Thursday, November 25, 2010

Theology?

Theology can be defined as how God reveals Himself to us by the unveiling of His character, His will, and His plan so that we may better know Him as we continue our journey through this world. The importance of grasping a thorough understanding of Christian theology is not so much as to have answers to our questions, but it is necessary in that we may live a theocentric life in unity with God according to Scripture. “The value of theology is simply that it faces the task of bridging the gap between what God has disclosed for all time – disclosed in ways sometimes peculiar to a very ancient time – and how it can be understood in our time.” In these terms, the importance of theology cannot be overstated in the Christian life.


Through Holy Ghost revelation, God graciously reveals Himself to us as He spans the gap between divinity and depravity. “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). There is an absolute need in the Christian’s life for the revealed knowledge of God. This supernaturally exposed knowledge is essential whereby it confirms the Christian’s faith and encourages growth in the Lord Jesus Christ. As His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9), the fundamental truths revealed by the Holy Ghost through theological study brings us closer to God and understanding His mysteries. Theology is not limited to the elite or academic, but to everyone with a desire to draw nearer to God.

The divinely revealed principles can shed light on such troubled subjects within the Christian life such as how the spiritual man is to view the flesh. By the verses “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) and also “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14), we know Jesus is God incarnated in the flesh. If we examine the earthly life and ministry of Jesus Christ, we can learn by His example of how to understand, manage, and cope with this crude matter called flesh. “Man unfortunately does not understand God’s Word and so he tries continually to refine and reform his flesh.” To look at Jesus and how He dealt with this carnal shell, is to look at the quintessential example of how man should regard the flesh. Jesus was 100% God, yet He was also 100% man. He was God, yet “we find him hungry, thirsty, tired, moved to pity, and moved to anger.” He was God, yet He experienced pain and suffering. He experienced trials and temptations of the flesh that all men undergo. There is no perfect model to base our actions upon when dealing with the flesh other than the Lord Jesus Christ. To hear the way He prayed in the garden, “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42) and to hear Him tell the disciples to “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). Even Jesus Christ experienced the carnal aspect of this flesh, yet He sinned not. God knows the flesh, not only did He create it; He experienced life in it through the Lord Jesus Christ. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Through prayer and faith, we must sacrifice those fleshly desires and temptations to the will of the Father just as Jesus did. If we feed our flesh, we starve our spirit and if we feed our sinful flesh, we stray from the will of God.

Even within the church itself, the theological principles that are revealed to us through the Word of God can be used to pattern our own relationships. If salvation is indeed a free gift, as it is written in Ephesians 2:8, how much should this principle contour our own associations within the church? If the atonement of sin was satisfied by the suffering, humility, grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary, how then should this theological concept forge a pattern to the authority and discipleship within the church? Not everyone is a scholar or philosopher, “but if the great theologians can mark out the basic truth of revelation, using skillfully the instrument of human reason, the result will be faithful guidance in the life, work, worship, and prayer of Christians.” Undoubtedly, the theological truths we gather from Scripture form a solid foundation in which we can build the framework of our lives upon.

For instance, since salvation is given freely of God, we should be open and welcoming to every soul that is in our churches and our communities. To every saint and sinner alike, we should show the love and compassion that Jesus shows to the world. “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). It is God’s love that compels us to show His love throughout the world. Because of God’s mercy and grace, there is no benchmark for salvation. God is love and has given salvation freely to all men only if they believe. Because He died for all so that all may live, then therefore, we must all have been dead in our sins and in our trespasses. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23) is a truth that every believer needs to relay to a lost and dying world. Salvation is not purchased with riches or status. Salvation is not accomplished by good works or fancy words. No, salvation is freely given by our loving God so that we all may obtain eternal life through the shed blood of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Everyone must understand that salvation is a free gift and this can be shown in love as we relate to our peers.

“Even the most intellectually demanding of the topics and questions in theology were born of a basic pastoral concern.” We could also expound that the atonement of sin was accomplished at Calvary by the humility and suffering of the Savior and, in like manner, so should we also model the leadership within the church also with the same traits the Lord Jesus portrayed. The authority within the church should minister with the same humility and self-sacrifice the Lord Jesus graciously exhibited. The pastor of the church should serve the Lord and minister to the congregation with meekness and obedience to God’s will. Sin’s atonement was accomplished at Calvary by the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ through love; the will of God can be accomplished within the church by the pastor through love in the same manner of humility, suffering, and self-denial.

“To engage in theology, however, is not to amuse ourselves with the idea that our thinking approaches that of God’s. Instead, it is to recognize that God has taken into consideration our frailties.” God reveals Himself, His plan, and His will to us out of love because He considers our weaknesses from our humanities. Theology serves as a way to relay these meanings and messages to us through His Word. The interpretations and revelations that are divinely given, builds upon themselves like bricks of a building. Each basic theological truth is laid in place and compliments the previous principle like interlocking bricks that form a foundation and then a wall until brick upon brick a building is standing. God provides this understanding through His Word and by the Holy Ghost. “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (Isaiah 28:10). Through His Word and at the direction from the Holy Ghost, we take one theological principle then keep building upon that truth with another until we form a solid and sound theology that encourages, convicts, and strengthens our faith.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Feeding the Flesh

Feeding the flesh
Is starving the spirit
Empowering the carnal
Sowing to the wind
To reap a whirlwind.

Feeding the Flesh
Is wounding the spirit
Selling your birthright
For a bowl of soup
Which you cannot recoup.

Feeding the Flesh
Building a castle
On the sand
Which will come crashing
In the evil day.

Feeding the Flesh
Is killing your spirit
Mortgaging your future
Defying God
Agreeing with the devil.

Feeding the Flesh
Is corroding your spirit
Weakening your spirit
Polluting the spirit
Digging your grave.

Feeding the Flesh
Signing a contract
Of lose, lose, lose,
Weakness, weakness, weakness
And loss, loss, loss.

Feeding the Flesh
Is simply insanity
Embracing doom
Caressing destruction
Partying with damnation.

Feeding the Flesh
Is kissing the devil
Inviting malnutrition
Spiritual blindness;
Fancying folly.

Feeding the Flesh
Is sowing trouble
Fuelling rubble
Permitting downfall
Hating your spirit.

The choice is yours.
by Fenny West

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. -Matthew 26:41

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Map of USA

A father wanted to read a magazine but was being bothered by his little girl.


She wanted to know what the United States looked like.

Finally, he tore a sheet out of his new magazine on which was printed the map of the country.


Tearing it into small pieces, he gave it to her and said, "Go into the other room and see if you can put this together. This will show you our whole country today..."

After a few minutes, she returned and handed him the map, correctly fitted and taped together.

The father was surprised and asked how she had finished so quickly.

"Oh," she said, "on the other side of the paper is a picture of Jesus.
When I got all of Jesus back where He belonged,
then our country just came together."

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14

 
Thanks Della for sending this story.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Promise (The Prophets)

 The Old Testament prophets cover a period of time from approximately 760 B.C. to 450 B.C. From pre-exilic, exilic, and post-exilic periods, under various kings and even various oppressors, the prophets delivered God’s message of sin, judgment, and restoration to the nation of Israel and even unto the world. The prophets cried against sin to warn the nation to repent or face the wrath of God as consequence for breaking the Mosaic covenant that was established between the Lord and His people. Their various messages were definitely meant for modern application to the troubles of the day; however, the main message of sin, judgment, repentance, and salvation is the basis of the Genesis 3:15 promise. Although sin entered the world and God passed judgment, there is salvation and restoration through the promised seed of God in the Lord Jesus Christ.


Pictures of Christ can be seen in the messages of the major and minor prophets of the Old Testament. Pictures can be seen of the promised seed to come. Hints and scenes are given to prophesy the fulfillment of God’s promise.

 Isaiah

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins” (Isaiah 11:1-5).

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 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. 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 53:4-6).

 Jeremiah

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

 Micah

“Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:1-2).

 Zechariah

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10).





 Hosea

“After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight” (Hosea 6:2).

The prophets delivered messages and foreshadows of the promised seed that would break the bondage of sin. Foreshadows of the Lord Jesus Christ, Savior to mankind, who came to seek and save that which is lost. The fulfillment of God’s promise is the Lord Jesus Christ. So many years before the birth of Christ, depending on which prophecy was being preached, God was informing His people that He has not forgotten the original promise. The prophets preached the coming Jesus Christ as the crowning point of the promised seed. The promise never flickered, wavered, or changed from God’s intent. God’s plan is never revised because He is omniscient and therefore knows the end even before the beginning is ignited.

 

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Promise (The Sapiential Era)


The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. -Proverbs 9:10

The promise does not disappear in the wisdom writings, i.e., Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. The promise is actually strengthened by the wisdom of truth and life that are found in these books. God’s covenant of living in the promise as a sanctified people is not meant for walking blindly through this world. God gives instruction and insight for His people to obey.




 FEAR OF THE LORD

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…” (Proverbs 9:10a)

“Wisdom cannot exist apart from the source of wisdom; accordingly, it cannot be known or applied from the fear of the Lord.” Fear, or respect, of the power of the Lord is the crux of living a godly life. The fear of the Lord keeps the believer in obedience, in love, and in service as God states in Deuteronomy 10:12. Utmost respect for the Lord means to be fearful not to break His commandments and fearful not to offend Him.

There was nobody like Job. “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” (Job 1:8). Even before all the calamities that befell Job, he still feared God. It was the fear of the Lord that kept Job in service to God. The fear of the Lord is the reason Job hated evil and walked upright. Fear, in our negative connotation of today, has not the same implications as God desired His people to acquire. Our modern understanding of the word fear relates to abject terror, but this fear is the beginning of truth and wisdom.

Psalm 34 tells of an angel of the Lord that is around and able to deliver those who fear the Lord. In that same Psalm, David implores God’s people to fear the Lord “for there is no want to them that fear Him” (Psalm 34:9). David exhorts the people to reverence God and trust Him for He is able to protect and deliver.

The writer of Ecclesiastes states that in the business of life, all is vain. He declares that everything in life is meaningless. Wealth is meaningless. The sun rises and the sun sets. Seasons come and go. Wisdom is better than foolishness, but both the wise man and the fool will die. All of life is vanities! “But it would go well for those who feared God (Ecclesiastes 8:12), and they would come forth victorious having taken hold of true wisdom while rejecting evil (Ecclesiastes 7:18).” The fear of the Lord leads to wisdom, which in turn leads to the knowledge and understanding of God.



 KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD

“…and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10b).

Through obedience, love, and service, fear of the Lord in turn leads to the knowledge of the Lord. Knowledge is a great thing, but the Preacher in Ecclesiastes states that “he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” If one increases his knowledge of God’s ways, he increases his sorrows over seeing the wickedness of man. A man full of knowledge understands the result of sin. And when one understands the danger and destruction of sin, one sees the importance of the Genesis 3:15 promise and understands the dire need for a Savior.

The fear of the Lord led Job to his knowledge in the Lord. When Job expressed frustration on not being able to approach God in his troubles and trials, he said, “Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both” (Job 9:33). Job understood that because he could not go to God that he needed a daysman. He understood that he needed someone to be a go-between, a mediator, an arbiter, an advocate to reach in to Heaven and touch down to earth and span the gap between man and God. Job understood the value of the Genesis 3:15 promise to mankind living in this sinful world. The knowledge of the Lord led him to understand God’s plan as he foresaw the need for the Christ.

The unified connections of God’s promise continue through the sapiential writings to show that God’s plan can be understood through wisdom in the fear and knowledge of the Lord. Within these writings, the pictures of Christ are apparent and correlate with the original promise of a seed to come that would destroy the serpent. In the midst of the troubles of Job, he said, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth” (Job 19:25). The love story in the Song of Solomon between the Shulamite girl and the shepherd king is a picture of the love of Christ and the Church. The wisdom gleaned from the fear of the Lord sheds light to mortal man on the meaning and purpose of God’s promise in Genesis 3:15.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Promise (The Davidic Era)


The idea of Israel as a monarchy was never against the will of God or even contrary to His promise. Israel only had “to wait for the proper time and God’s selection.” The theocratic Israel had God as their king; therefore, it would be logical that if Israel would have a monarch then God Himself would make the selection. The Lord foretold that when Israel would dwell in the Promised Land that they would desire an earthly king like the neighboring nations. “Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother” (Deuteronomy 17:15). The promise of the coming seed would be in that Semitic bloodline. A stranger, or foreigner, ruling the kingdom of Israel would definitely be in sharp contrast to God’s plan.


The search for a king will prove a daunting task, namely because Israel will not wait upon the Lord’s selection. The hasty decision to appoint a king is also a rejection of the Lord’s ultimate appointee. There were nominees that appeared to be natural leaders in human eyes, but turned out not to be God’s choice. After defeating the Midianites, Gideon’s leadership skills emerge showing him as the people’s selection to be the first king. Although Gideon declines the offer, he lives like royalty even naming his son “Abimelech” which means “My father is king.” However, neither is God’s choice.

The people’s demand for a king uncovers a “goodly” person by the name of Saul. Saul stood head and shoulders above everybody else. Saul looked like a true leader. The Lord tells Samuel of a man, that the prophet will meet the very next day, whom will be “captain over my people Israel” (1 Samuel 9:16). “And when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people” (1 Samuel 9:17). So, Saul looked like a king, a handsome man with an overbearing figure. And though Saul was God’s anointed and dealt with the Philistines as God had desired of him, he did not obey as the Lord had commanded and therefore, the monarchy of Saul will not continue (1 Samuel 13:14).

The Lord looked for a man “after his own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). Indeed, Saul looked like a king should, so did David’s oldest brother Eliab, but God said, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1Samuel 16:7).

Acting on instruction from God, Samuel travels to Bethlehem to a man named Jesse. God tells Samuel that one of Jesse’s sons will be the next king of Israel. One by one, each son is presented to the prophet, but none are God’s next chosen ruler. Finally, Jesse fetched the youngest son, David, from tending sheep in the field. Then the Lord told Samuel, “Arise, anoint him: for this is he” (1 Samuel 16:12). And David, a man after God’s own heart, becomes the Lord’s anointed.

The Lord gives David another promise in 2 Samuel 7 of a dynasty. Not just another promise, but an addition to the original promise of a seed. “And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever” (2 Samuel 7:16). The theological thread of unity can be traced from the promised seed of Genesis 3:15 to the bloodline of Shem, expanding into a nation through the patriarchs of Israel and into a promised dynasty through the house of David. An everlasting throne is promised for an everlasting seed. An established kingdom is promised for an established seed. The Lord said, “Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah” (Psalm 89:4). Old Testament history is linked together by the ever-expanding promise of God by His will and His plan that will fulfill the prophecy of the coming seed of the Lord Jesus Christ that deal the fatal blow to the head of the serpent.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Promise (The Mosaic Era)

“And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” (Exodus 6:7).

The promise extends into this era by way of the patriarchs of Israel. “Jacob’s twelve sons and Joseph’s two children multiplied until they became a great nation during the Egyptian bondage.” The Egyptian bondage was prophesied as early as Genesis 15:13 by God when He said to Abraham that “thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years.” So, the reader is not taken aback by the Egyptian bondage, but by the subtlety of the subjugation. After Joseph’s death, a son of Jacob and a Pharaoh-appointed ruler, Abraham’s heirs multiply in Egypt. While that Pharaoh was still on the throne, he was friends with the Israelites because of what Joseph had done. However, a new Pharaoh did arise that did not know Joseph; the great number of Jews in Egypt were no longer considered friends, but potential enemies.


But this was the people of promise, Abraham’s heirs, God’s chosen people. “Israel was more than a family or God’s son; Israel had also become a goy, a ‘nation’ (Exodus 19:6).” How would God bring them out of this horrible dilemma? What was to become of this great young nation?

God had a man in mind to lead His people from out of the stronghold of the Egyptian kingdom. His name was Moses. In effort to keep the Israelites from multiplying any further, Pharaoh issued a decree to kill all Hebrew male babies. When Moses was born, his Hebrew parents hid him for three months. Once he could not be hidden any longer, they put him in an ark and put him in the river where the Pharaoh’s daughter and her maidens found the child on the river’s edge and decided to raise the baby. So, Moses became the adoptive son of Pharaoh’s daughter.


When Moses is an adult, he witnesses an Egyptian beating a Hebrew. He kills the Egyptian and buried him in the sand. After Moses tries to be peacemaker between two brawling Hebrews, they “reject his authority and broadcast his earlier murder.” What Moses had tried to hide was now known and an informed Pharaoh sought to kill Moses. Moses runs from Egypt into a region of the desert known as Midian where he starts a family and works for his father-in-law as a sheep-herder.

God called Moses from a burning bush. The Lord told Moses, “I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6). God has not forgotten His people. God has not forgotten His promise. And God has not forgotten the seed. “And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites” (Exodus 3:7-8). The Lord has chosen Moses to deliver the nation of Israel from the bondage of the Egyptians.

This great nation of Israel, led by Moses, would be delivered from the hand of Pharaoh. But, it would be no easy task. Through a series of plagues and miracles and the eventual drowning of Pharaoh and his armies, God frees the Hebrews from Egyptian oppression to thus lead them to the promised land of Canaan.

The inner biblical unity is still centered upon God’s promise in the Garden of Eden, through the Flood, to the promises made to Abraham, and even unto this great nation of over 600,000 freed slaves led by Moses. The Lord is faithful to His people through these calamities and the Lord is faithful to His promise. The unifying thread is never disrupted even throughout the various eras whereby we can form a solid and complete theology built upon His promise. Before we continue into the next era, we should take note of some important events that will factor in the expansion of the Genesis 3:15 promise.

God is holy and therefore His people will be a holy nation. In order for man to continue in fellowship with a righteous god, man had to be “right-standing” with God. God gave Moses the Law to introduce to the people of Israel. The Law showed man that he is not righteous nor could he ever be righteous.


The Ten Commandments were etched upon Mt. Sinai by the finger of God. Its laws of morality were meant to show mankind how to keep a connection with God and how to treat others. Man needed guidance in these areas because the flesh is sinful by nature.

“The same law that made such high demands on mankind also provided in the event that there was a failure to reach those standards an elaborate sacrificial system” Because man is sinful by nature, by birth, and by choice, when laws are broken there must be consequences. God installed a system for forgiving sins. There were burnt, guilt, sin, grain, and peace offerings that involved animal sacrifices in place of the guilty party. “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). The book of Leviticus outlines the sacrifices and ceremonial laws. The sacrifices were intended to keep and restore the covenant relationship between man and God.

God sets apart priests to perform these holy acts of forgiveness. Aaron serves as the first high priest. Aaron, his sons, the tribe of Levi are appointed to be the high priest, priests, and the priests’ assistants. They minister to the people. They perform the holy ceremonies for the people duties within the tabernacle.

Where would the priests perform these duties? God designed the tabernacle to have a place of where to perform the sacrifices and the ceremonies. It was where the congregation would meet and there were the priests, the altar, and the Lord. The tabernacle would be a place where the Lord would dwell. “And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory” (Exodus 29:43). No other place was set aside for the nation of Israel to be in the presence of the Lord, but the tabernacle. No other place was sanctified on earth for God to dwell among men. “And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God” (Exodus 29:46).

Where is the promise, the center of our theological study, found in the Law? Where is the promise in the tabernacle? The Law showed man that they were not righteous. The Law showed that man could never be righteous when sin is ever-present. The Law showed that God is holy and righteous. The fact that mankind needs forgiveness from sin is demonstrated in the Law and that God in grace and mercy will provide forgiveness is seen within the tabernacle. The promise is ongoing even in the wilderness, even among sinful man. Not only is this a picture of the “Lamb of God,” but it is part of the thread of promise that connects the various eras found as early as in the Old Testament.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Old Man

"And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died" (Genesis 5:27).

The oldest man ever! He lived 969 years! Methuselah had a unique position where he could have talked with Adam face to face; Adam died 216 years before the birth of Noah. And he knew Seth who died 34 years after Noah's birth. Methuselah's father was Enoch who walked with God close enough that one God translated him on home. And Methuselah was the grandfather of Noah who was perfect, just, righteous, and found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

Did Methuselah die in the Flood? If you do the math, he died the same year of the Flood. That would mean he was unrighteous like the all the other people that drowned in the deluge.

But wait a minute...

The name Methuselah means "his death shall bring." In fact, the names that were recorded as Seth's descendants are actually very interesting.

Adam means MAN
Seth means APPOINTED
Enosh means MORTAL
Kenan means SORROW
Mahalalel means BLESSED GOD
Jared means SHALL COME DOWN
Enoch means TEACHING
Methuselah means HIS DEATH SHALL BRING
Lamech means DESPAIR
Noah means RELIEF

If you out it all together, God had planned it all from the very beginning. Methuselah's name was a warning for all people of the coming judgment of God. The judgment did not begin until the death of Methuselah. He did not die in the Flood; his death brought the Flood.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Promise (The Abrahamic Era)

The seed of promise would be a descendant through Shem even unto a man named Abram. The name Abram means “exalted father,” however, in Genesis 17 the Lord would eventually change Abram’s name to Abraham meaning “father of many nations.” God’s original promise in Genesis 3:15 would come through Abraham furthering the progressive thread of unity found throughout the Old Testament.


“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 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 12:1-3).

When God called Abraham, three significant promises were directly issued to him. First, the Lord promised that He would make Abraham a great nation. Next, God promised that He would bless Abraham. Third, God promised that He would make Abraham’s name great. It is with these blessed promises that God expands the promise of the coming seed that will bruise the head of the serpent. Within these three verses, God continued the Genesis 3:15 promise by expanding into a promised people, the personal blessings of father Abraham, and therefore making a great name of renown among the whole world. Why would God choose this man Abraham to father a nation? What benefit would the blessings be? Verse 2 answers those questions in that Abraham receives a blessing so that he will be a blessing. To whom will he be a blessing? God said in verse 3, “In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” The one to be blesses will be a blessing to all nations. “The one who was blessed was now himself to effect blessing of universal proportions.” God stands by His man and God stands by His people. God cinched the blessing in assurance with the promise of He would bless those that bless Abraham and the nation and He would curse them that curse Abraham and the nation.


Abraham was promised a seed. In Genesis 12:6-7, God directed Abraham into the land of Canaan and said, “Unto thy seed will I give this land.” Among the Canaanites, Abraham is a stranger in this land, but the God of glory is with him and promises Canaan to his seed. To make a great nation, Abraham would need an heir and with that, the heir would need an inheritance. In verse 7, the Lord reassures Abraham with the promise of a seed as an heir and land as an inheritance.

Abraham was promised an heir. But after years pass, Abraham and Sarah begin to doubt they can have children, so they use Hagar, Sarah’s handmaiden, as a surrogate mother. Hagar bares a son named Ishmael. Could this be the seed that God had earlier promised? No. Thirteen years later, the Lord appears to a ninety-nine year old Abraham and reiterates His promise with a few addendums. God changes Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah. The Lord then states that He will bless Sarah with a son and calls her “a mother of nations” (Genesis 17:16). Sarah laughed; therefore the name of the promised child was to be Isaac. “Not even Abraham’s attempt to preserve this seed was to count, for the whole life of this child (and each one that followed him) was entirely a gift of God.” God blesses Ishmael, but it is Isaac that is the promised heir to continue Abraham’s seed.

Isaac would grow up and have a child to continue the seed. Jacob, whose named would be changed to Israel, would “be the marked heir to carry the line of ‘seed.’” We learn in the election of Isaac, even in the selection of Jacob to receive the blessing, it is specifically God’s choice and not a decision made from man of who is to carry the promise. Each son of promise would continue the unifying thread of God’s blessings to all people.

Abraham was promised an inheritance. Even from God’s initial communion with Abraham, the Lord mentioned a promised “land” (Genesis 12:1, 7). And again, when Abraham was ninety-nine, God made His promise an “everlasting covenant” (Genesis 17:7, 13, 19) and the land an “everlasting possession” (Genesis 17:8). The Lord tells Abraham that this land is “from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates” (Genesis 15:18). It is a land full of different peoples, but God promises it to the seed of Abraham. God tells Abraham that it is a “land wherein thou art a stranger” (Genesis 17:8). Even though it is a land of other nations, it is an everlasting inheritance to Abraham and his seed.


By the provisions of God, Abraham and his seed formed a great nation. As a result of these fulfilled promises, the seed of Abraham develops a great heritage and a great name, as God also promised. “In contrast to the nations who sought a ‘name’ for themselves, God made Abraham a great name so that he might be the means of blessing all the nations” The faith of Abraham and his trust in God, led to the culmination of a great nation that would be God’s own and a “mediator of life” to all the nations of the earth that would receive the blessings of the Lord.

The Promise (The Noahic Era)

The second word of promise came in the days of Noah. Because of disobeying God and heeding the deception of the serpent to eat the forbidden fruit, man knew of the good and now, also the evil. Banished from the Garden of Eden, mankind had grown and populated in this cursed world, but so had sin. The Lord said, “My spirit shall not always strive with man” (Genesis 6:3) for He “saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). What a sorry sight it must have been for the Lord to look upon the people He had created and to see the wickedness and the darkness that was in man’s heart! “It grieved him [God] at his heart” (Genesis 6:6).


Because He saw the great wickedness of man, because every thought of man was constant evil, the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them” (Genesis 6:7). At this point, a question immediately arises concerning the original promise. If God destroys all of man, how will the woman’s seed of Genesis 3:15 come to exist? Is hope for the One to come that will bruise the head of the serpent in jeopardy? Not so! Be assured that the answer can be found in the following verse, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8).

Noah was a just man (Genesis 6:9), a perfect man (v.9), an obedient man (v.22), and a righteous man (Genesis 7:1). Like Enoch, Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9). Hope can even be found in his name. By definition, the name Noah means [he] “shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed” (Genesis 5:29). According to the book of Hebrews, Noah was a man of faith and feared the Lord (Hebrews 11:7). Noah’s faith, in action, brought him to obedience to build the ark.

Noah was set apart from the rest of his generation. The Scripture states that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8). Because of Noah’s righteousness and faithfulness, God used him as an instrument of His will. God instructed Noah to build an ark in preparation for the flood that He was about to bring upon the world. The Lord gave him the exact details on how to construct the three-storied vessel including the material, dimensions, and cargo. Among the freight were to be seven clean males and females of every beast and fowl, also pairs of every unclean beast and fowl on earth, as well as his family. Noah did as God commanded him.


The judgment of God rained down for forty days and forty nights as God had declared. In essence, the ship was a type of Christ being that is was salvation from the judgment of God. By the mercy of the Lord, eight people were saved from the flood: Noah, Noah’s wife, Shem, Ham, Japheth (which were Noah’s sons), and their wives. Everything else on earth perished in the flood. “All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died” (Genesis 7:22).

After the rain stopped, the waters stayed on the earth for one hundred and fifty days and then began to recede until the land was dry. Noah built an altar an offered the clean beasts and fowls as burnt sacrifices to the Lord. “And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 9:1) as He had blessed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It is here that the Lord made a covenant that everything living on the earth would never again be destroyed by a flood. God said, "I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth." (Genesis 9:13) So, the rainbow is a sign of the solemn promise God had made after the flood.

What about the promise of Genesis 3:15? What of the seed of promise? Did it wash away in the flood? What happened to the promise of the coming Messiah who would bring deliverance from the power of sin and the serpent? Did God change His plan seeing the continual evil hearts of man? Where is the theme of promise which is our an inner unified center and basic building block of the foundation to this method of Old Testament theology?

The continuity of the promise lies in the exegesis of Genesis 9:25-27. After Noah awoke from an alcohol-induced slumber, he learned that Ham, the father of Canaan, had saw Noah’s nakedness and informed his brothers, Shem and Japheth. While Shem and Japheth went into the tent backwards to cover their father’s nakedness, Ham did not. Therefore, we have this refrain:

“And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant” (Genesis 9:25-27).
The seed of prophecy did not drown in the flood. Nor was the promise abandoned in light of an unrighteous world. Each son of Noah is referenced in all three verses in the aforementioned refrain of Genesis 9:25-27. Because of what happened in the tent, verse 25 speaks of Canaan, the son of Ham, to be cursed as a “servant of servants” to his brothers. Shem and Canaan are both noted in verse 26. Whereas Shem obtains a blessing, Canaan is cursed to be his slave. And in verse 27, Shem, Canaan, and Japheth are all discussed in a composite of a blessing and a curse.


The inner unity is found in verse 27 where the Bible says “and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem.” Who is the he the Bible is referring to in this verse? “The word for ‘dwell’ is related to the later concept of Mosaic theology of the Shekinah glory of God wherein the presence of God over the tabernacle was evidenced by the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.” A careful exegesis of verse 27 reveals that the Hebrew word for “dwell” is associated with the presence of the Lord, therefore giving Shem the special blessing of which the seed that was promised in Genesis 3:15 would be a derivative of his bloodline. God’s plan was never discarded, but extended through the blessing of Shem. Blessed be the Lord God of Shem.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Promise (The Edenic Era)

In the beginning, God spoke “the world and all things therein” (Acts 17:24) into existence. God created the heavens and the earth by His word. Under His plan and by His design, creation was a direct response to His word. The Creator made all of creation for His sixth day creatures – Adam and Eve. Together they were built by God. Adam, the first man, was created from the dust of the earth and Eve, the first woman, from Adam’s side. “God made but one male and one female, that all the nations of men might know themselves to be made of one blood, descendants from one common stock, and might thereby be induced to love one another.” Man was the only creature made in the likeness and image of God Almighty. This was not an act of chance, but an act of divine design according to God’s plan. The omniscient God saw through the annals of time, through all the events and circumstances of history, and had His plan in place from Genesis 1:1 even unto the end of the world.

All had been made in six days and God sanctified the seventh day for rest. By a series of actions, a series of blessings, everything that God had designed was complete. All of creation and the creatures were spoke into existence by the powerful word of God. He looked upon them and saw that they were “good,” however, “this was all an untested goodness.”

The Fall of Man happened in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve disobeyed God after following the deception offered by Satan, who was in the form of a serpent. Man was deceived by the great deceiver, Satan, to take from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and therefore directly violated God’s command to not eat the fruit of this particular tree. And from a pool of free will and temptation, sin entered into the world. Sin must be judged. As a result of this transgression, God introduced the curse. In Genesis 3, the serpent (v.14-15), the woman (v. 16), and man’s habitat and living (v. 17) were cursed by God. Sin brought forth sorrow, shame, pain and death upon all of mankind. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).

At this point, the cause and effect of sin seemingly looms large and hopeless for man. But, God’s plan was not sidetracked or derailed by these turn of events. God was not taken aback by the results of temptation and free will. God, full of grace and mercy, promises a seed.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (Genesis 3:15).


“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman,”

God is speaking directly to the serpent, which was Satan, the chief instigator to the introduction of sin into the world. As a result of this deception, God states that the devil will be hated by all of mankind. God put enmity between good and evil. Even to this day, there is a constant struggle between God’s people and Satan and there always will be this opposition. “Heaven and hell can never be reconciled, no more can Satan and a sanctified soul.”




“…and between thy seed and her seed;”

Not only enmity between God’s people and the devil, but also, between the Messiah and Satan. “Her seed” refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not natural for women to have seed, but this is a prophetic word spoken of the supernatural virgin birth of Jesus Christ. There is hostility between the serpent’s seed (Satan) and the woman’s seed (the Lord Jesus) ordained by God as He declared in this prophetic verse.



“…it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

“It,” the seed of the woman, will crush the head of the serpent, even though, the serpent will bruise its heel. A fatal blow will be dealt to the devil by the Messiah. “Bruise his heel” refers to the suffering of the Lord Jesus and His people, but not a mortal wound. This part of the promise was fulfilled at Calvary when Jesus suffered and died for atonement to all sinners. Although Jesus Christ was mocked, ridiculed, persecuted and tortured, it was for the sinner’s deliverance and Satan’s defeat. Even though God’s people are mocked, ridiculed, persecuted and killed, it is all just as a bruise on the heel compared to the victory won at Calvary by our loving Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14).

In the midst of man’s despair, God graciously decrees the first word of promise. His prophetic promise is that the Messiah will come to deliver the people from the curse which was divinely set as a result of having sin enter the world. The promise is an answer of gleaming hope of the Messiah to come and deliver “fallen man from the power of Satan.” The curse was warranted and resulted in apparent hopeless with the individual affliction and the expulsion from Eden, but by the mercy of God, the promise of a seed of the Redeemer was a blessing to fallen man. The promise of a coming Savior is the continuous theme that will provide an inner unity throughout the OT to form a solid theology that is under the authority of the Bible.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hungry?

FRIED CHICKEN
boneless chicken breasts
buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp salt & pepper
1 tsp paprika & tumeric
1 tsp onion salt
1 tsp garlic salt
2 cups of flour
oil
Mix 2 cups buttermilk with eggs together in bowl. Mix salt, pepper, paprika, tumeric, onion salt and garlic salt into the 2 cups of flour. Dip chicken into buttermilk & egg mixture. Next, dip into flour & spice mixture, thouroughly coating chicken. Have greased pan already hot (medium-high heat) before frying chicken. Don't turn chicken over for 10 minutes or until brown on one side. When done on both sides ` serve hot with love! -Shanelle

Sitting in a kitchen, watching and waiting for someone prepare a meal for you will make you drool. Consider the work that goes into this meal-the measuring, the chopping, the stirring, the baking.
...the smells ...the warmth.
Anticipate the tastes, the satisfaction that you will soon enjoy!

Are you hungry? Will you be able to wait? Are you tempted to sneak a taste before it's ready?

Now, in your spiritual life, are you hungry? Do you desire more God. If you hunger, does it seem that satisfaction is a long time coming? If you're not hungry for God, what have you been feeding on? Have you filled yourself up with busyness or earthly cares? Have you spent so much time on other things that you have forgotten what it's like to hunger for God?

Talk to God about it. Ask Him to help you wait & hunger for Him. Hold on to His promise and ask Him to satify your hunger.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. -Matthew 5:6

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Grandma and the Cake

A young boy was visiting his Grandma and was telling her how everything was going wrong in school; his brothers and sisters teased him, his mother and father didn't love him, and how he had a stomach ache the night before.

Grandma was mixing up ingredients for a cake. She asked her Grandson if he would like to have a snack which, of course, he did.

"Here have some cooking oil."

"Yuck," said the little boy.

"How about a couple of raw eggs?"

"Gross, Grandma!"

"Would you like some flour them? Or maybe a little baking soda?"

"Grandma, those are all yucky!"

To which Grandma replied, "Yes, all those things seem bad by themselves, but when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderful delicious cake.

God works the same way. We wonder why He lets us go through such difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all together in His order, they always work for the good. We just have to trust Him to "mix the ingredients and bake the cake." Eventually, they will result in something wonderful.


And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Parent's Prayer

A Parent's Prayer


Dear Heavenly Father, Make me a better parent. Teach me to understand my children, to listen patiently to what they have to say and to answer all their questions kindly.

Keep me from interrupting them, talking back to them and contradicting them. Make me as courteous to them as I would have them be to me.

Give me the courage to confess my sins against my children and to ask them forgiveness when I know that I have done them wrong.

Grant that I may never vainly hurt the feelings of my children. Forbid that I should laugh at their mistakes or resort to shame and ridicule as punishment.

Let me not tempt my child to lie or steal. So guide me hour by hour that I might demonstrate by all I say and do that honestly produces happiness.

Reduce, I pray, the meanness in me. May I cease to nag, and when I am out of sorts, help me O Lord, to hold my tongue. Blind me to the little errors of my children, and help me to see the good things they do.

Give me a ready word to honest praise. Help me to grow up with my children, to treat them as those of their own age, but let me not expect of them the judgments and conventions of adults.

Allow me not to rob them of the opportunity to learn for themselves, to think, to choose and to make decisions. Forbid that I should ever punish them for my selfish satisfaction.

May I grant them all their wishes that are reasonable,

And may I have the courage always to withhold a privilege which I know will do them harm.

Make me fair and just, and considerate and companionable to my children that they will have a genuine esteem for me. Make me fit to be loved and imitated by my children.

Amen.


Author: Garry C. Myers, as quoted by Abigail Van Buren in "Dear Abbey."

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

JESUS

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

To further illustrate that Jesus' earthly mission was to walk as man, we will analyze some of the circumstances surrounding Him.

Fourteen reasons Jesus should have not suceeded.

  • He was born in an obscure village - not in a palace.
  • He was the child of a peasant woman - He was suspected by some to be illegitimate.
  • He grew up in a village other than where He was born - He was a wanderer as a child.
  • He worked in a carpenter's shop till He was 30 - not viewed as a job for royalty.
  • He traveled three years was an itinerate preacher - He walked most places He went.
  • He never wrote a book.
  • He never held an earthly office.
  • He probably never owned a home.
  • He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born.
  • He had no credentials, but was a self-proclaimed preacher.
  • He was shunned by religious leaders.
  • He was deserted by His friends.
  • He ultimately died a shameful death.
  • He was buried in a borrowed grave.
But still, He traveled the land performing miracles, giving sight to the blind, healing the lame and crippled, raising the dead, walking on water, calming the sea and finally giving His life for the salvation of mankind. Noting all the reasons why He should not have been a success, two thousand years later He is still the central figure of the human race.

From Biblical Principles of Prayer, by Dr. Joel Philip Church, iUniverse, 2005.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Lord Is My Banner

Jehovah-Nissi. The Lord My Banner

By whom was David taught
To aim the deadly blow,
When he Goliath fought,
And laid the Gittite low?
Nor sword nor spear the stripling took,
But chose a pebble from the brook.

'Twas Israel's God and King
Who sent him to the fight;
Who gave him strength to sling,
And skill to aim aright.
Ye feeble saints, your strength endures,
Because young David's God is yours.

Who order'd Gideon forth,
To storm the invaders' camp.
With arms of little worth,
A pitcher and a lamp?
The trumpets made his coming known
And all the host was overthrown.

Oh! I have seen the day,
When with a single word,
God helping me to say,
"My trust is in the Lord,"
My soul hath quell'd a thousand foes
Fearless of all that could oppose.

But unbelief, self-will,
Self-righteousness, and pride,
How often do they steal
My weapon from my side!
Yet David's Lord, and Gideon's friend,
Will help his servant to the end.

William Cowper
(1731-1800/Hertfordshire/England)

Exodus 17:15 (after defeating Amalek with the help of the Lord)
And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi:

Monday, March 22, 2010

In the Valley

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. - Psalm 23

Even in the valleys, He's still God. We love the mountaintop experiences where you know the victory's won and you just feel so close to God. But, not much grows on top of the mountain. It's the valleys. It's the valleys that links one mountain to another. It's no accident that Psalm 22 is about Mount Calvary where Jesus paid it all. It's no accident that Psalm 24 is about Mount Zion. But, what links Psalm 22 to Psalm 24 is a psalm about a valley. What you can find in the valley?

I. God is there ...for thou art with me...(Psalm 23:4)

    He said He would never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) You may look around in your valley and not see God. You may not sense God. But He's there. He doesn't lose sight of us in the valley. Standing somewhere in the shadows you'll find Jesus.


II. Growth is there ...thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

    Growth is there. Without His loving correction and guidance, we would not learn from our ill ways. The Shepherd shows the way. We should ask God, "How do I get to that next mountain?" Or instead of "God, get me out of this valley!" we should ask, "God, what do you want me to get out of this valley?" Grow.


III. Grace is there ...Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. (Psalm 23:5-6)

Talking about amazing grace! It doesn't matter what we must face, God's grace is sufficient. It may just be another thing.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28

It's good to know that whatever valley, whatever storm, whatever we may be facing is just another one of those things that God uses to accomplish His will. We should glory in these valleys, as hard as that may sound, because God is using us as an instrument of His will.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Weeping Willow

The tree stood tall and proud,

As it offered the woman its shade.
It tried so hard to protect her.
For, it felt she was afraid.
She leaned against its trunk.
Her sobs rustled through the leaves,
Sighing lightly like the breeze;
Echo's of a heart that grieves.

The tears ran like a river
And watered deep the roots,
Bringing forth the blossoms
That would later bear the fruits.

The tree stood tall and proud
As the soldiers checked it out.
"I think this one will do.
Cut it down," he heard them shout.

They cut and carved upon that tree;
Stripped it of blossom and bark.
Then, they made a rugged cross.
That's the day the world turned dark.

As Jesus hung upon that tree,
He was the last fruit it would bear.
For, Jesus was the fruit of God.
He was longsuffering and full of care.

The tree no longer stood proud,
As the blood of the Lamb did stain.
It bent with the weight of its shame
And it wanted to weep from the pain.


Jesus whispered to the tree,
"From this day forth shall you cry."
Thus grew the weeping willow
That had watched the Savior die.

The Weeping Willow Easter Poem © Claytia Doran


bbabe
at
1s.net

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. -Romans 5:8


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

God's Healing; My Healing

And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. -Matthew 8:7

Twelve years ago, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Although I was spiritually-sick at the time, I was physically healthy, young and active. I developed a lemon-sized swelling in my groin area. Because of the sensitive location on my body and the painlessness, I did not alert anyone to the condition, but after several weeks of seeing this knot on my body, I became increasingly worried. I told my parents who immediately went to God in prayer.


We went to a doctor which conducted blood tests, a physical and in depth interview to produce a diagnosis. After several hours of waiting, the doctor returned to our room with a heavy sigh. His diagnosis was Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This cancer, although not usually terminal, with radiation therapy and possible chemotherapy, the doctor informed us that I should be able to live a normal life. “What surgeon would you like to use?” he asked.

We were shocked to say the least as is everyone that has been diagnosed with any cancer. I advised him that I lived 150 miles away and to let me do some research closer to home before we schedule the procedure. We made an appointment to come back a week later. My parents continued to pray. Thus began the Phase Two of the healing. My parents called me every day to check on me and to assure me that they, their church and several other churches were praying for me. I thanked them, but silently tried to map out the remainder of my life.

Just a few days later, I began to notice the swelling reduce. I was happy, but chalked it up to wishful thinking. I relayed the hope to my parents, who were still much in prayer. A few more days passed and, just like that, it was nearly gone! One week from that initial diagnosis, we walked into the doctor’s office still apprehensive, but with smiles on our faces. A few tests later, the doctor came to our room with a smile on his face and some good news. He tells us that the swelling has reduced and that there were no signs of cancer. Praise God!

God healed me when I was undeserving. God healed me regardless of what I was. God healed me in spite of me. Because of His grace, love, and mercy towards sinners like me. I owe it all to Him.

I believe!

I was healed of cancer. :)

Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise. -Jeremiah 17:14

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Master Builder

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? - Mark 6:3

Jesus was boldly teaching in the synagogues so much so that the listeners were amazed at the authority and wisdom of His teaching. They were awestruck at one they thought was just an ordinary Joe. One day, they saw Him carrying wood and then the next day He was carrying the Word of God with boldness and authority as if He wrote it. They remembered Jesus as a little boy, handing His daddy Joseph the hammer and the saw. They remembered Jesus and His brothers outside the lumber yard. They remembered Jesus and His mother polishing the freshly constructed furniture that the family had built. But now, they see Him...they hear Him as He stands and teaches in the synagogue on the Sabbath like noone they had ever seen or heard before.

Is not this the carpenter?

Now, let's not get too hasty and judge these folks right off the bat! If you and I were in that crowd, we would be astonished, too! If we went by what we had seen all those years before and not by what was happening right before our eyes there in the synagogue.

But what was more amazing to Jesus than the boldness and wisdom in His own teaching was their lack of faith. The scripture says in verse six that He "marvelled because of their unbelief". Did they not realize this was God in flesh? Did they not realize who was before them? Did they not realize that He was the Master Carpenter? The Master Builder?

Is not this the carpenter?

1.) Afterall, He built the Universe.
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: - Colossians 1:16 
Here are some basic truths: Jesus must have existed before the universe, and He must be greater than all He made. Thrones, dominions, principalities, powers are all divisions of rank, and so since Jesus created them, therefore He is greater. Is not the builder greater than what he built? Is not the Creator greater than the creation? He is great. All things were created by Him and for Him.

2.) He built the Bible.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. - John 1:1
The Word. It was in the beginning. It was with God and it was God. The Word of God. The Bible is the written Word of God. The inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God. It was written by over 40 different men, over a span of 1600 years and not one word is contrary to another. It was written by over 40 men, but it only has one author...the Holy Ghost. God inspired or God breathed.

3.) He is building the Church.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. - Matthew 16:18
The redeemed, the forgiven, the saved, the believers, the bride of Christ, the body of Christ, the Church is being built by the Master Builder. Daily, the church is being built by God. We, the Church, are a called-out assembly chosen by God...built by God. Amen.

4.) He is building a city.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. - Revelation 21:2
He is preparing a city the likes of which have never been known other than the vison of John the Revelator. It is a bright city, a holy city, a prepared city built by the hands of God. Chapter 21 details the city so beautiful with precious stones, pearly gates, a street of gold, but the best thing about heaven is that the Lord is there.

Is not this the Master Builder? Is not this the divine Designer? Is not this the Carpenter?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Rope

As most of the rafters swam away from the cap-sized boat, there was one man who was swept away by the swift moving water. The standers-by could only see his bobbing head and his lifeless body helpless at the mercy of the mighty river.

Then, as the man regained consciousness, he raised his arms in desperation. "Help," he shouted. But the power of the rapids continued to pull him down river.

When all seemed lost, he reached out his hand and found something...a rope, a life-line, that was thrown out by rescuers who had scrambled strategically down the river and in mathematical precision tossed forth a rope to save the life of this man.

A rope saved his life.

Ropes are rescue tools. Ropes can be used to save people from drowning. Ropes can be used to save people from falling off a cliff.


Jesus is a rope. A rope used for security. A rope used for stability. A rope used for salvation. Jesus is the rope to save you from drowning. Jesus is the rope to save you from being carried away. Jesus is the rope to keep you from falling.
 
Grab hold, believe, have faith! Call upon His name!
 
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. - Romans 10:13
 
There's power in His name. Good news: You don't have to stay the way you are. You don't have to keep drowning. You don't have to keep falling.
 
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.  -Acts 4:12
 
Spiritually, there's only one rope. The rope has been extended to you. The rope has been tossed to you who are headed for sure destruction, depression, death. The rope has been thrown to you to save you from a devil's hell. You may not even feel like you deserve it.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. -Romans 5:8
 
We don't deserve it. But, by His grace, love, and mercy, God extends His hand to me and you. Nothing we could do, or have done, but only by His grace, love, and mercy. He does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Amen. No matter where we are or what we have done, Jesus loves us anyway and He holds out the rope for us to take hold.
 
Grab hold, believe, have faith!
 
 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What A Friend We Have In Jesus

What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grief to bear;
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear;
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In His arms He'll take and shield thee, thou wilt find a solace there.
Words: Joseph Scriven, 1855
Music: Charles C. Converse, 1868

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. -John 15:13


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Good Ground

But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit; some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. -Matthew 13:8

In Matthew 13, Jesus gives us the parable of the sower. He tells of seed sown that fell by the way side, some fell upon stony ground, and some fell among the thorns. However, some fell on good ground, nice fertile ground. Some seed did not have a chance. Some seed sprang up, but did not have much root, no deepness, and eventually withered away. Some seed fell among the thorns and were consquently choked out. But, I am interested in that good ground.

There's more to growing plants than just broadcasting seed. Soil must be prepared if one wants all seed to grow. All seed will be good seed, but they can only grow in good soil. If the soil is rocky, then the plant will not grow well. If the soil has weeds, then the plant will not be healthy. If the soil is hard, then the seed will not be able to sprout and only be good for the birds. Only in clear, loose soil will a seed have a chance to sprout and grow. Soil must be prepared. Rocks need to be removed. Weeds need to be pulled. Tough dirt must be tilled.

Jesus explains that our hearts are like soil and the word of God is like seed. If our hearts are hardened, then the truth can't reach us. If our hearts are troubled, it's like stony ground. If the cares of this world are distracting us and we are full of worry, then it's like the seed falling amidst the thorns. We must prepare our hearts to receive the seed. We must remove the rocks. We must weed the ground. We must till the hardness of our hearts.

But, let's talk about that good ground. If we open our hearts to Jesus, trust in Him, accept the Word as truth, then we can grow and bear fruit. In that good soil, the Word can sprout and as the roots grow and reach deeper, we will be able to see the fruit that God has intended for us. Sprout. Grow. Take root. Reaching deeper and deeper.

See you Sunday!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Believe It?


Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? -Isaiah 53:1

Do you believe the report? Do you believe that the old 1611 KJV Bible is the inerrant, infallible, inspired word of God? Do you believe it from Genesis to Revelation? Do you believe it from beginning to end? In and out? Back and forth? Do you?

What do you believe?

In this great chapter, you will find the cardinal doctrine of Christianity, the basis of our belief. Here we find the building blocks of our belief...of solid doctrine.
Doctrine? But, why?
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a
good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. -
Hebrews 13:9

We should be strong in our doctrine, in our belief, so we are not carried about with strange and weird beliefs. Still, why? So that we may be made perfect, or capable and thoroughly equipped to do what God wants.
be-lieve [bih-leev] verb. to have confidence or
faith in the truth of

1.) The Verbally inspired Word of God.
Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? -Isaiah 53:1

Again, this old black-back book is the infallible, inerrant, inspired word of God. From cover to cover, there are no mistakes. Each word, big and small, has significance and meaning. Each word was inspired from the Holy Ghost to the author. Each of the 66 books is of importance and each compliments one another. Each word was divinely inspired by God Almighty. Inspired literally means "God breathed", therefore; God breathed each word that we read from Genesis to Revelation.

If you don't believe creation, then you don't believe in a Creator. If you don't believe in the virgin birth, then the need for a savior doesn't make much sense. If you don't believe in a heaven or hell, then it won't make much sense for salvation.

In verse 1, Isaiah poises the question, "Who hath believed our report?" Do you believe it?

2.) The Virgin Birth.
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. - Isaiah 53:2

I'm interested in the part that says a root out of dry ground.

You must believe in the virgin birth. From the fall of man in the garden, God put a curse on Adam, and his seed, and his seed, etc. From that first man, sin was passed through the blood on down the line through the annals of time. Even you and me. We were born with bad blood, a blood disease called sin. When we are born, we all are in desperate need of a blood transfusion.

But Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit not of the sin-sickened seed of Adam. If Jesus had been born of by Mary and Joseph was the biological father, then Jesus would have been under the same curse as everybody else and in need of a saviour. He would not have been able to atone for our sins.

But, thank God, Jesus was not like me and you. Jesus was not born into sin like me and you. Jesus was born spotless for the purpose of atonement for mankind. Amen.

3.) The Vicarious Death.
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. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 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. 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 53:3-6

vi-car-i-ous, [vahy-kar-ee-uhs], -suffered in the place of another; taking the place of another

He did it all for you (and me). If you don't have the blood of Jesus on your heart, then you have the blood of Jesus on your hands. He bled and died in our place. He who knew no sin, became sin so that there would be a way. He cried, "I thirst" so that you and I may never thirst again.

He bore our griefs. He carried our sorrows. For you, for me, for the young, for the old, for murderers, for thieves, for kings, for beggars, for the sins of the world.

4.) The Victorious Resurrection.

He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. -Isaiah 53:8-10

Jesus paid it all. Beaten, mocked, shamed, tortured, and put on public display until He died on that old rugged cross. Yes, He died. Don't you think the devil had thought he had won when he saw our Lord hanging there lifeless on the cross? The they placed Him in a borrowed tomb, sealed a stone at the door, and placed guards to keep watch. Don't you know the devil was claiming a victory?

But on that third day, something supernatural happened. And He arose from the grave!

If the resurrection had never taken place, then all would have been in vain. Every thing we believe hinges on that victorious resurrection. Jesus even had the stone rolled back so we could see that tomb was/is empty.

5.) The Visible Ascension.

"Why stand ye here gazing..."

He left on a cloud and I'm just old fashioned enough to believe He's coming back on that same cloud. They saw Him ascend into heaven. If they ever had any doubts (mmm, Thomas), I know that it all disappeared if not by then...definitely then.

6.) The Vital Return.

And He's coming back just like He said He would.

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God,
believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye
know, and the way ye know. -John 14:1-4

Do you believe it? The report has been given to you. Believe it.