I would like to introduce myself, and tell you of some of the occurrences of my life.
My member name is Trumpet, because I used to play the horn before it was stolen from me in 2003. And since I no longer have a need to play, I havenít tried to obtain another. My name is Don.
I was raised Catholic in Pennsylvania, but abandoned that religion in my late teens after seeing a priest and a nun getting drunk at my cousinís wedding reception. I thought that this was as phoney as could be, people of the cloth acting like that. This sent me into atheism, and I spent time reading about evolution, the expanding universe, and U.F.O.s.
I joined the Navy in í69, and in 1972, aboard an aircraft carrier, off the coast of Thessalonika, Greece, I was witnessed to over a period of days by some Christians, and one night, after a struggle with myself, I asked Jesus to come into my life and have His way. The Christians that talked with me were very pre-trib, or as some would say, futurist. I bought a bible when I got back to Virginia, lost all my friends, but found new friends in Christ. I spent the next 25 years studying the Word, with a VERY HEAVY dose of futurism. In fact, I would say, that, most of my hope came in thinking that Jesus was coming very soon. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out approximately when He was coming, even to the extent of trying to calculate how many new moonís it had been since Jesusí time. Rosh Hashanna you know! After seeing many dates come and go, I was losing hope in my hope. Finally, when the year 2000 was about to happen, I had become sufficiently wary enough to realize that it was just another false date. Also from reading scripture, I started to realize that the whole rapture thing was contrived. I then changed my thinking to that of no rapture until after the tribulation.
When 2000 came, and went, I saw a lot of who I thought were Christians give up on the Faith because they had their hope in the rapture, and not in Jesus. I didnít know it then, but God had a plan to rescue me from hope in a false doctrine, a plan that I wouldnít wish on an enemy.
I had worked for 20 years in the construction industry in Arizona, and right after 2000 my body started to break down. All my joints ached terribly, and every day was almost torture. Finally, about 2002, one day, I just couldnít take the pain anymore. I called the boss, and in tears, I told him I could no longer work. I didnít have any health insurance, so, since I couldnít work, I refused to go to the doctor and run up more bills. My wife was trying to finish her B.A. in nursing, and she only had a job as a clerk. We were in bad shape. My wife finally went to the state and asked for help, (we asked for help from a church I was a member of, but they turned us away, saying that I wasnít in their membership list on their computer. I was so angry, I refused to even refute that error!) After about 6 months, the State gave us health insurance. I found that I had contracted a severe case of Valley Fever, which is a fungal spore that lies dormant in the dirt of the Southwest Desert. It gives you pneumonia-like symptoms and kills not just a few.
During the next 2 years I spent a lot of time in the Word, and a lot of time on the computer arguing with preterists. They successfully tore down my futurist theology, but I refused to jump on their way of thought, probably because I felt they took away the little bit of hope I had in my eschatology, but left me with no future. With them it seemed to be, 'everything has been done, and there is nothing to come.' This was VERY DEVASTATING to me. And I know there are thousands of others that it has affected even more than me. I became a mumbling, grumbling, unthankful person. My wife would ask me why I was SO unhappy, but all that I could say was that 'I know itís a spiritual problem, but I canít pinpoint exactly what it is.' My whole life was a financial and very unhappy mess. (Thereís a lot more, but I donít want to write a book!)
Finally I came across the Bible Wheel on the internet. I sent for Richardís book, and reading it gave me a Spiritual lift that I sorely needed. I began to pray more once again, and read the Word. Now, a year or so later, I find my hope solely in Christ and my joy has, and is, returning. I canít even begin to tell you how my outlook has changed, my mind is once again being renewed, and God even gave me a small business that is providing us what we need, and paying off our old debts. I asked Him for something that I could handle physically, (and I am getting better physically too!), yet something that I wouldnít have to give my 'life' to accomplish, and this business pretty much takes care of itself, I just need to spend a normal work day at it.
If there is only one thing to glean from this part of my life, it is for all of us to be gentle with futurists, and if they have their hope wrongly centered, as I did, to gently help them return to a life centered on Jesus, and that there is a real hope for the future, of living out the life of the Spirit as God intends for each of us. Sometimes we beat each other with our doctrines, without regard for what may be going on in the other personís life. There is HOPE in our future, and it is here NOW. All we need do is draw close to Him!
God Bless! Don
- Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
- Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?
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