Monday, August 25, 2014
Saturday, August 9, 2014
Wow. This verse is packed!
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Monday, July 5, 2010
It is a great listen. In it, Pastor Mike speaks of 9 aspects of a blood covenant and how in Christ, He fulfilled it for us.
But there is one aspect that really caught my attention- the taking on of each others names. When two people would take on a blood covenant, they also took on part of each others names.
In Genesis 15 God is declaring the promise He made with Abram back in chapter 12. This time he is using the blood covenant ritual. He continues it in Chapter 17 by commanding Abram to be circumcised.
He then changed Abrams name by inserting his name, "yah", to Abram's name. Yah is a breath sound, it is one of the names of God from which we get Jehovah and others:
God also changes Sarai to Sar-"ah".
I knew about the name change, but never the "ah" being a name for God, a derivative of "Yah".
Now, when I see the name Abraham, I now can see God in Abrams life.
It does not stop there either…
Have you ever noticed how God calls himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In a sense, He added them to His name too.
Over 50 times in the Bible God refers to Himself as their God.
The deeper I dive into the word, the more beautiful it is.
Monday, May 17, 2010
While on vacation, Tammy and I are studying John 14-16. We have both read this many times, but as the living word is true to its statement, it is fresh and living and active so we are enjoying it again for the first time. (Hebrews 4:12)
It was interesting what Phillip asked, but even more interesting was Jesus' response!
Earlier in the same book the writer recounts the discussion with the woman at the well. Jesus tells her that “God is Spirit…” (John 4:24). That may not be new to many, but to me it sparked a thought:
In order for Phillip to see the Father, the Father would have to show himself. If God is spirit, he cannot show himself for the spirit is not physical. The only way the physical can see the spiritual is if one becomes the other. Either Phillip becomes a spirit by leaving his body, or the spiritual makes a physical manifestation by taking on physical form.
God chose to show the world his spiritual character by making a physical manifestation in the form of Jesus (John 1:1).
Jesus’ response was a declaration of His Deity to Phillip. “Phillip… I am God, I have come to you in flesh.”
Now to the western mind we wish Jesus would have just said it that plainly. But to Phillip, that is what he did say!
Later, after the ressurrection, Thomas would fall on his knees and cry out, “my Lord and my God” as he viewed the risen Christ.
We will see Him in this form again soon.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
I can be rich, I can be a movie star, I can have a wonderful vacation, I will have obedient children. How? Because of Christ!
Uhm…. Not really.
This can be an over used, poorly applied verse. When the word ALL is used, it means ALL. But the ALL is within the context of what the subject matter is. Paul in writing his benediction to the Philippian church is reminding them of his ministry. He has learned in all things, whether being ship wrecked, imprisoned, or when everything is going great, that he gets his strength from Jesus.
The focus of the sentence is that in the struggles of ministry, he has been able to endure through Christ. We can apply the same: When our kids make decisions that you know will eventually hurt them, God carries you through this. When the marriage is going through struggles, Christ gives strength. When everything is going well, thank God for his enduring power to provide.
When we focus our attention to our ministry in life (how we serve God, which could be as a mom, a worker, a missionary, a store clerk, and in my case a boiler operator) our strength comes from Him!
Monday, April 26, 2010
It appears that Jesus never read Andrew Carnegie’s book, how to win friends and influence people.
Can you imagine the tension created when Jesus said this? Here is the scene:
The year is 32 A.D. Jesus and his disciples are in the Temple. The religious leaders have just tested Him by throwing a woman caught in adultery in front of Him (first time only one person was caught- nothing political about that move, Eh?).
Now the discussion shifts to Jesus’ authority. Helps to remember that these political and religious leaders rule the day (With Rome’s permission of course). They are in control of all the activities of the people, what they eat, how they pray, were they work, who they marry, etc. To get to this position they have gone through at least 15 years of intense training and political maneuvering; scratching and clawing their way to the top. Now this itinerant preacher from some dinky penal town called Nazareth comes with a bunch of dropouts and tells them they are of the devil?
Why? Because they did not believe Him when He said that He was God!
But sometimes direct confrontation is what is necessary! Jesus called these hypocrites out many times. He did not intentionally stir the pot, but He purposefully set things straight! He smacked religiousity in the face declaring it to be the hideous stench that it is!
We have many so called "Christian" churches and movements that claim they are the cat's meow when it comes to being God's representation on this earth. But can you imagine Jesus donning their garments, or practices, and performing their rituals? Or, would He be walking into thier board meetings and calling them of the Devil?
Makes me go "Hmmmm."
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Psalm 69 is another messianic psalm.
Matthew 27 fulfills the prophecy of verse 21 when they gave gall for Jesus to drink while on the cross (gall was a type of pain reliever so the person would live longer).
John 2:17 quotes verse when Jesus cleared the temple on Palm Sunday- “Zeal for Your house will consume me.”
Verse 11 reveals that the messiah wore sackcloth, a sign of humility and mourning and repentance.This psalm also reveals another truth: Has anybody ever asked you where you will spend eternity? I grew up saying “heaven”.
Fact is, we will spend eternity on earth. A new earth, a new heaven, a new Jerusalem (Zion).
The psalm ends with this promise: And those who love His name shall dwell in it. I want a room with a view!
Friday, April 16, 2010
Controversial Point- When Adam sinned, did he commit cosmic treason, or did he save his wife?
We know that both sinned, Eve via deception, Adam via choice. But, Paul tells us that Jesus was a type of Adam! What was meant by that? Could it be that Adam understood the redemptive plan and knew that there was no other way?
I have always been told that Adam sinned against God as a willful act of disobedience; willfully rebellion. I don't by it. Don't get me wrong, the end result is exactly the same: the immediate change of the human condition from saint to sinner separated from God and dead spiritually.
Adams response, now tainted with sin set the stage for how most of us respond when caught in our own sin.... "It's not my fault!" It was your fault God.
Why do I think this is more than just an interesting thought? Because the writer called Jesus a type of Adam, putting the time between Adam and Jesus as bookend event: Saint, to sinner, to Saint again. Through the obedience of the Son, those who believe are saved!
Adam, who was alive, died spiritually to save his bride who was deceived.
Jesus, who was dead, rose to life to save His bride and lead her in the truth once again.
Makes me thankful God loves me.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
For Abraham, an altar was simply a pile of rocks in which a fire was kindled and an innocent animal sacrificed on. It is a constant reminder of God’s provision of forgiveness. It was a precursor to the innocent sacrifice of the coming Christ.
The altar was a place to remember, to worship, and to sacrifice to God for his goodness. It was a place that could be returned to, which Abraham and his descendants did many times to remind them of the promise made, or the victory won, or the dream given, etc.
Quite possibly a visitor to the camp would see the pile of rocks and wonder why this God wanted it so simple: why not elaborate temples, towering monuments, statues, etc?
As we go to our houses of worship today, may we remember that it is the sacrifice He made which opened the door for our fellowship with him, not the elaborate edifice erected.
I’m so glad my Father in Heaven did the work, because I know I could even mess up putting a pile of rocks together.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.
During the time of the Judges in Israel there was a famine that caused people to leave Israel and travel to get food. Naomi traveled to what we now call Jordan with her husband and two son’s. Her boys married Moabite women (A big no-no for Jews). Her husband died and so did her two sons.
Deciding to return to Israel she sends her now widowed daughter-in-law on their way. But Ruth will not go. She wants to return to Israel with Naomi. Ruth saw that the God Naomi served, even in hard times, was the real God of the universe.
They are hungry, Naomi lost her two boys and her husband in a country not her own, and now she has another mouth to feed. It was not easy, but God provided.
The rest of the book is powerful. Ruth, through her humbly listening to Naomi eventually gets married. Who is her great-grandson? King David, whom we know to eventually be in the lineage of Jesus the Messiah.
Peter tells us to humble ourselves before God, and He will exalt us (1Peter 5:6). We will not be in the lineage of the Messiah, but we are his children, and glorious things happen when we humbly believe and serve God like Ruth did.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is My reverence?”
This section of Malachi is rightfully used to talk about giving back to God what is already His. Israel was required to give 10% plus offerings to the Lord. God had blessed them, but they became greedy in their abundance and the small portion He asked for in return was too much to give back. But, that is not my focus, as these daily interactions usually go. Can you hear the heart of a father hurt because they are neglecting Him? We are created in God’s image, so take any of the feelings you may have, even jealousy, and apply them to God, because they came from Him. He “feels” them too. I read Malachi and I wonder how many times I have hurt my Father in heaven because I have been neglectful of those things he longs for in me: like time with Him (in prayer and reading the Bible), worship, and adoration. God is a mountain of strength and there is nothing physically I can give Him because it is all His to begin with. But when I give Him my love, like I do to Tammy, my kids, my friends, and my parents to name a few, I can almost hear a heavenly “I love you too.”
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
For this is the will of God, your sanctification
Have you ever lain in bed pondering, “What is God’s will for my life?” I know I have. “What if I get it wrong?” “I won’t meet the right spouse, find the right church, be at the right place at the right time”…etc. That is quite the load to bear. When we are supposed to have peace and joy in His Spirit, we are fretting if we are doing it right.
I want to dissect the word “sanctification”. Anything can be sanctified- food, a car, a person, a day, a TV program, or us. It means to be separated. The Greek word used here is hagiasmos (from the root word “Holy”- hagiazo). It is quite simple- it is the act of being set apart for holiness.
So what is holiness? Jesus set that example: He hung with sinners to share the gospel, but he himself did not sin. He hung out with his Father in prayer because he loved too talk to Him. When the Spirit told him to do something, he did it.
The rest of this chapter gives some practical application. To ponder God’s will for us requires spending time with Him, but the path starts by not acting like this world does today.
“Hooking up” is touted as normal- be abnormal.
Living in debt is expected- be weird.
Movies today are laced with vengeance- seek forgiveness.
Do it because Jesus set that example for us.
In modifying behavior and moving it towards doing what the bible says is right, you have started living God’s will for yourself- your sanctification.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
The second half of chapter 4 gives many great practices we can employ in or Christian faith - be nice, don’t steal, take care of the poor. Then the Lord asks us to make sure we talk nice to each other.
What a challenge this can be for me at times, especially to those I love the most. Lately I have been trying to guard and even plan every word I say. I tend to want center stage and have that witty comment, but there are times when that comment comes at the expense of someone else. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good laugh, but lately I have wanted to be extra careful to say things that encourage and build up.
Some have used this verse to say we should not swear. I don’t think that is even in focus here. When someone says “shucks”, “darn”, “heck”, or “fricken” when they are angry, what has changed? It is the cause of those words that is at issue, not the words themselves. I know many will disagree, and that is okay, but if given a choice I would rather utter a hundred 4-letter words than to say one thing hurtful to another person (in reality, the best choice is to do neither).
Some have also stated that this verse means we should not use strong words. But if strong words that call out a person’s actions leads to their repentance, is that not imparting grace?
The key word here is “corrupt.” It is a very descriptive word: Think of opening the fridge, grabbing that carton of milk, wanting to pour some on your fresh bowl of cereal. But when you do it is smelly and chunky. The cereal is useless and has probably taken your appetite with it. That is the word “corrupt” (Sapros is the Greek.)
When the words we use are useless, serving no other purpose than our own, then we are corrupt in our speech.
This goes far beyond any swear word.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
Isaiah 9:6, For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
We can read this and see Jesus in this passage- He was a child; He brought us peace; He is Mighty God!
Could it be the Holy Spirit has opened our minds too?
I think He has! Way Cool!
Monday, March 15, 2010
That is where we are in Christ! We are a part of something much bigger than ourselves. We might not realize that the work God has given us to do is to lay a foundation for another to rise up (like being a mom, or a bible study teacher in a prison, or driving someone around weekly, monthly or year, whatever). You may be throwing a pass of faith for someone else to catch.
The prophets of old were throwing passes knowing that the ball would be there when we turned around. They wrote about Jesus in the pages of the Old Testament because the spirit of Christ in them testified they were a part of something bigger than themselves. We caught it when we accepted Christ.
Now we “pass” it on in love.
Start this week off big- you are on a team; a family team: an eternal team!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty One, with Your glory and Your majesty.
Hebrews 1:8-9 attribute Psalm 45:6 to Jesus. But I want to share about the power of verse 3.
When I was a kid I had several instances where I was left alone and was bullied. For some reason, I was targeted by two brothers called the Mason’s. They lived on the corner near my school and I would have to walk by their house.
I would take different paths home through back yards. When they chased me I would run until I could not breathe. There were times when I was playing and the bullies saw me and started after me. To this day I have no idea what I did to be marked for their morbid pleasure. I was never really hurt, just pushed around and taunted. The intent was to terrify, and it worked!
One day I told my Dad and we went to the bully’s house. I never would have done that by myself. It did not help, they continued until I moved away, but that time I went to the door reminds me of this verse. God the Father is telling Jesus to gird His sword. With the knowledge that God is by our side, with all power, the taunting of a bully fails to terrify.
Will I get scared again? Possibly. But I can rest in the knowledge that He never leaves me or forsakes (Hebrews 13:5) me and He puts his Angels about me (Psalm 34:7).
We serve an Awesome God!
PS- I am thankful for those events, although Satan meant to hurt, those times developed compassion in ways reading about it could not do.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Melody suggested I post these here too. So, here goes:
Psalm 40:5, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works Which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
On Friday I presented Hebrews 10:7, which quotes Psalm 40:8. Psalm 40 is another Messianic Psalm. If read as if Jesus is speaking, a beautiful picture of a God who loves us is revealed.
God’s thoughts towards us cannot be recounted! Ask any parent how many times they catch themselves thinking about their kids: When at work, while at the store, before bed, when they are at school, etc. God thinks of you too.
He loves you.