Left Behind: More than a Movie

air

One week ago, the re-make of Left Behind hit theaters. Please be aware, this is not a movie review. I have not seen the movie, and probably won’t see it until it I can borrow it from the library. (Just so you know, this applies to almost all movies my family watches, unless it somehow makes it to Netflix first.)

Anyway, I digress.

The reason I bring this up is because of the plethora of anti-Rapture articles that I’m noticing all over the internet. The one that caught my attention the most was titled, “Nobody Is Getting Left Behind (Because The Rapture Is Never, Ever Going To Happen)” (originally from The American Jesus and written by Zack Hunt).

Now, am I absolutely sure that this guy’s theology is wrong? No. Of course not. To claim that I know for a fact that he is wrong would be to say that I know everything, which clearly is not the case. But I do believe that, Biblically, he’s made some errors, and I would like to share my thoughts. Whether you agree with me or him or neither, that’s fine. I just ask that you go to the Word first, because while our opinions (and, yes, theologies) are not infallible, God’s Word is forever and completely true.

The first thing I want to go over is what he mentioned of his struggle, in earlier years, to pinpoint a date for the rapture. Of course, this is now something he no longer struggles with since he doesn’t believe in the rapture, but I would like to point something out. Matthew 25:13 says this:

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

This statement comes at the end of a parable Jesus taught. This parable is basically a warning to always be prepared, because we “do not know the day or the hour” that Christ will return. Period. There’s no predicting it. And unfortunately, many people have overlooked this key verse and made attempts to predict the date of the rapture–and we all know how that turned out. These failed predictions have only served to weaken people’s faith regarding end-time events.

Now we come to one of the major points. The author states that no one in the church believed in the rapture until the last 200 years or so. He mentions some major figures in the history of Christianity whom he says never mentioned the rapture.

Why is this? Consider this: It wasn’t until five centuries ago, through Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, that the Gospel–salvation by grace through faith–re-emerged. Prior to that, Roman Catholic doctrine had corrupted much of the early church’s original teachings–which, I would add, included a belief in the rapture. Ultimately, we shouldn’t be looking back to a period of time in church history that, doctrinally, Christians no longer agree with to prove or disprove rapture.

Next: the idea that the Rapture isn’t mentioned in the Bible, and that it wasn’t “invented” until somewhere in the eighteenth to nineteenth centuries. I can understand where this is coming from. After all, you won’t find the English word rapture in the Bible. The closest you’ll come to it is a passage in 1 Thessalonians that mentions the believers being “caught up” in the air. However, in the original Greek, this phrase is harpazo, meaning to snatch or take away. In Latin, the word is rapturo.

So, yes, the word rapture is in the Bible–but does that really matter? What I mean by that is, should the fact that this word is in the Bible affect whether or not we believe in the rapture? No. A word is a word. The evidence for the rapture that we find in the Bible, that is what matters. Not what we call it.

And now, love, which is what the last point revolves around. The idea is that Jesus’ love, shown for us on the cross, doesn’t fit with the image of Jesus we see presented in both the rapture and the Tribulation. How does the enormous love Jesus has shown for us translate into the utter awfulness of the Tribulation? And beyond that, why would Jesus in His love take His church just when the world needs us most?

First of all, the Tribulation is God’s judgment of the world. God is love, yes; but He is also just. We are currently in a grace period, which is a demonstration of God’s love for us; but the grace period will end, and God will judge the world during the Tribulation.

As difficult as this may be to grasp, bear with me. Just because the church will be raptured, that does not mean there will be no more Christians in the world. For example, Revelation mentions the martyrs who were slain during the Tribulation and then went to heaven. It also mentions the 144,000 from Israel, “servants” who were sealed by God (Revelation 7). Thus, we can see that people will continue to be saved during the Tribulation.

Here we come to a very important point. The Tribulation is an example of God’s mercy. As crazy as it sounds, it’s true. He has every right to simply say, “It’s over”, and let that be it–but that’s not what He’s going to do. He gives us numerous chances to come to Him during our lives; the Tribulation is His final attempt to draw us to salvation. And the Bible shows us that people will indeed respond to this last, loving call from our Father.

Is the rapture going to happen? I believe so. I invite you to share your thoughts, but I would like to say this: I’m not trying to start a debate. I’ve shared my thoughts in response to Zack’s article, and I’d be very happy to hear your response to mine.

God bless!

-christrocks

A Matter of the Heart

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Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to come up with excuses for why I haven’t been blogging lately. Excuses for myself, mostly, although you’ve heard one or two of them.

Busyness has been my favorite excuse. And, for the most part, it’s legitimate. I feel like I’m doing school work from morning till night–well, actually, I don’t feel that way, that’s just how it is. It’s mostly if not entirely due to my tendency to be easily distracted lately, something I’m working on. At any rate, the point is that I just haven’t had much time for anything, blogging included.

Another excuse that I like is overall brain-deadness. (That’s a thing, right?) It seems like every time I do have time to sit down and blog, my brain just goes blank. I sit in front of the computer for half an hour, writing the beginnings of three or four different posts that all end up in the trash.

And as good (or bad) these excuses may be, I’ve begun to realize that they are not the reason that I haven’t been blogging. I believe that my blogging has suffered because I’ve begun to lose my focus on God.

Outwardly, everything’s good. I read my Bible (almost) every day. I pray frequently. I attend church twice a week, and I serve on the worship team. Everything seems right; nothing seems different.

But on the inside, everything feels wrong. My Bible-reading usually feels like a chore, my prayers feel empty, and going to church twice a week in and of itself does not make for a healthy Christian.

I’ve come to realize that I’m in a place where my first priority is my life, and my second priority is God and my relationship with Him. It twists me up inside to write that down, but it’s the truth.

Clearly, this has affected me in every part of my life, but I believe it has struck a heavy blow to my blogging. Every time I started to write a post, it just felt so…wrong. I felt guilty. Hypocritical. Since my relationship with God had weakened, I didn’t feel right telling other people how they could improve their relationship–at least not until I spent some time focusing on my own.

I know that all Christians go through times like this. But I also think that some people don’t pull out of it. I’m not going to let that be me.

My game plan starts with turning my focus from the things of this world to Him. Spending more time in prayer, and taking the time to realize that I’m not just saying meaningless words–I am having a conversation with the One who created me. Reading my Bible more, knowing that I’m not just reading another book, but that I’m reading the holy Word of God, the One who gave His life for me.

I’m also going to start blogging more. I believe that blogging helps me stop in the middle of my schedule and turn my attention to God. To take a moment and think about the things He’s been speaking to my heart.

I also ask for your prayers. Beyond that, I’m not really sure what else I can do. I do know that I don’t need to do anything else, though. If I make the effort to turn my life around and start running towards Him, I know that He’ll be there. This isn’t about what I can do to fix this. It’s about my allowing Him to do a work in my life.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)

-christrocks

 

 

Prayer Request

Hi everyone,
I’ve been sick all this week. I no longer have a fever, but I’ve developed a nasty cough. Please be in prayer that this will pass quickly. I have the ACT tomorrow and I can’t afford to be sick right now.
Thank you all!
christrocks

God’s Promises; Our Hope

I’ve just come to what I hope is the end of a very busy period in my life. It’s been about half a month since my last post, and I have missed blogging. I mean, truly missed it. What I’m trying to say is, yes–I’m glad to be back.

I was going to write a full post tonight, but I’ve decided instead to share with you a verse I came across recently. I will be back soon with more posts. :)

Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope. Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles. (Psalm 119:49-50)

We have hope and comfort in God’s promises to us. Amen.

-christrocks

 

Four Years of Blogging

On August 18, 2010, I started The Teen Theme. Four years and God’s many blessings have turned a random idea into what TTT is today.

For me, blogging has always been a journey–and it has been a wonderful one. There are days, of course, when I stare at a blank screen with no clue what to write, or when I check my stats only to be disappointed. What blogger hasn’t had the same experiences? These things are nothing, however, when I think of how much I’ve been blessed by my blog.

blogI’ve been blessed with a way to reach others. If you’ve read any of my posts, you know that I blog for a reason. I blog to encourage anyone who might stop by. I blog to challenge my readers to grow closer to God, to strengthen their walk with Him. I blog with a hope of making a difference in the lives of those who read what God has placed on my heart.

Thus far, God has blessed my blog with 20,580 views and 326 followers. It’s mind-blowing for me to think that so many people have read (and cared about!) what I have to say! God gave me a passion for writing and for Him (and for music, but that’s another story), He gave me a way to use these passions, and then He blessed the effort beyond what I ever imagined!

In my biography on the website Quirky, I describe myself as “a Christian, a musician, a blogger, and a cat-lover”. Of course, those four things aren’t an exhaustive list. There are many things just as important about me that I didn’t mention. But the point is, blogging has become an integral part of who I am. It isn’t that I would have no identity without blogging; rather, blogging has simply contributed a great deal to who I am today. It has given me a place to exercise a passion, writing. It has given me responsibility, putting the operating of TTT entirely in my hands (and WordPress’, of course). It has also helped me grow closer to Jesus, as I study and think over His Word in preparation for a post.

I have also been incredibly blessed by the community here on WordPress. I felt this most strongly when I had back surgery last year. Your prayers and kind and encouraging comments meant the world to me! And beyond that, every thought you have taken the time to share has been a gift from God–so thank you, and God bless you! <3

In summary, I thank God for giving me the inspiration to start blogging, and for blessing me in this undertaking. And I thank all of you who have been a part of this incredible journey!

God bless!

-christrocks

 

Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.

-C. S. Lewis

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)

-christrocks

Dreams, a poem

I awoke within a dream

And found myself inside what seemed

A world of chaos, out of control

But, simultaneously, peaceful

Carried along by strange events

That I thought made sense, nonetheless

I seemed to be in charge of all

Yet my actions would not heed my call

When, at long last, the morning came

Everything seemed just the same

Carried along on the waves of life

“I’m easy-going,” said I, “and take things in stride.”

But excuses hide not reality

I fall so short of what I might be

And allow myself to be swayed

By anything the world might say

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll take a stand

Make my own choices, be a man

Or else I might just go to bed

And dream of the life I might have led

Sofie the kitten takes a nap.

Cats… sleep… I couldn’t resist. :)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

-christrocks