January 1, 2019
Happy New Year! After a holiday break of five weeks, Rogland Writes is up again.
Joke(s) of the Week
Here’s a series of one-liners for you:
Dogs can’t operate MRI scanners, but cats can.
Our mountains aren’t just funny, they’re hill areas.
Turning vegan would be a big missed steak.
Well, to be Frank, I’d have to change my name.
Forget world peace, visualize using your turn signal.
Life is short. If you can’t laugh at yourself, call me. I will.
Ban pre-shredded cheese, make America grate again.
For chemists, alcohol is not a problem, it’s a solution.
My mood ring is missing, and I don’t know how I feel about that.
I scream, you scream, the police come, it’s awkward.
Despite the high cost of living, it remains popular.
Crushing soda cans is soda pressing.
He who laughs last, didn’t get it.
Big shout out to my fingers, I can always count on them.
Irony, the opposite of wrinkly.
If you suck at playing the trumpet, that’s probably why.
When you’re down by the sea, and an eel bites your knee, that’s a moray.
Notes for the New Year from South Carolina
We are presently in South Carolina at our condo in West Columbia. I want to make an comment on something I seen several days a week.
Near our condo is a road named Rising Hopes Road. It branches off from the road I travel nearly every day and disappears into the trees. I have never gone down the road. Someday I will.
A question for you: do you have rising hopes for the New Year? Have you begun to pursue them—have you started off down the road. Can you see the end of the road?
We have hopes for this present life—a better job, a spouse, happiness . . . the list is endless. Sometimes those hopes are rising and growing stronger, even when we can’t see the end of the road. But sometimes those rising hopes are dashed. The book of Ecclesiastes has a lot to say about frustrated hopes.
However, the Bible has much to say about hope that will not lead to frustration, our Christian hope: we rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:2), that is, our hope in sharing i). That hope, called our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13), will become ours at the appearing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. At present it is not seen and is ours by faith (Hebrews 11:1).
As the days and months of 2019 roll on, I hope (!) your rising hopes are realized. But if you are disappointed in them, think on our hope of sharing the glory of God. That is a hope that will not play you false.
Is 2019 the year you will finally see your book in print?
I am confident that someone reading this blog is writing or has already written a book and now is contemplating the next step: getting that book published.
When I was at that place, I sent my manuscripts to various publishers. In some cases I received a courteous rejection, in others I received no word at all. I came to the conclusion that publishers had found that Bible study guides, which constituted most of what I wrote, didn’t sell well enough to warrant taking on any more. (I do have two books published by commercial publishers, Romans: A Study Manual by P&R Publishing, and Pinocchio’s Quest by Christian Liberty Publishing.)
Perhaps I could have found more success if I wrote under a nom de plume, like C.R.Spowl, or John McArthur; perhaps I could have interested publishers more if I had written Your Best Christian Sex Life Now, or God Wants You Wealthy. I couldn’t bring myself to do that. Instead, I decided to self-publish.
And that brings me to you, hopeful author (re: your rising hopes, see above). If you want to self- publish Saluda Press wants to encourage aspiring authors to publish or self-publish their work. To that end we offer the following services.
Services offered by Saluda Press
- Formatting for publication. Usual sizes: 5.5×8.5 inches for non-fiction paperbacks, 6×9 inches for fiction. Other sizes available. Type faces and type sizes to suit the author. (I highly recommend Garamond 12 for text, a type face and size book printers like; other type faces available if desired for section headings, title page, etc.)
- Copy editing: Reviewing and correcting the manuscript for errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Will suggest improvements for awkward or unclear wording in consultation with the author. Review of final product with author.
- Preparation of index if desired after consultation with author.
- Obtaining and registering your ISBN. Additional cost—see below.
- Obtaining a bar code. Additional cost possible—see below.
- Preparation of front and back cover materials in consultation with author. Possible additional cost for cover image—see below.
- Production of camera-ready PDF for the book printer.
My price for all of the above: $1.00/100 words.
Additional costs you may incur: ISBN and bar code, cover image, printer’s design service for cover (if needed), cost of printing the book.
Whether you want or need these additional items and services depends on who your intended readers are, how you obtain your cover image, and who prints your book. I will help you obtain these items, but their costs are determined by and paid to someone other than me.
If you are interested in exploring the feasibility of publishing your own work I would be glad to consult with you at no cost. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Telephone: 425-802-8529.
LESSON 7: 1 THESSALONIANS 5:1-11
We continue our Bible study of Paul’s Thessalonian letters. Lesson 6 tells us about the resurrection of believers. It is a source of great encouragement and hope.
STUDY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
1. What aspect of the Lord’s return does Paul take up in vs. 1 ff.?
He discusses the times and seasons leading up to the Second Coming. See study note 1.
2. Why doesn’t Paul have to teach the Thessalonians about the time of the Lord’s return? v. 2
They already know what they need to know: the Lord will return “like a thief in the night.” In the next few verses Paul teaches them the significance of this fact for how to live until Christ returns. See study note 2.
3. What is the significance for unbelievers of the fact that the Lord will return “like a thief in the night”? v. 3
They will be caught by surprise. It will be too late then to repent and escape destruction. See study note 2.
4. The return of Christ will take unbelievers by surprise, for he will come at a time when he is not expected. Should Christians, on the other hand, know when that time will be, such that they are not taken unawares? vs. 4-5
Paul doesn’t indicate that we can know when that time is, but he does say we can be ready for it.
5. If we cannot know the precise time of the Lord’s return, what does it mean that we “are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness”? v. 5
Our light is twofold:
a. Light revealing how he will return: We don’t know when he will return, but we know (and the world does not) that he will return unexpectedly; and we know that we should live so that we are not ashamed when he comes.
b. Light revealing how to live: We live in the light in that we live sober, upright lives. We don’t live as do those who love the darkness, thinking that they can enjoy their sins without their being exposed
6. In light of the fact that we cannot know the precise time of the Lord’s return, how are we to live? vs. 6-8
We are to be sober (that is, to be serious, thoughtful, and intentional) and to “put on” faith, love, and hope. See study note 4.
7. In the context of vs. 2-9, what does Paul mean in v. 9, “God has not destined us for wrath’?
When Christ returns he will execute justice on the earth, which means that unbelievers will experience his wrath as he punishes sin and unbelief. By living as Paul mandates in v.8 we will not experience God’s wrath. See Lesson 1, study note 7, p. 15.
8. Compare 5:11 with 4:18. What is the takeaway from these verses?
The certainty of Christ’s return should be a source of comfort to us. When a brother or sister needs encouragement we can comfort, console, and cheer them by reminding them of the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) that our Lord will return to take us to himself.
1. When will Christ return?
Paul tells the Thessalonians that the Lord Jesus will return to earth “like a thief in the night.” That phrase was based on what the Lord Jesus told his disciples in what is called the Olivet Discourse, found in Matthew 24-25 and Luke 21:
Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:42-44
By saying that he will return like a thief in the night the Lord meant that he will come when unexpected. He explicitly said of his coming
But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. Matthew 24:36
In spite of this clear teaching, too many authors have written books and too many speakers at prophecy conferences have delivered lectures declaring with certainty the time of Christ’s coming. William Miller, a Baptist from New York State, predicted that Christ would return in 1843-1844. One of his followers set an exact date, October 22, 1844. When that day came and went without the Lord’s return, many of Miller’s followers left his movement, but some remained; their descendants are primarily found in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
A more recent case of setting an exact date is that of an American religious broadcaster, Howard Camping. Based on his understanding of Scripture, Camping predicted the Lord would return on May 11, 2011. When that didn’t happen, he revised his prediction and set October 21, 2011 as the date of Christ’s return. After that failure Camping acknowledged that, just as Christ said, no one knows the date and hour when he will come back to earth.
Perhaps one reason some people think they can pinpoint very closely, if not exactly, when Christ will return is that in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 the Lord laid out a series of events that are to occur prior to his coming. This study guide is not the place to discuss those events. Many if not most of them have taken place or are taking place today, leading some to think he must return in a very few years, in a narrow window of time.
Paul and other early Christians wrote as though those events were already happening in their day or were soon to take place. In Matthew 24 and Luke 21 the Lord speaks of false prophets and persecutions, of the evangelization of the world, and of the destruction of Jerusalem. The Thessalonians themselves knew of persecution, as did Christians in Jerusalem and other places. As to false prophets, Paul and John warned of them in their day (2 Corinthians 11:13-15, Galatians 1:6-9, 1 John 2:18, 4:1). As to the gospel being preached to every nation, Paul told the Colossians that the gospel was bearing fruit in the whole world (Colossians 1:6). The destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans was less than twenty years away. As far as Paul knew, the Lord could return at any time.
Study note 2, below, discusses how we should live in consideration of the fact that he will return unexpectedly.
2. Like a thief in the night.
Jesus himself told his disciples that the significance of his coming like a thief in the night is that we are to be ready at all times for his return:
For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark,and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:37-44
The world will not be ready when he comes, just as it was not ready for the flood that carried all away except for Noah and his family. Even though people may read the warnings in Scripture, they will blow them off, just as they did in the days of the apostles. Peter writes:
Scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God,and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 2 Peter 3:33-7
Immediately following the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24), Jesus emphasized the life and death importance of being ready for his sudden coming. See the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins and the Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25.
Study note 3 discusses what it means to be ready.
3. How to live in light of his coming.
How are we to live in light of his sudden coming?
First of all, we are to love one another (v. 9). Love shows itself in action. The Lord said that at his coming those who feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome strangers, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and those in prison (all actions that stem from love) are those he will welcome into his kingdom (Matthew 25:31-46). The Bible is full of exhortations to love one another.
Secondly, we are to live holy lives (v. 7; see Lesson 5, study note 1, p. 46).)
Thirdly, we are to live in the light of day. We must not take advantage of night or anything else that would hide our sin, but we are to live sober, serious, and thoughtful lives of faith and love (vs. 7-8).
Nothing said here about the Christian life is not said elsewhere in the Bible. The main thought about living in the light is that we are to live intentionally as those who will join the Lord when he returns and who will have to give account of our lives. We must not think that we can live careless, slothful, sinful lives as Christians till we are in our sunset years, only then getting serious about living for Christ. If we do that, we may find that he comes before we are ready. None of us wants to be ashamed at his coming, even if we are trusting in Christ for our salvation.
4. Putting on faith, love, and hope.
In 5:8 Paul tells us to put on faith, love, and hope. As he told the Corinthians, the things we do and say for Christ and his church will pass away (1 Corinthians 13:8-12). When the Lord comes they will be superseded: our partial knowledge will pass away when the perfect comes. Prophesying and preaching will no longer be necessary; none of the gifts of the Spirit will be necessary. But faith, love, and hope will abide for eternity (1 Corinthians 13:13). ked0