FIRST-TRUMP#top..........Sound the alarm in Zion..... ...........................

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. A Priest sounds the alarm on a shofar

 

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FAMINE

6And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Mat 24:)


I'm feeling a bit melancholy right now. I see dark clouds where I used to see specks of light. To express what I feel, I think Solomon said it best:


2Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. 3What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? 9The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 10Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. 11There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

16I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. 17And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. 18For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. (Eccl 1:)


Solomon was blessed with wisdom. He was the wisest man who ever lived. Yet, as we read of Solomon's life, he made just about all the mistakes a man can make, and yet survive.

Solomon began using his wisdom for the good. He built the Temple of God and expanded his nation.

Then this wisest of men, like a ball thrown into the air, turned and crashed to the ground in failure. And what Solomon had failed to fail at in his life, his sons after him succeeded to accomplish. They split the nation, destroyed the empire, and turned to other gods.


Adam and Eve sought wisdom:


4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; (Gen 3:)


The desire for wisdom brings with it a curse. We find that when God gives us wisdom, He also (or will) gives us the experiences that cause that wisdom to be used wisely. Solomon was given wisdom at a very young age, long before he had acquired the experience that would enable him to use that wisdom wisely. Schools teach head-knowledge anymore. They no longer teach those things that help put that knowledge to use, nor to survive in the real world. What a student learns is presented in a safe environment. They learn in a "virtual world," a world of nonessentials that prepare a person for nothing but a chair, a busted bank account, and a strong pair of glasses. Because of this lack children must discover for themself what dangers lie ahead of them, making their own mistakes in their search, not for wisdom, but for mere survival.

Why did Solomon fail so miserably? Unlike his father, David, who lived a life on the edge, fighting for his life; Solomon had the ultimate handed to him on a silver platter. He had not learned to do without, to struggle, to hope, to dream, and to work for what he wanted.


Jesus told the multitudes of riffraff who followed Him and listened to Him that they were blessed. They were blessed if they were poor. They were blessed if they were hungry. They were blessed if they were miserable and hurting. These people were already experiencing those things that establish wisdom. And in their wisdom, they listened to and understood the Words of God that Jesus spoke.


Jesus essentially told the rich, the famous, the "wise" that they were cursed. The riches and the wisdom these people had were derived, not from having little or nothing, but from seeking to serve themselves. Because of this they were unconcerned with those without, the "blessed" ones (see Rev 3:15-18).


8Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity. 9And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. 10The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. 11The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. 12And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. (Eccl 12:)


Solomon discovered in his old age that knowledge is useless if not put into practice. He said: "Yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. The preacher sought to find out acceptable words."

Solomon was busy seeking ways to put into clever words and phrases a different way to express the obvious. Proverbs are like poems in that they tell us in pretty words what we already know, but we didn't know how to express it. We find this with music as well. The song that best describes how we feel at the time is the one we listen to over and over. Music does not bring us out of a mood (unless we play music that counters the mood we're in), nor do proverbs teach us wisdom. Proverbs only give us a way to express what we're thinking. Had Solomon spent his time analyzing himself to see how he didn't fit what he was teaching, he might not have made so many fatal errors.

"Making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh." This is an odd thing for a writer and a teacher to say, don't you think? What did this wise man mean? Surely he must not be saying we shouldn't read and study, otherwise why is he bothering to write his words? We have to keep in mind that Solomon is discovering that just knowing something, which is the state he is growing out of, is not sufficient to better one's life. Paul instructs Timothy on this matter and restates Solomon's words in a manner we might better understand. He says:


6For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2Tim 3:)


Doesn't this describe Solomon to a "T"? Someone who's ever learning, but his lusts keep him from seeing the very truth he's talking about. Jesus said of (and to) the Pharisees:


14Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. (Mat 15:)

3But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?....... Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition...... 9But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Mat 15:)

2 The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: 3All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. 4For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. (Mat 23:)


Again we have an apt description of Solomon, a man who knows a lot, but doesn't do what he knows and teaches.

Paul taught us that reading books is not enough, we have to do what we learn. He elaborates on his statement with these words of wisdom:

14Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. 15Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.....19Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity........ 23But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (2Tim 2:)


Having knowledge of the truth is important. But there's something equally important, if not more so. James tells us:


19Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 21Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:)


Paul adds to this:


13For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. (Rom 2:)

28But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. (1Cor 11:)

5Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (2Cor 13:)


David had a request he made of God often, which falls in line with what the Apostles have been telling us. Here is an example of that request:


1Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide. 2Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. (Psalm 26:)


We're told to examine ourselves, not to just assume we're ok the way we are. We see how Solomon didn't examine himself, he just lived life to what he considered to be the fullest. He had no guidelines he followed, not even the laws God demanded of him and the entire nation he ruled over. And because of his lack, not only his family, but his entire nation went down the tubes.


11For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. (Rom 14:)

17Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (Heb 13:)


Everyone is accountable to someone else. A husband is accountable to his wife, and vice versa. The president is accountable to the people. No one escapes accountability. David, as king, placed himself accountable to God, which we are all to be. Solomon saw himself as accountable to no one, not even God. We don't read (that I'm aware of) Solomon appealing to God for guidance, expect in the very beginning of his reign.

We, you and I (or at least I have to admit this is true of me) try to avoid accountability. We feel independent and that no one can tell us what to do. This attitude places us in a dangerous position, both as human beings, and especially as Christians. This nature is part of our inheritance from Adam, the first to feel he was above having to be accountable to God.

16Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:)


The Church is a family. Every member is accountable to everyone else in the family. In fact the Bible goes so far as to say we're all part of the same body. If one of us has a problem, the entire body has a problem. If one member hurts, the entire body mourns (1Cor 12:14-26).

We're not to pretend that we're perfect and that we're above needing help. We're to confess our faults to one another. We're to be accountable to one another. And the higher a person is in any society, this especially holds true of the Church, the more accountable he or she is, not only for their own actions, but for the actions of those beneath them as well.

I consider myself as one who examines himself closely. I'm not good at correcting what I see, but because of circumstances beyond my control, I have been placed in a position where I had to scrutinize myself closely. I've tried to follow up with that practice. I've had over 35 years of practice at doing this very thing.

Yesterday I learned of a huge blind spot in my self-examination. I discovered that I had been standing on my own foot, keeping me from achieving what I most wanted. Where I consider myself as one prone to listen, I learned that because of my mouth, and my nature to be ever-ready to come back with an answer, I haven't been hearing what someone has been trying to tell me for years. I was wondering why a friend hadn't been commenting on my writings, when I knew he was reading what I write. I was throwing up a wall of frustration, of put-down, without my even being aware of what I was doing. My being obstinate was (and is) not my biggest problem in this case, it's my not being aware that I was being this way that was my problem. Now aware of this attitude, I want my friend to help me through this problem by pointing out when I cause him to feel under attack in any way, when I'm not listening as I should. I want him to consider me a Nabal (if you're familiar with the story of David and Nabal). Nabal was considered by his wife and those who worked with him a "son of Belial," that meaning one who can't be talked to. Once I was caused to be aware of this situation (and my friend didn't accuse me in any way, he merely said he would like to ask me some questions, if I won't get upset), that was all it took to make me realize what I had been doing.

Just call me Nabal, and I'll know I'm doing it again.

(Read "Say, What?" for more on this.)


13Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Eccl 12:)


Solomon wrote this almost a thousand years before Jesus. Yet these last words of Solomon echo what we're told in the New Testament:


. 2For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. 3Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. 4And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. (Luke 12:)

1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom 12:)

17For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. (Luke 8:)

12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (Rev 20:)


I had a dream last night.

In this dream I was walking toward a small town that had a river before it. Across the river was a narrow foot bridge. As I approached the bridge I saw a woman sitting at the foot of the bridge trying to sell a newspaper she had apparently found on the ground to those who passed by.

The woman was obviously in desperate straits, thin and haggard.

Beyond the woman, and all along the foot bridge I discovered there were many other people in even worse condition than the woman selling the newspaper. Some of these people sat along the sidewalk, while others were so weak and thin they were unable to sit, but lay.

As I began to pass one man who was laying prostrate on the ground, so thin and still I thought surely he was dead, the man, without moving but his arm, stretched his hand out a few inches along the walkway in effort to block my way. I stepped lightly on the hand with the intent of encouraging the man to withdraw his hand so I could pass. The hand, not more than a thin layer of skin covering bone, was so lifeless I could feel the coldness of it through the soul of my shoe. The hand moved back to its original position, with not a sign of life nor recognition from the man himself.

When I saw the woman at the foot of the bridge, my thought was to give her something to help her in her efforts to survive. But when I saw the multitude of starving on the bridge, my heart became more hardened toward the desperate and the needy. I found they were a burden and a nuisance to me.

It was at this moment I awoke, my thoughts on the event of the dream, and on my attitude in that dream.

When there was only the one person in need, it was within my power to be of assistance, even if but a small way, and for a moment in time. When the need was great, and for a great many people, it was then far beyond my ability to help even a few of the needy. And if I could help one starving person for one day, the next day that person would again be in just as desperate a need.

Since I could not be of help, I shut off my feelings.


Jesus gave us a parable illustrating what we are to do if we see someone in need. We call this parable: "The Good Samaritan."

In the parable (Luke 10:29-42) a man found a stranger along the road who had been beaten, robbed and left for dead. The man then did all he could to help this man return to health, and to set him on the road. We consider this, and to one degree or another we try to emulate the actions of the Good Samaritan.

A question: what if the good Samaritan had not seen one man in desperate need, but two? How about ten? How about a hundred? What if there was a famine in the land and everyone was in need but him? What would the Good Samaritan have done should this be the case? What would Jesus have said to do in this case?


24And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. 25But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; 26But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. 27And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. (Luke 4:)

Elijah had the power to do something about the poor and the hurting. Elijah had in fact even raised the dead. As a further fact, the reason there was a famine in the land is because Elijah called for it.


1After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. 3In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 4For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. 5And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? 7The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. 8Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. 9And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. (John 5:)


The pool of Bethesda was (and apparently still is) located just outside the Sheep's Gate near the N.E corner of the Temple area wall (not to be confused with the present gate called Sheep's Gate or Herod's or Flower's Gate, which is farther north). When a person journeyed to Jericho, which Jesus did often, they very likely did so by way of the Sheep's Gate. It is very likely that Jesus passed by this man many times and never offered to heal him. Even on this occasion the Scripture makes it clear that there: "lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered." Jesus healed just one. And that one did not ask to be healed, nor did he know that Jesus was a "Healer."


46And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. 47And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 48And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 49And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. 50And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. (Mark 10:)


Now we have a situation where a man sits along side a road Jesus has traveled many times. This blind beggar, on learning that One who can do something about his blindness is passing by, cries out to Him for help. Is it possible that Jesus didn't see the blind man on the side of the road? Is it possible that Jesus somehow missed the multitude at the pool of Bethesda? Or do you think there might be another explanation?


21Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 22And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 24But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. 27And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. 28Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. (Mat 15:)


Here we have a woman who followed Jesus begging Him to help her. Jesus ignored her pleas. But isn't one of the reasons Jesus came to us is to cast out demons? Isn't His job that of conquering the devil? Here was an opportunity to merely say a word or two and that job would be accomplished. Instead He spent more effort telling the woman He wouldn't do His job than if He just went ahead and did it.

Jesus said He only came for the "lost sheep of the house of Israel." Maybe it's because she was not a Jew that Jesus ignored her.


5And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, 6And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. 7And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. 8The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed...... 13And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. (Mat 8:)


A Roman Centurion came to Jesus with a request very similar to that of the Canaanite woman. Did Jesus ignore the Centurion? Did Jesus say He was not sent to heal servants of the oppressive Romans?

Is it possible there's something other than the apparent that is being explained to us?


If Jesus' job here on earth was to heal the sick and cast out demons, thereby overthrowing the power of the devil, then I would say He was doing a poor job of it. However, we have this Scripture to help us understand the reason for the miracles.


37But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: 38That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? 39Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, 40He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. 41These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him. (John 12:)

22If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. 23He that hateth me hateth my Father also. 24If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. (John 15:)

1The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: (Acts 1:)


Jesus' mission was not to heal the sick or cast out demons. These were merely evidences to show that He was sent from God, and that He had the Words of the Father.

Is there any other evidence that miracles were for proofs, and not an end in themself?


1Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. 2And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; 3Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. 4And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. 5And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. 6Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 7And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. 9And all the people saw him walking and praising God: 10And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. 11And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering. (Acts 3:)


The first we hear of the two major Apostles (after Pentecost) is that of them entering the East Gate (called the "Beautiful Gate" through which Jesus entered often in His journeys to the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemany) and performing a miracle. This miracle caused quite a stir. Is this the first time the Apostles performed a miracle?


5These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. (Mat 10:)


No, this was certainly not the first time the Apostles had performed miracles. Then what do you suppose could have been the reason for the miracles?


Famine is a terrible thing. Famine is perhaps the worse disastor man can experience because it's a slow, painful death. And it is a death that not only we ourselves experience, but we have to endure the heartache of watching those we love suffer through the same before our eyes.


Those of us in our Golden age have not likely experienced famine. But we have seen the repercussion of famine through our parents who endured the Great Depression.

As hard as the Gread Depression and the Dust Bowl was, it was hardly a flicker in comparrison to a true famine as is now being experienced in many of the Third World countries today.


10So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. 11And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. 12And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. 13And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. (1Kings 17:)


Elijah was with a woman and her son at the very moment they were to eat the last of what they had, then die of hunger. Elijah asked that she give him the last remaining morsels.

Such selfishness. Such brashness. This is especially true since Elijah is the one who caused the famine.

This famine lasted three and a half years. How bad did the famine get?


25And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver. 26And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king. 27And he said, If the LORD do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress? 28And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow. 29So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son. (2Kings 6:)


There is a day coming that will make this famine seem like child's play:


14But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: 15And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: 16And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. 17But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 18And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. 19For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. 20And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. (Mark 13:)


Jesus is talking to people who's ancestors had seen the slavery of Egypt; who had millions of foreparents die in the wilderness because of disobedience; who had seen the slaughter of the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Romans. There had even been a flood that wiped out the entire earth. And Jesus said what is coming is going to be worse than any of these.

How do we respond to this important information? Do we prepare best we can for that terrible day? Do we warn those we love of such a day, and teach them how to prepare and how to stand in that evil day (Eph 6:10-18)? Do we even bother to prepare ourself and make sure we're one of the elect that the Lord will shorten this day for? Or is it more likely we have the attitude of "Yeah, yeah, I know. Now don't bother me and let me get back to my TV program"?


There is a famine today in this, an affluent country. It is not the famine Jesus spoke of here, but it's a famine far worse in that it not only robs us of our life, it robs us of our joy and our Eternal Salvation.


A couple days ago I was entering a store when a boy, perhaps late High School age, passed by. He appeared to be on his lunch break. He was obviously fit and healthy, having no particular needs that could be seen.

"Got any spare change?" he asked without breaking stride or displaying a smidgin of embarrassment. I see this all along the road, people in perfectly good health holding up cardboard signs asking for a handout.

During the Depression people traveled the highways and the byways, enduring hardship and dangers looking for work. They would volunteer to do a day's labor for just a simple meal. A night spent in a smelly barn was considered a luxury. What little money these people were able to scrape together above their absolute needs, they sent home to help their families.

Today we've lost those qualities somehow. We've become a "give me" people, wanting to get rather than to give and to share. I see families that the children are still living off their parents who are themselves only hanging on by a thread. Yesterday I met a man who he and his wife, his son and dog are living in a small car parked on the street because of lack of funds and health issues. This man (about 60) said he has grown children, living on their own, and rather than make an effort to help their destitute parents, they're asking them for money, and become upset because their parents won't give them what they don't have to give. Someone else I know is in poor health and relatively aged (in her 70s) who has her children, and grandchildren living in her home (against her will), living off her, and stealing from her on top of this. I know of several "children," in their 50's in some cases, living off their parents, in the parent's home, and who have openly stated that the house and all it entails belongs to them, and they, the "child," are graciously allowing the parent to stay with them.

I think of this famine we're experiencing today as a famine of dignity. There's no concern for either one's self or for others.

This is a nation of the overfed. We're like pigs in a stye that will eat anything thrown in front of us. And what is thrown before us is the same as that which is thrown to the pigs: the slop of the world.

We are a junk-food people. If given the choice between a healthy meal of fish, vegetable and fruit, we would take the other offering of greasy hamburger, french fries and a soda. We've lost our appreciation and our appetite for that which is good for us. We no longer recognize the good, and strive for the bad.

In this land of plenty it's easy for us to settle back on our plush sofa with a bag of potato chips in one hand and the remote to our ten-thousand dollar wall-size TV, and criticize the "riffraff" of this and other countries and their self-imposed and deserved poverty. We settle ourselves into our notion that we're better than the poor and the ignorant because we belong to a certain nation, church, or some organization that has the hidden words of a mystery god.

Children today are taught they don't have to work in order to have. They feel entitled to the best merely because they are who they are. Babies wear designer diapers; kindergartners with cell phones and iPods; grade school children given expensive lap tops while college students are unable to afford the ever-rising costs of books and other essential materials; automobiles and electronic gadgets with built-in obsolescence and no way to recycle them or depose of them without harming the planet and our health. This is the trend we follow, and that each of us contribute to daily.

We look at the poor deluded Mother Teresa's who devote their lives to helping all they are able with what little resources they have at their disposal, and instead of assisting them from our wealth, we plan on the bigger barns and storage bens we're going to build or rent in order to store those things we have no need for. We have merely to have, and so we can boast that we possess. Meanwhile we pity the poor souls who sacrifice themselves for the less fortunate because they don't have the sense to cease their works and join the "only" church that will give them eternal life, condemning them to a fiery hell for an eternity.

But this famine is by no means the worst of famines we have with us today.


This is the Day of the Churches. On almost every other corner of any town there's some form of church. In almost every store there's a Bible, the Word of God to be had. Over the airways and in a multitude of other forms the Word is available. It's more difficult to avoid the Word than it is to find it.

But the Word we have available to us, and that is thrust upon us, is not the healthy Word Jesus and the Apostles spoke, although the words are the same.


11Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: 12And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it. 13In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst. (Amos 8:)


There was a day, and not long ago, when the Word was hard to find, and Bibles were considered of great value, very expensive, and because of this they were treasured and read often.

Now we have an overabundance of cheap Bibles, that are not only free, but are ofttimes thrust upon us. Bibles have reached the stage of being similar to junk food, and in many circles, even in the churches, the Bible is far less regarded than junk food. We don't value what comes easy for us, or that we have an abundance of, as demonstrated earlier in this article. The Word of God we find is no exception to this rule. Unlike junk food that is sought after, the Bible is seen as the offscouring that is of no better use than to collect dust on a book shelf or a coffee table, or to be secreted in a box in the attic.

In countries where the Bible is outlawed, this is not the case. Where the Bible is not allowed, it is treasured, sought after, and read faithfully. People of those countries where there is a famine in the land will gladly risk their lives for a mere scrape of the Word.


We read of famines where millions dies of starvation, where water suitable to drink is not to be found. We see this in the Book of Revelation, that such a famine is in our future. Today our famine is that of abundance. We have too much, therefore we have nothing, nor do we appreciate what we have. We lack appreciation, and we lack charity. Everyone, it seems, is seeking spiritual guidance. Even nonbelievers believe in the spiritual, albeit the spirits sought are not of God. In the churches there is an abundance of talk about the Holy Spirit, and each and every church, and its members, believe they are fully in possession of the Holy Spirit. Yet by their lives, the fact they live no different than the world they condemn, it is evident they are in fact starving Spiritually, and they're unaware of it.

What we have, we don't seek. What we fear we are without, and that is neccessary, we seek diligently.


4And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 10And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. (Mat 24:)

Today we can't help but see the signs of the end. It's not the wars, or the droughts, or the sicknesses that are our greatest signs that the end is near. We've had those before. But we see it in our weather, in our trash heaps, in our lusts, and in our abundance. We see it in the environment that will no longer handle our selfish behavior, but that we refuse to listen to because of our wants. If God doesn't end this age, the world itself will have to spew us out or perish.

We like to believe that the world revolves around us, and that one way or another we can escape the problems we have created. Someone, somehow will come rescue us at the last moment. This has been our life since a child, that we've been able to do as we please and not suffer the consequences, so why believe anything different now? Those of us who are Christians are now told that we have God for a Father. If our earthly father has been bailing us out of out troubles, surely our new Father, the creator of everything, can certainly keep us from harm.

Man, almost ever since I can remember, has been planing an escape route by which to avoid the trouble he has brought on himself. We read of building space craft by which to shoot our pollution to other planets or into outer space and let whoever is out there deal with our failures. Or we're going to move great numbers of people to other planets and inhabit those areas, thus spreading our problems to all creation, just as we are to all the nations of the world today. Some have other means of escaping the times to come, such as a cloud that will whisk them to a Paradise in the sky, or like Heaven's Gate, a space ship behind a comet that is destined to take those prepared believers to Heaven.

46The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. (Luke 12:)

8Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14For many are called, but few are chosen. (Mat 22:)


Many will be called, but few are chosen. There's a broad road that leads nowhere, and a narrow road few want to take that leads to God. There's a famine in the land. There's those who are causing the famine by their greed, and those who are preparing for what lies ahead. Jesus said to store up treasures in Heaven rather than here on earth. Where does your treasure lie? What are you doing to prepare for the famine? Anything?



31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Mat 25:)

11Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: 12And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it. 13In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst. 14They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy god, O Dan, liveth; and, The manner of Beersheba liveth; even they shall fall, and never rise up again. (Amos 8:)

6And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Thes 2:)

4I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. (Isaiah 66:)

9That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: 10Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: 11Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. (Isaiah 30:)

2Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2Tim 4:)

39Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, 40He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. (John 12:)

3But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4In WHOM THE GOD OF THIS WORLD HATH BLINDED THE MINDS OF THEM WHICH BELIEVE NOT, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2Cor 4:)

18Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, THEN COMETH THE WICKED ONE, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. (Mat 13:)

15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (Rev 3:)

24Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: 25And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. 26Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: 27(For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) 28That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. 29For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. 30Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God. (Lev 18:)

16Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster ["Destroyer, spoiler" see Exodus 12:23 and Jer 51:25 for same word used] to destroy. (Isaiah 54:)

6I am the LORD, and there is none else. 7I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. (Isaiah 45:)

10And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Mat 24:)


 

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