The Idea That Will Not Go Away

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: Job 14-16; Acts 9:22-43

31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. God strengthened the church, and its life was marked by reverence for the Lord. Encouraged by the Holy Spirit, the church continued to grow in numbers. (Acts 9:31, Common English Bible).

I was once again, this week, reminded of the theological line people will not leave alone. “When is the end going to come? It has to be soon. The world is falling apart. Look at how humans are treating each other. Look how we are ignoring God. It has to happen soon. Right?”

Though it isn’t part of today’s readings, ALWAYS remember Jesus’ words, “No one knows the day or the hour but the Father” (Matthew 24:36). The way I read that, trying to predict the end is a waste of time and energy. To me, it says, “If one of us was the proverbial blind squirrel that found the acorn, God would have to change the time and date because someone besides the Father knew the time and day.”

Today’s lesson tells us the Church enjoyed a time of peace. Much of what happens in the world happens in cycles. The world goes through cycles of war. The world goes through cycles of crazy thought (think back to your history lessons of the Salem Witch Trials or more recently the Holocaust. We g through periods of sinful behavior and times we are looser in our understandings of acceptable behavior. The moral condition of the world is not really proof of Christ’s imminent return. God’s time is the only meter and us humans don’t have a read on that one.

Cindy was sharing with me not long ago something she read or heard somewhere. Most of us recognize Sir. Isaac Newton as someone who, particularly for his day was brilliant. It would seem we have that part right. Isaac Newton was brilliant regardless of when he lived. bigthink.com ranked Newton as the second smartest person who ever lived, only taking a back seat to Leonardo Da Vinci. BigThink says Newton had an estimated IQ of 193 (the “normal” IQ range is between 85 and 115).

That Newton was smart and he was a scientist is something few of us would deny. Principles credited to Newton heavily influenced science for more than 300 years. What many didn’t know, however, is that Newton wrote a great deal more about theology than he did about science. Newton believed that faith and science were not in opposition to each other but helped explain each other. And Newton, a devout Christian, studied the prophets and wrote on the end time. Newton, however, did not do what many making predictions today attempts to do, arrive at an exact date. For Newton, it was enough to pick just a year and even then he would not be completely nailed down. Newton said the end would not happen before the year 2060. Considering that I will be 102 in 2060 it is doubtful (though not impossible) that yours truly will be here to see if Newton’s prediction comes through. But then again, I believe my seat for that show will be far better than anywhere on earth!

Think about it this way. The second smartest man in the history of the world (OK, I know, it is subjective) said it wouldn’t happen before 2060. We accept almost everything else Newton said and wrote at face value. Why not that. Well, the truth is, I know why. If we don’t trust God in telling us that none of us know, whey would we believe Newton?

When everything is all said and done, isn’t that the only thing that really matters? I also know I have seen a moral decline in the world. Perhaps I will see a moral upswing happen again. I really don’t know.

Here is what I do know. If Newton is correct, I would be at least 102 when the world can see the result of Newton’s prediction. In 2060, the earliest Newton said it could happen, I will be 102. I may not be Isaac Newton (though genealogical research says we are kin) but I do know I probably won’t make 102. That does not, however, mean I will not see the end. I will see the end for me. And focusing on living the life God would have me live now in order to be prepared for the end that will come (either globally or personally) takes more time and is infinitely more important than to focus on something God said I would never know. Yet somehow I know, this will still be the idea that will not go away.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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