Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Update & Tohoku Art

Hi everyone,

I apologize that it's been soooo long since I've updated this blog. There are various reasons for this, chief among them that Facebook is a lot easier to use, haha. I'm going to attempt to do a massive overhaul on this page and on all my blogs, so I'm importing things that were scattered around on various blogs onto this blog. Then I'll be looking into copying various "notes" (articles) that I've written on Facebook back onto this blog.

For pictures, well, I don't think Blogger is going to be able to match the ease of putting pictures on Facebook, so I'm going to generally cease putting up family pictures here (plus I need to conserve space for art pictures). If you'd like to see how I'm doing, look me up on Facebook. =)

For those wondering about us and the earthquake/tsunami, we are fine here in Osaka, about 1000km away from the epicenter and very far from the Fukushima nuclear reactor as well. We have some friends who have gone out to the Tohoku area (the northeast of Japan) to help out with relief, and it is hard knowing people are suffering but life goes on over here as "normal". Out of my heart and God's, the overflow and pain, I've put up a page of pictures related to the disaster. Some pictures arose from the disaster, while others were done earlier but I felt impressed to add to the page:

Jesus Loves Tohoku Art (page)
For the victims of the earthquake & tsunami.

Jesus Loves Tohoku Art (page)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fear of the End Times

I know it's natural for Christians to say "Jesus is coming soon" when a big disaster happens. I think there are different reasons we sometimes say this. I want to talk about a couple of those reasons for a minute.

First, there is the Christian who feels the pain of others, or the pain of loss themselves... for them it is more of a cry, "Come soon, Jesus!" Or it is a word meant in good heart to be comforting to others... "This will be over soon."

But then there is another type of "Christian", who, how do I say this gently, is just excited that they think prophecy is being fulfilled. This event matches that verse! This is a fulfillment of what it says in the Bible here and here and here and here and here! And then there is a subdivision of this type who add, "You'd better start running to the hills!"

Yes, in Matthew 24 Jesus told the believers that there would be a time when they needed to run. If you compare it with the parallel passage in Luke 21, you should be able to figure out that He was talking about the coming siege of Jerusalem by the Roman army. His warnings about coming days included things about the destruction of Jerusalem as well as things about the end of the age. In Matthew 24 and Mark 13 these warnings are closely mixed together, but in Luke 21 they are more clearly defined and separated.

Not everything He said to the people who would be in Jerusalem back then applies to us in a literal way today. There are spiritual lessons that can be learned, but they are not a blanket rule of how we should behave when we see the end coming. Otherwise we would flee from sharing the gospel, and we would intensely fear and avoid martyrdom and pay honor to it only in lip-service.

But the gospel declares:

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"

"Very truly I tell you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life."

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

And in the end it is said of His people: "They triumphed over the dragon by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death."

So enough of this "You'd better all run to the hills!" nonsense. Do that and you show people that you are afraid of losing your skin, that the Kingdom of God is not worthy dying (or living) for, and that you aren't sure He will really save you and resurrect you.

So if you believe we are in the times of the book of Revelation (I won't tell you what I believe right now), then get busy with Revelation's advice: Live by the Spirit, keep the faith of Jesus and His commands.

Living by the Spirit means that well, you know, what, you'd better talk to Him, wait on Him, and listen to Him. Because there is no "road map" or guidebook for the endtimes. He Himself wants to be your guide! If you're studying intensely trying to figure things out so that you'll "pass the test" (as if the end were an exam!), then you're missing the point. And you're probably missing a whole lot of peace in your heart, too!

Keep the faith of Jesus or the testimony of Jesus. That means remember it is He who has saved you, and not you yourself. It is His righteousness that saves you. Not you, not your "right-ness" or holiness. He saved you by giving His life for you on the cross, taking your sins, and giving you a perfect, spotless, stainless robe without blemish because it is His robe. He is the perfect Lamb without blemish. It's all about Him, not about you, or me, or any of us. That is God's testimony to us in His Son, and that is the whole spirit (essence) of endtimes prophecy. If that cornerstone isn't in place when you look at Revelation, then your going to be in the wrong spirit when you read the prophecy.

The commands of Jesus. This is really, really simple, but of infinite depth and challenge:

"Love one another as I have loved you.
By this all people will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another."

How has Jesus loved you? What has He done for you? Can you count? Go love others LIKE THAT! Did He start loving you after or before you started loving Him? Did He love you while you were His enemy? Go love others while they are your enemies! His command is agape love. "Agape one another as I have agape'd you."

No, "commands" doesn't mean some thing you must perform or do in order to earn His favor and stop making Him angry. He took care of all of those things on the cross. "Commands" means exactly what 1st John 3:23 says, believe on Jesus and love others like He taught us to.

Now doesn't "running to the hills" violate both of those? Unless His Spirit specifically tells you to do so in that particular instance, then your running feet are testifying that you aren't sure that Jesus will save you and resurrect you. And your testimony about Him says as much to the world watching you flee. You're afraid of the same things they are and you have no peace that passes understanding. You too are attached to material things and your present life, and are afraid of losing these.

"The Endtimes Hireling"
"The Endtimes Hireling"

And moreover, doesn't "running to the hills" show that you're more concerned about your own skin than about the people you're leaving behind you? Again, in some cases He does say "Go!" and tell you to urge others to come with you. But He did NOT give us a spirit of fear, nor did He tell us to be afraid of what man or disaster could do to us.

I have friends here in Japan who want to stay in (or go into!) areas affected by the earthquake, tsunami, or at risk from possible radiation exposure from the ailing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. They want to pour out their lives for the sake of people who don't know Jesus yet. They carry the heart of God and torch lit by the apostles, who said:

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

"I know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace... Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die for the name of the Lord Jesus."

P.S. All this "running to the hills" stuff, you know what, it also applies to that "pre-tribulation rapture" mess. Afraid that He can't protect you during judgments coming from His own hand? (Did you read Psalm 91?) Think that He somehow doesn't want you to stick around and share His love? Etc.


On Facebook: "Fear of the Endtimes"