Archive for the 'Messages, Short Stories and Information' Category

Apr 13 2012

A Study and Review of The Book of Revelation: A Prophecy of the End Times and GOD’S Ultimate Triumph Over All Evil!

The Book of Revelation

This review of the Book of Revelation was compiled from “The Layman’s Bible Handbook”, George W. Knight, 2003.  This handbook has given me tremendous insight and understanding of God’s Eternal Word.

As a Child of GOD, I do not fear the end of the world and the long-awaited return of Jesus.  I have a sad feeling in my heart when I think of those non-believers who have no idea of Christ’s return.  The many who are “lost” have no fear of being “left behind”.  My heart aches for those lost souls.  The Book of Revelation is the only book of apocalyptic literature in the entire New Testament.  The writing was of a distinctive type of writing in biblical times that used symbols and numbers to depict the end of the present age and the coming of God’s future kingdom.  The Book of Revelation is similar to apocalyptic writings in several books of the Old Testament,  i.e. Daniel, Ezekiel,and Zechariah.

The Book of Revelation was written about A.D. 95 by John, The Beloved Disciple of Jesus.  At this time John was imprisoned by the Romans on Patmos, a rocky and barren island off the coast of what now is modern day Turkey.

John wrote this book during a time of intense persecution of the Christian movement under the Roman emperor Domitian.  John probably used symbolism in his writing to hide the meaning of his message from the Roman enemies of the church.  Christian “insiders” understood the images that John used, but the Roman persecutors did not have the key that enabled  them to decode his message.

The Book of Revelation came to John under divine inspiration through a series of visions.  In spite of the persecution that believers were experiencing, John affirmed that the all-powerful Lord would fulfill His promises and accomplish His purpose in history.  Jesus Christ would be victorious over the forces of Saten, and He would reign forever as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Rev 1:1-3   These verses indicate that the Book of Revelation was revealed to the apostle John through an angel.  It came directly from the Father through His Son Jesus Christ.  John chose to write this revelation down in the form of a letter.  It was probably intended to be read publicly in local congregations.

Rev 1:4-8   John addresses this letter to the churches in seven cities that represent the major centers of Christianity in the region of Asia (Turkey).  The theme of his letter is “victory in Jesus.”  God has guaranteed that His Son Jesus Christ-“Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending”-will reign ultimately over the entire earth Phil. 2:11 .

Rev 1:9-20  While in exile on the island of Patmos, John had a vision of the risen Lord.  He was told to write down what he saw and to send his message to the seven churches, represented by seven candlesticks.  Jesus appeared among these candlesticks; this represented His presence with these congregations.  In His hands Jesus held seven stars.  These represented “the angels of the seven  churches”, perhaps angels with responsibility for and authority over these churches.                                                                                                     

Rev 2:1-7  John writes a specific message to the church at Ephesus ( Acts 19:1-40 ).  Their initial love and enthusiasm for the Lord had cooled, and they needed to rekindle their zeal.

Church at Ephesus

Rev 2;12-17   The church at Pergamos was accused of indulging in idol worship.  Unless they repented immediately of their evil, the Lord promised to confront them and to fight against them with the sword of His mouth.

Church at Pergamos

Rev 2:18-29  Tolerating immorality and false teaching was the problem of the church of Thyatira.  This congregation was exhorted to return to the truth.

Church at Thyatira

Rev 3:1-6   The believers in the church at Sardis had lost their spiritual zeal. They needed to wake up and “strengthen the things…that are ready to die” so they could bring honor and glory to the Lord.

Church at Sardis

Rev 3:7-13  The church at Philadelphia is the only one of the seven churches that receives no rebuke.  In spite of great persecution, this congregation remained faithful to the Lord.

Church of Philadelphia

Rev 3:14-22  The church at Laodicea is condemned more severely than all the other churches.  The problem of these believers was spiritual apathy.  They were “neither cold nor hot” about spiritual matters.  God promised to deal with this church severely unless they repented of their waywardness.

Church at Laodicea

Rev 4:1-11  This chapter describes a vision in which John saw the Lord in heaven, seated on a throne.  Seated around the throne were 24 elders representing angels who administered God’s rule throughout the universe.  The four creatures described as “beasts” were actually seraphim (Isa. 6:1-3), winged beings, or another order of angels who helped to administer the rule of God in the universe.  God’s unquestioned rule and authority are clear when these 24 elders and four seraphim fall down in worship before Him.

Rev 5:1-14  This chapter continues John’s vision of God seated on a throne.  In His hand God holds a book, or scroll, that is sealed with seven wax seals.  One of the elders around the throne declares that only the risen Christ-represented by a lamb-is worthy to remove the seven seals and open the scroll.  God hands the scroll to Jesus.  This symbolizes that He has delegated to His crucified and risen Son all authority in heaven and earth.  The elders and angels that had previously bowed down to God now fall down in adoration and worship at the feet of Jesus.

Rev 6:1-8    Rev 6:9-11   Rev 6:12-17  Rev 7:1-17  Rev 8:1  This section of Revelation describes the events of God’s judgement represented by the seven seals when Jesus removed them from the scroll.  Seals 1 through 4 show the horrors of war, including famine, devastation, and death.  Seal 5 represents the reward of believers who are martyred for their faith.  Seal 6 shows the earthshaking events that will happen before the second coming of Christ.  The opening of the seventh seal causes an eerie silence in heaven, as all the earth awaits the coming judgment of the Lord.

Chapter 7 of Revelation is inserted between the opening of seal 6 and seal 7.  This chapter describes a great multitude of people who fall down before God and the Lamb in reverence and worship.  These people have been redeemed by the Lamb, and they are in God’s presence in heaven.

Rev 8:1-13   Rev 9:1-21  Rev 10:1-11  Rev 11:1-19    This section describes the seven trumpet judgements, or God’s judgement against the earth and those who have rejected Him.  These trumpets are sounded by seven angels.

Trumpet 1 (8:7) brings hail and fire on the earth.  Trumpet 2 (8:8-9) brings the destruction of sea life and ships.  At the sound of trumpet 3  (8:10-11), a meteorite poisons earth’s rivers and streams.  Many of the heavenly bodies are darkened with the sounding of trumpet 4 (8:12).  Trumpet 5 (9:1-12) brings torment and misery on earth’s inhabitants.  With trumpet 6 (9:13-21), widespread death occurs. The sounding of the seventh and final trumpet (11:15-19) indicates that the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms over which Christ Jesus will rule.

Rev 10 and Rev 11:1-14 are inserted between the sounding of trumpets 6 and 7.  Chapter 10 reaffirms the call of the apostle John.  He is told to eat a book, or scroll.  This recalls the experience of the prophet Ezekiel ( Ezek. 2:1 – 3:11 ).  In Rev 11:1-14 , the apostle John sees the city of Jerusalem trampled for forty-tw0 months.  Two unnamed witnesses are raised up by the Lord to prophesy in His name.  After their persecution and death, they are resurrected and called up to heaven.  Faithfulness in God’s service will be rewarded ( Matt 25:14-29).

Rev 12:1-17  John sees a vision of a  woman who gives birth to a male child.  Saten, represented by a red dragon, tries to kill the child.  But the child is protected and delivered from harm by the Lord.  The message oft his chapter is that God will protect His church from Satan’s threats.

Rev 13:1-18  The vision in this chapter shows that Satan continues his efforts to destroy the church.  John sees a beast emerge from the sea.

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Mar 04 2012

WHAT HAPPENS WITH LIFE AFTER DEATH? Lesson on Life after Death!

 

The Christian hope in life after death depends upon belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Death does not have the last word over human destiny: God does. Jesus conquered death, and so death does not finally separate us from God.  My dear friend Joyce Woidtke shares her heart and soul about the last year of her sister Brenda’s life.  Thank you Joyce for sharing your wisdom and knowledge as you celebrate Brenda’s home-going in February, 2012! 

 

PRECIOUS  TIME  WITH  BRENDA 

Written by Mrs. Joyce Woidtke*

                 Since Adam and Eve were tempted and fell into sin in the Garden of Eden, all human beings will now face death.  We don’t speak of it much but death is a common fear of all of us.  But, the true believer in Christ should face death differently than those who don’t know Jesus as their Savior.

   I was not well acquainted with death personally until about 25 years ago.  At that time I was teaching in the youth department at First Baptist Madison, Madison Mississippi.  We had lost a beautiful young girl still in high school.  She was on her way to school, brushing her hair looking in the rear view mirror and failed to stop at the railroad track.  She was killed instantly and to this day I can still call up the features of her face.  Oh, I had lost grandparents when I was younger, but I expected them to die because they were older.  We lost one other young lady who had visited Sunday school to a terrible crime.  These two deaths were close together and they caused me to pause and consider just what death is,  particularly for the Christian.

   Time passed and the urgency to search God’s Word for what a Christian could know about death and beyond slipped away from me as the cares of everyday life rushed in.  Several years passed and a young father at church died suddenly of no apparent reason.  Not long after his funeral, a neighbor came to my door with a question from the man’s wife.  The neighbor asked me can you help me with the answer for her.  Her question was “will I recognize my husband and he recognize me in heaven?”  I told the neighbor to let me think about this for a while.  Always the best way to find an answer In God’s Word is to start with prayer.  That is what I did.

    After praying, the Scripture I seemed led to was the one we call the Mount of Transfiguration and other New Testament scriptures.  Then after much study I laid out in a rough chart what I found.  Several times I have been able to use the information compiled from the New Testament to give different individuals some comfort after a loved one had passed away.

    The information that I had collected is commonly known by most believers.  It was stringing the Scriptures to gather in a slightly different way than we usually teach them that brought a clearer picture to life after death for the believer.

    Then several months ago (2011) on a Sunday afternoon I had an urgent phone call from my sister, Brenda.  She asked if I could come right away.  (For those of you reading this who don’t know, my sister had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer and it had spread to the liver.)  I was more than happy to visit her but she asked me “Can you please bring your Bible so we can find answers to some of my questions?”  It didn’t take me long and I was on my way.

    When we were finally sitting face-to-face her question was, “Can you tell me everything that God’s word can show me about what happens when I breathe my last breath?”  So we got out a pen and paper and just started to list all the wonderful things that a child of God could take as a promise.  It took us about four hours because of lots of questions, discussions and going down memory lane together and then looking to that great day when all God’s children would be home safely together.  The following is an abbreviated version of what we mined from God’s Holy Word that afternoon.  For the next weeks and months, we would refer back to the discussion of that afternoon to give her a firm reassurance that she was safely in His Hands.

    Hebrews 1:1-3   “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.  The Son is the radiance of God’s Glory and the EXACT representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word.  After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

    These wonderful three verses tell us that Jesus had redeemed us from our sins.  We have only to believe this and turn from our wicked ways and trust him and follow him to be his children.  Jesus went to the cross to bear our sins and sickness, was crucified, died, was buried, and resurrected.  Then 40 days after His resurrection, Jesus went back to heaven.  We’re told in these verses that He now sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven.  It is not that He sits in this position day in and day out in eternity.  The words “at the right hand” described a position of authority and great honor not necessarily a physical location.

    The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus holds three distinct positions.  They are Prophet, Priest and King.  No man was ever appointed as Prophet, Priest, and King before Christ.  Some were anointed kings, some prophets and some priests but in Christ all these offices are combined.  He is The Prophet to all men.  He is The Priest.  He is The King who will rule and reign forever.

    We know from God’s word that it has been appointed for all men to die once.  But that’s not the final word on the subject.  Jesus told us that if you hear His Word, you believe on Him that sent me, you will have everlasting life and you will not be condemned but you will pass from death into life.  Another promise that Jesus gave us is that He is the resurrection and the life and if we believe in Him that though we were dead, yet we will live. 

    Knowing how sick my sister Brenda was, I knew the only way for her to be healed was for God to physically intervene and heal her natural body.  That is always possible for God, but I told her that if God healed everyone people would be lined up for miles around our churches.  Who wouldn’t want to be healed from all the terrible sickness and hurts our bodies have.  But, if God chose to heal everyone the problem would be in the people’s responses.  There is an instance in the Bible where Jesus heals (Luke 17) ten lepers.  He tells the men to go show themselves to the priest.  The ten turn to go to the Temple to be declared ritually clean.  But, one of the men realizes his healing and turns back toward Jesus to praise and thank Him for it.  Now already we see from this story that only one of ten chose to thank Jesus.  But, the real surprise is that the one who turned back to thank Him was not even a Jew.  He was called a foreigner.

    This is the problem that we have today.  Many would line up to be healed and then go their merry way never realizing that they have been touched and healed by their Creator, their Sustainer, their Savior their God.  Sad isn’t it?  But, human nature hasn’t changed much.         

   Next, we needed to look at John 14:6-7.   Jesus has just told His disciples that He is going away but He would be back for them.  He told them that they knew the way to where He was going.  In verses 6 and 7 we read, “I am the Way and the TRUTH and the Life.”

    My whole emphasis here is on four words that Jesus spoke.  They are I AM THE TRUTH.  After many hours of sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair just thinking about these four words, one day I came to the conclusion that every word that proceeded out of Jesus’ mouth had to be absolute truth.  This may not be a profound thought to you.  You may say of course He is truth.  But, then my thinking went to many of the parables, one in particular.  It was the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.  It is found in three of the Gospels.  This story can tell us so much about the answer to Brenda’s question.  That question was…”What can I know about the moment I breathe my last breath here?”  So I took a pen and paper and just started charting what I read in these verses.

    THE STORY OF THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS IS FOUND IN  Luke 16:19-31 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.  At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table.  Even the dogs came and licked his sores.  The time came when the beggar died and the Angels carried him to Abraham’s side.  The rich man also died and was buried.  In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.  So he called to him, “father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.”  But Abraham replied, son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.  He answered, then I beg you father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers.  Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.  Abraham replied, they have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.  No, father Abraham, he said, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.  He said to him, if they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’   

 REMEMBER JESUS WILL ONLY TELL US ABSOLUTE TRUTH.  SO ANY PLACE, PERSON OR DESCRIPTION OF WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ANYONE IS TRUTH!

 RICH MAN                                                          LAZARUS

  1.  Rich                                                 1.  Poor
  2. Had all he wanted and more    2. Only the crumbs
  3. Moved about freely                    3. Had to be carried

                                                                               to the Rich Man’s Gate

      4. Was safe from bad weather     4. was outside in bad weather  

      5.      Well fed                                      5. Wanted leftovers                                           

      6.  Seemed to be well                     6. covered with sores

THEN DEATH COMES TO BOTH MEN

 

     7.   Rich man dies                                              7. Beggar dies first

     8.   Body is buried but soul                            8.  Soul and spirit carried by  

     and spirit goes to the torment                           angels to the peaceful

      side of Paradise                                                       side of Paradise

     9.  Was in torment and agony        9. Was at peace

   10.  He could see                                 10. He could see

   11.  He could speak                            11. He could speak

   12.  He recognized Abraham           12.  He recognized Abraham                                   

    We know the rich man was a Jew because he calls Abraham, Father, and Abraham calls him Son.  The rich man asks for pity but notice the arrogance in asking that Lazarus, the beggar bring him water. Abraham explains his request for water is impossible because there is a great divide between them and it is impossible to cross.  It was fixed so that no one from either side could cross over.  Finally, the rich man takes his mind off himself and thinks of others but still there is arrogance that he wants Lazarus to do his bidding.  The rich man has five living brothers and he wants them warned so that they too won’t end up in this place of torment.  But, Abraham explains that they should know full well how to avoid this terrible side of Abraham’s Bosom.  Moses, that great Old Testament prophet who wrote the first five books of the Bible, had warned man how to live before Holy God.  The Prophets had testified to how to live a life pleasing to God.  The rich man’s five brothers need to listen to the Word they already know.  And then without realizing it, the rich man prophesies for God.  The rich man said to Abraham, “if a man from the dead goes to my brothers this would convince them to repent and follow God”.   And then Abraham makes a profound statement that is still true today. He said to the rich man, “if they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the Dead.’”

   Do you realize how many RED letter words spoken by Jesus in Luke 16 tell us of what is on the other side of OUR LAST BREATH?  (IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THIS STORY IS BEFORE THE RESSURECTION AND THAT AFTER THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST WE GO IMMEDIATELY INTO HIS PRESENCE AS BELIEVERS.)

    As I continue writing this, I know someone is thinking this is JUST a parable.  That’s what is almost always said to me when I teach this lesson.  BUT, let us go back to the beginning of this lesson and look at the word TRUTH.  Jesus said He was the WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE.  Understanding that, ask yourself this question, “Would Jesus tell us of this place BEFORE the cross and His rising from the dead if it was not a REAL place with Abraham there?”  Of course not.  Jesus NEVER had to make up any stories about people.  He knew everyone who has ever been born or died before birth.  He knew the lady taken in adultery and all her husbands.  He knew Peter would deny Him.  We could go on and on about the things and people’s actions that He knew about before they happened.  After all Jesus is God in human flesh. HE KNEW OF ABRAHAM’S BOSOM BECAUSE HE CREATED IT JUST LIKE HE CREATED HELL FOR FALLEN ANGELS.

    Next we need to look at Luke 23:32-43 where Jesus is on the cross.  “Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed.  When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified Him, along with the criminals;  one on His right, the other on His left.  Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.  The people stood watching, and the rulers sneered at him.  They said, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”  The soldiers also came up and mocked Him.  They offered Him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself.”  There was a written notice above Him, which are read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.  One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at Him: “Aren’t you the Christ?  Save yourself and us!”  But the other criminal rebuked him.  “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?”  “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.  But this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus answered him, “I tell you THE TRUTH, TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE.”

    Jesus’ body was buried.  If the thief’s body was not claimed by family it probably would have been thrown into Gehenna.

   In John 20:10–18 we read about something that takes place after Jesus death and burial.  Starting in verse 10 we read, “then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying.  As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.”  They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?  They have taken my Lord away,’ she said,’ and I don’t know where they have put him.’  At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.  “Woman, He said why are you crying?  Who is it you are looking for?”  Thinking He was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”  Jesus said to her, “Mary.”  She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni! ” Jesus said “do not hold on to me, for I have not yet RETURNED to the Father.  Go instead to my brothers and tell them, I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”

   Note in Luke 23 the words “I tell you the truth “Jesus said to the thief on the cross, that had asked him remember me when you come into your kingdom, that on that very day the young man would be with Him in Paradise.  This is the place that is spoken of in Luke 16 where the rich man and Lazarus are taken after their death and before the cross.  It is a real place.  Jesus being the truth would not have told us of a place that was not real.  He would not have given us false hope about life after death.  He would’ve not given us false hope about the consciousness of those who have gone through death.  Then in John 20 Jesus tells us that he has not yet been to the Father.  We then understand where he has been for the three nights and three days that his body was in the tomb.  His soul and spirit had gone with the soul and spirit of the thief to Paradise known as Abraham’s bosom or Abraham’s side.

    Notice in John 20:17, where Jesus says he has not returned to the Father he asked Mary not to hold on to Him.  The word used here is hatuma in the Greek or naga in the Hebrew.  It was used in the Temple by the priests who would be carrying blood to the altar and did not want to be touched or interrupted.  The carrying of the blood to the altar was always done in vessels that had curved or pointed bottoms.  The reason for this shape was that no priest could be distracted and set it down.  The blood of the sacrifice was so special that the carrying of it to the altar was never to be interrupted hence the word naga or hatuma.   (Strongs) 

   In Hebrews 8, we see Jesus Christ as our great High Priest.  In Hebrews 9:7 we read, but only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.  In Hebrews 9:11–27 we read, when Christ came as the high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not part of this creation.  He did not enter by the means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.  The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so they are outwardly clean.  How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!  For this reason Christ is the mediator of the new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.  In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when someone has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.  This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood.  When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people.  He said, this is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.  In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies.  In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.  It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, BUT THE HEAVENLY THINGS THEMSELVES WITH BETTER SACRIFICES THAN THESE.  FOR CHRIST DID NOT ENTER A MAN MADE SANCTUARY THAT WAS ONLY A COPY OF THE TRUE ONE; HE ENTERED HEAVEN ITSELF, NOW TO APPEAR FOR US IN GOD’S PRESENCE.  NOR DID HE ENTER HEAVEN TO OFFER HIMSELF AGAIN AND AGAIN, THE WAY THE HIGH PRIEST ENTERS THE MOST HOLY PLACE EVERY YEAR WITH BLOOD THAT IS NOT HIS OWN.  THEN CHRIST WOULD HAVE HAD TO SUFFER MANY TIMES SINCE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD.  BUT NOW HE HAS APPEARED ONCE FOR ALL AT THE END OF THE AGES TO DO AWAY WITH SIN BY THE SACRIFICE OF HIMSELF.  JUST AS MAN IS DESTINED TO DIE ONCE, AND AFTER THAT TO FACE THE JUDGMENT, SO CHRIST WAS SACRIFICED ONCE TO TAKE AWAY THE SINS OF MANY PEOPLE; AND HE WILL APPEAR A SECOND TIME, NOT TO BEAR THE SIN, BUT TO BRING SALVATION TO THOSE WHO ARE WAITING FOR HIM. 

    You’re probably wondering why quote this long section of Hebrews.  I believe it shows that after three days and three nights Christ returned to the tomb in the garden of Gethsemane to take up his resurrected body.  When he meets Mary early in the morning while it is still dark and she doesn’t recognize him, she wants to hold on to him but he asked her not to.  I believe the reason he asked her not to hold on to him is because he had not yet ascended to the Father acting as our great High Priest taking his own blood once for all into the heavenly Temple.  Because, in John 21, we find the disciples afraid for their lives and huddling behind locked doors when suddenly Jesus appears in their midst.  He shows them his hands and side but Thomas is not there to see them.  Yet a week later there in the same place still afraid and Jesus comes into their midst again.  He allows Thomas to physically examine him also as the disciples did a week before.

    Why would Mary in the garden on the day of his resurrection be not allowed to touch Jesus and then just hours later the disciples were allowed to?  The answer seems to come from the Scriptures in Hebrews.  Acting as our great high priest he had to return to the father first with his offering of his own blood and having done that he had completed the payment that God required for the sin of all mankind.  We know now that there is no more sacrifice for sin.  That is why after meeting Mary, then going to His father the disciples were able to touch Him.  Because the Lamb of God had paid in full the penalty for the sins of all mankind.

    Let’s go back to the thought of the Mount of Transfiguration.  Jesus has invited Peter, James and John to go with him up the mountain.  There on the mountain they are met by Moses and Elijah.  Jesus is transformed before them.  His face and His clothing become a brilliant white.  Moses and Elijah are talking with Jesus.  And good old Peter decides they need to pitch three tents, one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.  When you read this story in Matthew, Mark and Luke, we never hear of an introduction.  Peter, James, and John seemed to recognize Moses and Elijah.  And Moses and Elijah seemed to know each other even though they lived years apart.  Also, Moses had truly tasted death and God buried him while Elijah never tasted death and was taken to heaven alive.  I may be reading more into this than there is but it seems that after death or translation to heaven there is no need for introductions.  It appears that we will all know each other no matter what age we lived in.  Think of that.  WOW!        

  • MOUNT OF TRANSFIGURATION—NO APPARENT INTRODUCTIONS NEEDED EVEN          THOUGH MEN FROM DIFFERENT PERIODS OF HISTORY
  • MOSED HAD DIED AND GOD BURIED HIM—ELIJAH TAKEN ALIVE TO HEAVEN YET HERE ON THE MOUNT THEY HAVE RECOGNIZABLE BODIES.  (MOSES BODY WOULD NOT HAVE YET

          BEEN RESURRECTED)

  • THIEF ON CROSS WENT TO PARADISE WITH JESUS (JESUS DIED FIRST AND MUST HAVE WAITED AROUND FOR THIEF TO DIE IN JOHN 19: 30-32)
  • WE LEARN FROM LUKE 16 IN THE STORY OF THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS WHERE JESUS TOOK THE THIEF ON THE CROSS FOR THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS—TO PARADISE, ABRAHAM’S BOSON OR ABRAHAM’S SIDE
  • REMEMBER JESUS IS ALL TRUTH SO HE WOULD NOT HAVE TOLD US ABOUT A PLACE THAT WAS NOT REAL OR ABOUT PEOPLE WHO WERE NOT REAL

THIS WAS BEFORE THE RESURRECTION! 

WE LEARN SO MUCH ABOUT THE TIME AFTER DEATH FROM THE LUKE 16 ACCOUNT…

  • IN PARADISE PEOPLE CAN SEE, HEAR, SPEAK, REASON, REMEMBER, SUFFER BUT NOT BE CONSUMED, BE AT PEACE AND ONCE AGAIN THERE ARE NO INTRODUCTIONS
  • IN JOHN WE FIND JESUS BACK IN THE GARDEN IN A REAL BODY—HE HAD ALREADY RISEN FROM THE DEAD AND IS COMIING BACK TO THE TOMB NOT OUT OF IT
  • HE DOES NOT WANT TO BE TOUCHED—–WHY—–BECAUSE HE HAS NOT YET BEEN TO HIS FATHER IN HEAVEN  (I THINK HEBREWS TELLS US WHY HE HAD TO GO TO HEAVEN AT THIS TIME ACTING AS HIGH PRIEST TO TAKE HIS SACRIFICE (BLOOD) TO THE HEAVENLY TABERNACLE)
  • IN JUST SHORT PERIOD OF TIME HE HAS MADE THE TRIP AND IS ALLOWING DISCIPLES TO VIEW HIS WOUNDS—THOMAS IS NOT PRESENT AND WILL DO SO A WEEK LATER, BUT OBVIOUSLY TOUCHING HIS WOUNDS AND CLINGING TO HIM IS NOW ALLOWED

MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE IN THIS LESSON:

After Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross, dying in our place, and then gloriously rising from the dead, we now, at our death do not go to Abraham’s Bosom or Paradise.  Our soul and spirit now go straight to be with Jesus in heaven while our body waits in the grave here on earth for it’s resurrection. 

 May your blessing be bountiful after reading, studying, and praying about this lesson.

 * Written and researched by Mrs. Joyce Woidtke, Canton, Mississippi.   Printed with permission.  Edited by John D. Williams,    GreatOutdoorBlessings.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oct 08 2011

What Happens When You Are Born Again?

1) Receive everlasting life (John 3:16)
2) Been born again (I John 5:1)
3) Been born of incorruptible seed (I Peter 1:23)
4) This incorruptible seed remaining in him (I John 3:9)
5) Become a son of God (John 1:12)
6) Become a new creation (II Corinthians 5:17)
7) Been passed from death unto life (John 5:24)
8) Been exempted from future condemnation (John 5:24)
9) Been redeemed from under the law (Galatians 4:5)
10) Been redeemed from the curse of the law (Galatians 4:5)
11) Become dead to the law (Romans 7:4)
12) Received an eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12)
13) Been reconciled to God (II Corinthians 5:18)
14) Peace with God (Romans 5:1)
15) Been justified (Romans 5:1)
16) All trespasses forgiven him (Colossians 2:13)
17) Been delivered from the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13)
18) Been translated into the kingdom of the Son of God (Colossians 1:13)
19) Been perfected forever (Hebrews 10:14)
20) His sins no more remembered (Hebrews 10:17)
21) His sins removed as far as the East is from the West (Psalms 103:12)
22) Been made complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10)
23) Been accepted of God (Ephesians 1:6)
24) Been born of the Spirit of God (John 3:6)
25) Been baptized by the Spirit of God (I Corinthians 12:13)
26) Been indwelt by the Spirit of God (I Corinthians 6:19-20)
27) Been sealed with God’s Spirit (Ephesians 1:13)
28) Become the object of God’s love (Ephesians 2:4)
29) Become the object of God’s grace (Romans 6:14)
30) Become the object of God’s power (Ephesians 1:19)
31) Become the object of God’s faithfulness (I Corinthians 1:9)
32) Become a citizen of heaven (Ephesians 2:19Philippians 3:20)
33) Been seated with Christ in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6)
34) Been already glorified (Romans 8:30)
35) Been given a home in heaven (John 14:1-3)
36) Been kept by the power of God (I Peter 1:5)
37) Been crucified with Christ (Galatians (2:20)
38) Been buried with Christ (Romans 6:4)
39) Been resurrected with Christ (Ephesians 2:6)

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Apr 06 2011

How To Pray For Your Children and Grandchildren! Author Unknown

HOW TO PRAY FOR YOUR CHILD

1. Pray NOTHING hinders your child from accepting Christ as his/her personal Savior early in life. Matthew 19:14

2. Pray your child learns to know God and will have a deep desire to do God’s will for his/her life. (Psalms 119:27,30,34,35).

3. Pray child hears stories from the Bible that will be a basis for his/her decisions throughout life. (Ecclesiastes 12:1, Psalms 71:17).

4. Pray child will-develop a keen sense of right and wrong and that he/she will truly abhor evil and cling to that which is good. (Psalms 139:23-4).

5. Pray child will increase in wisdom (mentally) and in stature (physically) and in favor with God (spiritually) and man (socially). (Luke 2:52). This prayer covers his/her total development to his/her full potential.

6. Pray that child will develop a thankful heart and a positive mental attitude. (Psalm 126:2-3, Romans 8:31)

7. Pray that God protect child from Satan and his/her wiles in every area of his/her life. (John 17:55, Psalm 121)

8. Pray that God would destroy the enemies in his/her life whether they be weaknesses, lying, selfishness etc. (Psalms 120:2; 140).

9. Pray that God would make him/her successful in the work God has for him/her to do. (Psalm 118:25, 139:9-10)

10. Pray he/she have a strong sense of belonging to a family that is loving and dwells together in unity (Psalms 133, Colossians 3:12-14).

11. Pray he/she will respect authority. (Romans 13:1, Ephesians 6:1-4).

12. Pray that his/her entire life will be a testimony of the greatness and love of Christ. (Phillippians 2:15-16 Thess 5:2-3)

If you pray one of these a month, you will have your child covered for a year!

— Author Unknown

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Feb 15 2011

That Is My King…Do You Know HIM?

 

Turn you speakers up and enjoy this.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CANPGvvq1gE&feature=related

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May 10 2010

Charlie Pierce…We Knew You For Such A Short While

Oh Charlie, we really didn’t have a chance to get to know you.  Rita and I met Charlie almost two years ago at a RV park in Orange Beach, Alabama.  Charlie was the “top dog” at the RV park.  Whatever Charlie did was perfect…whenever Charlie did what he did was perfect timing…and Charlie could never do any wrongs.  Charlie’s “parents” were blinded by all of the love and companionship that Charlie gave them.  Carl and Jane acted as silly as they could be over Charlie because they loved him so much.

I was so saddened to hear from Carl this week about Charlie’s passing.  Carl sent me the following message about Charlie.  He lived to the fine ole age of thirteen and his “mama and daddy” will miss him always.  Charlie, we just knew you for a short while.  Farewell to you little “doggie” friend.

 

For those of you who really know us, you know how important Charlie was to us and our life.
 
One of the reasons we got into anything including RV’ing was so Charlie could travel with us and we could spend more time with him.
 
I’m sorry to say, Charlie passed away tonight about 9:45PM. 
 
Charlie had been fighting congestive heart failure and was on a large number of drugs and was fighting a great battle with breathing and his over all heart failure.  He had fought a great battle and was such a great champion in his battle.  You know Charlie, always smiling, always wagging his tail and always the best behaved little fellow I’ve ever known.
 
Well, tonight when I let him out for his “Pee Pee” (more often now because of his Lasix pills) he went running out to his favorite fence post and a copperhead snake bit him somewhere and within 10 minutes Charlie had lost the battle and died in Jane’s arms.  We could not have saved him if we had been anywhere else, maybe though he wouldn’t have been bitten by a snake in many places other than out here.
 
In thirteen years I’ve never had a better friend and companion than ole Charlie.  We walked together; we talked to each other and in all parts of the US.  He was poisoned in Gulf Shores but recovered after a great battle and a lot of talented people at the University of Auburn Small Animal Clinic.  We got another 2 ½ years of Charlie that we probably should not have had.
 
Charlie walked all the golf courses with me I’ve played in the past 10 years and he had more golf manners than most humans I’ve played with.  He never tired, even in the greatest heat or the coldest of cold.  Charlie always met every person I ever met and most often people liked him better than me.  After all, he was a better person than I’ll ever be.
 
Charlie always loved all the people he met and I think most of the people that met him loved him in return.  I can learn a lot from that example and I will hold his manners and love of people as a true example of how to live and love people.
 
Its true what they say, “I only hope that I can become the person that my dog thinks I am.”
 
Charlie would have wanted me to share this with his close friends and I trust you understand our hurt and loss.  Charlie was like a child to us and yes,,,, we admit it and I think he knows just how we feel right now.
 
Never forget to say “I love you” even to your animals,,, they’ll remember it and it’ll make you feel so much better in tough times.
 
Charlie says thank you for being his friend.

CP and JP

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Jan 18 2010

Please Pray for Our Country 2 Chronicles 7:14

 

 

He Died for You

 

I ask that you turn your speakers up, click on this link, listen and pray for our beautiful United States of America according to

2 Chronicles 7:14    Please pray for our country as you seek His face.

http://www.greatdanepro.com/Pray%20For%20America/index.htm

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Jan 01 2010

January 01, 2010 – Welcome to Another Year of GreatOutdoorBlessings.com

God Bless each of you dear friends in this new year of 2010.  I pray that every step you take and every mile you make today will be with one eye on the road, one eye on the Great Outdoor Blessings that surround you, both hands on the wheel and your mind on Jesus Christ as Lord! 

We have new plans for our ministry this year and I pray that God will allow us to accomplish these plans with His blessings.  Two of our goals that come to mind are a study and review of  “The Book of the Prophet ISAIAH” written by ISAIAH 700-690 B.C..  What a task to undertake, but I look forward to it.

   Bible

The second goal is our plans for a springtime 2010 Mission tour.  We have been blessed with a new motorcoach in order to take this trip in and we plan on filling it with Bibles as we depart Mississippi sometime around April 1st.  Matthew 28:16-20

DSCN1872

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Dec 01 2009

From the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Come to know Peace With GOD….click the links below:

http://www.billygraham.org/SH_StepsToPeace.asp?QR=210&BA=1239

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1137883230?bctid=1509297822

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Jun 22 2009

Mission Tour 2009 Sharing the Gospel Throughout America’s Campgrounds!

Today, June 17th we start the countdown for our trip.  My mind is turning over and over trying to decide what I will do next; what will we need for two months; will there be Walmarts when and where I need them; will I have enough Bibles on board for the entire trip?  There are so many questions and not many answers.  The motorhome has been serviced and inspected.  My prayers have been for safety and for traveling mercies.  I am praying for no mechanical breakdowns and for no flat tires.  My prayer preparation will be for GOD to provide us with opportunities for witnessing and sharing the gospel.
Five more days until lift-off.  I am sitting back withso many thoughts going through my mind.  We have started loading the coach with things we will need and removing things that we feel pretty sure we won’t need or be using.  I am watching gasoline go up each day but I refuse to let that become a concern to me.  I am going to rely on GOD for all of my concerns.  I will allow Him to lead me down any path HE  desires.  I know that He is preparing people’s hearts for me to share the Gospel with.  Even though I am in the preparation phase, I know that He is firm in His plans for us….Jer 29:11
Today is another day that the Lord has given us for preparation.  We leave tomorrow early enough to travel during “the coolest” part of the day. We still have last minute things going into the coach.  Tomorrow’s destination is West Memphis, AR at Tom Sawyer’s Mississippi River RV Park right on the banks of the “Mighty Mississippi”!

Tom Sawyer's Mississippi River RV Park

Days 1-2  June 23-24, 2009   We arrived at Tom Sawyer’s, West Memphis, AR around 3:15 pm.  Setting up camp was an interesting chore.  It was so hot, dry and dusty.  I spent hours washing and waxing the coach and our tow car and bothwere covered in dust.  In the 99 degree heat with hardly any shade, I met a new friend named Rudy camped next to us.  Rudy is a likable fellow and he and his wife are full-time RVersfrom Texas.  I mentioned that I would love to talk with him later.  He said “sure” to my request.  Lord, has Rudy’s heart been prepared by You?  Thank you Lord for giving me opportunities in which Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:16-20!  We also met today Rick and B.J. from Hot Springs, AR.  Such nice people…..you meet nice folks like these in America’s campgrounds.  Our devotional Bible verse for today is  1 Samuel 10:7
Day 3  June 25, 2009   We made 340 miles today between West Memphis, AR and Jonesburg, MO which is about 55 miles west of St. Louis.  Travel today was hard because it was so very hot.  Temperatures were in the high 90s and heavy traffic surrounded the St. Louis area.  As I was registering for check-in at Jonesburg Gardens Campground, I was introduced to Bob, the owner of the campground.  I noticed on the wall behind Bob was the Ten Commandments and on the cash register was a wood carving withthelettersspelling out “JESUS”.  I knew Bob was a christian but I still had to ask him about his faith.  Yes, Bob is saved.  Tomorrow we venture to Kansas City.  What is in store for us the next two days?  Only the Lord knows.
Days 4 & 5  June 26-27, 2009 OK, here we are just making it into Kansas City for two nights and all of a sudden this big beautiful Walmart Supercenter jumps into our view   just off I-70.  We are tired and we are hungry and have no groceries in the fridge.  The sight of the Walmart at that particular time was a “Great Outdoor Blessing” to us.  So here we go pulling into the parking lot.  We got a Subway sandwich and grocery supplies at the Walmart.  On our departure heading to our campground, I am wearing my cap that says “I (love in the shape of a heart) JESUS”.  This lady stopped at the red light along side of me and was waving vigorously.  She had a big smile on her face.  I was concerned that she was trying to stop me from moving forward any more than I was but she saw my hat that said “I LOVE JESUS” and she was trying to let me know that she also loved Jesus.  What a sweet testimony on her part.   At “Worlds of Fun Village”, I met several new christian friends.  I met a fellow named Dan J. from Florida who was headed home traveling in the four corners of the U.S.  Dan and his family were pulling a big fifthwheel.  When Dan and I talked about his relationship withthe Lord, he told me that he was saved but he seemed to have drifted away from that relationship.  He said it was a priority in his life to return to that relationship that he once knew.  Then I met John Johnson…what a blessing it was to hear of his ministry.  He ministers at a recovery home.  John takes two guys in recovery withhim and goes into campgrounds withequipment to wash and wax RVs right at the campsite.  Of the two guys he had working for him, one was named Patrick and he told me he came to know Jesus and has been sober for 18 months.  Praise GOD for what he has done in Patrick’s life.  I met the other guy but did not get to talk with him.  I praise GOD for meeting John Johnson  and see how GOD is working in him and his ministry.  Thank you Lord  1 John 5:11-13

Concentration of the Road

Concentrating on the Road

A Kansas Sunset at Worlds of Fun

A Kansas Sunset at Worlds of Fun

                                                            

Campground at Worlds of Fun, Kansas City
Campground at Worlds of Fun, Kansas City

 Day 6  June 28, 2009  Kansas City to North Sioux City, South Dakota.  This was a travel day of 310 miles traveling North on I-29.  We stopped in Council Bluffs, Iowa for lunch with friends.
Day 7 June 29, 2009  We are almost to our 1st full stop which will be Wall, South Dakota where we can camp for five straight days for touring Badlands National Park.  I will be glad to not have to break camp each morning.  I am looking forward to five nights straight and rest.  We arrived from Mitchell, SD home of the Corn Palace in Mitchell to the Kennebec, SD KOA.  At Kennebec, we saw our first thunderstorms.  I met a young man named Brian W.  from Ohio.  Brian was camped next to us and I talked to him about his relationship with God.  He explained to me that he was saved and I pray for him that he is.  Tomorrow’s five day stop for five days is Wall, SD.  
Days 8 -13  June 30th – July 5, 2009                                                                                               June 30, 2009 This morning before leaving KennebecKOA I talked withmy fifth-wheel neighbor Ed H. from the great State of Indiana.  Ed was a friendly man.  He told me he was a Methodist.  I responded that God was going to allow Methodist into His heaven but only if one accepted His Son Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour.  Ed did tell me that he was saved and I told him I was only wanting him to be sure of his salvation….  1 John 5:11-13.    We departed Kennebec, SD and arrived in Wall, SD home of the famous “Free Ice Water” Wall Drug.  What a place  to see.  Wall, SD is a little SouthDakota town with apopulationof 814 .  You can imagine that our first stop for dinner was a visit to Wall Drug.  Rita had to have some of the “free ice water”.  While shopping in Wall Drug, I picked out a “Tee Shirt” for my son-in-law that he requested.  Two young college students working at the counter were not busy so bothof  them gathered at the cash register.  I had my “I Love Jesus” cap on so the Lord led me in an opportunity to ask them about their faith.  The young man’s name was Thor and the young lady’s name was Lisa.  Bothtold me that they were not saved.  They seemed very interested in hearing what I had to say and I really felt that the Lord was in on this sharing of the gospel.  God kept customers away from us for about five minutes as I shared withthem without interruption.  I gave them my card and asked them to visit our website and say the prayer within the website.  I ask you to pray for Thor and Lisa that they will follow through and that the Holy Spirit will draw them into the Kingdom.  Thor is from Katy, TX and Lisa is from Wall. When we got back from dinner a fifth-wheeler with Mississippi plates on it was parked into the campsite next to us.  V. and E. explained that they were from Brandon, MS.  V. said she was so surprised to see a Madison motorhomeand vehicle when they pulled into the campsite.  July 1-2, 2009  We toured the Badlands National Park today.  At one of the stops, we walked out on a wooden ramp to view the canyons of the Badlands.    All along the way there were warning signs everywhere that said “Beware of Rattlesnakes”.  Now let me tell you that no one has to tell me twice to stay on the wooden ramp.  I looked up and there is this guy leading his wife and two children off the trail into the grassy area up the hillside to take a family picture.  I could not believe that this man was the leader of his family.  Later, in the parking area, I had a lady comment on my “I LOVE JESUS” hat.  We talked and I found out that she was a pastor’s wife and they were on a church sponsored trip.  What a nice conversation we had.  July 3, 2009  We drove over to Rapid City, SD today.  Mt. Rushmore is only 23 miles from there and we were thinking about going there to watch the fireworks show.  Rain and fog were endangering the fireworks show but it did not dampen our spirits.  Rita made me take her to Michael’s and she drowned her sorrow in about an hour shopping spree.  We drove back to the coach for a restful afternoon.  Later in the afternoon I felt an urge to go back to Wall Drug and follow up withThor and Lisa.  I carried several tracts with me to give them.  I found Thor but Lisa was not there.  Thor was somewhat guarded at this point so I decided to leave him the tract and ask him to read it when he was alone.  Please pray for this young man.  July 4, 2009  This birthday celebration for America went by leisurely.  The weather here in South Dakota was very nice and pleasant.  I was enjoying the great outdoors at our picnic table and a couple from Canada were setting up their camper.  As I talked to the gentleman from Canada, he told me that he was a christian but didn’t go to church.  He said his wife goes to church but not him.  I agreed with him when he said “you don’t have to go to church to be a christian.”  I told him about my “Fire Insurance Policy” that Jesus gave me.  He did not seem to be interested but I continued to be cordial as we continued in conversation.  Tomorrow we leave for Hill City, SD near Rushmore.  I leave you with this scripture Prov 3:6   July 5,2009 We traveled with the Lord’s net of safety into the mountain range surrounding Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse memorials.  We arrived at Crooked Creek Resort campgrounds two miles south of Hill City, SD.  It is so beautiful here in a valley surrounded by mountains.  More tomorrow!
Days 14-17  July 6 – July 9, 2009
July 6, 2009  Today’s devotional was based on Matthew 7:24-25.  I met a group of christian bikers preparing to leave camp and hit the road.  I had the priviledge to pray with them asking GOD for safety as they travel.  This was a real blessing for me.  We are camped at Crooked Creek RV Resort.  Beauty of the Black Hills of South Dakota surrounds our campsite.   July 7, 2009  Today’s devotional comes from  Ephesians 2:1-9 and Acts 4:12 and 1 Cor. 12:13   These verses are so important to me.  Please read them.  Later in the morning I had an opportunity to share the gospel with a group of Native Americans camped next to us.  I gave them a Bible to have for their travel trailer.  Later in the evening we took the 1880 train through the Black Hills from Hill City to Keystone, SD.  I wore my “I Love Jesus” hat and had several nice comments from fellow Christians on the train.  July 8, 2009  Today’s devotional scripture is 1 Cor. 2:9-14   We toured Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Park and Crazy Horse Memorial.  We met and had lunch at the Game Lodge in Custer State Park with a christian couple from near Houston, TX  who were on the tour with us.  All of these places were truly Great Outdoor Blessings.  July 9, 2009  Devotional scripture  Acts 17:10-12  I met a lady camped directly behind us.  She was in a one-person camper and I volunteered to help her with her cable tv reception.  When we finished working on her TV I asked her about her faith.  She proceeded to give me a beautiful testimony about being saved years ago.  Karen M. from New York told me that years ago she was divorced, broke, homeless, jobless, and no hope left.  She said that a man came up to her and wanted to buy her lunch.  She was so hungry and a meal sounded good but she asked the man what he wanted in return.  He said he wanted nothing in return but lunch with her.  During lunch, the man pulled a trac out of his pocket and began to witness to her.  She prayed to receive Christ at that lunch and to this day does not know who that man was.  I prayed with her and was so pleased to know that she was a sister in Christ.  We left for the day and visited Hot Springs, SD and Custer State Park.  Oh, what a day it was!

    
Mt. Rushmore, SD

Mt. Rushmore, SD

 
 
 
 

Devils Tower, Wyoming

Devils Tower, Wyoming

 
Days 18-20  July 10-12, 2009 
Devils Tower, Wyoming.  This was the site location for filming of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” by Stephen Spilberg.  The KOA campground at Devils Tower was the location of filming.  Devils Tower was the background with beautiful views from each campsite.  Please see our pictures on www.GreatOutdoorBlessings.comunder the PHOTOS tab.  On Saturday we went to the small town of Sundance, WY.  This is the town that the Sundance Kid took his name from (and their money).   I obtained permission to have worship services on Sunday with Devils Tower in the background.  We put up notices but only two people attended.  We left immediately after services  and had a hard day of travel crossing the Continental Divide at about 7700 ft.  We traveled 390 miles today and spent the night at the Rawlins, WY KOA.

Days 21-23  July 13-15, 2009                                                                                                                 We made our trip safely from Rawlings to Dinosaur, CO.  Dinosaur is only three miles from the Utah border so that made it easy to slip into Utah to Dinosaur National Monument.  We did the auto tour through the park but the actual dinosaur quarry has been closed since 2006.  From Dinosaur National Monument we went to Ashley Recreational Area and Flaming Gorge Resevior and Dam in extreme northeast Utah.  The mountain range was beautiful and breathtaking.  After spending two nights in Dinosaur, CO we drove south to Grand Junction, CO.  We reached elavations of 12,000 feet on this drive..sharp curves around mountain tops..I was constantly in prayer.  Rita was almost in tears and holding on for everything she had.  This was rough on the motorhome, Rita, and me.  The cats were asleep and knew nothing of what was going on.  It’s Grand Junction, CO tonight and on to Moab, Utah tomorrow.  May God bless all of us.

Days 24 – 29  July 16 – 21, 2009                                                                                                              We departed Grand Junction for Moab, Utah on I-70 West some 114 miles into the heat of the land called Moab, UT.  We were eager to reach the Moab KOA to pitch camp.  At a truck stop on the trip, I tried to talk to a truck driver about Jesus but he brushed me off by telling me he knew how to get saved.  He then turned around and left.  I had another disappointment when I asked the Moab KOA manager if we could conduct Worship Services at the campground on Sunday.  Again, I was rejected but not discouraged by being told “no”.  I found a FBC of Moab Church that we will attend on Sunday.  Our first day of touring was at Arches National Park.  The temperature in the park reached 107 degrees at mid-afternoon.  This was and is the most beautiful National Park I have ever seen.  Please visit the PHOTOS tab on www.greatoutdoorblessings.com to view our pictures.  In the meantime enjoy these below.

   

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

 

Double Arch at Arches National Park

Double Arch at Arches National Park

Delicate Arch at Arches National Park

Delicate Arch at Arches National Park

Days 30 – 33  July 22 – 25,  2009                                                                                                       We left Moab and the terrible heat and drove south where we went back into Canyonlands National Park Needles Overlook.  The beauty was massive and views were tremendous.  Our destination wound up to be Cortez, Colorado.  Mesa Verde National Park lies about ten miles south of Cortez. Then sickness hits us.  No longer are we youngsters and the heat and the altitude  knocked us to our knees.  I was more dehydrated than Rita but headaches,sweats, and the general feelbads kept us down for at least 2 days.  While I was at the campground, I was able to have a sit-down talk with a Vietnam vet, retired and a full-timer at the Sundance RV Park.   His name was Doug F. and said he Believed in God, that he prays, and that he has had hard times in his life but believes that Jesus shed His blood so his sins would be forgiven.  He said he doesn’t go to Church and he has an old Bible that he can’t understand when he reads it…probably a KJV.  I gave him a new Bible and told him he would understand this version.  I was not successful that he understand that he had to ask Jesus into his heart and accept Him as his personal Lord and Saviour.  I pray that this seed has been planted and the Holy Spirit will allow it to grow.  Then we got to meet our motorhome neighbors from Heber Springs, AR, Chuck and Dianne C.  Oh, what beautiful and wonderful new christian friends.  Chuck and I had an opportunity to share a little of our testimony around the picnic table.  Then came Bob walking by and in the conversation we found Bob a total non-believer who didn’t care what happened to him after this life.  No matter how hard we shared Jesus with Bob he would not change the way he looked at eternity.  Chuck and I prayed together asking the Holy Spirit to move in Bob’s life so that his mind and his heart would be opened.  We left the next morning for Four Corners Monument and Monument Valley.  Oh, what beauty lies ahead.

Days 34,35   July 26-27, 2009                                                                                                               I am not sure words can describe GOD’s beauty that HE created in Monument Valley, AZ.  I have spent these two days in the extreme heat and red sand in my hair, eyes, ears and who knows where else.  The beauty of the Navajo land to me is just like Arches National Park in that these are two Great Outdoor Blessings that one should see before they depart this world.  GOD’s presence was felt in Monument Valley just by looking at the vast beauty that HE created.

Monument Valley, Arizona

Monument Valley, Arizona

Day 36  July 28, 2009  What an incredible day to be a Child of GOD.   As we cruised on down the highway between Monument Valley and Page, AZ we came upon a Scenic Viewpoint where we could take pictures and where three Navajo women had their booths set up selling their handmade jewelry and crafts.  I pulled the coach over and parked then I turned Rita loose on the craft and jewelry booths.  I mingled and talked to one of the ladies there named Celia.  Her son Joshua was with her and when no customers were around I shared Jesus with both of them.  She knew of Jesus and knew about His saving grace.  She said she wanted Jesus in her heart.  I then went to visit Carol’s booth.  Carol said she attended a LDS church but claimed she knew Jesus.  Then I went to the other lady’s booth and talked to her about Jesus.  The next thing I knew a beautiful little Navajo girl appeared and was listening to what I had to say.  I went back to the coach and got Bibles in my hand and went back to the craft area.  It was almost like GOD cleared out all of the customers that had stopped to look and buy.  I gave them all Bibles and asked if they wanted to receive Christ as their Lord and Saviour.  Not only the three ladies prayed to receive Christ but their son Joshua and the little girl did as well.  Three mothers and two children were born into the Kingdom of GOD today at Gray Mesa, Arizona today.  Five Navajo hearts committed to Christ today.  Oh, what a day it has been.  Thank you Jesus!

Days 37 – 45  July 29 – August 6, 2009  Time has just flown by since my last entry.  Our travels in this time frame have taken us us into Arizona and New Mexico.  We have seen God’s GreatOutdoorBlessings all around us.  As we stood and looked into the Grand Canyon at Grand Canyon Village I think about how God made the Canyon.  All He did was speak the words and touched it with His fingertip.  Lake Powell was a thing of beauty.  Rita and I took a half-day fishing trip on Lake Powell, but the best part was that we got into 3-4 pound stripped bass.  Also, at Lake Powell, we took a boat cruise to “Rainbow Bridge”.  This was another sight to see made by God Himself.  From Lake Powell we traveled to Williams, AZ and based ourselves there for the beautiful South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  From the Grand Canyon we traveled through Winslow, AZ.  The Eagles sang about “standing on the corner of Winslow, Arizona” in their hit song “Take it Easy”.  We went to that corner in Winslow, Arizona.  Our next tour was the Petrified Forest National Park along I-40.  All along the way we tied into the famous “Route 66” from Chicago to Los Angeles from back in the late 1920’s.  Staying on I-40 East our next several days will be spent in Sante Fe and Glorieta, New Mexico.  More to come dear friends!

Days 46 – 54  August 7th – August 15, 2009   Glorieta, NM is the “best kept secret” in New Mexico.  You can RV at the Conference for $22 per night and eat for $5 per meal, or you can volunteer and stay and eat free.  It goes down to the mid 40s at night in August.  It is so pleasant there day and night.  We spent four nights there with our dear missionary friends Jim and Carolyn McAtee.  We visited, the Pecos Valley Cowboy Church for Sunday services in Pecos, NM.  We toured Pecos National Historic Park and had picnic lunch (BBQ) with Jim and Carolyn right on the Pecos River.  Our visit with them was delightful.  On our own, we drove to Taos, NM for the day.  We took pictures of the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and the Rio Grande River as well.  Upon our return to Glorieta, we enjoyed our last evening with Jim and Carolyn in Santa Fe at Cowgirl’s BBQ.  From Glorieta we departed for Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Canyon, Texas.  Palo Duro Canyon is referred to as The Grand Canyon of Texas.  Believe me , it was beautiful.  We camped overnight at the bottom of the Canyon.  Next stop Elk City, OK home of the National Route 66 Museum.  We just can’t get off of  Route 66 so we enjoyed the tour of the museum.  Next was Oklahoma City, OK for dinner with a very special friend.  We enjoyed German food at a German restaurant near the OKC-East KOA where we stayed for the night.  Next was the long drive from OKC to North Little Rock KOA for two nights.  In North Little Rock, we visited with our friends (the Halberg family) for lunch and topped it off with ice cream for the children and adults.  I don’t know who enjoyed the ice cream more, the adults or the kids.  That evening we had dinner with our friends (the Pierce’s) whom we met last summer at Perdido Key, FL.  Both visits were so enjoyable.

Days 55 – 57  August 16 – 17, 2009  Now, we are excited.  It is Sunday and we made the short trip to Memphis where we began this trip two months ago and some forty-six hundred miles ago.  We are spending our days thanking God for a safe trip and a productive trip in sharing Jesus with many folks who listened and folks who turned us away.  We are now relaxing and loving and kissing on that grandbaby girl of ours in Memphis.  She is almost ten months old and she is truly a blessing…as a matter of fact, that sweet baby girl is a GreatOutdoorBlessing as well.  God Bless all of you!

John and Rita Williams

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