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July 6, 2015

WHEN THE ROLL IS CALLED UP YONDER

Have you heard the story of Chicken Little? It’s a fable dating back to the Grimm brothers, and it has been retold in many variations in the two centuries since. As with parables in the Bible, fables generally had an object lesson, a moral to learn, through the narrative. Chicken Little is the main character who took a nap under a tree and when a nut falls from a tree, hits him on the head, and startles him awake. He then runs through the barnyard telling each of the other creatures that “The sky is falling. The sky is falling!” creating a frenzy among the animals. The animals run around, attempting to warn the king, but the fox intercepts them, invites them into his lair where they are eaten by the fox and his family. The moral of the story has to do with fear-mongering. Basically, the lesson is that before you run around in a panic, creating havoc and fear with some story or news report, verify the validity of the information or the result could be your demise or, in the very least, discrediting.   

We sometimes see a similar behavior in Christian circles today. There are those who study prophecies primarily to determine when the world is going to end. They look at world events and try to plug them into the various prophecies to prove that Jesus’ second coming (or the rapture, depending on their beliefs) is just around the corner. There are some church leaders who have even gone so far as to set dates based on their interpretation of the scriptures and prophecies; however, with each date that passed uneventful, those same pastors were forced to revise the date and make an excuse for the failure of their prediction. They are discredited, especially by non-believers, as fanatical, extremist, or just plain crazy!   

After writing down his visions of end times events, Daniel was instructed by the Lord, “…shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” (Daniel 12:4 KJV). In just the past 150 years we’ve seen invention of many forms of transport carrying people all around the world and even into space, to and fro. In the last 50 years, knowledge has increase in the sciences, technology, and many other areas of learning. Indeed, according to the instructions Daniel was given, it’s easy to say we are living in “the time of the end”. But how close to the end? Nobody but God knows.

Jesus specifically told His followers, “But no one knows the date and hour when the end will be—not even the angels. No, nor even God’s Son. Only the Father knows.” (Matthew 24:36 TLB). Jesus spoke of events that would occur before His return: “…“Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities claiming, ‘I’m the One.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When you hear of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history, and no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Earthquakes will occur in various places. There will be famines. But these things are nothing compared to what’s coming.” (Mark 13:5-8 MSG). Just what can be worse than what we’ve already witnessed and what Jesus described?

Although we are advised to not try determining when Jesus will return, we can still study to understand and be prepared spiritually for devastating and catastrophic events. After all, we do not want to be caught with the crowd looking for a church that preaches a ‘feel good’ doctrine… “For there is going to come a time when people won’t listen to the truth but will go around looking for teachers who will tell them just what they want to hear. They won’t listen to what the Bible says but will blithely follow their own misguided ideas.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4 TLB). At the same time, we should not become what I call a ‘spiritual bean counter’. That is, we need to be careful we don’t focus on small details of times and dates but, instead, keep our eye on the larger picture, the gift of salvation.   

We need to be ready to meet our Lord and Savior every day; we never know when we might have an accident or illness that suddenly takes our life, in which case, the face of Jesus is the one we will see when next we open our eyes! And, whether we see Him coming in the clouds or, like the disciples and all those believers who came before us, see Him when we rise from our grave, the important thing is that He is our Savior before we see Him! We want to be part of that first, glorious crowd, taking part in the first resurrection… “Blessed and holy are those who share in the First Resurrection. For them the Second Death holds no terrors, for they will be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6 TLB). The second death is that eternal separation that the wicked will experience, the one that Jesus sacrifice saved us from.   

When the clouds open and Jesus descends, I want to be counted in that righteous group, don’t you? This morning, my <3 song sings of being in that resurrection:   

“When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, 

and time shall be no more,

And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair.

When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,

And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

Refrain

When the roll, is called up yonder,

When the roll, is called up yonder,

When the roll, is called up yonder,

When the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there.

On that bright and cloudless morning 

when the dead in Christ shall rise,

And the glory of His resurrection share;

When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies,

And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun,

Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care;

Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done,

And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.”

“Everyone who conquers will be clothed in white, and I will not erase his name from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that he is mine.” (Revelation 3:5 TLB). Have a blessed day!   

ABOUT MY BOOKS

 My first two books are available on amazon.com in either paperback, hardback, or ebook formats. they are the first two books in my group called “Journeys of Faith”. Take a look on my books page for “Through the Waters” and “Across the Wilderness”.   Now that I’ve retired, I am hoping to get “Out of the Valley”  to the publisher within the next month or 6 weeks. 

Also, I will be publishing several ebooks, separate from the Journeys of Faith group,  including a compilation of  my daughter’s poems call “Heart of a Dove”, the name which she chose, and two other books related to the grieving process: 1) a personal tribute to my daughter called, “Only in My Dreams”, and 2) an overview of the various ways we grieve other losses in our lives, named “White Crosses Line the Highways of Our Lives”.  As they are released through Kindle Direct Publishing, links will be placed on this website.

I am also launching a non-profit organization to try to reach the many in need around the world.   Watch for more on JBWWO.org once it is launched; I will appreciate any donations, not just of money, but supplies and time, to help in this project!

Take time to search for somebody in need in your own community, as well.   Donate time feeding the homeless. Find new, innovative ways to reach out in your community.   Most of all, don’t forget the commission in James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

Feel free to use the emails on this website to contact me regarding scheduling a book-signing and/or talk to a reading group, church group or just a gathering of friends. I am always open to new experiences and meeting new people. 

 <>< Jeanne F. Brooks ><>

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