Sunday, January 20, 2013

CORA'S PREDICAMENT

What does Cora's predicament have to do with the end times? Well, nothing really, but I was able to make a connection...

Pray that it will not be in winter


Our young holstein steer Jerry is in the background, hoping for some grain
This is Cora. Cora is due to freshen this month. For those of you who do not have a farm background, when we say that a cow is due to freshen, it means that she is pregnant and will soon have a calf. Just by looking at her, it may be a little difficult to tell that Cora is pregnant, since she is a Scottish Highlander. These cows have a natural form somewhat like an old, wooden stave barrel, except with legs and horns. They always look round and plump.
Do you see the resemblance?
As I have explained in the past, winters in Wisconsin can be quite brutal. So far this year it has not been so bad, but we are about to be hit with an especially cold blast of air out of Canada, with night-time temperatures falling to 20ยบ Fahrenheit below 0 (about -29 Celsius). Our highlanders do not stay in a warm barn, but are out in an open paddock. I am hoping that Cora will not start calving during this extremely cold stretch of weather, which is to last about three days.
Every day Cora comes up to the fence where I feed the cows a little grain and give them water. Every day I talk to Cora about her calf. Perhaps I should tell you that, although I like to call myself a farmer, I confess that I am not a real farmer. I am more like a pretend farmer. My cows are as much my pets as they are a source of income for me. So, as any person talks to their pets, I also talk to my cows.
Every day I tell Cora to try and wait until the weather warms up a bit. It is hard to tell if she understands me at all, since that long hair of the highlanders hangs in front of her eyes and I can’t see what she might be thinking. Our conversation, as you can imagine, is all a bit one-sided, and since I have to supply all of the actual subject material for our talks, it has caused me to become a little off track.
The other day I told Cora, “I pray that your birthing will not be in the coldest of the winter.”
Well, that was ok, but the way that I said it to her caused me jump the subject of my talk with Cora. It brought to my mind something that Jesus once said. In speaking of events of the end of the world and the last days of this present age, Jesus told his disciples:

So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.

And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. (Matthew 24:15-21 ESV)

Now, I must admit that it is quite a digression to go from Cora’s predicament to some teachings of the last days of this present earth, but this is a portion of Scripture that I have thought about a lot. These words of Jesus are some of the most enigmatic that he spoke, and the precise timing of these events has been long contested among Bible students.
Many teach that these are events that will happen after all believers in Christ have already been taken into the presence of God and thus, out of danger of all that is occurring on the earth at the time. I have even heard it said by some Bible teachers that this part of Scripture need not concern the Christian, since we will not be present on the earth.
        To me this seems a potentially dangerous teaching, especially since there are many reasons to suspect that some of the events spoken in relation to the end times are persecutions that are being waged against Christians who indeed are still on the earth.
I frankly am convinced that the teaching of Biblical prophecy shows us that toward the end of the age, we will see increasingly severe persecutions against the true followers of Christ. What the Bible calls the antichrist will be in power and have great influence in the world for some significant period before it becomes evident who he really is. The possibility is very real that many believers in Jesus will be persecuted by those under the antichrist’s control.
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The long awaited time when God will “catch up” his people into heaven will come before God begins to show his wrath against the government of the antichrist, but not before many followers of Christ will have already suffered many forms of harassment from the antichrist.
(My full view of the prophecies of the last days of the present earth can be found in my book, Watching for the Day).
I am not one who construes every government decision that runs contrary to Biblical teaching as persecution against the followers of Christ, but it seems evident to me that week by week we are seeing an increasing tendency to solve the problems that confront us using the wisdom of man, and not the wisdom of God. Also, among the people of the world, the teachings of Jesus are being twisted and distorted so that they are completely misrepresented.
Nor am I trying to be a scare-monger, but those of us who follow Christ must walk with wisdom in these days, living in obedience to our Savior. All of us have been given our own sphere of influence, whether it be in our own families, our schools or workplaces, our churches, or even in some larger arena. Whatever it may be, we must be faithful in fulfilling our ministries, and trust God for the strength and endurance to confront whatever is to come.

Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. (Matthew 24:45-46 ESV)

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