Wednesday, May 30, 2012


In the next section of Matthew 24 the Lord gives another analogy pertaining to His return.  I believe that this prophecy falls in line with many of the Old Testament prophecies that do not follow a chronological flow. 

Matthew 24:37–39 “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”

In these verses Jesus compares His coming to the coming of the flood during the days of Noah.  Most prophecy teachers use this section to compare the culture of days before the flood to the culture today—a time when…

Genesis 6:5 “…GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

I believe that comparison will prove to be true, but I do not believe that is what Jesus is talking about in context in this passage.  The point He is making is that in the days before the flood life was going on as normal; people were eating, drinking and getting married.  Finally, the day came that Noah entered the ark and the Lord shut him, his family and all the different kinds of animals in the ark.  Then the rain began and the fountains of the deep were opened and the flood destroyed all that were not in the ark.

We know that once the tribulation starts it will be a time that Jesus declares will prove to be the worse time ever experienced by man on planet earth.  A study of the book of Revelation reveals many of the judgments that man will experience during that time.  It is definitely not a time that life is going on as normal.  It will be a time of great danger and disaster.  Taken in context with the following verses…

Matthew 24:40–42 “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Matthew 24:44 “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”

…I believe the reference in this analogy has to be the rapture, the time when Jesus takes true believers home to heaven according to His promise as recorded by John.  It is a time when some people will be taken away—“received near for intimacy” from the Greek—and others will be left to continue life on planet earth.

John 14:1–3 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

Note that Jesus says in verse 44 that His coming will be at an unexpected time.  However, the visible second coming of Jesus will occur on a specific countdown from the signing of the 7-year covenant between the Antichrist and Israel and secondarily from a 3.5-year countdown from the date of the abomination of desolation.  It is a time when Jesus is coming to earth to establish His kingdom and rule as King of kings from the throne of David.  The verses in John tell of a time when Jesus is coming to take believers home with Him to the Father’s house in heaven.

The rapture is also taught by Paul in his letters to the Corinthians and Thessalonians.

1 Corinthians 15:51–53 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 “a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

2 Thessalonians 2:1 “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him….”

From these verses we learn that not all believers will die, but our bodies will be changed from corruptible to incorruptible, from mortal to immortal in the twinkling of an eye.  We also learn that the bodies of all the believers who have died until that point in time will be resurrected to immortality at the same time.  In the verse from 2Thessalonians Paul talks about our “gathering together unto him” as referenced in John 14.  The beautiful truth I discovered when journaling through Thessalonians was that the Greek for the phrase “gathering together” makes reference to a complete collection; in other words, it refutes the idea of a partial rapture.

(to be continued…)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Another section of scripture that provides important keys to understanding the future based on bible prophecy is Matthew 24.  Mark 13 and Luke 21 are companion passages to this section of scripture.  In this chapter Jesus is answering the questions of His disciples concerning the time of His return and the end of the world (a world controlled by the Gentiles)His answer provides some insight to what we often refer to as “the signs of the times.” 

Matthew 24:3 “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

Jesus first warns the disciples about the many men who will appear on the scene claiming to be the Messiah.  He also prepares them for the fact that these false messiahs will be very convincing and will actually deceive many people.

He then goes on to warn them about wars and rumors of wars that will characterize those times.  These wars will involve nations and races or ethnic groups.  Time has proven “religion” to play a significant role in these wars as well.  The end times will also be a time in which famine, disease and earthquakes are prevalent throughout the world.  Jesus then goes on to describe these signs as the “beginning of sorrows,” a term that is used to describe birth pains.  The implication is that these signs would increase in frequency and intensity until He returned.

Then comes the most ominous warning of all for the disciples.  Jesus warns that they will be persecuted and killed because of their faith in Jesus.  He then goes on to declare how the times leading up to His return will be characterized by a lack of love.  Friend and family will turn on one another as a direct consequence of conflicting beliefs about Jesus.  Though many will die, the Lord promises that not one hair on the head of His followers will perish.  In other words, true life begins after death for those who trust in the Lord Jesus as Savior.

In the midst of all this many false prophets will appear on the scene and will deceive many.  Sadly, the times are revealing that the majority of these false prophets come from within the professing church. 

At this point Jesus identifies a specific prophecy that identifies His return is near—the abomination of desolation spoke of by Daniel the prophet.

Matthew 24:15–16 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains….”

Where did Daniel speak of this event? 

Daniel 9:27 “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

Daniel 12:11 “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”

This is a good example of how the prophecies in scripture link to one another to provide insight and understanding. 

This event is future to the time that Jesus was speaking.  It would be a desecration of the temple, which means that there will be a functioning temple prior to the occurrence of the event being referenced.  This abomination would be a thing or person standing where it ought not—that would seem to reference something like an idol.  “The holy place” and “where it ought not” could reference any part of the temple, the whole of which is considered holy, but more likely refers to the inner sanctum, the holy of holies.  The Apostle Paul gets more specific regarding this event in his letter to the Thessalonians.

2 Thessalonians 2:3–4 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”

Again, we see how one scripture sheds the light of understanding on another scripture.  The Lord declares that when this event happens, the people in Jerusalem and Judea should immediately flee to the mountains; they shouldn’t even take the time to stop and get anything.  Why? 

Matthew 24:21–22 “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”

This is the event that will usher in the last half of the 70th week that is known as “the great tribulation.”  We know that this is the last half of the 70th week since Daniel 9:27 (quoted above) declares that it will happen in the middle of that week.  Jesus declares that this time on planet earth will be worst since the beginning of the world.  There will be no more devastating time to live on planet earth than these last 3.5 years before Jesus returns.  It will be so bad that all humanity would be destroyed if the Lord didn’t intervene.

There will be many people who will try to take advantage of what is happening in the world who will seek to profit from those who are suffering and seeking relief.  So Jesus warns again of the many false Christ’s and false prophets that will arise on the scene.  He warns that they will in fact be able to perform signs and wonders that would deceive even true believers if that were possible—implying that it is not possible.

Jesus is very specific in saying that His return will be clearly visible to those on planet earth—just as visible as lightning that strikes in the east but shines to the west.  At the end of that 3.5-year period the people on earth will see Him returning in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Jesus then tells a little parable that I think has been misinterpreted by many of the best known prophecy teachers.  He says that when you see the branch of the fig tree beginning to sprout leaves, you know that summer is near.  He then states that the generation that sees “all these things” will live to see the fulfillment of this prophecy—to see His return. 

Prophecy teachers like to focus on the fig tree as representative of Israel and conclude that the generation that saw the birth of the state of Israel in 1948 will not pass until He returns.   However, the context of the passage is in reference to the signs and events about which the Lord has been telling the disciples.   These events include the abomination of desolation, an event that happens in the middle of that final 7-year period before He returns.  I think this statement is being made for the encouragement of those believers who will come to know the Lord as Savior during the tribulation period and will need this promise to encourage them through such difficult times.  The main point is that just as surely as the blossoming of the fig tree is a harbinger of summer, so these signs are a harbinger of the soon return of Jesus as King.

(to be continued…)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


In this next series of blogs I am going to give my understanding of what to expect in the coming days, months, years.  I truly believe we are living in the times that will soon culminate in the rapture of the church and the coming time in which the wrath of God will be poured out on the unbelieving world and the 70th week of Daniel, also known as the 7-year tribulation, will begin.  I will not address the events of Psalm 83 or Ezekiel 38-39 at this time since they were addressed at the beginning of the year. I know this is a long post, but I am only doing one a week at the current time.

I think that the key to understanding the future according to biblical prophecy is found in Daniel 9.  Daniel is engaged in earnest prayer for the people of Israel since he understood from the prophecies of Jeremiah that Jerusalem would lie desolate for seventy years.  At the time of his prayer, that time was coming to a close.  Daniel was interceding and asking for God to show mercy and forgiveness to his people in spite of their sin and rebellion.  He acknowledged God’s judgment to be righteous and just, but he sought God’s mercy in consideration of the honor of His name.

Before Daniel had finished praying, the angel Gabriel made his presence known to Daniel and let Daniel know that the moment he started to pray, he was commanded to go and explain things to Daniel.  Why?  Because he is “greatly beloved.” Oh to fulfill God’s pleasure in such a great way.  Many a time has my prayer been to be known as the friend of God like Abraham, as a woman after God’s own heart like David, and greatly beloved liked Daniel.

Gabriel now begins to explain to Daniel God’s plan for the people of Israel and for Jerusalem.  These last four verses of Daniel 9 provide the basic outline  and timing of events in relationship to the people of Israel and the city of Jerusalem.

Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”

The timing of events is identified according to a period of “seventy weeks” that God has determined to accomplish His purposes for Israel and Jerusalem.  I keep emphasizing that truth because so many, even in the church today, have for some reason ignored the truth as stated in God’s word and have decided that Israel is no longer relevant to God’s plan and purposes.  They have also decided that the people of Israel have no valid claim to Jerusalem and the land of Israel.  It truly boggles my mind in light of so much scripture that refutes their conclusions.

These seventy weeks are actually seventy weeks of years that total 490 years.   God is going to use this 490-year period to accomplish six things with the Jewish people and to reestablish the temple in Jerusalem as the spiritual center of the nation.

Purpose 1 is “to finish the transgression.” After studying the Hebrew, it seems to mean to bring an end to their rebellion to authority.  Since this is God’s decree, it would stand to reason that He is referencing their rebellion and disobedience to Him.

Purpose 2 is “to make an end of sins.”  This is referencing the time that all Israel will be saved and living under the new covenant referenced in Jeremiah 31:33-34. 

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Purpose 3 is “to make reconciliation for iniquity.”  This is talking about atonement for sin, which was accomplished by the death, burial and resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God.

Purpose 4 is “to bring in everlasting righteousness.”  Once the earthly kingdom of Messiah is established, every Jewish person will follow the Lord in obedience.  Every Jewish child born during that time will be saved and recognize God as LORD.  This is the truth Paul was teaching in Romans 11:26.

And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob….

Purpose 5 is “to seal up vision and prophecy.”  This is a reference to the fact that there will no longer be a need for visions, revelations, oracles, or prophecy through inspired men.  Why?  Jesus will then be on the throne of David ruling as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Purpose 6 is “to anoint the most Holy.”  This would seem to allow for both the anointing/consecrating of Jesus as King and the anointing of the new temple in Jerusalem that Ezekiel so specifically detailed in his prophecy.

Daniel 9:25 “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”

Gabriel now gives Daniel some specific time references.  From the time of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem and the coming of Messiah will be 69 weeks or 483 years—seven weeks (7 x 7 = 49 years) + 62 weeks (3 x 20 = 60 + 2 = 62 x 7 = 434 years) (49 + 434 = 483). 

Nehemiah 2:1-8 describes the decree signed by Artaxerxes authorizing the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem, including the walls; ; the exact date is debated to be between 444-457 BC.   The first “seven weeks” of this prophecy mark the 49 years that it took for the people to rebuild the temple and the walls of Jerusalem after returning from the Babylonian captivity. 

Sir Robert Anderson, in his book The Coming Prince, goes into great detail regarding the timing of this 69 weeks.  I have read other authors who have some discrepancies with his calculations, but who basically agree—and the facts are quite convincing to me.  I am sure that whatever discrepancies may exist will disappear when we are finally able to look back from God’s viewpoint. 

Based on these calculations, they declare that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey presenting Himself publicly as their King on the date exactly 483 years to the day after the decree referenced in this verse.  These calculations are based on years of 360 days as recognized by the Jewish people of that time.  Anderson’s book can be read online at:

Daniel 9:26 “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”

After this 483-year period, Messiah will be cut off (destroyed, consumed, perish).  Why?  Not because of any wrongdoing on His part—because of my sin, our sin.

Still in the timeframe of “after”—the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.  We have to continue to remember that the 70 weeks are pertaining to the Jews and Jerusalem.  This is referencing a destruction of Jerusalem and the sanctuary, the temple.  History tells us that Titus and his Roman legions destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD.  The angel is speaking to Daniel of a “coming prince” from the area of the Roman Empire of Jesus day. 

“and the end thereof…are determined” – This phrasing leaves room for a little more discussion.  Is it still descriptive of the destruction of 70 AD or is it a more general reference to the intervening years before Jesus comes again.  It was interesting to note that the word for desolations included the idea of “to stun, devastate, stupefy, astonish, destroy, waste, wonder.”  In Matthew 24 Jesus talks of wars and rumors of wars, great tribulation, and wonders that would deceive the very elect if that were possible before He returns as King.  I tend to think that this is a general reference to the condition of things to be before the end of the 70th week.

Notice the reference to the end of “the war.”  What war?  I believe it is the war of good vs. evil, Satan vs. God, the war for governing authority abdicated by man to Satan that will be reestablished through the return of the man Jesus Christ as King of kings.  This war will culminate in the final battle of Armageddon described in Revelation 19.

Daniel 9:27 “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

“he” = the prince that shall come

“confirm” = to be strong; by implication, to prevail…confirm…strengthen…..
Webster:  to establish…to render valid by formal assent

The coming prince is evidently going to either confirm a new or strengthen an existing covenant with “many” for one week, or seven years.  Again, we have to remember that the 70 weeks is referencing the Jews and Jerusalem.  In the middle of that week, or after 3.5 years, the prince will put an end to sacrifice and oblation.  This is a direct reference to the sacrifices and offerings to God made at the temple in Jerusalem.  Therefore, “many” must include the leaders of the people of Israel. This also implies the existence of a temple and the practice of sacrificial worship in Jerusalem during the times being referenced.

The wording again gets a bit harder.  As he continues to act, this ruler/prince will act in such a disgusting, filthy, and detestable way that it will stun/stupefy/astonish the people of Israel.  His disgusting ways will continue until his and its destruction.  This is as has been decreed for the Jews, Daniel’s people, those who are stunned by the actions of the prince of the covenant, the person more often referred to as the Antichrist.

Obviously, this is a broad outline based on a few significant events centered around the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem.  The Lord later informs Daniel that his book of prophecy is to be sealed until the time of the end.  In other words, people will not be able to fully understand this prophecy until “the time of the end” that precedes the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom that brings about the fulfillment of the six purposes for which it was determined.  

(to be continued…)

Friday, May 11, 2012


Although not identified here, David is declared to be the author of this Psalm by Luke when he quotes from it.

Acts 4:25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?

Psalm 2:1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
“Heathen” is a reference to the Gentile peoples. 
“rage” = Violent excitement; eager passion; extreme vehemence of desire, emotion, or suffering, mastering the will.

It would seem that the Psalmist is referencing a time when the Gentiles are eagerly plotting something that is doomed to failure?  The next verses define the plan.

Psalm 2:2-3 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

The rulers of the nations are plotting against “Yhwh” and His anointed, the Messiah, Jesus.  They are planning a way to be free from His chastisement and His controlling hand.  This is an interesting thought in and of itself.  This is referencing a time yet future since there has never been a time in history since David when the nations of the world have recognized God as the ruling power in the world and have united in an effort to usurp His authority.  The battle of Armageddon seems to be the reference since the anointed one is going to be placed on the throne as King over the whole earth subsequent to this “vain thing” (v6).

Psalm 2:4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

The One Who dwells in the heavens, the Lord God, will look on them with scorn and mockery.  My paraphrase—Who do they think they are to think they can overpower Me?

Psalm 2:5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

The Hebrew for the word “speak” includes “to subdue or destroy.”  The word “vex” includes the idea of causing fear.  The key is that the Lord is going to cause fear and destruction when He responds in anger to the heathen as they attempt to overpower Him.

Psalm 2:6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
In God’s eyes His victory is certain and is declared as already accomplished.  He has set His king upon Zion (the temple mount in Jerusalem), the place He has chosen for His throne on planet earth. 

Psalm 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

Now we have the Son, speaking the decree of the Father.  It would seem that the Father is declaring the fulfillment of all He had planned for His Son being brought to fruition as He places Him on the throne in Jerusalem as King.

Psalm 2:8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

“Ask of me” – This was interesting wording to me.  It is a father’s joy to bless his child.  The Son is aware of the Father’s plan and His place in it.  He can ask with confidence and assurance that the Father will delight in fulfilling His desire. 

Interestingly, the Hebrew for the word “possession” includes the idea of something seized.  The sin of man allowed Satan to take possession as god of this world. 

2Corinthians 4:4a In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not….

Though allowed to continue for the time allotted to accomplish God’s plan of redemption, Jesus will “seize” possession once again when He comes in victory to rule as King and Lord.

Psalm 2:9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

At Armageddon the heathen will be thoroughly destroyed like a piece of pottery that has been broken into many tiny pieces.

Psalm 2:10-12 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.  Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.  Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

The Psalmist closes with words of advice and wisdom for those in positions of authority and judgment.  My paraphrase—Think carefully on what is about to be said.  Let it serve to chasten you and correct your actions.

“Serve the Lord with fear” – This statement implies that the rulers and judges have not been serving the Lord.  They have not treated Him with respect.  They have not respected His power and authority.  The thought of God’s power should cause us to tremble in fear at the thought of ever being disobedient.  When we serve the Lord with a proper respect and awe of Who He is, we are in a position to be able to rejoice because we are in a position of fellowship instead of disobedience.

It is really sad and even scary to think of how little fear of God there is in this world and our own nation—and, if we are honest, even in our own lives.  If we truly feared God, our actions would certainly be more selfless, loving and God-centered.  Our words would be more thoughtful, uplifting, and full of praise to God.  If we truly feared God, we would serve Him.

I thought the Hebrew for the word “kiss” was interesting; it included the idea of attachment to and catching fire.  This paints a picture to me of one who is extreme in his desire to stay connected to and in fellowship with the Son, Jesus, the King.  Why?  He has a healthy fear of His power and authority.  He doesn’t want to be the recipient of even the smallest expression of God’s wrath. 

The last phrase in this Psalm makes an immediate connection to Psalm 1.  Happy is the man who places his trust in the Lord.  Trust involves confident expectation of protection and provision.  How do we get to such a position?  By delighting in the Word of God and meditating on it day and night.

The more I read the scripture, the more clearly I see the inspiration of the Holy Spirit throughout it.  Why would David express these thoughts unless they were breathed into him by the Spirit of God?  Very little of it seemed to apply to David’s rule as king in Israel.  He was aware of his position as God’s anointed King for the nation of Israel, and he did experience attack from the heathen.  He was confident of security in his position because he trusted in the power and authority of Almighty God.  He did serve the Lord in fear and was able to rejoice because of it.  David was prophesying of the time when Jesus would sit in Jerusalem as King over all the earth.  Did he understand the significance of what he was saying?  I don’t know, but he was obedient to the prompting of the Spirit to record this prophecy.

Oh that the leaders of America would heed the admonition of the Psalmist and serve the Lord with fear.  Oh that they would attach themselves with fervor to the Son.  Even so, come Lord Jesus.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


(Click pic for larger image.)
As I was doing some reading this morning, this verse jumped out at me.  It follows in context after some verses in which the people are questioning why they should serve God since it seems to be the wicked who are prospering.  I think as the time continues to get closer for the return of Jesus, we are going to see the wicked prospering more and more as the powers of darkness are allowed to increase their influence among men.  This time is going to be a time of great testing for the body of believers. 

This verse tells us that God is taking note as to how His people respond in such times.  He has a special book in which He records the names of those who choose to encourage each other in the truth of His word and cling to His promises no matter what--those that fear Him and think on His name.  To fear Him is to love Him, to have faith in Him, to be full of praise for Him, to be willing to sacrifice in obedience to Him, to humble ourselves before Him as Lord, and to be content with His provision. To think on His name is to think about all that it represents about His character and His attributes.  As I examined myself in light of these thoughts this morning, I recognize points of weakness; but I can say boldly that I fear God and and seek to encourage others in His name.  Because I fear Him I can claim His promises.