Our Time Is Not Our Own

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Our Time is not Our Own
Yesterday, Wednesday – August 26th – at 11:30 am, I sat stunned in front of my television as they aired the unfolding story of the two people shot and killed in Virginia. A news reporter and her cameraman were gunned down at seven o’clock in the morning as they conducted an interview on the sidewalk. The lady, who was being interviewed, was also shot but these two news people, both in their twenties, were killed.
They were doing their job just as they had done the day before and the day before that etc.. They both probably woke up around 5 am to start their day. They probably had coffee and thought about their plans for the day. They probably even had thoughts of what they would be doing later that day when the job was finished.
I’m pretty sure they were not thinking that their lives would end before their day ended. And that brought me to the realization that our time is not our own. We just don’t know, do we?

And that reminded me of a friend of mine.
It was a Friday afternoon when I pulled through the gate to report for the 3-11 shift and my friend, Ron, waved to me as he was leaving. And he shouted from his car, “See ya Monday,” and he drove on; happy as a lark to be going home for the weekend. But when Monday came and I arrived at work, I heard the sad news; Ron had died over the weekend.
He was almost half my age. When we got off work that day, he drove away waving to everyone. He wasn’t sick; he wasn’t overweight; didn’t have diabetes or cancer and, as far as anyone knew (including his wife), he didn’t have any heart trouble. He was strong as an ox and appeared to be in good health. But he died the next day.
He was outside working on his garden and just collapsed. By the time they got him to the hospital, he had passed from heart failure.
So, let me ask you; are you healthy? It doesn’t really matter, apparently, because when God calls you to leave this earth, you have no choice; no matter how healthy you may be. Now, it’s true in many, and most, cases that death usually follows a sickness or injury but there is nothing in the playbook that says that will be the case.
I was a police officer for many years and I saw many of my fellow officers around the country fall to a madman’s bullet. Look what happened on 9/11. Many people died that day while they were simply going about their daily routine. None of them gave it a thought when they left for work that morning. And, Oh my God, look at the number of police officers killed in the line of duty in the past 2 years.
They probably kissed their spouses goodbye for the day; probably even promised to bring home a quart of milk or a loaf of bread; whatever. But they never came home. They died.
Life is fragile and there are no guarantees of longevity.
Ecclesiastes says in chapter 3: “There is a time for everything…..a time to be born and a time to die.”
And the age-old question is this: If you were to die today, do you know if you will go to Heaven?
I’m sure that most people don’t even think about it. And, probably most people have never been asked that question. That’s why I’m here; to spread a seed of hope.
So let’s go now to God’s word and see what He says about our final destiny and the times.
In the Book of Job it says in 14:5 that “man’s days are determined” and Psalm 31: 14 &15 says “But I trust in You, O Lord; I say You are my God. My times are in your hands.” So, as the title of this article says: “Our Time is not our Own” –  Our time belongs to God and is set by Him. Jesus said in Acts 1:7 that “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority.” And Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:1 “Now brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”
We don’t know when our time will end; it can come while you’re cutting the grass, preparing a meal, enjoying a good laugh with a friend; or even on your job. So we must be prepared. But, how; What shall we do?
When Peter was asked “what shall we do?” he answered, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…” Acts 2:38.
Reading and studying the word of God brings hope to everyone. “This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.” 1 Timothy 4:9-10.
2 Corinthians 6:2 says “…now is the day of salvation.” Now is the only time you truly have because you don’t know if you will still be alive five minutes from now. Now is the time to start preparing for the day your life on earth comes to an end. I’ll bet you have life insurance and probably some sort of medical insurance so you think you have all the bases covered. Well let me tell you something brother, you need after-life insurance and there’s only one policy that covers it. That policy is salvation delivered to you by the blood of Jesus Christ because “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
You need to repent, which means to turn away from your present life and turn your life to God. Believing in Jesus means to fully trust your life to Him to the point that you obey His words. Jesus says in Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father in heaven.” And in John 6:40 Jesus says “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day.”
“Believe in Jesus”

“Trust in Jesus”

“Come follow Me.”

How can we believe in Him and trust Him and follow Him without knowing what His word, the Bible, says. After you repent and get baptized, you need to obtain a Bible so that you can read and study the word yourself. Going to church once or even twice a week and listening to a sermon – no matter how inspiring it is – is not enough for you to truly learn.

You need to do as Bereans did. Acts 17:11 says, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
So, there it is; I’ve laid it out for you and now is the right time. Repent, be baptized, and learn the will of God. Read the Scriptures (Bible) every day so you can know that what your being taught by your leaders, or preacher, is true. In fact, search out everything I’ve just told you to see if it’s all true. And don’t allow your time to run out before you do.
God bless you and may He keep you in the palm of His hand.

The Threshing Floor
By J. C. Corcoran

“Threshing floor” is used at least 38 times in the Old Testament and twice in the New Testament (Mt 3:12 and Lk 3:17). Something that’s mentioned that many times would signify some degree of importance, wouldn’t you think?
So, my first question when God revealed this to me was; what is a threshing floor? And I do believe that God is showing me that He is preparing a great threshing floor. And it has to do with the next Great Awakening. Many preachers and evangelists all over America, including the Billy Graham Organization, believe that America is in the throes of another Great Awakening. You might want to keep that word “throes” in mind.
“If ever there was a time this country needed the intervention of God, it is now,” Graham wrote in a letter to supporters of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “We can and should pray for America as a whole, but remember that when God sets out to change a nation, He begins by changing people. It starts with individuals.”
“The renewed push for evangelism in America is occurring as a variety of polls show religious affiliation in the U.S. is at its lowest point since it began to be tracked in the 1930s, according to an analysis of newly released survey data by the University of California at Berkeley and Duke University. Last year, one in five Americans claimed they had no religious preference, more than double the number reported in 1990, the researchers found.” (WND – a leading online news site)
And now you’re probably wondering what a Great Awakening has to do with a threshing floor. Well first, let’s answer my first question; what is a threshing floor?
Threshing in Bible times was the harvest-time activity by which the grain was removed from the husk, and the chaff was separated from the wheat. The threshing floor was the place where this activity took place. It was a level, windy place where the grain was separated from the chaff. It is a picture of blessing and judgment and I will explain that as I go along.
According to my study, there are 6 different steps in the process of threshing grain so I would like to go through those steps and compare them with scripture so we can get a glimpse of what God is doing and is about to do in the very near future.
First, they cut the ripened standing grain with hand sickles – Joel 3:13 says “Swing the sickle for the harvest is ripe.” And in John 4:35, Jesus says… “open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” I don’t believe Jesus is talking here about wheat. I believe He is talking about people. People are searching for truth and they are ready to be swung one way or the other.
Secondly they bind the grain into sheaves and thirdly they glean them or gather stalks of grain left behind. Jesus says in Lk. 11:23; “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.” As I said they will swing one way or the other.
The next step is to transport the sheaves to the threshing floor where they will be crushed, loosening the grain from the straw; the grain, or wheat, being the useful part and the straw, or chaff, being the useless part. This is a perfect picture, is it not of God separating His people from those who are not? Jesus said in Matthew 13:30 “Collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.” As I said earlier, it’s a picture of judgment and blessing. Those who do not turn to God are facing an eternity in hell, which is described in the bible as a lake of fire. The weeds or chaff represent unrepentant sinners and they will face a judgment of everlasting fire. And the wheat or good grain will be with Jesus in heaven.
The 5th step is the threshing. Luke says it very clearly in chapter three, verse seventeen: “His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear the threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
The winnowing is the sixth step and it is done by tossing the grain into the air with winnowing forks. Now get this picture in your mind; they tossed the grain into the air so the WIND would blow away the chaff, leaving the grain at the winnower’s feet. The wind is used by Jesus in referring to the Holy Spirit in John 3:8 and we all know what happened on the day of Pentecost.  “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven…”

A violent wind; do you remember what I said about America being in the “throes” of another Great Awakening? And do you remember when I said to keep the word “throes” in mind? The word “throes” is defined as an upheaval; and the word upheaval is defined as “a strong or violent change.” I believe that something like a violent wind will come from heaven and sweep through America.
God is on the threshing floor gathering His people for another Great Awakening. And my next question is: are you chaff or wheat? Where will you stand when God awakens His people and saves America? Where will you stand?
Are you one of God’s chosen or are you an unrepentant sinner holding out because you don’t believe? How do I convince you? Let me put it this way; Rome was once a great nation but it was destroyed because of corruption among its leaders. Israel was God’s chosen people but because of their disobedience God allowed them to be taken into captivity for more than four hundred years. An entire city, Sodom, was destroyed by burning sulfur because of sexual immorality. Do you see any comparisons here?
The United States of America has been called a great nation for 200 years; do you see any corruption among our leaders? Are we about to be destroyed? The United States of America was once referred to as a Christian nation. Are we still a Christian nation? Do you see any evidence that we have been disobedient to God? Do you see any evidence of sexual immorality? Do you think that maybe, just maybe God sees it? Do you think that maybe, just maybe God is a little angry? Would you want to fall into the hands of an angry God?
Listen to me! If you are a Christian, you need to start acting like one. You need to get back into the word of God; you need to start worshiping God; you need to turn back to God. There is way too much pettiness and jealousies and discontent among Gods people today. We must come together as a unified body. Don’t forget Colossians 3: 13; “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgives you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
Forget about denominationalism and traditions set down by men. Get back to the word of God. No, I’m not suggesting that you leave your Baptist Church or your Methodist Church or your Assembly of God or whatever; I’m simply saying that we need to forget our differences and focus on where we are in agreement; that Jesus is Lord and He calls us to follow Him and He instructs us to obey the will of the Father. You better get yourself ready for the winnowing.
If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I urge you to repent of your sins; turn your life over to God or you will face His judgment. You can fall to your knees right this moment and cry out to God. “Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.”
But you must do it in faith and belief; not merely using words to make you feel good because Jesus said “Not everyone who calls me Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of the Father.”
When you do fall to your knees and ask for God’s forgiveness, your next step is to make it public. You need to be baptized in public. Jesus said “if anyone is ashamed of Me in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him…” then find a group of believers and unite with them.

You better get yourself ready for the winnowing.

harvest time,And may God bless us all. Amen.

peace of mind 2PEACE OF MIND  (Philippians 4:6-7)

“Do not be anxious about anything…” According to my dictionary anxiety is “distress or uneasiness of mind caused by (1) fear of danger or misfortune. (2) Fear of ridicule or inferiority complex.

Fear and worry are synonyms of anxiety and 2 Timothy 1:7 says that “God did not give us a spirit of fear.” And to worry about anything is to go against the word of God. Matthew 6:25-31 tells us it is a sin to worry; in fact it says if you worry you have very little faith.

So, what am I saying? Simply this: to have peace of mind you must keep your eyes on Jesus Christ, the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)

How do you keep your eyes on Jesus? You stay in the Word… you read the Word of God… get into the habit of reading God’s Word every day. Believe me when I say it will change your outlook on life. I’m a living example of what I say. When you learn, as I have, to turn everything over to God, you will be able to “Rejoice in the Lord always.”

For example: After my surgery last year, when they removed my kidneys (one entire kidney and 30 % of the other) I would sit at home and moan and groan because of the pain. The pain is still there, 8 months later, just not as severe but, I quit moaning about it long ago because I read in God’s Word to “…rejoice in our sufferings because it produces perseverance, character and hope.” That’s in Romans 5:2-4. And when I read that the first time, I thought: a person has to be crazy to rejoice in their suffering. But then I realized that “Hey, I have persevered because I know God is taking care of me, and I shouted Halleluiah!

I began to shout words of thanksgiving to God for teaching me patience (that’s perseverance)

The next word suffering produces is “character”. The KJV uses the word “experience” instead of “character” and the Strong’s Concordance says this of experience: the Greek word for experience is dokime (dok-ee-may) and it comes from a root word dokimos, which means “acceptable” or “approved”.

Now I don’t know about you but I certainly think that is something to rejoice about. What Paul is saying in Romans 5: 3 is this: Suffering produces perseverance and as you learn to persevere you gain acceptance or approval from God, which will certainly give you hope.

When you put your hope in God, you can forget all about worrying or fretting or being anxious. It’s an awesome feeling to experience the truth of God’s word as it applies to your own life.

So follow Paul’s words in Philippians 4 and “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”