The Story Behind “Prophecy Connections”
Hi, my name is Paula …
I am a daughter, sister, wife, mom, aunt, grandmother and friend. I’m a follower of Jesus, a published writer, and 20-plus years ago I was called by God to be a “watchman.” Here’s what happened …
In January of 1994, I began experiencing symptoms of a debilitating illness known as fibromyalgia syndrome. By January 1995 my primary care doctor and assorted specialists had labored to come up with a diagnosis, but there would not be one for another six months. I felt like I was doing physical and spiritual battle with some unidentified, relentless foe.
My daughter, Lisa, was back at college in Phoenix after Christmas break. My son, Jonathan, was on the treadmill toward high school graduation. For years I had convinced myself that I would be overjoyed when that moment of freedom finally arrived, but now I was realizing that I’d miss the delightful madness of my volunteer work with teens. And since I didn’t know what was happening with my health, the future as an “empty nester” seemed much bleaker than I’d been willing to consider up to that point.
I was at a loss for something to do that momentous winter afternoon. I was in constant pain, however it was the fatigue and lack of understanding concerning the foe I was fighting that had taken the greatest toll on my body and mind. My immediate desire was to crawl back into bed and cover my head with pillows … many pillows. But I knew in my inner being, that wasn’t the route I should take.
Then I remembered the gift certificate to the Christian store in town that Jon had given me for Christmas. I had tucked it away and had all but forgotten about it. Hmm … I loved shopping at that store, so a trip downtown might relieve my doldrums. I located my shoes and purse and dragged my sorry self to the car.
When I entered the store, I felt surprisingly underwhelmed. Ordinarily, I would have immediately noticed any number of things that I wanted to buy, only to realize that I didn’t have enough money. Or I wanted to browse but I didn’t have the time. Now I had both time and a generous gift certificate, but absolutely nothing clamored for my attention.
I strolled past aisles of books, stationary, gifts and artwork. Then I started over and did the walk-through a second time. Nothing – nada – interested me. Heading home and crawling back into my bed seemed much more appealing.
I was just about to exit the store, when my eyes drifted toward a corner shelf filled with books and labeled “PROPHECY.” My first impulse was to turn away. At that stage of my life I was absolutely NOT interested in the speculation of pompous men who were convinced they knew the mind of God concerning the future. A swell of resentment toward the authors rose in my throat. But then I experienced a gentle urging from the Holy Spirit … Go check it out. I want you to….
As I walked closer, my eyes were drawn to two specific books. One was Planet Earth: 2000 A.D. by Hal Lindsey. The other was A Woman Rides the Beast by Dave Hunt. I remembered that, when I was a kid, I’d seen a book lying around my grandma’s house called, The Late Great Planet Earth, also by Hal Lindsay. But I had no idea who Dave Hunt was, and at that moment I could not have cared less.
A small spark of curiosity encouraged me to step up to the plate, pull the books down and flip through them. I actually found them interesting. So, since I had not found anything else that I’d even remotely wanted to purchase, I decided that these books would do. As a result, I was introduced to the pretribulation rapture theory and a select history of the Roman Catholic Church.
When spring rolled around, I accepted an invitation to go shopping at an outlet mall, about a 45-minute drive from my home. I was still struggling with pain and sudden episodes of fatigue, so I was uncertain that I should tag along on the outing. And, once again I had nothing in mind that I was shopping for.
We came upon a bookstore, and as I was strolling and browsing, the same thing happened that I had experienced at the Christian store in town. Two more random books commanded my attention! The first was The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church by Marvin Rosenthal. The second was written by Robert Van Kampen and titled, The Sign. The subject matter of both seemed very different to what I’d been reading in Hal Lindsey’s book. I felt burdened to buy them – and after all, they were deeply discounted. As time dragged on toward the beginning of a new century, it became apparent that I’d been led to those books for a purpose. I just had to figure out what God wanted me to do with the information.
Numerous prophecy books and my Bible became my companions as the debilitating “fibro” symptoms pulled me away from the company of family and friends. Fatigue weighed me down during the day, but at night I was wide awake. So I’d sit in my favorite recliner and read and read and read. I’ve never been a fast reader, but that didn’t matter. Nights can seem unbearably long when there is no relief from physical pain.
For the first time, I began to recognize the golden thread of DNA that’s woven through the Old and New Testaments. I started in Genesis and read straight through to Revelation. The ancient people I’d heard, taught and written about over my 40-year lifetime were coming to life, and I actually understood the Bible’s purpose. It’s not a world history, as many people believe. It’s the account of a family line that connects from Adam and his son Seth down through Abraham, his son Isaac, and grandson Jacob. It’s about Jacob’s 12 sons (tribes) and the DNA that flowed directly from Abraham to his promised son Isaac to Jacob (ISRAEL) to JUDAH to DAVID to JESUS, the promised Messiah.
I discovered that when it comes to “end times” prophecy theories and teachings, for every “absolute” touted by any number of Bible scholars, there are just as many “prophecy experts” and hobbyists who disagree and insist, “They’re wrong! Listen to ME.”
I’ve learned that God’s Word can be twisted in astonishing ways to accommodate and underscore man-made “truth.” Now, more than two decades later, I believe that my lengthy and challenging journey has prepared me for a specific purpose – to offer simplicity, humility and hope to ANYONE who feels overwhelmed by current world events, media misinformation, and an overwhelming topic that just won’t go away: “the end of the age.”
Jesus’ own words identify the narrow way that leads to eternal life with him. And his end of the age timelines – largely ignored by prophecy scholars – reveals how to know IF we are the generation that will witness “the rapture.”
God is moving. He has a plan.
And because he has designated me to be a watchman, it’s my responsibility to watch and WARN.
“‘…if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head. 5 Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves’” (Ez. 33:4,5)
I’m feeling a lot like Jonah.
Maybe you’ve heard the story of a Hebrew man who received “the word of the Lord” telling him to go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because of its wickedness. Jonah didn’t want to do that – so much so that he ran away … at least that’s what he had in mind….
Trying to flee from the Lord, Jonah boarded a ship, but after the ship set sail, “the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up.” The sailors were so afraid that they started to throw cargo overboard to lighten the ship. Unfortunately, that’s where Jonah was hiding.
The sailors decided to cast lots to see who was responsible for bringing such trouble upon their ship. The lot fell to Jonah, and they asked him, “Who are you?”
Jonah answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.” Jonah told the sailors the story about how he was running away from the Lord. As the sea became even rougher, Jonah said, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea, and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm came upon you.”
The men feared the Lord and threw their passenger into the sea as a sacrifice to him. The Lord “provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.”
Jonah began to pray: “In my distress I called to the Lord and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep … I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight … When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. … Salvation comes from the Lord.”
And the Lord commanded the fish to vomit Jonah onto dry land.
But Jonah had not yet completed his mission. The word of the Lord came to him a second time commanding him to go to Niniveh and proclaim the divine message that had been given to him.
So this time Jonah obeyed. He went to Nineveh and declared to all who would listen: “In forty days, Nineveh will be overturned.” The Ninevites believed in the Lord God, so they declared a fast. The king himself took off his royal robes and put on sackcloth, then he sat in the dust and called on everyone to give up their evil ways and violence. “Who knows,” he said, “God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”
And that’s exactly what happened! The people turned from their evil ways, so God did NOT bring upon them the destruction that he had threatened.
Jonah was NOT happy. He knew that the God of heaven was compassionate and forgiving, and he had a feeling that the Lord would change his mind and choose to spare the city from destruction. He cried out in prayer and made his case to the One who had guided him to this place for this purpose: “O Lord, I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now TAKE AWAY MY LIFE, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
The God of heaven replied: “Have you any right to be angry?”
Jonah went off to pout. That was NOT the answer he had hoped for. He went out to a location east of Nineveh and built a shelter. He waited to see what God would do.
The Lord provided a vine to ease his discomfort, and that made Jonah happy. But the city was still not destroyed.
The next day, “God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. When the sun came up, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head … so he wanted to die.”
Jonah said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”
The God of heaven said: “Do you have any right to be angry about the vine?”
“I do,” Jonah replied. “I am angry enough TO DIE.”
But the Lord told him: “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should you not be concerned about that great city?”
The story ends there. The Lord God did not tell us what Jonah did after that … except that he must have written about his journey and his troubles and his feelings, because that’s how the Book of Jonah came to be included among the other books of the Bible. And that’s how we know about THE great and wonderful God of heaven who cares about people on Earth who don’t know their right hand from their left.
I often feel the same emotions that Jonah experienced when I’m trying to keep up with current events and prophecy connections in Scripture and in the news. So I covet your prayers for stamina and motivation to keep moving forward to provide different perspectives concerning many controversial issues.
Thank you for taking time to read about my journey and the creation of “Prophecy Connections.” I hope you feel blessed and encouraged!
With love in Him,