Blood Moon Rising

“I will set wonders in the heavens and the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke; the sun will turn to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and awesome Day of God” (Joel 3:3).

The result of a total lunar eclipse is that the moon will appear reddish-orange in color, a phenomenon known as “Blood Moon.” The intriguing color is the result of the moon passing through the earth’s shadow. In fact, this Saturday’s blood moon is merely the third of four blood moons within a year: April 15, 2014; October 8, 2014; April 4, 2015, and September 28, 2015. This close interval frequency is a very rare event. In fact, before the 20th century, there was a 300-year period when there were no such eclipses. In the words of NASA, “getting four umbral eclipses in a row is like drawing a rare lunar poker hand of four of a kind.”Although single blood moons happen fairly regularly, four appearing so closely together is extremely rare. There have only been a series of blood moons a handful of times over the past 500 years.

What does the Torah(first five books of Hebrew scripture)and Jewish tradition have to say about blood moons? Well, for starters, the first eclipse of the four appeared on April 15,2014 on the Jewish holiday of Passover, a pivotal event that commemorates the ancient Israelites’ Exodus from slavery in Egypt. As those familiar with the book of Exodus know, God unleashed ten plagues upon the Egyptians when they refused to follow God’s command to free the Jewish people.

The first plague was “blood”. The 10th and final plague was Death of the Firstborn (at which time the Egyptians literally kicked the Jews out of Egypt). Death is always associated with blood. Not only that, but the Israelites were commanded by God to paint lamb’s blood on their doorways so that the plague of the Firstborn would pass over their homes. As you can see, there was much reference to blood in this passage.

Remarkably, all four Blood Moons coincide with major Jewish Holidays
The first blood moon occured on Passover 2014, followed by the holiday of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles)2014, then again on Passover 2015 and then again on Sukkot 2015.

Curiously major events of significance to the Jewish people happened on each of the last three recorded times that these rare blood moons occurred. They were events that changed the course and direction of Jewish history for all time. A blood moon coincided with the Six Day War in 1967, when Israel liberated Jerusalem; Jews were able to return to Jerusalem after 2000 years of Exile. Sadly, Jewish blood was spilled during this war.There was also a blood moon on the eve of Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948, following a bloody war that took place only a few years after the Holocaust, when six million Jews were destroyed.

Is the Blood Moon a Sign from Heaven?
Believers around the world of diverse faiths are attributing the blood moon phenomenon to the teaching of the prophet Joel, who had preached:

“I will set wonders in the heavens and the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke; the sun will turn to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and awesome Day of God” (Joel 3:3).

Inspired by the concluding words of Joel, some are suggesting that the blood moons are a sign from God that we are one step closer to the coming of the Messiah.

Is something wild or miraculous going to happen during the course of the upcoming series of blood moons?  Perhaps the words of the Talmud(Jewish civil and ceremonial law) can give us some insight on how we should relate to all possibilities and speculations:

“When the Jews perform the will of God, they need not worry about omens [or celestial phenomenon]. Thus says the Lord ‘Do not be frightened by the signs of the heavens.’” (Talmud Sukkah 29a)

Believers look forward to times like this. Jesus said there would be signs to alert His coming. No one can say with any degree of certainty when Jesus is coming again, because He said clearly that even the angels in heaven do not know that day (see Mark 13:32). No man knows that day, and the Son of God, when He was on the earth, did not know either. This knowledge, the Lord Jesus said, was strictly reserved for the Father. However, we are getting closer to the moment when we will be gathered together with our Savior. If you are a believer, it is time to work even more vigorously for the Father’s glory. If you are not a believer, it is time to trust Christ as your SaviorWe receive new life by faith… believing that Jesus died for our sins, that His death was in our place, and that His payment for sin is fully acceptable in God’s sight. …Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved… (Acts 16:31).

In Jesus’ Name…Amen

Where and when to view the April 4th 2015 eclipse:





The Race You Never Win

“No matter how fast you run, you won’t escape. No matter how strong you are, you will lose your strength.” Amos 2:14

Running away is a race you never win. Running from our problems has, unfortunately, become more and more commonplace in our society. Tenets run out on renters, a spouse runs out on their family, and debtors run out on their creditors. People seem to be running in all directions; running from their fears, from other people, from their responsibilities and running from God.

Jonah tried to run away too. The book of Jonah  opens with God speaking to Jonah, commanding him to preach repentance to the city of Nineveh. Jonah found this order unbearable. Not only was Nineveh known for its wickedness, but it was also the capital of the Assyrian people, one of Israel’s fiercest enemies. Jonah, a stubborn fellow, did just the opposite of what he was told. He ran to the seaport of Joppa and booked passage on a ship to Tarshish, heading directly away from Nineveh. The Bible tells us Jonah “ran away from the Lord.” But Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). The trouble is, there are a lot of difficulties in life that we simply don’t want to embrace. Some things seem too hard to confront. Often times we’re afraid we’re not strong enough, we fear suffering, we fear reprisal or we don’t want to be embarrassed.

Sometimes, like Jonah in the Old Testament, we have a tendency to run from what we don’t want to face. Yet the Bible portrays God as a refuge where we can find safety: “He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield” (Psalm 144:2).

So what does God ask us to do instead of rationalizing our behavior or bolting for the nearest exit?

1. God is your Refuge, Keep Him close.

It’s easier to recognize a disconnect between the truth and whatever we tell ourselves when we’re very clear on what the truth is! Bible reading, prayer time and service to others helps clarify our vision. We can frequently pray, “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

2. Admit your Problem.

Paul speaks for all of us when he says, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15). We’re always more focused on staying on track when we recognize that we frequently fall off it!

3. Define the Fear.

Fear is often a sign that in some way we aren’t trusting God. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment” (1 John 4:18). Whenever we fear, we need to think of it as a red flag that signals we’re likely to run!

4. Don’t Rationalize.

One of the key markers is the word “but”  (as in, “I did wrong but…”). Try to go for a whole day—and then an entire week!—without blaming anyone or anything. Look only for the plank in your own eye (Matthew 7:4) and figure out its true dimensions.

5. Be Quick to Reconcile.

We can’t have a good relationship with God until we face—and clean up—the messes we’ve made. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).

Whenever we want to run from something, we must train ourselves, instead, to run to God. “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent” (Psalm 27:5). To do this we must be honest with ourselves and honest with Him. And we must never give up hope. After all, even Jonah (Jonah, chapter 3) got a second chance!

So what problem are you running from today? What issues are causing you to “lose your strength?” Make up your mind to stop right now and deal with them. “Do not give the devil a foothold” (Eph 4:27) by spending one more day on the run. It doesn’t matter how badly you’ve failed in the past, “The blood of Jesus…cleanses us from all sin” (1Jn 1:7 ). Whether it’s a stubborn habit, or someone you fear confronting, “step up to the plate.” The thing that’s chasing you will lose its power when you face it down in the Jesus’ Name. Paul says, “Having done all… stand” (Eph 6:13), …and you do that through the power of God, not in your own strength.

Father, we surrender ourselves to you this day and every day and ask you to intervene on our behalf. May we be strengthened by your Spirit to never run away from our fears, our responsibilities, from other people or from you. May we stand strong and confront the things that hinder us. May we always run to you in all that we do, that we may be strengthened and empowered to complete the plans you have for us. In Jesus’ Name…Amen