Taken the Initiative
You have taken the initiative to reading volume one. In
this book and the others, you will be digging deep into the Bible learning new and old things
(Mat 13:52). You have the prerogative to pick and choose studies although I
prefer you examine the first two before skipping around. You may not accept everything I say, but when the Spirit
speaks to you and it is louder than usual, you had better listen and take heed. "Quench not the Spirit"
(1 Th 5:19).
For an illustration, when working alone above the
suspended ceiling tile in a mall store, I accidentally made right forearm contact with a live, electrifying, paralyzing
and deadly transformed 277 A.C. voltage wire while my left hand was involuntarily staying closed around a roof's
metal water drain. During my near death experience, when the voltage was intensely alternating and the current was
passing directly through my heart, temporarily paralyzing me from waist up, causing my muscles to contract and my
eyes to roll back, a clear, calm and distinctive voice spoke to me, which could have been the Spirit of God or possibly
an angel, and said, "Bend your knees." When I obeyed, I lost contact with the 277 A.C. single-phase. If I had not
followed the instructions, I would not be here today. We need to be earnestly listening when God speaks, because we could unknowingly be in harms way.
Where It All Started
I have periodically been studying the Bible for over thirty years since I was first saved back in the latter part of
1972 thanks to those once at Bel Air Baptist Church in El Paso, Texas. After receiving Christ nobody had to
convince me that He was coming again. It must have been the Holy Spirit, and the forgiveness and joy I experienced
that helped me to believe. I had heard about a pretribulation rapture, but the details possibly were not that
clear from a Bible perspective or important to me at the time, but telling people about the Savior was.
Completing only nine grades of school (although I did receive my G.E.D. while in the military), reading was
something I did not do much of before becoming a Christian. However, I did develop an interest reading some
Bible shortly thereafter, and even more a few months later when entering Hyles-Anderson Bible College. Because of
my initial encounter with the LORD in my last days in Germany and my conversion experience in 1972, witnessing continued to be a priority. Studying fell behind and became secondary.
For years after leaving school (without completing my first year), I continued to confront people with the Good
News and depending on the Lord to supply my every need. Never did I beg, working when necessary. I felt like I was
a modern-day disciple getting the message out one-on-one and seeking after what the Holy Spirit was showing me
through the Word of God. During that time I received plenty of rejection by unbelievers, by some of my family
and friends, and by some of my family in Christ. I was falsely accused (even today), persecuted, jumped on and
threatened by many (not always knowing why). I do not blame those who have wronged me. They just did not understand.
I Begin to Backslide
After following Christ for around seven years, I begin to backslide. It was probably all the rejection that led me to making friends
(James 4:4) with the world again. Trying to live the narrow way, which I did not fully understand at
the time, had left me all alone with trouble coming from all directions. I eventually joined the crowds again,
following after what many were doing to make friends, to be accepted and happy—that is to the satisfying of my flesh.
After backsliding for a time, I still felt alone and unhappy, was getting no where, had just as much trouble
and was beginning to ruin my testimony for Christ. It was very important to keep a good one, so I could continue
witnessing. Being led astray was not the best thing that could have happened during that time, but the conviction I
received was. I believe the Holy Spirit, by stirring my conscience and pricking my heart, helped me to
understand where I needed to be, and that was back to my first love. I come to realize that the Lord loved me first,
and He was the one who was bringing me home again, and helping me to put off the old man and put on the new.
Different Rapture Doctrines Challenged Me
It was not until after my conversion, backsliding and
rededication, and during my in-depth study of the Bible that the different rapture doctrines challenged me. There
were the pre-, mid- and post tribulation raptures. I knew Christ was real but was a dominating pre-tribulation
rapture real too, which I had believed at first? And then why was I having so much trouble in the world as a Christian?
After about 24 years of believing in a pre-trib rapture, I
found that its dogma did not fit right with the Bible. Since much of the Bible still was not clear (mainly because of
misguided theology) and was like a riddle, in my subconscious I was probably thinking was it true or was it
full of contradictions like many infidels have said? All the doubts needed to be addressed and the questions needed to
be answered. Today, I believe that it was the pretribber doctrine that helped cause the doubts and misunderstandings.
Prophetic Passages Started Fitting Together
After the Holy Spirit led me to
1 Corinthians 15:52,
Matthew 24:29-31 and other related passages, I begin to
see the Post (after) Tribulation (trouble) Rapture (catching up). I eventually found that the prophetic passages of the
Bible started fitting together like scattered pieces of a picture puzzle. The real picture that God had painted begin coming into focus.
Troubles before the Day of Our Delivery
Also, I found that the truths of trouble
(Mat 24:29-31), pain
(Isa 26:17-27:1), sorrow
(John 16:20-22) and suffering
(Rom 8:16-23) before the day of our delivery are Biblical,
and a pre-trib rapture escapist dogma was not. It can be so easy to accept, especially when a babe in Christ, in theory,
is taught that he will escape troubles. Who would reject such a notion? Down in my deceived heart, I assumed that
the troubles and pain I was experiencing in my life would sooner or later disappear. But you know…they never have
(John 16:33). Jesus said, "…narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life…"
(Mat 7:14 KJV). The Greek word
thlibo (G2346) for "narrow" was translated "afflict, throng, suffer
tribulation, trouble" and etc. in other verses of the Bible. Many assume that a loving Heavenly Father would not
let His children go through such ordeals, but they are necessary.
Generally speaking, many today are running from the truth and trying to avoid the troubles that come especially
when on the front lines. For sure I too work hard to avoid them. The thing is, in seeking God's kingdom, I'm
continually confronting them. I do not have to go looking. Many times they come uninformed.
When one comes against Satan's kingdom, a raging
battle should be expected. It took some time to cleanse my mind and heart of the escapist dogma, and learn the truths
that I know today. Now I expect troubles and the future Great Trouble (Tribulation) if I'm alive when it arrives.
The ones I'm going through and the narrow way are now more reasonable. The way to life is truly a narrow one
(Mat 7:14), and I believe I have found it.
Assume They Know
Some people who have able bodies and minds do not take the initiative to learn and do for themselves. They
expect others to do everything before they receive guidance. It could be they are lazy, and too proud to ask
question and for help. Others believe they know everything and can do it all. Then there are those who
want to be masters before first being servants. Some of the same people assume they know the Bible and what it says,
but never opening up its pages, even to check out what the Church leaders are teaching. And always wanting to be fed
the Word, but never feeding it to others. If you are like me, there are some things I will not understand nor can do without guidance first
(Acts 8:30-31). But then too I'm not
going to accept everything a preacher, doctor, lawyer or salesman says without checking it out for myself and
getting a second opinion. For some here is your chance, mainly to see if the Rapture you have believed in is true.
Unlearned and Ignorant Men
I do not consider myself a master or scholar of the Bible, but then I do not need to be. At times in the past
God used men such as Peter and John, perceived by some to be unlearned (uneducated) and ignorant
(Acts 4:13), to relay His messages. And today He is using me to build Bible studies to relay some important messages.
Are you in the active Army of the Lord and on the front
lines, or are you in the Reserves waiting for something to happen? If you are inactive, you need to get into the battle
for the saving of souls, and come against Satan's kingdom head-on, putting on the whole armor of God
(Eph 6:11-18). I'm hoping these following studies will help arm you, help
you to know the true Lord, the truth (especially about the Rapture) and your mission, and receive the inspiration you
will need to win your battles and make it through your troubles before the day of delivery. The Lord will always
be there for you no matter what your feelings might tell you. I need to say that He is so GOOD, far beyond we could ever imagine.