in Genesis. Some parts of the Genesis account, and some other Bible passages, take on a fuller meaning when reviewed in light of the principles discussed in this book. The biggest conflict with Genesis is in the timing. I believe that God has a whole different way of dealing with time and space than we do, because he has access to dimensions that we don’t. When, and if, we get to understand how God can be in all places and all times at once, the timing will become an insignificant problem.

The author closes the book with “I have never heard God speak in an audible voice… Most of us never will. But for all of us, there is a still, small voice that whispers to us. It tells us who we are and where we belong – if we are listening. And if we follow that voice – if we go where it leads us – we will one day understand the meaning of this journey called Life.”

Science, Religion and Creation

There should be no conflict

If you are new to this blog, Welcome. You may want to start reading the series of articles at the beginning, or pick an article from the Table of Contents.

Science and Religion need not be at odds. If we mortals had, and understood, God’s full truth, they would fit together perfectly. Science tries to explain the mechanisms (What and How) of the physical realm. There is a spiritual realm that is every bit as real as the physical realm. Mankind knows 3 spatial dimensions plus 1 time dimension. God’s universe includes other dimensions that man is not equipped to comprehend. Religion, if we knew and understood the full truth, would explain the Who and the Why of the spiritual realm and the connection between the spiritual and the physical. When you imagine Creation from God’s timeless point of view, the When becomes less important.

I think we agree that our wonderful universe was not created by a series of accidents and random mutations. Our Creator, and his assistant, Mother Nature (a figurative character representing the laws of the physical realm), used the materials, tools and methods at their disposal to achieve this marvelous work.

To even begin to elaborate on how Creation and Science really do fit together, I would need to write a very long article. There are books and websites out there that do that. Instead, I will let the above two paragraphs stand on their own, for now. I hope they will get you thinking, if you haven’t started already, about how far away mankind is from discerning the real truths of the universe. It amazes me, how unwilling most people are to consider, explore and discuss the important questions of life.

One of the resources that I am now exploring is the website: www.godandscience.org. There is a lot of material there to sift through.

Subsequent to writing this article, I have read a very interesting book on this topic.  See my article Proof and Truth for details.

I thank God for our creation, and I look forward to learning much more of God’s truths in the afterlife.

A Quiet Christian Speaks – Part Four

Jesus will make things right

If you are new to this blog, Welcome. You may want to start reading my whole series of articles at the beginning, the Quiet Christian Speaks sub-series from Part One or pick an article from the Table of Contents.

What is the answer to all of the issues and problems that I have listed in the first three parts of this series? In the long term, God is the ultimate answer! World events show that we are getting closer to the conditions that will let the End Times prophecies in the Bible come true. When Christ returns, he will end this madness and straighten things out, but good!

The Bible does not tell us when Jesus will come again. In fact, Jesus said “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (Matthew 24:36 ESV). However there are events and signs that will tell us when the time is near. I recently read Antichrist Before the Day of the Lord, by Alan Kurschner. This book ties the prophecies together and lays out the sequence of events in the Last Days. Be warned, though. Kurschner is not one of those who makes it easier on us by saying that the Rapture will occur before the Tribulation. He gives reasons and quotes from the Scripture why he believes that the Rapture doesn’t happen first. He says that, if we live until those days, we must endure the Tribulation before we can be Raptured out of here. As I see it, his reasons make sense and have the “ring of truth”.

There are many other books available, some of which make different interpretations. If you are serious about studying eschatology (last things), you may want to read other books as well, especially some that predict that the Rapture comes before the Tribulation. I have read one or two of those books a while ago. The sequence laid out in Kurschner’s book makes more sense to me, even though it is not as popular.

According to the Kurschner book, there is an important biblical distinction between the Antichrist’s great tribulation and the day of the Lord’s wrath. The great tribulation comes from the Antichrist and is directed against the church. Here is a very condensed overview of the End Times:

The Antichrist may not be easy to recognize at first. He will come to power in a rebellion, and will deceive many people, likely the majority. After he is established in power, his true evil nature will be revealed. He “takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.” (2 Thess 2:3-4 ESV) At this time, all religions other than the worship of the Antichrist will be banned. Lawlessness will increase. Christians will be persecuted. Many will abandon their faith. These events are called the “abomination of desolation.” When they see these things happening, believers will know for sure that they are in the great tribulation.

After the abomination of desolation, Jesus will come and take His people to be with Him (the rapture). When Christ appears, there will be no mistaking it. First, there will be a cluster of celestial disturbances and a blackout. Christ will appear “with power and great glory.” (From Luke 21) “For just like the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so the coming of the Son of Man will be.” (Matthew 24:27)

Immediately after the rapture, the day of the Lord’s wrath begins. This is when the ungodly will receive the seven Trumpet Judgments described in Revelation. Following the seventh and most severe Trumpet Judgment, the Bowl Judgments and the Battle of Armageddon will occur in rapid succession. At the conclusion of the Battle of Armageddon, the Beast and the Antichrist will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. Satan is then bound and sealed in a bottomless pit for 1,000 years.

After the ungodly people, Satan and the Antichrist are out of the way, God will renew the Earth and establish the New Jerusalem. There will be a thousand year reign of God and Christ before Satan is released for a final battle. Satan is defeated for good this time, and is thrown into the Lake of Fire. This is followed by the Great White Throne Judgment of the dead, where “if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15 ESV)

Now, the judgments are all finished and the full restoration of Heaven and Earth begins. The New Heaven, New Earth and New Jerusalem will be beautiful and glorious beyond our capability to imagine. There will be no more Satan, no more evil spirits and no more evil people for ever and ever!

Didn’t I tell you that God was going to put things right some day?

We have not yet reached the End Times and I’ve had about enough of the bull crap that’s now going on in the world. How about you? Part of me is looking forward to God’s intervention!

We’ve just examined the End Times and we find that the ultimate ending of the story is great. But there sure seems to be a lot of heavy-duty misery in store before that comes. How are we going to live through all that? Since we don’t know when the End Times will really begin, let’s talk about two eras  – Before the Tribulation and During the Tribulation.

Before the Tribulation
Many aspects of life on Earth will continue to get worse, especially those problems that I talked about in my previous articles. We must always be preparing ourselves for either of two possibilities 1) We die our earthly death before the End Times, or 2) The End Times begin while we are still alive on Earth. Either way, we must do the following:

  • If you haven’t already, get to know God and commit your life to Him. [See my article How do you get to know God?]
  • Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37 ESV) If you do this, you will love the things that God loves.
  • Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:39 ESV) [See my articles The Secret to Happiness and What Does It Mean to Love God?]
  • Grow in your faith. Read the Bible. Go to a church. Join a fellowship group or a Bible study group. Read books that will build your knowledge and your faith.
  • Avoid bad influences. I’m not saying you have to be an absolutely perfect saint, but I am saying you should choose entertainment and activities that will build you up, rather than tear you down.
  • Avoid bad habits, such as taking drugs, drinking to excess, gambling to excess, improper sexual behavior, etc.
  • Be honest, truthful and fair in all that you do.
  • PRAY Ask God for forgiveness. Thank God for your blessings. Ask God for help, strength and courage. Ask God’s blessing on family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, our Country’s leaders, etc. Ask God for guidance.
  • Follow your conscience. If you have received Christ, a part of the Holy Spirit dwells in you. He will guide your conscience to steer you right.
  • Participate in community organizations or activities that do good works. Yes, I know. You are not saved by good works – certainly not by good works alone. Even so, James, Chapter 2 speaks to me, especially where James says “…I will show you my faith by my works.” and “faith apart from works is useless.” In other words, don’t just believe it, LIVE it.
  • GIVE some share of your earnings to churches or to good causes. I’m not saying any certain percentage. That’s up to you. I have been pretty stingy for most of my life, but I am giving more now to a few causes that seem worthy.
  • After Jesus (and God), your family and friends come next. Love them, support them, be loyal to them.
  • Try very hard not to be a hypocrite. Try not to project a “holier than thou” attitude. Be humble. None of us are perfect. That’s why God has given us His grace and forgiveness. That said, we still should strive to be the best example that we can for our family and for our community.
  • Do not be discouraged by all the negative things that are going on in our world. Remember that God will win in the end. Be a part of His Victory Team!

I’m sure there are many more bullets that could be added to the above list. Let me sum it up by saying “Live in a way that will please God.” If you do that, know that God will look after you. God will give you the strength to get through whatever the difficulty is, no matter how severe. Even if you are persecuted, even if you are killed in some horrible way, the pain is only temporary. Your eternal reward awaits.

By the way, I don’t take the above advice as well as I should. Like most of us Christians, I am a work in progress. I am trying to do better as my life goes on.

During the Tribulation
If the Pretribulationists are right, and the Rapture happens before the Tribulation, and if you are already among Jesus’ church, you will not have to worry about this era. However, if the Rapture doesn’t take place until the Tribulation is under way, and if those events happen during your lifetime on Earth, you may well have to deal with it. Remember that Jesus said that no one knows the day or the hour. (Matthew 24:36)

You must do all of the things I have listed above (subject to the conditions at the time), but you must be even stronger. It is time to “put on the whole armor of God.”  Read Ephesians 6:10-18 to see what that means.

Your faith will be tested like never before. The Antichrist and his followers will both tempt and coerce you to give in and give up. You may have to endure unbelievable hardship. You may be tortured or even killed.

God will provide help and relief to those who hang in there and stand with him. The help may not be what you expect, though. It may be that he guides you through your earthly death, so that your soul is spared the remainder of the Tribulation. Remember, If you truly believe in the Everlasting Life that God has promised us, your mortal death is just a passage to something far better. Death is not to be feared. When you no longer fear death, Satan just lost the biggest hold he had on you. Think about it. Pray about it.

Go to my Messages From the Music article for a link to Jake Hess performing “Death Ain’t No Big Deal”. I love that message and I believe it to be true.

While building your faith and preparing for whatever fate awaits you, don’t be afraid to speak God’s Truth. It drives the godless folks crazy!

May God’s light illuminate your life!