At the Very Gates
At the Very Gates - By Gary W. Ritter - https://www.raptureready.com/2022/08/10/at-the-very-gates-by-gary-w-ritter/
How close are we to the 7-year Tribulation? Let me ask this: How can we not be right at its cusp? Three of the Gospels describe what will occur in the final days: the very end of this world as we know it and the run-up to the time when literally all hell breaks loose on this planet.
If something is repeated twice in Scripture, God has said that it’s a sure thing. Joseph said that because Pharaoh’s dream was doubled and shown to him in two different versions (Genesis 41:32), nothing would stop its coming to pass. Since we have Mark 13, Matthew 24, and Luke 17 & 21 all showing us what Jesus Himself said would occur in these latter times, perhaps we should take note. Yet, incredibly, the church as a whole is asleep to the declaration from Jesus, who – one would think – might pull some weight. But no. Life goes on. The same messages are preached from the pulpit that were given ten, five, and even three years ago – not that they’re necessarily bad – however, in this day and age, they simply lull the congregations to sleep.
I know I’m not the only one shaking his head at this conundrum. Bible prophecy is very clear that end times will come and certain signs will accompany them. Scripture also declares that apostasy will rage and, obviously, because of the multiple admonitions to stay awake and alert – that many won’t. The astounding thing is that surely there are many good and true Christ-followers not looking up and expecting the return of Jesus. The only conclusion I can come to is that Satan has deceived them. Is that not concerning? If – what’s the percentage? – 90% of the church (or more?) isn’t concerned about coming judgment and what that implies, how about the rest of the world which has even less of a clue because they don’t have the indwelling Holy Spirit? Can you imagine the shock that’s about to hit this world?
In Mark 13, Jesus speaks to His disciples and answers their questions about the end of all things. He lets them know that the run-up to all that will happen is like the blooming of the fig tree. Leaves will first appear, and only then will fruit come because the season for it is near. Mark 13:28-31 provides this caution:
“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
Initially, Jesus in this prophecy says that much disruption will occur in the world. The surrounding chaos will include political and military turmoil along with great physical disturbances. Are we not seeing this in spades today? Russia-Ukraine. China-Taiwan. North Korea-South Korea. Israel-everybody else. America-red/blue. How about the incredible contrast of drought and unprecedented flooding in our country and elsewhere? Engineered famine is already striking because of the purposeful efforts of those determined to cause suffering. Plague or pestilence in the form of COVID, the harmful “vaccines,” and now the next plandemic. This is likely in large measure arising from the COVID injections in the form of VAIDS (Vaccine Acquired Immune Deficiency) that causes shingles and Karposi’s Sarcoma that doctors are told are Monkeypox blisters. Mark 13:5-8 says:
“And Jesus began to say to them, ‘See that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.”
This is a worldwide phenomenon that Jesus warns of for everyone. However, then He gets more specific. I think it could be argued that those who will be brought to trials and their faith examined could apply to Christians standing firm against persecution. Suffering of this nature has been going on for many years by believers in the 10-40 Window. Why wouldn’t it get worse and expand as the end nears – even coming to America? Jesus details this in Mark 13:9-13:
“But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. Spirit. And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
Like many prophecies, this one by Jesus skips around in time and pertains to different audiences. After warning the church, Jesus zeroes in on Israel. God’s purpose for the 7-year Tribulation is two-fold:
As to #1 – Israel – the Lord will put His Chosen People and Holy Land through much difficulty to wake them up to His nature and glory. He’s telling them here in this passage that He’s given fair warning. What an awful time it will be! Mark 13:14-23 outlines this:
“But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything out, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that it may not happen in winter. For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.
“And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.”
The end of the chapter brings Jesus back around to His church – those to whom He has given His Holy Word, i.e., those who should have read it and heeded what it says. This is a pre-Tribulation Rapture passage in Mark 13:32-37:
“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”
The key verse for us in describing the chronology and events of these final days is in Mark 13:29:
“So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.”
Prophecy is in the Bible for a good reason. God wants His people to know what is to come. Given God’s Word, its clarity, and its fulfillment happening right before our very eyes, surely we as the church should understand the nearness of the hour. If Jesus tells us that when all these incidents occur and He is standing at the very gates ready to enter, shouldn’t we cry out for His mercy and deliverance? Shouldn’t we as His church be on our knees beseeching Him for the final salvation of our loved ones and others? Shouldn’t we be weeping at the state of this world and lamenting about its depravity? Shouldn’t we be saying with every ounce of our being, “Lord, this world is not my home; it’s an alien place I no longer desire to inhabit. Snatch me up from here and take me to the Father’s House!”?
I know some of us are responding like this. We understand the times because we’ve searched the Scriptures and found them true.
Where’s the rest of the church? They’re digging in and trying to turn back the clock.
Jesus is standing at the door, knocking. Will they let Him in?
Gary Ritter website: books & blog
Kindle Vella story: Tribulation Rising
Mideast Review: The Devising Of Wicked Plots & God’s Protection – Amir Tsarfati - https://harbingersdaily.com/mideast-review-w-amir-tsarfati-the-devising-of-wicked-plots-gods-protection/
This past week has been so full of fast-paced, constantly-changing news, that there is no way that I can adequately cover it in this article. So, I will give you highlights with suitable links. However, through my continuously updating Telegram Channel you will be able to follow all the important events related to Israel, the Middle East, and the world.
Two days ago I posted from London a very important Special Middle East Update. It gives much more detail to the four biggest stories below than I can give in written form. I would highly encourage you to watch it.
When Israel learned of a plot already set in motion by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) to employ an anti-tank missile in a terrorist attack, they decided to follow the old Talmudic philosophy that says, “If someone is coming to kill you, rise up and kill them first.” Thus, Operation Breaking Dawn was born. By the time it was done, 170 PIJ targets had been attacked and 12 top commanders had been killed. In response, 1100 rockets were fired across the border from Gaza into Israel. In an eventuality that can only be credited to the hand of God, not one Israeli was killed or severely wounded in the constant hail of missiles. The conflict continued until a truce brokered by Egypt went into effect at 11:30 PM on August 7.
It is not surprising that the Ezekiel 38 trio of Russia, Iran, and Turkey each hypocritically condemned Israel’s actions, particularly considering the PIJ is Iran’s proxy militia in Gaza. What’s interesting is who didn’t condemn the actions – the Sunni Gulf States. Also of note, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis all kept out of the fight. Apparently, the PIJ does not have as many friends as they believed. Sadly, as mentioned above, the IDF and the Israeli government quickly took credit for the operation, ignoring the obvious supernatural work of God in the action. In an interesting follow-up, Israel has announced that it is in early trials of an airplane-borne laser system for perimeter protection. This system is much more mobile and accurate than the ground-based kinetic launchers.
Citing travel restrictions by the US and its ally nations, Russia has announced that it is temporarily withdrawing from the 1994 START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) nuclear arms control agreement. Now there is no control or supervision over Russia’s nuclear arsenal. On the plus side, Russia has promised to continue to abide by the rules of the treaty, even offering the internationally accepted “pinkie swear”. It is unclear whether the western nations have accepted this offer.
The day US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi departed from her visit to Taiwan, China began a four-day exercise in which they encircled the island nation. The good news is that they completed the military exercise after only one two-day extension. The bad news is that they will continue regular patrols around Taiwan. Many sources continue to be concerned that China is preparing an invasion. Whether Beijing actually sends its military in or not, it is obvious that they are going to make Taipei pay the price for Pelosi’s unwanted visit. Meanwhile, almost daily, Chinese aircraft are violating the airspace of Taiwan. In response, the Taiwanese military carried out live fire exercises on Monday simulating a defense of the island against a Chinese attack.
In an unprecedented act against a former president, the FBI raided President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida. Executing a search warrant, their reasoning was that they were searching for classified documents Trump supposedly took from the White House. The Deep State is being operated by elements that do not want Trump to run again, and they have power in all branches of government to try to keep him off the ballot. Sources from the White House stated that current President Joe Biden was unaware of the FBI raid, to which many in America responded, “What? How can the sitting President of the United States not be aware…oh, wait…uh, never mind.”
The terrorist regime in Tehran is taking full advantage of the gas feud between Russia and Europe. “This winter is very important for Europeans and the world and they should think about it now,” said Iran’s Oil Minister Javad Owji. He continued, reminding the soon-to-be gas-starved European market that Iran holds the world’s largest oil and gas reserves, and Tehran is ready to let it flow at pre-sanction levels. Once again, points go to the bad guys, while the good guys are still trying to figure out the rule book.
In the same way that Iran is getting it over on the West in energy, Tehran is holding all the cards when it comes to the nuclear deal. Hossein Salami, commander of the IRGC, said Iran shouldn’t agree to a nuclear agreement. Why would they? According to a Thursday speech by Salami, the country has already overcome the US sanctions. In addition, he claims, their terrorist proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah, has more than 100,000 missiles currently aimed at Israel. In a separate tirade, Commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force Ismael Qaani emphasized on Friday Hezbollah’s ultimate goal, saying, “Hezbollah’s sons are making plans to bring down the last blow against the Zionist regime…and to realize the wish of Imam Khomeini to eradicate Israel from the map and the face of the Earth.”
Several days after these statements, twenty trucks under heavy security by the IRGC crossed the Iraq/Syria border. If they complete their journey, it is quite possible that General Salami will have to update his missile tally to 101,000.
Not all was duckies and bunnies for the IRGC last week. Shahram Poursafi, a member of the Revolutionary Guard, was taken into custody by the FBI and accused yesterday by the Department of Justice of offering $300,000 for the assassination of former National Security Advisor John Bolton. The murder-for-hire plot was apparently in retaliation for the January 2020 killing of Quds Commander Qassem Soleimani. Soon after this first plot was revealed, word came that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also on Poursafi’s hit list. His price was $1 million. I wasn’t surprised at the addition of Pompeo’s name; I had reported on a plot to assassinate him months ago. The White House was quick to issue a statement reassuring the public that this assassination plot won’t affect the resumption of Iran nuclear talks. Oy vey!
The bad week for terrorists wasn’t just in Gaza. On Monday in Yemen, a failed ballistic missile launch in the capital city of Sana’a caused a massive, deadly explosion. A second failed attempt in a nearby arms depot caused even more destruction. You have to appreciate the logic: “There’s a problem with our missile launcher, because it just killed a whole bunch of people. So, let’s try it again, only this time surrounded by tons of ammunition and explosives.” All told, six Iranian and Lebanese experts associated with Hezbollah were killed, as were dozens of Houthi rebels.
One last terrorist who met his just reward last week was top Pakistani Taliban leader Abdul Wali. Killed along with three other important Talibani commanders in a roadside attack, the speculation is that this may have been part of an internal rift aimed at stalling peace talks with Pakistan.
Finally, the Bank of England raised its rates to a 27 year high. Along with the spike, many British economists are warning of inflation reaching 13.3%, the highest since 1980. There is a financial storm coming in Europe, which will likely spread around the globe.
A Horrifying Drought Is Causing Widespread Crop Failures Throughout The United States And Europe - by Michael Snyder - http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/a-horrifying-drought-is-causing-widespread-crop-failures-throughout-the-united-states-and-europe/
We really are reaching a major crisis point. Thanks to soaring fertilizer prices, insane weather patterns and the war in Ukraine, global food supplies have been getting tighter and tighter. So we really needed a banner year for agricultural production in both the United States and Europe in 2022, and that is not going to happen. In fact, unprecedented drought is absolutely devastating crops all over the northern hemisphere. A lot of people are complaining about how high food prices are right now, but just wait. If some sort of a miracle doesn’t happen, agricultural production is going to be way below expectations in both the United States and Europe, and that is going to have very serious implications for 2023.
Let me start by talking about the nightmare that is starting to unfold in Europe.
According to CNN, it is now being projected that farmers in Italy have lost “up to 80% of their harvest” because the drought has become so severe…
In Italy, farmers in some parts of the country have lost up to 80% of their harvest this year due to severe weather anomalies, the Coldretti farming association said Thursday.
How are those farmers going to survive?
Many farmers in France are facing similar losses because they have only been receiving a fraction of the rainfall that they normally get…
In France, where an intense drought has hammered farmers and prompted widespread limits on freshwater use, there was just 9.7 millimetres (0.38 inches) of rain last month, Meteo France said.
That was 84 percent down on the average levels seen for July between 1991 and 2022, making it the driest month since March 1961, the agency added.
Crop failures in France would be a really, really big deal, because France is normally “the fourth-largest exporter of wheat” in the entire world…
France is the fourth-largest exporter of wheat and among the top five exporters of maize globally. Poor harvests due to drought may heap further pressure on grain supplies after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused global shockwaves.
The situation in Germany is also extremely dire.
It is being reported that things are already so bad that some sections of the Rhine River have dropped to dangerously low levels…
Germany’s most-important river is running dry as Europe suffers through a drought that is on course to become its worst in 500 years, with terrifying wildfires burning once again in France.
Water levels in the Rhine – which carries 80 per cent of all goods transported by water in Germany, from its industrial heartlands to Dutch ports – are now so low that it could become impassable to barges later this week, threatening vital supplies of oil and coal that the country is relying upon as Russia turns off the gas tap.
Of course the U.S. is dealing with severe drought too.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, about half of the nation is experiencing some level of drought at this moment, and we are being told that the ongoing megadrought in the Southwest is the worst in 1,200 years.
Things are particularly bad in Texas. If you can believe it, Dallas just had a stretch in which they had no measurable rain at all for two straight months…
The daily highs in Dallas have been 95 degrees or higher for three straight weeks, much hotter than normal for this time of year. The Dallas-Fort Worth area has even more problems amid an extreme drought going as far back as May 17. One hundred percent of Dallas County is in an extreme drought, while 21 percent of the whole state is experiencing exceptional drought — the most intense category of drought — according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
A 67-day stretch with no measurable rain came to an end in Dallas on Wednesday when 0.41 of an inch of rain fell. That was the second-longest dry streak at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. The standing record was 85 consecutive days that spanned much of the summer of 2000.
The lack of moisture has been crippling for the state’s absolutely massive agriculture industry. There are 247,000 farms and ranches in Texas, and nearly all of them are deeply suffering right now…
The drought pressing Texas’ agriculture industry — which is responsible for 10 percent of the state’s gross domestic product — is pushing farmers and ranchers to the brink. The state’s 247,000 farms and ranches covering 127 million acres haven’t had a whole year of rain since 2017. Almost 24 million of Texas’ population lives in drought-facing areas.
As of the first of August, less than 1 percent of the state was not facing some level of drought or abnormal dryness.
At this point, conditions are so dry in Texas that many ranchers have been forced to “panic sell” their herds. For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “Ranchers Are Selling Off Their Cattle In Unprecedented Numbers Due To The Drought, And That Has Enormous Implications For 2023”.
Other states in the Southwest are also being hit extremely hard by this drought.
Over in Utah, the size of the Great Salt Lake just continues to get smaller and smaller due to the relentlessly dry conditions…
The warm arid desert in the West certainly had its fair share of the summer heat. Salt Lake City International Airport recorded a high of 100 degrees on July 28, marking the 16th day that month of triple-digit temperatures and breaking the previous record of 15 in July 1960. Last month, the city tied its record for the hottest recorded temperature of 107 degrees for the fourth time, according to NOAA weather data. The other occasions on which the mercury rose to 107 in Salt Lake City were in June 2021, July 2002 and July 1960. Record-keeping began there in 1874.
That intense heat hasn’t just made the residents of Utah sweat though — it has also magnified the ongoing megadrought, which has contributed to the dire state of the Great Salt Lake. Between July 2021 and 2022, the average daily water level of the lake dropped by about one foot, a historic low, and is expected to fall even farther.
There have always been times of drought all throughout history, but in modern times we have never seen the United States and Europe simultaneously experience such a severe drought for such an extended period.
For years I have been warning that we are moving toward a time when global famines will become quite common, and widespread crop failures throughout the western world this year would greatly accelerate that process.
We are being told that a child dies every 11 seconds from malnutrition.
But as food supplies get tighter and tighter, global hunger is going to get far, far worse than it is now.
In 2023, there simply is not going to be enough food for everyone.
I hope that you are getting prepared for that, because next year is just around the corner.
Peace In The Valley - By Dennis Huebshman - https://www.raptureready.com/2022/08/10/peace-in-the-valley-by-dennis-huebshman/
John 14:27; “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (Philippians 4:6-7). “Do not be anxious about anything; but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (ESV – all emphasis mine)
Colossians 3:15; “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since members of one body, you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Romans 5:1; “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Psalm 29:11; “The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.” Romans 12:18; “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
John 16:33; “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Psalm 4:81; “In peace I will lie down and sleep; for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
From the very beginning of our human’s sinful nature (Genesis 3), there has never been true worldwide peace. There have been wars and atrocities that are recorded throughout our history. Someone always seems to have hate for another, and sometimes it’s based strictly on appearance or some form of religious belief.
Some man-generated religions have tried to eliminate any who would not accept their particular creeds, and in some countries, just to not be a member has been cause for martyrdom. Today, in some areas of this world, to receive and accept Jesus as Savior will lead to that believer to be killed. Eventually, this will be worldwide when the one-world evil ruler comes to power. That will be a time that will be worse than ever has been.
As a true believer of the Savior, we have the faith that the word of God is absolute truth and was provided through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:10; 2 Timothy 3:16; John 14:26; 2 Peter 1:21; John 16:13; and Titus 3:5-6 just to name a few verses to check out.
To those who choose Satan over Jesus, all holy word is total foolishness to them, as stated in 1 Corinthians 1:18. One characteristic of our Heavenly Father that I mention often is that He will force no one to receive and accept the free gift that is offered through His Son, Jesus the Christ. He does provide us with everything we need to learn about eternal salvation, but each person must choose to seek it for themselves.
Ours is a God of pure love, and He promises that all who truly have His Son as their Savior will be saved (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13). God does not waste words, and if something is repeated, it can safely be said it is important to Him.
The hardest part about having Jesus in our hearts is to have faith and believe He paid our sin-debt in full. Our commitment is to admit we’re sinners, believe He is the only way to eternal life, and to call or ask Him to save us. There are no deeds or works of any kind that we can do to earn this.
There are numerous false prophets in pulpits today who are not presenting the true word of God. They give ear-tickling messages with motivational music to keep the members happy and inspired to keep seats and collection baskets full. Sadly, those members do not develop a relationship with the Savior, and they will ultimately end up in eternal punishment. That’s a whole lot longer than the few decades we may be on this earth.
As a true believer, we are at peace with the Lord, even if we are not at peace with this world. Another great Hymn by Thomas Andrew Dorsey (1899-1937) tells us about the “Peace in The Valley” that we long for. As our Jesus said, we will never have real peace on this earth such as the peace He has provided for our eternal souls. Our eternal promise from Him is absolutely real. There are several versions of this Hymn on YouTube.
1.) Oh well, I’m tired and I’m weary, but I must go along till the Lord shall come and calls me, calls me away, oh yes. Then the mornin’s so bright, and the Lamb is the Light, and the night is as black as the sea, oh yes.
(ref) There will be peace in the valley for me someday; there will be peace in the valley for me, Oh Lord I pray. There’ll be no sadness, no sorrow, Oh my Lord, no more trouble, trouble I see. There will be peace in the valley for me someday.
2.) There the flowers will be blooming, and the grass will be green, and the skies will be clear and serene, oh yes. Well, the sun ever beams in this valley of dreams, and no clouds will ever be seen, oh yes. (ref)
3.) Well, the bear will be gentle, and the wolf will be tame; and the lion shall lay down by the lamb, oh yes. Well, the beast from the wild shall be led by a little child, and I’ll be changed from this creature that I am, oh yes. (ref)
Peter tells us about “scoffers” who will be here “in the last days,” and we are seeing the truth in this right now. Peter notes that there are those who do not believe the word; they say nothing has changed since the beginning and it will continue as before.
What people are failing to see is what Satan is trying to cover up. This world is rapidly getting more evil by the day, and all prophecy about the end of this age is right on time. The world is being “prepped” by those who the evil one controls. They are accusing us of being the haters in contrast to what is actually happening. We hate no one, just their evil ways which we are not required to accept. In fact, we are thrilled for each and every soul that decides Jesus is their true Messiah, and they end up calling on Him to save them.
Jesus, Peter, Paul, John, James and others gave us a picture of what the end of this age would be like. For the first time ever, all the signs are here at one time. We could be called up to meet the Savior in the air at any moment to fulfill God’s promise to keep all true believers from the wrath. It will happen prior to the evil one making his appearance, as given in 2 Thessalonians 2.
Personally, I am longing for the peace my Savior has promised, and absolutely invite everyone to become a part of His flock. No one has sinned so great that they cannot be forgiven. The only unforgivable sin at the present is to not have Jesus as Savior when your last breath is taken on this earth. During the tribulation, taking the mark of the beast is the other unforgivable sin.
It’s totally up to each and every individual to make a choice of eternal life or eternal punishment. To accept the “peace that passes all understanding” would be the absolute best option anyone could ever make. Right now would not be too early as we have no knowledge of the exact day or hour that the call will come. God gave us the signs to watch for, and they are here now. Our call could be any second or “twinkling of an eye” now. He’s waiting for all who would call on His Son for Salvation to avoid the worst 7-year period of time this world has ever seen. But He won’t wait much longer.
Daily Jot: The Farm Chronicles: Old West Town - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
Out behind the barn on our family farm was a graveyard. Not the kind of graveyard you might imagine. As a young boy, I would go there a lot and just explore it. It was a graveyard of old horse-drawn farm implements. There was a hayloader that horses pulled through the field and it scooped up hay and put it on a wagon. There were two or three frames of old horse drawn heavy duty farm wagons. The wheels were big and strong, the frames, though being left out in the harsh winters of Northeastern Ohio for probably 75 years, were still in workable condition save some minor repairs. There were old plows, cultivators, a horse-drawn hay rake that we converted for use with a tractor. This graveyard was a treasure field for me.
I would often sit on the wagon and pretend I was in the wild west, just as I would watch on TV. I was Roy Rogers jumping off Trigger onto an out of control wagon, saving Dale Evans from destruction. Or was the wagon master guiding his wagon train into a circle to fight off Sioux warriors. With my Mattel six gun at my side and my Winchester lever action (air rifle), I would hide behind the wheels and prevail against all odds. These were great adventures playing through my mind as I climbed on and off and under that old farm equipment. On any given day, the graveyard of old implements turned into a wild fantasy world where my imagination took me down a long winding road of great adventure and life-saving heroism.
One day, my cousin Steve came over. Steve is three years younger than me. But we played together often—either at my farm or his. He was Pat Brady because he was more interested in cars than horses. I was Roy Rogers because, well, just because. We decided to make an entire western town with the implements and pieces of “stuff” we found in the graveyard. So we worked all morning, took a break for lunch, and worked all afternoon putting our town together. We found an old canvas and made a teepee. We struggled for hours to dislodge one of the wagon frames from decades of settling in the soil to move it into our “town’s” street. We made a hitching post and a store front. By the end of the day we were too tired to play.
For years, that little western town was the stage where many wars were won, many damsels in distress were saved, where many bad guys were shot down in gunfights, where cattle (real cattle) were driven through the street, where bank robberies were fled on horseback. Parts of that little makeshift western town, which came to life in our imaginations, remained until the barn was taken down because it was caving in—and that was long past my college days. Cousin Steve actually took many of the graveyard implements and repurposed them for other people. These were days that not many experienced. The days in the lives of two American boys who still believe in God and Country. As Ecclesiastes 11:9 says, “Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth.” Find the joy and remember it.
Daily Devotion: Protecting Storms - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. . .. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary —Matthew 14:22, 24
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/protecting-storms-3/ - Listen
Trouble was brewing. Jesus had just fed the five thousand with five loaves and two fish. Then the Bible tells us that Jesus “perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king” (John 6:15 NKJV). In effect the people were saying, “You’re going to be our king whether you like it or not, because you’re the kind of king we want. Raising the dead? That’s nice. Restoration of sight to the blind? That’s good. A free meal? Now we’re talking!”
Essentially they were using God. So Jesus commanded His disciples to get into a boat, and then He sent them away. Why? Jesus knew this would destroy them. On more than one occasion the disciples had argued about who among them would be the greatest in the kingdom. These guys would have been propelled from rags to riches. They would have gone from being ostracized to being men of great influence. And it would have destroyed them. For their own protection, Jesus wanted to get them out of there as soon as possible.
So off they went, and they hit a storm. That is exactly what the disciples needed, because it was a protecting storm.
Sometimes a storm comes into our lives that is protecting us from something worse. That is difficult for us to wrap our minds around. Is it possible that a hardship could ever be better than a success? Sometimes a hardship can be better than success, because there are things we learn through hardships that we would not have learned otherwise.
The One who stirs up the storm is the hiding place in it. And sometimes the things we dread most in life can be the best things for us. God will allow calamity to show us His power.
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