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I checked this morning on the websites proclaiming May 21, 2011 as being Judgment Day. They are still there; the count down clocks at 0. I wonder what those folks are doing today.  What is their plan now that “the date” has come and gone? Will Harold Camping issue a statement or apology?  Did he, the last time he was wrong?

Matthew 24:3- 5 says, “As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered, Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.”

From yesterday’s history lesson, we know that there have been hoards of folks buying into another’s claims to know when Judgment Day.  Another group that comes to mind is the belief of the Branch Davidians that David Koresh was the Messiah.   Yep, you guessed it- we can trace these roots back to the Millerites as well.

There are those that are unconcerned about folks who get involved with groups like these; many groups fit the classical definition of “cult.” Some believe that if a person is so weak-minded as to fall into a cult, well then, they get what they deserve. Very often, making fun of these people is part of the disparaging attitude dished out, particularly when there is evidence of a false or failed belief.

Me, I just feel sad for those people. I believe smart and intelligent people can be wooed into false beliefs.  And I believe those people, even though terribly misguided, are sincere in their belief, even in the face of failure. I also think that those doing the deceiving are often victims of the flawed thinking, too. 

Don’t get me wrong- I am quite certain that there are those that are knowingly and willfully deceiving others.  Evil is out there, and it can be charming. It can look good; it can look like good and make people feel safe.  It can lull and pacify, at least for a while, usually, long enough for a great many people to get on board and help proclaim its “righteousness.”

Herd mentality is real.  It’s also called things like “mob mentality” or “group think.”  There are those that will disagree, saying that mob mentality includes violence and group think does not.  There may be subtle nuances, but the underlying principle is the very much the same.

There are still others that believe this principle is what we call “the church.”  There are those that say this is what Jesus used, and he is a prime example of a cult leader. And Christians, well, they are just cult members.

For every school of thought, there is an opposing viewpoint. We can also apply this statement to Scripture. People have long had different interpretations of what passages in the Bible meant.

This difference in interpretation is what spawned the Protestant Reformation.  Indeed, this period of history was rife with conflict regarding the church, and it played out across Europe and England; completely standing society on its ear.

So, we know that different interpretations of Scripture is really nothing new. And, we also know that entire branches of religion have been spawned as a result of those differences. In this light, we can see that folks who follow Harold Camping and the like are really to be expected. Really, they aren’t that much different in their approach to following what they believe than any one else.

And still, I feel sadness for those that changed their lives based on the belief that Judgment Day was May 21, 2011.  There are folks that got rid of everything- their money, their belongings etc, based on their belief that they wouldn’t be needing them after that point.

It is hard to admit to being wrong, and harder yet to live with the consequences of the actions of those beliefs. A letter by Tim Dalrymple to Harold Camping and Those Who Expected Judgment Day does a good job of summarizing my feelings. 

He writes in part, When you want to believe something, and someone you respect tells you to believe something, and everyone around you also believes and wants to believe the same thing, those are extraordinarily powerful forces.  I wish that you had not believed in the May 21st prediction, because I fear that it damaged the credibility of Christians in the eyes of some.  But I see no reason now to belabor that point.  Rather, I hope you have grace with yourselves.  Those forces operate not only in religious groups.  They operate in political movements, activist groups, even in enclaves within scientific communities.  In fact, when your friendly neighborhood atheist mocks you for what you believed, you can point him or her to scientific evidence that atheists in general are more gullible.

And you know what?  God has a way of using even our mistakes.  Perhaps your expectation of the imminent return of Christ helped you assess your life, remember what’s important, reconcile with your brother or your sister, take refuge in God’s gracious provision for sin in the work of Jesus Christ, and pray with great fervency that you have lived a life worthy of the gospel.  If you did all these things, then perhaps you should not regret that you were wrong about the whence.”

For me, I personally don’t spend a lot of time trying to “learn” how to “nail down the date.”  A few verses come to mind:

Matthew 6:33-34: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own.”

This is followed by Matthew 7:1-2, which says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

And ultimately, Proverbs 3: 5-6, which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Instead of mocking, let’s give these folks some grace and forgiveness, much as we, ourselves, need from time to time as well.

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I’m waiting.  Are you? <tap tap tap>

<wait wait wait>

*Sigh.*

If you know me well, you know I was not gifted with a large amount of patience.  Yes, really.  😀

I like to plan.  I like to make my outlines (including notes) so that I am sufficiently organized to move forward.  Once I know what I’m doing, the written stuff can go by the wayside, as I learn what is working and what isn’t, and start tweaking, or de-bugging, as it were. My critical thinking skills are in near constant use.

Some plans take a bit longer to flesh out and implement, like getting chickens, for example (Do I really want to do it?  What will it mean for taking vacations? Do I really want more animals?).  Other plans are more straight forward; supplies are obtained and the plan is put into motion.

These are the kinds of things I prefer- the ones that make good logical sense (or do not) after doing research.  I’m always gathering information, and adjusting my opinion accordingly.  This doesn’t mean I’m an expert on stuff; just someone capable of researching and applying critical thinking.

The one area of my life where this M.O. isn’t based on that process is my faith.  Faith is its own entity within my life, and I have had plenty of actual experiences (working in hospice; dealing with and being there when people passed, etc) to know solidly where I stand on this topic overall.

One area of the Bible – or perhaps it’s a subscription to thought- that I have not extensively studied is Revelation and the End Times. I think on some level, it’s overwhelming, since there is so much stuff to wade through.

Put your boots on, grab a shovel, and let’s go……

**One thing to always keep in mind: most Biblical topics have some kind of debate somewhere, at some time; case and point, the books of the Bible.  Different denominations have different chapters in the Bible, not to mention the gazillions of translations out there. And then there is the interpretation of texts and the ensuing discussions…….. I don’t pretend to be a Biblical scholar, nor do I play one on TV.  😀 

This particular topic (as in May 21, 2011 being Judgement Day) reflects my travels on the internet in my quest for information and opinions.  In other words:  Don’t be throwing rocks at me, y’all!  😆

To begin with, there is not agreement of the End Times, nor how things will unfold.  This page of Now The End Begins does a pretty good job, I think, of demonstrating the 4 main schools of thought on the Rapture. This topic can be confusing, since conflicting beliefs are all over out there.

Last Saturday, I was sitting here, at my computer, cruising Facebook, when I saw the comment.  You know the one, right?   That comment about whether or not to do “x” because, after all, the world was ending May 21, 2011?  And then someone posted a link.

I ♥♥♥ links.  😆  They feed my desire to read.  So I clicked, and away I went.

That link went to the We Can Know website. This is just one of many sites that are based on the teachings of Harold Camping.

But let’s back up the bus a little and get a little history.  We all know that from the dawn of Christianity, there have been those (including Paul, although there is debate on his teachings as well) that believed and actively proclaimed that Jesus was coming soon. 

Some of those folks even gave concrete dates, like William Miller, out of which the Seventh Day Adventist Church  theology was rooted. (No, he didn’t found it- he was dead by the time the SDA Church was founded.  The church does credit him, however, with founding the “Adventist” movement.)

Anyhow, the followers of William Miller were called Millerites.  They believed that the second coming of Christ was going to happen soon.  At some point, a date based on the Karaite Jewish calendar was given to this event.  That date was October 22, 1844, and was preached on by Millerite Samuel S. Snow.

Obviously, the anticipated event didn’t happen.  As a result, a new name was given to it: The Great Disappointment. What’s interesting, though, is that there were religious groups that were born based on theses beliefs, and some of them are still around today.

So, it’s nothing new to hear about people warning us that the end is near. What I find fascinating is the money behind some of this stuff.  Granted, it doesn’t cost much to get a site on the internet.  It doesn’t cost much, if anything, to put a blog out there and share your two cents.  🙂

Harold Camping founded Family Radio, and has $117 *million* dollar radio network has predicted that Judgement Day is today, May 21, 2011.  This is not the end of the world. No, that will happen on October 21, 2011. *That’s* the day when, according to this website based on Camping’s teachings, God will destroy the earth.

“This web site serves as an introduction and portal to four faithful ministries which are teaching that WE CAN KNOW from the Bible alone that the date of the rapture of believers will take place on May 21, 2011 and that God will destroy this world on October 21, 2011. Please take your time and browse through the teachings of Harold Camping, President of Family Radio”

Today, though, God is just going to “take up” His believers. I was wondering last night, as I lay in bed, what was happening on the other side of the world; you know, where it was already May 21? I forget where it was I read it originally, but apparently, part of Judgement Day will start with an earthquake at 6 pm, local time.  The earthquake (which hasn’t happened yet) was to start at 6 pm on Christmas Island and then each time zone would have their own quakes.  That gives me a few more hours.  😆

Since I am still sitting here, and I wonder if I need to get back to the post-Rapture checklist.  Although, since Harold Camping originally predicted September 6, 1994 as being “The Day,” one has to wonder. In fact, he wrote a whole book about it, titled (wait for it……) “1994?”.

Another thing I have wondered about was how he arrived at this particular second date. According to these sites, this date was arrived on due to the date of May 21, 1988  that “God finished using the churches and congregations of the world.” 

I have yet to find a site that actually explains (in language I can understand) where in the Bible this “information” came from.  I did find another site whose author shares my concern, saying, “I was never able to figure out how he arrived at 23 years for the length of the Tribulation when both Daniel and Revelation make it clear that the Tribulation will last 7 years. I’m sure his answer is there somewhere, based on allegorical interpretation, but I couldn’t find it.”

As seriously as Camping takes his predictions – after all, his $117 million radio station is all around the world and translated into 84 languages – there are others who are equally passionate about questioning him and his teachings.  One of the better sites I’ve found is an entire site (as opposed to a blog post or two) refuting his teachings. This page of the Refute Camping website deals with just the timeline of his predictions.

The home page of the site explains its goal: “The purpose of this site is to diligently search the scriptures, like the Bereans, and to compare the teachings of Harold Camping and Family Radio with scripture, the bible.”  While it continues to be a work in progress, I’ll be interested to see what – if anything – more happens with the site, now that “the day” has nearly passed.

I think it’s safe to say that there will be others who predict “the end” and fail just the same. In the meantime, I’m going to keep reading and thinking.

Here are some links to things I’ve stumbled across that I thought were interesting.

Commentary on Camping’s, er, “group”: http://www.politicususa.com/en/the-world-to-end-on-may-21-2011

Prophesies: http://www.godswatcher.com/index.htm

Failed end of the world predictions: http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2011/0518/Judgment-Day-Five-failed-end-of-the-world-predictions/October-22-1844

Bible Prophesy Blog: http://www.bibleprophecyblog.com/

Feel free to comment and share your links with me!

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I don’t mean the Chinese year.  😆  I forget specifically what year it was, since I’ve tried to block those painful memories from my mind.  I’m guessing it was around 1997 or 1998. 

That was the last year I had a garden.   

I carefully hovered; tending my wee garden from spring until late summer/early fall.  My corn was as high as an elephant’s eye, and it looked like it was growing clear up to the sky.  

Ok, well, it wasn’t that tall.  But it was taller than our 6 ft privacy fence, and it looked like we were going to have a bumper crop of corn from the few stalks we had planted.

And then *they* came.  <{insert impending doom music}>  <DUN DUN DUN>

They descended upon town, literally like a plague of locusts (which we know are actually a kind of grasshopper, but I digress) of near Biblical proportion. 

At first, there was just wonderment, as in “Good grief, look at all those hoppers!” 

And then it was caution tinged with fear, as the numbers seemed to multiply, like, “Uh, I sure hope they don’t stick around- maybe I should spray something in the garden?” 

Which changed to panic; “Oh no!  They are eating all my corn!”

Then turned to disgust; “I can’t believe they did that in a few days!  All my hard work eaten!  Wah!”

And resulted in resignation: “It must be God’s will that I don’t have a garden.  I shall never grow another garden ever, ever again.” <head hanging low>

I kid you not.  I don’t think a flock of chickens could have kept up with that amount of grasshoppers! I have an image in my mind of gorged and fallen chicken casualties, too fat and too full of grasshoppers to move.  

I remember some getting in the house after landing in my grocery bags, and hoppers jumping around in the truck while going down the road (which freaked the kids out at first).  Tennis matches were rescheduled, because while these hoppers were brown and didn’t get confused with the green tennis ball, it was overwhelming for the kids trying to hit the ball and ending up with hoppers smashed in the racket.  Plus, as athletes know, when you are doing your sport, you tend to breathe with your mouth open, which results in- you guessed it- grasshoppers in the mouth.

Now, while in some parts of the world, these bugs are part of normal dietary fare, we here only venture into the chocolate covered territory if feeling particularly daring.  I’ve never done it, but have heard it’s true- along with chocolate covered scorpions. Indeed, it was prudent to drive down the road with your lights on to see better, and when going over 5 mph, you really did need to turn your wipers on to get them off the windshield.   

So it’s been awhile since I’ve had a garden.  I’m still recovering. While part of me is mortified at a recurrence, I am holding firm to the belief that surely God will only bless me with a swarm of locusts once in my lifetime, and that being the case, I should now be free and clear to plant until the end of my days.

The first phase of the garden is complete.  Soil has been tilled and manure/compst mix has been mixed in. Forms for raised beds are complete.  To get to this point, we added 55 bags (1 cubic foot = 2.37 yards) of soil and another 15 bags of compost mix (I don’t remember what amount was in those bags).  Seeds are planted; tomato plants are added.  Seeds are germinating, and will hopefully grow, since little dog has had a field day tromping in the beds.  While she looks really cute sitting next to the tomatos, I am not sure things will grow where planted, given the footprints and moved soil.

Such is life.  Moving on!  On deck for this weekend is the addition of some kind of ground covering for the walking paths.  We are not sure if this is going to be mulch, rock, or pavers, but I have to find landscape plastic first.  Then there is the fence to keep the dogs out- big dog is smart enough to go around, but little dog- not so much.  Once the fence is in place, hunny is going to put in the drip system. I expect once these things are complete, I’ll be able to take pictures and share. 

In the meantime, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that we don’t get hoppers or any other bugs that will ruin the garden.  It’s sickening seeing all your hard work disappear nearly overnight. But I have hope that this is the year of garden success!  Here’s to good garden growing- and may there not be a return of the year of the hoppers!

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I am generally leery of self-help books and Christian books in particular, because I don’t want someone else’s opinion or interpretation to affect my view of Scripture.  That being said, this book falls into neither category. 

You are unique.  You worship God uniquely.  God has a unique plan for your life; “a unique destiny to fulfill, and no one can take your place.”

“Exactly what, you may be wondering, is a soulprint?  Think of it this way: Your fingerprint uniquely identifies you and differentiates you from everyone else who has ever lived, but your fingerprint is only skin deep. You possess a uniqueness that is soul deep.  I call it your soulprint.  It’s not just who you are, present tense. It’s who you are destined to become, future tense.  It’s not just who others see when they look at you from the outside in. It’s who God has destined you to become from the inside out. Not unlike your genetic code that programs your physical anatomy, your soulprint hardwires your true identity and true destiny. So while you live your life forward, God works backward.  The Omniscient One always starts with the end in mind.”

Using the life of David as a template, this book helps you identify defining moments and experiences in life that can help you determine your God-given destiny. This book is full of comments that are worth remembering, and thinking on. It delves into identity; integrity, embarrassing moments (and why we need them) moral honesty, and our desperate need for God.

“Your uniqueness reveals God’s greatness.” “The soulprint is the truest reflection of God’s image. Locked within its vaults are your true identity and true destiny.” These are just a few quotes that stick with me.

Written in plain language, this book is a contemplative read. The discussion questions at the end are geared simply to helping a person discover his or her true identity.  Be prepared for tough questions which garner tougher answers.

If you like introspective reading, this book is for you.  If you seek to learn more about yourself and more about God, this book is for you.  If you are a lost traveller on the road of life, this book may well be able to help you find your compass.  Five stars out of five.  I highly recommend this book. 

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Rank this Review!

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Indeed.  More books.   

I got my Kindle with a goal in mind – to not add to the stacks and boxes and piles of books I already have surrounding me.  Then, via a friend, I found Blogging for Books.  “I can deal with a book or two every month,” I’ve said to myself.  I was simply delighted with the first book I received, and promptly ordered another book after sharing my review, even though the book selecting function was giving only 5 books.

I didn’t want to read any of those books.  None of those books were on my radar.  But, I chose one that seemed to be something I could get through.  Today that book arrived. Maybe it’s something about having the actual book in hand, but it looks like it could be good!

We know that on Wednesdays, I am out of the house for much of the day.  This is a long-standing committment for me, and one I would not choose to give up.  I am a teacher for the homeschooling class at Community Bible Study.  It’s a non-denominational Bible study that is in-depth and Scripture based.  Today, as part of our leadership development, we got a book.  😆

I admit to laughing when she pulled them out of her bag.  I love my Kindle, but I also still love reading BOOKS!  Books, books, books, and now two more books today!  There’s a saying that “the God is in the details.”  I say, God *is* the details!

So, my plan for the evening is to make dinner, and then snuggle in bed with my blanket and one of my new books.  I love it!

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