• Register
  • Login
  • Forgot Password?
  • My Profile
  • Choose An Icon
  • Upload An Icon
  • Messenger
  • Member Search
  • Who's Online
    Members: 1584

    ONLINE:
    Members: 0
    Anonymous: 1
    Today: 20
    Newest Member:
    Larry Mills
  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Education / Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20 Welcome Guest
    Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20
          Have you always had questions about different passages and books of the bible? Me too. Let's explore everything together and find out what God's Word actually says. Are you ready for a life-changing experience? Are you? Then come on!
          Visit Vyrso.com: A new Christian ebook store

    Fri, Apr 29th - 6:12PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    12: And David said to Uriah, Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will let you leave.  So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow.

    13: And when David had called him, he did eat and dreink before him; and he made him drunk:  and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but did not go down to his house (11:12-13).

    David tried more things to get Uriah to go and be with his wife in their conjugal bed.  Getting the man drunk could not over ride his ethics.  So what to do now?

    14: And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.

    15: And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire from him, that he may be struck, and die (11:14-15).

    Man.  This sounds like a Hollywood movie script!  Scheme to figure out how to get rid of the husband of the woman that I have slept with since I can't convince him to go home and sleep with her!  This may very well be the worst of David's sin.  He deliberately, with malice and forethought, planned out Uriah's death.  The Word of God simply records for us what David did.  God did not condone it, He did not cover it up; He ended up bringing it right out into the open.  David was guilty.

    16: And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew that valiant men were.

    17: And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab:  and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also (11:16-17).

    Joab does what his king commands of him.  At least Uriah was not the only one to die that day in battle, others also died alongside of him.  But that does not lessen the cold heartedness of assigning Uriah to that place in the battle.  It does not mitigate David from suffering consequences to his actions.  We continue to follow this accounting.

    18: Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war;

    19: And charged the messenger, saying, When you have made an end of telling the matters of the war to the king,

    20: And if so be that the king's wrath arise, and he say to you, Wherefore approach you so close to the city when you did fight?  did you not know that they would shoot from the wall (11:18-20).

    Joab anticipated David's reaction and would appear to be attempting to hide from this messenger the true significance of the message.

    21: Who struck Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth?  did not a woman cast a piece of a millstone upon him from the wall, that he died in Thebez?  why did you go close to the wall?  then you say, Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.

    22: So the messenger went, and came and showed David all that Joab had sent him for.

    23: And the messenger said to David, Surely the men prevailed against us, and came out to us into the field, and we were upon them even unto the entering of the gate.

    24: And the shooters shot from off of the wall upon your servants; and some of the king's servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.

    25: Then David said unto the messenger, You shall say to Joab, Let not this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another:  make your battle stronger against the city, and overthrow it:  and encourage him (11:21-25).

    What a bunch of hooey!  David sounding so pious.  This is what sinners do, lie, deceive, deal in hypocrisy.  We shall stop right here for today.  Next time we shall see what God will do regarding David's sin, if anything.  May grace and peace be with you all today.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Fri, Apr 29th - 12:17PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



     9: Be not carried about with diverse 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 (13:9). 

    Not incredibly most of today's cults have chosen to go with "special diets" which their members must follow without question.  Food is important to our personal health, but it has absolutely nothing to do with our relationship to Christ/God.  Paul wrote in I Corinthians 8:8 of how we do not become better in the eyes of God if we eat or do not eat.  Food is not the criteria for being a Christian.  The same thing applies to groups of people who teach some strange things when compared against what the Bible actually says.  Beware of those who teach strange rituals, diet, ceremonies and lifestyles.  Nothing builds you up spiritually except the Word of God.  The Word of God brings you to Jesus, and only the Word can take the things of Christ and make them become real to you.

    10: We have an altar, at which they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle (13:10).

    A direct comparison is being drawn between the old covenant which Israel had followed for hundreds of years and the new covenant given by Christ Jesus.  Today's "altar" is not the Lord's Supper, nor is it Communion.  Our altar today is up in heaven, it is the throne of grace.  And we are to offer up sacrifice within our hearts daily. 

    The only place where we can have real Christian fellowship (koinonia) is around the Word of God.  This can happen around a banquet table full of food, or it can be evident in a circle of believers gathered together to study His Word.  Fellowship can only happen when two or more gather in His Name, speak His Holy Word, and are brought to the person of Christ so that they can see Him in all of His glory.  Then, and only then, may we fellowship with Christ in truth.  All of one mind, one Spirit, one Truth.

    11: For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp (13:11).

    This refers to the sin offering, which is what Christ Jesus satisfied upon that wooden cross.  Christ died for the fact that you and I are sinners.  We commit sins and we are sinners by nature thus God took our sins upon Himself that He might give us a new nature, one free from sin. 

    12: Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate (13:12).

    Jesus died outside of the city.  Why?  Because He was the sin offering, and the body of the sin offering was to be outside of the "camp."  Jesus kept the ordinances of the tabernacle/Temple intact so that all who really understood them would clearly see that He was the Messiah come to set them free from sin's bondage.

    13: Let us go out therefore to Him without the camp, bearing His reproach (13:13).

    These Hebrew Christians were being told that it was perfectly okay for them to leave the Temple, leave the rituals, those things were no longer helpful.  They must go to Him, must go to Christ. 

    Beloved, today we too are to go to Christ.  We must seperate ourselves from our old lives and go to Christ.  Yes we are to be seperated from the world, but we must seperate ourselves to something else, otherwise there will remain a vacuum and something must always fill a created vacuum.  Apostle Paul said he was seperated to the gospel, to the Word of God.  The word Hebrew means the "one who crossed over."  Abraham was called a Hebrew because he had come from the other side of the Euphrates River, signifying that his old life was gone, was over.  The children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, and they were delivered from slavery; they were redeemed, and a new life became possible.  They also had to cross the Jordan River in order to enter into the Promised Land. 

    So, we must go "without the camp, bearing His reproach."  The Hebrew Christians were loath to leave the Temple and their religion.  Too many people today are all wrapped up in what has been called "churchianity."  They believe that since they are members of a church that they are saved and "home free."  They need to get away from ritual and religion and come to Christ Jesus.  They need to "cross over" and get outside of the "camp."  Jesus is found outside of the buildings, He is standing waiting for us to come to Him.

    That is all for today my friends.  Come on back and we shall find out more.  Have a wonderful weekend, enjoy the sunshine!  Prayers are offered up daily for those who have been seriously impacted by the recent round of severe weather in America.  May we, as we are able, give of ourselves and help these people restore their lives.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Thu, Apr 28th - 12:56PM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



    "We are living in a culture that is secular.  Religion does not play the role that it used to play.  This particularly true for people under forty years of age in this society.  When a strong religious bond is missing, there are few things that can hold the culture together."

                       ~Richard Hofstadter

    "We ourselves were sure that at long last a generation had arisen keen and eager, to put this disorderly earth to right...and fit to doit...we meant so well, we tried so hard, and look what we have made of it.  We can only muddle in the muddle.  What is required is a new kind of man."

                       ~Walter Lippmann

     3: And David sent and inquired after the woman.  And one said, Is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?

     4: And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness:  and she returned unto her house (11:3-4). 

    Uriah was a foreigner.  I do not know if king David thought that it would be alright morally to sleep with a foreigner's wife or not.  You might say, "Well, she should have told the king to kiss off!"  Wasn't a real possibility back in those days since the king could have then arrested her and had her hung, or beheaded, or simply thrown into prison.  She complied with his request that she have an audience with the king.  It pretty much appears to be a modern day one night stand that David had in mind, doesn't it?  What foolishness!

    So this is the ugly story, and it is put to us in very plain language so that we do not mistake what the point is.  If David had gone with his soldiers this would never have happened.  If the woman had chosen to bathe indoors this would never have happened.  The king sent her back to her home thinking that that was it, nothing else would come of it.  One and done.  Right?

     5: And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child (11:5). 

    Ah yes.  Consequences of one's actions.  Reap what you sow.  David totally forgot about those basic rules of life.  Now he has an extremely real problem.  What to do?  Uriah, Bath-sheba's husband, is one of David's mighty men of war.  He is a loyal follower.  And he can't be the father of her child, he has been out in the field of battle all along!  Shall he choose to do the correct thing now?

     6: And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite.  And Joab sent Uriah to David.

     7: And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered.

     8: And David said to Uriah, Go down to your house, and wash your feet.  And Uriah departed out of the king's house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king (11:6-8).

    David does everything he can think of to try to escape responsibility for his choice to sleep with Uriah's wife.  He recalls him from the war zone, sends him home to be with his wife, and sends food with him.  Sounds like a good scheme, it might work.

     9: But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house.

    10: And when they had told David, saying, Uriah did not go down to his house, David said to Uriah, Did you not come from your journey?  then why did you not go down to your house (11:9-10)? 

    Oh, oh.  Glitch in the big plan to avoid admitting sin!  Uriah didn't return home to sleep with his wife, he remained at the king's house with the other servants of king David.  It was a reflection of Uriah's character and it was a rebuke of David who was enjoying the comfort and luxury of his palace.  We can plainly see David's panic beginning to mount.  He thought he had calculated this entire scenario out correctly:  bring Uriah back home, he sleeps with his wife, he can then be surmised to be the father of her child which she currently carries.  Except David forgot an important factor in all of his scheming:  the character of Uriah.

    11: And Uriah said to David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, remain in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife?  as you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing (11:11).

    Uriah was a great, and honorable man.  He may have been a foreigner, but he was loyal to Israel.  As long as the army was out in the field, deployed, he felt compelled to do likewise and to not enjoy the luxury of his home nor his wife.  Too bad David had not felt so compelled this time around, eh?  I wonder if he had the thought that he had screwed up right there, with not being with his men out on the battlefield.  Perhaps not, yet.

    That is all for today beloved.  Tomorrow I shall move along with the next 16 verses so that we cand reach the problem with this entire episode.  Grace and peace be with you all!

    ~Eric 



    Comment (0)

    Thu, Apr 28th - 12:56PM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



    "We are living in a culture that is secular.  Religion does not play the role that it used to play.  This particularly true for people under forty years of age in this society.  When a strong religious bond is missing, there are few things that can hold the culture together."

                       ~Richard Hofstadter

    "We ourselves were sure that at long last a generation had arisen keen and eager, to put this disorderly earth to right...and fit to doit...we meant so well, we tried so hard, and look what we have made of it.  We can only muddle in the muddle.  What is required is a new kind of man."

                       ~Walter Lippmann

     3: And David sent and inquired after the woman.  And one said, Is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?

     4: And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness:  and she returned unto her house (11:3-4). 

    Uriah was a foreigner.  I do not know if king David thought that it would be alright morally to sleep with a foreigner's wife or not.  You might say, "Well, she should have told the king to kiss off!"  Wasn't a real possibility back in those days since the king could have then arrested her and had her hung, or beheaded, or simply thrown into prison.  She complied with his request that she have an audience with the king.  It pretty much appears to be a modern day one night stand that David had in mind, doesn't it?  What foolishness!

    So this is the ugly story, and it is put to us in very plain language so that we do not mistake what the point is.  If David had gone with his soldiers this would never have happened.  If the woman had chosen to bathe indoors this would never have happened.  The king sent her back to her home thinking that that was it, nothing else would come of it.  One and done.  Right?

     5: And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child (11:5). 

    Ah yes.  Consequences of one's actions.  Reap what you sow.  David totally forgot about those basic rules of life.  Now he has an extremely real problem.  What to do?  Uriah, Bath-sheba's husband, is one of David's mighty men of war.  He is a loyal follower.  And he can't be the father of her child, he has been out in the field of battle all along!  Shall he choose to do the correct thing now?

     6: And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite.  And Joab sent Uriah to David.

     7: And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered.

     8: And David said to Uriah, Go down to your house, and wash your feet.  And Uriah departed out of the king's house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king (11:6-8).

    David does everything he can think of to try to escape responsibility for his choice to sleep with Uriah's wife.  He recalls him from the war zone, sends him home to be with his wife, and sends food with him.  Sounds like a good scheme, it might work.

     9: But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house.

    10: And when they had told David, saying, Uriah did not go down to his house, David said to Uriah, Did you not come from your journey?  then why did you not go down to your house (11:9-10)? 

    Oh, oh.  Glitch in the big plan to avoid admitting sin!  Uriah didn't return home to sleep with his wife, he remained at the king's house with the other servants of king David.  It was a reflection of Uriah's character and it was a rebuke of David who was enjoying the comfort and luxury of his palace.  We can plainly see David's panic beginning to mount.  He thought he had calculated this entire scenario out correctly:  bring Uriah back home, he sleeps with his wife, he can then be surmised to be the father of her child which she currently carries.  Except David forgot an important factor in all of his scheming:  the character of Uriah.

    11: And Uriah said to David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, remain in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife?  as you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing (11:11).

    Uriah was a great, and honorable man.  He may have been a foreigner, but he was loyal to Israel.  As long as the army was out in the field, deployed, he felt compelled to do likewise and to not enjoy the luxury of his home nor his wife.  Too bad David had not felt so compelled this time around, eh?  I wonder if he had the thought that he had screwed up right there, with not being with his men out on the battlefield.  Perhaps not, yet.

    That is all for today beloved.  Tomorrow I shall move along with the next 16 verses so that we cand reach the problem with this entire episode.  Grace and peace be with you all!

    ~Eric 



    Comment (0)

    Wed, Apr 27th - 1:33PM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



    "I am afraid we modern Christians are long on talk and short on conduct.  We use the language of power but our deeds are the deeds of weakness.  We settle for words in religion because deeds are too costly.  It is easier to pray, "Lord, help me to carry my cross daily" than to pick up the cross and carry it; but since the mere request for help to do something we do not actually intend to do has a certain degree of religious comfort, we are content with repetition of the words."

                 ~A.W. Tozer

     1: And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah.  But David tarried still at Jerusalem (11:1). 

    Here we are informed that it was that time of the year when kings normally would go out to war against one another.  It was kind of like "open season" on each other.  If weather conditions do not favor moving men and material to support warfare, then warfare grinds to a slow halt.  In Vietnam the monsoons kept soldiers from advancing within the jungle due to too much water.  They had to wait until the rainy season passed.  It would seem then that in David's day warfare was just as modern in its approach to dealing with the vagaries of weather as we are today. 

    David sent Joab and his fighting men to go off and battle the Ammonites.  Kings normally went out with their army, why didn't David go this time?  Perhaps it was as simple as the fact that he now enjoyed a really nice palace which was very comfortable.  He hadn't had such luxury in the past and now it felt very good.  Prosperity was impacting David in ways unforeseen.  Prosperity impacts us today in how we live our lives as Christians, unless we are very vigilant.  Our great comfort today easily becomes a great curse and traps us into remaining with the status quo.  David remained in Jerusalem rather than go out with his army.  Mistake number one. 

     2: And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house:  and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look at (11:2). 

    Back then the roof was the place where people spent their evenings for they had no front porches or decks or patios.  David went to walk upon the roof of his house, probably to try and settle in his mind some problems bothering him about neighboring nations.  Perhaps his conscience was acting up since his men were in the field fighting while he remained behind at his palace.  We just don't know.  Anyway, he's walking on the roof and happens to spot this woman bathing herself on her rooftop nearby.  People rag on king David for his sin, but why was this woman bathing herself up on her roof at this particular time?  I bet that everyone in Jerusalem knew that the king had not gone out with his army and that he was still at the palace.  Bathsheba was a contributing factor in David's sin, but mark my words, it was his sin. 

    Today women's dress has become a great temptation to men.  Women feel that it is appropriate to go out in public dressed in clothing which ought to only be worn at home or not even outside of the bedroom!  Young women seem to believe that no one will be tempted by their choice of wearing short shorts and halter tops which leave nothing to anyone's imagination.  Obviously they wear revealing clothing in order to attract men's attention, not other women's attention.  And it works.  It is just that they can't control whose attention they will get, and what the consequences will be.  Do women realize exactly what they are doing when they reveal themselves to men?  Is it simply to flirt and experience the adrenaline rush of the male attention?  Or is it to attempt to attract to themselves a man?  Perhaps a mixture of both.  At any rate Bathsheba may have thought that there was a chance that David might be up on his rooftop at night and might see her partially naked while she bathed on her rooftop.  I won't read any more into this incident than that my friends.

    As we wrap up this posting today, I will warn all of you men to beware of women who feel it is necessary, or even appropriate, to dress scantily out in public.  If you allow yourself to be led around by your physical lust of a physically beautiful woman then you will open yourself up to be destroyed spiritually and even financially.  If you are married and you think that you can dally with another woman simply because she has caught your eye, then you risk everything which you now have.  It will not be worth it in the long term.  Was it worth it to Mr. Edwards, of Presidential hopeful fame?  Or to any of the other men who have given in to this sin? 

    Next time I shall continue to delve into this incident of David and Bathsheba and examine the problems that it created both in the present and in the future.  Grace and peace be yours this day!

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Wed, Apr 27th - 1:33PM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



    "I am afraid we modern Christians are long on talk and short on conduct.  We use the language of power but our deeds are the deeds of weakness.  We settle for words in religion because deeds are too costly.  It is easier to pray, "Lord, help me to carry my cross daily" than to pick up the cross and carry it; but since the mere request for help to do something we do not actually intend to do has a certain degree of religious comfort, we are content with repetition of the words."

                 ~A.W. Tozer

     1: And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah.  But David tarried still at Jerusalem (11:1). 

    Here we are informed that it was that time of the year when kings normally would go out to war against one another.  It was kind of like "open season" on each other.  If weather conditions do not favor moving men and material to support warfare, then warfare grinds to a slow halt.  In Vietnam the monsoons kept soldiers from advancing within the jungle due to too much water.  They had to wait until the rainy season passed.  It would seem then that in David's day warfare was just as modern in its approach to dealing with the vagaries of weather as we are today. 

    David sent Joab and his fighting men to go off and battle the Ammonites.  Kings normally went out with their army, why didn't David go this time?  Perhaps it was as simple as the fact that he now enjoyed a really nice palace which was very comfortable.  He hadn't had such luxury in the past and now it felt very good.  Prosperity was impacting David in ways unforeseen.  Prosperity impacts us today in how we live our lives as Christians, unless we are very vigilant.  Our great comfort today easily becomes a great curse and traps us into remaining with the status quo.  David remained in Jerusalem rather than go out with his army.  Mistake number one. 

     2: And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house:  and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look at (11:2). 

    Back then the roof was the place where people spent their evenings for they had no front porches or decks or patios.  David went to walk upon the roof of his house, probably to try and settle in his mind some problems bothering him about neighboring nations.  Perhaps his conscience was acting up since his men were in the field fighting while he remained behind at his palace.  We just don't know.  Anyway, he's walking on the roof and happens to spot this woman bathing herself on her rooftop nearby.  People rag on king David for his sin, but why was this woman bathing herself up on her roof at this particular time?  I bet that everyone in Jerusalem knew that the king had not gone out with his army and that he was still at the palace.  Bathsheba was a contributing factor in David's sin, but mark my words, it was his sin. 

    Today women's dress has become a great temptation to men.  Women feel that it is appropriate to go out in public dressed in clothing which ought to only be worn at home or not even outside of the bedroom!  Young women seem to believe that no one will be tempted by their choice of wearing short shorts and halter tops which leave nothing to anyone's imagination.  Obviously they wear revealing clothing in order to attract men's attention, not other women's attention.  And it works.  It is just that they can't control whose attention they will get, and what the consequences will be.  Do women realize exactly what they are doing when they reveal themselves to men?  Is it simply to flirt and experience the adrenaline rush of the male attention?  Or is it to attempt to attract to themselves a man?  Perhaps a mixture of both.  At any rate Bathsheba may have thought that there was a chance that David might be up on his rooftop at night and might see her partially naked while she bathed on her rooftop.  I won't read any more into this incident than that my friends.

    As we wrap up this posting today, I will warn all of you men to beware of women who feel it is necessary, or even appropriate, to dress scantily out in public.  If you allow yourself to be led around by your physical lust of a physically beautiful woman then you will open yourself up to be destroyed spiritually and even financially.  If you are married and you think that you can dally with another woman simply because she has caught your eye, then you risk everything which you now have.  It will not be worth it in the long term.  Was it worth it to Mr. Edwards, of Presidential hopeful fame?  Or to any of the other men who have given in to this sin? 

    Next time I shall continue to delve into this incident of David and Bathsheba and examine the problems that it created both in the present and in the future.  Grace and peace be yours this day!

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Tue, Apr 26th - 2:42PM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



     

         7: And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men.

        8: And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array at the entrance of the gate: and the Syrians of Zobah and of Rehob, and the men of Tob and Maacah, were by themselves in the field.
        9: Now when Joab saw that the battle was set against him before and behind, he chose of all the choice men of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians:
       10: And the rest of the people he committed into the hand of Abishai his brother; and he put them in array against the children of Ammon.
       11: And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then you shall help me; but if the children of Ammon be too strong for you, then I will come and help you.
       12: Be of good courage, and let us play the man for our people, and for the cities of our God: and Jehovah do that which seems good to Him.
       13: So Joab and the people that were with him drew close unto the battle against the Syrians: and they fled before him.
       14: And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, they likewise fled before Abishai, and entered into the city. Then Joab returned from the children of Ammon, and came to Jerusalem.
       15: And when the Syrians saw that they were put to the worse before Israel, they gathered themselves together.
       16: And Hadarezer sent, and brought out the Syrians that were beyond the River: and they came to Helam, with Shobach the captain of the host of Hadarezer at their head.
       17: And it was told David; and he gathered all Israel together, and passed over the Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in array against David, and fought with him.
       18: And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew of the Syrians, seven hundred chariots, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, so that he died there.
       19: And when all the kings that were servants to Hadarezer saw that they were put to the worse before Israel, they made peace with Israel, and served them. So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more (10:7-19). 

    David knows whom to turn to lead the soldiers out into battle against the Ammonites and their mercenary army.  Joab splits the Israeli forces with his brother Abishai with a definite plan in mind on dealing with two forces arrayed against them.  The initial Syrian force was routed and then the Ammonites retreated upon witnessing their mercenary army being defeated.  And then the Syrians chose to send even more soldiers against Israel figuring to defeat them with more numbers.  But once again God was with David and his men and they thoroughly defeated the Syrians, even killing the captain of their army.  All of the kings opposing David realized that they were not going to defeat him and made peace with him. 

    We need to realize that as long as God is with us and we are acting within His will, we need not fear anyone who chooses to stand up and oppose us.  God will see us through to a safe end.  They will either be destroyed or they will choose to make peace with us.  Just as this was a tremendous victory for David and the Israeli's, so too can it become a tremendous spiritual victory for us today when confronted by our enemies. 

    This is the end of chapter ten and we now ready ourselves to begin chapter eleven.  We now approach David's two great sins for which he is remembered.  This begins the last section of II Samuel and contains the troubles of king David.  We have seen mostly his triumphs, now we will read all about his troubles.  Until next time, grace and peace be with you.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Mon, Apr 25th - 1:05PM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



    "Jesus Christ is no security against storms, but He is perfect security in storms.  He has never promised you an easy passage, only a safe landing."

                                        ~Anonymous

    "When the storms of life come down upon you, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus."

                                        ~George Sweeting 

    Christ is sending out an invitation today into all of the highways and byways and streets of your community.  He is calling out, "Come to My table of salvation just as you are, crippled, and I will feed you.  Come to Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  Crippled?  Me?  Most assuredly, each of us are "cripples" in some meaning of the term.  Either I am a physical cripple, or I am an emotional cripple, or I could even be a spiritual cripple.  I am not a fully healthy person and am in need of restoration from God.  I could very well be a combination of all of the above conditions, and be utterly lost in this world.  So we are in dire need of the Living God to come into our hearts and transform us, to come into our lives and help us to reflect His love through our actions and words.  Let us now move on into chapter ten of II Samuel.

     1: And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead.

     2: Then said David, I will show kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me.  And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father.  And David's servants came into the land of the children of Ammon.

     3: And the princes of the children of Ammon said to Hanun their lord, Do you think that David does honor your father, that he has sent comforters to you?  Has not David rather sent his servants to you, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it (10:1-3)? 

    Ahh, the problem of relying solely upon advisers for your advice!  Were these princes simply scared stiff of David?  Or were they working some personal agendas by working their king into acting wrongly against David?  Obviously Hanun had not bothered to pay attention to the relationship between his father and David.

     4: Therefore Hanun took David's servants, and shaved off one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away (10:4). 

    I don't know about you, but that would offend me.  I would not want that to be done to me.  In David's day this was meant to be a supreme insult.  It was meant to be humiliating to the servants of David and it was.  We must be fully prepared to experience humiliating actions by unbelievers against us, their intent will be to shame us, to force us to not return into their presence ever again. 

     5: When they told it to David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ahsamed:  and the king said, Stay at Jericho until yours beards be grown, and then return.

     6: And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth-rehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Ish-tob twelve thousand men (10:5-6). 

    The Ammonites obviously had decided to not remain friends with Israel, and upon creating such a PR scandal they sought out help to fight against the Israelites.  They plainly realize that David will seek to avenge the shaming of his diplomats, and they began hiring themselves an army.  We can learn more about this from the account given in I Chronicles 19:6-7.

    That is all for today my friends.  Next time I shall continue with the next few verses which recall for us David's response to the Ammonites hiring of the Syrians.  Grace and peace go with you today, and always.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Fri, Apr 22nd - 8:38PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



     8: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever (13:8).

    "Jesus Christ" is used since Jesus is His human name, and Christ is His title.  It speaks of His deity.  The name Jesus links Him with mankind and identifies Him as the most wonderful person in the entire world.

    When Jesus was physically down here on earth people crowded all around Him because He was so human.  Crowds of people followed Him and simply loved Him.  His teaching was something which they hated.  

    Christ is a title which speaks of the messianic mission which Jesus was upon while walking this earth.  He is God manifest in human flesh.  He is Jehovah and He is human.  This verse speaks of how Jesus Christ is unchanging throughout time.  What He is today will be what He is tomorrow and was what He was yesterday.  People tend to change over time, but not Jesus Christ.  What He said some two thousand years ago remains unchanged today.  He meant exactly what He said then, and He still means exactly the same thing today.  

    Jesus Christ is the same, but how is He the same?  He is the same in His character, in His person, and in His attributes, but He is not the same in place or in performance.  The thought of this epistle of Hebrews is that Jesus is at the right hand of God.  Right now He is in heaven, but some day He is coming back to earth to establish His heavenly kingdom here.  He has not called His church out of this world yet, but some day He will do just that.  Exactly when He is going to call us out of this world remains a point of some debate, but there is no debate as to the fact that He will call us out.  

    Liberals tend to speak only of Jesus' humanity and that becomes misunderstood.  We conservatives tend to then speak of only His deity.  Thinking back, have you ever wondered why the throngs of people were attracted to Him and followed Him?  He was strong but gentle.  Gentle enough that little children came easily to Him.  However He also could drive the money-changers from out of the Temple because He was man enough to put them all out.  He had charisma.  People knew that something was different about Him, something attractive.  When He healed the leper in Capernaum he had to leave due to the crowds of people that pressed about Him.  Publicans and sinners came to Him, and this angered the religious leaders.  If He came to your town today He probably would not come to your church.  You would find Him with people who are in need.  

    Again, I say that Jesus' teaching offended many people.  When He stated that He was going to die to redeem men it was not popular.  When He taught that He was the Bread of Life and that He had come to give His life that men might have spiritual food people were offended.  Jesus taught a very narrow way to reach the presence of God: read it in John 6:65-68.  The immense crowds began to dwindle down in size, lead by His band of twelve.  Why?  Because of His teaching.  But even Simon Peter rejected the teaching of his Messiah in Matthew 16:22.  So even His loyal disciples didn't like that sort of teaching.  When men came into contact with Jesus Christ they found grace and truth; they found gentleness and strength; they found meekness and majesty; they found light and love.  He appealed to men but when He died on that cross it became an offense.  The Cross of Christ is still an offense, but Jesus is still attractive.

    Sinners came to listen to what Jesus had to say, but they turned and left in droves when He began to teach that they must repent from their sins.  He had come to set them free, but He had to give His life for them and they then would become His bondservants.  It was a hard thing to hear and accept.  Sinners did come, those who were desperate to change their lives, and were saved through Jesus Christ.  That is the only way men will come to Him even in today's world.

    Jesus is never going to change beloved.  What He taught two thousand years ago is what He teaches still today through His written Word.  What was true then remains true today.  One day we will be in His presence, either He will say, "Well done good and faithful servant," or "Begone, I never knew you!"  What will it be for you my friend?  Choose this day and do not delay!  No one knows what the future holds for us, no one.

    We will be continuing this study as we move through the Easter holiday this weekend.  This commonly is called Good Friday for it is the day on which Christ died upon the cross for our sins.  On this day the sins of mankind were paid for by God.  We were redeemed at an awful price.  Thus we have become bondservants of Christ for He has purchased us  at the price of the shedding of His precious blood on Calvary.  May He bless you once more on this special weekend in April!  Ponder how it must have felt to be witnessing Him being lowered from the cross, taken and prepared for burial.  What thoughts were racing through the minds of those who carried His body into the tomb donated by Joseph of Arimithea?  What would you have felt if you were in their place?  What had gone so horribly wrong?  What were they to do now?  Remember Christ, and His sacrifice for you this weekend.  Grace and peace be yours.

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Fri, Apr 22nd - 1:11PM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



       1: And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?
       2: And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba, and they called him unto David; and the king said unto him, Are you Ziba? And he said, Your servant is he.
       3: And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan has yet a son, who is lame of his feet.
       4: And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, in Lo-debar.
       5: Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo-debar.
       6: And Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came unto David, and fell on his face, and did obeisance. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold, your servant!
       7: And David said unto him, Fear not; for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father's sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your father; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.
       8: And he did obeisance, and said, What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I am?
       9: Then the king called to Ziba, Saul's servant, and said unto him, All that pertained to Saul and to all his house have I given unto your master's son.
       10: And you shall till the land for him, you, and your sons, and your servants; and you shall bring in the fruits, that your master's son may have bread to eat: but Mephibosheth your master's son shall eat bread always at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.
       11: Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so shall your servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king's sons.
       12: And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. And all that dwelled in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth.
       13: So Mephibosheth dwelled in Jerusalem; for he did eat continually at the king's table. And he was lame in both his feet (9:1-13). 

    King David did not forget about the remaining family of his dear friend Jonathan.  So he searched out for survivors and then proceeded to give to them a heritage, them and their servants.  Notice the servant's response to the king's requests:  "According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so shall your servant do."  Isn't this the response each believer in Christ Jesus ought to utter?  Isn't this the attitude each of us ought to have governing our lives each and every day?  Sure it is.  Our Lord and King commands us to live a certain way and we ought to then live that way according to all God's commands.  Being a good servant.  Jesus Christ served His disciples at the Last Supper by washing their feet.  It caused quite a stir among the followers of Jesus.  It was unheard of to do something like that when you were a Rabbi, a teacher, a person of some importance.  They complained vocally and were soundly rebuked by being told that to refuse foot washing was to have absolutely no part of God. 

    I took part in a Love Feast/Feet Washing service last evening at our Brethren church.  The Scriptures command us to honor and remember Christ each and every time that we break bread and drink the grape juice.  We are commanded to do for each other exactly what Jesus did for those disciples:  wash their feet and make them clean.  It is a lesson in being a servant of others.  The district executive is no more important than the child who has only accepted Christ as their Savior.  All wash each other's feet and draw closer in relationship to Christ and to each other.  "Do this in remembrance of Me!"  We read appropriate scriptures reflecting upon the Last Supper meal and the subsequent communion.  It was a time for reconnecting with God, a time for letting go of grudges with others, a time for bonding with each other in Christ, and it was a time for fellowship with God.  We shared a simple "Supper" together, sang hymns praising God, and shared the cup and the bread in remembrance of Christ and His new covenant sealed with His blood.

    This account in II Samuel of Mephibosheth represents a picture of how we shall one day continually dine at the table of the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  It prepares us for that day when we shall live eternally in the presence of God in New Jerusalem.  It also is another picture of how we "the Bride of Christ" shall sit at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb and bask in the glory of the Son of God.  What an event to look forward to!

    That is all for today my friends.  Next up is chapter ten.  What shall we learn next?  May Christ richly bless you with long life, abundant life, and joy and peace!

    ~Eric




    Comment (0)

    Thu, Apr 21st - 1:26PM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



       1: And after this it came to pass, that David smote the Philistines, and subdued them: and David took the bridle of the mother city out of the hand of the Philistines.
       2: And he smote Moab, and measured them with the line, making them to lie down on the ground; and he measured two lines to put to death, and one full line to keep alive. And the Moabites became servants to David, and brought tribute.
       3: David smote also Hadadezer the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his dominion at the River.
       4: And David took from him a thousand and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: and David hocked all the chariot horses, but reserved of them for a hundred chariots.
       5: And when the Syrians of Damascus came to succor Hadadezer king of Zobah, David smote of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men (8:1-5). 

    Immediately we see "after this" which refers us back to what God had promised David through covenant.  David is being firmly established in the kingdom and not surprisingly, his first military victory comes against the Philistines.  They who were Israel's perpetual and inveterate enemies were driven back beyond the borders of Israel and out of even their own borders. 

    The Mobites became servants to David upon being subdued militarily.   King Hadadezer of Zobah was also attacked and beaten.  Huge amounts of people, animals, and gear were taken in victory.  From my understanding David "hocked" or hobbled all of the horses used to pull chariots.  Hadadezer's kingdom went as far as the Euphrates River so David gained a large tract of land to add to the kingdom of Israel.

     
       
    6: Then David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus; and the Syrians became servants to David, and brought tribute. And Jehovah gave victory to David wherever he went.
       7:
    And David took the shields of gold that were on the servants of Hadadezer, and brought them to Jerusalem.
       8:
    And from Betah and from Berothai, cities of Hadadezer, king David took exceeding much brass.
       9:
    And when Toi king of Hamath heard that David had smitten all the host of Hadadezer,
      10:
    then Toi sent Joram his son unto king David, to salute him, and to bless him, because he had fought against Hadadezer and smitten him: for Hadadezer had wars with Toi. And Joram brought with him vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and vessels of brass:
      11:
    These also did king David dedicate unto Jehovah, with the silver and gold that he dedicated of all the nations which he subdued;
      12:
    of Syria, and of Moab, and of the children of Ammon, and of the Philistines, and of Amalek, and of the spoil of Hadadezer, son of Rehob, king of Zobah.
      13:
    And David got himself a name when he returned from smiting the Syrians in the Valley of Salt, even eighteen thousand men.
      14:
    And he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom put he garrisons, and all the Edomites became servants to David. And Jehovah gave victory to David wherever he went.
      15:
    And David reigned over all Israel; and David executed justice and righteousness unto all his people.
      16:
    And Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the host; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder;
      17:
    and Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, were priests; and Seraiah was scribe;
      18: and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David's sons were chief ministers (8:6-18). 

    Syria became servants of Israel, King Toi of Hamath voluntarily offered tribute upon finding out that David had severely beaten Hadadezer.  What we are also importantly told in this accounting is that David executed justice and righteousness to ALL of his people.  This period of time was marked by judgment and justice by the king, done so righteously through God. 

    David brought Israel to its zenith and managed it as a world power corresponding to other kingdoms of that day.  God enabled David to expand Israel's borders because David was a man of faith who sought God early and often.  This is what each believer today must do.  Seek God early and often and He will protect you and enable you to do great things in His name.  Forget about God and He will not use you for great and mighty things.  God desires to use each of us to expand His kingdom today, to push its borders further and further across the landscape of this world of ours.  We can not erradicate sin and evil through our human efforts, but we can severely limit Satan's ability to inflict pain and suffering upon us by plugging ourselves into the Holy Spirit, picking up and carrying our personal cross, and keeping our eyes solely upon Christ Jesus.

    That is all for today beloved.  Next time we shall open up chapter eight where we shall find one of the most beautiful accounts in all of the Scriptures.  Until then, be fervent in prayer, be constant in faith, and be of one mind.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Wed, Apr 20th - 1:10PM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



       21: For Your word's sake, and according to Your own heart, have You created all this greatness, to make Your servant know it.
       22: Wherefore You are great, O Jehovah God: for there is none like You, neither is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.
       23: And what one nation in the earth is like Your people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem unto Himself for a people, and to make Him a name, and to do great things for You, and terrible things for Your land, before Your people, whom You redeemeed to Yourself out of Egypt, from the nations and their gods?
       24: And You did establish to Yourself Your people Israel to be a people unto You for ever; and You, Jehovah, became their God.
       25: And now, O Jehovah God, the word that You have spoken concerning Your servant, and concerning his house, confirm You it for ever, and do as You have spoken.
       26: And let Your name be magnified for ever, saying, Jehovah of hosts is God over Israel; and the house of Your servant David shall be established before You.
       27: For You, O Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel, have revealed to Your servant, saying, I will build you a house: therefore has Your servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto You.
       28: And now, O Lord Jehovah, You are God, and Your words are truth, and You have promised this good thing unto Your servant:
       29: now therefore let it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue for ever before You; for You, O Lord Jehovah, have spoken it: and with Your blessing let the house of Your servant be blessed for ever (7:21-29).
       

    Here we find a prayer offered up to Jehovah for blessing David's lineage.  We can clearly see that David comprehended what redemption was all about.  He was graciously thankful for the blessings which God had already bestowed upon him, and for those blessings which were yet to come in the future for his entire family line.  David voiced affirmation that God ought to go ahead and do what pleased Him concerning the house of David.  We should be so gracious and thankful to God for the manifold blessings which He rains down upon us each and every day. 

    Did God do this for David because David was such a super nice guy?  No, He did not.  God did not save you or me becasue we were nice men and women.  He saved us because of His marvelous, infinite grace which is greater than all of our sin.  What God does for us He does because of His goodness, not because of ours.  Here we see that David is overwhelmed by what God has told him of His plans for his household. 

    David was given eternal assurance in this passage.  Read II Samuel 23:5 and it is clearly seen that David knew that even if he stumbled, and failed badly, God would honor His promise made to him.  God has also made promise to you and me.  It is recorded in John 3:16.  It is simply a matter of believing in Jesus Christ.  Will you believe?  Whoever you are, wherever you may be, God is saying to you right now, "Believe Me.  I'll save you if you will trust Christ as your Savior."  That is how simple His covenant with us is today.

    That finishes up chapter seven of II Samuel.  I will next start studying the eighth chapter whose theme is about how David goes about consolidating his kingdom.  David has established Jerusalem as his capital and has brought the ark of God to reside there and so now he turns to solidifying the kingdom of Israel. 

    May Christ's grace and peace fill your heart and mind.  May you reach out to those around you in charity, compassion, and generousity.  Show the love of God to all whom you meet this day.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Mon, Apr 18th - 5:51PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



     5: Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have:  for He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you (13:5).

    "Conversation" relates to all that we do in life.  We ought not to be placing the almighty dollar above everything else in life.  We ought not to place our careers above everything else.  We are not to fret over what we are to wear or to eat for did not Christ Jesus say that He would never leave nor forsake us?  Yes, He did.  It does not matter who you are or what you do for a living.  If you have responded in faith to the Word of God, you have been brought to the place where you can know that He will never maroon you, nor will He ever forget about you.  I have "friends" today who would forsake me under the right conditions.  God will never do that to me.  I have God on my side now.

     6: So that we may boldly say, The LORD is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me (13:6).

    All of the Hebrew Christians in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria were going to experience persecution to the point of death in the coming years.  They needed to remember that God was not going to leave them.  They needed encouragement, and they needed to learn how to deal with what was ahead for them.  When life gets really tough, then we must listen to Jesus only, we must recollect scripture that reaffirms God's promises to always be with us no matter where we may be. 

     7: Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken to you the Word of God:  whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation (13:7). 

    The thought in this verse is one of leadership and not of control.  Spiritual leaders are to lead people to Christ Jesus and to a deeper walk in faith with Him.  They are to lead by example and aid people in becoming more mature in their faith.  So, if a man is presenting Christ and is attempting to bring people into the presence of Christ, then that is a man to whom we ought to be loyal and supportive.  It is not simply because a person happens to be a pastor that we are loyal to them, they must show just reasons for receiving such loyalty.  Christian leaders must be teaching God's Word and preaching God's Word in order to be viewed as a leader in God's Church.

    That is all for today beloved.  We are to be content where we find ourselves, confident despite our circumstances, and to be reaching out to those in need all around us.  This is what today's Christian must be doing.  May Christ's grace and peace be with you all.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Mon, Apr 18th - 2:36PM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



    "Parents wonder why the streams are bitter when they themselves have poisoned the fountain."

                     ~John Locke

    ""Parents: persons whospend half their time worrying how a child will turn out, and the rest of the time wondering when a child will turn in."

                     ~Ted Cook

    14:  I will be his father, and he shall be My son.  If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men (7:14). 

    God tells us what He will do.  "I will" be his father and "I will" chasten him if he commits sin.  Jesus said to Mary Magdalene, "Do not touch Me; for I am not risen to My Father: but toto My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God (John 20:17)."  God is the Father of Jesus because of His position in the Trinity/Godhead.  God is my Father by regeneration (John 1:12).  When I received Christ Jesus as my Savior, God gave me the right (exousia) to become His son.  That right is given to those who do neither more nor less than simply believing in His name.

    But this verse fourteen is a bit strange in that last part of it.  When Jesus Christ was nailed to that wooden cross and offered up in sacrifice for all of mankind's sin, guilt was laid upon Him and God then chastened Him with the rod of man.  Iniquity was put upon Christ, who knew no sin.  When your sin and my sin was put upon Jesus those stripes laid upon His body aided in our being healed.  Christ was delivered up in our place, paid the price for the wages of our sin.  I Peter 2:24 says, "Who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed."  The Person coming in David's line would bear the sins of the entire world.  Isaiah 53 contains many references to this whole aspect of what God has done for all of us.  Christ's stripes have healed us of our sins.  Sin afflicts mankind.  A solution was needed and God supplied the only solution that would effect a permanent repair to our spirituality.

    15: But My mercy shall not depart away from Him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before you.

    16: And your house and your kingdom shall be established for ever before you: your throne shall be established for ever (7:15-16). 

    Although the line of David would sin grievously, God would honor His promise through to the end of His purpose with David and his family line.  Verse 16 is mentioned in Psalm 89:34-37.  We see that God is not forgetful of things that He has promised to others.  People often forget what they have promised to others, but God does not.  However old the moon really is, that is a picture of how firmly established this covenant with David is.  God will not break His covenant with David.

     17: According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.

    18: Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O LORD God?  and what is my house, that You have brought me here?

    19: And this was yet a small thing in Your sight, O LORD God; but You have spoken also of Your servant's house for a great while to come.  And is this the manner of man, O LORD God (7:18-19)? 

    David, upon being told these things went in before the ark of the covenant, and spoke with God concerning these things.  He was wanting to understand why God would choose him and his family line to do all of these things.  The Seed to break the power of sin over people was to come from Abraham; from the tribe of Judah; and now from the family of David.  David is overwhelmed by the fact that Christ was to come from his family line in the future.  The Savior of the entire world, coming from his family tree.  Wow!

    20: And what more can David say to You?  for You, LORD God, know Your servant (7:20). 

    Indeed, what more can any of us say to God?  At the end of each of our prayer times before God we ought to have reached this state of not having anything else of which to speak with Him about.  We should have laid bare our hearts and souls during our time of prayer.  We should be spent.  I will stop here for today.  Grace and peace be yours today.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Sun, Apr 17th - 4:39PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



    As we have discovered, chapter 11 was the faith chapter of Hebrews, chapter 12 was the hope chapter, and now we come to chapter 13 which is the love chapter.  

     1: Let brotherly love continue (13:1).  

    The writer of this epistle is writing primarily to Hebrews, but what he has to say has application to all believers.  Both Jew and Gentile has been brought into one body of believers.  The cement, the glue, that holds us together is brother love.  We are not to love like brothers, but we are to love because we are brothers.

    If you are a child of God then you are my brother/sister.  Skin color makes absolutely no difference, gender makes no difference, race makes no difference.  We are all made the same through Christ, He gives us a new heart and washes us white as new fallen snow.  We are all part of the family of God and we are to love one another.

    The Christian life is a triangle.  One side holds our relationship with God at the apex: faith and love of Him.  The bottom of the triangle holds our relationship with others:  love.  Hopefully, the opposite side of the triangle holds Others' relationship with God in faith and love as well.  

     2: Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (13:2.

    In the New Testament the term "angel" sometimes refers to human messengers from God, such as leaders of specific churches as we see in the Book of Revelation.  But in this instance that would not make very much sense.  

    In the Old Testament we have accounts of people having contact with angels but it is not announced to them as such.  Abraham was one who had contact with angels, Jacob was another, and so was Joshua.  

    The basic concept in this verse obviously is that we are to extend love to strangers through our hospitality.  Always we are to exercise care that our love is offered with judgment, but we are to recognize that there are people around us to whom we can be very helpful.  In entertaining people we also open ourselves up to meeting some very interesting individuals and may very well introduce them to Jesus Christ.  Perhaps we may inadvertently invite angels into our home and be blessed by their presence; all of which will not possibly happen if we refuse to open up our homes to others.

     3: Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body (13:3).

    Paul new all about being chained up.  So he informs his readers to not forget those who are in prison, or those who are suffering adversity.  God wants us to identify ourselves with those who are in these situations for we do not know when we too could experience these same things in our lives.  We are not to merely mouth nice words, we are to place ourselves in their shoes and realize exactly what they are going through and then we are to meet their needs.  We must love them.  

    We are all parts of one body.  When one part suffers then all parts suffer.  We cannot forget about those who are restricted to their bed, or to their wheelchair.  We must go and try to meet their needs.  Visit them, bring them some books to read, offer to prepare a meal for them.  Maybe even read a book to them.  Many of us could have ministries by going to visit the sick and lonely.  

     4: Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled:  but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge (13:4).  

    Young man, if you find a Christian young woman who will have you then get married.  Young woman, if you find a Christian young man who will have you then get married.  God will lead you to the one He has picked out for you, if you ask Him and allow Him to do so!  

    Marriage is honorable to everyone, and sex is to be exercised within the framework of marriage.  Marriage was given to us for the welfare of mankind.  Living together outside of the boundaries of marriage might seem good and exciting, but there will be a price to pay for it.  The home is the center of the whole social structure of our culture.  It is also the very center of the church of Christ.

    Mind me now, there is nothing wrong with sex, except that it is being taught too much in our public schools today and not enough at home by parents.  Contraception sounds plausible, but there are shortcomings to each method employed, and they must be utilized to be of any preventative use.  Quality control on condoms is questionable as it is for pills.  Depending upon these measures to protect oneself during intercourse sidesteps the basic issue:  Having sex outside of marriage.  We can't possibly keep our bed undefiled if we teach our children to have safe sex.  

    Whoremongers and adulterers are picked out by this verse.  Galatians 6:7 warns us to not mock God, for whatever choices we make we will be judged by them in the eyes of God.  There will be no deception of God.  Living a nice life in all areas of your personal life and then practicing sexual sins while thinking they will all average out okay is simply self-deception.  God will call you on it one day, judgment of your choices will be placed upon you.  So be careful in what you choose to think, do, and say.

    That is all on this Palm Sunday.  Grace and peace of Christ our Lord and Savior be with you all.

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Sat, Apr 16th - 12:42PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



    27: And this word, Yet once more, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain (12:27).

    We all are reminded of the fact that there are "things" which are not eternal in nature, that these things will be shaken and removed from existence.  We must therefore base the foundation of our lives upon those things which will remain when the day of Judgment arrives.  Material things do not last forever while spiritual things do last forever.  Christ is the Rock upon which His church is built and we are to therefore build our house upon the Rock which is eternal.  We are free to choose to build our home based upon mankind's traditions, or we can choose to build our home upon the precepts of Jehovah, the Living God.  One changes like the wind while the other is timeless and unchangeable.  God's Word will remain forever, it is the standard by which to build our lives and our homes.  

    28: Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which can't be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear (12:28).

    As believers in Christ Jesus we are moving forward towards a heavenly kingdom, but as we move toward the heavenly kingdom we must recognize our need to be serving God while we are down here.  Are we to serve Him flippantly, calling Him "Old Man?"  No, we are to serve Him "acceptably" which is with reverence and godly fear.  Christianity is not playing church, and it is not assuming some pious attitude.  It is also not about cowering in mortal fear of God coming down and erradicating our life.  Godly fear can be found in the Old Testament some 30 times as "fear of the Lord."  "And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding (Job 28:28)."  "The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether (Psalm 19:9)."  "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7)."  "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate (Proverbs 8:13)."  This is just a sampling of the many references to this concept.  What can be seen is that fear of the Lord leads to hating that which is evil.  This translates into pride, arrogance, slanderous mouth and others.  In order for us to have a living, vital, and real relationship with Jesus Christ which transforms our life and anchors us in the Word of God we must develop "fear of the Lord" or godly fear.  We must begin to hate evil and foolish, arrogant attitudes towards God.

    29: For our God is a consuming fire (12:29).

    This is a verse which causes many people problems.  It is an uncomfortable thought.  It is anchored in consequences for actions taken and is deeply rooted in accountability.  Grace may be freely available to us today, but we can't play free and loose with God and not expect that we shall not be held accountable for our actions, words, and thoughts.  Judgment shall come to this earth one day, grace therefore needs to be taken advantage of now, not later on in life.  The people who recently died during the tornado outbreaks in the American plains' states surely did not believe that they might die that day.  It probably never even occurred to them that their time was nearly up.  We need to pray for all of the people impacted by severe weather and in the continuing devastation over in Japan.  

    Jehovah is the same just and righteous God under the gospel that He was under the Law.  Although He be our God in Christ, deals with us in a more kind and gracious way, He still remains a consuming fire and a God of strict justice.  He will avenge Himself upon all despisers of His grace, and upon all apostates.  Under the gospel, the justice of God is displayed in an even more awful manner for we behold divine justice seizing hold of Jesus Christ, making Him a propitiatory sacrifice, His soul and body an offering for sin.  This is a display of justice far beyond what was seen and heard on Mount Sinai when the Law was given to the people of Israel.

    That is all for today beloved!  May you prepare your heart for Passion Week beginning with Palm Sunday.  Review the events that transpired during this time period, remembering what Christ did, said, and had done to Him.  Recall all of the prophecies that were fulfilled during this time period.  Remember that God allowed Himself to be crucified upon a cross for our benefit.  

    Next time I shall begin the thirteenth, and final, chapter of the Book of Hebrews.  It is the chapter considered to be the "Love" chapter.  It may open up your eyes as we study it line by line and come to understand how godly love is not anything like human love today.  Grace and peace to you.

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Thu, Apr 14th - 12:41PM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



    "Satan separates; God unites; love binds us together."

                                       ~D. L. Moody

    "What a vast distance there is between knowing God and loving Him!"

                                        ~Blaise Pascal

    10: Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime (7:10). 

    Note the "I will's" spoken by God here.  God will select a place for the Israelites to dwell in peace.  God will plant them permanently.  God has things which He is going to do.  God spoke of these things 3,000+ years ago and they have yet to be fulfilled in history.  It remains a future prophecy.

    11: And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies.  Also the LORD tells you that He will make you a house (7:11). 

    God told Nathan that He would make David a house rather than David making Him a house.  God did not desire David to build Him a house, David had blood upon his hands.  God knew David's heart's desire was to construct a house for the ark, credited him for it, and then made David a house. 

    Pehaps the main reason that so many of us are so "poor" today is because we do so little for the Lord.  We never place ourselves in a position where God can do very much for us.  David wanted to do something great for God and God did something far greater for him.  We should learn from David.

    12: And when your days be fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, which shall proceed out of your loins, and I will stablish his kingdom (7:12). 

    We have read in the New Testament that Jesus Christ was made of the seed of David (Romans 1:3).  God said right here in verse twelve that He would establish his seed's kingdom.  This refers to both the immediate and the far future.  Immediately would be his son Solomon's rule and in the future it would be the kingdom of Christ upon this earth during the Millennium. 

    13: He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever (7:13). 

    Solomon is the "He" in this verse, however, the kingdom spoken of goes beyond Solomon and looks to the distant future.  The "throne" spoken of is that of king David.  Christ one day shall sit on that throne just as the archangel Gabriel said to Mary (Luke 1:32). 

    That is all for today, beloved.  May God's grace and peace fill you today!

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Wed, Apr 13th - 9:15PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



    23: To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect (12:23).  

    "Church of the firstborn" speaks of the ones who are born again.  Christ is spoken of as being the "firstborn."  The names of the saints of Christ are written up in heaven.  We find here reference to the Judge of all, none other than God.  I am glad that I will have an Advocate and Mediator who vouches for me.  

    This verse continues the thought from verse 22, that the newly converted Jews in coming to their "new mount" were also coming to the general assembly and church of the firstborn in Christ and also to God the Judge of all and to the spirits of just men made perfect in Christ.  The Old Testament prophets were definitely just men, and upon Christ's sacrifice upon the cross they were made perfect in Him.  So the writer is reminding these Messianic Jews to what they are now being drawn towards since they can no longer go to the Temple and its associated rituals.  With Christians it is almost always a matter of leaving something in order to pursue something much better.  

    24: And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than that of Abel (12:24).  

    They are being drawn before Jesus from the Temple sacrifices.  It is not the High Priest only who may now enter the presence of God, but it is each and every person who accepts Jesus as their Savior.  Jesus, who is the mediator of the new covenant, is not going to thunder and storm from Mount Sinai.  Even when He was here, He sat down and gave the law for His kingdom.  

    Then we find reference made to Abel.  Abel's blood cried out for vengeance but the blood of Christ Jesus speaks of salvation, of redemption, of reconciliation.  Back in verse three we could see that the writer was attempting to redirect these Hebrew Christians' focus from the Temple and its bloody sacrificial rituals to the person of Jesus Christ.  

    Today we must get our eyes off of a church building, off of religion, off of organization, and off of any man.  We must look to Jesus, and only to Him.  Our church buildings with all of their splendor and pomp and circumstance must pass away, our attention and efforts must be renewed zealously to direct all eyes towards Jesus Christ.  

    This is the simplicity of our faith.  Faith alone can save.  But it is not easy believism.  It requires one to make a hard choice to repent of one's sins and turn back to serving God.  There is another phrase which appears to be getting overused today:  commit your life to Christ.  What kind of life are you committing to Christ?  Dead in trespasses and sins?  If so, you have nothing to offer.  Jesus Christ said that He was come that we might have life.  Jesus committed His life to us.  I am dead to trespasses and sins because of what Christ has done for me on the cross, He has a new life to offer to me.    People also say, "Give your heart to Christ."  What will He do with a heart that is unrepentant?  Are hearts easily discernable?  Read again the list of things which Jesus said come out of the heart (Matthew 15:19).  They are not very nice things at all.  Jesus did not say to give your heart to Him.  He did say, "I want to give you a new heart and a new life."   Conviction of sin produces weeping of remorse for that which has been committed by a sinful heart against a righteous God.  Altar calls at the end of sermons ought to produce a goodly amount of weeping, otherwise the heart has not been convicted of its sin.

    25: See that you refuse not Him that speaks.  For if they escaped not who refused Him that spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape, if we turn away from Him that speaks from heaven (12:25).  

    Since Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, the reconciler of all men to God, the Redeemer of every heart that believes on His name, we ought to heed His Words given to us through the Bible.  His Word is very important, it pays to give full attention to Him, for it will become very profitable to us.

    Want to know what happened to those people who were under the Law?  Go to the Israelites even today and find out how unpeaceful their nation is.  The history of this people is really sad over the past 1900+ years.  Why?  Because they refused to hear Him.  They also refused to hear the intent of the Law, and for that Jehovah judged them.  Do His will and we shall find out whether it is true or not, but if we refuse how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?

    26: Whose voice then shook the earth:  but now He has promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven (12:26).  

    At the giving of the Law there was an earthquake, at the crucifixion of Christ there was an earthquake, and in the future when Judgment Day finally arrives there will be an earthquake and a heavenquake.  God will one day shake up everything.  It will be a wake up call to all of creation and all created things that there is one thing which remains unshakeable, the living faith in Jesus Christ.  He is the Rock of Ages in whom we rest.  In search of a secure place today?  A safe haven?  Jesus Christ is the One to whom you need to run to.  Lots of people today want to make the world a safe place, but no one is able to accomplish this.  But Jehovah one day is going to make this entire world safe, but not before He shakes everything up.

    I'll stop right there for now.  Next time I will finish up this twelfth chapter of Hebrews, for sure.  May the Living God grant you long life, generosity, love, and grace.

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Tue, Apr 12th - 8:17PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



    16: Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright (12:16).  

    This is probably speaking about spiritual fornication.  The danger is one of turning from God to the things of the flesh.  As far as Esau was concerned, it was the selling of his birthright, a spiritual birthright, in order to satisfy his appetite.  Esau's birthright meant that he would be in the lineage that led to the Messiah, and it meant that he should be the priest of the family of Abraham.  But Esau did not care for it, he was not the least bit interested in spiritual blessings.  He was absorbed in doing things and eating.

    "Profane" comes from two Latin words:  pro meaning either "before" or "against,"  and fanum, meaning "temple."  Thus, it means against the temple or against God.  Esau was simply a godless person.  He saw absolutely no need of any recognition of God, or of any kind of relationship to Him, or of any responsibility toward Him.  Esau did what Esau felt like doing, when he felt like doing it, until he no longer felt like doing it.  And so Esau despised his birthright and counted it as merely something of little value.  I mean, he traded it for a bowl of food!  

    How many of us willingly give away our spiritual inheritance for drugs, sex, wealth, power, or fame.  The child of God faces the danger of turning away from God to the things of the fleshly body.  We either go forward in our relationship with Christ, or we will fall back (apostasy).  There can be no staying in the same place.

    17: For you know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected:  for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears (12:17).  

    Do not be mistaken here, this does not say that Esau repented.  It says that once he figured out that he had really lost his birthright that he wept.  Esau wept because he found out that an inheritance was attached to that birthright which he carelessly gave away to his brother.  Being too invested in that which was physical Esau ignored the spiritual.  The thief who gets caught often becomes rueful for now he knows that consequences will have to be faced.  Esau wanted to repent for he saw that he was missing out on something physical, he still did not comprehend the spiritual blessing which he had thrown away.

    18: For you are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
    19: And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
    20: (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:
    21: And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) (12:18-21).  

    Here is reference to the giving of the Law to Moses on top of Mount Sinai, and the writer is speaking of the old covenant.  We need to not forget that the three thousand who were saved on the Day of Pentecost were not Gentiles but were Jewish.  The early church was nearly 100 percent Jewish until Paul and Barnabas began their ministry to the Gentiles.

    These Jews had lived their entire lives being accustomed to going to the temple, hearing the Mosaic Law read, sacrifices being made for sin.  But now they are no longer a part of that system at all, they are on the outside looking in for the first time in their lives.  They are being told that they are to come to a different "mount" and not desire to go back to the old ways.  Mount Sinai was where the Law was given and three thousand people died (Exodus 32), but three thousand people were saved on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given.  Death was given at the advent of the Law; new life was given when the gospel was preached on Pentecost.  At the giving of the Law there was thunder and lightning, earthquake and storm, blazing fire and the blast of a trumpet that grew ever louder.  A terrifying experience to be sure.  So much so that the people beseeched Moses to ask God to stop speaking.  Here in Hebrews the writer is pointing out that none of them should want to go back to that system, it has been left behind.  Now the writer is going to point out to them that they have come to another mount, that they have something with which to replace their old sacrificial system in the Temple.

    22: But you come to mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels (12:22).

    Mount Sion was David's place in Jerusalem.  Zion was David's favorite place.  These Jews had been accustomed to going up to the feast in Jerusalem, but persecution had driven them out of the city.  So the writer assures them all that they have a heavenly Jerusalem, the eternal city of the living God.  The Book of Revelation calls it the New Jerusalem which is to come down from heaven after the Millennium.  My future address is in this New Jerusalem, I simply do not know yet what the street address will be.  God's grace has provided us with this assurance of our future place of residence.  The Mosaic Law could never give anyone such assurance in and of itself.

    Everyone today seems to be agog about angels.  A day approaches however when the saints of Christ will enter the city of the living God and join with innumerable angels in worshiping Jehovah.  I have never seen an angel, but I am pretty sure that one saved my life on Rindge Road late one night when I fell asleep at the wheel.  I hit something hard enough to snap the welds in the engine compartment that supported one of the front struts.  I couldn't find anything the next day along that stretch of road that could have done this.  Nothing.  I could have hit any number of large trees, or driven down into a swamp or a creek, but there was nothing else to drive over.   I was forced to surmise that an angel had been sent by God to keep me on the road that night, perhaps sticking a foot out for me to drive over, jarring me awake.  I still believe that that is what happened, even to this day.  

    One day I am going to be able to discover the truth about that fateful night for I will be able to talk with angels in New Jerusalem.  My friends, you too can go to New Jerusalem and meet angels one day.  Be sure to punch your ticket now, do not delay!

    Next time I will write about verses 23-29 and the great things which are spoken of within these verses.  May Christ bless you with His grace.  May you desire the things of heaven.  Peace be with you.

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Mon, Apr 11th - 12:30PM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



    "If we let ourselves believe that man began with divine grace, that he forfeited this by sin, and that he can be redeemed only by divine grace through the crucified Christ then we shall find a peace of mind never granted to philosophers.  He who cannot believe is cursed, for he reveals by his unbelief that God has not chosen to give him grace."

                         ~Blaise Pascal

    4: And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying,

    5: Go and tell My servant David, Thus says the LORD, Shall you build Me a house for Me to dwell in?

     6: Whereas I have not dwelled in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle (7:4-6). 

    Nathan the prophet needed correction.  He had told David to go ahead and do what his heart desired for God was with him.  Both he and David totally forgot that God had been completely content to dwell within the tabernacle in the midst of the people.  God thus told Nathan to go and correct his mistaken advice to the king.  King David presumed that God would be thrilled if he built a "house" for Him to dwell within.  He forgot who God is.  God had met with His people in a tent, had identified Himself with His people.  1900 years later God came to earth and took upon Himself our humanity so that He could identify Himself with His people (John 1:14).  The word dwelled means "pitch a tent" and so God came and pitched His tent among us.  For centuries God had met with man in a tent made of linen, now God had come to meet men in a flimsy tent made of flesh.  Be sure of one thing, God identifies Himself with His saints.

     7: In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel did I speak with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed My people Israel, saying, Why do you not build Me a house of cedar?

     8: Now therefore so shall you say to My servant David, Thus says the LORD of hosts, I took you from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel.

     9: And I was with you no matter where you went, and have cut off all your enemies out of your sight, and have made you a great name, like as the name of the great men that are in the earth (7:7-9). 

    Building a temple for the ark of God was solely David's idea, not God's.  God points out where David has come from, and where he has come to.  God has made David great, not David making himself great.  If we compare David with any man who has ever ruled, we find that he is outstanding.  I propose, mind you, it is only an opinion, that when David is resurrected from the dead that God will have him rule as regent to Christ Jesus during the Millennium.  It seems to be what the prophets of the Old Testament have taught.  I could be wrong, but I think it might be right.

    That is all for today my friends.  Next time we shall find that God does prophesy that Israel will dwell in a place free from wickedness and persecution.  Until then, grace and peace be yours.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Sat, Apr 9th - 4:41PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



    12: Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees.

    13: And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed (12:12-13).  

    Please don't go through your day complaining and whining.  Don't simply give up, feeling that life is hopeless.  Someone is always watching you, observing how you react and deal with trouble.  So, how do you deal with the trials that come from God?  Do you endure it be being exercised by it?  Do you become stronger for the trial?  Do you say to yourself, "This comes from God and there is a purpose in it and a lesson which I must learn."  Or do you moan and groan, "Oh, why is this happening to me!  What have I done to deserve such a thing?"

    Verse thirteen would seem to remind us of what John the Baptist preached before Christ came to be baptized by him: "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias (John 1:23)."  The "way" of the Lord is the Way of Christ.  We have been exhorted to use God's Word to light our way and this would seem to reinforce that somewhat.  We are also being exhorted to walk a straight path through life so that the weaker saints of Christ might follow our footsteps.  Or perhaps we are to straighten out our walk in life so that we will not be "limping" along spiritually and always close to toppling over the precipice into sin.  I lean towards Christ's Way being spoken of here for if one does not straighten out their path they will be turned out of the way.  What other important "way" is there?  None that I can recall at this time.  The final nail hammered in to the coffin comes in the last phrase, "but let it rather be healed."  Christ came to find and to heal that which was broken.  If anyone refuses to allow Jesus to come and heal them then they shall be turned out and remain lost forever.

    14: Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (12:14).  

    We are not meant to be in physical conflict with others.  Therefore whenever possible we are to be at peace with others.  With all Christians we must be at peace.  But there will always be a few people who make it absolutely impossible to remain perfectly at peace with them.  

    We must follow holiness.  Can we produce holiness?  No, we can not.  If I have any holiness it is because Christ has been made righteousness to me, He is my righteousness.  That is encouraging for it makes me want to get out and run this Christian race that is before me!

    15: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled (12:15).  

    This verse has the thought of direction.  "Looking diligently" implies that one is searching, or is on guard in the watchtower.  What direction ought a person be looking?  Towards Christ Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.  

    The word for "fail" here is not apostasy.  It means to simply fall back.  Believers must keep their eyes upon Christ, not on men.  Keeping our eyes upon other people will prevent us from availing ourselves of the grace of God.  

    Now this is the situation.  God has tremendous reservoirs of grace, and He wants to lavish it upon His children.  He is fully prepared to do that, and He is fully able to do that.  Christ came and paid the penalty for our sins, and God is rich in mercy, rich in grace.  The problem is that many of us do not partake of His grace.  We can go to God for grace and lay hold of it.  Have you gone to God today?  Have you spoken with Him of your need for grace?  We all need grace and it is available, but we've got to apply for it.  It is not coming to us automatically.  We need to ask God for it, He wants us to practice the art of asking.  

    Not to look diligently for grace from God is to open oneself up to becoming a receptacle of bitterness.  When this occurs we become defiled and others also are affected negatively.  As the saying goes, "One rotten apple can spoil the entire barrel."

    That is all for today in this study.  Next we shall find out about how this ties in with what happened with Esau.  Grace and peace be yours!

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Fri, Apr 8th - 12:30PM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



     1: And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies;

     2: That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within curtains.

     3: And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in your heart; for the LORD us with you (7:1-3). 

    David was comfortably living inside of his new palace, built by Hiram of Tyre, when it occured to him that the ark was sitting out in a tent, even when it rained.  So David called Nathan, his prophet, and revealed to him the desires of his heart.  And initially the prophet told the king to go right ahead and do what he desired for God was with him.  It was a time when a prophet was wrong in his assessment.

    Now, the message of the Bible from this chapter on rests firmly upon this promise that God makes to David.  David desires to build a house for the ark of God.  We must understand why David was unable to build that house, and how this God-promise affects us today.  In order to understand the opening of the New Testament; "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David..."  we must know what went on in II Samuel 7.  The angel Gabriel appeared before Mary and said, "...Fear not, Mary:  for you have found favor with God.  And, behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call His name JESUS.  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest:  and the LORD God shall give to Him the throne of his father David (Luke 1:30-32)."  God was to fulfill that promise He made to David long before. 

    Peter in Acts 2:29-30 reminded his listeners again of the promise made to David back in II Samuel 7.  Paul in Romans 1:1-3 again, reminds his listeners of that promise made by God to David.  The New Testament closes with our Lord Jesus Christ saying, "I Jesus have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches.  I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star (Revelation 22:16)."  These are but a few of the 59 references to David in the New Testament.  This is a very important covenant to fully understand.

    In the Old Testament, the prophets based their message of the kingdom on the promise God gave to David in II Samuel 7.  Take time to check and it is discovered that each prophet goes back to David and this promise concerning the coming kingdom.  Was it a temporal kingdom God vouchsafed to David?  No, it was none other than the Kingdom of Heaven!  Listen to Jeremiah 23:5, "Behold, the days come, says 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."  The Kingdom became, in essence, the prophet's theme song.

    That is all for today my friends.  May grace and peace be yours today!

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Thu, Apr 7th - 12:58PM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



       18: And when David had made an end of offering the burnt-offering and the peace-offerings, he blessed the people in the name of Jehovah of hosts.
       19: And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, both to men and women, to every one a cake of bread, and a portion of flesh, and a cake of raisins. So all the people departed every one to his house.
       20: Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to-day, who uncovered himself to-day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!
       21: And David said unto Michal, It was before Jehovah, who chose me above your father, and above all his house, to appoint me prince over the people of Jehovah, over Israel: therefore will I play before Jehovah.
       22: And I will be yet more vile than this, and will be base in mine own sight: but of the handmaids of whom you have spoken, of them shall I be had in honor.
       23: And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death (6:18-23). 

    David shared food with all of the people and then returned to his household to bless them as well.  Who meets him?  His first wife, Michal.  Doesn't she sound rather snippy and irritated?  She tried to push David's buttons, to get him angry.  David's response to her was simply to state the facts of the matter.  God had chosen him over her father, Saul, to be king of Israel.  Therefore David had determined in his heart that he would "play" before God to glorify God.  He then went on to inform his wife that he would be even more "vile" than that in the future! 

    Was Michal legitimately concerned about her husband's behavior?  David "uncovered himself" in the sense that he took off his royal garments, garments which set him apart as king.  In this instance he mingled and mixed with the people, thanked God, and rejoiced in the fact that the ark of God was brought to the city of David.  I think that Michal liked dignity and reverence in worship.  I think that she believed that the king of Israel should be bigger than life, set above and beyond the people, untouchable. 

    Here is an example of the clash between formal worship and informal worship of God.  Rigid formality in worship will suck the life out of anyone's love for God.  There will be no joyous outward expression of love for Christ if we are restricted by regulations stating how we are to worship, and how we are not to worship.  We have to loosen up a little people.

    Why shouldn't each of us rejoice in being chosen by God?   Why shouldn't I expect to have a good time every time I am in a worship service?  Every worship service ought to be a time of joy and happiness for each believer who participates.  What can I give in worship of God today?  It is more blessed to give than to receive, so what what can I contribute to the service?  My earnest prayers?  My voice in song?  My service as an usher?  It is unacceptable as a Christian to simply stand in the midst of the congregation and refuse to sing with everyone else.  "Make a joyful noise unto the LORD!"  It does not matter whether you can carry a tune or not.  Join in and offer up your voice to God in love! 

    When David then said that he would be even more vile, he meant that he would come down to the level of the most humble worshipper among the people.  He did not mind being informal in his worship of the Living God.  God obviously did not rebuke David for being informal in his worship either! 

    Because of her attitude, Michal became permanently estranged from her husband.  She remained childless the rest of her life because of her tongue.  Obviously she did not share her husband's love and enthusiasm for Jehovah God.

    This completes chapter six.  Chapter seven beckons us to come and open the door to one of the great chapters in the entire Bible.  Many future citations of scripture will come from out of this next chapter of II Samuel.  The angel Gabriel referred to this chapter when speaking to Mary.  Peter in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost references the promises made in this chapter to David.  Without understanding the covenant which gets made between David and God in this next chapter you would have difficulty understanding the prophets from this point on.  If you are confused in your study of prophecy it very well may be because you have not paid sufficient attention to this chapter.

    That is all for today my friends!  May the grace of Christ clothe you this day and His love shine out from your face into this dark world.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Wed, Apr 6th - 1:38PM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



    "I go out to preach with two propositions in mind.  First, everyone ought to give his life to Christ.  Second, whether or not anyone gives Him his life, I will give Him mine."

                               ~Jonathan Edwards

    "God is not so much concerned with your ability as with your availability."

                               ~The Bible Friend 

    15: So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.

    16: And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.

    17: And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in His place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it:  and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD (6:15-17). 

    All Israel was celebrating this occasion of the ark of God coming to Jerusalem.  All except one person, Michal, David's first wife.  I believe she may have despised her husband for showing such devotion and love for God rather than for her.  I think she was jealous, envious, and became bitter at the sight of such love being displayed. 

    Burnt offerings are made, peace offerings are made.  All is being done to atone for the earlier transgression of not carrying the ark on men's shoulders, specifically the shoulders of Levites.  The burnt offerings speak of the person of Jesus Christ.  Peace offerings speak of the peace as only He can bring into our lives and that through the blood of His cross. 

    Beloved, we need to push aside the trivial arguments that we hear about David's dancing before God and about Uzzah being struck dead.  The account is here in the Word of God; let us simply accept it as it is written and do not attempt to read more between the lines than is there.  The lesson in this account is directed towards our relationship to God.  What is that relationship?  Do we regularly tell God that we love Him?  Thank Him for giving us yet another day to serve Him.  Are we, in fact, in love with God?  David was.  Here was a man who was in love with God, rightly related to Him and thrilled to death to be able to serve Him.  This is how we must be today.  If we are not, then we are missing out on the abundance that Christ has promised is ours.  We need the joy of the LORD in our lives today, more than ever before!

    That is all for today; next time I shall write concerning Michal's response to her husband's actions.  Until then, grace and peace be yours.  May God's Word be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path through life.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Tue, Apr 5th - 7:31PM

    PROPER SPIRITUAL ROOTS



    In studying about having the proper spiritual roots one must consider several things:  what one believes, whom one trusts, where one worships, and where one learns to live a godly life.  For sure there are several more things to take into account, but these are a starting point.

    So, where ought we to meet to worship God?  The synagogue, the cathedral, or the stadium?  Or perhaps there is someplace else to consider.  More important though than the nature of the meeting place is the concept of the group as a unit in which disciples can be nurtured.  Why disciples?

    Jesus did not tell us: "Go into all the world and make converts."  He said, "Go and make disciples."  

    Jesus did not create disciples while meeting with thousands and thousands of people in a large crowd.  No, the setting for the development of disciples as seen in the New Testament is within small groups.  Making a disciple is a costly, personal process, made possible only within small gatherings where the right kind of attention can be given consistently.  Jesus always took a small group aside to a quiet place to teach them one on one.  There can be a much larger corporate gathering, but within that large group there must be many smaller "cells" in which discipleship is happening on a personal level.  

    It would appear to be a clear premise in the mind of our Creator that if any organism is to be healthy/sound, it must be comprised of basic units or cells which are themselves healthy/sound.  Logic dictates this conclusion.

    So in order to better understand this concept of small groups of believers being divinely meant let's look at biological life.  All living matter is composed of cells.  Living cells are the fabric of all life.  In considering living cells we ought to be able to discover some truths about how as Christians we ought to be living and interrelating with each other.  So let's take a look at some of the features of cell structure.

    Each biological cell moves, grows, reacts, protects, and reproduces as a miniature of the larger body.  Each cell moves in a constant state of vitality and activity.  And this is true with the church cells.  Each one is a miniature church contributing to the overall life of the much larger congregation.

    Looking at cells leads us to discovering that there can be a great diversity in shape, structure, and function.  Diversity and flexibility is a key in the maintenance of interest and healthy growth of the overall church.

    NUCLEUS

    The heart of every cell is a control or authority center.  Biological cells have a nucleus which ensures "order and survival."  Besides being in control, the nucleus also contains the blueprint for continuation of the organism for the future.  Right leadership and spiritual authority in home cells is necessary.  Christ Jesus must be the ultimate authority and leader of each and every cell group, just as He is the head of the church body in general.  

    COMMUNITY

    Cells out in nature rely on a "highly integrated community life" within themselves and with other cells.  Within each tiny cell are many parts, each one going about its business but needing materials and nourishment.  Within the cell there are networks carrying materials from one part of the cell to another.  Within a cell there is complete interdependence.  Home cell groups must also reach complete interdependence of the multiple parts.

    OUTREACH

    One part found in most, if not all, cells is called the Golgi Complex.  This structure consists of a few flat discs which prepare the nutrients produced in each cell in a way that they can be utilized outside of the cell; to bless others as we might say.  No home cell group exists just for itself or its own church.  A home fellowship has a ministry to those around, its neighborhood.  

    REPRODUCTION

    Each cell also has the capacity to grow, and reproduce itself.  This process is to simply divide itself in two.  The nucleus receives a message to divide itself.  Normal cell activity ceases temporarily and then the nucleus begins to divide into two equal pieces of material.  The cell parts divide equally and the cell wall slowly pinches in to separate the two cells into distinct sister cells.  Each then are fully capable of working at full production again.  They are able to grow and mature and reproduce again at a later date.

    So in the church of Christ we see that God's arithmetic is multiplication by division.  The twelve apostles did not all remain in the same congregation.  They spread out and began to grow new cells.  Instead of just one congregation there were now twelve!  Later on, some of these cells reproduced again, and again.  God's leadership "divides" and multiplies.  This happens only through training and discipling of others.  

    PROTECTION

    Every cell has some form of protecting itself.  Lysosomes have both a protective and healing function; they rehabilitate ailing tissues and combat enemy attacks.  Viruses are one of the most dangerous attackers of cells for they directly attack structure and the nucleus.  They commandeer the leadership of the cell and change the blueprint.  Healthy cells are able to produce antibodies that fight off these attackers.  One of the major functions of cell groups is warfare against, and protection from, the attacks of Satan.  It is here on the front lines of spiritual warfare that people in small groups engage in fervent and effectual prayer.

    INDIVIDUALITY

    All cells have the common denominator of structure, but within each is an individuality which can get out of control and go on a rampage and break laws.  Cancer.  Independence must be kept in careful check otherwise it can lead to destruction and death of cells of believers.  

    So it was not by accident that Christ Jesus pictured the church of believers as a body, as an organism.  Within this organism there is order, breadth of function, and infinite variety, and community, koinonia.

    That is all for today beloved, but next time I shall write about this koinonia.  It is a very important term to understand for it is central to trusting in Christ and others.  May grace and peace flood your souls this day!

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Tue, Apr 5th - 12:58PM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



       4: And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was in the hill, with the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark.
       5: And David and all the house of Israel played before Jehovah with all manner of instruments made of fir-wood, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with castanets, and with cymbals (6:4-5). 

    We can see that the Israelites celebrated the ark being moved to Jerusalem, their new capital.  David was a musician and believed in having lots of music to glorify God and so he he had decided upon moving the ark to the accompaniment of bountiful music.

      6: And when they came to Nachon's threshingfloor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it.

      7: And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God struck him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God (6:6-7). 


    Pretty serious, and deadly, situation right there.  Some folk might say that it was a tiny breach of conduct for such extreme punishment.  They would claim that this is evidence that God is mean and hateful and spiteful.  What it is evidence of is that the people totally ignored how to transport the ark of God anywhere.  God had warned them what the consequences would be for any who dared to touch the ark, for any reason.  They had not chosen to transport the ark the way God had informed they must.  If they had been carrying it on staves Uzzah wouldn't have been tempted to steady the ark from falling to the ground.  One choice inevitably lead to the next and to the next. 

      8: And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzzah:  and he called the name of the place Perez-uzzah to this day.

      9: And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and said, How shall the ark of the LORD come to me (6:8-9)? 

    You and I would do well to be afraid of God.  Psalm 111:10 informs us that fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.  Many people need to recognize this fact today.  God is going to judge everything one day.  Today's liberal Christian agenda focuses solely upon "God is love."  Most certainly God is love.  God certainly does love you.  But you can't continue on in sin, turn your back upon the Living God, and believe in your heart that you are not lost.  There is absolutely no way out of this.  There are no alternatives.  John 14:6 says it all for all of eternity.  No man comes to God the Father except by Jesus Christ the Son.  We ought to fear Him and do what He tells us to do, the way that He tells us to do it.  David did not remember how the ark of the covenant was supposed to be moved.

     10: So David would not remove the ark of the LORD to him in the city of David:  but David carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.

     11: And the ark of the LORD continued in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months:  and the LORD blessed Obed-edom, and all his household.

     12: And it was told king David, saying, The LORD has blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that pertains to him, because of the ark of God.  So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with gladness (6:10-12). 

    David was determined to have the ark of God in his city.  How is he going to bring it to Jerusalem?  Has he learned his lesson yet?  Let us see. 

     13: And it was so, that when they that carried the ark of the LORD had gone six steps, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings.

     14: And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod (6:13-14). 

    David's dancing had nothing to do with sex.  He danced alone in worship of God.  David is rejoicing before God.  David was offering up his unabashed thankfulness to God, something which all of us ought to be doing daily.  Why the long faces in the aftermath of the disaster in Japan, or Indonesia, or Haiti?  Put things in their proper perspective and there will be no long sullen faces but rather faces full of hope and possibilities.

    That is all for today my friends.  Next we shall see how David's first wife, Michal, responds to his display of love for God.  Until then, grace and peace blanket your footsteps in life.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Mon, Apr 4th - 7:55PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



     9: Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence:  shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live (12:9)?

    When I was growing up my dad did not do very much correction.  It was mostly left up to my mom to do that kind of thing.  I had to learn about that sort of thing from God after I accepted Christ into my heart.  I did what my dad told me to do, but it was easy to tell that he preferred my brother's company to mine.  But my mom sure did do discipline!  

    If we listen to our earthly parents and do what they tell us to do, then shouldn't we be more in subjection to God in heaven and live?  There is much ado concerning this term "subjection."  It would seem to be appropriate to use this as a definition of this term:  "owing obedience or allegiance to the power or dominion of another."  It does not denote slavery.  We owe our obedience and allegiance to God for He loved us so much that He came and died upon the cross to pay for our sins.  Nothing less is acceptable from us.  So if we endured the correction of our parents then we ought to gladly endure the correction of God in our lives.

    10: For they truly for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness (12:10).

    And here is the huge contrast between how our parents may have treated us and the way God treats us.  Our parents frequently may discipline us as they please, with none of our personal welfare in mind.  But God chastens us with the intention for us to become sharers in His holiness.  God desires for us to become more and more like Christ.  God disciplines believers for their profit.  

    It would appear then, that there is absolutely no way you can become a full-grown child of God living in fellowship with Him except through the chastening of God.  To go through life without ever being chastened by God would imply that you are perfect already.  All have fallen short of the glory of God, none are righteous, no not one.  Thus saints must experience chastening in their lives in order to grow spiritually.

    11: Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous:  nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby (12:11).

    When God chastens His children He gets no particular joy out of it.  He does it because you and I require it.  Chastening isn't joyous while experiencing it, but after it is finished we can begin to see how we have changed for the better because of it.  God chastens us with purpose in mind.

    So what is our reaction when God chooses to discipline us?  Here are some reactions we can have that are mentioned in this chapter alone:

    1.   "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord...(verse 5)"  Our initial reaction can easily be one of despising it.  You could treat it lightly and accept no message from it at all.  You forget that God sends us messages through our suffering in order to get us to change our ways.  You think that you are simply having a spot of trouble, just like anyone else these days.

    2.   "...nor faint when you are rebuked of Him(verse 5)."  This is those whose reaction will be one of "Oh why did this happen to me?  I have faithfully served God for the last twenty years!  I don't deserve to be treated this way!"  They will stop serving God because they do not understand anything about God and His ways.  These can be the believers in prosperity theology.  If their prosperity suddenly evaporates then they feel that Christianity isn't for them, it is too difficult and unrewarding.  They do not know what true Christianity is all about and have never known.  There is that great saying of old, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going!"   That is what Christianity is all about.  Things got tough for the apostle Paul.  People stoned him, threw him over a cliff, his ship was crashed upon the reefs while at sea, and was jailed for long periods of time in dungeons.  He did not waver in his faith, he did not become a crybaby.  He did not blame God for his circumstances.  He recognized every trouble as an opportunity to serve God.  It became another opportunity to spread the gospel, to demonstrate his faith in Christ.

    3.   "If you endure chastening...(verse 7)"  There can be an improper motivation in this response.  We could simply tell ourselves that we must passively endure this for it too shall pass.  That can easily become a super pious attitude which is wrong.  However, if we endure the chastening because we know that something better is going to come out of it, then we are on the right track.  We need to learn to ask this question during times of chastening:  Lord, why did You send this to me at this time?  There is a lesson here and I wish to learn it.

    4.   "Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous:  nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them which are exercised by it(verse 11)."  Ever do push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and squat thrusts?  Or perhaps you were into jogging several times each week.  Weren't there tangible benefits from exercising physically?  In like fashion, chastening forces us to exercise our spiritual muscles and thereby they become stronger, larger.  Everything that God does is for a purpose, we must remember that.  Exercise makes muscles stronger, able to do more.  Paul said, "But I keep under my body, and bring it into submission:  lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (I Corinthians 9:27)."  Paul kept his body under his control, did not allow it to dictate what he would do or where he would go.  Too many people today simply refuse to be in charge of what their body does.  They feel they need some sex, they go looking for it.  Need some amusement, go find it.  Need something to take the "edge" off, they go looking for whatever it might be.  They refuse to say "no" to their body's physical urges, to take control of who they are.  We must become more like Paul and not give in to every desire of our body for doing so can easily make us become castaways upon preaching God's Word to others.  

    That is all for today in this study, belove.  Next time I shall write about what our reaction should be in times of correction by God.  May Christ's grace and peace be yours.  

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Mon, Apr 4th - 12:33PM

    PROPER SPIRITUAL ROOTS



    A plant changes as it grows, but it can't grow if it is not securely rooted into the proper source of its nourishment.  A water plant can't grow if it finds itself out of the water.  A shade loving plant can't thrive if it is in full sunlight.  Plants require regular supplies of nutrients and water in order to grow, along with sunshine.

    A habit of simply attending, hearing, contributing, and conforming does not necessarily provide you with the "roots" which you need in order to grow into the Christian God intends you to become.

    The apostle Paul asked the Ephesians to be "rooted and grounded in love, to be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ."  Jesus can, and sometimes does, reaveal His love privately to a believer.  However, if we observe the many references to "love" in the Scriptures, we discover that mutual love between members is as important as God's love for a man and his for God.  One is horizontal love while the other is vertical love.

    Has it registered with you yet that we don't read of being "members of a church" but rather that we are "members of one another?"  Too frequently we speak of being attached to such and such a church.  The only attachment God wants of us is being attached to Christ Jesus.  An apple tree is not "attached " to the soil.  Its fruit is not "attached" to its branches.  There is a deep, organic, intimate relationship with its environment and between the plant and its fruit. 

    "Rooted and grounded in love" is what our involvement with one another in a church is meant to be.  Nothing within the Bible remotely suggests that we are to settle for anything less; no mere signing on, being transferred to, or joining an organization.  We can experience feelings of identity with a large Christian community or even feel rooted in a whole nation.  But this sort of belonging isn't radical and life-changing on a daily basis.

    To experience radical and life-changing things daily requires a much smaller group of individuals.  It is within natural families and small bible study groupings that people are able to witness real Christian living, real husband-wife interactions, parent-child interactions, and family beliefs being lived out through actions. 

    All too often in America today we witness the results of living "independent" lives.  It is our national heritage, being independent.  This has created a stumbling block to many Americans and prevents them from turning to God.  God asks us to depend upon Him for our needs, not upon ourselves. 

    Next time I shall continue with this study.  Grace and peace be yours.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Sun, Apr 3rd - 10:32AM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



     6: For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.

     7: If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not?

     8: But if you be without chastisement, of whom all are partakers, then you are bastards, and not sons (12:6-8). 

    Why do the righteous of this world suffer?  Why do believers suffer from cancer, or amputation, or loss of a spouse?  There isn't a nice pat answer.  I can give you some reasons that Dr. J. Vernon McGee arrived at, and which I agree with. 

    1.   The first reason that we suffer as God's children is because of our own stupidity and sin.  I Peter 2:20 states:  "For what glory is it, if, when you be buffeted for your faults, you shall take it patiently..."  "Faults" refers to a sin where you missed the mark, you just didn't quite make it.  The Holy Spirit says there is no value in the suffering which was caused by our own foolishness.  We are to take the consequences patiently and quietly, without complaint or offense.

    2.   The second reason we suffer is for taking a stand for truth and righteousness.  It is guarenteed that if you take a stand for Christ and the truth, you are going to suffer.  Peter states in I Peter 3:14:  "But and if you suffer for righteousness sake, happey are you:  and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled."  People who deliberately choose to make a stand for God will suffer for it.  We must be careful in this for we can be foolish and misguided in our thinking.  Our method of standing up for God's truth must be appropriate.  We can't choose to lecture people all of the time and believe that our subsequent suffering will be righteous.  We can't force our witnessing upon people all of the time.  That would make us a nuisance.  So, we must be wise in how we go about standing firm for God's truth.

    3.   We suffer from sin in our lives.  Paul states in I Corinthians 11:3 that "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged."  Another way of saying this is, "Measure oneself by oneself and oneself always comes out smelling like a rose."  If we are God's children and refuse to deal with the sin in our lives, God will deal with it.  God will judge us.

    4.   We suffer because of our past sins.  "Be not deceived; God is not mocked:  for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7)."  A man who drinks alcohol excessively long enough reaps a failing liver and ruined health.  The person who chooses foolishly to snort cocaine and smoke it will in a very short period of time become so addicted that their health will be ruined and they age very quickly.  Twenty-something can suddenly look like forty or fifty-something in age.  For every choice there are consequences.  Thinking that by refusing to choose you can avoid consequences only leads to the consequences of choosing to refuse to choose.  We must, therefore, be very careful in the choices that we do make each and every day.

    5.   God's children suffer because of some high purpose of God which He does not always reveal to the believer.  We see this played out in the Book of Job.  Job suffered because he was demonstrating to Satan and the demon world and to the angels of heaven that he was not a timeserver, that every man does not have his price and that he loved God for Himself alone.  This is a demanding life to live if God so chooses you to live it.  Not many are chosen for this, and I am very glad I have not been so chosen.

    6.   Christians suffer for their faith, as we can see in chapter eleven of of Hebrews.  Some have demonstrated their faith and great victories were won.  Some were delivered by the sword; some were slain by the sword.  The French Hugenots went into battle knowing they would all be slain.  Yet they went saying, "If God be for us, who can be against us!"  They suffered unto blood for their faith.

    7.   God's children suffer for discipline sake.  Whom God loves He shall discipline in order that they might grow spiritually and become mature believers in Christ.  It is child training and not punishment.  A judge punishes but a father chastens through love.  God the Father desires to chasten you now before the time of judgment arrives, for then He will become the Judge of all Creation.  God chastens to show His love for us.  Suffering in many instances is the proof that you are a child of God.

    As a Christian, when troubles come into your life you must realize that they are not there because God is judging you.  They are there to force you to either change something in your life (sin) or to encourage you to mature in your faith.  God acts to raise us up in the way that we ought to go in life, not the way that we might want to go.  That is why parents are instructed in the Bible to raise their children in the way that they ought to go and when they are older they will return to it.

    When I had to discipline my oldest son because of breaking the law, I disciplined him and not the other two or three boys who had helped him break the law.  He was my son, the others weren't.  God is the Father to us all, we are His children and thus He chooses to discipline those who are disobedient, rebellious, and foolish.  It is something which we all ought to get into proper perspective in order to live more satisfying lives.

    That is all for today, beloved.  May you have a wonderful first day of the week, praising God for all the many blessings which He has bestowed upon you!  Next time I shall continue with the next few verses which further describe the reasoning behind God's discipline.  Grace and peace be with you all.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Sat, Apr 2nd - 2:41PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



     3: For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds (12:3). 

    Note that the words patience (verse 1) and endured (verse 2) are from the same root word.  Trouble generally produces patience and endurance.

    The Jewish believers in Christ all had come out of a belief system that had a tremendous ritual and a great temple.  Herod's temple, which never was completed, was awe-inspiring and a thing of beauty.  Initially Judaism had been God given, but it had been corrupted and prostituted by the time of this epistle.  These Hebrew men and women had grown up in this religion and knew it intimately.  Now they had given all of that up; they no longer observed all of that ritual.  They had come to consider Christ as being everything.  He was the Temple, He was the ritual, He was Christianity.  It simplified everything. 

    This is who these Hebrews were called to consider.  They are to know that He endured and learned patience.  In the flesh Christ learned something which God had to experience by taking on our humanity and suffering for us. 

    Unless you and I remain close to the Word of God and to Christ Jesus and make both real to ourselves, we are going to become weary/tired of the Christian life, and we will faint.  It is why there are so many discouraged believers today.  Remaining in the Word of God encourages you and strengthens your faith in God.  Each believer needs to have this in their lives for we live in great, and momentous, times that require much of us. 

     4: You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin (12:4). 

    A duel message is given here.  First, these Hebrew believers have not had to deal with having absolutely no Temple around.  They have not had to live with persecution which will lead to martyrdom.  They may all have been having difficult times, but the worst had not yet arrived for them.  Secondly, every believer today may have difficult times, may even suffer persecution to the point of imprisonment, but there is a period of extreme persecution that is yet to come.  A time when believers in Christ will not be able to buy anything or sell anything is coming, a time when faith in God will become very, very real.  Today we endure troubles, problems, weaknesses, weariness, failing, and stumbling, but through all of these we are to consider Christ.

     5: And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked of Him (12:5). 

    Proverbs 3:11-12 is being quoted here.  Christ was their only resource, not the Temple, not any ritual, not any religion.  These Hebrews were borderline outcasts at this time so, they ought not to forget what God has said and is saying to them.

    Children may not be the best translation of the Greek.  In the Greek son and sons are used six times in verses 5-8.  The Greek huios means "full-grown son" and is what is used in these verses.  We often view children as being the only ones in need of discipline, but God considers adults to be in need of just as much discipline as children.  Upon first accepting Christ each believer is in need of correction of wrong choices in their lives.  Once a believer has matured in their faith walk with Christ they require less and less discipline/correction and will not be rebuked very often.  Christ rebuked Peter, when Peter was still a rough unproven man of God. 

    The word chastening means something different than what we consider it to mean today in our culture.  We think of chastening as punishment.  The Greek word here is paideuo which means "child training or discipline."  God disciplines His children in order that they may grow.  God wishes to train us up in the way we ought to go.

    That is all for today, beloved.  Next time we shall discover why we ought to enjoy being disciplined.  May Christ bless you with grace and peace today!

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Fri, Apr 1st - 12:47PM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



     1: Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.

     2: And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwells between the cherubims.

    3: And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah:  and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart (6:1-3). 

    Here is where David made a mistake.   God had given explicit instructions about how to move the tabernacle and all of its furniture, but David forgot.  The Philistines were ignorant of how the ark was to be handled and they paid a dear price for that ignorance.  David ought to have known better.  Light creates responsibility.  Once I have the light of the gospel, I am held accountable for rejecting it.  If you hear the gospel message of redemption through Christ Jesus and turn your back upon God, you can argue all that you wish, but you are lost and doomed and judged and destined for eternal damnation.  That is what the Word of God teaches.  I understand that you may not like it; you always have the option to repent and turn to God.  Perhaps you ought to complain to the landlord of our universe; He would be interested in hearing your case, if He had not already settled this case centuries ago.  We live in God's universe and these are His rules.

    So David chooses to do a good thing, but in an improper manner.  The ark was constructed with four rings, one in each of the four corners.  Staves were to be put through those rings and the ark then carried on the shoulders of the Levites.  David overlooked this detail in his haste to move the ark up to Jerusalem.  Why was this deemed so important? 

    The ark of the covenant denoted the presence of Jehovah among His people Israel.  It might help if you were to go and familiarize yourself with the floorplan of the tabernacle.  The ark is possibly the best picture of Christ we have in the entire Old Testament, perhaps the only picture that God ever painted of Him.

    Bezaleel was given a special ministry by the Holy Spirit of God that he might construct the ark.  Ironically, a very good thing became a stumblingblock to Israel as they came to look upon it in a superstitious way.  They came to believe that there was some merit in that wooden box, and there was not.  It was merely a symbol, a picture of Jesus Christ.  It was covered with gold, which speaks of His deity, and the wood of it speaks of His humanity.  As such, this ark was a fine example of Christ's hypostatical union.  Big word.  Simply, it means that Jesus Christ is very man of very man, and He is very God of very God.  He is the God-Man. 

    David rightly figured that Jerusalem was the rightful place for the ark of the covenant to rest.  In Deuteronomy 16:16 it says that three times a year all the male Israelites were to appear before God in the place which He chose.  David had a passion and love for God that is not frequently seen today.  Read the Psalms and you will discover his love and passion for God.  Thus in his love and passion he forgot how God had instructed them to move His ark.

    The ark is mentioned fifteen times in the first seventeen verses.  After reading through this section you will realize that the subject is only the ark of the LORD.  At least eleven of the Psalms were composed around the great event of bringing the ark to Jerusalem.  David was not superstitious concerning the ark, he knew where God was, He was not in that box.  Psalm 123:1 says, "Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You that dwells in the heavens."  God dwells in the heavens, not in any wooden box, nor in any stained glass cathedral.  But at this time David understood that the approach to God was made through the ark which spoke of a mediator between God and man. 

    Friends, God wants His gospel to go out into the world on the shoulders of men and women.  He did not write the message up in the skies and so Jesus must be carried through this world on our shoulders.  It is the way God wants it to be done. 

    Well that is all for today, beloved.  Next time we shall find out the consequences of David's wrong choice in putting that ark upon a new cart to bring it up to Jerusalem.  Grace and peace be with you on this April Fool's day.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Back to Blog Main Page


    About Me

    Name: Eric Rajaniemi
    ChristiansUnite ID: ejroyal
    Member Since: 2007-09-08
    Location: Bedford, Virginia, United States
    Denomination: Born-again, Church of the Brethren
    About Me: I refrain from any denomination as much as possible since my faith has to do with Jesus Christ and not denominations. My wife and I are charter members of Lake Side Church of the Brethren for they desire to follow the New Testament precepts. We hav... more

    April 2011
              1 2
    3 4 5 6 7 8 9
    10 11 12 13 14 15 16
    17 18 19 20 21 22 23
    24 25 26 27 28 29 30
    prev   next
    Archives

    Recent Posts
    Jan 2016
    Dec 2015
    Aug 2015
    May 2015
    Apr 2015
    Mar 2015
    Feb 2015
    Jan 2015
    Dec 2014
    Nov 2014
    Oct 2014
    Sep 2014
    Aug 2014
    Jul 2014
    Jun 2014
    May 2014
    Apr 2014
    Mar 2014
    Feb 2014
    Jan 2014
    Dec 2013
    Nov 2013
    Oct 2013
    Sep 2013
    Aug 2013
    Jul 2013
    Jun 2013
    May 2013
    Apr 2013
    Mar 2013
    Feb 2013
    Jan 2013
    Dec 2012
    Nov 2012
    Oct 2012
    Sep 2012
    Aug 2012
    Jul 2012
    Jun 2012
    May 2012
    Apr 2012
    Mar 2012
    Feb 2012
    Jan 2012
    Dec 2011
    Nov 2011
    Oct 2011
    Sep 2011
    Aug 2011
    Jul 2011
    Jun 2011
    May 2011
    Mar 2011
    Feb 2011
    Jan 2011
    Dec 2010
    Nov 2010
    Oct 2010
    Sep 2010
    Aug 2010
    Jul 2010
    Jun 2010
    May 2010
    Apr 2010
    Mar 2010
    Feb 2010
    Jan 2010
    Dec 2009
    Nov 2009
    Oct 2009
    Sep 2009
    Aug 2009
    Jul 2009
    Jun 2009
    May 2009
    Apr 2009
    Mar 2009
    Feb 2009
    Jan 2009
    Dec 2008
    Nov 2008
    Oct 2008
    Sep 2008
    Aug 2008
    Jul 2008
    Jun 2008
    May 2008
    Apr 2008
    Mar 2008
    Feb 2008
    Jan 2008
    Dec 2007
    Nov 2007
    Oct 2007
    Sep 2007


    More From ChristiansUnite...    About Us | Privacy Policy | | ChristiansUnite.com Site Map | Statement of Beliefs



    Copyright © 1999-2019 ChristiansUnite.com. All rights reserved.
    Please send your questions, comments, or bug reports to the