Monday, April 30, 2012
Several years ago I heard a Christian radio program (no, my memory does not contain the station nor speaker) discussing need versus calling. The world around is full of needs.
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. (Matthew 25:35-36 KJV)
Those needs exist in our world and it is our responsibility to be aware of them and care for the hungry, thirsty, strangers, unclothed, ill or imprisoned. Those who do not were also included in following verses:
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (Matthew 25:41 KJV)
But – no individual can do it all. God has given each of us a path. Paul used the example of a Christian married to an unsaved person – perhaps their actions, their examples, would bring their loved one to the Lord. Changed though we are, we continue on our path:
But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. (1 Corinthians 7:17 KJV)
The calling may not address but one specific need, helping to keep us from being overwhelmed by the vastness of the world’s needs. We’re to follow instructions for His purpose:
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (2 Timothy 1:9 KJV)
It is difficult to stand by and watch the needs flow around us when we know there is so much to be done, but we do need to be certain we are responding to God’s plan for our lives, His calling us to serve, instead of choosing that which seems right to us.
It is detrimental to the butterfly to assist it out of the cocoon. There are exercises that must be done in order for the wings to open fully, for the butterfly to be able to fly. There’s such a line for us, too, in helping others. Yes, stomachs must be filled, thirst must be sated, bodies must be covered, illness must be treated and we cannot allow prisoners to fade from our memories and their lives.
We are not, however, called to do it all. We are called to do His purpose. Paul knew his:
Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. (2 Timothy 1:11 KJV)
Often it is not easy to see past needs to our specific calling, so we should keep asking. Even Paul knew how difficult this could be:
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33 KJV)
We can be certain:
For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. (Romans 11:36 KJV)
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (Psalms 61:1-2 KJV)
The psalms of David hold such comfort! His heart opened in them and we know when he was sad, when he was lonely and here we know he was overwhelmed, seeking comfort in the Lord.
My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. (Psalms 55:4-6 KJV)
There are fears and terrors we see when we look forward, but not when we’re looking to God for answers, though for a time it may seem He is not there when at first we look.
I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah. … Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah. (Psalms 77:3, 7-9 KJV)
We do know the things we’ve done that would anger those around us – and we know what would anger God, allowing our wrong doing to keep us separated from His love.
One Psalm is set aside specifically for us when we are overwhelmed:
A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD. Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee. Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily. (Psalms 102:1-2 KJV)
When David was hiding in a cave and King Saul was certain to find him, he wrote:
Maschil of David; A Prayer when he was in the cave. I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication. I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me. I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me. (Psalms 142:1-7 KJV)
Truly, Lord, attend my cry, for I am brought very low. Answer me speedily. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. (Romans 3:1-2 KJV)
A very good question – basically, what are the Jewish people deemed special? Why is that important. Then Paul gives the answer – they were given the utterances, the very words of God. Thanks be to God, they shared.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (2 Timothy 3:16 KJV)
Why are the scriptures important? Again, Paul with the answer – by inspiration of God. Take a good look at θεόπνευστος, theopneustos – divinely breathed in by God – the scriptures were breathed into their writers, by God.
These scriptures – and Paul is referring to what we commonly call the Old Testament – are to be used for doctrine, to reprimand to instruct in the right way. But how did they become generally accepted as being God breathed? Over centuries of being proven correct in prophecy, valid as history and true as lives were lived.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. (Psalms 33:12 KJV)
God inspired those words, just as He inspired these:
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:3 KJV)
What about Paul, though? Writer of most of the New Testament? Here’s what Luke wrote of God speaking to Ananias:
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: (Acts 9:15 KJV)
But it was to Peter that God breathed the word that gentiles – that includes me!! – were included:
Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? (Acts 11:17 KJV)
If you have a few moments, read that entire 11th chapter of Acts. Such a witness Peter gives of God’s words and work in and through him! How important it is for us to understand today.
But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. (Acts 11:9 KJV)
Peter also testified that Paul’s writings were scripture, inspired by God:
As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:16 KJV)
The New Testament as we read it now was not compiled as such for many years following the apostle’s writing. There were arguments for and against more than what is now included. Not until a meeting of bishops in the fourth century were the books of the New Testament listed as we see them today. Should we question their validity because of this length of time?
No. Their inclusion was the result of their being well defended as accepted principles of Christ’s message, of God’s breathed words.
Friday, April 27, 2012
Although I was up fairly early this morning, and took some lovely shots of cloud formations (some leaving water trails that dried before hitting the ground) I didn’t want to take time to use one of them. Instead, here’s a photo of the Indian Hawthorne that use to grow in front of our front porch. The dry summer before last year’s drought took the last of them.
Growing in that spot now are weeds. Hardly even grass, simply weeds. We’ve been working on some other areas around the house (goat pens, you know) and a container garden at the end of the back porch, but this area has been neglected.
Right now it serves as a reminder of Jesus’ parable of the sower – while there may be some good ground, most of it is weed choked:
And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: (Matthew 13:7 KJV)
Today there are a lot of questions about “Why?” “Why didn’t Jesus proclaim Himself king then?” “If He’s the Prince of Peace, why do we still have war?” “If He’s the God of love, why is there so much hatred?” The disciples had their own questions of “Why?”:
And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. (Matthew 13:10-11 KJV)
The Bible gives us the best of what we need to know:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV)
Human reasoning, no matter how smart we think we are, cannot match the mind of God. We’re lucky if we can garner a five-year plan, much less make it work, and He’s created a universe that continues to spin beyond comparison. We know about His ways:
As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. (Psalms 18:30 KJV)
And, we know what He expects from us – and what we gain from following His ways:
Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. (Psalms 128:1 KJV)
May your day be blessed!
Thursday, April 26, 2012
The “pomp” comes from Greek for a solemn procession while “circumstance” refers to the details surrounding an event. We associate the phrase quickly with graduations, but it goes further.
I miss the bit of ‘pomp and circumstance’ that surrounded church services when I was a teen. The sanctuary was not used for much except worship services and we entered it quietly, with reverence. Of course, we had a separate choir room, so practices were not held there and we had a sufficient supply of classrooms, so it didn’t have to be used as one. Worship services, weddings, funerals – those were when the sanctuary was used.
I miss the structure of the King James Bible, too, when reading some of the newer versions. A recent blog (a very, very good article, too) used the following reference:
Jesus now called the Twelve and gave them authority and power to deal with all the demons and cure diseases. He commissioned them to preach the news of God's kingdom and heal the sick. He said, "Don't load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple; you are the equipment. And no luxury inns—get a modest place and be content there until you leave. If you're not welcomed, leave town. Don't make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and move on." (Luke 9:1-5 MSG)Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart. And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them. (Luke 9:1-5 KJV)
The message is similar, we get the gist in both versions. But the newer loses the powerful image of literally shaking off the dust of that entire city. A shoulder shrug leaves me with the image of a “Whatever,” attitude. Substituting “equipment” for money, bread, clothing or a walking staff doesn’t do it either. My Beloved Husband work construction. “Equipment” in my storage banks is a picture of bulldozers, backhoes and scrapers.
A “modest place”? There were inns back in Jesus’ day. Remember, Joseph couldn’t find room in one for his pregnant wife? Why use “luxury inns” when Luke used the Greek οἰκία which is a residence, by implication a family home? I like what Wikipedia says about the word: In Attic law, οἶκος (oikos, “house”) was all the property left by a person, while οἰκία was the house on that property.
Words matter. What we associate with those words matter. The pictures they invoke matter. Pomp and circumstance matters, too, or we would not have graduation services, weddings or inaugurations. We don’t do these things on a daily basis – they are special.
Going into our Lord’s house, the reading of His word – these should remain special, too.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
She’s a blur of feathers in front of my car’s mirror. She’s supposed to be paying attention to a couple of male cardinals flitting around the tree, but every once in a while she leaves them to hover and peck at the interloper.
She must have caught sight of movement when she flew by the mirror and now, instead of preparing her home for her children, she’s fighting against the interloper who might take away their attention. She’s lost track of her goal.
That’s sort of what happens to us, and one of the reasons several of our church members asked for Pastor to set up a revival. We’d lost track of our goals and needed a strong reminder. It became too easy for us to know what we should do, and not do it. We needed to focus on Paul’s reminder that we all have a similar problem:
For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. (Romans 7:15 KJV)
Paul is talking about the law, knowing the law, intending to follow the law, but not following it.
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. (Romans 7:18 KJV)
Depending on ourselves will NOT get the job done. Oh, we want to – just as with Paul, the desire to good is present with us. It’s the performance part we need to change. Just as with the lady cardinal, whose instincts tell her to build a nest, prepare for her children and raise the next generation – we’re distracted with things that are only a reflection of reality. Our attention is drawn elsewhere.
For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. (Romans 7:19 KJV)
Paul repeats the thought from verse 15 – emphasizing that we know the difference between good and evil, we just don’t live that difference.
Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (Romans 7:20 KJV)
We’ve been taught how to get rid of those sins.
And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. (Matthew 9:2 KJV)
Now, that was considered blasphemy! According to Jewish law, only God can forgive sins. There are specific rituals, written in The Law, specific requirements that must be done. Yet, here’s a man, a mere man, who says the words God should say – then tells them why:
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6a KJV)
We need to revive that knowledge in our hearts. We need to give thanks, as Paul did, for Jesus Christ.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 7:24-25a KJV)
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Our ‘revival’ started Sunday. We held a combined Sunday School in the sanctuary, followed by our worship service. We held a fellowship lunch afterward to celebrate the church’s 57th anniversary. A double row of tables in the gym allowed for four lines, so getting plates filled and finding a seat went very quickly. We returned Sunday evening.
Each service is similar – prayers, singing together, special music, then a short message from one of our church members who left us to go into full time service to our Lord – pastors of their own church, a youth pastor and pastors’ wives. A different one each service, bringing us up to date on what is going on in their lives, where the Lord is leading them, followed by a message from the Bible.
Then David Webb, pastor at Walker Springs Road Baptist Church in Jackson, Alabama, gives the main message each service – and each one is spiritually moving. David’s visual illustrations are memorable, and fit each person in the congregation. The one Monday night involved a young man, a retiree, our pastor, our youth pastor, a visiting pastor, our song leader and a rope designed for tug-a-war. All to illustrate Romans 7:14-25.
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (Romans 7:23 KJV)
I’ve run across one difficulty, after these services – I now have at least a week’s topics for devotionals and there are two more to come.
Four services, five speakers so far and I’m spending time explaining that there is more, much more I’d like to share with you.
Now, all I need is the ability to make time to get notes written out – and still get my house ready for company, attend two more evening services after taking my Beloved Husband to appointments in Fort Worth each day. Oh, yes – menu planning and grocery shopping for our weekend guests.
Tuesday and Wednesday will provide even more topics – two more short messages and two more powerful ones from Preacher Webb. That means more notes, more topics and as soon as I make some time, more reading here about those who seek, love and serve the Lord.
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25 KJV)
If you are in the area, please join us for the next two services. If you are not, please pray that these men will speak to us the message the Lord gives them, providing spiritual growth for each of us.
May your week be as blessed as ours.
Monday, April 23, 2012
That was a post relating to the funeral of a teen who committed suicide. I thought about that – six adults. Two parents, two sets of grandparents. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, what if there aren’t two, but four or more parents and step-parents. Multiple marriages might exist for the grandparents, too. Many more adults surrounding a teen, but that’s not enough, is it?
The first key is “who take interest in them.” Not their family's activities, not the paths family has laid out for them, not ignoring them and letting their peers raise them. Take interest in them, their questions, their education, their fears and their terrors.
I was with a woman and her two sons. During the conversation about her first husband and second marriage I noticed something in her oldest boy. “You were not the reason for their divorce,” I said.
His quick glaze into my eyes, searching for the truth, told me I understood. “Yes, I was. If I hadn’t been born, he wouldn’t have been so upset over the money it took to feed me. They’d still be married.”
They come to their own conclusions by observation, overhearing adult input. Six adults who care enough to take an interest in them can make tremendous changes in a teen’s life.
Childhood is important to our Lord:
And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. (Luke 18:15-17 KJV)
The trust of a child in their parent – how beautiful and how soon it can be lost. How can trust be restored? With help from those who know of, sought for and found such trust again. As David sang:
LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. (Psalms 131:1-2 KJV)
Can we be one of the interested six? I have listened, with a bit of trepidation, to a drama-filled teen expressing dislike of life and the not-so distant attraction of death. It is not a pleasant journey and there are lots and lots of prayer involved. It can be daunting, but there is help.
There is One who is not only interested, but cared enough to die for all, teens included.
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:15-16 KJV)
Sunday, April 22, 2012
I do enjoy the quiet mornings. My recent mornings have been spent blogging, then catching up with friends and on to breakfast followed working a bit outdoors. My new responsibilities include feeding a pregnant cat and not feeding a rat terrier, both of whom decided within a few days of each other that this was the perfect place to settle down. I’ve never seen an abandoned dog be so determined to stay where she was obviously not wanted.
That’s all behind us now – CatTwo will be presenting her litter one of these days then she’ll make a vet visit and remain outdoor mouse attack cat. The rat terrier stayed and was named Rodeck – after an aluminum racing engine head since the adoption was by Second Son-in-Law. Rodeck remains a bit skeptical about males, though. It might take a bit to bond.
They are the second part of my mornings. The first part remains reading and writing about the Bible and what it means (or says) to me. I’m still following a Chronological reading plan, but that’s of an evening. In the mornings I have the Bible open with no specific plan – usually I’m researching a specific topic or chapter, at random. Or, taking a verse I’ve run across, putting it in context and verifying that it speaks to me in the same way after I know who wrote it when and what was happening when it was written. Context, a very big topic for me.
Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. (Psalms 143:8 KJV)
That’s the verse that brought me to this point. Yes, I place myself in position and condition to hear His lovingkindness in the mornings. As David did, and wrote, I trust Him. I do want Him to lead me in the path I should walk and I have lifted up my soul as a gift to Him, though He created and owned it.
Isn’t it wonderful to know that God’s lovingkindness exists for us? Isn’t it better to listen to it at the beginning of the day when we can feel its warmth and comfort throughout all of our activities? David’s first mention of a morning start is:
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. (Psalms 5:3 KJV)
Don’t stop with morning! David didn’t:
As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. (Psalms 55:16-17 KJV)
He has heard my voice. He has answered specific prayers. There are many pending His final decision, too. I love this song for the Sabbath, too:
A Psalm or Song for the sabbath day. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, (Psalms 92:1-2 KJV)
May you be blessed through your time with the Lord.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Have you ever questioned someone in authority. If your answer is “No,” I think you’ve forgotten your childhood. Almost everyone, beginning around the age two, discovers they can say “No!” with quite enough emphasis as to catch their parent’s attention. Parents look upon that as being “cute,” for a little while. Then it becomes a breach of their authority.
People in authority expect to be obeyed. This doesn’t change as we grow older, though the opportunities to question authority change. In some instances, questioning authority has changed very bad laws. In others, lives have been damaged or even lost.
For me, there is a book that contains God’s history, His commandments, His plans for the future and should be used to settle arguments instead of starting them. The Bible is the source of reliable information on God’s interaction with mankind and is the authority of reference.
Jesus is often described as a rebel questioning authority. He is latched upon as an example for protestors who wish to change who is in authority. Perhaps a reading of the Bible would change that attitude. For example:
Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. (Matthew 23:1-3 KJV)
“Do as I say, and not as I do.” How exasperated do we become when we see our children emulate our actions, not following the verbal instructions we’ve given them. That rolls over into business cultures, too. Each company has a set of rules and regulations. They may be called best practices or go by a number of names, but they exist to create levels of authority for employees to follow. Ignoring them has consequences.
Jesus saw woe for those who said, but did not do:
But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. (Matthew 23:13 KJV)
He gives eight woes, just as He gave eight beatitudes – perhaps we could see a balance there. Matthew Henry’s Commentary does, and he goes on to say:
The scribes and Pharisees were hypocrites; that is it in which all the rest of their bad characters are summed up; it was the leaven which gave the relish to all they said and did. A hypocrite is a stage-player in religion (that is the primary signification of the word); he personates or acts the part of one that he neither is nor may be …Jesus’ words confirm this:
But all their works they do for to be seen of men: (Matthew 23:5b KJV)
Perhaps it works better when questioning authority we also listen to its answers. Be certain where the authority originates. Understand its foundation, the reliability and its source. Then consider Gamaliel’s recorded words:
But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. (Acts 5:39 KJV)
Friday, April 20, 2012
Several years ago I worked with a Young Man who bought into the advertising slogan, “Just do it.” Unfortunately, it carried over into his work and he was very good at placing a request on my desk with that on the note.
Equally unfortunately, we worked for a company that had specific practices for almost everything. There were not only government contracts handled by the company, but there was government oversight (federal and state) as to how the company was to do business. Better than ‘best practices’, there were specific written practices to be followed.
Our area handled contributions. There were many rules involved in how funding by the company was to be handles and even more rules involving who could receive the money. Young Man had no interest in learning the rules, much less complying with them. Fortunately, I had the authority to tell him, “No. We have to do it this way.” That information was not appreciated.
It was a matter of doing due diligence, knowing what should be done to comply, and why those reasons exist. Without that diligence, breaking the rules could result in fines for the company and a job loss for those not in compliance. Why take the chance?
This is nothing new, either:
The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want. (Proverbs 21:5 KJV)
Being careful, thoughtful and thorough not only indicates attention when doing something (whether it’s work, personal or biblical), it defines personality.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23 KJV)
For a Christian, the scriptures include further diligence:
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8 KJV)
How do you get that faith in the first place?
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 KJV)
I pray you enjoy doing diligence, and are blessed by doing so.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
The Bible tells us our Lord spoke those words. They came to mind this week when a friend wrote of a death.
She and her husband met a young man while in the service and were impressed with his life as they grew older. That man passed away this week, surrounded by family, loved by friends, his illness documented on a Facebook page filled with prayers of love asking for healing.
When she received the news, her first thought was that she must tell her husband, but she could not. He had passed away a few years before, and she was overwhelmed with sadness – for her own loss and for this new widow. Thank God, the Bible offers comfort.
The Bible does tell us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (II Corinthians 5:8). It also says that He is the God of the living, when Christ spoke of the resurrection and Moses and Abraham (Matthew 22:32). It was Moses and Elijah appearing with Him in the transfiguration that also speaks to me of being with Him (Matthew 17:3). In Revelation (6:10) the saints are before the throne asking, "How long?"
I see these two friends together, no longer concerned about the depth of their faith but having what angels have always had -- personal knowledge of Christ's abilities to keep that which we've committed unto Him against that day (I Timothy 1:12). What a reunion they had! Yes -- we envy them, but we'll have ten thousand years to share that, before we've just begun.
The answer to the prayers for healing, for Christ's hand to be upon them, how better answered than to be with Him, though we are left behind for a while. Just a little while, and that does bring a beautiful verse to mind:
A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. (John 16:16 KJV)
The Bible says we need patience, though.
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. (Hebrews 10:36-37 KJV)
For a little while.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
And Mizpah; for he said, The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another. (Genesis 31:49 KJV)
I’ve seen a number of these given as a token of close friendship or even love between people who are separated for a while. This should be another lesson in context, for the verse is not between ones who love each other. The exchange in this chapter is between a son-in-law who was cheated and the father-in-law who used his services for twenty years.
Jacob had worked seven years for Laban before he could marry Laban’s daughter, Rachel. Unfortunately, Laban gave Leah, his other daughter, in the marriage and required that in order to marry Rachel, Jacob would have to work another seven years. He did.
We won’t go into the dysfunctionality of this family so we can get to Mizpah much sooner. But let’s do take a look at how Laban and Jacob determined his wages once the family was growing. Laban’s herds had grown under Jacob’s management, so the discussion was:
And he said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock: I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire. (Genesis 30:31-32 KJV)
It was a successful agreement for Jacob:
And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses. (Genesis 30:43 KJV)
That caused discord among Jacob’s brothers-in-law, and Jacob received a solution from the Lord:
And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee. (Genesis 31:3 KJV)
Jacob did not, however, tell Laban. He left when Laban was away at sheep shearing and it took three days before Laban heard. He followed for seven days to confront Jacob. Jacob was rightly angry:
Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times. (Genesis 31:41 KJV)
Thus, when they reached an agreement and were to separate, they each built stone pillars:
And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed; And Mizpah; for he said, The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another. (Genesis 31:48-49 KJV)
The Lord was to be the witness that they would adhere to the agreement not pass those pillars to do harm to each other:
This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm. (Genesis 31:52 KJV)
Context. As I wrote last week, it is very important. Still want two necklaces?
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? (1 Samuel 15:14 KJV)
Saul had been commanded to wipe out the Amalekites. Everything had to go, the people, the livestock – nothing was to be left. Yet, Samuel could hear sheep and oxen. Obviously, a job left undone. Samuel called that to Saul’s attention:
And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. (1 Samuel 15:18 KJV)
No – I’m not going to discuss why God would have destroyed a whole people, though I may revisit that in another post. I want to look at two specific thoughts that came from this chapter.
First comes almost at the end of the story, after Samuel has told Saul that his kingdom would be given to another:
Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD thy God. (1 Samuel 15:30 KJV)
Notice the last two words. Saul doesn’t say “that I may worship the Lord my God.” He used the same “thy God” in an earlier verse:
But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. (1 Samuel 15:21 KJV)
That leads me to the second thought – what brought Saul into this situation:
And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. (1 Samuel 15:24 KJV)
He used the people as his excuse earlier:
But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. (1 Samuel 15:21 KJV)
As their king, it was his responsibility to lead – not to follow what his people wanted. Obedience is greater than sacrifices:
And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22 KJV)
A lack of obedience is rebellion. Saul’s had consequences:
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. (1 Samuel 15:23 KJV)
Had Saul looked upon Him as “The LORD my God,” then followed His commandments as such, the lack of obedience could have been avoided. I know from my own experience that maintaining a close relationship to my Lord assists in being obedient. I need to be closer.
Monday, April 16, 2012
That’s the center of our bulletin from Sunday morning. Now, lots of churches hold revivals, usually bringing in an evangelist to restore a sense of energy, grow activity and generally create a sense of renewal. We’re doing it a bit differently.
Yes, we’re bringing in a preacher from another church, but he was previously our Youth Minister before taking his own church in Alabama. His wife was a member of our church while growing up, too, active in music ministry – a good use for her voice. And, he’s not the only one returning.
The other photos contain at least one person who was a member of our church during their youth, dedicated their life to the Lord’s service, then went on to Bible college. Four preachers and three preachers’ wives moved on from our congregation to work in other churches. That’s a pretty good average – especially when you consider there are others who were not available to return this week.
However good it will be to visit with these former members of our church family; no matter how good the sermons are; even listening closely to them – none of that will revive our congregation. We know that has to come from the Lord, at our request with our hearts and minds focused on Him.
Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? (Psalms 85:6 KJV)
If we’re not rejoicing in our knowledge of our Lord, we sure do need to be revived!
I want to make this verse my own theme during the services:
You see, I realize how short of the goal my actions remain. Paul explained it quite well:
For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. (Romans 7:19 KJV)
My failure comes because I don’t practice what I believe:
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40 KJV)
So, I need to have my spirit renewed similar to having my body renewed by taking in sustenance. Just as we can’t go for long with out nourishment for our bodies, neither can we neglect our spiritual needs.
What better way to do that than with the fellowship of people we know and love. If you’re in the area, please join us (click on the graphic for website and directions.) If you can’t join us, please pray for us.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
We’ve all seen something similar to this – many times! If we’re lucky, we can remember what we used when we created the account. Other times we have to use the “Forgot …?” assistance.
Isn’t it wonderful that God has also provided such assistance? Didn’t realize that? How about:
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:31 KJV)
Isn’t it nice when the author lays his agenda right out in front of us? We don’t have to wonder what he wants us to know, John made it very clear. He told us much earlier that there’s no password required, either:
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:14-16 KJV)
To understand the New Testament, it is necessary to read and comprehend the Old Testament. In Numbers 21, those who left Egypt were disheartened, discouraged and complaining. They didn’t like where they were nor what they had to eat:
And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. (Numbers 21:5 KJV)
The Lord sent fiery serpents who bit people and they died. The survivors understood cause and effect, admitting their sins and asking for help. The Lord told Moses what to do:
And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. (Numbers 21:8 KJV)
We don’t have to log into secret areas, protected words, to understand what God has laid out openly for us for generations upon generations. The Bible is, literally, an open book – except where it has been outlawed in attempt to keep it from opening the eyes of the blinded.
Words are powerful. More powerful we realize if we believe John:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3 KJV)
Go ahead, log in to His Word.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
The Shunammite woman has a place in my heart. She was a woman of substance, and hospitality:
And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. (2 Kings 4:8 KJV)
She recognized Elisha as a man of God and opened her home to him. He offered a tangible reward for her thoughtfulness:
And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? And she answered, I dwell among mine own people. (2 Kings 4:13 KJV)
Don’t you like her answer? “I dwell among mine own people.” That carries so much meaning. “I don’t need anything. I’m happily at home.”
Elisha’s manservant noticed a lack in her life:
And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old. (2 Kings 4:14 KJV)
Within a season, that was remedied, and the child grew up, enjoying his father’s company:
And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers. (2 Kings 4:18 KJV)
But when his head began to hurt, he was sent home to his mother’s care, which was not enough to save him:
And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother. And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. (2 Kings 4:19-20 KJV)
She places the child on the prophet’s bed and heads out to find Elisha. I think of Horation Spafford when I read her answer to his question:
Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well. (2 Kings 4:26 KJV)
In the midst of loss, both Spafford and the Shunammite woman could say “It is well.” Spafford’s lyrics add “with my soul.”
Her story ended quite differently from Spafford’s. Her son was returned to her, for how long we are not told. Spafford’s children were not. Yet, he could pen “It is well with my soul,” and the song today is seen as uplifting, a confirmation of the peace the Holy Spirit brings to us in spite of trials encountered.
Do we require the restoral given to the Sunammite? Or, are we capable of accepting the loss life brings into every life? Do we ask for miracles? Or can we accept that God’s will does not bring everything we want?
Friday, April 13, 2012
Second Daughter read yesterday’s post and commented on the reference made to:
… Go, and do thou likewise. (Luke 10:37b KJV)
“Not really in context,” she said, and in a sense – she was right. The patient was not unknown to my Oklahoma Sister-in-Law, as the wounded man was unknown to the Samaritan. Others had not passed the patient and ignored needs.
Let’s look at some of the dialogue between a lawyer, caught in his own tempting question, and Jesus in Chapter 10:25-37, in context.
But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? (Luke 10:29 KJV)
… there are many lessons to take away after reading these verses, including our neighbors are wherever we find needs. There are other lessons, too.
One that came to my mind is the phrase “willing to justify himself.” That takes us back even earlier in the chapter:
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? (Luke 10:25 KJV)
This lawyer offers lessons on so many levels. First, his question was meant to tempt, to provoke Jesus. It was designed to elicit conflict and unpopular responses. Jesus knew this, and He knew the man had the correct answer:
He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? (Luke 10:26 KJV)
Jesus attributes to the man an education, a knowledge of the law, the ability to expound on its meaning, and the lawyer confirms his knowledge:
And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. (Luke 10:27 KJV)
This is repeated often – sort of makes you think God wants it to be important to us. The lawyer thought so and Jesus agreed:
And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. (Luke 10:28 KJV)
That’s when the lawyer gets defensive, wanting to show that his question was a good one, and acceptable, so we’re back to verse 29.
I’m not going to reiterate the parable of the Good Samaritan from verses 30-35, but here’s Christ’s question at the end:
Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? (Luke 10:36 KJV)
Yesterday’s patient did not fall among thieves. Instead, dire physical illness was taking a toll. OKsil wasn’t alone, either, in providing comfort, since the entire class joined in supportive prayer – and has been providing such prayer since diagnosis. I do, however, believe they provided mercy, too. Thus the inclusion of:
And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. (Luke 10:37 KJV)
We should read each and every verse in context. It helps to have a good Bible dictionary and a good commentary nearby, too. Study the chapter, the events in a number of translations. See if there are differences – or if the lessons given are valid. Trust, but try and prove.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
I introduced you to my Ohio Sister-in-Law last year (Osil) and now I want to introduce you to my Oklahoma Sister-in-Law (OKsil), a multi-talented lady whose sewing abilities are on display in several homes. She also does stained glass art, oil painting and is a decorator extraordinaire! She made this prayer quilt.
Those squares are two inches. The letters, along with the tiny numbers on the right hand corners, create biblical words and were designed to emulate a crossword puzzle game board. She embroidered each, sewed the tiny pieces together, quilted with batting and back, all done to provide a lap quilt for a patient. It was done to warm the patient’s body, all the while knowing that prayers were said during the making to keep the patient safe in God’s hands.
OKsil did this biblically:
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:3-4 KJV)
She did not tell the patient she was working on it. She carried the quilt to the patient one Sunday in a gift sack, handed it over with just a comment that prayers were being said and she hoped it would provide comfort.
The patient didn’t wait to open it. It was shown to those nearby and soon the teacher came to OKsil and asked if it would be OK for the class to know who made it and they would all pray together. “Of course,” she replied.
The quilt was taken to the front of the class, explanations given and it was prayed over by everyone wanting to share in the patient’s well-being. What beautiful memories were made that morning, and OKsil’s quiet loving care received the promised open rewards.
Nothing really remains secret, does it? Whether it be for good or for bad, our works end up on display, publically. The Bible is clear on that point:
But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out. (Numbers 32:23 KJV)
Our salvation is of utmost importance, but never forget the works done in our Lord’s manner and in His name:
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (Matthew 16:27 KJV)
John was aware of this importance:
If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:15-18 KJV)
This prayer quilt provides warmth, and was filled with prayers from many. Let each of us do as well for others, as Jesus said at the close of the Good Samaritan parable:
… Go, and do thou likewise. (Luke 10:37b KJV)
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalms 118:24 KJV)
I slept past dawn this morning. The animals I feed when I get up were very glad to see me. They were waiting patiently while I enjoyed a few extra moments of sleep. They were glad I got there, and I was glad to be there, too.
Each and every day is the Lord’s day for those who love Him. Each and every morning is a reason to rise up rejoicing, in spite of trials and difficulties the days bring.
The KJV Bible has 250 verses where a form of ‘rejoice’ is used 267 times. From Exodus through Revelation we are either exhorted to rejoice, found rejoicing or described as having rejoiced.
Though we rejoice daily in the grace and mercy offered by our Lord, there will come a time:
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:7-9 KJV)
Can we rejoice when we can’t see the sunrise because of all the dark clouds of despair? When our hopes are shattered? When the loss is so great that we cannot see tomorrow?
Yes, we can. Through tears and sorrows, pain and anguish, we can still rejoice for the hope given through God’s grace.
(16) Rejoice evermore.
(17) Pray without ceasing.
(18) In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
(19) Quench not the Spirit.
(20) Despise not prophesyings.
(21) Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
(22) Abstain from all appearance of evil.
(23) And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Monday, a young man did not wait patiently. Yes, it was five o’clock traffic, but it was moving smoothly just under the posted speed limit. A “surface” road, heavily travelled, but multiple turning opportunities into shopping centers, eating establishments and gasoline stations on corners. Three lanes, so through traffic could use the far left for a quicker flow. It paralleled railroad tracks with left turn lanes at signals, leaving it virtually unimpeded.
Except when cars weren’t moving as quickly as one driver desired. A lane changer became evident to my grandson. I couldn’t see it, as I was in the back seat (a little concerned about the amount of traffic in Fort Worth – out here in Paradise, four cars at a corner is considered high traffic flow.)
I felt it, though, as the GMC 3500 crew-cabbed long-bed brush-catcher caught the left rear quarter of my beloved PT Cruiser. The car that had served me so very well for eight years and over 125,000 miles got it’s very first dent.
Oh, it had some rock-chips on its brow and a couple of very light door dings from inconsiderate parkers, but below the paint line, it was quality. I had sold it months ago to my grandson for his wife to drive their children to and from school. Perfect car for that. They had allowed me to be with them when they traded it in for a larger SUV to handle road trips with their four children and a friend or two. The transaction would have been finished this week.
Now, it won’t.
The impatient young man driving that one-ton pickup owned up to his error, pulled over into a parking lot, exchanged information, called his insurance company right then and accepted full responsibility for the incident. He spent an hour beside the street, because he couldn’t wait for the car in front of him.
David told us twice in Psalms:
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. (Psalms 27:14 KJV)
Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it. (Psalms 37:34 KJV)
Apparently, his son got the message:
Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee. (Proverbs 20:22 KJV)
Jesus put it a little differently, but with the same meaning:
In your patience possess ye your souls. (Luke 21:19 KJV)
When we don’t see why we should wait, we hurry too fast and change our future.
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. (Romans 8:24-25 KJV)
Monday, April 9, 2012
I regretted the SCOTUS decision, believing there would be abuse. I never expected something that was published in the Journal of Medical Ethics by Australian philosophers. My niece brought the article to my attention.
While researching what she posted, I found BioEdge.com had an in depth review. One quote caught my eye:
They argue that both the fetus and the new-born infant are only potential persons without any interests. Therefore the interests of the persons involved with them are paramount until some indefinite time after birth. To emphasise the continuity between the two acts, they term it “after-birth abortion” rather than infanticide.No, that’s not the currently acceptable ‘partial-birth abortion’ where the fetus’ head, but not the body, leaves the womb and the fetus is killed. These ethicists believe that ‘after-birth abortion’ is an option that should be utilized. Their paper “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” states:
These ethicists wrote:
AbstractAbortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus' health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.
This means that many non-human animals and mentally retarded human individuals are persons, but that all the individuals who are not in the condition of attributing any value to their own existence are not persons. Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life.Please note their equation of “… many non-human animals and mentally retarded human individuals are persons …”
I have no scriptures to quote. People who believe them already understand the importance of life. Those who don’t will not be swayed by them. I can only share the ethicists conclusion:
If criteria such as the costs (social, psychological, economic) for the potential parents are good enough reasons for having an abortion even when the fetus is healthy, if the moral status of the newborn is the same as that of the infant and if neither has any moral value by virtue of being a potential person, then the same reasons which justify abortion should also justify the killing of the potential person when it is at the stage of a newborn.Can we accept their conclusion? There are a number of interesting responses, and one states:
If one accepts the rationale of abortion in the first place, there can be no drawing the line at such silly boundaries as birth and death. Ultimately the State can use such reasoning to kill anyone, any time.Where is the line to be drawn?
Sunday, April 8, 2012
International Standard Version (©2008)
They kept saying, "The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon!"
New International Version (©1984)
and saying, "It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon."
New Living Translation (@2007)
who said, "The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter."
English Standard Version (©2001)
saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
saying, "The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon."
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.
Doesn’t matter which version of the Bible is chosen, the Lord is risen indeed!
It doesn’t matter which Christian church says it, this is an absolute truth as stated by the Fairfield Presbyterian Church’s website:
This bold declaration of truth, faith and historical fact is at the very core of the Christian faith. To deny this is to deny the Christian faith in total. Without the Resurrection of Christ there can be no Gospel, i.e. no good news about salvation.Yesterday I posted:
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. (1 Corinthians 15:19 KJV)
Well, it isn’t only in this life that we have hope in Christ, as Paul continued:
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:20-22 KJV)
This is the reason for worship on the first day of the week. This is the reason the gospels were written. This is the reason Paul turned from being:
an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; (Philippians 3:5b)
Instead, he became:
Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) (Galatians 1:1 KJV)
So, once a year we look upon His death, and fifty-weeks a year we look upon His resurrection. We believe:
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV)
The “Why?” comes in one earlier verse:
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) (2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV)
How do we get faith?
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 KJV)
Come – walk with us, please?
Saturday, April 7, 2012
This graphic, titled Sea of Sadness, makes me think of Jesus’ followers the day after His death. How lonely they must have felt. Especially Peter, having denied his Lord three times – just as Jesus prophesized.
All their hopes were in vain. There would be no Messiah saving the children of Israel from Rome. Soldiers would continue to march through Jerusalem.
If this was all there was:
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. (1 Corinthians 15:19 KJV)
Don’t you know they were miserable? Very, very miserable. Like us, they only half listened to Jesus during those three years.
They heard what they wanted to hear. Kingdom! We read that word127 times in the four gospels.
Three times it is used by Jesus as “my kingdom” – twice in one verse we should heed closely, where He answered Pilate’s question, “Art thou the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. (John 18:36 KJV)
Fifty-five times in the gospels the reference is to “kingdom of God.” The verse that I like best that includes that phrase isn’t in the gospels, though. It’s in the 28th chapter of Acts where Paul and Luke journeyed to Rome. The journey itself is remarkable. In verse 17, Paul is in a private home – a prisoner of Caesar, but with certain privileges. He calls upon the leaders of the Jewish community to visit, and he explains to them why and how he was in his current situation.
And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee. But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against. And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. (Acts 28:21-23 KJV)
You see, he told them what happened after this Saturday of dejection and despair. He told them why the followers of Jesus were called Christians, followers of the Messiah. He told them about what happened on the first day of the week after the crucifixion.
What happened after Paul’s visitors listened is just exactly what happens today:
And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. (Acts 28:24 KJV)
Friday, April 6, 2012
The Bible doesn’t tell us anything about what Christ asked for Himself, until we get to the Passover night where He prayed:
And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matthew 26:39 KJV)
He knew what was coming.
And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified. (Matthew 26:1-2 KJV)
Yet, He asked. And, perhaps this would be construed as asking:
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. (John 19:28 KJV)
The One who told a Samaritan woman about water that sated thirst says “I thirst.”
Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. (John 4:13-15 KJV)
As Mark and Bev Lowry tell us, He who made the rivers, He who made the sea, said “I thirst.”
David foresaw that He would:
They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. (Psalms 69:21 KJV)
And, at first He didn’t:
They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. (Matthew 27:34 KJV)
Then He did:
And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. (Matthew 27:48 KJV)
He told us that we would be blessed for our own thirst:
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (Matthew 5:6 KJV)
I think of His death this Good Friday and cannot imagine the feeling of loss experienced by His disciples. They did not remember His words, did not recall His deeds. Nothing in this world, even the principalities and powers, understood the necessity of His death. Had they, Paul explains,
… for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Corinthians 2:8b KJV)
Everything else our Lord prayed, all the words He taught, glorified God. He asked not for Himself. May we do both, too.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. (John 18:12-14 KJV)
John felt that was important enough to repeat, for he wrote the same thing earlier:
And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. (John 11:49-52 KJV)
Caiaphas wasn’t the only one to make a statement which turned out to be prophetic:
And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. (Genesis 22:8 KJV)
The word translated ‘burnt offering’ is לעלה and the word translated as ‘lamb’ is לו השׂה. I do wish I had spent some time learning more about the source of these words, but do appreciate the Strong’s numbers for seeking the source and meaning of the translations. It makes it easier to understand why John the Baptist would offer another prophecy as he proclaimed:
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29 KJV)
I see in the four gospels the fulfillment of Isaiah 53, wherein he describes:
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3 KJV)
There is so very much in Isaiah that prophecies our Lord. Though I cannot know why, it means much to me that we understand:
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6 KJV)
Truly, a mystery ordained by God from the beginning, which remained unrecognized:
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Corinthians 2:7-8 KJV)
Had it been recognized, had they known it, prophecy would not have been fulfilled:
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 KJV)
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Bro. Brad’s Blog brought this verse to my attention, the probable source of today’s title:
Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter. (Ecclesiastes 10:20 KJV)
The source of Brad’s blog was the story of President Obama’s comment to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, basically predicting this fall’s election. Naturally, he wins.
Don’t laugh over those caught by open microphones – there are other ways we get caught that hath wings to tell the matter!
It’s not just since microphones and the internet that people have found their words go much further than they expected. While politicians are adapt at spinning the most ridiculous gaffes into reasonable explanations, most of us just shrink when we’re caught.
We start as children with the game “Gossip” – oh, my! we used to! Do they still play that game? Where we sat in a circle, one person whispered to the person on their left, all the way around the clock until the last person repeated aloud and we all laughed at how different it sounds.
Too often it’s played in reality. I remember once instance when a piece of information was passed on to me as a prayer request. I asked a question, the caller didn’t know the answer and said she would find out. A few moments later I received a call from the source, telling me the information I had given was in error. I tried to explain it was a question asked, not information given. We can’t know how anything we say will be received.
We obtain a lot of information one on one by facial expression and body attitude. Remove those and we’re left with voice inflections. Remove that when we write and we’re left with words that can be misconstrued, misunderstood and sometimes mistrusted. So, it is to our best interest that what we tell others, in any method, is what we mean and nothing more.
So, as found on QuoteDiary.me, before we tell, call, write, we need to THINK:
T – is it true?Or, we could simply follow scripture in all of our communications:
H – is it helpful?
I – is it inspiring?
N – is it necessary?
K – is it kind?
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 KJV)