Fri, Dec 31st - 10:12AM
I SAMUEL STUDY
"The French mathematician Lecompte de Nouy, examined the laws of probability for a single molecule of high dissymmetry to be formed by the action of chance. He found that, on an average, the time needed to form one such molecule of our planet would be about 10 243 billions of years. "But," said de Nouy, "let us admit that no matter how small the chance it could happen, one molecule could be created by such astronomical odds of chance. However, one molecule is of no use. Hundreds of millions of identical ones are necessary. Thus we either admit the miracle or doubt the absolute truth of science."
~Quoted from "Is Science Moving Toward Belief in God?" Paul Fisher, The Wanderer (November 7, 1985
20: And one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David.
21: And Abiathar showed David that Saul had slain the LORD'S priests.
22: And David said unto Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have caused the death of all the persons of your father's house.
23: Abide with me, fear not: for he that seeks my life seeks your life: but with me you shall be in safeguard (22:20-23).
David admits his part in causing the deaths of all of the priests and then offers safety for Abiathar, knowing that that is the least that he can do for this man of God. I get the feeling that David intended to place himself between Abiathar and king Saul if it came to that point. Do we ever reach that point in our own lives? When we become determined to protect someone simply because our actions have helped place them into danger of losing their lives we have reached the same place where David was at spiritually. Inadvertently causing such situations does not exonerate us from the consequences. Verse 23 resonates with me for it reminds me of Jesus Christ. While I remain in Christ I have nothing to fear, for those who seek to persecute me are actually trying to persecute Christ and He was persecuted first long ago. But in Christ I am safeguarded.
That completes chapter 22 and we move on to chapter 23. This chapter's theme is generally about God's protection and care of David while he is in exile. I think believers ought to study this chapter closely in order to understand how Christ shall protect us and care for us today in our own societies.
Keeping in mind that David has begun to flee with his six hundred men, we pick up the account here.
1: Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors.
2: Therefore David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? and the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah.
3: And David's men said unto him, Behold, we are afraid just to be here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?
4: Then David inquired of the LORD yet again. And the LORD answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into your hand.
5: So David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and smote them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah (23:1-5).
Here is a blueprint for conducting business. David learns of the Philistines (perpetual enemies of Israel) stealing all of the grain from the people of Keilah. Does David just rush in emotionally juiced up and attempt to save them on his own physical efforts? No, he takes the time to consult God's will in this matter. Does God even want me to take time to undertake this task? It would be a good thing to do, but is it what God wishes me to spend my time upon right now?
David realizes that while he and his men are fleeing from Saul that they all are still to do God's will in their lives. So David inquired of God what he should do, God informed him to go down to Keilah for He would deliver the Philistines into David's hands. So David and his six hundred men were able to kill very many of their enemy and save the people of that walled city. We need to consult God much more often before we attempt to do things in our lives.
6: And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand.
7: And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. And Saul said, God has delivered him into mine hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that has gates and bars.
8: And Saul called all the people together to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men.
9: And David knew that Saul secretly practiced mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring here the ephod.
10: Then said David, O LORD God of Israel, Your servant has certainly heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake.
11: Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as Your servant has heard? O LORD God of Israel, I beseech You, tell Your servant. And the LORD said, He will come down.
12: Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the LORD said, They will deliver you up.
13: Then David and his men, which were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went where ever they could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he forbare to go out (23:6-13).
Saul learns that David is staying in Keilah and decides to take his army down to trap David inside of the city’s walls and gates. Once more David does not panic and make a personal choice to do something under his own intellect, but he chooses to ask God if these people will turn him and his men over to the king when the king arrives. God tells him to flee for the townsfolk of Keilah will not stand up against the king of Israel for his sake, even though David saved them from the dreaded Philistines. We must take note of this axiom and apply it to our lives each day. Just because we save someone from dire circumstances, do not be deceived into believing that they will also automatically choose to defend us against persecution. I do not say that everyone will act this way, just that we can’t assume that they will be so grateful that they will be willing to put their lives on the line for us.
So David does not doubt what God has said to him, packs up his men and they all leave Keilah before king Saul can even begin to move his army towards that city.
That is all for this study today, beloved. Next time we shall look at how Saul continued to pursue David and his men and what happens as a result. May Christ richly bless you my friends! May the coming new year bring a multitude of blessings to you and your families! May you decide to walk even closer with Christ in the coming days, to give Him your best efforts.
Wed, Dec 29th - 7:42PM
"John Adams eloquently acknowledged the understanding of our constitutional framers when in 1798 he wrote: 'We have no government armed in power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion...Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other."
~Charles Colson, Kingdoms in Conflict
The Christian life is lived daily. It is not limited to Sunday and Wednesday nor to the hours of 10AM to noon or 6PM to 7:30PM. In Luke 11:3 we read that we are to seek our bread daily: "Give us day by day our daily bread." In Luke 9:23 we read that we are to take up our cross daily: "And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself,
and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." Over in Hebrews 3:13 we read that we are to encourage other believers daily: "But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be
hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." In Acts 17:11 we read that we are to search the Scriptures daily: "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word
with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those
things were so." Again, in Acts 5:42 we can read that we ought to share Jesus with others daily: "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach
Through all of these things we are then able to achieve that which is told to us in II Corinthians 4:16, "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day." The Holy Spirit makes it clear that we are running a race which lasts our entire lifetime. We must condition ourselves and then run our course one lap at a time since this is a marathon.
The famous preacher R. G. Lee illustrated the value of time by likening it to a bank account. "What if you had a bank that credited your account each morning with $86,400, that carried no balance from day to day and did not allow you to keep any cash in your account. At the end of each day the bank would cancel out whatever you failed to use during that day. What would you do? You would draw out every cent each day, of course. Well, you have such an account and it is called TIME...it carries over no balances. It allows no overdrafts...each night it burns the records of the day. If you fail to use the day's deposits the loss is yours." So, are you using your time wisely? Are you investing in those things which are eternal?
"Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It
is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.
For that you ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or
But now you rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is
sin (James 4:14-17)." Since we can't know what tomorrow will bring into our lives, we are to live each day to the fullest in serving Christ. All our planning must give consideration to the sovereignty of God's will (Acts 18:21). We should set goals in both our personal and professional lives. These goals should be in the following areas: spiritual growth, family, social growth, intellectual growth, and physical growth. We ought to regularly examine these goals against our priorities (God, family, work, leisure). We should remain accountable and reward ourselves when we succeed. And we should schedule flex time for life happens. We shouldn't get all stressed out while we keep on keeping on and run our race.
That is all for today, beloved. I hope and pray that this year has been a productive one for you in your walk with Christ. May you be richly blessed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Tue, Dec 28th - 6:07PM
STUDY IN HEBREWS
18: For there is truly a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
19: For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God (7:18-19).
The Mosaic system never gave what man must have: perfection. It was never meant to provide that to mankind. It was simply meant to show to mankind his utter lack of worthiness to come before God on his own merits, that he must have the righteousness of Christ. Everything pointed towards Christ Jesus.
We come to God through Christ. Jesus Christ is a perpetual High Priest, a perfect Priest. Aaron was merely a picture of what was coming to redeem mankind, he and his office could never achieve redemption from sins. So Jesus has come and He has provided salvation for you and me. We have been taken from out of Adam and put into Christ. We are no longer joined to Adam but are now joined with the living Christ.
Here are some contrasts taken from Dr. McGee: Law vs. Power Commandment vs. Life
Carnal vs. Eternal Changing vs. Unchanging Weakness vs. Nigh to God Imperfection vs. Better hope in Christ. We must realize that the law restrains but power enables. The commandment, by being external, changes nothing whereas the Life is internal and is where all change takes place. Carnality is embedded in our flesh and strives against the eternal life within us. The morality and ethics of mankind is ever changing while the standards of God are absolute, unchanging over time. Our weakness and unprofitableness is changed when we become close to God and we gain His strength and power to work wonders. Our imperfection also becomes transformed through a better hope, through the blood of Jesus Christ.
20: And inasmuch as not without an oath He was made priest:
21: (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by Him that said unto Him, The Lord swore and will not repent, You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec (7:20-21):
Here is a quotation taken from Psalm 110. The priesthood of Christ is made superior by resting upon the Word of God and also upon the oath of God. The tribe of Levi was set aside to perform as priests in the Tabernacle/Temple without having to take any kind of oath.
22: By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament (7:22).
What is "surety"? It is confidence in manner or behavior; a formal engagement given for the fulfillment of an undertaking; one who has become legally liable for the debt, default, or failure in duty of another. That is what Christ Jesus is to each of us: He has willingly become legally liable for our sin debt. That is what has made for a superior testament than before.
The word testament can also be "covenant." We not only have a superior priesthood in Christ, but we also have a superior covenant with God. And for a covenant or testament to become legal and binding upon the parties involved, the person who has written the document must first die. Thus in our society we have the "last will and testament" of people being read after their death. Christ had to die first in order for His new Covenant to take legal effect. And a new covenant legally supercedes the old covenant/s once it goes into effect. And so we find that the New Testament supercedes the Old Testament in this respect, not that we totally ignore what is in the Old Testament spiritually. In this fashion also, we become heirs to Christ.
Well, beloved, that is all for today! Next time I shall write about how Christ Jesus is our perpetual and perfect Priest in the tabernacle of heaven. Hope you come back to find out all about that. Until then, grace and peace be with you all.
Mon, Dec 27th - 5:04PM
STUDY IN HEBREWS
"Thus, the church, while not the Kingdom of God, is to live out the values of the Kingdom of God in this world, resisting the ever-present temptation to usher in the Kingdom of God by political means."
"The family is the most basic unit of government. As the first community to which a person is attached and the first authority under which a person learns to live, the family establishes society's most basic values."
~Charles Colson, Kingdoms in Conflict
Let us examine the Levitical priesthood and the new priesthood which Christ established, shall we?
7: And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
8: And here men that die receive tithes; but there He receives them, of whom it is witnessed that He lives.
9: And as I may so say, Levi also, who received tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
10: For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him (7:7-10).
Abraham was below Melchisedec and yet he was blessed by Melchisedec, a case of the lesser blessed by the greater. Verse eight speaks of the Levites who were mortal men and who died, and yet they received tithes from other men even while they also were received by Melchisedec. And even Levi, who received tithes from other men, still payed out tithes through his kinsman Abraham. The concept was that they paid tithes in absence for they were in Abraham's loins, simply not born yet into this world.
A dualism exists in this passage, on the one hand it speaks of physical tithes paid to Melchisedec and on the other hand this passage speaks about how we are blessed by Christ. You can offer yourself to Christ and He will receive you. When Adam sinned, I also sinned, for I was still in the loins of Adam. In Adam all of mankind died. But today I am free of that condemnation because I am in Christ. God looks at me and He sees Christ, I am accepted in the Beloved Son of God.
11: If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron (7:11)?
Here is one of the keys to Christianity. If the Levite priests were able to gain perfection for mankind then there would have been absolutely no need for God to produce another priestly line. Perfection is unattainable under the Law. Jesus Christ had to come as "another priest" to bring us the bridge over which we would be able to gain perfection. Jesus Christ is that bridge. The Law, once again, is meant to point out to mankind his utter need for Jesus Christ. No redemption, no acceptance, is ever gained by observing the Law.
12: For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law (7:12).
The Mosaic Law belonged to the Aaronic priesthood where they offered up bloody sacrifices to cover sins. That Law does not cover us today in the same fashion. This verse points out that logically it follows that if the priesthood changed then the law must also change for they went together.
13: For He of whom these things are spoken pertained to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
14: For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spoke nothing of concerning priesthood (7:13-14).
The tribe of Levi was the priestly tribe, Judah was the tribe from which kings arose. With this tradition strongly in place, Jesus could never be a member of the physical priesthood which served Him in the Temple. The priesthood had to be changed.
15: And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there arises another priest.
16: Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
17: For He testifies, You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec (7:15-17).
A "similitude" means a resemblance, a likeness, a correspondence in kind or quality. Jesus Christ resembled Melchisedec by being a king of peace, a king of righteousness, and also being a priest of the most High God. Christ could only be a similitude since He was eternal, holy, perfect, while Melchisedec was imperfect and mortal. These three verses speak to the deity of Christ, to His eternal existence.
That is all for today, beloved. Next time I shall continue writing about this relationship, about Christ being our High Priest and our King. May you each be blessed richly this day.
Sun, Dec 26th - 9:26AM
" There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1)."
In Genesis 1:1 God created time. It belongs to God and it's to fulfill His purposes. Time was given to us as a gift, and God wants us to invest it wisely, and not foolishly (James 4:14-15; Ephesians 5:16-17). We must be careful in choosing how to spend the hours in each day that we are given. We never lack time, we just lack the correctly chosen purpose to spend it upon. We ought to seek ways to invest our time in those things that are eternally profitable.
So this part of the study in the new life we have in Christ focuses upon living our lives with purpose.
"Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death (Proverbs 11:4)." Are riches and wealth something God wants us to pursue and spend the majority of our time upon? Or, are these things which should only have moderate amounts of precious time spent in acquiring?
"For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard (Hebrews 4:2)." Can we simply mechanically trundle off to church and hear a sermon, thinking that that is a worthy use of our time? Or, are we expected by God to spend our time listening to the word being preached to us and tie it in with faith so that it helps us understand something new about ourselves? Which is the better use of our time?
"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness (II Timothy 3:16)." Can we cherry pick which verses we want to live our lives by? Is a right choice one in which we read/study Scripture in order to be taught, reproved, corrected, and trained in righteousness? Which is the correct expenditure of our limited amounts of time given to us each day?
"For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (I Timothy 4:8)." Should we spend inordinate time exercising and working out our body? Godliness is something which we ought to spend time understanding and creating in our lives for it affects everything. Godliness contains promise for the now, and also for what is to come. We must invest our time in this area and not in foolish pursuit of lesser things.
"For what will a man be profited, if he gains the entire world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul (Matthew 16:26)?" What then is the suggested ultimate investment for Christians? Invest everything in the physical, outer world or invest everything in the spiritual, inner world? Can I take anything of the physical world with me when I die? No. Thus one question can clarify my choices in life. Focus ought to be upon that which is eternal and can't be corrupted: spiritual matters. And yet, people continually choose to trade their souls for physical things: money, fame, status, property, cars, boats, women, men, businesses. At some point in their lives they come to realize that it all was a colossal waste of time. They often realize too late in life that they failed to "play the game" one play at a time, that they often leaped completely over important stuff simply to continue chasing after fame and success in the outer, physical world of life. Hopefully we will not fall victims to that trap, that we shall remain aware of the fact that we are given a finite amount of time each and every day which we must wisely use.
I pray that you do not suffer from a "post-Christmas" hang-over today, or the rest of this upcoming week! I have watched several major discount commercials being blared over the television already today. Our time is being clamored over to go to the stores and spend more of our money on physical things, even though we just completed a month long period of time doing just that for Christmas Day! The drive to separate us from our money is tireless and never ending...may God give each of us the strength and endurance to refrain from foolishly spending our money on physical things which do not fill our needs.
Sat, Dec 25th - 10:25AM
I SAMUEL STUDY
"They that deny God destroy man's nobility; for certainly, man is akin to the beasts by his body; and if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature."
9: Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub.
10: And he inquired of the Lord for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.
11: Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father's house, the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king.
12: And Saul said, Hear now, you son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I am, my Lord.
13: And Saul said to him, Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread, and a sword, and have inquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?
14: Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all your servants as David, which is the king's son in law, and goes at your bidding, and is honorable in your house (22:9-14)?
What a picture of what goes on in our own day! Doeg is an informant. The king is a paranoid ruler who transfers his shortcomings upon his successor. The king is also vengeful. Doeg the Edomite squeals on the priests at Nob. The king then sends for all of the priests. Saul then accuses them of treason against him. Saul also conveniently overlooks all that David has done for him personally. Saul has absolutely no honor left in him.
Ahimelech answered the king truthfully. Of course, Ahimelech was unaware that David had lied to him about being out on a mission for king Saul. Saul does not care for the response from the priest and takes steps.
15: Did I then begin to inquire of God for him? be it far from me: do not let the king impute any thing unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father: for your servant knew nothing of all this, less or more.
16: And the king said, You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you, and all of your father's house.
17: And the king said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the LORD; because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not show it to me. But the servants of the king would not slay the priests of the LORD (22:15-17).
Angry, Saul did not listen to Ahimelech and ordered his servants to murder him and the members of his father's house who were with him. Saul's servants refused to kill the priests for they understood the situation that had developed between the king and his son in law, David. David had been an honorable man in all of his dealings with the king and the people of Israel. So what can the king do?
18: And the king said to Doeg, Turn and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day eighty five persons that did wear a linen ephod.
19: And Nob, the city of the priests, struck he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword (22:18-19).
Saul was a bitter and vengeful man at this point in his life. Hebrews 12:15 warns us against bitterness for it is a vicious and awful thing once it is loosed upon unsuspecting people. It is horrible when bitterness is allowed to take over. Satan controlled Saul at this point and pulled his strings masterfully. Good old Doeg willingly does his king's bidding, not considering the inaccuracies of his king's statements about David and the priests.
Isn't life today quite similar to these events? Someone with sufficient authority and power regularly abuses said position, authority, and power to vent their bitterness against people who invariably have been loyal. We need to respond just as David did, no retaliation or tit for tat, no eye for an eye. Walk as peacemakers and not as peacebreakers.
Well, I sincerely hope that everyone is having a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas Day. May you be a blessing to another person today! Grace and peace be with you all.
Fri, Dec 24th - 11:30PM
The Children of the Promise
"All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law. Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, The righteous will live by faith. The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, The man who does these things will live by them. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree. He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit (Galatians 3:10-14)."
Brothers and sisters in the faith, we are the children of this Promise. The Law does not redeem us, nor does it give us a righteous life. It is our taskmaster. It teaches us that we fall short of the glory of the Lord and that we require Christ Jesus to gain any measure of righteousness in the eyes of God. Rules are good, but they do not redeem us nor do they provide assurance of salvation. Faith in Christ erases any and all condemnation towards us.
This is important to remember on this Christmas Eve when we are about to remember the coming of our Savior, the giving of a Son, the birth of a child of grace. Jesus came into our world to deliver the means for us to receive the promises given to Abraham so many, many years ago. The Law came some 430 years after God gave His promise to Abraham and "his seed." This covenant was not set aside by the Law. "The seed" spoken of is none other than Jesus Christ. As can clearly be understood by reading more of Galatians 3, the inheritance does not depend upon the Law, for if it did then it no longer depended upon a promise given, but God in His infinite grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
What is the purpose of the Law then? It was given through Moses because of sins until the Seed (Christ) had come. The Law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. The mediator was God. Is the Law against the promises of God? No! If life could be given through any law then righteousness would also have come by the law. The Bible declares clearly that the entire world is held captive by sin, in order that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
Before Christ came, we all were held prisoners by the Law, locked up until faith in Christ should become revealed to us. Thus the Law was charged with leading us to Christ that we might be justified by faith in Him. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the Law. Hallelujah!!!
Beloved, we need to begin to live our lives with this truth invigorating us towards good works in Christ! We need to realize that our faith in Jesus Christ is more than just Sunday and Wednesday worship in a building with others of like mind. Our faith in Christ affects our whole outlook on life, society, and the world around us. Our faith in Christ must lead us to the exact same place that it lead our Founding Fathers here in America. That mankind's inalienable rights are bestowed upon us by God Almighty and that our government has been given the authority by God to guarentee that those rights are not taken away by anyone. Human dignity originates from God who has given each of us a purpose in life. Jesus Christ said "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." Can we possibly believe for even a moment that He meant that only included two days out of the week? Can we delude ourselves into thinking that God came to earth in human form, suffered the agony of accepting the penalty for all of our sins, just so that we would worship Him two days out of each week? That is unthinkable!
With the birth of Christ the doorway to achieving peace and reconciliation had finally arrived on planet earth. Mankind finally had within its grasp the means to escaping the cost of sin. The Magi of Babylon knew the significance of the birth of a child who fulfilled all of these Old Testament prophecies, and they were the elite class of their society at that time. They had learned of these things through exposure to Daniel and the Israelites during their captivity in Babylon long before these events. King Herod understood the significance of this child fulfilling prophecy. His response was not to come and worship the child but to attempt to erradicate its life. The Sanhedrin of Israel understood who Christ was. They felt His threat to their status and power over the people of Israel. Christ came into our world long ago to bring the solution to our separation from Him to us. Through His infinite love and mercy He left glory in heaven to take on human flesh and reveal Himself to us, to allow us to be able to know Him more. He came and through love and an infinite sense of justice, He allowed Himself to be nailed to a wooden cross so that we would have the means to become reconciled to Him once again, for eternity. Animal sacrifices inside the Temple were only temporary coverings of sin, but His shed blood for us was a perfect redemption for all of our sins for eternity. He justifies us.
So on Christmas Day, please remember to thank God for being willing to come to our plane of existence in the form of a wee baby. Thank Him profusely for veiling His glory in human flesh so that we could learn how to overcome the sin in ourselves through clothing ourselves in Him. We need to realize that we have already been given the greatest gift that can possibly be given: redemption from sins. We also need to be aware of the fact that God does not want us wasting time trying to live by the Mosaic Law. Once it has lead us to Jesus Christ it has accomplished its purpose. It is just like a standard. A standard is used to measure performance. Meet the standard and you are fine, fall short of the standard and you know that there is more work ahead of you. With the Law no amount of extra work will ever get us up to the standard for the Law requires perfection. No human on this planet can achieve perfection, it is impossible.
So for all of those people out there who believe that they can perfect humanity by using science, you are doomed to fail. Imperfect people can't create perfect people through any of their efforts. It is why utopian dreams always fail. It is why Hitler failed, Lenin failed, Marx failed, and why America has failed. Golden Societies can't be created through money, legislation, and science. They can't be socially engineered by imperfect people for it is simply illogical at its inception. The perfect society will only come about after Christ Jesus returns from heaven to rule upon this planet in person. Heaven on earth will then exist. God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven will not happen until Christ's return. Imperfect people can't force this to happen, they are doomed to failure at every turn. Tyranny will be the only possible result from imperfect people attempting to create the kingdom of heaven here on this earth. The saints of Christ are not asked by God to try and do this. We are asked to love Christ, love each other, love our enemies, and to witness to the unsaved. That is our sole duty in this life. I pray that we get back to it very soon...and be the children of the Promise.
Peace and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be with all men this night, and for ever more.
Thu, Dec 23rd - 10:01PM
STUDY IN HEBREWS
"We can no longer base our ethics on the idea that human beings are a special form of creation, singled out from all other animals, and alone possessing an immortal soul. Once the religious mumbo-jumbo has been stripped away, we may continue to see normal members of our species as possessing greater capacities...than members of any other species; but we will not regard as sacrosanct the life of each and every member of our species."
~Peter Singer, bioethicist
This comes from Mr. Singer's publication in 1983. Is it any wonder that human life today is steadily being stripped of its dignity? Can anyone really be shocked that human fetuses are considered to be "parasites" sucking the life out of their mothers? Life is not to be considered to be sacrosanct, there is no dignity nor nobility in the human race. What purpose do the humanists leave us with? None. Small wonder suicides are up as is depression. For anyone who buys this philosophy of life there is nothing to live for, there is no purpose in anything that they do. People must have purpose to their lives otherwise they shrivel up and die. People need Jesus Christ in their lives to give them purpose, dignity, and nobility.
3: Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; remains a priest continually (7:3).
Jesus Christ comes out of eternity, and He moves into eternity. He has no beginning and no end. He is the beginning and He is the end. He is the Alpha and the Omega. You can't go beyond Him in the past, and you can't get ahead of Him in the future. He surrounds all of time and all of eternity. But in the Book of Genesis we find all of these genealogies, these familial lineages that are recorded, but out of nowhere here comes Melchisedec! And then, there goes Melchisedec! No genealogy provided for the man. It is done this way so that we will get the picture that this man is to be considered as a type of Christ Jesus.
Abraham was faced with a test when he returned from fighting the kings of the east. He had all of the freed people and a large amount of recovered possessions with him. The king of Sodom proposed that he give the people back to Sodom but keep all of the booty. Tempting propostion, wouldn't you say? According to the Code of Hammurabi, the booty did belong to Abraham. But Abraham told the king of Sodom that he did not want any of the booty as reward for doing what was right (Genesis 14:23). Melchisedec came and ministered to Abraham, just as Christ comes to us and ministers to our needs after we have survived a tribulation and/or a test. Christ is faithful and He comes each time we have spiritual need of Him.
We need to notice in Genesis 14:19 that Melchisedec blessed Abraham of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth. You and I live in a universe that belongs to Him; He owns it, and He has said that all things are ours today. Do you remember to enjoy a sunrise? A sunset? The lightning of a thunderstorm? Rainbows? A rose? Snowflakes? Rain? The majesty and power of cumulonimbus clouds in the summertime? What a wonderful God we have! His Godhead on display before us each and every day! We simply must look up and see the reality all around us, and not listen to humanists who wish to deny our dignity and nobility.
4: Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils (7:4).
Abraham paid tithes to the king of Salem. He recognized that this man was above him and that he was the priest of the most high God who had called Abraham out of his homeland on a promise. This is not then a requirement placed upon those of us who believe on Christ today, that we must pay ten percent of what we earn to God. That is a misinterpretation of scripture. We must individually decide in our heart what we shall give to the Lord first. God wants us to give to Him before we give to all sorts of other causes and obligations. He wants our first fruits and not the leftovers. God expects us to work at increasing our giving over the years and to not grasp too tightly the money that we earn at our jobs. For where do our jobs come from but from God. He gives us the money to begin with and we simply return a portion of it back to Him in order to help reach others with the good news of Jesus Christ.
We also recognize Christ's lordship by bringing a gift to Him on a regular basis. Donations to other ministries and groups are first and foremost gifts given to Christ. We are priests of Christ and our gifts are brought reverently to Him.
5: And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham.
6: But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises (7:5-6).
Melchisedec was a Gentile and yet he blessed Abraham who was a Hebrew. And behold, Abraham recognized the true positions of him and this king of Salem so he paid tithes to the king of peace and righteousness. Obviously there were Gentiles who believed in the existence of Jehovah for here was one who was declared to be a priest of the most high God.
What we can take from these verses is this: we are not of descent from Christ but He does accept tithes and offerings from us and blesses us who have the promises given to us by Christ. We are in the exact same position that Abraham found himself in with Melchisedec. We too, are faced with the King of Righteousness and Peace. We too have shared bread and wine with Him in communion/fellowship.
That is all for today my friends! Time does grow short, does it not? Christmas is almost here. The day in which believers remember when Christ Jesus was born of a virgin, in a manger, under a brightly shining star fixed in the sky. Prophecy fulfilled. Messiah come to redeem that which was lost. Christ come to seek and to save, to heal the sick, the outcast, the lame, the blind, the deaf. He came looking for you and for me, beloved. I am just so glad that Christ found me when He did and not a moment later! Perhaps there are some reading this post and have not yet been found by Christ. I pray that as you have read this blog that you are able to hear His voice gently beckoning you to come, come and find rest and peace for your troubled heart and soul. Peace be with each of you.
Thu, Dec 23rd - 7:29AM
I SAMUEL STUDY
3: And David went to Mizpeh of Moab: and he said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray you, come here, and be with you, till I know what God will do for me.
4: And he brought them before the king of Moab: and the dwelled with him all the while that David was in the hold (22:3-4).
Fleeing to Moab is what another Bethlehem family had done many generations before David. Elimeloch had taken his family to Moab during a period of famine in Israel. Out of this Ruth the Moabitess joined the spiritual family of God. The father of David would be the grandson of Ruth the Moabitess, perhaps being the reason why the king of Moab grants David's request. So David leaves the land of Israel indicating to us that he is a frightened man. Should he have fled Israel? Probably not, for God was with him in all that he was doing and would protect him from harm. But at any rate, David chose to flee from Saul and seek out a measure of safety for his parents and himself in Moab. This probably is an instance of David's faith in God wavering just a wee bit. He could stride out and face down mighty Goliath but was hesitant about facing down the king of Israel. He was sort of repeating what Abraham had done when he went down to Egypt.
5: And the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in the hold; depart, and you get into the land of Judah. Then David departed, and came into the forest of Hareth.
6: When Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him, (now Saul was in Gibeah under a tree in Ramah, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him;)
7: Then Saul said unto his servants that stood about him, Hear now, you Benjaminites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds;
8: That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that shows me that my son has made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or shows unto me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day (22:5-8).
Is king Saul paranoid, or what? Doesn't he resemble politicians today? Bribery of people. Pork barrel measures to gain peoples' support of your position. Maybe Saul is entitled to feeling persecuted since discovering that his own son has not remained loyal to him. None of these gathered servants have revealed this fact to him, and obviously it has been eating away at him as to why they haven't. But, there is one man who knows where David is. We already have heard of him, good old Doeg the Edomite. This man squeals of where he has seen David and his men.
Well, that is all for this morning, beloved! I hope and pray that you all have a wonderful pre-Christmas Eve day and that you experience grace and peace the entire day!
Wed, Dec 22nd - 9:56PM
STUDY IN HEBREWS
1: For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him (7:1).
There is great talk about the death and resurrection of Christ, which is wonderful. But at some point we must move on to a living Christ who is at the right hand of God and who has a ministry there for us. The reality of that ministry to us is a Geiger counter to test our spiritual life. How is the truth of this chapter of Hebrews going to affect my spiritual life?
This little "for" is the cement which holds together what has been said previously with what is going to now be said. We are referred back to verse 20 of chapter 6. Melchisedec is a figure, or type, of Christ. This man was called the king of Salem back in Genesis 14:17-24. Not much else is said about this man in chapter 14 of Genesis. Nothing else pops up until Psalm 110 where we find another reference concerning the Messiah being a priest after the order of Melchizedek. Different spelling, same person. So Melchisedec was a king and a priest, and thus so was the Messiah to be the same. The king of Salem gets more mention in this book of Hebrews than in the entire Old Testament.
You and I live in the time of Christ's priesthood. It is a dispensation irregardless of what critics might say. Dispensations are the different ages or time-periods that show the progressive order of God's dealing with mankind. One dispensation was when Aaron was high priest in the Tabernacle performing animal sacrifices to cover human sins. Today is a different dispensation for Christ is our High Priest who offered up one blood sacrifice to redeem the sins of the entire world, once for all time.
Since we are going to be looking at Christ as a priest after the order of Melchisedec, we ought to know all we can about this person, eh? Back to Genesis 14 we must go. Those events recorded in chapter 14 took place after Abraham's nephew Lot had moved down to Sodom. The kings of the east formed an alliance and rose up against the kings of the west, those who lived around the Dead Sea. The eastern kings won and dragged off people as slaves and their possessions as booty.
Word was brought to Abraham that Lot was among those being carried off into captivity. Immediately he gathered and armed about 318 men out of his own household. He and these men sprung a surprise attack and defeated the eastern kings. His only purpose was to set his people free, but he ended up freeing the king of Sodom and all of the others.
Genesis 14:17 tells us that the king Sodom, along with some of the other kings, came out to give honor to Abraham. The king of Sodom made him an offer which Abraham refused. Then from out of nowhere we find Melchisedec showing up (Genesis 14:18).
2: To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace (7:2).
Was Melchisedec king of Jerusalem? Probably not since we are told here that he was the King of peace. He obviously was a man of influence who could make peace. He could have been king of any city, not just Jerusalem. What we can see is that he is a figure of what Christ was going to be. Christ is the Prince of Peace and the King of kings and so meets and exceeds what Melchisedec was.
Being a type of Christ this man represents Him in more than one way as noted above. he is king of righteousness and of peace. Christ is King of all and He is righteous. Melchisedec was a priest unto the most high God and Christ Jesus is the Most High God and is our High Priest at the same time.
In Genesis 14:18 we can see bread and wine. Could it be that these two men sat down and in effect celebrated the Lord's Supper together? At the least the king of peace offered the symbols of Christ's new covenant to Abraham, another picture of what was to come in time. We look backwards in time to remember what Christ Jesus did for us on the cross, while these two men could have been looking forward to what Christ Jesus was going to do on the cross.
That is all for tonight my friends. Tomorrow I shall continue with this study and I hope that you follow along at your own pace and study out any other verses which the Holy Spirit leads you to. Grace and peace be with you all.
Wed, Dec 22nd - 12:59PM
"Puritan writer Thomas Watson said, "Eternity to the godly is a day that has no sunset; eternity to the wicked is a night that has no sunrise." Eternity is the grand climax of all history. It is the age to come when every person will acknowledge Jesus as Lord. Eternity will bring to this world all God intended for us. Sin will have been judged and banished. Rewards will have been presented. Life will continue with new vitality, meaning, and perfection. What an age that will be!"
Today I am beginning a section of the new life in Christ study that has to do with time management. It has to do with the eternal versus the temporal. Coach Bobby Bowden of Florida State University used to say, "Don't go to the grave with life unused." God wants each believer to be a good manager of the clock of life.
"So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12)." We are not to think that we have unlimited time upon this planet. Most of us living in America probably can expect around 70-80 years of life. When I was twenty that seemed extremely far off; today at age 56 it is incredibly close. The time that I wasted foolishly before I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior! Wish that I could redeem that time! But I can't. James wrote, "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.' Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that (James 4:13-15)." Here we find a scriptural cure for presumption and procrastination. None of ought to presume what tomorrow may bring, we do not know for sure.
Most people remain blithely unaware of the fact that they have a very sly and dangerous enemy. He appears to be a rather friendly buddy; he is so persuasive and logical with all his arguments that he often has us nodding in agreement. He appears to always have our best interests in mind. His name is Procrastination and his motto is: "Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow." Procrastination has a friend, Satan, whose favorite con is "Do it in a little while." Satan does not always convince people that there is no heaven or no hell. He simply fools them into believing that there is no hurry in choosing.
Here is an example of being in no hurry to choose: "But some days later Felix arrived with Drusilla, his wife who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, "Go away for the present, and when I find time, I will summon you (Acts 24:25)." Felix put off making a decision, he was afraid. He figured he could listen to Paul at a later time. But Paul was sent off to Rome and, to our knowledge, never again addressed Felix and his wife.
The immediate lesson here is that no one can put off a decision for Christ to another day. Proverbs 27:1 warns against boasting about what you shall do tomorrow for you do not know what will transpire between now and then. The secret to beating procrastination is in doing things NOW. II Corinthians 6:2 states that today is the day of salvation, the acceptable day. NOW is the time to serve Christ, NOW is the time to give, NOW is the time to love and give compassion, NOW is the time to write that letter, or make that phone call, or feed a homeless person. NOW is the time to stop that bad habit. "Tomorrow" is the busiest day of the year; it quickly becomes Today, but often just as quickly it becomes Yesterday. Isn't there something that you have been putting off? Make it a Nike moment, JUST DO IT!
That is all for today, beloved. Tomorrow I hope to get back to this study and continue along this vein of thought. I hope and pray that as you finish up your Christmas preparations that you will consider the importance of giving of oneself. God didn't tell us that it was more blessed to give than to receive as an afterthought. God wants each of us to practice giving of ourselves to meet the needs of others. It can be our families, our friends, the homeless, the widows, or the orphans. It can be the single mother who is struggling to pay the rent and keep food on the table. It can be the elderly couple who no longer can maintain their property like they used to. It could be that child across the street from you who needs someone to tutor them in mathematics or science. Or that teenage boy next door who desperately needs someone to notice him, to really see him for who he is and not for what he is. Teach a young person a craft or skill, make them your apprentice and take them under your wing. Just be there for someone in their hour of need this holiday season as we finish up the year. You will be very glad that you did.
Tue, Dec 21st - 12:49PM
"God gives the birds their food, but He does not throw it into their nests."
In finishing up this section of study about giving Christ our best efforts, let's look at Luke 12:15; 14:33 shall we? "And He said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has, he can't be My disciple." What do these two verses tell us about the importance of "things?" Are objects to be our focus? Are we to obsess over acquiring the same items which are neighbors have? Are we to force ourselves into debt simply to acquire the latest technological gadget? The answer is, no. We must beware becoming greedy and/or covetous. Chasing after stuff makes them our personal idols. They are of utmost importance to us, we must have them. It sounds almost like an addiction, doesn't it? Perhaps it is an addiction, one in which we find ourselves compelled to fill a void inside of ourselves with material possessions. Yet the material can't fill the spiritual void that exists inside of us, it simply leads on to ever more possessions being sought. I think that the void within each of us can be just like a tapeworm: it consumes that which is consumed. Someone with a tapeworm can rarely, if ever, eat enough to satisfy their hunger for the worm consumes it all. With the acquiring of stuff, how much stuff is enough? No one knows.
Back in Proverbs 24:30-32 we find this: "I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding. And. lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face of it, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction." This passage speaks about physical discipline in relation to growing crops of all sorts. But does it apply to spiritual discipline as well? Think about it. The lazy ignorant farmers and gardeners do not reap bountiful harvests due to their lack of effort and gaining of knowledge. Their crops become over run with weeds that choke out the desired plants. The boundary intended to protect the crops from animals became broken down and were not repaired on a regular basis. Spiritually we need to be exerting effort to study God's Word in order to gain needed knowledge in order to grow spiritual crops in our personal garden. We then need to spend time surveying the borders of our families, our congregations, our communities to discover if there are areas which are weakened and are in need of repair and support. Without spiritual knowledge how shall we be able to recognize wickedness and evil camoflaged as something fairly good? "They shall come amongst you, wolves, clothed in sheep's clothing." People are very good at concealing their true intentions, if they desire to do so. Why else do people become so puzzled and aghast when they find out that a serial killer lived next door to them for the past five years? People learn how to wear masks and not show their true face to the public. Christians must be aware of this and learn how to discern good from evil.
So Christians must view their lives as a house. Just as a house requres upkeep and maintenance, so too, our spiritual lives require the same sort of efforts.
May you have grace and peace this entire day!
Mon, Dec 20th - 7:53PM
STUDY IN HEBREWS
15: And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
16: For men truly swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife (6:15-16).
Abraham patiently endured through the years and by trusting in God he received a new assurance. By daily walking with God I can grow in grace and in knowledge of Him through the study of His Word. In this fashion I can gain assurance and be very confident that I have made the correct choice in following after Christ.
When we are in a dispute and seemingly can't reach agreement, someone who then makes a statement and confirms it with an oath puts an end to all disputing over it. It is decided then and there.
17: Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath.
18: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us (6:17-18).
God never needs to take an oath upon anything, but here He chose do so in order to make the point of how permanent His counsel is toward us. The oath shows us how important this matter is to God.
"Two immutable things" are God's unchangeable Word of promise and His unchangeable oath. Looking back at Genesis 15:4-5 and then Genesis 22:16-18 we can see these two unchangeable things. God does not lie, He keeps His word to us just as He kept it to Abraham.
Are there two immutable things for us today? Yes, we do have the promise made to Abraham for our own encouragement, but don't we have a much richer revelation? Do we not have Christ Jesus, God's only begotten Son? So for us the two immutable things are (1) the death and resurrection of Christ, and (2) His ascension and intercession for us in heaven. There is our refuge to which we may flee to escape the sin and turmoil of this lost world.
The picture painted here for us is one from out of the Old Testament. God had mandated that Israel establish cities of refuge (Numbers 35; Deuteronomy 19; Joshua 20-21). Those cities served as types of Christ sheltering the sinner from judgment and death. Back then it was a wonderful provision for anyone who accidentally killed someone. Get to the closest city of refuge and you would be protected and your case tried. If they were acquitted of intentional killing they must remain within the city until the death of the high priest.
This reveals to us that Christ is our refuge. I have already been dragged into court and found guilty. I was a sinner. Penalty is death. It has already been executed. Christ Jesus accepted my penalty in my place. I am free because of that. Of course I must remain in Christ. But now I can go out and serve Him for I am free. I have Him as my High Priest, a resurrected Savior. As Paul has clearly stated in I Corinthians 10:11 all of this has been given to us as examples for our admonition and teaching.
Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and
which enters into that within the veil; 20:
Where the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made a high priest
for ever after the order of Melchisedec (6:19-20).
The veil hung within the Temple, separating everyone from the Holy of Holies. Christ Jesus as our High Priest entered into the temple in heaven, after which the earthly temple/tabernacle was patterned(Hebrews 8:5). He passed through the veil into the Holy of Holies, into the very presence of God, and presented His blood there for the sins of the entire world. He had completed the more perfect sacrifice for sins, once for all.
Jesus was able to sit down at the right hand of God in heaven, but Aaron could not ever sit down on something within the tabernacle for the only seat within it was the Mercy Seat which typified God's throne. Aaron went in once per year and that was it. Our High Priest remains seated within and we now have access to Him for the veil has been torn open allowing us entry.
We are told that Christ is the forerunner, implying that others are to follow. And we obtain here in this verse another even stronger encouragement than Abraham had in his time, because our High Priest has entered in advance into the presence of God for us and He remains there today as our Advocate.
That finishes up chapter six of Hebrews. Chapter seven's theme is a continuation of Christ being our High Priest after the sort of Melchisedec. Next time I shall begin looking into chapter seven. Come on back and find out why Christ is a better High Priest than any of the prior human ones. Until then, grace and peace be with you all!
Mon, Dec 20th - 1:12PM
"Cold words freeze people, and hot words scorch them, and bitter words make them bitter, and wrathful words make them wrathful. Kind words also produce their image on men's souls; and a beautiful image it is. They smooth, and quiet, and comfort the hearer."
Am I giving Christ Jesus my all? That is the question before us as we finish up this section of the study on the new life in Christ. In I Corinthians 15:58 what is Paul's promise as we work for the Lord? "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." The promise is that as long as we abound in the work of God it will not be in vain. Something good will come of it. We may not always be able to see the good, or the good was meant for someone else besides us. So what should I do with this truth? I ought to remain diligently doing the work that God has placed before me. I ought not to complain about what others are, or are not, doing. I am to not become despondent at what I perceive to be persecution from others. I am to continue in doing good for others. In essence, God desires each of us to become "rocks" that others may fasten upon in order to pull themselves out of the frantic pace of our modern world. We are to remain "lifesavers" to the unbelievers, available to them in their time/s of need.
"Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the Word of God, and serve fables. Wherefore, brethren, seek out from anong you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:2-4)." "The business" of which they were deliberating upon was the care of widows. Priorities needed to be established amongst the disciples. The widows had been "falling through the cracks" as would be said today. So it was decided by the apostles that the disciples as a group must determine who was honest, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom and bring their names forward for appointment to minister to the widows. How does this apply to my personal life today? Well, I must make some priorities. I must determine what is good, better, and best in my life and the life of my marriage and my family. Can't get selfish here. I am to aim for the best things and not simply settle for the good things because they are easier. I must determine as best I can what things I must do for my wife because they are for the "best" marriage. Same goes for family time. This also applies to my occupation or career. But always I am to keep this in the perspective of serving Christ in all that I do. I can't throw my marriage under the bus just to climb higher up the ladder of corporate America. I can't throw my children under the train simply to close another real estate deal. Each of us figures out what our employers want from us, what is important to them, and then make sure that we deliver that consistently day in and day out. Why should it be any different with Christ Jesus? He is our master and King, we ought to then want to find out what is important to Him, what does He want from us, and then consistently make sure that we are delivering that day in and day out. It becomes more and more obvious that being a Christian is a worldview and encompasses everything that I am, that I do, that I think.
"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you (Hebrews 13:17)." Here is where contention rises up amongst the ranks of professing believers. First and foremost, am I committed to the spiritual leadership in my life? That means God, pastor/priest, or husband if applicable. Submitting means acknowledging their authority over me, it does not mean that if they ask me to do things which are directly against God's Word that I must do those things. At that point I am responsible to be civilly disobedient in protest of the wrongness of the requests or demands. This concept covers all authority within civilization. It is this concept that helped drive the American Founding Fathers to write the type of Constitution that they wrote. God assigns authority to governments to rule over society to maintain law and order for the good of the people. This concept also drives our relationships to our employers, police, local government, county government, state and federal government. As long as they do not require us to go contrary to God's Word we are to submit to those "offices" and do what they ask of us. When any "office" crosses over the line and attempts to coerce us into disobeying God then we must honor the authority of God and we must protest. We can't look the other way, we can't rationalize it away, and we can't join in. Will this lead to possible persecution? It sure will.
That is all for today, beloved. Next time, God willing, I will finish up the final couple of scripture references for this part of the study. One comes from Luke and the other from Proverbs. May your day be full of joy and love, and peace.
Fri, Dec 17th - 8:10PM
I SAMUEL STUDY
1: David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave of Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him.
2: And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became the captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men (22:1-2).
When Saul pressed him hard David retreated to the cave of Adullam, which is a rocky mountain fastness, southwest of Jerusalem, in a valley between Philistia and Hebron. There is a comparison that can be made between David and Jesus Christ. You and I live in the days of Christ's rejection. The world has rejected Christ just as David was rejected and hunted like an animal. King Saul was abroad; and our enemy, Satan, is abroad today. I Peter 5:8 tells us, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour." It is during these days that Christ Jesus is calling out of this world a people for His name. He is calling those who are in distress, in debt, who are discontented, who are burdened.
These classes of people existed in David's day. They were persecuted and oppressed by King Saul. David had not broken away from Saul very quickly and had made many friends and was a respected man. Many people were loyal to Saul, but they finally were forced to flee because their lives became threatened. They ended up with David.
If you happen to have felt the bite of the whip of injustice, if you have been treated unfairly, if you are oppressed and have no where to turn, then look to the Lord Jesus Christ. Many are trying to find a way out of their troubles but are turning to all sorts of solutions: drugs, suicide, prostitution. There is One who is steadily calling all of us today. Luke 19:10 says, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Christ wants to help you. He can help you. Are you tested and tempted? Are you in distress? You need a Savior, and He is calling to you. You need to go to Him today.
Debt is a cancer that can destroy under any circumstances. In David's day a man in debt could lose his property and he could be sold into slavery. Men should have been protected, but they were not. Saul was not enforcing and upholding the Mosaic Law. The same thing is beginning to happen in America today. The law is not being upheld by our courts, they attempt to make new law themselves.
Sin has made each of us debtors to God. God alone can forgive us our sins. Forgiveness always rests upon payment of a debt being received. David did not pay any debt for any man. But Christ did. Christ set us free even though we had no means to pay our debt and still live.
The discontented came to David's camp. They were unhappy. Circumstances and experiences of life had left them soured in spirit. In America I feel that there is growing discontentment across the land. People are restless and in some places it is beginning to turn into a flood. People are protesting out in the streets, people who normally do not do such things. Dissatisfaction is palpable. It is inevitable to become discontented, unless you can see the hand of God at work.
So go to Christ who is calling out to you. He is fair. You can find rest in Him. David received four hundred men to himself and became their captain. Jesus Christ is our Captain.
That is all for today my friends. Peace and grace be with you all.
Fri, Dec 17th - 2:18PM
STUDY IN HEBREWS
"A republic once equally poised must either preserve its virtue or lose its liberty."
"And that he [the King] ought to be under the law appears clearly in the analogy of Jesus Christ, whose vice-regent on earth he is, for though many ways were open to Him for his ineffable redemption of the human race, the true mercy of God chose this most powerful way to destroy the devil's work, he would not use the power of force but the reason of justice."
~Henry De Bracton, English judge, 1250 A.D.
10: For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
11: And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end(6:10-11).
God is not forgetful, He will remember our work and labor of love towards His holy name and to the saints of Christ, our brothers and sisters in the faith. We can note that this work and labor is not just past tense, what we have done, but is to be presently done as well. We are to diligently work for the best interests of the brethren, for we have that eternal hope of life with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Our hope is to remain ever with us right up to the end of this age.
12: That you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
13: For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, He swore by Himself,
14: Saying, Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you(6:12-14).
Other believers were desiring these Hebrews to not be lazy, but to follow those brethren who through their personal faith and patience had inherited God's promises. We find that God swore by Himself for there was no person greater by whom He could swear to bless Abraham. God had promised Abraham many blessings. His descendants would be as numerous as the sands of the beaches at the ocean's shore. They would be as many as the stars in the night time sky. Are we talking about physical, biological, offspring? No, we are talking about spiritual offspring who are related by faith to Abraham. By faith Abraham left his hometown to travel to a far away land totally unknown to him and his family. By faith Abraham believed God would give him a son in his old age. Through faith each believer in Christ becomes connected with Abraham's faith and we inherit God's promises to him. So each of us are promised to be blessed and to be multiplied by God.
That is all for today, beloved! I hope each of you have a wonderful weekend, serving Christ in your local congregations! Mercy, grace, and peace be yours.
Thu, Dec 16th - 12:31PM
"America has suffered from a fever of words. We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another - until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices."
~Richard M. Nixon, 1969 inaugural address
Let's consider the cost, the expense to us, of giving our all to God and His plans for us. Turn with me to John 6:8-11: "One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?" Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. Jesus therefore took the loaves; and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted." So many people to feed, so little food available. One lad was there with a small amount of food. Obviously, the lad gave all of the food that he had with him. Jesus multiplied it beyond imagination. This is what God asks of each of us, to trust Him with what we have, give it all to Him and allow Him to bless it and multiply it. Only have a little to give? So what, it could be what helps several hundred to several thousand people.
Another example of giving is recorded in Luke 21:1-4 where we find the widow's mite. This poor woman gave all of the money that she had, which wasn't very much at all. Jesus told His disciples that she gave more from the heart than any of the rich people had. The wealthy gave from out of the surplus of finances that they had whereas the widow gave all of her meager money and chose to go hungry. She had faith, she trusted God.
All good sports coaches deeply appreciate a player who gives his all on every play. The player might only have average talent but his effort elevates his performance and results. The too short basketball player who nevertheless outhustles the opponent to the ball; the baseball outfielder who is not lightspeed fast and yet breaks for the ball correctly every time to get there for the catch; the football player who always seems to be around the ball whenever they are out on the field. It is because of their commitment to perform at their absolute best and never give up until the whistle sounds. They refuse to surrender position when guarding their opponent. They remain aware of what is going on around them at all times. They remain 100% focused on their goal, there is to be no deviation.
"I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1)."
Will you give God your all? Is there something which you need to start doing?
Wed, Dec 15th - 3:14PM
"It is right for the Church to be in the world; it is wrong for the world to be in the Church. A boat in water is good; that is what boats are for. However, water inside the boat causes it to sink."
~Harold Lindsell, The World, the Flesh and the Devil
There is no greater lie in Christian groups today than the error filled assumption that there can be true commitment without any cost. There are no bargains, no short cuts when it comes to our commitment to God. Total commitment can produce great power in the lives of those who pay that cost.
"More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus(Philippians 3:8-14)."
Do you notice the commitment of Paul being expressed here? Paul does not sound as if he were lazy and indifferent in his spiritual life. Paul aggressively pursued his life in Christ no matter what that may have cost him. Nothing was more important to him. Paul did not allow his personal past history to dictate what he would/could do serving Christ.
How are you and I doing with our personal commitment to Christ? Have we stopped to consider the cost? Is there any Christian that we know of who has paid a high cost to serve Jesus but has a powerful testimony because of it? Lastly, have you and I ever paid a price for having obeyed the Lord's commands?
We are discussing commitment and so we turn to Joshua 7-10. There we discover a city by the name of Ai, it is not very strong or very large. The Israelites send some of their soldiers to go and subdue it and its inhabitants. The Israelites are crushed in defeat. What went wrong?
* ALL God's people were to be in the fight. All parts of the body of Christ need to be involved. There are no favorites with God; everyone is to step up and serve.
* All God's enemies were to be slain. Every sin is the enemy and must be destroyed. Any sin can, and will, become a stronghold and give Satan entry into your life.
* All God's Word is to be proclaimed. Every portion of God's Word is to be preached. Christians must have the entire, whole, counsel of God's Word. We must be balanced in our Bible studies, and be zealous to obey it. There is to be no ignoring of certain books or topics.
That is all for today, beloved. Determine in your heart to learn all parts of God's Word in order to have a balanced knowledge of Old and New Testaments. Peace and grace be yours today.
Tue, Dec 14th - 7:25PM
I SAMUEL STUDY
5: And David answered the priest, and said to him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since i came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yes, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel.
6: So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the showbread, that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away (21:5-6).
In giving David and his men the bread, the priest was breaking the letter of the Law but not the spirit of the Law. Remember that the Pharisees challenged Jesus about breaking the Law. The Lord refuted their accusations by referring to this exact incident in the life of David. The event with Christ is to be found in Mark 2:23-28.
What Christ was saying was that if what David did was okay, there was One here greater than David, and He can do it also. David could eat the shewbread because he had need. God says that human need supersedes all ritual and ceremonial laws.
7: Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the LORD; and his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chiefest of the herdsmen that belonged to Saul.
8: And David said unto Ahimelech, And is there not here under your hand spear or sword? for I have neither brought my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king's business required haste (21:7-8).
Old Doeg the Edomite is in the King's employ and will end up betraying David and the priests to the King. We ought not to quote verse eight in arguing that things need to be done for Christ and done quickly. David did not have any weapons with him because he had to run away so quickly that he could not risk retrieving them from where he had been living. Plus, David is not on any mission for his King---he is misrepresenting himself to the priest.
God's work does not need to be done in haste, it gets done according to God's good pleasure. God will work in this fashion in David's life and train him in the caves in which David hides. Did God hurry to train Moses? Or Elijah? No. Did Jesus Christ hurry to the cross? No, He took 33 years to get there. We all need to learn to be patient with God, He will not hurry to satisfy our wants or urges. God moves and works slowly with people.
9: And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you slew in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if you will take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it to me.
10: And David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath (21:9-10).
David is in need of a weapon with which to defend himself. Goliath's sword would be an appropriate weapon for him. Taking the sword David flees to a most unlikely place, Gath. The people there were enemies of Israel and David was an Israelite. How would they receive him and his men?
And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the
land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul has slain
his thousands, and David his ten thousands? 12:
And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish
the king of Gath. 13:
And he changed his behavior before them, and feigned himself mad in their
hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down
upon his beard. 14:
Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, you see the man is mad: wherefore
then have you brought him to me? 15:
Have I need of mad men, that you have brought this fellow to play the mad man
in my presence? shall this fellow come into my house (21:11-15)?
David was forced to choose to act like he was insane. He did not want them to kill him outright. King Achish of Gath believed his act and did not feel the man was any threat to him and his rule. This finishes up chapter 21. We saw that David needed the help of Jonathan to escape from the wrath of King Saul. We also saw Jonathan's life also threatened by the King. We saw Jonathan help his friend, David, get away defying the King's wishes. We finally saw how David figured to escape the notice of King Saul: hide amongst the enemy of Israel where no one would think to look.
Next time I shall begin chapter 22 in which we will see David gathering men who remained faithful to him and to God. Until then, grace and peace be yours!
Tue, Dec 14th - 12:49PM
"Jesus sets before us a bold, unvarnished question: are you a bride or a whore? The two possibilities are related: it is only possible to become a whore because God has called us to be a bride. The call to love God creates the alternative, that we squander our love faithlessly. Jesus looks to us for the love of a bride. Any other love which possesses our heart brings us into the state of spiritual adultery."
~ M. Basilea Schlink
We begin looking at total commitment to Christ today. It is a vital part of having new life in Christ. Successful professional sports teams always have one thing in common: commitment to excellence with the focus upon doing all that you can do to win. I hold up as an example of this this past Sunday's football game in Chicago between the Patriots and the Bears. Both teams came into this game playing really good football for several weeks in a row. But, the Patriots crushed the Bears by halftime. Why? The team members had chosen to follow the lead of their coach and do all that they could do to win the game. They acted as if they were not playing in the cold, wind, and falling snow. They had totally committed themselves to doing those things which would give them the win. They ignored the elements and played the game as it was unfolding before them on the field. I say that this is the type of approach and focus that believers need to have each day. We ought not to complain and make excuses because conditons and/or circumstances are not ideal for being successful spiritually. Do what it takes, follow the lead of our Coach, Jesus Christ. Are we listening to Him? Are buying into what He is trying to teach us so that we can be successful? Are we?
"A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8)." This verse can be paired up with Matthew 6:24. Not one of us can successfully serve two masters. It doesn't work on the job, and it does't work in our spiritual life either. Have you ever done something half-heartedly? Did you produce a satisfactory effort, or did you wish you could do it all over again? Did you feel any guilt over your lack of effort? If yes to any of these questions, why not ask God to give you the grace to empty all of your effort into this job for the glory of Christ?
To be all we can be, do all we can do, we must become committed to God. Power will be found through dedicating ourselves to following Christ completely. There is no room for hesitation, procrastination, doubt, deception, or divided interests.
"But a certain man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife's full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God (Acts 5:1-4)." What was the issue here? What a man purposes in his heart, so he will do. Ananias and his wife had decided to sell their property and had chosen initially to give the entire proceeds to the common good of all believers. But once the sale went through and they had that money in their hands, then they changed their minds and held back a portion secretly. See, they could have easily kept a portion as long as they had spoken up and said that to everyone. No problem, everyone would have accepted their choice. But they lied about it. They ended up with an immediate death, becoming examples for everyone else as to how to treat each other. No deception could be tolerated within the family of God's saints.
That is all for today, beloved. I will continue this study tomorrow, God willing. I pray that you choose today to completely join God's team of saints. He is our Coach and we need to run the plays that He calls exactly the way He calls them. We must understand our position on the team and execute our part in the play to the best of our ability. Each member of God's team does what he/she ought to do and we ALL become successful. We can't be seeking to bring more attention upon ourselves than to others on our team. We must esteem what others do to be more important than what we are doing.
Tue, Dec 14th - 7:05AM
I SAMUEL STUDY
As I begin chapter 21 it's worth noting that the theme is David involves the priests, he gathers mighty men to his side, and King Saul murders the priests of God.
1: Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said to him, Why are you alone, and no man with you?
2: And David said to Ahimelech the priest, The king has commanded me a business, and has said to me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send you, and what I have commanded you: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place.
3: Now therefore what is under your hand? give me five loaves of bread in my hand, or what there is present.
4: And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under my hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women (21:1-4).
David has fled from King Saul all by himself, there are no servants, no armor bearers, traveling with him. This priest recognizes that there is something very unusual going on with David. David gives the priest a "song and a dance" for an answer. He flat out fabricates a story that will sound plausible to the priest. David is obviously very hungry and asks for some bread to eat. All that is available is the showbread inside of the Tabernacle. This bread could only be eaten by the priest and only at a certain time, which was at the changing of the bread each Sabbath day, or once per week. David told Ahimelech a gross untruth. What shall we say to this? The Scripture
does not conceal it, and we dare not justify it; it was poorly done, and proved of
bad consequence; for it caused the death of the priests of the Lord. David
thought about it afterward with regret. David had great faith and courage, yet
both failed him; he fell through fear and cowardice, and owing to
the weakness of his faith. Had he trusted God correctly, he would not have used
such a sorry, sinful lie for his own preservation. This is a lesson for all of us today.
What else may we take from these opening four verses? Jesus taught that mercy was preferable to sacrifice, and that obedience to God was also preferable to sacrifice. Little do we know those people who come through the doors of the meeting place to worship God with us each week. Do they come with devotion to Christ? Do they come to watch us praise and thank Christ? Do they come to watch our leaders, to judge the worthiness of their words and actions? Only God knows the truth of these matters when they first come through our doors and into our lives. We are to be gracious and warmly welcome them into our midst. We are to act in a Christ-like fashion as we determine over time whether they are sincerely seeking the face of God, or are wolves come in sheep's clothing to destroy the work of God if at all possible.
Until next time, God willing, I pray that you walk the narrow path and that your footsteps be lighted by the Word of God.
Mon, Dec 13th - 8:56AM
STUDY IN HEBREWS
"Hitler was systematically exploring and exploiting the secret fears and hopes, the cravings, anxieties and frustrations of the German masses. It is by manipulating "hidden forces" that the advertising experts induce us to buy their wares - a toothpaste, a brand of cigarettes, or a political candidate. And it is by appealing to the same hidden forces - and to others too dangerous for Madison Avenue to meddle with - that Hitler induced the German masses to buy themselves a Fuehrer, an insane philosophy and the Second World War."
~ Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited
"Hitler has a deep respect for the Catholic Church and the Jesuit order; not because of their Christian doctrine, but because of the 'machinery' they have elaborated and controlled, their hierarchical system, their extremely clever tactics, their knowledge of human nature adn their wise use of human weaknesses in ruling over believers."
~ Hermann Rauschning in 1939
I hope and pray that America does not forget history and end up repeating it an even worse form. Now let's get into this most difficult passage of scripture in Hebrews.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of
the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5:
And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to
If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they
crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open
For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes often upon it, and
brings forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessing
from God: 8:
But that which bears thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto
cursing; whose end is to be burned. 9:
But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that
accompany salvation, though we thus speak (6:4-9).
As I am studying this passage, I am confronted with a harsh reality. That right resolution is very necessary in order to progress and proficiency in
religion. That that resolution is right which is not only made in the
sincerity of our hearts, but in a humble dependence upon God for strength, for
assistance and righteousness, for acceptance, and for time and opportunity. That ministers should not only teach people what to do, but go before them, and
along with them, in the way of duty.
They may taste of the good word of God; they may have some delight of
gospel doctrines, may hear the word with pleasure, may remember much of it, and
talk well of it, and yet never be cast into the form and mold of it, nor have
it dwelling richly in them. They may have tasted of the powers of the
world to come; they may have been under strong impressions concerning
heaven, and dread of going to hell. These lengths hypocrites may go, and, after
all is said and done, still become apostates.
These great things are spoken here of those who may fall away; yet it is not said that they shall lose their salvation, only that they leave off following Christ. I understand that there are many people who believe that salvation can be lost. They probably are born again believers but they sure do not enjoy their salvation. The bottom line here is not in how much faith one has, but in whom you have faith.
Romans 8:1 tells us, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus..." And 32 verses later Paul climaxes that bold statement with this, "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifies." So it is quite clear that once I accept Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior there remains absolutely no condemnation towards me concerning my sin debt to God. It has been completely paid for with the blood of Christ Jesus and there is no further payment due. The weakest saint of Christ has the full throne of God backing them up. No charges can be brought before God concerning your sin. Beloved, if you drink in these words you will have a great foundation of assurance that nothing can shake. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or
distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written, For Your sake we are killed all the day long; we are
accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor
principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us
from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35-39)." There is nothing which may cause us to lose our salvation in Christ. Is there anything that Paul did not cover here? God gives us a guarantee that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus and Christ Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven.
We also gain assurance through listening to Him, trusting in Him, and believing Him. John 10:27-28 tells us that we hear His voice, He knows us, and He gives us eternal life. It has never been a question of our ability to hold onto God; it has always been about His ability to hold onto us. Are you and I ready to fix our hope in God who is all-powerful, or in an idol that will surely face defeat one day?
There is very little to support a view that the people spoken about in this passage of Hebrews are simply professors rather than genuine believers. Back in chapter five we were informed that these people were dull of hearing and not dead in trespasses and sins. Unsaved people have no need of the milk of the Word of God, they need life. Paul is urging "baby" believers to grow in their faith and not remain exactly where they were upon being born again saint.
Some people claim that this passage only applies to Jewish Christians who were being tempted to return to the sacrificial system in the Temple. Others claim that the word "impossible" makes the case for no return of any sort once a person turns their back on Christ after being saved. What is impossible with man is possible with God.
Here is an interpretation put forward by Dr. J. B. Rowell. The initial verses indicate that these people have tasted the sweetness of God's Word, have fellowshipped with the Holy Spirit, and have seen the potentials of the kingdom yet to come. That sort of thing only happens to those who have accepted Christ into their hearts.
The text reveals that Paul must then be speaking about rewards which come after salvation. Upon becoming saved a person will receive certain rewards from God. These are of necessity a one time deal and can't be continually renewed and received. So Paul is writing about the fruit of salvation, not the root of salvation. Verse nine speaks about "things that accompany salvation." Paul hasn't been speaking about salvation but those things that come with becoming saved. Thus Paul is speaking about the danger of losing our reward/s. The danger is that all of our works may end up being burned in the furnace of judgment leaving us with absolutely nothing of lasting value (I Corinthians 3:11-15). The work of every believer is to be tested by fire. What I do today will one day be tested by fire.
Christ is going to lay hold of each of us, test us, and reveal whether or not we had any fruit in our life. Have I grown in grace and knowledge of God? Have I been a witness for Him? Have I been a blessing to others? I do not know that I can say that I look forward to the judgment seat of Christ without any trepidation in my heart and mind. I can't imagine how it will feel standing before the throne of God knowing that my entire life is to be revealed. How many rewards I deserve is what shall be determined before God's throne.
In the Book of Titus Paul wrote how he prayed that believers would be careful to maintain good works. Good works have no effect upon salvation, they have everything to do with gaining rewards in heaven though.
Verses 4-6 bring us to the center of this issue before us. The Greek word used here for "fell away" is parapito, and means "to stumble, to fall down." It is impossible to give it the meaning of apostatize. Within scripture there are numerous examples of people who "fell away." Peter fell, but was not lost. John Mark failed miserably, so much so that Paul refused to allow him to go on their second mission journey.
Verse one of this chapter of Hebrews reminds us that believers are being spoken to here, not the unsaved. John the Baptist preached the same message: "Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance...(Luke 3:8)." Repentance today does not mean the shedding of tears; it means turning 180 degrees toward Jesus Christ, which means a total change of direction in our life, in our way of living.
To continue offering up animal sacrifices to cover sins would be to not have faith in Christ's atonement, His death, in His redemption. We either crucify or crown Jesus by our lives. It is a serious matter to choose to go back to a legal system.
So why would it be impossible to renew these people again to repentance? We are talking about the fruit of salvation. My salvation is a foundation, I rest upon it, and I build my life upon it. What shall I build upon this foundation of redemption through Christ Jesus? Shall I go back to drinking in bars, frequenting exotic dance clubs, and snorting cocaine? Are those "good works"? Shall I spend all of my time upon church organizational work? Are those "good works"? Will I spend my time reaching out to people with witnessing, trying to lead people to Christ? Will I spend my time attempting to teach people more and more about Christ and what He asks us to do with our lives? It is a choice between wood, hay, stubble and gold, silver, and precious stones.
I would also remind you of what Jesus said in John 15:7-8 concerning Him being the Vine and we are the Branches which are to bear much fruit. If we don't bear fruit? John 15:6 tells us that the barren branch shall be pruned away to make room for those that do bear fruit, or that the branch shall first be pruned down to try and stimulate it into producing fruit.
We must be very careful with our lives! We can't live the Christian life in our own strength and talents. We must be plugged into Christ. Our life comes from Him, and any fruit in our lives comes from Him (John 15:4). Once we lose our testimony it is gone. Shedding tears will not change that fact. Pastors lose their testimony by getting involved with adultery or shady financial schemes. Their salvation remains in tact but they lose their reputation for influencing people to accept Christ.
Then we arrive at verse nine, which tells us that Paul was persuaded that better things would happen with these people, things which accompany salvation. And that is what we are to be striving towards, those good things that accompany salvation.
Whew! That is a lot to digest from these few verses! We can't lose our salvation but if not careful we can lose possible rewards by not living our lives correctly. If we allow our focus to remain upon material things and satisfying our physical/emotional lusts then we will throw away our rewards. We are to strive to learn more about Christ and the kingdom of heaven each day and witness to others about Christ.
Grace and peace be yours today.
Sun, Dec 12th - 10:44PM
I SAMUEL STUDY
"In their propaganda today's dictators rely for the most part on repetition, suppression and rationalization - the repetition of catchwords which they wish to be accepted as true, the suppression of facts which they wish to be ignored, the arousal and rationalization of passions which may be used in the interests of the Party or the State."
~ Aldous Huxley, Brave New Word Revisited
As you may well surmise, I have been reading Aldus Huxley of late. What I find chilling is that this book of his was published in 1958. His observations and conclusions are remarkably accurate as to what is going on in our world today. Huxley also felt that Western nations were at high risk of becoming benevolent tyrant states in which their citizens would be totally reliant upon their governments for everything. Perhaps this is what is fueling the outrage of voters in America. It can be seen that the healthcare reform measure opens the door to this future. Entitlement programs being untouchable as talk of budget cutting becomes a necessity indicates the desire of the Democratic caucus to maintain this enslavement of a segment of the American population. It is enslavement for those people who have become enthralled of welfare checks and assistance become less and less willing to even think about earning a living. They become dependent upon the taxpayers' money and are not contributing members of society.
Then Jonathan said to David, To morrow is the new moon: and you shalt be
missed, because your seat will be empty. 19:
And when you have stayed three days, then you shall go down quickly, and
come to the place where you did hide yourself when the business was in hand,
and shall remain by the stone Ezel. 20:
And I will shoot three arrows on the side thereof, as though I shot at a
And, behold, I will send a lad, saying, Go, find out the arrows. If I
expressly say unto the lad, Behold, the arrows are on this side of you, take
them; then you come: for there is peace to you, and no hurt; as the LORD
But if I say thus unto the young man, Behold, the arrows are beyond you; go your way: for the LORD has sent you away. 23:
And as touching the matter which you and I have spoken of, behold, the LORD
be between you and me for ever (20:18-23).
Jonathan devised a means of secretly communicating with David in order to tell him whether or not king Saul was still angry with him. Jonathan also points out that God watches over the two of them in all of these matters. God is to be the final judge of their joint actions. You and I today ought to lay it upon Christ to watch over us and our spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ.
So David hid himself in the field: and when the new moon was come, the king
sat him down to eat meat. 25:
And the king sat upon his seat, as at other times, even upon a seat by the
wall: and Jonathan arose, and Abner sat by Saul's side, and David's place was
Nevertheless Saul spoke not any thing that day: for he thought, Something
has befallen him, he is not clean; surely he is not clean. 27:
And it came to pass on the morrow, which was the second day of the month,
that David's place was empty: and Saul said unto Jonathan his son, Wherefore
comes not the son of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday, nor to day? 28:
And Jonathan answered Saul, David earnestly asked leave of me to go to
And he said, Let me go, I pray; for our family has a sacrifice in the
city; and my brother, he has commanded me to be there: and now, if I have found
favor in your eyes, let me get away, I pray, and see my brethren.
Therefore he comes not unto the king's table. 30:
Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, You
son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that you have chosen the
son of Jesse to your own confusion, and unto the confusion of your mother's
For as long as the son of Jesse lives upon the ground, you shall not be
established, nor your kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he
shall surely die. 32:
And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said unto him, Wherefore shall he
be slain? what has he done? 33:
And Saul cast a javelin at him to strike him: whereby Jonathan knew that it
was determined of his father to slay David (20:24-33).
Whew! Would you have gone anywhere near king Saul? I wouldn't have. I'd have been miles and miles away. And did you catch Jonathan's reaction? He is thinking of David's welfare AFTER his own father heaves a javelin at him with the intent to kill him on the spot! Saul is a spiteful coward. He essentially disowns his son because the man respects David more than his own father. As he should for David did no wrong in this matter he simply did what either God wanted him to do or what king Saul commanded him to do.
So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eat no meat the
second day of the month: for he was grieved for David, because his father had
done him shame. 35:
And it came to pass in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at
the time appointed with David, and a little lad with him. 36:
And he said unto his lad, Run, find out now the arrows which I shoot. And as
the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37:
And when the lad was come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot,
Jonathan cried after the lad, and said, Is not the arrow beyond you? 38:
And Jonathan cried after the lad, Make speed, haste, stay not. And
Jonathan's lad gathered up the arrows, and came to his master. 39:
But the lad knew not any thing: only Jonathan and David knew the
And Jonathan gave his artillery unto his lad, and said unto him, Go, carry
them to the city. 41:
And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the
south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and
they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David
And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of
us in the name of the LORD, saying, The LORD be between me and you, and between
my seed and your seed for ever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into
the city (20:34-42).
Jonathan and David's relationship was no sort of sexual relationship. Critics lay claim that it must have been because they kissed and hugged and wept. They did these things for they were cultural customs. It went far beyond such mundane concepts. Looking at verse 42 it is seen that they were fellow believers in God. They entrusted themselves with God looking out for them and with God the holder of their vows of friendship. Jonathan was furious with his father for wishing David dead for no better reason than that David appeared to be more popular among the Israelites. David's popularity came from being a righteous man of God and doing what his king commanded of him.
David addressed himself to Jonathan with the reverence of a servant rather than
the freedom of a friend: He fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself
three times, as one deeply sensible of his obligations to him for the
good services he had done him.
From here on David is in danger. He flees from king Saul's anger. Later on we are going to discover David's faithfulness to his covenant with Jonathan. It will guide us into understanding a facet of God's kindness towards us. Just as David showed kindness to Jonathan's son for his sake, so too God has shown kindness towards you and me for the sake of Jesus Christ. It is not because of who we are or what we have done that He saved us. Our salvation comes because of who Christ is and what He has done for us. Because His Son died for us, God extends favor to us for Jesus' sake.
I hope that where ever you may be that the snow does not fall so heavily that you become stranded and unable to travel at all. Be careful of the windchill factors and cover up exposed skin when you do go out into the cold. May you all continue to prepare your hearts during this Advent season and offer up heartfelt worship and praise to our God and our King, Jesus Christ.
Sun, Dec 12th - 2:24PM
STUDY IN HEBREWS
"There are two kinds of propaganda - rational propaganda in favor of action that is consonant with the enlightened self-interest of those who make it and those to whom it is addressed, and non-rational propaganda that is not consonant with anybody's enlightened self-interest, but is dictated by, and appeals to, passion."
~ Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited
"If politicians and their constituents always acted to promote their own or their country's long-range self-interest, this world would be an earthly paradise. As it is, they often act against their own interests, merely to gratify their least creditable passions; the world, in consequence, is a place of misery."
~ Aldous Huxley, Brave New Word Revisited
1: Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God (6:1).
In essence the writer says to leave the foundation, set up the scaffolding, and get to erecting the walls! He speaks about moving on in spiritual growth and getting prepared for our trip up to the throne of God.
In the Old Testament there can be found six foundational facts which prefigure Christ in ritual, symbol, and ceremony: 1) repentance from dead works; 2) faith toward God; 3) docrine of baptisms; 4) laying on of hands; 5) resurrection of the dead; and 6) eternal judgment.
"Dead works" were the works of the Mosaic Law. The Hebrews were continually trying to keep the Law, then breaking it, then repenting. That is baby stuff, it is the efforts of immature people. They needed to grow spiritually to gain understanding that Christ came to free them from the Law.
"Faith toward God" comes to us straight from out of the Old Testament. So to say that I believe in God means that I have not come very far. The Old Testament ritual presented a faith in God by approaching Him through the Temple sacrifices, not through Christ as High Priest.
We no longer live in times in which animal sacrifices are sufficient, or acceptable, to cover personal sins. Our approach to God is no longer through the veil of the Temple but directly through Jesus Christ acting as our High Priest. The veil in the Temple was rent from the top to the bottome on the day Christ was crucified and represents the fact that nothing separates us from approaching the throne of God as long as we believe on the name of Jesus.
2: Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment (6:2).
"Doctrine of baptisms" refers to the ritual washings and not to New Testament baptism. The Hebrew believers were wanting to return to performing all of these ritual washings. The washings originally had been intended as shadows of the coming Christ, or Messiah. They prefigured Christ, who is the reality.
"Laying on of hands" was also an Old Testament ritual. When a person brought an animal offering, he laid his hands on its head to signify, to symbolize, his personal identification with it. He acknowledged that the animal was taking his place on the sacrificial altar.
"Resurrection of the dead" was taught in the Old Testament but they now must be brought up to the resurrection of Christ and to the living Christ who sat at the right hand of God in heaven. "Eternal judgment" was also taught in the Old Testament and was not some new fangled thing concocted in the New Testament.
3: And this will we do, if God permit (6:3).
We are to grow in Christ in order to understand the more complex things concerning Christ. That ability will be given to us by the Holy Spirit as we spend more and more time studying God's Word. And now we come to a passage which some consider one of the most difficult to understand. But, I will leave it for tomorrow morning, beloved! May you be blessed on this first day of a new week. Stay safe as you travel. Remain faithful to Christ, and to Christ alone. Grace and peace be with you all.
Sat, Dec 11th - 10:20PM
I SAMUEL STUDY
Finally back to this study in I Samuel! My apologies for departing from it for so long here, life got in the way and time was unavailable. Things have gotten back to a more normal routine, so let's dive into this, shall we?
4: Then said Jonathan unto David, Whatsoever your soul desires, I will even do it for you (20:4).
Are those the words of a true friend, or what? I don't think, outside of my wife, that I currently have another friend who could/would utter such words to me. I have to believe that Jesus will do this for me if no other can. The friendship of these two men in chapter twenty goes far beyond that of family. Brothers may sometimes let us down, but a true friend never will. A person who calls him/herself our friend proves the truth of the declaration when we are in trouble and need their help. When David was in trouble, Jonathan proved to be his friend. He was willing to do anything to help David.
5: And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at evening (20:5).
David was expected to attend meals at the palace, but was fearful for his life in the presence of king Saul. So he informs Jonathan of his plans to hide in the field for three days.
6: If your father at all miss me, then say, David earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Bethlehem his city: for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.
7: If he say thus, It is well; your servant shall have peace: but if he be very angry, then be sure that evil is determined by him (20:6-7).
Very ingenious of David! He wishes to send Jonathan to the meal to see if Saul shows any signs of missing David. if so there will be a set answer to give to the king. But if Saul appears to become angry because David is missing from his table, then Jonathan will know that the king intends evil to be done to David.
8: Therefore you shall deal kindly with your servant; for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the LORD with you: notwithstanding, if there be in
me iniquity, slay me yourself; for why should you bring me to your father?
And Jonathan said, Far be it from you: for if I knew certainly that evil
were determined by my father to come upon you, then would not I tell you? 10:
Then said David to Jonathan, Who shall tell me? or what if your father answer you roughly? 11:
And Jonathan said unto David, Come, and let us go out into the field. And
they went out both of them into the field. 12:
And Jonathan said unto David, O LORD God of Israel, when I have sounded my
father about to morrow any time, or the third day, and, behold, if there be good
toward David, and I then send not unto you, and show you; 13:
The LORD do so and much more to Jonathan: but if it please my father to do you evil, then I will show you, and send you away, that you may go in
peace: and the LORD be with you, as He has been with my father. 14:
And you shall not only while yet I live show me the kindness of the LORD,
that I die not: 15:
But also you shall not cut off your kindness from my house for ever: no, not
when the LORD has cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the
So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, Let the LORD
even require it at the hand of David's enemies. 17:
And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved
him as he loved his own soul (20:8-17).
Jonathan was not a stupid man by any means. He would appear to have figured out that David was to succeed Saul as king of Israel. He requests that when David's safety has been secured by Jehovah that David not forget their covenant of friendship. And David swears an oath once again to remain friends with his brother-in-law and to not take vengeance upon his household if Saul does evil against David.
You and I need to find at least one Christian friend who will be there for us, no matter what. We need that assurance that someone physical will be there to back us up and to help lift us up during the hard times.
That is all for tonight my friends. I hope to post at least two times tomorrow since it is supposed to be raining/snowing most of the day. Stay warm, stay safe, if you are experiencing blizzard conditions tonight or tomorrow! Grace and peace to you all.
Fri, Dec 10th - 8:27PM
STUDY IN HEBREWS
11: Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing you are dull of hearing (5:11).
The writer informs the reader that he has a lot of stuff to say. This stuff is difficult to speak about because the listener/reader is hard of hearing. The words go into the brain but the brain simply does not comprehend the message nor feels that it is intended for it. Ear trouble, that's it. Alleged believers have the most trouble with ear problems. They can't hear the message God is giving to them during sermons, Sunday school topics, bible studies, and hymns. It is a comprehension issue.
The writer is concerned because the coming subject matter requires keen spiritual perception. One must be spiritually alert and have knowledge of the Word of God and comprehend what that knowledge indicates. The Hebrew believers who are addressed by this book had a high knowledge IQ but a quite low SQ or spiritual quotient.. Teaching them was hard since they did not understand. They didn't want to hear anything that was difficult to understand. This is why today there are preachers getting away with murder in the pulpit for they murder the Word of God. Their congregations enjoy their sermons for they do not challenge their minds at all.
12: For when for the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again what are the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat (5:12).
Some people think that they can have an advanced degree in religion when they do not even know their ABCs. "First principles" comes from the Greek word stoicheion which means "primary elements." These believers ought to be teachers by this time but instead they are just like babies, they are not ready to chew on tougher spiritual concepts. The writer says to these Hebrew believers that they are not mature enough to understand what he really desires to speak to them about. As we all understand, babies can't eat meat but adults surely can enjoy drinking milk for it is much less work to consume, is it not? Sometimes the milk is deliberately dispensed from the pulpit, which is doubly tragic to my mind.
13: For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a baby (5:13).
I really do not wish to step on anyone's toes here. But I do want to be helpful to you. You can't grow spiritually away from the Word of God. Activity in the church can't replace it. You can be a deacon, the treasurer, or on two or three committees and it still can't replace it. It does not matter who you are, what you do, or where you are from. If you are not studying the Word of God and you do not know how to handle it, you are nothing but a baby. Some people remain babies for forty or fifty years, never growing into adulthood spiritually. They are unable to discern truth, unable to discern spiritual attacks, and unable to teach anyone else about the Word of God.
14: But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (5:14).
In I Corinthians 3:1-2 Paul tells those believers that he had to feed them "milk" for they were not able to handle anything tougher than that. Then in I Peter 2:1-2 it is found that new believers are to desire the sincere milk of the Word so that they may grow by it. Maturity is firmly implied and expected by the apostles and by God. We are to learn God's precepts one by one and begin to stack them one upon the other in order to discover new things, deeper insights. None of this can happen when we refuse to study God's Word.
This completes chapter five of Hebrews. Next time I shall begin the sixth chapter, it's theme is one of a danger signal: that of departing from the faith. Last chapter was about the danger of "dull hearing," this next one is about turning one's back upon Christ and returning to the ways of the world. It will be very interesting as we wade through the interpretations of what this chapter tells us. May Christ bless you richly, beloved.
Fri, Dec 10th - 1:25PM
"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."
Today I want to look at Luke 12:13-40. This passage points out to us that there are some detours that are capable of sidetracking disciples of Christ. The excessive pursuit of money is a major detour for very many. They cast aside personal relationships in order to remain focused upon their pursuit of financial gain. Some people worry endlessly over what they wear or over what they will eat. Some people seek their own comfort and fame. All can easily stray and leave the pursuit of the KIngdom of God. A mature mentor is able to assist you in seeing these detours and guide you around them. As you grow spiritually, you can help others deal with these same issues, for you have already had to deal with them.
Now should I focus solely upon following the example of a believer? Tricky question, eh? How can I know whose example to follow then? If I read and remember I Corinthians 11:1-3 I will end up following the example of Christ and then of Paul. Their example replicates God's will. That is what I am seeking to do in my life, replicate God's will in my life. I wish to live my life believing in God exactly the way Jesus did, and the way Paul did, and the way Timothy did. See, if disciples are taught properly then the message remains exactly the same. The words might change slightly, but the basic intent remains unchanged. The head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God the Father. That relationship can't be changed, it must be passed on from generation to generation unchanged.
Now let's look at Matthew 28:16-20. In this version of the Lord's decree what is the authority behind the disciples' work? It is nothing less than the power of God, Jesus stated that all power was given to Him. Disciples are sent out in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit/Ghost. What is the assurance we have as we carry out this discipler's work? Christ assures us that He is with us always, even to the very end of the age. We do not go out to witness and to teach all by ourselves, Jesus is with us every step of the way. What are the activities we disciplers are to do? We are to teach and baptize those who will listen. First it is to inform people of the Gospel message, and then it is to baptize those who decide to accept Christ into their hearts. After this we are to continue teaching them of all those things that Christ has commanded us to know and do and that are recorded within the New Testament. This is how all of us become mature believers in Christ and become solid livers of God's will.
How was Jesus sent, and how are we to go?
John 17:14-20 shows us that Christ was sent into our world by the Father. Just as He was sent, so too Christ sends each of us out into the world. All of this information comes to us in this passage from within the prayer of Christ to the Father in heaven. This reminds us that we must be praying fervently in all that we attempt to do. What we communicate to people can not be things that we have personally concocted up in our minds. What we speak to people about is the truth given to us from God through His Word. As pointed out above, Jesus was sent out by God the Father. Jehovah commissioned Christ to go out into the world and reveal the truth to everyone who would listen. Through Christ we too are commissioned by God the Father to go out into the world and reveal the truth to everyone who will listen. We are not sent out to fight with everyone, or to argue with everyone, or to threaten those who disagree with us. No coercion is allowed. No coercion is required for it is to be a free will choice.
Matthew 9:36-38 shows that Jesus responded to the multitudes of lost people with compassion. We too are to respond in like fashion. We are to be praying that God will select more and more laborers to go out and speak with people about salvation, about reconciliation, about redemption.
In John 20:20 we are shown some of what it cost Christ to be sent out into the world. His sending required Him to pay with His life. He had to bear all of the sins of the entire world within His body. Then He also had to bear the agony of the nails hammered roughly through His wrists and feet. From this we can know that it will cost us something to go out into the world to bring God's message of forgiveness and reconciliation. It may cost us our life.
In John 1:32-34 we find out that Jesus was empowered by His Holy Spirit. John witnessed the Spirit descending in the form like a dove and settling upon Jesus. God spoke to John from heaven informing him that this person was the Son of God and would baptize with the Holy Spirit. This is the exact same power made available to each of us once we accept Christ into our hearts. The Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us and to teach us all things concerning God's will. I am not to attempt to do things under my own power and abilities, I am to allow God's Spirit to work through me to accomplish these things; this way people will see Christ shining in and through me.
That is all for today, beloved. Hope that you all have a beautiful day basking in the light, warmth, and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Thu, Dec 9th - 9:31PM
STUDY IN HEBREWS
8: Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered;
9: And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him (5:8-9).
Christ learned obedience through His suffering. His suffering could have lead Him to choose to not die upon that cross for our sins, but He learned to obey God's will in order to obtain a greater reward. Then, being made perfect, Christ became the author of our salvation if we obey Him. That is the key today. So many believe that Christ's death obtained automatic salvation for everyone and that no one must do anything to get it. Here is the refutation of that sort of belief. Eternal salvation is ours IF we obey Him. Refuse to believe in God, no salvation for you. Refuse to accept sin, no salvation for you. Think that you can do whatever you feel like doing, no salvation for you. Obey Christ, salvation for you. How simple can it be?
The salvation offered here is eternal. If it could be lost tomorrow then it would not be eternal, would it? Christ offers salvation which lasts forever. You can't lose it, it can't be taken away from you by anyone or anything. But you must claim it for your own in order to have it for eternity.
A throng of people asked Jesus, "...What shall we do, that we might work the works of God (John 6:28)?" Jesus told them that the work of God is to believe on Him whom He has sent. Believe in Jesus Christ. You must trust Christ and obey Him.
Some may be asking, "But why did the Son of God need to learn obedience by suffering and be made perfect when He was already perfect? I can only say that I believe God wished to demonstrate to all of us the proper way to deal with suffering at the hands of others. God wished us to understand the absolute importance to remaining obedient to His will no matter what we might be experiencing at any point in our life.
10: Called of God a high priest after the order of Melchisedec (5:10).
Christ took upon Himself the mantle of a high priest as well as that of a prophet. He was a prophet while He walked upon this earth and then assumed the position of high priest upon ascending back to heaven. He is our High Priest today in heaven and will continue to do so for at least as long as it takes before He returns to rule here on earth. Christ was the First of the new order of priests that were to serve God, replacing the obsolete Levitical priesthood. Each new believer in Christ becomes a priest in the royal priesthood, the family of saints of Christ Jesus. No more is there a need for a high priest to bring animal blood before God to atone for peoples' sins for another year. Christ has brought royal blood, holy pure blood, before God once and for all time to atone for the sins of everyone. As He has said, 'It is finished!'
Next time I am going to begin a section which contains reasons as to why things which must be said have to be delayed. It actually is a warning for us. It is a red flag, a flashing red light, meant to catch our attention so that we may learn what to avoid. But that is next time, beloved. Until then, remain true to the running of the race, endure unto the very end that you might cross the finish line strongly and receive your just reward from God. It is not how well we start out, it is how well we finish the race that counts the most.
Thu, Dec 9th - 1:01PM
"A studen said to me, "I lose my temper, but it's all over in a minute." I answered, "And so is the hydrogen bomb. But think of the damage it produces!"
"The world is looking for a powerful leader---an international figure to offer practical solutions to the world's problems of war, suffering, hunger, and pestilence. Weary of hollow promises, people want a tried and proven super-leader, a shining knight strong enough to guarentee peace.
It is into this kind of political atmosphere that the Antichrist will come. He will offer peace and prosperity, but ultimately he will threaten the very existence of civilization. His power will be so complete and evil that only Jesus Christ will be able to conquer him and free the world from his grip, thereby bringing down the curtain on the present age."
~ George Stweeting
Let's take a look at what discernment of a disciple of Christ is all about. This particular look comes from out of Luke chapters nine and ten.
Disciples need to have...
* A clearer perception of Christ's ministry (9:18-22).
* A clearer appreciation of the mission of the believer in Christ:
> Come to a conclusion about Christ (9:20-22).
> Commit to a confession of Christ (9:20).
> Cleave to our cross of self-denial (9:23).
> Count the cost: sacrifice and suffering (9:23-26).
> Consider the people we will encounter (10:1-16).
The disinterested, devils, wicked, doubters, and deniers need...
* An understanding of the condescension of grace (10:17-24).
By gaining a greater perception of what Christ came to earth to accomplish we then are able to perceive the presence of God's grace everywhere in the Bible. It will enable us to increase and deepen our love of Christ and of other people thereby increasing our ability and effort to reach out to those in dire need of compassion, love, mercy, and grace.
Okay, so what sort of dispostion should I have as a disciple of Christ? What kind of attitude should I have? There are three very quick points I can make here.
* A submissive attitude; can I use the title of God sincerely?
* A teachable attitude; am I committed to learning more?
* A dependent attitude; true prayer denotes true and total dependence on the Lord.
These points come from out of reading Luke 11:1-4. Lord teach us to pray. It is that simple.
Alright, a disciple must develop discernment and have the proper disposition in order to effectively mentor new believers in Christ so that they can mature correctly. This is critical in order to produce accurate replicas of Paul, Peter, John, Luke, Mark, James, etc.. All of them became replicas of Christ's teaching and so it goes with each of us today.
I must then ask myself what are the distinctions of a disciple of Christ. From a reading of John 13:34-35 and 15:5-8 I can find two such distinctions, two very strong marks of a disciple of Christ.
* Must have a love for the brethren.
* As a branch on the vine, the true disciple must abide in Christ and bear much fruit.
Fruit is not refering to material stuff in our lives, nor to my fruit trees out in the yard. It refers to spiritual efforts being made in my life. Am I praying, am I sharing the Gospel, am I loving the other believers in Christ? Am I a gentle, humble, long suffering, loving person? All are fruits to be found in my life, as are people to whom I have helped lead to Christ. Do I have an ever growing comprehension of God's Word? That is a very important fruit to have in my life.
Here are some distractions which we must learn to avoid, to fight against. They come to us from out of Luke 9:33-62.
* We must not be complacent but grow in faith and prayer.
* We must not let our fears or prejudices blind us from any truth.
* We must not allow pride or jealousy to hinder our dealing with others.
* We must not allow anger or revenge to be disguised as zeal.
* We must not allow excuses disguised as responsibilities keep us from serving Christ.
Distractions are very common, yet we must turn and learn from them. Mountain top experiences can't be perpetually maintained and we will return to the valley repeatedly throughout our lives.
Good mentors will help steer others clear of some of these snares and pitfalls and point them onto the narrow way that Christ spoke to us about. Each of us needs to be involved through our local church congregation. Learn from someone who knows more than you do and then pass it along to someone else. This is how God wants His knowledge to be passed along through His body of believers.
That is all for today my friends. Tomorrow I shall finish up this segment on discipling others. Come on back and learn what the game plan is to be! Mercy, grace, and love be yours today!
Wed, Dec 8th - 12:45PM
"Back of every great civilization, behind all the power and wealth, is something as powerful...a set of ideas, attitudes, convictions and the confidence that those ideas and convictions are viable. No nation can achieve greatness unless it believes in something-and unless that something has the moral dimensions to sustain a great civilization."
~John W. Gardner, No Easy Victors.
And there is the problem in America today, there is nothing with moral dimensions in which the majority of people believe in anymore. Ever increasing numbers are being lead astray to evolution and belief that there are no ethical and moral absolutes anymore. God is dead and so is morality.
Well, God's plan for making Christian disciples is this: mature believers are to spend time teaching newer Christians how to live the Christian life and how to pass it along to others. At home and at our church are the two important places where we can grow and help others grow also.
God has always intended His kingdom to be increased one person at a time. Today that comes about by one person won by one person. Each new believer ought to soon be able to reach and teach another person, who in turn will reach out to someone else. On and on it goes. This concept is shown in II Timothy 2:2: "And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also." In this train of thought, how many generations of Christians can you see? In this verse it is easy to find three generations listed. In real life it ought to be easy to trace even more within our congregation. Here is some food for thought: You can count the number of seeds in a single apple, but you can't count the number of apples in just a single seed.
Let's look at John 21:15-17: "So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me more than these? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You. He said unto him, Feed My lambs. He said to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You. He said unto him, Feed My sheep. He said unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me? Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, Do you love Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know all things, You know that I love You. Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep." As Peter was directed, we too are directed to feed the sheep of Christ out of our love for Christ. "Feeding the sheep" means teaching new believers the things of God, training them up in the way that they ought to go. How else will anyone learn how to properly relate to others? Christ desires us to be in intimate relationship with one another in order to learn through seeing love demonstrated before us. He desires us to learn how to properly clothe ourselves through relationships, how to properly be modest through relationships, all teaching the love, honor, and worship of God. God's Word is to be used as a textbook and manual to teach people how to live pure, holy lives in service to God.
Evangelism's ultimate goal is not to make people decide to believe. That is merely the beginning of the race that each of us must run during our entire lifetime. Evangelism is all about creating and developing disciples of Christ Jesus by teaching them all that the Bible reveals (Matthew 28:18-20).
How powerful is true evangelism? Consider the pure mathematics of this process. If I witness to a person and reach them in six months and then spend another six months teaching them, at the end of a year there would be two of us. If in the next twelve months we both repeat this process there would then be four of us. Follow this process out and in just 33 years more people would become disciples of Christ than currently exist in our world! That is how simple it is, beloved. Each of us only needs to witness and win one person and teach them God's Word for one year, year after year, and we would change our world forever.
So who is a disciple? Jesus had followers and then He had disciples. What is the difference? Followers are those people who catch wind of what Jesus Christ said and did, think about it briefly, and wish to go and find out more. Most of the time these people are looking for physical things like food, rent, lodging, or satisfaction of one or more lusts. They soon, and easily, become disillusioned with the spiritual component which requires them to begin living differently than they have in the past. They end up drifting away from the church and Christ because they simply can't see what they can gain from going and believing. Once something is demanded of them, their time, their compassion, or even some of their "things," they become resentful, offended, or afraid, and leave the church group. In contrast, disciples are those people who have clearly understood what Christ Jesus represents and have decided to leave their previous lifestyle and begin to walk closely with Christ in order to learn all that they possibly can. They comprehend that Christ is more precious than anything else in life, that He is life itself. Looking back to our Bible text for today in II Timothy we can see that a disciple is one who learns truth with the desire to live that truth and to pass it along to someone else. Luke 6:40 informs us that a pupil, once fully trained, will be like their teacher. Proverbs 23:26 informs us that in giving our whole heart to learning God's Word leads to our eyes delighting in God's ways. One last thought: The tool that we use to disciple others is the Word of God. Luke 4:4, 18-22 conveys the importance of the Word of God. Luke 4:31-44 conveys the authority of the Word of God. Luke 5:1-11 conveys the need to obey the Word of God.
I pray Christ blesses you abundantly today, beloved. Next time I shall cover a couple of "Ds": Discernment and disposition of disciples. Until then, walk in the light and flee temptation.
Tue, Dec 7th - 8:59PM
STUDY IN HEBREWS
3: And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for Himself, to offer for sins (5:3).
If you remember, on the great Day of Atonement Aaron first brought a sacrifice and took the blood into the Holy of Holies for his own sins. His sin debt had to be settled first before he could represent the people. There is no counterpart of this in Christ Jesus. He did not have to make an offering for Himself. He made an offering for you and me.
4: And no man takes this honor unto himself, but He that is called of God, as was Aaron (5:4).
Christ was a priest because He was acceptable to God the Father. One must be called, and be acceptable.
5: So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made a high priest; but He that said unto Him, You are My Son, today have I begotten You (5:5).
The "begotten" here has absolutely nothing to do with the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. It does have everything to do with the garden near Calvary where He was buried after His crucifixion because that is where His resurrection took place. He, Christ, was begotten from the dead. He was the First of the first fruits. His priesthood began when He went back to heaven and that could not happen until He rose from the dead into newness of life.
6: As He said also in another place, You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec (5:6).
The order of the Levitical priesthood from which Aaron came is not sufficient to set before us the priesthood of Christ Jesus. Our Lord is not a High Priest in the order of Aaron even though Aaron is the type. Christ is the Son, and Aaron is just a servant of the Father.
Who is this Melchisedec? The only historical record we have is found in Genesis 14 where he is described as a priest of the most high God. He congratulated Abraham on his victory over Chedorlaomer and his allies in which Abraham recovered all of the citizens and belongings which had been taken. The king of Sodom offered Abraham all of the treasure but Abraham turned down the offer. Melchisedec was king of Salem and blessed Abraham. Salem means "peace" and Melchisedec was a king of righteousness as well as of peace. This is the only glimpse we have of this person from the pages of history.
In Psalm 110 we can find the prophecy of Melchisedec; that there is coming one who is to be a priest after the order of Melchisedec. Some scholars claim that Melchisedec is the preincarnate Christ. At best, this man was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, a figure, a representation, or a symbol. Thus we can settle on this being a literal man who was the literal king of Salem.
He comes from out of nowhere and returns to nowhere. Perhaps this has mislead some to believe that this could be the preincarnate Christ? Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end and I believe He could not be the king of Salem. Hebrews tells us that He is "after" the order of Melchisedec, He is not Melchisedec himself. Perhaps we shall find more enlightenment on this subject later on in this book.
7: Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared (5:7).
We know from the Bible that Jesus wept three separate times. Were these the only times that He wept? Probably not, but they are the only instances recorded by the Bible. One was at the tomb of Lazarus. Although Jesus knew that He was going to revive the man He wept in sympathy of the two sisters who were deeply stricken with grief over the loss of their brother. Because of this I know that God understands how I feel when I stand at a graveside of a loved one. I know that I have gravesides to appear at in my future, it is comforting to know that Christ will be there by my side and knows how I will feel.
Another time Christ wept over the city of Jerusalem. He loved the city and its inhabitants and He wept over their unbelief.
The third time He wept was in the Garden of Gethsemane. Did He weep because He wished to avoid death upon the cross? No. There was the possibility of His death within the Garden and He wished that "cup" to be passed from Him so that He could reach the goal of the cross and salvation of all creation. Prophecy placed Christ to die upon the cross. Psalm 22 gives us a good picture of this. The cross was an altar on which the Son of God shed His blood, paying the penalty for your sin and mine. Leviticus 17:11 tells us that shedding of blood was necessary to atone for sins, Christ's shed blood was to be given once, for all souls, for all time. Animal blood in the Old Testament only covered the sin while Christ's blood was given to make atonement for our souls. The cross at Calvary became an altar of sacrifice.
"In that He feared" indicates that Christ was concerned that He would not make it to the cross, that He would meet His death sooner than planned. It is difficult to imagine an all knowing God being in that position, but these weren't normal circumstances, were they? Satan did not want the Messiah to reach the cross in the first place, thereby preventing redemption of anyone. Could he have prevented God from completing His mission on earth? I guess that we will not know until we make it to heaven and can ask God in person. Death was stalking Christ that night, He knew His time was fast approaching and He feared that it would come too soon.
That is all for tonight my friends. Next time I will look at verses 8-11 which will open up our understanding of the difference in types of salvation between Aaron and Christ. Grace and peace be with you all!
Tue, Dec 7th - 12:30PM
"Advertising may be best described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it."
"I do not read advertisements---I would spend all my time wanting things."
~Archbishop of Canterbury
Let's finish up this study on sexual purity. One way to defend against the temptation of sexual sin is found in Romans 13:14: "But you put on the LORD Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." What I am not to do is to provide occasions for satisfying my lusts. Stay away from exotic dance clubs, nightclubs, bars, taverns, singles hangouts, pornographic shops and materials, internet sites pandering to my physical lusts so that I can resist the temptation. One way to accomplish this is to determine in my heart to clothe myself in Christ Jesus. God commands us to use the mindset of thinking that I can "wear" Jesus like a suit of clothes. What is different between Jesus and a suit is that once we don Him there begins a process of ingrowing. Jesus Himself stated that He is "grafted" into us. But it must be a conscious choice on our part for putting on Christ is no minor thing. To do this means I must read and study God's Word frequently and apply truths to my life. I must pray frequently and ask God to enable me to be closer to Him and to help me be strong and faithful to Him. I must be looking to help others who are in need. Get my focus off of myself and onto others.
What else can I do to avoid sexual temptations? Over in Proverbs 22:3 we find this, "A prudent man sees danger and hides himself; but the simple go on, and suffer for it." A wise person is able to foresee temptation/s approaching and remove themselves from the line of fire. They don't say to themselves, "I can endure this temptation and come out the other side okay." No, they do not remain and expose themselves to it to begin with. They act by moving out of the way. I must adjust my path so that I remain free and clear of the temptation. Get myself into close fellowship with Christ and His Holy Spirit will give me discernment to see carnal people for what they really are in relation to me.
In reality, what is an immoral woman/man similar to? Looking in Proverbs 23:26-28 we see that "My son, give Me your heart, and let your eyes observe My ways. For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit. She also lies in wait as for a prey, and increases the transgressors among men." The immoral woman/man will bury you with guilt, misplaced feelings, emotions, attachments, and with loss of finances. These people suck you down and do not lift you up. The momentary physical pleasure passes away quickly and the threats of disease continue for years after. Follow a whore into her bedroom and you may never emerge a whole person ever again. How will you know the number of partners she has had? How many of them were diseased, contagious, and passed along viruses for you to contract? Unknowable. And yet the simple continue to ignore the pressing medical warnings and go lay down with immoral men and women in a steady stream. Perhaps they believe that this is the only means to avoid being all alone, not being "loved" by even a single person in this world. Desperation. So, I must be on the alert for spotting these types of people who are unceasingly cruising society looking for those who can become their "prey." themselves unaware of their own deep personal need to either connect with others physically but not emotionally, or else to feed a deep need to hurt the opposite sex in terms of withheld intimacy. There are very many reasons people become immoral in their basic nature, mostly though through childhood abuse.
I would direct you to read Proverbs 29:3 on your own. Then go to Galatians 5:24 to see what is true of those who have genuinely given themselves to Christ; "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." Given over to Christ, disciples no longer are being driven into action by their lusts and affections through the carnal flesh. I can now look upon my loving wife with affection and love, not lustfully picturing other women in my mind as I gaze upon her. When the Victoria's Secret ads come onto television I can now easily change the channel rather than peer intently at the women being shown wearing flimsy wisps of clothing. The company is selling sex, not clothes. When I was a teenager I couldn't see something like that except in a pornographic magazine meant for adult men, but now my nine year old grandson doesn't even have to work hard to find it: it is broadcast daily right into the livingroom! Our children can easily be exposed to these lustful images via the internet on your family's home PC. Have you given him/her an email address? Better watch out for pornographic emails come from all corners of our fair planet and everyone is a target for them.
Well, beloved, that is all the time I have for this study. Next time I shall post some things about mentoring and biblical evangelism. See you then! Grace and peace be with you all.
Tue, Dec 7th - 7:05AM
I SAMUEL STUDY
King Saul knew his daughter, Michal, had deceived him concerning David. He also knew that his son, Jonathan, and David were very good friends. This forced Jonathan to become very careful and very secretive about getting in touch with David. So here is the method that he thought up.
1: And David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, What hav I done? what is my iniquity? and what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life (20:1)?
"What have I done?" How often have any of us uttered that question? My children used to complain that way. My two grandsons have uttered those exact same words to each other and to me and my wife. Whereas we probably did do something to provoke someone else's anger, David had done nothing wrong to bring the king's anger against him in such a fashion. David had done all that he could to help the king. In this case, Saul was never a true king. God knew that he was not a king, and he never had been God's choice. The people had decided they wanted a king and they wanted Saul to be their king. God granted them their request and He granted them their choices as well. The people were not trusting in God, they would rather trust in a king. They chose a king, and now they were finding out how wrong their choice was. The people could have continued trusting in God and been full of joy, peace, and happiness but they chose to live otherwise. The people thought that they knew better than God in how to live their lives. Sounds rather familiar, does it not?
Many of us beg Christ for all sorts of things. We are unwilling to simply rest quietly and allow Christ to work things out in our lives. We would rather attempt to "figure it out" all on our own. That would give us a measure of prideful knowledge that we were pretty smart. But when we do make requests of God and He does answer them, sometimes we then realize it is the worst thing that could have been asked for. We ask for patience. Little did we realize how that was going to be cultivated within us. Little did we realize what creates patience within ourselves until it is allowed to enter our lives. Then we end up crying out to God "Enough! I do not want any more of this!" As parents, do we give our children everything that they ask for? No, we usually stop to consider the consequences of agreeing to such requests. Sometimes God grants our requests and sends us what we are begging for, but the results do not cause happiness in our souls. The children of Israel begged God for a king, they got their king in Saul and now they are realizing that perhaps they had made a giant mistake.
2: And he said unto him, God forbid; you shall not die: behold, my father will do nothing either great or small, but that he will show it to me: and why should my father hide this thing from me? it is not so (20:2).
Jonathan is confident that before his father makes any move he will talk about it with him. Is this a wise thing to feel?
3: And David swore moreover, and said, Your father certainly knows that I have found grace in your eyes; and he said, Don't let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death (20:3).
What an acknowledgement of reality! I am only one step away from being dead. Too many people today do not realize how true this is in their lives. Every single time that we get in our automobile to drive anywhere, we are but one step away from death. When we enter into aircraft to fly anywhere. Buses, trains, taxi cabs. All put us a simple step away from death. We do not have control over the issue either. Death can come at any time, at any hour of the day or night. This is the reason we are told to always be ready to meet God, we do not know when it is time to die. How many people have arranged for every single contingency in life only to die in the most unexpected way? Never had a chance to ask Christ into their hearts, never had a chance to be forgiven, entering eternity consigned to darkness, burning, and the gnashing of teeth. Why expend so much time and energy on the things of this life, and ignore the next? I ask you, are you saved? Are you born again through Jesus Christ? If you were to die today, unexpectedly, would you be in the presence of God? Do not put off accepting Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior for another time, do it now.
That is all for today, beloved. Next time I shall continue on in chapter twenty and we will see some of the facets of the friendship of these two men. I hope that you will decide to return. May Christ be real to you in your life. May you be blessed beyond your wildest imaginations!
Mon, Dec 6th - 2:27PM
"The words the Lord Jesus used when He promised to send the Holy Spirit leave no room for the idea that He is merely a force or an impersonal influence. Jesus said, 'I will pray the Father, and He shall give lyou another Comforter' (John 14:16). The word another in the Greek means 'one the same as.' The Holy Spirit is the same as Christ; He is a person. The word comforter is from the Greek word paraklete, which means 'one called alongside.' It is the same word translated 'advocate' in I John 2:1. It is a word that only makes sense if it is applied to a personal being. The Holy Spirit is our Paraclete. He is one called to aid us, to instruct us, to intercede for us. He is a person."
In continuance of my last post, today I am writing a few things to married men everywhere. Here are seven things that ought to alert you to the fact that you have entered into the danger zone.
* When you find yourself thinking about a woman friend, co-worker, ministry partner, or neighbor and how much you enjoy being with this person---FLEE, don't FLIRT!
* When you look forward to spending more time with this woman and you make sure you look especially nice if you know you might see your "friend" that day---FLEE, don't FLIRT!
* If you begin to fantasize about being with this woman or knowingly start touching your "friend" in "innocent" ways---FLEE, don't FLIRT!
* When you become more secretive about your interaction with your "woman friend" because people like your wife might "misunderstand" your relationship---FLEE, don't FLIRT!
* If you receive cards, e-mails or presents from this woman that you would not want your wife to see---FLEE, don't FLIRT!
* When you find yourself comparing your wife in an unfavorable way to your "woman friend"---FLEE, don't FLIRT!
* If you start confiding in your "woman friend" about your marital problems---FLEE,don't FLIRT!
These things are taken from the New Foundational League by Lou Mancari. What we men need today in this sexually charged society of ours is a game plan for sexual purity.
* God is the designer of sex, and it is good for us---Genesis 2:24-25, I Corinthians 7:3-5.
* God regulates sex because it is best for us---Exodus 20:14, I Thessalonians 4:3.
* Consider that your body belongs to Christ. He has bought you---I Corinthians 6:12-20.
* Consider the eternal consequences of lust---Matthew 5:27-29.
* Lust of the flesh chokes out our spiritual joy---I Peter 2:11, Mark 4:19.
* Remember all we do must honor God---Colossians 3:17.
* Be careful with your eyes---Job 31:1, Pslam 101:3.
* Have regular accountability against the deceitfulness of sin---Hebrews 3:12-13.
* Memorize Scripture---Pslam 119:11.
Our sexual drive is an extremely powerful one, so strong that it can distort a person's thinking, preception, and emotions. It can harden our heart and move us to irrational and sinful decisions. God has created sex for the marriage bed and for there alone. He wants you to be pure in mind and body, saving the sexual union for the proper context of marriage so that you might properly honor God and your spouse. Failing to do this is committing grievous sin.
Yet there is hope! All of our sexual sin can be forgiven. The blood of Christ has the power to defeat our sin. Jesus paid a great price on that wood cross (I Peter 2:24). He shed His precious blood and gave His life for our redemption, and if we have accepted this then we have been bought with a great price. We are no longer our own and God seeks fellowship with us (I Corinthians 1:9). All that we need to know is that we must confess our sin to God and repent, or turn away from, it. This means that we stop doing it. We are called to sexual purity, not to sexual immorality.
Want to guard against sexaul sin in your life men and women? Yes, I am now speaking to both genders. If you do not want to continue going into this sin and being left hurt, used, abused, and feeling all alone, then here are four "guards" to put into place in your life.
* Guard where your feet wish to take you. Pay attention to where you are going, to where you are just hanging out to pass the time. There are many places of temptation that you should always avoid (Proverbs 5:5-8; 7:6-9).
* Guard your emotions. "Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23; 5:12, 23)." Not having any discipline will get you into trouble!! Being Spirit-controlled is of the utmost necessity in our society.
* Guard your eyes. The eyes are never full. Men, we are hardwired to be visual creatures and therefore must be doubly aware of what we ought to be ignoring. Beware of the Internet and othe rsources of pornography (Victorias's Secret!)(Proverbs 5:19-20; 7:10). Job's covenant is a good idea.
* Guard your ears, for the wicked, sexually immoral woman will flatter your ego with words. Men especially are susceptible to flattery (Proverbs 5:3; 6:24; 7:5, 21).
So, for you personally, what is the hard truth concerning sexual purity? Have you found one scriptural passage that you want to memorize and have it with you always as a defensive weapon to combat sexual temptation? Do you recognize from what direction in your life sexual temptation is likely coming from, or may come from in the future? What is going to be my very first step in this battle to regain control over my person? Don't kid yourself, this is a battle for your body, for your mind, for control of your entire life. Perhaps you could share this post with someone else that you know could benefit from the assistance of Christ.
That is all for today on this study, beloved! May the Son order your footsteps as you go about your daily life.
Sun, Dec 5th - 12:41PM
STUDY IN HEBREWS
Chapter five of Hebrews continues this great theme about Jesus Christ as our High Priest. It shows that Christ is superior to the Levitical priesthood, with which the Hebrews were very familiar.
The first ten verses give us a definition of a priest. Jesus Christ has the threefold office of prophet, priest, and king. He is God's final word to mankind. In Christ God has said all that He intends to say, until He returns to rule in person. As a Prophet Christ spoke over nineteen hundred years ago, now He is the Word of God. As a priest He performs as our High Priest, through whom we have direct access to God. We no longer must stand afar off as someone else approaches God in our stead.
Each believer is a priest in this new "royal priesthood" which Christ created. We are able to offer up sacrifices as priests of Christ. These are in the form of praise, assets, what we build, our time, our hearts. All of these things can be made an offering to God. Prayer is the work of a priest, as we find out in the Old Testament. If we properly understand God then we would eliminate many of our methods and rituals. Today we find two major approaches to worshiping God. It is either a very emotional approach or it is a very ritualistic approach. Both are not very spiritual. We simply need to allow our hearts to come to God, just as we are.
As we begin studying this next chapter of Hebrews, we must recall the last verse of the previous chapter, for it urged us to come in freedom to the throne of grace.
1: For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins (5:1).
What is a high priest? He is someone who has been taken from among other people, a representative, in order to do things concerning God. Since he goes into the presence of God he must be acceptable to God. He must be ordained by God for men. He goes to God for men.
Thus we now have a distinction between a priest and a prophet. The priest goes from man to God as his representative; the prophet comes from God to man with a message from God. All of those Levitical priests did not prophesy, they served God and represented mankind within the Tabernacle and later the Temple itself. Today Jesus Christ is the only priest. He alone represents us before God's throne.
Having only a priest here on earth does us absolutely no good, we have to have a High Priest up in heaven to be our Advocate when Satan accuses us before God. That person must be acceptable to God. We can pray for each other, but we most certainly cannot represent each other in heaven.
We note in this opening verse that the priest can offer gifts and offerings for sins. Sins, plural. This speaks of our life, not simply one moment in our lives. As we go deeper into this chapter we will find out what gifts and offering Christ made on our behalf. Christ is our Intercessor, He intercedes on our behalf before God the Father.
2: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that He Himself also is compassed with infirmity (5:2).
Jesus Christ, when He came to the end of His earthly ministry, was able to say in John 8:46 that there were none who could accuse Him of any sin. The disciples had been with Him 214/7 for three years, if anything had happened to falsify such a claim it would have been seen and reported. He was tempted but never gave in to the temptations that came His way. Thus He understands each of us, what we are faced with every day.
"Compassion on the ignorant" refers to sins of ignorance. These are sins of which we are not even aware of committing, yet we perform them nonetheless. Our High Priest takes care of this type of sin, He intercedes on our behalf. Proverbs 14:12 gives us some insight into how some of these ignorance sins take place.
Aaron experienced actual infirmities. Jesus Christ feels the effects of infirmities and weakness in our bodies. He understands how they make us feel for He experienced them while walking this earth in a human body. This makes Him the perfect Mediator for us. When we fall Christ is there to life us up out of the dirt and grunge.
In a purely human high priest there always was the danger of him condoning the sins that he had also committed. Or he might condemn the sins that he had not committed himself. But Christ is able to show mercy, and He neither condemns nor condones. When we come to Him to confess our sins He does not frown, waggle His finger at us, and give us a lecture about doing better next time. He simply extends mercy to us as I John 1:9 informs us, and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
That is all for this study today, beloved. Next time I shall move on to the contrast given of Aaron's office and that of Jesus Christ's office today. Until then, mercy and grace be with you all!
Sat, Dec 4th - 7:01PM
I SAMUEL STUDY
"It is not natural to see man as a natural product, it is not seeing straight to see him as an animal. It is not sane. It sins against the light, against the broad daylight of proportion, which is the principle of all reality."
~G. K. Chesterton
8: And there was war again: and David went out, and fought with the Philistines, and slew them with a great slaughter; and they fled from him (19:8).
David went out and accomplished great things against the Philistines. What was King Saul's reaction to this great feat done in his name?
9: And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand.
10: And Saul sought to strike David even to the wall with the javelin; but he slipped away out of Saul's presence, and he struck the javelin into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night (19:9-10).
Saul comes under the influence of a spirit sent by God and he wants to kill David. David is playing his harp to soothe the king's mood, and Saul is fingering his javelin by his side. David must have sensed the king's murderous mood for he evades the thrown javelin. Even being married to the king's daughter does not make him safe in the palace any longer. David flees for his life.
11: Saul also sent messengers unto David's house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal David's wife told him, saying, If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you shall be slain.
12: So Michal let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped.
13: And Michal took an image, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats' hair for his boster, and covered it with a cloth (19:11-13).
Michal is on her husband's side and tells him the truth. If he did not leave his home and the city that night he would not live to see another night. She knew her father well. She also made a decoy to give her husband time to get safely away.
14: And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, He is sick.
15: And Saul sent the messengers again to see David, saying, Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him.
16: And when the messengers were come in, behold, there was an image in the bed, with a pillow of goats' hair for his bolster.
17: And Saul said unto Michal, Why have you deceived me so, and sent my enemy away, that he is escaped? And Michal answered Saul, He said unto me, Let me go; why should I kill you (19:14-17).
Michal deflects her father's potential anger from her by saying that David would have killed her if she had not allowed him to run.
18: So David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth (19:18).
Since Samuel anointed David as the future king his life is now in danger as well. King Saul is now openly hunting David. David is being hunted like a wild animal and will be continually on the run. How often do we end up feeling just like this? We feel like everyone and everything is hunting for us and will tree us eventually and then the chase will be over for good. The pressure builds constantly within us as we seek to avoid detection. This is exactly when we must be in close fellowship with Christ. If we are in this relationship with Christ then we can obtain strength, courage, and wisdom to endure the ordeal and to survive in order to accomplish God's will in our life. Before these tribulations arrive in our life we must already have established good habits of studying God's Word and praying for all things.
That is all for tonight my friends. I hope you return to find out what happens next in this account of David's run for his life from King Saul. May Christ richly bless you.
Sat, Dec 4th - 12:37PM
"I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory...The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore."
~John Adams, Letter to Abigail Adams, 3 July 1776
I question how much longer we Americans shall celebrate this great day of liberation, of deliverance.
Let us continue our study of sexual purity, shall we? In looking at Genesis 39 we find Joseph encountering sexual temptation. How did he deal with this temptation? First let's check out the power of this type of temptation.
* It was a sudden temptation (Genesis 39:6), Joseph did not seek her out, she came after him.
* It was a sensual temptation (verse 7), the eyes and lust were very much involved.
* It was a sustained temptation (verse 10), day after day she tempted Joseph.
* It was a secret temptation (verse 11), no one else witnessed it happening.
* It was a sensible temptation, if Joseph had slept with her she could have been a powerful ally for
* It was a self-centered temptation (verse 9), he should care about his own needs.
Men, can you relate to any of these temptations Joseph experienced? Ever have an attractive woman approach you repeatedly for a sexual encounter? Never know when she would show up to press her plea against you? Joseph knew all about what you have gone through, and so does God.
So what is the power over the temptation?
* Have convictions about purity before the crisis ever shows up (verses 8-9; Proverbs 5:1, 6:1, 7:1).
* Love involves loyalty (verses 8-9); we need to be loyal to God, to family, to friends. It is far harder to sin when not alone.
* Have enough sense to avoid the source of temptation (verse 10; Proverbs 5:7-9; 7:6-9; Romans
13:14). Refuse to put yourself in harm's way to begin with whenever possible.
* Stay shocked by sin (verse 9). Sin remains a wicked thing in our world despite what people
* Retreat is far better than defeat (verse 12; II Timothy 2:22). Flee, don't flirt with the carnal
We must make a covenant with God to not look lustfully at members of the opposite sex. This will help us tremendously to avoid sexual temptations.
"Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall (I Corinthians 10:12)." As we become more and more complacent our vulnerability to sin increases dramatically. Why else do so many Christian leaders fall to sexual temptation? They let down their guard and become victims of this sin.
I Corinthians 6:18 gives us a warning, "Flee immorality." Pride easily convinces us that we don't really need to flee, that we aren't weak Christians. We merely delude ourselves into believing that we can meander away at our leisure, because we are so strong we are able to resist or flirt with temptation. Admitting that we need to flee takes genuine Christian humility. We must set aside our foolish pride and live according to the truth.
That is all for today, beloved. Next time I shall give a few words for married men and a game plan for sexual purity. Hope you come back! Grace and peace be with you. May the light of the Son shine brilliantly upon your path in life.
Fri, Dec 3rd - 6:03PM
STUDY IN HEBREWS
15: For we have not a high priest which can't be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (4:15).
Christ Jesus was tempted without sinning. The God-man experienced pressure of testing greater than what we experience in our lives. Satan came to Him in the wilderness, offered all sorts of temptations, but could not find anything in Jesus to accuse Him of. Jesus did not yield to the pressure of temptation, but you and I often do. We are sort of like boats floating in water. The surrounding water exerts pressure all across its hull, it does this constantly. At any weak point in the hull of the boat water will finally find its way inside. If nothing is done to repair the leak it will get larger and larger. At some point it will rip the hull apart and sink the entire boat. That is what temptation can do to our lives. The problem with us is that we give in to the pressure, we yield, and then miraculously the pressure disappears! Jesus never yielded and so the pressure continuously built up. He has no limit to the amount of pressure He can withstand; you and I have a limit. Thus we must rely upon Him to help us withstand temptations.
How great of an impact was the death of Aaron, the high priest, upon the nation of Israel? It must have been rather significant for most of those people had grown up knowing him. Now they had to wonder if his son would be as sympathetic with them. We today have a High Priest who is always available to us, and He does understand what we are going through for He experienced it Himself. He knew what it felt like to hunger, to thirst, to feel sorrow, to feel pain, to feel rejection. And yet He did not sin.
16: Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (4:16).
The word "boldly" in our culture implies brazenness. It is too bad that we do not have a better word that could be used here. The idea being conveyed to us here comes from the Greek word parrhesia. It denotes the freedom of speech which the Athenians prized so much. They felt that the average citizen should have the freedom to speak. That idea is found in this verse. God feels that it is important that the average person ought to have the freedom to come before Him to speak of what he/she needs. God provided this freedom through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf.
So we can speak freely to the Lord Jesus Christ. You can tell Him things that you can't tell me. He understands you, knows your weaknesses. But remember, He is God and you come to Him in worship and with reverence. You are free to speak to Him for He is also a man. You can tell Him what is on your heart. Open your heart to Him, be honest with Him. When this is the case, our prayer meetings become extremely productive. Come before His throne of grace in honesty and sincerity and see the great things He will do for you!
God's throne was a place of judgment during the entire Old Testament. Since Christ it has become a place of grace, a mercy seat where forgiveness can be found. Don't we all need mercy? Some more, some less, but we all are in need of mercy. Mercy speaks of the past, of things already done. We are redeemed by God through His infinite mercy from our sins. This He also did through the sacrifice of Christ.
Aren't we all looking for some kind of help these days? Hopefully we are in a position to offer help to someone else, but far many more people today are in need of some help. So God offers mercy to us for past sins and then we are able to find grace to help us in time of need. "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want (Psalm 23:1)" reflects David's knowledge of his position in regards to God and also that he knew he would have his needs met.
Have you been before Christ yet today? Have you had an honest talk with Him about what is bothering you today? Did you tell Him how much you love Him? Did you confess any sins to Him? Each of us needs to go to Him with freedom and talk to Him for there is mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.
Well, that completes this fourth chapter of Hebrews for us. Next time, God willing, I shall begin looking at chapter five. That chapter's general theme is of a definition of a priest being given to the reader. Until then, may Christ richly bless you and your family!
Wed, Dec 1st - 2:25PM
"If God is dead, then the great capitulation of the force standing over against man has been mdae, and man is free to move forward and to occupy the God-like positions.
Henceforth, man is free to make of himself what he will...If God is dead everything is permitted, even the resort to the animality of an amoral natural force. The decision that the war is over, and man has won, and God is dead is the inspiration and despair of contemporary movements such as nihilism and existentialism."
In spite of the temptations and pressures from our world, we can be sexually pure and true to our marriage vows. We can accomplish this in part from what Paul told Timothy in his letter to that young man, "Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (II Timothy 2:22)," And Jesus Christ our Lord and Master said in Matthew, "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY'; but I say unto you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell (5:27-29)," Where does sexual sin begin? Just as soon as you begin thinking lustfully about a woman. It is improper and it is disrespectful of the woman and if she is married then it disrespects her husband. A person is to take steps to eliminate the temptation, to remove yourself from it. I have always thought these verses spoke about individuals, but I am beginning to think that it's also speaking about the body of believers and that if one body part is threatening to corrupt the entire congregation then steps must be taken before the entire body of believers is destroyed beyond help. The II Timothy quote would seem to implore young people to flee to the body of true believers in order to gain support and moral protection from physical lusts. The church today needs to realize its mission in many aspects as it reaches out to a lost world caught between two opposing world views: Christianity and Naturalism.
This current form of Naturalism has philosophical and religious components. The philosophical part has snaked its way into scientific circles and is now entwined throughout the scientific community totally undetected. It is what drives evolutionary theory. It appears that it also is what drives global warming activists. The religious aspect appears when proponents speak about Mother Nature and the Universe in terms of personhood. Once they begin to believe that something can be created from nothing they have arrived at a position of faith. Once they begin to believe in infinite numbers of universes that are all different and that only those which support life are the universes that survive, then they have left science behind and have entered into faith-based belief systems. Carl Sagan was a major player in transforming the scientific community, our schools, and our colleges into believers of the Cosmos having always been around and always will be around. He was speaking of eternity in terms borrowed from the Bible itself. He pushed his beliefs upon us and promoted the belief that we are birthed by the Cosmos and that that is why we have this drive to return into outer space. That is philosophy, not science. He has absolutely no proof of his beliefs, and yet the scientific community believed every word out of his mouth. Amazing.
But does God really intend for us to practice physical mutilation in order to resist temptation? Or does He expect us to not put ourselves in temptation's way deliberately? If you see a scantily clad young woman walking up the street you do not go and present yourself to her and make suggestive comments intended to inflame her passions. You can be charged with being lewd and sexual assault. You could also be lured into a relationship with her that will result in you contracting HIV and then worrying about whether or not you will develop AIDS and later die. Worse yet, if you are married and have an adulterous relationship with some strange woman you can't know whether or not you will give your wife HIV or AIDS or any other STD. HIV can surface sometimes ten or more years after initial exposure. Sexual purity affects many aspects of our lives, not just the physical.
"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell upon these things (Philippians 4:8)." God obviously wants us to think about those things which increase a person's character. God wants us to increase in knowledge but to not learn how to sin all the more. Our personal liberty is to be used in doing good works, reaching out to those all around us, and in praising God each and every day. God does not want us to feed our carnal flesh, to feed our lusts, for these things lead to sin and death. They lead to rebellion against authority of all kinds.
That is all the time I have to write on this study today, beloved. Tomorrow I hope to continue with this study. See you then!
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