Monday, June 19, 2017

Words used by Jesus for the Second Coming

This past Advent I did a series on my blog I called The Second Coming in 1 & 2 Thessalonians. I looked at the description of the second advent in each chapter and highlighted the particular words used for His return. I summarized my findings this way : His coming is called parousia, apocalypse, epiphany. He will be revealed from heaven with power (apocalypse), he will appear in glory (epiphany), he will come to be present with us (parousia). It is a very good study and I would encourage you to check it out.

A few weeks ago, in a Bible study I am teaching, we were in Mark 8 and concluded with this verse:

38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

I had a fleeting thought, “I wonder what word He used for ‘coming’?” Then, at church this past Sunday, a reference was made to Revelation 22:20, …Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. I wondered again about the word used, but this time I had the opportunity to look it up. And was I surprised! It was not one of the words referenced above. It was actually a fairly common word. A plan formed - This week I will look more fully into this. And I did. This was illuminating and exciting!

I looked at every occurrence of come in the Gospels and Revelation (since I was wondering what word Jesus used in connection with the second coming).

First, He does use the word parousia. It occurs four times, all in Matthew 24 – verses 3, 27, 37, and 39. Actually, Jesus used it 3 times, and the disciples once.

But by far the most frequently used word is ἔρχομαι  (erchomai). It occurs 643 times in the New Testament and is translated come 616 times. According to Thayer it means: “to come; to come from one place to another; to appear, make one's appearance, come before the public.” Actually, it is used in the New Testament more often for the second coming than parousia – 22 times compared to 16. I was really surprised by this discovery.

I will simply list the references in the Gospels and Revelation where erchomai is used and hope you are motivated to look them up.

Matthew 16:27, 28; 24:30, 42, 44; 25:13, 31
Mark 8:38; 13:26
Luke 12:40; 18:8; 21:27
John 14:3
Revelation 1:7; 3:11; 16:15; 22:7, 12, 20

This raises a question, Why did Jesus use this word so often?

Because his teaching on the second coming is based on Daniel 7. What? Yes, it’s true. Let’s take a look. Here is Daniel 7:13 from the Septuagint (the Greek Translation of the Old Testament, which is the version most often quoted in the New Testament)

I beheld in the night vision, and, lo, one coming with the clouds of heaven as the Son of man, and he came on to the Ancient of days, and was brought near to him.

The key phrase is, coming with the clouds of heaven as the Son of man. Compare this with Matthew 24:30

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

The Son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. The word for coming in Daniel is erchomai and since Jesus is quoting Daniel, he uses erchomai as well. We find the same expression in Mark 13:26 and Luke 21:27. And this is even more striking in the Greek.

Here is the full picture painted by Jesus of his second coming, Matthew 24:30-31

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 

Why am I presenting this? Because Paul quotes Jesus concerning the angel, the trumpet, and the gathering of the elect

1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

John also quotes Jesus when he describes the second coming

Revelation 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

And he closes the book with, He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

And every time it’s the word erchomai.

What is the benefit of all this?

1) Well, I learned there is another word used for the second coming, erchomai

2) We see that the teaching of the second coming comes from Daniel 7:13. Jesus quotes Daniel and the Apostles quote Jesus. That is cool.

3) And of course there is this, they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A weekend in Ohio

"Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the park"
We just returned from a wonderful long weekend in Ohio. Our daughter lives there with her neat family and we went up to see them. What did we do while we were in Ohio visiting with the Meesters? We went to baseball games, we talked baseball, we watched college baseball on TV... yep, that pretty much sums it up. A great weekend it was, too!

We arrived mid-afternoon. Couple of hours after arriving we headed to the ballpark to watch Scarlett and Ryan play.

Scarlett waiting to take a swing at her softball game

Ryan slugging a double
Anne always makes pizza on Fridays so we had delicious pizza on the run

In the morning I drove up to Urbana to watch Drew play. It is an hour drive and the field is way out in the middle of nowhere! Just before his game ended I hopped in the car to drive back to Springboro to watch Chase’s game.

Chase getting a hit
That night we all went to a Japanese Steakhouse for supper.

We took Aimee to the Dayton airport so she could catch a flight to a writer’s conference then headed back to Urbana to see Drew’s game. We hung out at the ball field from 9 to 3.

He drew a walk on this at bat
We retired to the hotel pool and ate Chipotle’s.

I walked over to the Meester’s house in the morning then we all headed back to the hotel for more frolicking at the pool.

we thoroughly enjoyed the pool!
Anne got the makings for sandwiches and we ate poolside. I went up to the room to watch the Wake Forest game and afterwards we headed to United Dairy Farmers (my favorite convenience store!!) for ice cream. Then I went to watch Drew umpire a game.

Drew is on the right. He was the home plate umpire
We took the children to Doubleday’s for supper while Anne & Dave had a candle-light dinner to celebrate their anniversary.

Shortly after hitting the road we saw this. We drove home in torrential rain for much of the trip. Took us 11 hours to make an 8 hour drive!

All in all it was a great trip!!! Be sure to look closely at the batting photos - I was amazed that I was able to capture the ball so often!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Just plain wrong

I saw this on Facebook the other day. I do not know the author of this meme. Never heard of him. This is another of those “see how much more compassionate and caring I am than any Christian you ever met” memes which people can “Like” or “Love” to show that they too are so much more caring than any Christian or church that ever existed. The only problem with this is it’s wrong. Just plain wrong. Would it be too harsh to say, plumb ignorant?

In my former life I was a pastor. The last church I pastored was the kind of church that would have supported Christian bakers who didn’t want to bake cakes for homosexual weddings. Was that all we did? Y’know, wait for bakers or florists to get into trouble? Not at all, we were a small church but we supported PATH, a group that provided food, clothing, and financial help and Crisis Pregnancy Center which provided counseling and support for pregnant women. We also had a benevolent fund with which I was able to offer help to families (such as food, rent, utilities) in need. We also supported the missionary endeavors of the denomination we were affiliated with (see below). We were clearly “life affirming.”

Let’s lift our eyes above our little church to see a much bigger picture. Here is a sampling of “life affirming” activities of churches and Christians, in no particular order:

† Christian & Missionary Alliance – the denomination we were affiliated with; one of the main emphases of the Alliance is missions: bringing the gospel to those who have never heard it. This is the most “life affirming” thing you can do. Eternal life is the most important thing +and your spiritual health has a tremendous impact on your physical life. But the Alliance not only preaches the gospel, they also have a division called CAMA, which is designed to minister to the physical needs of people (clean water, relief, food, medical, including hospitals). And this isn’t new: when A.B. Simpson started the Alliance in New York City he had rescue missions, homes for wayward women, homes for healing etc

† William Wilberforce – an English politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to stop the slave trade. He began his political career in 1780, eventually becoming an independent Member of Parliament. In 1785, he became an Evangelical Christian, which resulted in major changes to his lifestyle and a lifelong concern for reform.
In 1787, he came into contact with a group of anti-slave-trade activists. They persuaded Wilberforce to take on the cause of abolition, and he soon became one of the leading English abolitionists. He headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807.

† St. Basil of Caesarea - founded the first hospital (c. 369). Christian hospitals grew rapidly, spreading throughout both the East and the West. By the mid-1500s there were 37,000 Benedictine monasteries alone that cared for the sick. Furthermore, the modern hospital owes its origins to Judeo-Christian compassion. Evidence of the vast expansion of faith-based hospitals is seen in the legacy of their names: St. Vincent’s, St. Luke’s, Mt. Sinai, Presbyterian, Mercy, and Beth Israel. These were all charitable hospitals, some of which began as foundling hospitals to care for abandoned children. All around us are hospitals started by churches - Baptist, Methodist, Adventist etc.

† The Red Cross - In 1863 Swiss Christian businessman Jean Henri Dunant formed a relief organization for caring for wartime wounded.

† Cancer Treatment Centers of America – “At Cancer Treatment Centers of America®, we support your faith as part of our commitment to provide comprehensive, integrative cancer care.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer, we understand how difficult it may be to stay hopeful. But we also recognize that your faith in God may be a critical source of hope and strength, especially in the face of challenges and difficult moments. The Scripture is full of words of encouragement.
Each of our hospitals has a dedicated pastoral care team committed to encouraging you in your faith and helping you find strength and hope in God.”

† Public Education - was often the work of the church in the community

† Rescue Missions

† Orphanages

† Women’s Ministries

† Samaritan’s Purse – “Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ.”

† Rolland & Heidi Baker - In 1980 the Bakers founded Iris Global, a Christian ministry dedicated to charitable service and evangelism, particularly in developing nations. Their  operations include well-drilling, free health clinics, village feeding programs, the operation of primary and secondary schools, cottage industries and the founding more than 5000 churches in Mozambique, with a total of over 10,000 Iris-affiliated churches in more than 20 nations.

† Father Damien – gave his life ministering to the lepers of Molokai

This is just off the top of my head! Clearly, the creator of the meme (as well as all those who liked it) has no idea what he is talking about.  The Church has always been “life affirming.” But not "sin affirming."

I was hungry and you gave Me food
I was thirsty and you gave Me drink
I was a stranger and you took Me in
I was naked and you clothed Me
I was sick and you visited Me
I was in prison and you came to Me.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I confess, I’m taking steroids

This is my torn rotator cuff story.

this is me after a day and a half on steroinds

Last summer I began having pain in my left shoulder when I reached out with and sometimes just moved my left arm. One afternoon in October I was in my attic with a repairman, I reached out for support and thought my arm was going to fall off! The man asked me, “You gonna be alright?” “Yeah, in a minute.”

That was excruciating. The next day I went to the Urgent Care. The doctor examined me and had me stretch my arm in various ways. Then she placed her hand on my back, below my left shoulder and told me to raise my arm. “Yep, I know what it is.” She declared I had “shoulder impingement and scapula hitch” which could be treated with physical therapy. She said she would call the hospital and they would then call me to set it up.

After a couple of weeks the hospital did indeed call and we scheduled therapy twice a week for the month of December. So for the month of December I got double therapy - I would walk down to the hospital (2 miles each way) twice a week and receive an hour of stretching and strengthening.

And there was improvement. But not total. The first week of January the therapist said, “Your shoulder should be better by now. I think you need to see an orthopaedist.” I should add, every week they tested me for a torn rotator cuff but always concluded, “No, I guess not.”

Well, you can’t just call an orthopaedic doctor - you need to be referred. So I scheduled an appointment with my doctor. He checked my movement, then scheduled an x-ray. Which showed nothing, so he scheduled an MRI. Whoops! Insurance denied it. I guess he didn’t have enough clout, so he referred me to an orthopaedist.

When I went to the orthopaedist, I repeated my journey thus far, he examined me, then did an x-ray. Again x-ray showed nothing so guess what? He scheduled an MRI! This time insurance approved. So finally, in March, I had my MRI (read that story here ).

I went back to the doctor for the report. “30% tear of the rotator cuff.” This is borderline. Under 30% calls for one treatment (shot etc), greater than 30% calls for another treatment (surgery). “What do you want to be able to do?” “I want to kayak again.” “Surgery it is. Let me refer you to our surgery expert. He took an extra year of school just for this sort of thing.” So I’m scheduled to see yet another doctor.

I arrive for my appointment with Doctor-who-specializes-in-shoulder-surgery. I rehearse my journey to this point, explain my pain and lack of movement, he examines me, then concludes that yes, surgery is called for. He explains how this works, the pain and recovery involved, and we schedule it for Tuesday, April 4th.

The Friday before, March 31, I walk down to the hospital to make arrangements and meet the anesthesiologist. Everything is set. Well, everything but the exact time. They will call me Monday to tell me that. Monday morning, April 3, the doctor’s office calls me. “Insurance is declining this.” Seems there is a misunderstanding of ‘how’ I hurt the shoulder. I explain. They will call the insurance company back. Then the insurance company calls me, with the same question. I explain again. Later that afternoon, the doctor’s office calls me again. A different person this time. “Insurance has denied this procedure. Can we reschedule this for the 18th?” “No. I will be out of town on the 18th.” (We were going to Edisto and had already paid for the house. Besides, I want to wait until the insurance actually approves this.)

The doctor’s office called me and said there was to be a peer to peer phone call. In other words, my doctor calls the insurance doctor and makes his pitch. He did that last week. Insurance doctor remains steadfast and unconvinced, “No!” So, the doctor’s office calls me back, informs me of this decision, and asks me to come in to “discuss my options.”

That appointment is Monday, April 24. When my doctor comes in he is rather sheepish and very apologetic. “I’m sorry for all this.” I tell him, “To tell you the truth, I wasn’t all that heart-broken by the decision. After reading up on the surgery, I wasn’t too keen on it.” He laughed.

Before continuing, let me explain something. After the first denial, I met with my pastor for fellowship. As I explained what was happening he asked me, “Have you been anointed and prayed for about this?” Why, no I haven’t. So, right there in the Dunkin Donuts parking lot, he anointed me with oil and prayed for healing for my shoulder. I didn’t feel anything, but I would periodically test my arm to see if it was better. I still had pain at certain points, but I did have increased movement. The plan is for surgery, but my shoulder, though still hurting, has greater mobility and less pain. As I laid in bed the night before the peer to peer, I prayed, “Lord, you rule in this.” That’s why I wasn’t heart-broken by the decision.

Back to the doctor’s office. I explained that my shoulder seemed to be improving (“I’m not surprised. We often see this happen”) and that having done some reading on the shot, I just didn’t want that option. “Is there an oral steroid that you can give me?” “Yes.” He then explained how it would work (6 day regimen followed by a month of some other medicine to keep the steroid from hurting my stomach), but he added, “I won’t be surprised to see you in 5 months.”

Tuesday, April 25th I opened the box with the steroids. I’m expecting 6 pills. There are 21! I’m not merely taking steroids, I’m eating them like M&Ms!! And now I’m huge!

(I’m not really. But I am hot all the time and have a little trouble sleeping)

I’m praying that this treatment will work.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Some thoughts on Edisto

the house we stayed in this time
Last week we took some friends down to Edisto. They were there two days and nights while we stayed three days and nights. I hope they had a good time. I did!

When we arrived at the house I announced the ‘Ground Rules’ for their time at the beach:
“You can go with us where we go, when we go, but you don’t have to. You don’t have to wait on us. You can go or stay as you please. This is the beach!”

The first night there I discovered that some light bulbs were missing or not working, so the next day I went by the rental office to ask for some new bulbs. They gave me a pack and said, “Enjoy your stay.” I replied, “That’ll be easy – it’s Edisto!”

The morning our friends left I was sitting on the back porch enjoying the morning and the view. I thought to myself, “OK, probably better go down to the beach or do something. Don’t want to waste our last day.” But then I realized, “Sitting here on the back porch enjoying the morning and the view is just as much ‘the beach’ as running around seeing everything.” So I sat there a good while longer.

Then I decided to go down to the backyard and discovered what I called “critter paths” out to the marsh. Mary was on the third floor porch delighting in the hammock and I was having a blast at the marsh!

Mary and I were sitting on the beach, reveling in the day, but we had no tent or umbrella. I wanted to be out there but I also didn’t want to get anymore sun. Mary agreed, so we pulled our chairs away from the waves and left, planning to come back later in the afternoon. We drove to the convenience store to get some ice cream and they had umbrellas! We drove to the other two convenience stores to compare prices (it just happened that the third store we visited had a Wild Cherry Pepsi!). The first store had the best prices so we bought an umbrella and just sat out on the beach, in the shade of our new umbrella, for a good bit longer.

a 'bird que' at the third store!
The things I think sitting on the beach while watching the tide coming in:
“At some point in time the retreat of low tide reverses and the march of high tide begins. At first, it doesn't succeed: the waves throw themselves on shore only to roll back. Who can tell high tide has begun? Nevertheless, the waves relentlessly, tirelessly, silently, attack the shoreline, and inch by inch the tide rises.”

The last morning we were there I packed everything into the car and we went to the realty office to turn in the key. It was a nice day, a quiet morning. I thought, “I don’t want to go - I’m not ready to leave.”

the view from the sound. our house is the one in the middle

Monday, March 13, 2017

What a powerful song!

I've been listening to my collection of Carter Family songs recently and I heard this last night. What a powerful song! Oh how we need this to happen today!! You can hear them sing it here

When first I heard of a people who claimed
This old time religion was real
I says, “I'll go down take a look at the crowd
It's just the weak minded I feel”

But something got a hold of me
Yes something got a hold of me
I went there to fight but on that night
There’s something got a hold of me

I walked right down peeked in at the door
And the devil says, “Don't you go in”
I says, “I’ll go in for that will not hurt
And sit as far back as I can”

But something got a hold of me
Yes something got a hold of me
I went there to fight but on that night
There’s something got a hold of me

About that time he got up to preach
And he looked right down upon me
He told everybody how mean I had been
Don’t think he thought much of me

But something got a hold of me
Yes something got a hold of me
I went there to fight but on that night
There’s something got a hold of me

They sing and shout and they all clapped their hands
And they all got down on their knees
When the fire fell from heaven it fell upon me
And then I fell to the floor

But something got a hold of me
Yes something got a hold of me
I went there to fight but on that night
There’s something got a hold of me

So now I've learnt and no need to doubt
That the old time religion is real
I have a spirit I'll never forget
That something got a hold of me

Yes something got a hold of me
Yes something got a hold of me
I have a spirit I'll never forget
That something got a hold of me

Something Got A Hold Of Me, written by A. P. Carter

Friday, March 10, 2017

My MRI experience

this is our destination. downtown Charlotte
1. I was ferried up there and back by Dennis Davis. Thank you, Dennis!

2. I had indicated that I just might be slightly claustrophobic so they gave me Adavan (to relieve anxiety). This was why they said I needed a driver. Adavan begins working quickly and I started to feel good. I also began having a hard time walking straight and following orders – Dennis several times grabbed my arm and said, “It is this way.” And let me tell you, Do Not lean forward while on Adavan because the tendency is to keep on falling forward!

the machine. you lay down on the flat bed-like thing and they insert you into the giant ball. it is always on
and the room is magnetized constantly, I had to stand at the door to take this photo

3. They led me to the machine itself and said, “Lay down here.” He then asked if I needed a blanket? (“It is kinda chilly, so he got a sheet. Perfect); How about a washcloth on my face? (I am felling good, Sure). Do you want ear plugs (it is loud) or ear phones to listen to Pandora? Can I pick the music? Sure, what would you like? George Kahumoku (classic Hawaiian hula music). That’s what I got! Although the machine is so loud that it is difficult to hear.

4. I’m ready so they slide me into the tube and I’m there for 20 minutes. It is very loud! And I would like to say I felt every ray they shot into my shoulder and body, but that may have been the Adavan!
At one point the noise subsided and I could hear a woman’s voice, “How are you doing? We’re getting a little movement, can you stop breathing?” Again, that may have been the Adavan. I was slid back in for more of the same. Then she came on and “Almost done. Six more minutes.”

5. Then it was over! Twenty minutes is not that long. They pulled me out of the tube, removed the sheet and washcloth, and told me I could now stand up. I asked them to help me get up; they did. “OK, you can sit there for a while and get you bearings before you try to get up. And just to let you know, we have wheelchairs if you feel you need them.” I was standing up by this time and I declared, “Whatever else happens, I am walking out of here.” And I did.

It is really too bad that the MRI only diagnosis problems and doesn’t cure them! I probably could have done this without the Adavan, but the Adavan felt good. Everybody told me I had to have a driver because of the Adavan. But I can tell you, I could have done it. I have driven, let me just say, you would be shocked and scared for me if you knew some of the conditions I have (safely) driven under!!

It’s over and now I await my Tuesday visit to the Doctor to explain the results of this test, which are probably going to be surgery to repair the rotator cuff. Wednesday we leave for New Mexico for a ten day trip out west, hanging out with Erica & Dan so surgery will most likely be the last week of March of first week in April. Everything seems to be moving quickly now.

One final note. The doctor’s office said I would be in “la-la land” all day and told me today not to drive all day. I was a little disappointed. I was introduced to la-la land, but we really didn't hang out . . .