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End of Days - not yet. Greece and Iran have to go to war.

Recently I was reading the book of Daniel. It states clearly that at the end of days, Greece and Iran will be at war against each other. God gave a vision to Daniel:

In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after the one that had appeared to me at first. In the vision I was looking and saw myself in Susa the capital, in the province of Elam, and I was by the river Ulai. I looked up and saw a ram standing beside the river. It had two horns. Both horns were long, but one was longer than the other, and the longer one came up second. I saw the ram charging westward and northward and southward. All beasts were powerless to withstand it, and no one could rescue from its power; it did as it pleased and became strong.

As I was watching, a male goat appeared from the west, coming across the face of the whole earth without touching the ground. The goat had a horn between its eyes. It came toward the ram with the two horns that I had seen standing beside t…

Prayer and works - how to know which one to do when

This is a concept I used to grapple with, and still do: the question of when it's important to pray, and when it's important to do works.

Ideally one would do both.

Still though, there are times in the Bible where it has been made clear that one or the other is more necessary, depending on what the situation was at the time. One of the clearest examples is when Jesus was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane. Prior to that, he had been praying. He had even asked his disciples to pray, but they were tired and fell asleep.

When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, Peter immediately acted, but not in a way that Jesus wanted. Peter cut off the ear of one of the soldiers with a sword. Although from Peter's point of view he was defending Jesus, it was not something that was necessary. Let's read the passage:

Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.” At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus…

Looking forward to prayer... how I have changed!

I mentioned in a previous post how initially as a Christian I was rather grudging about prayer, and considered it more of a duty than anything I would willingly do. But, reading the Bible and praying and getting to know God better definitely had results that completely changed me! One Easter I realized I had changed a lot as a person: I was happy to take a 1-hour shift of prayer at Easter Vigil at the church (you can read about that here).

This Easter, I'm looking forward again to praying - another reminder that I have changed so much. Some relatives of ours are going on a fun vacation over Easter. In the past, I probably would have felt rather jealous that they are going on vacation while we are not going anywhere. But actually I didn't feel the slightest bit jealous this year. Because I knew that I wanted to pray at Easter Vigil. I feel that Easter is the part of the year where there is a lot of spiritual danger in the world. I wanted to pray, mainly to be thankful and prais…

Get to know God better first, then know what to ask for

I have been attending a small group Bible study, and have been learning a lot from Christian women who are more spiritually advanced than I am. One important concept which I learned from attending this group was that we should get to know God better first, and then we will know what to ask Him for.

All too often we ask God for something but we have no idea if that's something he would want for us. Instead, knowing God (through prayer and reading the Bible) leads us to then knowing what He wants for us, which means we will know what things to ask Him for.

Without that knowledge, we would be asking God for things which are not necessarily in line with what He wants for us, which means we are wasting our time asking for those things.

As a related concept, in church I also learned that God is more concerned with developing our character than our level of comfort. While this seems painful (and often is), it is less painful to go with the character development than to resist it. Also, w…

The End of Days and the Mark of the Beast - what is it, and why?

At the End of Days, there will be a situation where people are required by some power other than God to be marked on the right hand and forehead in order to buy or sell. See the verse below:

Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell who does not have the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.
Revelation 13: 16-17
We don't yet know what form this mark will take (a tattoo? an implanted radio-frequency ID tag?). But to understand a little better the events leading up to this, let's read a little of the preceding context of the chapter:

Then I saw another beast that rose out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and it makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed. It performs great signs, even …

Why we as Christians should care about the environment

In the Bible it makes it clear that Adam and the human race were created to be the caretakers of the earth.

Would God be happy with the mountains of trash on the planet? 
Obviously, some trash is always going to be created no matter how conscientious the human race is going to be about the environment. 
But when people do not make any effort to even consider the environment (either in the things they create or in the things they purchase), we wind up producing more trash or more emissions than we need to. I don't think that is being a very good caretaker.
I'm not intending this to be a politically-slanted topic at all. I dislike politics myself and can't bring myself to identify with any type of political party. I'm talking purely from a Biblical perspective, I feel like we as humans have not done a great job at being caretakers of the planet.
What is even more puzzling to me is that there are many individuals who are Christian but who readily admit they don't real…

An open letter to atheist parents of young children

Even if you are not concerned about your own soul, what about your children's? Did you know that there is a huge battle going on, over your child's soul? I know that to you, it seems literally unbelievable.

But if you will, just for a second, pose the (admittedly scary) question "What if?"

Just because you don't believe in something doesn't mean it's not real. Imagine us trying to explain the existence of the atom to someone from the Middle Ages. We can understand why that person simply won't believe it, but the atom was still 100% real in the Middle Ages - regardless of whether the people of that time could a) detect it or b) believe in it.

Let's switch over a little. Have you ever watched the movie "The Matrix"? It is set in what seems to be a very real world, but in fact turns out to be a virtual world surrounded by an external, real, world.

Right now, the Earth, planets, galaxies and everything in it are like the inner world of The M…