It’s August 21, 2017: “I don’t believe there is a Solar Eclipse”

backyard_eclipse_2017

“I Don’t Believe It”

I wanted to believe the Solar Eclipse of 2017 was real, but I couldn’t see it. Today August 21, 2017 there is expected to be a total eclipse of the sun by the moon but I’m not sure I believe it.  It’s not that I didn’t want to believe either.  I really wanted to see to the eclipse–I even brought my camera so I could show you. The trouble was that where I live the sky was overcast and the air carried a dull orange tint from nearby wild fires. I trust my eyes and I believe what I see. Perhaps you see what you believe. Yet, I scanned the skies in vain seeing only cloudy skies, fog and orange haze. Unless you count the fog, as far as I’m concerned there wasn’t any solar eclipse.

Do You Seek The Truth?

Of course if I should truly doubt the solar eclipse really happened, I don’t have to go far to find the truth.  In fact, according to eyewitness accounts there actually was a solar eclipse.  I even read about it online and saw some videos of what some eyewitnesses described as an “amazing” event. Some people say it was showing the hand of God. While others were simply awestruck.  Should I believe them? I don’t know these people. How do I know these accounts and videos aren’t fabricated or made up? But I still want to know if it’s all true and there is not a good reason not to believe there was actually a solar eclipse.

Many people don’t believe in the God of the Bible. Most often our preconceived worldviews get in the way of believing in Him.  Yet not like believing or not in the existence of an eclipse, many people hate or distrust the God of the Bible. Many of us by nature don’t want to hear what His word says about us.  Maybe you have been hurt by someone who claims to know God or know someone who has been. Perhaps there is great pain or trail in your life that hinders you from believing God.  I have battled things like cancer and depression and know about that kind of pain. Yet none of these things disprove that God is real. In fact it’s just the opposite.

Eyewitness Accounts

There are hundreds of eyewitness accounts and testimonies of the reality of God and who He is.  There are eyewitness accounts of Jesus and who He claims to be. Perhaps you have heard or know someone who has said they would believe in God of the Bible if He would only show Himself to them. The solar Eclipse did not show itself to me. Why should I still believe it was real?  I even went looking for it outside and did not see it with my eyes because there were clouds in the way.  Yet, does that mean it didn’t exist? Of course not. However I have a choice to make. I can choose to believe whether the eyewitness accounts of the actual event are true or not. Similarly, God has revealed Himself to us in His Word. Jesus Himself  has made claims about who He is and any person can freely examine these things to see if they are so. God will not hinder any person from seeking Him, if and when they choose to do so.

I suspect rather, any person who doesn’t believe in God is being hindered by their own selfish desires and lusts.  Simply put, they don’t to find God or God to find them. Sort’ve like a thief doesn’t want to find a police officer. That had been true for me in my life.

“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.” Isaiah 55:6

“The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  Luke 19:10

“Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

Are You Seeking God?

You know this, the world is crumbling and falling apart. People more and more seek to break the law and do harm to others.  However, God has spoken a stern warning to all who seek to ignore Him. We have all broken His Law (the Ten Commandments).  As lawbreakers or transgressors of the law we are all slaves of sin (doing evil).  Like the clouds blocking my view of the eclipse, sin blocks our view (or a correct view) of God.  As a result we are self-seeking sin-filled creatures who are at enmity with the God of the universe.

Here’s our biggest problem.  To enter heaven, God demands holiness, perfection and a sinless life.

Have you sinned? Broken God’s commands?  Are you willing to seek God?  To get started, try this quick test.

Have you ever lied? (9th commandment)
Stolen? (8th commandment)
  
Do you put God first in your life?  (1st, 2nd commandments)
 
Ever used God’s name as a cuss word to express disgust? (3rd commandment)
Hitler and Mohammed are not hated this much.
 
Lusted? Jesus said lust is the same as adultery of the heart.  (Matthew 5:27-28) (7th commandment)

 

These are just a few of the Ten Commandments. We are all guilty of breaking God’s perfect standard. But since God is holy, perfect and He cannot have sin in His presence (Psa. 5:4, Hab. 1:13) we deserve His righteous judgment in Hell.

One Way of Escape

Therefore, we need a Savior–a way of escape from His judgment for sin.   (James 2:10) 

Our trying to keep God’s commands to enter Heaven or by doing good deeds is not “good enough” since God as the Judge of Universe cannot be bribed. Because He’s Judge there is only one way in which God can provide this escape.  He must pay the penalty of our sins Himself.
 
He sent His Son Jesus Christ–God manifest in the flesh–to die on a cross paying the penalty for our breaking His Law (Sin). (Ro. 5:8)
Jesus rose from the dead after three days defeating sin and death (the second death in Hell). (1 Cor. 15:3-4) (Revelation 20:9-15)
When you repent from your sin (turn from it as in changing your mind about committing sin) and trust in Jesus Christ alone to save you from the wrath to come (judgment against sin), you will have eternal life! (John 3:36Titus 3:4-7Ro 6:23)
This is known as becoming born again.
What a great incomprehensible love God has for us when we seek it!
“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”   Romans 5:8


image is my own

 

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Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part One

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Minnesota Undercover – Part One (of Ten)

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

 

“You can’t go that way,” he said.

The man was tall with black bushy hair and a five o’clock shadow that appeared to cover the bottom portion of his face. He was wearing a midnight blue sweater, light gray pants and dark colored loafers. He was yelling to a man running ahead of him.

The second man who appeared to be of Middle Eastern decent, was much shorter and faster. His bronze colored hair was partially concealed but he was wearing a little brown fedora with a pink feather. He had on long lightly colored khaki pants and a rainbow vertically striped shirt that appeared to look similar to a woman’s silk blouse.

Then things turned strange.

“It’s raining, it’s pouring the old man is snoring!” The bushy haired man began to sing. “We got our tickets, we got our tickets!” He sang with a sense of pride in his voice. The taller man had nearly caught up to the shorter man now.

Suddenly I watched as the shorter colorfully dressed man, abruptly stopped running, began to spin around 180 degrees and then proceeded to do a back-flip in the middle of the room. The man then picked up what looked to be a metallic designer-style briefcase that had apparently been laying on the floor nearby. Than as mysteriously as both men had appeared, they quickly vanished.

I knew something about this story wasn’t making sense and then it hit me, it must be a crazy dream. It was becoming difficult to tell what was real and what wasn’t. I decided to yell to see if I was awake. I tried to yell something out loud but nothing—no voice.

As if this already odd situation couldn’t get any stranger, it did.

Suddenly I began feeling cold……and wet, really wet. Rain? Yep, that must be it—it was raining and I was outside somewhere in the cold wet rain. But where was I and why couldn’t I speak? I wasn’t sure but what was clear was that the black pants I had been wearing were now beginning to stick to my legs and the blue pullover I had on appeared to be glued to my back. I was drenched.

Then I felt something wrapped around my neck. It must have been the strap from the bag I was intending to carry on the plane.

That’s it! Then I remembered, I was at the airport! Maybe things were going to start making sense again. My flight! I’m going to miss my flight! I tried to run but I couldn’t. I seemed to be stuck.

Then I heard what sounded like a man yelling.

“Keep going this way….” I heard the voice trail off for a moment……then it returned.

“They’re gonna end up in hell!”

Although I couldn’t see anyone, I heard another male voice further in the distance.

“C’mon, we gotta hurry!”

I wished the man would notice my predicament. This time I tried to scream, hoping to get someone’s—anyone’s attention. I opened my mouth to utter the word, help! I was certain my lips were moving but I still couldn’t hear my voice. Was I deaf? Couldn’t be, since I thought I had just heard a man yelling.

Then I heard a female voice close by. The voice was one of gentleness and sorrow yet she commanded authority.

“I’m sorry sir,” the women said, “but this ticket won’t get you to heaven. I am truly sorry.”

I heard a man respond, sounding agitated.

“There’s no way we’re going to hell, if hell doesn’t exist!”

This time I wanted to respond aloud. But what if it does? I thought.

Then I heard another male voice yell, “We got a fire here! There’s a fire!” he yelled.

At that moment what Jesus says concerning hell began to flood my thoughts. What if these people were not part of a dream at all? What if there was a fire and people were truly going to die?! I felt the need to warn them and tell them what God says.

 

 

 

Suddenly a surge of pain ran up my arm. It felt like my left arm was being ripped from its socket. Then I felt the surge of pain again—this time it was even stronger. The pain began to ricochet around my shoulder and back through my arm again. Just then my whole body felt like it had hit a concrete wall—and hard. I opened my eyes to see the leg of a chair next to my head. I seemed to be lying on the floor in a pool of water. Continue reading

Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part Ten

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Minnesota Undercover – Part Ten of Ten

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

 

Everything went black for a moment, as if we had entered a tunnel but suddenly the bi-level coach we were in began to shake. As if in the middle of a massive earthquake the coach started to tilt and rock violently back and forth! It felt worse being on the upper level of the coach—we were sure to come off the tracks! And then there was the familiar smell of smoke as it filled the inside of our passenger car. Looking outside, daylight was rapidly being replaced by an eerie smoky night as the smoke grew thicker and thicker. I heard various screams and cries for help then loud explosions as if someone had lit a few sticks of dynamite next to my chair. I heard people yelling, “Get out! Get out!” and “Save yourself if you can!”

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Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part Nine

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Minnesota Undercover – Part Nine

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

Once we arrived at police headquarters, Natalie and I were given a ride to the train station by an agent officer from the headquarters. As I got into the back seat of the four door sedan, I took a seat behind the driver and Natalie got into the seat next to him. The dark haired driver was wearing a black suit coat, black trousers and sunglasses. The car itself appeared to be a brand new high-end luxury car. Inside I noticed the distinct new-car smell of leather upholstery. Then the curious thought of whether this particular car had been used as a bait car for catching car thieves crossed my mind.

My curiosity got the best of me so I asked our driver that very question. He shot me a half grin which I could see in the rear view mirror. Then he said, “That’s classified information I’m afraid. If I told you then I’d have to….”

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Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part Eight

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Minnesota Undercover – Part Eight

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

I immediately recognized the man as he walked to the front and then it dawned on me where I had seen him before. Sure enough it was the man who had fallen on me in the hotel lobby and it appeared to be the same man I had apparently seen do a back-flip at the Minnesota airport!

“My name is Martin Kasam,” he said with a clear but thick middle eastern accent. “I have been the lead special agent for the Federal Anti-Terrorism Division here in the Minnesota region.”

Martin talked fast but he seemed to have the unique ability of enunciating every syllable in every word as he spoke.

“I want to welcome you all here but we have much to cover so I won’t waste your valuable time.” he said.

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Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part Seven

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Minnesota Undercover – Part Seven

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

 

We continued walking along side agent Da Voy as he led us to each of our rooms. We passed four elevator doors on both sides of us and then I noticed rows of doors lined one after another throughout the long hall. It looked as if we had arrived at another hotel but this time by helicopter. As we passed a few more doors I noticed each door had a curious white letter and number combination printed on the front. I was contemplating the meaning of the letters and numbers when agent Da Voy stopped in front of door 2COR 520-1249.  He told us that this would be Natalie’s room and the room directly across from her was to be mine. Jacob would be in the room next to Natalie’s. The agent then handed us each an electronic room access card and told us we would find changes of clothes that may or may not fit among other amenities inside our room. My room number was 2COR 520-1250.

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Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part Six

Stone_Arch_Bridge_-_Minneapolis

Minnesota Undercover – Part Six

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

 

Once inside the helicopter, the sound of the rotors were still nearly deafening so I was thankful for the headset I was given. As the helicopter slowly lifted off the ground, I reflected back to my seeing the multiple helicopters circling the skies around the city as we arrived at the hotel.  Who could have imagined this?  I was now flying in a law enforcement helicopter headed to who knows where during what appeared to be the worst attacks this country had seen since September 11, 2001. I glanced out the right side window to see us now moving away from the Ritz hotel. The parking area below appeared to shrink in size as we continued to gain altitude. The chopper pilot banked the helicopter slightly to the left and then we leveled out momentarily. Suddenly it felt as if we were beginning to tip forward and then we began to speed briskly away from the hotel. What was this all about? I wondered again. Sure, it was exciting riding along as we were in a law enforcement helicopter no less, even though I had no idea where we were headed. Yet whatever it was we were part of, it seemed pretty important to involve special agents and undercover law enforcement.

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Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part Five

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Minnesota Undercover – Part Five

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

Just then Jacob reached his arm over my head toward my chest. I saw his hand was open as if he wanted me to shake it again but then I realized he was trying to help me up. I grabbed Jacob’s hand.

“That was quite a fall,” Jacob said as he pulled me up. Jacob pointed toward the other man wearing the Fedora. “I think someone pushed him.” he said. “We should find Russell and see if we can get out of here before things get out of hand.”

Things might have been already out of hand.  A large scale uproar was now beginning to erupt in the far side of the lobby. I heard a few of the people hollering and talking loudly. Some security officers rushed by us toward the commotion. Many of the hotel guests were growing increasingly agitated by the minute so I began to look around for our cab driver. Where was Russell? I had lost track of him after we had gone inside the hotel. He seemed to be on a mission.

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Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part Four

Stone_Arch_Bridge_-_Minneapolis

Minnesota Undercover – Part Four

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

Although Jacob didn’t verbally object to what I had just told them, I could see he was shaking his head. I was glad Russell had his eyes still plastered to the road during my mini sermon. We had been riding together on the same road for what seemed like more than only a few minutes and it had. Our car was one in a long line of cars on the Minnesota interstate, but at least we were creeping along albeit slowly and steadily.

As we continued driving in the direction of the Ritz hotel I was given the opportunity to mention how we can access God’s forgiveness. I told them how we must repent of our sin by turning away from it and by asking God’s forgiveness for breaking His commands. “We must make God’s sacrifice for our sin our own by putting complete trust in Jesus Christ alone.” I said.

I added by quoting a scripture from Romans 10:9. “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Jacob responded with an air of doubt in his voice. “Well since you brought it up, how do you know Jesus was actually God and not just another good prophet?” He asked. “Because He claims to be.” I said with assurance in my voice.

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Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part Three

Stone_Arch_Bridge_-_Minneapolis

Minnesota Undercover – Part Three

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

 

Jacob assured me he would be glad to help should the need arise.

“Thank you.” I told him feeling grateful for his help.

I still had questions I wanted to ask her. Did she have family in the area? Where was she headed to before we were forced to evacuate the airport? And none of us knew her name.

Jacob interrupted my thoughts. “So you’re a Christian?” he said directing his question to me. I sensed an air of disappointment in his voice.

“Yes I am,” I said. “But I need to clarify the word Christian because it means different things to different people.”

I wanted to clarify what I meant in detail but still wondered what he meant by saying he was more Jewish so I decided to ask.  “I am curious about what you meant when you said you were more Jewish? More Jewish than what?”

Jacob seemed hesitant to answer. “Um, that’s a good question…..” he paused for a moment, then continued. “I believe in God from the Torah, but there are things in the Bible I don’t believe.” he said.

“Like what?” I quickly responded.

Traffic had been steadily crawling on the interstate for some time now, but at least we were moving—even if it was only about fifteen miles per hour.

Jacob continued. “Well, like the Messiah—Yeshua as mentioned in the New Testament. I don’t believe He has come yet despite what you probably believe.” he said. “The Jesus mentioned in the Bible makes outrageous claims about His deity which I just don’t see as possible. There are other things I don’t know but we can discuss them if we have time.”

Russell quickly spoke up. “Well to me all the religions are a load of bunk.” He said sounding irritated at the direction of the conversation. “Especially when they teach that if you’re not a follower of them you must be killed.”

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