Monday, April 20, 2015

Was it Prophesied that there Would be Many Atheists in the Last Days?

   As more and more turn to atheism, as I hear of projections that it might overtake Christianity as the world's top belief, I stumble into a a couple passages in 1 John 2 (verses 18 and 22) and wonder if we are not seeing the fulfilling of prophecy.
   Now, this won't be an easy prophecy to cite, for it suggests the end of times were back in the day just after Christ died. This passage I found is not the prophecy itself, but it contains reference to that prophecy. It suggests there had been a prophecy that many antiChrists would come in the last days. And four verses down, it says the antiChrists are those who deny the Father and the Son.
   That would be the atheists, among others.
   So, was there a prophecy that in the last days, there will be an abundance of people who do not believe in God, the Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ? Was there a prophecy that atheism would rise? I do not know, but it seems worthy of wondering. (And, after reading 2 John 1:7 and 1 John 4:3 -- where the same definition of antiChrist is given -- I wonder only the more.)
   Yes, it is true that some studies suggest atheism is faltering, not growing. You might suggest that undercuts the premise of what I am saying. For now, I will simply say, I do believe we live in a day in which many are turning from Christ and denying him.
   As for the author of 1 John saying that that was the last of time, as opposed to either today, I wonder. Is it an example that the New Testament writers were not infallible, and that the author wrongly came to the conclusion it was the end of times? He looked around, and saw many antiChrists, and concluded that that was the end of times. I, frankly, have no major problem with it, if if John wrongly thought those were the end of times. But, I know many shall.
  Or is there another explanation, another reason he spoke of then as "the last time"? Was back then when the antiChrists were to be so many, not today?
   I do not know. The scripture leave a lot to thought. But, it does seem 1 John 18 indicates there had been a prophecy that people would deny the Savior in the last days. And, so it is, with all I am seeing of atheism being on the rise, I wonder if scripture is being fulfilled before our eyes. Yes, I could be wrong, but I do wonder.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

If --

by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you 
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Two Kinds of People

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
There are two kinds of people on earth today,
Two kinds of people no more I say.
Not the good or the bad, for it's well understood,
The good are half bad, the bad are half good.
Not the happy or sad, for in the swift-flying years,
Bring each man his laughter, each man his tears.
Not the rich or the poor, for to count a man's wealth,
You must know the state of his conscience and health.
Not the humble and proud, for in life's busy span,
Who puts on vain airs is not counted a man.
No! the two kinds of people on earth I mean,
Are the people who lift, the people who lean.
Wherever you go you'll find the world's masses
Are ever divided into these two classes.
And, strangely enough, you will find, too, I mean,
There is only one lifter to twenty who lean.
In which class are you? Are you easing the load
Of the overtaxed lifters who toiled down the road?
Or are you a leaner who lets others bear,
Your portion of worry and labor and care?

Sermons We See

by Edgar Guest
I'd rather see a sermon 
than hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with me
than merely tell the way.
The eye's a better pupil
and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing,
but example's always clear;
And the best of all the preachers
are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action
is what everybody needs.
I soon can learn to do it
if you'll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action,
but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver
may be very wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lessons
by observing what you do;
For I might misunderstand you
and the high advice you give,
But there's no misunderstanding
how you act and how you live.
When I see a deed of kindness,
I am eager to be kind.
When a weaker brother stumbles
and a strong man stays behind
Just to see if he can help him,
then the wish grows strong in me
To become as big and thoughtful
as I know that friend to be.
And all travelers can witness
that the best of guides today
Is not the one who tells them,
but the one who shows the way.
One good man teaches many,
men believe what they behold;
One deed of kindness noticed
is worth forty that are told.
Who stands with men of honor
learns to hold his honor dear,
For right living speaks a language
which to every one is clear.
Though an able speaker charms me
with his eloquence, I say,
I'd rather see a sermon
than to hear one, any day.

The Touch of the Master's Hand

by Myra Brooks Welch
Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin,
but held it up with a smile; "What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?" "A dollar, a dollar"; then two!" "Only
two? Two dollars, and who'll make it three? Three dollars, once; three
dollars twice; going for three.." But no, from the room, far back, a
gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow; Then, wiping the dust
from the old violin, and tightening the loose strings, he played a melody
pure and sweet as caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low,
said; "What am I bid for the old violin?" And he held it up with the bow.
A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two? Two thousand! And who'll make
it three? Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice, and going and
gone," said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, "We do not
quite understand what changed its worth." Swift came the reply: "The touch
of a master's hand."
And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin, A
"mess of pottage," a glass of wine; a game - and he travels on. "He is
going" once, and "going twice, He's going and almost gone." But the Master
comes, and the foolish crowd never can quite understand the worth of a soul
and the change that's wrought by the touch of the Master's hand.

Man Making

by Edwin Markham

Why build these buildings glorious
If man unbuilded goes?
In vain we build the world
Unless the builder also grows

We are blind until we see
That in the human plan
Nothing is worth the making if
It does not make the man.

Why build these cities glorious
If man unbuilded goes?
In vain we build the work unless
The builder also grows

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.