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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Education / Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20 Welcome Guest
    Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20
          Have you always had questions about different passages and books of the bible? Me too. Let's explore everything together and find out what God's Word actually says. Are you ready for a life-changing experience? Are you? Then come on!
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    Mon, Jan 31st - 8:22PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



     4: For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins (10:4). 

    Point blank the Bible teaches us that animal sacrifice could not remove sin from our lives, it could only cover sin temporarily.  It was this way until the Lamb of God came to take away the sin of the world (Jhn 1:29). 

     5: Wherefore when He came into the world, He said, Sacrifice and offering You wouldn't, but a body have You prepared for Me:

     6: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have had no pleasure.

     7: Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me,) to do Your will, O God.

     8: Above when He said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin You would not, neither had pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;

     9: Then said He, Lo, I come to do Your will, O God.  He takes away the first, that He may establish the second.

    10: By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (10:5-10). 

    Dr. J. Vernon McGee gave this cross reference for this passage:  In the Book of Exodus in chapter 19 we can find the preparation for the giving of the Mosaic Law, and in the ensuing chapter the giving of the Ten Commandments.  After that God graciously made provision with the sacrificial system for the altar goes along with the Law.  Then in chapter 21 we find this:  "Now these are the judgments which you shall set before them.  If you buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve:  and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.  If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself:  if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.  If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.  And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:  Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or to the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever (Exodus 21:1-6)." 

    What can be the meaning of this?  In Psalm 40:6-7 we can read, "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire; mine ears have you opened; burnt offering and sin offering have yoou not required.  Then said I, Lo, I come:  in the volume of the book it is written of me."  This is applied to Christ Jesus, instead of His ear being pierced with an awl He was given a body which was to be pierced upon the cross.  Christ could have walked away from the cross at any time if He so desired and freely returned to heaven.  But He chose to stay out of love of His Master (God the Father), His wife (the Church), and His children (believers in Christ).  One might argue that we remain in bondage just as Christ remains in bondage.  But the servitude which we are bound to is one of liberty in Christ to do good works.  And we are not simply bondservants of Christ, we are His friends, and not only friends but also joint-heirs with Christ Jesus.  Christ took this slave relationship to his master to a totally new level of understanding.  One day Christ shall return to take us out of the slavery of sin to be physically with Him in heaven. 

    11: And every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

    12: But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God (10:11-12). 

    At that point in time the Temple priests continuously stood before the altar, accepted and offered up the same sacrifices which could not remove sin from any man.  They were simply reminders of Christ Jesus, and that men were sinners.  At the writing of Hebrews the daily practice of animal sacrifice had become obsolete due to Christ's crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.  Christ was finished with the redemption of mankind and was now sitting down at the right hand of God in heaven.  Was Christ tired?  No, He was not.  He sat down for His work was completed, finished.  Christ offered one sacrifice to pay for all sins for eternity.

    13: From henceforth expecting untill His enemies be made His footstool (10:13). 

    God is in heaven waiting for the appointed time.  More people are to be saved, more hearts are to be changed for ever.  God is giving everyone on earth some more time to choose.  At the Second Coming of Christ to earth all of those who have refused to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will become the "footstool" of God.  It can be found in the Book of Revelation where Christ says that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Christ is Lord of all.  Those people probably will not have accepted Christ into their hearts, but they will be forced at that time to admit who Christ really is:  Jehovah, the Almighty Living God, the great I AM.  Freely choose now while you can, or face the harsh reality of truth later on. 

    That is all for tonight my friends.  May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ flow abundantly through your daily life.  May you be a peacemaker and not a warmongerer.

    ~Eric



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    Sat, Jan 29th - 6:04PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



     1: For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect (10:1).  

    At the end of chapter nine the writer said that if Christ had failed to save in His death at His first coming, there would be nothing afterward but judgment.  If you and I reject Christ as Savior we will have one sadsack funeral ever.  Unsaved people carry on at funerals, wailing and weeping uncontrollably.  They just can't carry on without the person who has died.  They have little to no hope for the future, for they now know what awaits them as well.

    The word "for" continues the theme of Christ's sacrifice for sin.  The Mosaic Law served a good purpose in that it was a picture which taught Israel that a perfect sacrifice was necessary to satisfy the wages of sin permanently.  Israel was severely judged by God because they had been taught quite thoroughly.  Do not think that Jerusalem was judged?  Consider who controls it.  Is there a brand new Temple rising up into the sunshine from where it has historically stood?  No, a mosque sits upon that site.  All that remains is the Wailing Wall of the old Temple.  The streets where Jesus walked are full of debris.  

    Outside of Israel the nations of Gentiles were living in spiritual darkness.  Israel had the Old Testament, which was a picture book.  It is very easy to miss its meaning.  It is a simple picture book in which God is trying to tell all of us down here that He died for us.  It is that simple.

    Notice that the Law had to do with the tabernacle and the sacrifices.  You can't separate God's commandments from His ceremonial law, attempting to do so is wrong.  It is all part of the legal system instituted by Moses from God.  If we wish to begin living our lives by the Ten Commandments then we had better begin raising a lot of goats, sheep, and bullocks.  But these are no longer required for Christ finished all of that.  We are now on a higher plane of spirituality.  God wants to bring joy into your life, into my life.  The Law never mentioned anything about joy.  When Jesus came it was he who died that we might have life eternal.

     2: For then would they not have ceased to be offered?  because that the worshipers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins (10:2).  

    See, if the sacrifices offered in the tabernacle or the Temple could have taken away their guilt and sin permanently, one sacrifice of theirs would have been enough.  But animal sacrifice could not purge them of their guilt from sins.  

    Interestingly, Israel has not been able to erect another Temple since the old one was destroyed just a few years after Christ died.  They may have a tiny one for show over at the Holy City Hotel, but there is no Temple residing on the only site that it can rest upon.  Today Israel is not offering sacrifices, many of the Israelites believe in ethical religion instead.  But those who remain staunch orthodox Jews await the time when they may sacrifice once again inside of a Temple.

     3: But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year (10:3).  

    So, all of those sacrifices reminded the Isrealite that the sacrificial system was incomplete, it only afforded them temporary forgiveness of their sins.  The word used for shadow, skian, in the Greek means "a hazy outline."  The Mosaic sacrifices were shadows, without substance.  I can't live in the shadow of a house, I require the real house in order to be protected from the weather.  

    If the sacrifices had been complete they would not have had to be repeated.  When someone tells us today that they are cured of cancer, yet they continue to take medicine for it, they are not cured.  And when someone keeps bringing sacrifices every year, that person is not cured of sin.  It is Christ Jesus who made the one perfect sacrifice once and for all.  The Israelite went through the great Day of Atonement every year.  What did it mean?  It was to prepare him for the day when Christ came to provide atonement for everyones' sins, once for all of time.  This is why Jesus cried out on the cross that it was finished, complete.  To continue offering sacrifices is to trample under our feet the honor of Christ Jesus.  It is to make of no consequence the shed blood of Christ.

    That is all for today, my friends.  Next time I shall post about what Christ said concerning sacrifices and offerings.  Come on back and together we shall learn some more about the ties between Christ and the tabernacle.

    ~Eric


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    Fri, Jan 28th - 12:26PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "Poverty is not dishonorable in itself, but only when it comes from idleness, intemperance, extravagance, and folly."

                                 ~Plutarch

    "The pressure of public opinion is like the pressure of the atmosphere; you can't see it--but, all the same, it is sixteen pounds to the square inch."

                                 ~James Russell Lowell

    11: The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD's anointed:  but, I pray you, take you now the spear that is at his bolster, and the cruse of water, and let us go.

    12: So Davd took the spear and the cruse of water from Saul's bolster; and they got themselves away, and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither awaked; for they were all asleep; because a deep sleep from the LORD was fallen upon them.

    13: Then David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of a hill afar off; a great space being between them (26:11-13). 

    David could have told his man to kill Saul right then and there.  Be done with all of this aggravation and trouble from this jealous man.  But all David took from Saul that night was his spear and a cruse of water.  This was all made possible for God had placed all of Saul's soldiers into a very sound sleep.  When David left Saul's camp he did not return to where he had come from, no, he went to a different place on the opposite side of Saul's camp upon the top of a hill where he could watch Saul and get away easily. 

    14: And David cried to the people, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, Do you not answer Abner?  Then Abner answered and said, Who are you that cries to the king?

    15: And David said to Abner, Are you not a valiant man?  and who is like to you in Israel?  why then have you not kept your lord the king?  for there came one of the people in to destroy the king your lord.

    16: This thing is not good that you have done.  As the LORD lives, you are worthy to die, because you have not kept your master, the LORD's anointed.  And now see where the king's spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his bolster.

    17: And Saul knew David's voice, and said, Is this your voice, my son David?  And David said, It is my voice, my lord, O king (26:14-17). 

    David is taunting Abner, tweaking his pride.  The mighty Abner couldn't protect his king very well, could he?  David is informing Abner that his king ought to be dead as a door nail at that very moment.  Instead of slaying Saul, David merely took his spear and the cruse of water.  King Saul hears David's voice and instantly recognizes it.  Later in his life David would not rely completely upon God's will, and it would get him into immense trouble.  But right here, David has given himself over to God's will in this matter of becoming king of all Israel.  God was going to handle this entire business as far as David was concerned.  How about us?  Do we ever reach such a position in our faith in Christ?  How many times must we try to take matters into our own hands and to answer our accusers and deal with them ourselves.?  God tells us time and time again, "Let Me handle the situation, and you focus on walking by faith.  Trust Me in all things!" 

    That is all for today beloved.  I hope and pray that you will decide to walk by faith, not through physical efforts, and allow God to operate through you.  Allow God to light your path and determine your footsteps along that path. 

    ~Eric



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    Thu, Jan 27th - 7:33PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



    27: And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment(9:27):  

    For every man death is a natural sequence of events.  For the unsaved, after death there is nothing but judgment.  If you do not partake of the death of Christ and become saved, there is nothing in your future but judgment.

    It is appointed to all men to die once, but not all men will suffer the second death which leads to eternal torment and anguish.  The first death is of the physical body, the second death is one which separates the soul from God for all of eternity, without possibility of pardon.

    28: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation (9:28).  

    Just as man is appointed once to die, so too Christ died once.  But Christ died once to bear the sins of everyone whoever existed.  When He returns the second time He comes as the sovereign of all of the earth to judge the earth and all of its inhabitants.  Christ's second Advent will not be to settle the sin question.  He will not be walking around the Sea of Galilee.  He comes to judge mankind.  

    So, today there is just one of two places for your sin--either your sin is on you, or it is on Christ.  If you have not been willing to place your sin with Christ then only the judgment of the Great White Throne remains ahead for you.  None who appear for that judgment will have the opportunity to be saved, only to attempt to rationalize their belief that they belong in heaven.  They will only discover that God was right all along.

    My salvation is in three phases, or levels.  I have been saved, I am being saved, and I will be saved.  I John 3:2 informs us that when Christ Jesus returns we shall then discover what we shall finally become:  we shall be like Him for we shall finally see Him as He actually is.  What a glorious day that shall be!  Transformation at last into what we ought to have been all along.  

    That finishes up chapter nine.  The next chapter's theme is all about encouragement.  It will continue discussing, without pause,  the superior sacrifice of Christ Jesus.  Until next time, may you determine in your heart to not continue sinning, but to give your sin over to Jesus and allow Him to bear it for you.  If you already have made this choice, then may you determine to walk more closely with Him each day.  The Holy Spirit calls out to us:  "Come, come!  Enter in and find newness of life!  Die a deeper death to self and find yourself all over again!"

    ~Eric


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    Thu, Jan 27th - 12:58PM

    NLC



    "By one hour's intimate access to the throne of grace, where the Lord causes His glory to pass before the soul that seeks Him you may acquire more true spiritual knowledge and comfort than by a day's or week's converse with the best of men, or the most studious perusal of many folios."

                       ~John Newton

    Today let's consider several models for prayers.  These all are scriptural, not made up by me or anyone else.  These have open slots for you to insert the appropriate name/s of those for whom you wish to pray for.

    *   Father, please draw __________to Christ (John 6:44).

    *   Reprove ______________of sin, Father, by the Holy Spirit (John 16:8).

    *   Father, I pray for_____________to be saved (Romans 10:1).

    *   Father, open_________'s eyes and heart to salvation (Acts 16:14; II Corinthians 4:3-6).

    *   Father, please grant_____________faith and repentance so they can know the truth and

        be free from the devil's snare (II Timothy 2:25-26).

    *   Lord, please give me boldness and clarity when I speak the gospel (Ephesians 6:19).

    *   O Lord, please give me open doors to speak for You (Colossians 4:3-4).

    *   O Lord, may Your Word have free course to be spoken and may You give me favor with those

        in authority.  Remove hindrances to the gospel (II Thessalonians 3:1-4).

    We must join together and pledge to pray for each other's lost relatives, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and governmental leaders.  We need to do this at least weekly, if not daily. 

                                           Hindrances to Prayer

    "You husbands, likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered (I Peter 3:7)."

    Refuse to give your wife honor due her your prayers will not be heard by God, no matter how earnestly you might pray.  This commandment is very clear. 

     "If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering (Matthew 5:23-24)."

    The altar on which we present offerings is our own heart these days.  Do not try to offer God anything if you have someone you know who has just cause against you.  Go and make things right between the two of you and then come before God and present your offering to Him with a clean heart.  The same applies when accepting communion.  We must have a clear conscience and heart before participating, otherwise no fellowship with Christ can be possible.

    "Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension ((I Timothy 2:8)."

    Prayers will not be heard by God as long as there is residual anger and/or rebellion within us.  Arguing with the pastor about the direction the church is going in?  Get it settled in order for your prayers to be heard by God.  Angry with your spouse, children, or boss?  Get it settled first, then pray. 

    "If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear(Psalm 66:18)."

    See, it does not just mean to go out and commit wickedness.  Just regarding wickedness in my heart breaks fellowship with Christ and my prayers will not then be heard by God. 

    "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.  The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much (James 5:16)."

    Here is where we receive accountability and also reinforcement of our prayer life.  Need some form of healing?  Then gather together with other believers and pray for each other fervently.  Taking this path will lead to healing of your spirit, making you whole once again.

    People cry for revival in America today. Every great revival in this nation began with effective prayer, and effective prayer comes from holy people (II Chronicles 7:14; James 5:16).  So let us become holy people first, and then begin praying effectively for a revival amongst God's people here in America. 

    Of course, we must ever be aware of the reality in this endeavor.  Prayer places us smack dab in the middle of spiritual warfare.  This being the case, we must then put on the armor of God so that we will not be vulnerable to attacks made upon us by Satan.  Once we determine to stand in the gap and to begin retaking terriory from Satan we will come under attack spiritually.  It will even spill over into the natural world around us, taking on the form of political oppression, loss of civil rights, loss of job, loss of family, loss of friends.  Satan will use whatever means deemed necessary in order to change your mind, to force you to concede defeat and to cease and desist your previous actions.  Satan owns this world of ours, we are the ones who are storming the beaches, attempting to forge new beachheads and bring liberty to those who are captives to him.  There will be casulties, there will be injuries. 

    That is all for today, beloved.  May the grace and peace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be yours today!

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Wed, Jan 26th - 8:14PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



    18: Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.
    19: For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
    20: Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God has enjoined unto you.
    21: Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
    22: And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission (9:18-22).  

    "Blood" appears six times in this section, revealing the place and the power of the blood in the Old Testament ritual.  The Old Testament consistently teaches that without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin.  It was that way at the exit to the Garden of Eden (blood was shed in order to provide coverings for Adam and Eve's nakedness before the eyes of God).  It was that way with Cain and Abel.  It was that way all the way through to Abraham, and on through the time of Malachi at the close of the Old Testament.  The New Testament may have begun without much mention of blood in the four Gospel accounts (until the end of each), but throughout the remainder of that Covenant's writings it is prominently spoken of.  It is important for "there is power in the blood of the Lamb."  In Revelation we can find that the victory was won through the blood of the Lamb, not through any person's ingenuity, intellect, or physical prowess.  

    23: It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these (9:23). 

    The earthly tabernacle and book of law could be purified by the blood of goats and bulls but not the original up in heaven.  The heavenly tabernacle had to be purified with a much better sacrifice of blood.  It was the blood of Christ Jesus which had to be sprinkled in heaven.

    24: For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us (9:24).  

    The true tabernacle in heaven was the "pattern" given to Moses as a blueprint for constructing the earthly tabernacle.  Christ appears before God in heaven for us.  It is a spiritual sanctuary not earthly, but no less real.  

    25: Nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest entered into the holy place every year with blood of others.
    26: For then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world; but now once in the end of the world has He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (9:25-26).  

    The Levitical high priest had to enter the holy place once every year with the blood of an unblemished animal.  But Christ entered only once, applied blood only once, and it was sufficient for all of time for all mankind.  This reference to "the end of the world" is not speaking about the imminent end of the world as in the Book of Revelation.  It is speaking about how this current age was coming to an end since Christ had created the redemption of mankind and was victorious over sin and death.  The Bible never teaches that the world ends, the age may end, but not the world.  We are told exactly why Christ came into our world:  "to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself."  Christ substituted Himself for us and paid off our total sin debt.

    That is all for tonight my friends.  Next time I shall finish up chapter nine of Hebrews.  Until then, grace and peace be with you all.

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Wed, Jan 26th - 12:41PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "Love is appealing, but its practice is appallingly difficult."

                                   ~Anonymous

    "Persons are to be loved; things are to be used."

                                   ~Reuel Howe

    "Yes, love is the magic key of life--not to get what we want but to become what we ought to be."

                                   ~Eileen Guder

       1: And the Ziphites came unto Saul to Gibeah, saying, Does not David hide himself in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon?
       2: Then Saul arose, and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph.
       3: And Saul pitched in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon, by the way. But David abode in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness.
       4: David therefore sent out spies, and understood that Saul was come in very deed (26:1-4).

    Didn't take king Saul very long to revert back into his old ways, did it?  People who were probably expecting financial or property gain came to Saul to report on David's whereabouts.  It is not like David has been maurading and stealing the king's property.  He has simply been living way out in the wilderness.  Anyways, the king rounds up 3000 hand picked soldiers to deal with David's 600 men.  Who is the better general?  David.  Who is attempting to go into unfamiliar terrain to apprehend 600 men?  Saul.  David's men were very loyal to him whereas the king's soldiers were not as loyal to the king. 

    David sent out spies and they returned with confirmation of the king's presence.  I can imagine David's utter surprise at Saul blundering into terrain which he was unfamiliar with.  It was a military mistake of large magnitude even with 3000 soldiers.

      5: And David arose, and came to the place where Saul had pitched:  and David beheld the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the captain of his host:  and Saul lay in the trench, and the people pitched round about him (26:5). 

    Saul had not specifically located David as of yet, but David sure was able to locate Saul. 

      6:Then answered David and said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother to Joab, saying, Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp?  And Abishai said, I will go down with you.

      7: So David and Abishai came to the people by night:  and, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the trench, and his spear stuck in the ground at his bolster:  but Abner and the people lay round about him (26:6-7). 

    Saul's sentries were not very good, were they.  David and his man find their way all the way to the center of Saul's encampment and to Saul himself.  Saul is sound asleep and unaware that his life could be in mortal danger.  His spear is stuck into the ground at the head of his bedroll. 

      8: Then said Abishai to David, God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day:  now therefore let me strike him, I pray, with the very spear stuck into the ground at once, and I will not strike him a second time.

      9: And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not:  for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD's anointed, and not be guilty?

     10: David said furthermore, As the LORD lives, the LORD shall strike him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish (26:8-10). 

    Abishai knows that he is capable of killing the king with one thrust of the king's own spear.  He entreats David for permission to do this for David.  David has been given another opportunity to kill king Saul but he declines once more.  He understands that it is wrong to raise one's hand against the anointed of God.  No matter the provocation, David is willing to wait to become king of Israel, he will not resort to murdering the king to obtain the throne promised to him by God.

    David is practicing the principle given to us in Hebrews 10:30, that we are to allow God to avenge us on our enemies.  We must remember this and practice it daily in our lives, just as David did in these circumstances when a powerful man actively sought to find him and kill him.

    That is all for today my friends, come back to discover what David chose to do instead of murdering king Saul.  May Christ bless you abundantly with wisdom, grace, love, and discernment.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Tue, Jan 25th - 7:24PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



    14: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God (9:14)?  

    If, blood of animals could remove ceremonial defilement, then surely the blood of Christ can take away the guilt of sin forever?  For if the blood of goats and bulls had been enough, Christ Jesus would never have had to come and shed His blood to do the exact same job.  

    The ordinance of the red heifer in Numbers 19 speaks to us of the life of the believer and that as believers you and I need constant cleansing.  "But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin...If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:7, 9)."  The blood of Christ Jesus cleanses our conscience, not our flesh.  

    Mankind's conscience needs to be cleansed.  Man has arrived once he enters into this marvelous sacrifice of Christ Jesus, recognizing God's authority to absolutely forgive and cleanse him from sin.  Our conscience is what has been made alert by the Word of God.  We can rest our weary heads upon the pillow at night knowing that our sins have been entirely, totally, fully forgiven by God.  We can know that we are right with God at long last.

    "Purge your conscience from dead works."  These are those things which we tried to do in order to achieve salvation under our own efforts.  In reality each of us is a dead man walking.  We just do not realize it.  In order to become a living man walking, we must accept Christ into our hearts, trust in the name of Jesus.  

    Since good works are always an outgrowth of salvation, the command here is to purge ourselves of dead works of our flesh in order to serve the living God.  In serving God one must worship Him, it can be no other way.  And in worshiping God one must then serve Him, it can be no other way either.

    15: And for this cause He is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance (9:15).  

    Oh, what a wonderful, powerful, message we receive in this verse!  Why did Christ come to shed His precious blood on Calvary's hill?  Because He is the mediator of the New Testament/Covenant between mankind and God.  By Christ's death on that wooden cross mankind is able to gain redemption of the sins found under the Mosaic Law.  The Law revealed sin to the light of day and every man could know of it.  There was no more ignorance, there could be no more claims of "I did not know!"  The Law made our faults clear to everyone.  The death of Christ made our redemption clear.  The emphasis of this verse is upon the fact that Christ is now the mediator of this New Testament, this redemption of mankind.  The Old Testament saints were saved due to their faith that God was their means of salvation, not animal blood shed in the tabernacle nor in the Temple.  They looked forward to when Christ would come to save them.  In John 8:56 Jesus told the disciples that their patriarch, Abraham, rejoiced to see Christ's day: and he saw it, and was glad.  God did indeed save "on credit."  

    The faithful Israelites brought the blood of goats and bulls by faith to be sacrificed, looking forward to that distant day when it no longer would be necessary for Christ would have come and put an end to these ordinances.  

    16: For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
    17: For a testament is of force after men are dead:  otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator lives (9:16-17).  

    Here we understand what is being said because it is so in our society concerning wills.  My last will and testament is of no value and has no power until I die.  As long as Christ remained alive His new testament had no power and could not be put into effect.  My children can't inherit anything of mine until I die.  The same principle is in practice concerning what Christ Jesus had from God which we were to inherit from Christ.  Could we obtain it while Jesus lived and walked around on earth?  of course not.  Could we obtain it if Jesus remained up in heaven, remote and inaccessible to us?  No we could not.  Thus Christ had to descend from heaven to earth and allow Himself to be killed upon the cross; this way His new testament could then become effective and abolish the old testament.  This way we all became eligible to receive an inheritance from God upon accepting Jesus into our hearts.  Jesus could not save anyone while He was alive, but He could save everyone once He died upon that cross.  

    That is all for tonight my friends.  Next time we shall see that most all things of God are dedicated with shed blood.  There is nothing masochistic, sadistic, or ruthless about this fact.  God taught mankind what he needed to know:  there was going to be the need to shed God's blood in order to usher in the covenant of grace.  Salvation from sin required the spilling of innocent blood.  Feuds are ended when equity of blood has been shed by both sides.  God has chosen to accept full responsibility of spilling all of the required blood to pay our debt in full.  Can we offer God anything less than our love and worship in return?

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Tue, Jan 25th - 10:05AM

    NLC



    Last post I looked at Jesus and how He prayed, where He prayed, and for whom He prayed.  Now let's look at some more illustrations of public and private prayer.  In Acts 2:42 we discover that the believers were steadfast in their prayers.  "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."  They prayed for boldness in preaching God's Word, "And now, Lord, behold their threatenings:  and grant unto Your servants, that with all boldness they may speak Your Word (Acts 4:29)."  All churches today definitely need prayer for boldness and power in speaking God's Word to the unbelieving world around us "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (Ephesians 6:18)."  We also must not engage in empty prayer, it must be earnest as it was for the deliverance of Peter from government imprisonment:  "Peter therfore was kept in prison:  but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him (Acts 12:5)."  In reading the ensuing verses we find that the earnest prayers of the church were heard by God and He sent His angels to free Peter from the chains that bound him in prison.  We find that the angels then lead Peter out past the guards, through the opened doors, and allowed Peter to run to his brethren in Christ and to safety.  God answers earnest prayers.  The church needs to pray for and send out missionaries from the midst of the various congregations:  "Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucious of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul (Acts 13:1)."  Our congregations were not meant to continually increase in size until no one within them could know hardly anyone due to the sheer numbers of members attending.  Congregations must remember that they are meant to birth multiple new congregations over time, seeding new areas with churches that boldly preach the Word of God. 

    Do we have a regular prayer time?  If not, perhaps a good way to begin is to take ten minutes in the morning and again at night to stop, and pray.  Make it a sincere, earnest, effort.  Open up your heart to Christ Jesus.  Stumped for how to structure your time of prayer?  Perhaps this acronym will help?

    Adoration:       Spend time praising God for Who He is.

    Confession:     Ask God to show you your sin and then repent of it  Turn your back upon it.

    Thanksgiving:  Nurture a spirit of gratitude for God's blessings in your life.

    Supplication:   Earnestly ask for the needs of others including yourself.  This ought to embrace

                           other believers, biological family members, co-workers, government workers,

                           and our enemies.  Prayer is an unstoppable force, anyone can perform it, at any

                           time and at any place. 

    I hope that this may give you some direction in how to pray to our Lord Jesus Christ.  As long as we forgive those who do wrong to us God will hear, and fulfill, our prayers which are asked in accordance with His will.  Next time I will offer you some examples of ways to pray for sinners and for soulwinners alike.  Grace and peace be with you all!

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Mon, Jan 24th - 10:24PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



    11: But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building (9:11).  

    "Of good things to come" speaks of the good things that had already come, and of those good things yet to come in the future.  Christ had already come and paid the price of sin by shedding His blood upon the cross, setting us free from the condemnation of sin if we accept His free gift of redemption.  Christ had already given us the promise of glorified bodies once we physically die, or if He returns before we physically die.

    These good things have all come by a greater and more perfect tabernacle.  The tabernacle which the Hebrews constructed out in the desert was made by human hands according to a pattern given to Moses from God.  It stands to reason if some measure of the sin debt could be covered by a copy of the original existing here on earth that the entire issue of sin debt could be redeemed by the genuine article up in heaven.  We must realize, and acknowledge, that the tabernacle in which Christ serves as our High Priest exists in heaven, not on this planet.  We were given an example by which to become prepared for the time when the perfect High Priest would come to offer up the perfect sacrifice and then carry the perfect blood up to heaven with which to seal our salvation.

    All of our earthly endeavors to create awesome places of worship, and then call them "houses of the Lord," minister to the fleshly side of ourselves.  None of that ministers to our spiritual needs at all.  Spiritual worship comes from the heart and not from the eyes or the ears.  This is why Jesus told us that where two or three of us gather together there He is also.  It is possible to worship anywhere, at any time.  Worship involves our raising our voices in unison up to the heavens when gathered together in fellowship.  Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!  The building is not the church, the people are.

    12: Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us (9:12).  

    This verse tells us that Christ entered into the holy place by His own blood.  He literally brought His spilled blood up to heaven and applied it upon His mercy seat.  Why literally?  Because the blood of the goats and calves had been literal so too His blood was literal.  The earthly high priests could only enter into the holy place once per year, Christ only had to enter once for all of eternity, literally.

    In the original manuscripts "for us" is not there, it was added in to help smooth out the translation, make it easier to comprehend.  Those two words are not the emphasis in this verse, it is the blood of Christ being sufficient to only have to be brought into the holy place once, for all people.  It is the contrast made between the temporary earthly covering of sins and the eternal redemption.  The contrast continues since the earthly priests must continually do sacrifices daily while Christ only had to offer up His sacrifice once.  The authority and significance and importance is now placed upon the sacrifice of Christ, and it reminds us that the life of Christ never saved anyone.  His teachings save no one.  It is the death of Christ which redeems people, which saves people to newness of life.

    13: For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctified to the purifying of the flesh (9:13).  

    We find a reference to the ordinance of the red heifer in Numbers 19.  This heifer was burned completely and its ashes kept in a clean place.  When a man became ceremonially defiled (mostly by touching a dead body), the priest would take the ashes, mingle them with water, and sprinkle the offender.  This served to ceremonially purify him so that he could be restored to fellowship.  In this instance a female, instead of a bull, is used.  It is symbolic.  In I Peter 3:7 we are informed that the female is the weaker vessel.  Our defilement actually comes through our weakness.  We all are weak, and Christ came down and experienced physically, in the flesh, our weakness.

    In Numbers 19 we see that a red heifer was used, this speaking of the fact that Christ Jesus became sin for us, He actually became sin for us. Isaiah 1:18 informs us of what the color of sin is:  scarlet/crimson.  This animal must also be without any blemish, imperfection.  In order to represent Christ it had to be perfect.  It must also never had a yoke placed upon it for Christ was made sin for us but He was never under the bondage of sin.

    According to Numbers 19 the heifer was to be led outside of the encampment and there it was slain before the high priest.  Here we have the picture of Jesus Christ as both the High Priest and the offering.  At Calvary Christ was indeed led outside of Jerusalem and slain in front of Himself.  Contradiction to our finite minds, and yet, perfectly logical once we accept who God is and what He is capable of doing even when our minds can't fathom the how of it.  

    This blood of the heifer was to be sprinkled by the high priest before the tabernacle seven times.  This represented completeness, just as Christ's sacrifice is a finished transaction with nothing else needed ever.

    The carcass was then to be burned in the sight of the high priest.  God freely gave us His Son to redeem us.  Jesus freely gave Himself to gain for us newness of life.  But I think that we rarely think about the extent of the sorrow that was in heaven the day He died upon that wooden cross outside of Jerusalem.  There was no singing at the time of His death nor at the time of His burial within that tomb.  

    Numbers also tells us that cedar and hyssop were to be put with the sacrifice.  It would indicate that more than just the animal was to be involved in this sacrifice.  It speaks of the fact that Jesus Christ not only redeemed mankind, but He redeemed the entire world.  This world is cursed by sin; it groans and travails in pain, but it is to be delivered.  One day it is to be made completely new, and sin will have been removed for ever.

    A bit later in this chapter it will be discovered that even heaven itself had to be cleansed of sin.  Lest we forget, sin reared its ugly head in heaven first when Lucifer rebelled.  Christ's sacrifice was adequate and it was complete.  

    When these ashes were to be used to purify someone they must be mixed with water.  The water represented the Word of God which cleanses and reveals sin in the life of every believer.  Christ's sacrifice provides redemption for the future.  It also provides redemption for the sins of those in the Old Testament.  They were saved by faith.  Abraham was saved by faith because he believed God and brought a lamb.  The lamb prefigured Christ.  The cross of Christ looks forward and backward in time.

    That is all for tonight beloved.  Next we shall see how the blood of Christ through His death can offer us any comfort in this perverse world of ours.  Grace and peace be with you.

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Mon, Jan 24th - 12:58PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "It is not marriage that fails; it is people that fail.  All that marriage does is show people up."

                                                    ~Anonymous

       

       39:And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the LORD, that has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and has kept back his servant from evil; but Jehovah has returned Nabal's evil upon his own head. And David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her as his wife.
       40: And the servants of David came to Abigail to Carmel, and spoke to her, saying, David has sent us to you, to take you as his wife.
       41: And she arose and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, Behold, let your handmaid be a bondwoman to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.
       42: And Abigail hasted, and arose, and rode upon an ass, with five damsels of hers that followed her; and she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife.
       43: David had also taken Ahinoam of Jezreel; and they became, even both of them, his wives.
       44: But Saul had given Michal his daughter, David's wife, to Phalti the son of Laish, who was of Gallim (25:39-44). 

    Was Abigail hasty in choosing to become the wife of David?  Perhaps, but in her culture a woman was not going to own property and be her own person for very long.  She may have been loyal to her deceased fool of a husband, but she clearly wished to be married to a more intelligent man, someone with more integrity than Nabal ever had.

    What was David thinking here?  Was he even thinking at all?  Granted she had beseeched David to remember her when he became king, but taking her as his wife?  We can only guess that it was love at first sight.  Abigail had given David some very good advice and he knew it to be so.  She was smart and beautiful. 

    Now, was this the hand of God?  David was already married to Michal, daughter of Saul.  Now he takes Abigail as his wife.  But he does not stop there, he also marries Ahinoam of Jezreel.  I can perhaps countenance marrying Abigail, for king Saul had given David's first wife, Michal, to another man as his wife.  But why did David ever think that God would be happy with him marrying a second woman?  I believe that this is a point where sin entered into David's life and it festered inside of him for many a year until much later he finally became a murderer.  Did God love David?  Surely He did for He said as much.  But did God love David's choices here?  Decidely not.  I think that this marked the beginning of the reasons as to why David was denied the opportunity to build God a temple, too much sin and blood on his hands.  I believe that if David had not taken mulitple wives he would not have ended up later on with so much innocent blood on his hands and God would have allowed him to build a temple for Him.  We must always remain aware of the consequences of our choices, and especially of any sin which we commit. 

    Was king Saul right in giving away Michal to another man, to be that man's wife?  Not at all.  He was being spiteful, being a nasty bitter little man.  I can't imagine what Michal thought about all of that, but her father obviously did not care what his daughter felt about it. 

    That finishes up chapter 25 of I Samuel and allows us to begin chapter 26.  This next chapter reveals yet another instance of David sparing the king's life when he could have easily taken it form Saul and become king instantly.  But that shall be for next time beloved.  May grace and peace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be with you all.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Fri, Jan 21st - 12:52PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "The faith of Christ offers no buttons to push for quick service.  The new order must wait the Lord's own time, and that is too much for the man in a hurry.  He just gives up and becomes interested in something else."

                                                ~A. W. Tozer 

    32: And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent you this day to meet me:

    33: And blessed be your advice, and blessed be you, which have kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with my own hand.  

     34: For in very deed, as the LORD God of Israel lives, who has kept me back from hurting you, except you had hurried and come to meet me, surely there had not been left to Nabal by the morning light any male person (25:32-34). 

    David realizes the blessing which Abigail has provided him with.  God had not directed him to go and take Nabal's life, David would have been sinning.  David also realizes that in the frame of mind which he had been in, there would have been a great slaughter of Nabal's men.  This would have been regrettable later on when he became king over all Israel.  David gives Abigail blessing as well for being wise enough to know what to do to avoid the bloodshed which had been intended.

    35: So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said unto her, Go up in peace to your house; see, I have listened to your voice, and have accepted your person (25:35). 

    Abigail had offered what they had probably been owed anyways, had done so graciously and sincerely, and the results were that the situation was defused.  David graciously accepted the foodstuffs offered, and told her to go home and not worry about any retribution from him or his men.  He had accepted her at her word.

    36: And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk:  wherefore she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light.

    37: But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone.

    38: And it came to pass about ten days after, that the Lord struck Nabal, that he died (25:36-38). 

    Nabal was partying heartily when his wife returned home.  Obviously he was celebrating standing up to David's young men and not having to part with any of his food.  But, when his wife finally told him what she had done, he had a stroke.  He couldn't move.  It took ten more days before he finally died.  And we are told that God took his life, that it was the appointed time for Nabal to die.  Justice was done.  Now what is David going to do?  There is a beautiful widow living out in the desert of Paran.  She is the only woman who has been a blessing to him.

    That is for next time beloved.  I hope that you will return to find out what transpires in David's life at this juncture.  Until then, grace and peace be with you.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Thu, Jan 20th - 1:26PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "Perseverance is the most overrated of traits if it is unaccompanied by talent; beating your head against a wall is more likely to produce a concussion in the head than a hole in the wall."

                      ~Sydney Harris 

    26: Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, seeing the LORD has withheld you from coming to shed blood, and from avenging yourself with your own hand, now let your enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal.

    27: And now this blessing which your handmaid has brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord.

    28: I pray you, forgive the trespass of your handmaid:  for the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fights the battles of the LORD, and evil has not been found in you all your days (25:26-28). 

    During the beginning of David's career he was a completely honorable man, he did not engage in sinful things.  Indeed, he was fighting the battles of the LORD.  Abigail understood this, she entreats to David's conscience.  And David has been living for God and attempting to please God.  Abigail admires David for these qualities.  She requests that David accept the blessing of foodstuffs and hand them off to his young men, this way they won't be as ready to fight with the sword for they will be occupied with the food.  Smart lady.

    29: Yet a man is risen to pursue you, and to seek your soul:  but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the LORD your God; and the souls of your enemies, them shall He sling out, as out of the middle of a sling (25:29). 

    Abigail does not mention king Saul by name directly, but she is speaking about the king who has been pursuing David up until very recently.  She then states something quite remarkable, and easily overlooked as we read this Old Testament Book.  "But the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the LORD your God."  Isn't that exactly how we are with Christ Jesus?  Are we not bound to Him through His blood?  Hasn't He purchased us by His sacrifice upon that cross? 

    When we trust Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit baptizes us into the body of believers.  "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13)."  You and I are brought into the the body of believers - the body of Christ - by our faith in Christ.  There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. 

    Abigail evidently knew quite a bit about Jehovah and what the Living God was capable of doing.  She told David that God would sling away his enemies.  David knew all about slingshots, this imagery would have been very impacting.  But Abigail is not done yet:

    30: And it shall come to pass, when the LORD shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you, and shall have appointed you ruler over Israel;

    31: That this shall be no grief unto you, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that you had shed blood causeless, or that my lord had avenged himself:  but when the LORD shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember your handmaid (25:30-31). 

    Abigail reminds David that he might not want such things to be remembered once he becomes king over all Israel.  It would be best if he had a nice squeaky clean slate behind him, no skeletons in the closet.  Savvy woman, she causes David to stop and reconsider whether or not he wishes to have to explain his actions of this day once he ascends the throne.  And then she tacks on a small request, remember me on that day when you receive your due blessing from God. 

    Well, this woman is simply one smart manager of people and situations!  She is able to size up people and circumstances quickly and choose the proper path to resolve conflicts.  She had heard about how David had been anointed by God to eventually become the next king of Israel and she used that knowledge to save her husband from certain death on that day.  She cried mercy of David when she could just as easily have admitted the uselessness of her husband and told David to do with him as he saw fit.  But she knew God would not be pleased with that choice.  She had to find a better path to walk down, and she did find one which released everyone from having to resort to physical fighting.  This is something which believers today must work harder at accomplishing in our lives.  Reconcile people, do not make them more hostile towards each other.  That is all for today, beloved.  Next time we shall find out what David's response to Abigail was to be and what would happen to Nabal.  Grace and peace be with you all today!

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Tue, Jan 18th - 12:42PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    15: and the men are very good to us, and have not put us to shame, and we have not looked after anything all the days we have gone up and down with them, in our being in the field;
    16: a wall they have been unto us both by night and by day, all the days of our being with them, feeding the flock.
    17: 'And, now, know and consider what you do; for evil has been determined against our lord, and against all his house, and he is too much a son of worthlessness to be spoken to (25:15-17).' 

    Do Nabal's servants clearly understand what sort of man they work for?  I think so.  They are requesting Abigail do something to head off wholesale slaughter of her household due to her husband's foolish remarks to David's men.  They testify to David's honor and integrity.

    18:  Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and a hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.

    19:  And she said unto her servants, God on before me; behold, Icome after you.  But she did not tell her husband Nabal.

    20:  And it was so, as she rode on the ass, that she came down by the covert of the hill, and, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them (25:18-20). 

    This woman thought very quickly, whipped together an impressive amount of foodstuffs, loaded them up, and set out to intercept David and his men.  She was not about to allow them to confront her husband.  That would only lead to massive loss of life within her household.  She believed that it was avoidable, even at this late stage in the situation.

    21:  Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him:  and he has requited me evil for good.

     22 So and more also do God to the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any male person.):

    23:  And when Abigail saw David, she hastened, and lighted off of the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground,

    24:  And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be:  and let your handmaid, I pray you, speak in your audience, and hear the words of your handmaid (25:21-24). 


    Here comes Abigail cruising down the hill, and here comes David around the hill.  All that David is thinking is that he can't afford to allow someone treat him in such a fashion, his reputation is at stake here.  He is preparing himself for upcoming battle, restitution for the iniquity done to him and his men, and here is a woman riding full tilt towards him down the hill!  She has all of this food, and is off of her mount in record time and bowing down before him.  Oh, and did I mention, she is a very beautiful woman?  Yeah, wouldn't you stop?  Abigail is an honorable woman and knows that she must treat David with all due respect.  She may be a noblewoman, but she is the one who gives respect to David, who has much of nothing to his name possession-wise.  She gets right down into the dust and dirt, asks David to place all of the blame upon her.  She seeks to spare her foolish husband.  She is a smart woman, for she knows the odds are in favor of David not taking out his anger against a woman bearing food and requesting audience. 

    25:  Let not my lord, I pray you, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal:  for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him:  but I your handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom you did send (25:25). 

    Is she being disrespectful of her husband?  I do not think so for she is merely telling it like it is.  Her husband is a fool, wealthy, but nonetheless a fool.  She beseeches David to not even consider her husband in this matter, and indicates that things would have been handled differently if she had even known David's men had come.  We also discover that Nabal is a follower of Belial and is worthless outside of his wife and servants.

    Next time we shall find out what else Abigail said to David, what it reveals about her, and what David's response was.  Hope you come back to find out!  Grace and peace be with you today!

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Sun, Jan 16th - 2:33PM

    NLC



    "The conclusion is that Marx's worldview is fatally flawed; it does not match up with reality.  And Marx himself admitted as much in acknowledging that his philosophy "contradicts everything" in "practical life."  Marx is a living example of the apostle Paul's description of unbelievers:  They know the truth, and still they suppress it (Romans 1:18-32)."
                                        ~Charles Colson, How Now Shall We Live?

    Jesus at Prayer

    What is our example for conducting prayer?  Who can we look to for how to do this?  We ought to look to Jesus Christ since He began His ministry with prayer:  “Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,(Luke 3:21)”  We do not find any instances where Jesus prayed before this point in His earthly life.  But it is interesting to note that upon His being baptized and then praying, that heaven opened and the Father spoke and Christ’s Holy Spirit descended upon Him.  “And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased(Luke 3:22).”  Here in one verse, all three aspects/Persons of the Godhead are contained.  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  Three in One.  All equal to each other, all having all of the deity of Jehovah.  None are above, or below, any of the other two.  Here then, is where we find the Trinity of God.  The Son was manifest in human flesh here on earth.  The Father spoke from heaven upon its being opened.  The Holy Spirit, leaving heaven came and rested upon the Son here on earth.  It would be logical to assume that it was at this particular point in time that Jesus Christ was fully capable of performing all and any miracle of His choosing.  “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.  And Simon and they that were with Him followed after Him.  And when they had found Him, they said unto Him, All men seek for You.  And He said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth (Mark 1:35-38).”  Jesus continued His ministry with more prayer as shown to us in Mark.  Jesus made it a time of private prayer, just Him and the Father.  Preaching was preceded by prayer.  “But so much the more went there a fame abroad of Him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. And He withdrew Himself into the wilderness, and prayed (Luke 5:15-16).”  Again, Jesus separated Himself in order to pray at length with the Father in heaven.  How else could He remain in step with the will of the Father?  Yes, Jesus was God and was all knowing, but He wanted to leave us with a clear plan on how to gain understanding of God’s will for us and on the way to remain on the same page as God in all that we do.

    Many churches call for prayer meetings because they have an important request.  The rest of the time they do not have very many prayer meetings.  Why not?  Jesus chose His twelve apostles after spending the night in prayer (Luke 6:12-13).  Sounds like we ought to do that before calling a pastor or a pastor hires a staff member.  Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry was completed with prayer time in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-41, Luke 23:34).  Jesus lives today to make intercession for His saints (Hebrews 7:24-26); He made intercessory prayer even while hanging upon the cross (Luke 23:42).  Now if Jesus, the perfectly sinless, virgin-born Son of God, prayed all of the time, it only makes even more sense that imperfect people need to be in constant prayer (I Thessalonians 5:18) “Pray without ceasing.  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  

    In Matthew 6:9-13 we find where Jesus showed His disciples how to pray:  “After this manner therefore pray: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come. Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”  To any person who does not know how to pray, here is the starting point.  Jesus has given to all of us a pattern of what to include in our prayers.  But it is only a pattern and was not meant to become merely a rote repetition of words with no heartfelt feelings attached.  Saying prayers, and actually praying, are two hugely different things.  In Matthew 6:7 Christ warned all of us against vain repetitions.

    In order to pray effectively to God we must first of all have at least some faith in Him.  We also must have at least some knowledge of Him.  This most easily comes from out of reading God’s Word, the Bible, for it says in this book that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  Once we have secured our faith in Christ and have gained a measure of knowledge of who Christ is, then we can begin to pray effectively for ourselves and for others.  

    That is all for today, beloved!  Next time I will provide you with a quick acronym that contains the basic elements for effective prayer.  Grace and peace be with you all!

    ~Eric



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    Sat, Jan 15th - 7:15AM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



     9: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
    10: Which stood only in meats and drinks, and diverse washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation (9:9-10).  

    Verse nine informs us that everything done in the tabernacle, and later in the Temple, was symbolical of Christ Jesus and the New Covenant which He instituted.  It also says that all of the things associated with the rituals and ordinances did not make the priest perfect, it only covered his imperfection until the time of Christ's coming.  

    Before Jesus Christ came into our world the way to God in the tabernacle/Temple was blocked by three entrances and compartments.  The people could only come to the outer entrance and bring their sacrifice/s to the priests.  They would place their hand upon the animal's head in the act of personal identification for it was to die in their place and then hand it over to the priest.  The priest would then take it and slay it upon the brazen altar.  The priest could move anywhere withing that outer compartment, the Holy Place.  The next compartment was the Holy of Holies into which only the high priest could enter.  The high priest could only enter into this compartment once per year, and that only after he had purified himself according to ordinance and ritual.  All of this was given by God to be observed until the time that He came to bring redemption to mankind.  The service of ritual and ordinance was only meant to be done for just a brief time.

    Get the picture?  God was present deep within the tabernacle, priests surrounding Him, the regular people way outside, standing at the entrance to the meeting place with God.  People had to meet certain conditions in order to come into the presence of God.  But now Christ can bring us directly into the presence of God.  That is real worship and it then leads us into real service.  Once you and I get into the presence of Jehovah there will be no problem about serving Him.

    Dr. Harry Fosdick once said that the world tried to get rid of Jesus in two ways:  one was by crucifying Him and the other was by worshiping Him!  He was wrong on the second count.  Worshiping God means we approach Him on the basis of a crucified Christ Jesus who is our Savior.  It is upon that basis that we glorify, honor, praise, and worship our God.  Christ alone can cause us to worship the Father of all.  It is no longer a matter of mankind finding a way to approach God, it is all about God already having found a way to approach mankind and offer the gift of reconciliation and redemption.  

    Here is where we find the reason for the apostle Paul to write to the Ephesians:  "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."  We then should note what Paul then says after speaking about being filled with the Spirit.  "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the LORD (Ephesians 5:18-19)."  Therein is worship, beloved.  What a thrill it is to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God and for that Spirit to take the things of God and make them real to us!  What joy and peace it brings to our hearts and to our souls!  When you and I are in God's presence and worship Him in spirit and in truth, we shall have joy in our hearts and we shall also have a song there as well.  We will be unable to keep a smile from appearing upon our faces.  

    That is all for right now, my friends.  I plan on adding some more to this post a little later today.  I pray that everyone has a blessed day, that you serve Christ with a broad smile upon your face!

    5:37PM

    In reviewing what we now know about the sanctuary here on earth, I will share an outline of Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe.  

    *   It was here on earth.  It was made of earthly materials, erected here on this planet.

    *   It was only a shadow of things to come.  It was not a genuine article, just a copy of what existed up in heaven.  The tabernacle is interesting to study, but it was only a picture of the real thing which can only be found up in heaven.

    *   It was inaccessible to ordinary people.  If you had been an Israelite back in that day, you couldn't get in to the presence of God at the center of the tabernacle.  You could only go so far and no further.  The priest would confront you, receive your sacrificial animal, and then serve in your place within the Holy Place.  But today you and I are a priesthood of believers who have direct access to God.  

    *   It was temporary.  The high priest could only go into the presence of God once per year, but must do so every year.  But Jesus Christ our Lord is keeping the way open for us for all of eternity.  The earthly tabernacle was only meant to last until the Messiah arrived to usher in the New Covenant.  Jesus Christ has done just that.

    *   It was ineffective to change the hearts of the people.  The earthly sanctuary did not change peoples' lives.  Today you and I can come to Christ and He can change our lives.  He enables us to worship God in spirit and in truth.  Too many people today are just playing church---they go to church services, they attend committee meetings, sit on the church board, sing in the Praise Team, or teach a Sunday school class.  Busy, busy, busy.  But none of that is of any use unless you have first learned how to worship God.  

    That is all for today, beloved.  Have a fantastic night!

    ~Eric


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    Fri, Jan 14th - 1:16PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



     6: And thus shall you say to him that lives in prosperity, Peace be both to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be unto all that you have.

     7: And now I have heard that you have shearers:  now your shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there anything missing unto them, all the time they were in Carmel.

     8: Ask your young men, and they will show you.  Wherefore let the young men find favor in your eyes; for we come in a good day:  give, I pray you, whatsoever comes to your hand unto your servants, and to your son David (25:6-8). 

    David is simply asking for fair recompense for protecting Nabal's shepherds and flocks and for not stealing anything from them while they tended the flocks out in the wilderness.  It is a reasonable request, especially back in those times.  David is not making outrageous demands, he simply expects small recompense for work done on Nabal's behalf.  He even defers to what Nabal's own servants will testify to about this matter.  What will be Nabal's reply?

     9: And when David's young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David, and ceased.

    10: And Nabal answered David's servants, and said, Who is David?  and who is the son of Jesse?  there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master.

    11: Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not where they be?

    12: So David's young men turned their way, and went again, and came and told him all those sayings (25:9-12). 

    Well, did you see that coming?  A reasonable request made of a wealthy man from one who has supplied a service to the man.  To be given a slap across the face is being very rude, and back in those days people did not take their grievance before a judicial court.  They tended to take care of the matter themselves, if they were capable of doing so.  David had 600 armed men in his camp out there in the wilderness, I believe that he was quite capable of resolving this problem.  Nabal was not thinking things through at all.  He was remaining true to his name, being a fool.

    13: And David said unto his men, Every single man get his sword.  And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword:  and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred remained by the stuff.

    14: But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he railed on them (25:13-14). 

    One man in Nabal's camp has the courage, and wisdom, to go and inform Abigail of what has just transpired.  Obviously the man understood what sort of woman Abigail was and that she needed to know what had happened.  She needed to know what her husband had just done to an armed man who had many loyal, armed men with him out in the wilderness. 

    Next time we shall find out what Abigail will do.  We will find out what is to happen to Nabal.  Come on back and see what happens to a foolish man, even though he happens to be very wealthy.  Grace and peace be with you all this day!

    ~Eric



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    Thu, Jan 13th - 8:24PM

    NLC



    "Now Hannah, she spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken (i Samuel 1:13)."  One type of prayer is inward, or silent.  No one can hear what we are praying for, or about.  "Then the king said unto me, For what do you make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven (Nehemiah 2:4)."  That is another example of silent prayer in the presence of others.  "Listen unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto You will I pray.  My voice shall you hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto You, and will look up (Psalm 5:2-3)."  This shows that there are times when we are to pray out loud to God.  We are also to direct our prayers up to heaven, as indicated by the action of looking up.  We are also to direct our prayers to God, not to any other person.  "But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly (Mathew 6:6)."  "And straightway Jesus constrained His disciples to get into a ship, and to go before Him unto the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.  And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, He was there alone (Matthew 14:22-23)."  Prayer is also to be private at times as shown by Christ separating Himself from everyone else.  "And when He had thus spoken, He kneeled down, and prayed with them all (Acts 20:36)."  There are times when prayer needs to be done in groups, shared by all.  "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting (I Timothy 2:8)."  The place for prayer is to be, everywhere and without anger or doubt.  "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; (I Timothy 2:1)"  We are to pray for everyone, friends and enemies alike.  We are to pray for our families, for our governments, for our neighbors, and for those who actively work against the will of God.  "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;(Matthew 5:44)"  

    For Christians, "unbending knees" metaphorically represents a lack of prayer.  Without prayer the church and her saints are seriously handicapped when confronted with Satan, the enemy of souls.  Satan does not fear us or any of our human plans; the only one whom he fears is God.  Thus we must make sure that the Lord is involved in everything we do personally, and everything done by the church body.  Too many saints of Christ are doing the work of God but have pushed God back into the background, making Him a spectator.  True, consistent prayer life is what involves God in every part of our lives.

    That is all for tonight, beloved.  Next time I shall look at how Jesus began His ministry.  Until then, grace and peace to you all.

    ~Eric


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    Wed, Jan 12th - 9:49PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



     6: Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God (9:6). 

    The Levite priests were continuously going into the tabernacle, their work was never done, never complete.  It is why they served in courses, they would serve a set period of time and then go home while the next group served in the tabernacle.  It must have become rather monotonous as the years passed by.  It was extremely repetitious, sacrifices being done daily, all day long.  It all pointed to its insufficiency, it only covered sins and did not satisfy the price of the sins.

    In service to God meant doing all of the things within the tabernacle which God had requested be done.  It was a form of worship even though it was very ritualized.  God was training His people to serve Him and not idols, teaching them how to worship Him.  God desired genuine worship, but the Israelites slipped into mechanically doing these acts of service inside of the tabernacle.  Once the priests began slipping away from true worship it infected the people outside of the tabernacle.  Instead of this service to God working to draw the priests closer to Christ and to increase their overall anticipation of His coming as the Messiah, the priesthood became blinded to the real reasons behind the sacrificing of animals on the brazen altar.  Real worship draws us into the presence of Christ where we can converse with Him and adore Him.

    Worship means to give someone something of which they are worthy.  Christ Jesus is worthy of receiving our praise, honor, and glory.  From that follows service out of love.  Matthew 4:10 says it quite succinctly.  If people are genuinely worshipping Christ they won't need to be goaded into doing anything, they will gladly serve.  What was lacking in the first earthly tabernacle was this aspect of worshipping Christ.  The rituals within that tent did not bring people into the presence of God.

     7: But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people (9:7). 

    This was Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement.  The high pries entered into the Holy of Holies on this day on behalf of the nation.  If he was successful then the nation was accepted for another year. 

    Jesus Christ, our High Priest, has gone into the Holy of Holies up in heaven, applied His shed blood to the mercy seat, and remains there to this very day.  When He finally comes out, He is coming out to bring home His Bride, the universal church of believers. 

    As you have rushed through this day, have you taken the time to make sure that He is with you?  Have you worshipped Him?  Prayed to Him?  You can worship Him anywhere, anytime.  We simply need to pour out our hearts to Him, adore Him and praise Him for who He is and for what He has done. 

    We do not worship God by doing rituals.  We do not worship God my burning candles or incense.  Altars do not make for worship of God.  We are told that we are to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23).  We need to focus our hearts upon "smelling the sweet incense of His presence" during our times of worship.  That is one thing which we ought to covet, the presence of Christ in our lives.  The presence of Christ is mandatory for He is our High Priest, through Him we receive acceptance in the eyes of God the Father.  We are therefore to walk in Christ, walk in the Light, and allow His Light to shine out into the darkness of this present world through us.  We are to reflect the Son's Light just as our moon reflects the Sun's light to earth.

     8: The Holy Ghost signifying this, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing (9:8). 

    All of the tabernacle was but a picture of the way into the presence of God, the way which was not  available to the people for it had not come as of yet.  Christ would be revealed as the Way to approach God at His throne in heaven.  But that was still centuries away from becoming a reality.  The Israelites were supposed to teach this to everyone, Jew and Gentile alike.  But they dropped the ball, double-dribbled it out of bounds and failed to prepare everyone for the coming of the Messiah who was to reconcile everyones' sins, end the conflict between mankind and God.

    Next time I will continue along with the next few verses and we shall see clearly that the tabernacle was meant to point all people towards the coming of Christ.  I pray that grace and peace adorn your life this day, that you will be reconciled to God, to yourself, and to others.

    ~Eric



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    Wed, Jan 12th - 1:12PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



     "Human nature is indeed in the grip of an overwhelming army of occupation.  Its natural aim, it can truthfully be said, is pleasure; and when we consider the amount of time, energy, money, interest and enthusiasm that men and women give to the satisfaction of this aim we can appreciate the accuracy of James' diagnosis; and Christians can use it as a reliable yardstick by which to measure the sincerity of their relgion.  Is God or pleasure the dominant concern of their life?"

                  ~R.V. G. Tasker 

    We are going to find that Samuel dies in his retirement.  David will meet up with Nabal and Abigail.  David and Nabal become embroiled in a conflict which must be mediated to a peaceful conclusion or else there will be bloodshed.

     1: And Saumuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah.  And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran (25:1). 

    God spent no pagentry upon Samuel's death.  He was a faithful man of God who had earned the respect and love of the people whom he served.  He was the person who "bridged" between the judges and kings of Israel.  He was the last "judge" and the first "prophet."  From here on there will be kings and prophets in Israel, but the two will not be found in just one office of service.  It is an important distinction to note here for it applies to how God views the running of secular government.  Keep theology from ruling the government completely and allow people who trust in God be the ones to operate the machinery of government morally and ethically. 

    Samuel had been a buffer between David and Saul, preventing in some measure the full force of Saul's insecurity from being vented against David.  Upon Samuel's death David moved further away from King Saul than Elijah ever did from Jezebel.  David did not trust Saul. 

    Now we are to be forced to consider how human David was, how much he was just like all of the rest of us. 

     2: And there was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats:  and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.

     3: Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail:  and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb (25:2-3). 

    Not all of Caleb's offspring turned out well, this man was less than honorable.  The name "Nabal" means "fool."  Before any of us begin to laugh or smile knowingly at this man's plight, let us all remember that we all are born fools.  Look at your own life for just a moment.  Ever do anything foolish?  I know that I have done several things which were very foolish.  We end up not wanting to dwell thinking upon those things as we grow older.

    Nabal was a rich man, but nonetheless a fool.  He had neither honor nor honesty.  But he had a beautiful and intelligent wife.  We are forced to ask ourselves:  How did this man ever become married to such a woman?  God does not come out and reveal this to us directly, but we can conclude that it was an arranged marriage between families.  Nabal was a rich man in need of a wife, Abigail's family may have been in need of such an alliance through marriage.  It would have increased the wealth of her father somewhat.  Money for beauty.  Outrageous you say!  Happens all of the time I say!  We simply call it by different terms today.  How many men marry their wives simply due to her physical attractiveness?  Are they impressed with her intellect, or honesty, or character?  No.  She looks very good to the eyes and will impress others whenever they see him with her on his arm.  It will create envy in other men.  This is not the appropriate motivation for marrying a woman and leads to inequalities within the marriage itself.  But, in our modern, enlightened, culture we remain in the business of buying beauty with money.  It may be in marriage or it may be with cosmetic surgery.  It appears in advertisements for products ranging from cars to insurance premiums to household appliances to furniture to clothing.  Beauty for money. 

     4: And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal did shear his hseep.

     5: And David sent out ten young men, and David said unto the young men, Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name (25:4-5). 

    N ow it appears that David and his men had been looking after Nabal's property. Protection from raiders and mauraders.  They had been keeping thieves and rustlers from this man's flocks of animals.  It was time to pay for their services and so David sent only ten men to receive their pay.  David instructed his men to be polite and greet Nabal.  We are to witness Nabal's response to their arrival and request.  But that is for next time! 

    I pray that you have the grace and peace of Christ Jesus our Lord in your life today.  May you determine in your heart to distance yourself as best as possible from those who actively seek to do you harm.  All the while maintain your reputation, and procure the favor and respect of those with whom you work, and live through your actions and words.  Character is worth far more than possessions or money or physical attractiveness.

    ~Eric



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    Mon, Jan 10th - 9:51PM

    STUDY IN HEBEWS



    In this chapter of the Book of Hebrews the subject matter is the priesthood of Jesus Christ.  The Levitical priesthood served in an earthly sanctuary at the direction of God.  That sanctuary was patterned after the genuine, real McCoy item up in heaven.  The sanctuary in heaven provides for better worship of God.  Too many people today focus their attention upon the Law from the perspective of the Ten Commandments, but the Book of Hebrews forces us to consider the Law from the perspective of its place of worship and its priesthood.  This places the emphasis on the settling of sins, and the Law never settled the sin question for the blood of goats and bulls could never take away sins, only cover them for a very short period of time.  

     1: Then truly the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary (9:1).

    "Service" can also be thought of as worship.  "A worldly sanctuary" means one that is here on earth.  It was made from materials found right here on this world and built to certain specifications.  This all was part of the first covenant given to Moses and the Israelites.

     2: For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary (9:2).  

    We should note here that we are taken back to the tabernacle and not the Temple.  The original type given forces us to refer back to the tabernacle and not any temple.  Although it was crafted exactly to the pattern given by God it still was inferior to the original found in heaven.  

    "The sanctuary" is the Holy Place.  The actual tabernacle was only about 45 feet long and 15 feet wide by 15 feet high.  It was divided into two sections.  The first was the Holy Place in which could be found the table with shewbread and the gold lampstand.  In their background were the golden altar, the altar of incense, which spoke of prayer and upon which no sacrifices were ever made.

     3: And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;
     4: Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
     5: And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly (9:3-5).  

    The Holy of Holies was cordoned off from the Holy Place by a very thick veil of material.  Here were to be found only two items of furniture.  There was the ark of the covenant, a wooden box overlaid inside and out with gold, and on top of it was a very ornamental mercy seat.  Two angels made of pure gold looked down upon the top of the ark.  That was where the blood was placed by the Levitical high priest once per year to cover the sins of the nation of Israel.  Thus the name, mercy seat.  

    "The golden censer" is the golden altar.  But why is it now inside of the Holy of Holies and not outside of it as in centuries past?  Recall that when Christ was crucified the veil in the Temple was rent from top to bottom.  There was no longer any separation.  When Christ died upon the cross He gave His life, His human life, and at that time the veil was torn into two pieces.  This signified that the path to God was now wide open, because Christ had made a way to bridge the gulf between mankind and God.  "No man comes to the Father, but by Me (John 14:6)."  So now you and I are able to come straight into God's presence.  The golden altar got moved inside the Holy of Holies.  Aaron, when he brought the blood inside the Holy of Holies each year, also brought a censer filled with coals and incense in it.  He was actually transferring the altar of incense from outside to inside the veil of separation.  But he had to physically do it year after year.  

    However, we have a High Priest who is always at the altar of incense making intercession for us.  His prayers are heard.  Thus the golden altar is now effectively within the Holy of Holies.  But it is also still on the outside so that you and I have access to it.  Romans 5:1-2 lets us know that Christ is our golden altar, He gives us access to God.  

    The "golden pot of manna" speaks to us of how Christ feeds us through His Word.  Christ is the Bread of Life and so we must live by studying God's Word.  "Aaron's rod" speaks of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the rod was dead and then life came back into it and it budded out with leaves.  "The tables of the covenant" speaks of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled all the law.

    Finally, the writer mentions that he does not have time to speak more about the tabernacle for he is speaking specifically about the priesthood and worship.  God wants us to focus upon our worship and upon being priests of Christ.

    Next time I will move on through the next two or three verses which lead us on into consideration of our own worship today.  May Christ bless you abundantly!

    ~Eric


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    Mon, Jan 10th - 11:56AM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "Men spend their lives in anticipations, in determining to be vastly happy at some period or other, when they have time.  But the present time has one advantage over every other:  it is our own."

                 ~Charles Caleb Colton 

    20: And now, behold, I know well that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand.

    21: Swear now therefore unto me by the LORD, that you will not cut off my seed after me, and that you will not destroy my name out of my father's house.

    22: And David swore unto Saul.  And Saul went home; but David and his men got themselves up into the hold (24:20-22). 

    King Saul finally says out loud what had been painfully clear all along:  David was chosen by God to become the king of Israel and to establish the people as a nation.  It is an amazing confession coming from this man, but nonetheless, he utters it out loud for all present to hear.  Saul had known David had been anointed by God, Samuel had told him as much.  This was born out by David's excellent behavior and spirit.  But now he could no longer deny the touch of Jehovah upon David's life. 

    Saul requested David swear to not be vindictive towards his family and its reputation.  Saul knew David to be a conscientious man and one who would be good to his word.  In the future David remains faithful to this oath and supports Saul's household.  When there comes time for the hanging of seven of Saul's posterity to atone for the destruction of the Gibeonites, it was God's judgment and not that of David and therefore not a violation of this oath taken. 

    Saul went home, unhappy that once he had found David that he had been unable to kill him as he had planned.  David did not return to the king's court but remained shifting for himself and his men.  He did not trust the king, he knew him too well.  We must always realize that simply because we have reconciled with a dangerous enemy it would be foolhardy to rely upon their mercy in all matters.  We must deal with a certain amount of tension between us and dangerous enemies/foes with whom we may have reached a truce.  They have not changed, they have simply agreed to cease hostilities for the moment because it is not to their advantage to continue to do so.  It never means that they will not ever begin attacking us at some point in the future when they figure it is to their advantage to do so.

    That finishes chapter 24 of I Samuel.  Next time I will begin studying chapter 25 in which we will discover the death of Samuel and that David meets Abigail.  I hope that all of you have a blessed day, and that Christ's grace and peace fulfill your needs!

    ~Eric



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    Sun, Jan 9th - 10:51AM

    NLC



    "The Christian on his knees sees more than the philosopher on his tiptoe.  I'd rather be able to pray than to be a great preacher; Jesus Christ never taught His disciples how to preach, but only how to pray."

                ~D.L. Moody 

    So, what does the Bible say about prayer?  Prayer is to be a central pillar of a believer's life and so must be properly understood.

    "And without faith it is impossbile to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6)." 

    Prayer is the born-again believer conversing with God the Creator and Redeemer of all heaven and earth (Proverbs 15:8, 29; Psalm 145:18; Matthew 6:6-9).  It presupposes that there is a God who hears, cares, and is completely omnipotent (all-powerful) to the extent of having the ability to answer any request in a fashion He deems suitable (Proverbs 16:1, 9; 21:1).

    Let's look at some verses to see if there are any requirements which can be discovered for real prayer. 

    To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth! who has set Your glory above the heavens.
    Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings have You ordained strength because of Your enemies, that You might still the enemy and the avenger.
    When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
    What is man, that You are mindful of him? and the son of man, that You visit Him?
    For You have made Him a little lower than the angels, and have crowned Him with glory and honour.
    You made Him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under His feet:
    All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
    The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passes through the paths of the seas.

    O LORD our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth (Psam 8). 

    These verses show that Christ has been given dominion over all of Creation.  We are to consider the glory of the universe all about us, consider our true position in regards to Jehovah.  He is the Creator and we are the creature.  He has dominion, not us.  He is in control, not us.  In our prayers we are to include this acknowledgement.

    God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about Him (Psalm 89:7). 

    We are to revere Jehovah in our prayers.  As we gather together to worship Him, we are to ever be mindful of who we are praising and worshipping.  This "fear" and reverence are to be incorporated into our prayer life.

    But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking (Matthew 6:7). 

    Our prayers are heard by God because we are seen to be righteous in Christ Jesus, not because of the length of them or by the number of repetitions in a fifteen minute span of time.  We are to make our prayers very meaningful.

    Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

    For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened (Matthew 7:7-8). 

    If we ask God through prayer it shall be given to us.  Without seeking and asking we will not have what we desire.  If we ask then we shall receive, we shall find what we seek, and doors shall be opened up for us to pass on through.  However, these two verses can't be taken out of context and used to teach that we can have anything and everything our hearts may ever desire.  There is a qualifier that goes with them.  But what these two verses do teach is that if you do not ask, seek, or knock, that you will not receive anything that God has in reserve for you. 

    And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner (Luke 18:13). 

    We find here a basic concept which should be behind our prayer life:  admitting freely and openly that we are sinners.  We are to remain aware that we have not been made perfect through our redemption, that is yet in the future.

    But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

    For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord(James 1:6-7). 

    Here we find that we are to pray without any doubt in our mind that God hears us.  Faith becomes an integral part of the process.  We must believe that we are being heard.  Recall our opening text from Hebrews which stated that without faith it is impossible to please God?  Here is faith being reinserted into the equation.  If I doubt that God is going to give me anything, then I ought not to waste my time praying to Him for it.  I do not have the faith needed to access heaven and to receive anything.  Faith is the key which unlocks the barriers to gaining heavenly gifts. 

    Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16). 

    Our prayers are to not be restricted to just ourselves or just our families.  Yes, we are to definitely pray for God to assist us and our loved ones living with us to be the best disciples of Christ that we can be.  But we must confess through public prayer our personal faults one to another, this is accountability.  We are to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We pray for strength, for healing, for stability, for increased faith.  We also learn here that the prayers of a righteous person, exhibiting great intensity and that are able to produce a desired effect, are able to gain much.  Of course, righteousness only comes to us through acceptance of Christ into our hearts and not through any of our own actions.  Therefore the prayers of unbelievers go unanswered by God. 

    If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9). 

    Here in this last scriptural example, can be found the need for us to confess our sins.  Refusal to confess what we have done wrong prevents any forgiveness and cleansing to occur.  We are then left with our unrighteousness, separated from any fellowship with our Lord and Master.  Therefore we must confess our sin/s and become right with God.  If we do this, then God faithfully forgives us of those sins and cleanses us from the wrongness that exists within us.  This confession is to be a part of our prayer life, asking for forgiveness for what we have done wrong, before asking God grant us any favor beyond this.

    Next time I shall coninue with this part of the study in the new life in Christ by looking at types of prayer and places for prayer.  I hope that you follow along with me.  Grace and peace be with you all!

    ~Eric



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    Sat, Jan 8th - 12:09PM

    STUDY IN HEBEWS



    "Satan's own fall from grace began when he declared his intention to be like God (Isaiah 14:14).  He then enticed Eve with the same temptation:  If you eat from the tree, you will be like the Most High, able to determine good and evil.  It is a lie repeated so often that it has become the accepted wisdom of our culture."

                                 ~Charles Colson, How Now Shall We Live?  

     7: For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
     8: For finding fault with them, He said, Behold, the days come, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah (8:7-8).  

    The first covenant, the Mosaic Law, was not adequate to save people.  This does not mean that it was wrong, just that its intended purpose never had been to save, just to point people in the correct direction.  There is nothing wrong with God's Law but there is a great deal wrong with you and me.  We are unable to keep the Law, we do not measure up to its requirements.  This is why Jesus said that to break one commandment meant that all of them were broken.  It requires perfection.  

    God decided long ago what the time line would be for these things to come to pass.  God had decided before the foundation of our world that He would have to come in the flesh one day and purchase everyone's redemption, thus the "better covenant."  

     9: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in My covenant, and I regarded them not, said the LORD.
    10: For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said the LORD; I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts:  and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people (8:9-10).  

    As can be found by reading Exodus, the Hebrews broke the first covenant many times.  It did not enable them to meet its demands.  The new covenant was to be one which would not involve external acts but would be internal in nature.  The first covenant lead its believers onward to the second covenant which would provide the means for their permanent salvation.  And thus we have Christ's redemption which changes a person's heart, change beginning on the inside of a person and working its way outward.  

    11: And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD:  for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest.
    12: For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
    13: In that He said, A new covenant, He has made the first old.  Now that which decays and waxes old is ready to vanish away (8:11-13).  

    There is to be full forgiveness of sin and there will be complete pardon given.  God says that He shall not maintain a list of our sins and iniquities with which to accuse us of wickedness.  Upon receiving redemption through Christ Jesus we also receive a clean slate upon which to begin living our new life.  A person who has thrown their innocence and virginity away foolishly prior to becoming born again in Christ shall receive a measure of that lost innocence from God.  

    Verse thirteen declares to us that we no longer live under the Mosaic Law.  It is the old system and God brought in a new system that offers full forgiveness through acceptance of Jesus Christ.  God did this, not because there was anything wrong with the Law, but because there is something wrong with us.  Keeping the Sabbath Day achieves nothing.  It does not make you more lovable in the eyes of God, it does not make you a better Christian either.  To decide to follow the Ten Commandments is admirable and will make you a moral person, it simply does not save you nor does it make you more of a Christian than those who choose not to live that way.  We must be very careful how we define what it is that makes a person a believer in Christ.

    Paul told all of us in Romans 7:18 that he could find nothing in his flesh which was good and he had been a very good Pharisee before being born again in Christ Jesus.  Man is totally depraved, utterly separated from the Living God, and has been ever since Adam and Eve chose to not believe God.  This worldview explains why we see so much wickedness and evil across our world.  People everywhere have the capacity to commit immense wickedness and evil, it resides within us.  We need Jesus Christ, we need Him to come into our hearts and begin erasing this capacity, erradicate it from dwelling within us.  Upon accepting Christ as our LORD and Savior the Holy Spirit of God comes to dwell within us and is able to produce a holy life in our weak and sinful flesh.  

    The Law was weak through our flesh.  It can't lift us up spiritually.  But the Holy Spirit has now been introduced into the equation.  What the Law could not do, the Holy Spirit is fully able to do.  Thus you and I are to be saved, to live the Christian life through this new Covenant that Christ Jesus has obtained for us.  God has promised to give us His Holy Spirit, to live within us, and to have Christ Jesus interceding for us up in heaven.  Those are the better promises given to all of us.  

    So it is time to get off of "milk" and onto eating "meat."  The meat is to put all of our emphasis upon the Living Christ, His ascension, and His intercession up in heaven for us.  It is why scripture says that Christ is all.

    That finishes up chapter eight of Hebrews and now we prepare to move on into chapter nine!  Chapter nine speaks to us about the new sanctuary being better than the old and of how there has been a superior sacrifice made there.  Join me tomorrow when I delve into this fascinating chapter!  Grace and peace be yours today!

    ~Eric


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    Fri, Jan 7th - 1:22PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "This is a sane, wholesome, practical, working faith:  first, that it is a man's business to do the will of God; second, that God takes on Himself the special care of that man; and third, that therefore that man ought never to be afraid of anything."

                          ~George MacDonald

    11: Moreover, my father, see, yes, see the skirt of your robe in my hand:  for in that I cut off the skirt of your robe, and did not kill you, you know and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in my hand, and I have not sinned against you, yet you hunt my soul to take it.

    12: The LORD judge between me and you, and the LORD avenge me of you:  but my hand shall not be upon you (24:11-12). 

    David continues his conversation with king Saul.  He employs logic, trying to convince the king of his innocence.  David's only desire here is to defuse the hostilities between them and to be able to see things go back to normal.  David does not desire to usurp Saul, he is more than willing to wait upon God's timing. 

    David calls Saul father, since Saul was not only his king but was also the father of the nation, and was his father-in-law.  David appealed to Saul's compassion as a father.  It was unnatural for a leader of his people to seek their ruin.  David then brings God back into their situation.  Saul had been told the Word of God, he had been blessed by God in times past.  David states that he is more than willing to allow God to judge both of them. 

    13: As says the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceeds from the wicked:  but my hand shall not be upon you.

    14: After whom is the king of Israel come out?  after whom do you pursue?  after a dead dog, after a flea.

    15: The LORD therefore be judge, and judge between me and you, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of your hand (24:13-15). 

    David draws upon the Old Testament Proverbs to support his claim.  He is promising Saul that he shall never raise his arm against the king.  David is trusting in what God has promised him, are we that trusting in Him today? 

    David showed a measure of respect to his king in verse nine by pointing out to the king from where did he hear all of these reports of his insurrection?  King's advisors are held accountable for what they either say, or fail to say.  In truth, the king's advisors did not defend David's good reputation.  They did the king a huge disfavor by becoming "yes men."   Satan revels in having men who refuse to tell the truth, as advisors to the rulers of our world.  It is thus that the believers in Christ are presented as enemies when in fact they are the truest friends of government out of all mankind.  The only wrong thus far committed by David was in lying to the priests, misrepresenting himself to them as being upon a special mission for the king.  He should not have done so since it then lead to all of them becoming murdered by the king. 

    David points out to the king that contrary to the reports given to the king, David is not seeking to end the king's life.  He had opportunity to do so with out capture, and did not do so.  David presents proof by holding up that portion of the king's robe which he had cut off of the king's robe while he lay sleeping in the cave.  It is undeniable proof.  David shows that he did indeed have opportunity, and ability, to kill the king and he did not kill him.  Saul comprehended the role reversal before him.  Not long before this the king had declared, "God has delivered him into my hand!"  The fear of God is what stayed the hand of David from taking Saul's life when it was there laying before his sword, not the presence of the king's servants outside of the cave.  David ever kept in mind the fact that God was to be the avenger, not David. 

    16: And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this your voice, my son David?  And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept.

    17: And he said to David, You are more righteous than I:  for you have rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded you evil (24:16-17). 

    Now we receive king Saul's reply.  It seems strange that he patiently heard David out, considering how furiously he had searched to run David to ground.  Perhaps something in David's voice anchored Saul's feet and stilled his tongue.  Perhaps it was simply hearing the truth in such cutting terms.  Upon realizing how unfair his actions towards David had been, how slanderous his claims about David had become, perhaps Saul became stunned with the magnitude of his own mistakes.  Saul's seemingly genuine reaction was to weep out loud, none were to misunderstand what was taking place.  His declaration about righteousness is not one that we hear very often from our own leaders today. 

    18: And you have showed this day how that you have dealt well with me:  forasmuch as when the LORD had delivered me into your hand, you did not kill me

    19: For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away?  wherefore the LORD reward you good for that you have done unto me this day (24:18-19). 

    Saul acknowledges David's honesty and integrity as well as his own sinfulness.  This proves to us that anyone who who takes  pains to keep a good conscience may confidently leave it to God to secure for them the credit of it.  This accounting does not show that Saul was repentant of his sin.  If he were repentant he would have said that he was wicked, the proof being in the evil which he had designed for David and his men.  It would seem here that Saul was incapable, or unwilling, to properly recompense David in this matter for all that the king did was to turn David's reward over to God. 

    Next time I will cover the final three verses of this chapter in which it is to be found what Saul wishes from David out of this situation.  I hope and pray that you remain safe from the elements where ever you may be in this world of ours.  Study God's Word diligently, apply it to your life diligently, and pray without ceasing for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Grace and peace be with you today!

    ~Eric



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    Thu, Jan 6th - 9:42PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



    If you and I had been out in the wilderness with the Hebrews, we would have noticed that the tabernacle resided in the heart of their encampment.  The tents of the various tribes would have been around it in an organized fashion.  We would have seen a pillar of cloud over the tabernacle by day and a pillar of fire by night.  Priests would have been running about conducting their ministry of sacrificial offerings and observing the required rituals.

    All of that was a foreshadowing of a heavenly reality.  And when Jesus Christ was born that reality made it to earth.  Today that reality is residing in the tabernacle up in heaven.  

    If all you like is to run around in a "ritual" and have a very nice emotional church service, then you are missing out on reality.  That is not worship.  That is not serving God.  If all that you ever do is teach a Sunday school class don't think that that is all service to God entails.  Let's not all succumb to acting like Martha.  Jesus in reality is ministering for us up in the heavenly tabernacle, what does that mean for you?  He is serving you right now.  What are you doing for Him?  Why keep on pestering you pastor or priest with your problems?  Take them to Christ instead and cut out the middlemen already.  Either Christ is real to you, or He is not.  Approach the Living God boldly and stop acting like a little baby who needs to be fed milk!  Jesus Christ in all of His power, majesty, and His salvation, and His love, is there in reality to help you with your problems.

    Why shouldn't I be out fighting corruption and lawlessness in society?  Because if I do that, then I am not out trying to bring people into the presence of the living Christ.  When people are brought into His redemptive presence then those other problems will be taken care of.  Where ever I go Christ goes with me.  Keeping that in mind forces me to reconsider where all I might decide to go, doesn't it?  Am I going to bring Him with me into a bar, or a strip club?  For what purpose?  To find a lost person who needs Christ in their life?  Or just to get drunk?  When I am conscious of the presence of the Living Christ my conduct will be as it should be.  

    The one thing which you and I ought to pray most often could very well be, "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief."  Our faith needs to be enlarged daily, growing in size and strength.  Hebrews 11:6 indicates how important having faith is to pleasing God.  Christ can no longer be seen with the physical eye nor heard with the physical ear.  He may be found with the inner eye and ear of faith.  

     6: But now has He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises (8:6).  

    Each of us would be capable of losing our salvation unless Christ Jesus was up in heaven ministering to us in the heavenly tabernacle.  He intercedes on our behalf, He defends us against slander and accusation.  He sustains our salvation from up on high.  

    So why is this new covenant better?  God gave to Moses the Law, then He gave instructions for the tabernacle with its ordinances.  Sin was dealt with in the tabernacle.  The Law being kept by people never saved anyone for it required perfection to keep all of the Law.  The Hebrews continually brought animal sacrifices to the tabernacle to cover their sins.  This sacrificial system was symbolic.  The Law revealed to the people that they had come short of the glory of God.  The physical tabernacle that God gave them was only a figure of the real one up in heaven.  

    So, we have been told that we have a better priest; we have a better sacrifice; and we have a better tabernacle.  All three of these converge at the brazen altar because Christ is all three.  The better covenant is that the blood applied upon the mercy seat is that of God Himself, in the Person of Jesus Christ.  This supercedes the Old Covenant given to Moses and the Hebrews out in the wilderness during their exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land.

    What better promises is this based upon?  All through time God has dealt differently with people.  We have faith in Christ, Moses had the sacrificial system, Abraham came to God by faith, and Noah came by another approach as well.  All are dispensations, but I suppose some other term could also be used.  But that is how the Bible presents it to us.  So now we have a "better covenant" and it is based upon "better promises."  Although you and I may have been made a part of it, God is not done with the nation of Israel.  God may not being much with them at this point in time, but when the End Times arrive God shall have some mighty things to still accomplish through them.  

    Many have thought, and continue to think, that the resumption of the nation of Israel in the 1940's completely fulfilled the prophecy in the Old Testament about the nation being rebuilt and the people returning to live there.  True, many Jews have returned to live there but does that fulfill prophecy?  Only partially.  Jeremiah 31:8 requires a much larger migration to Israel than we have yet seen.  Jeremiah 31:10-11 indicates that the return home to their Promised Land will be under God's redemptive hand.  Has that been the case thus far?  I don't think so.  Jeremiah 31:31-33 was partly fulfilled, I believe, when Christ came the first time.  God gave the Law on hard cold stone the very first time, then came and etched in their hearts the second time.  Has Christ done so on every Jewish heart that there is?  No He has not.  How many Jews are back living in Israel today because they have had the Law written in their hearts?  Not very many I dare say.  Most are secularists with the rest being orthodox practitioners awaiting the rebuilding of their precious Temple so that animal sacrifice may recommence.  What will happen when the day arrives that the Law will be written in the hearts of the Israelites?  Jeremiah 31:34 tells us that there will be no more teaching of their neighbors or relatives for they shall all know the Lord, form the least to the greatest.  And as Gentiles, we have nothing to be concerned about for Christ has already sent this message out to us long ago.  We have been living in the "time of the Gentiles."  This is the time for all non-Jews to hear the gospel and decide what to do with the message.  

    Bottom line:  the better covenant is that we now have an eternal High Priest who has offered up holy, divine, blood to redeem all sins.  The better promises are that God writes His Law upon each heart that chooses to believe in Christ and that Christ is our earnest, our token, of salvation.

    That is all for tonight my friends.  Next time I shall look over the next verses which will point out why a second, better covenant was needed to achieve redemption from our sins.  Until then, grace, peace, and love abound in your lives!

    ~Eric


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    Thu, Jan 6th - 12:53PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "Integrity is the glue that holds our way of life together.  What our young people want to see in their elders is integrity, honesty, truthfulness, and faith.  What they hate most of all is hypocrisy and phoniness.  That is why it is important for us to go to church, to read the Bible, and to say grace at the table.  Let them see us doing what we would like to see them do."

                                 ~Billy Graham 

     1: And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of En-gedi.

     2: Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats (24:1-2). 

    David continues to attempt to avoid confronting Saul but, spies keep zeroing the king in upon David's whereabouts.  Saul takes enough fighting men with him, don't you think?  Five times as many men as David had Saul, but David knew the terrain much better. 

     3: And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet:  and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave.

     4: And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto you, Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it shall seem good unto you.  Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe quietly (24:3-4). 

    King Saul goes into the exact same cave in which David and his men are hiding!  The king went into the cave to take a short nap.  Saul's soldiers are all on the outside of the cave on guard duty to make sure no one disturbs the king's nap!  David listens to his men and slips on over next to the king and cut off the bottom part of the man's robe while he slept. 

     5: And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt.

     6: And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD's anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD (24:5-6). 

    Immediately David regrets his actions here for it would lead to personal embarassment of the king.  David still honors God's will in these matters.  He respected the office of king, although he may not have respected the man occupying the office. 

    Americans today must respect the office of the President even if they do not like the man/woman who sits in the Oval Office at any particular point in time.  Ridicule ought not to be a part of the freedom of speech granted to any citizen.  Respect should be the rule of the day.  We have lost a great deal of that in the past thirty years.  Criticism is one thing, but mockery, slander, and ridicule is quite another. 

    It is very interesting that even though David is being hunted down by the king, he refuses to lay a hand upon the king.  Why?  Because David understands what it means to be the "anointed" of God.  God did not tell David that he could do whatever he felt like to the king.  David knows that he must allow God to deal with Saul.  And isn't that what each of us is supposed to do today?  We are to allow God to deal with our enemies, with our spouses, with our bosses.  Instead we try to figure out ways to "fix" the problems and invariably mess things up even more.  We need to obey what we have been told in Romans 12:19 and give God place to avenge us properly.  Doing things through our own efforts is not trusting in God, it is not even walking by faith.  As one brother of Christ has said, "Don't worry, Lord, I've got this one!" leads to making huge mistakes and is not trusting in Christ to solve our problems. 

    So David's conscience bothers him over defacing the king's robe.  Custom of the day did not approve of such actions being taken with the king's clothing.  It lead to the embarassment of the person. 

     7: So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul.  But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way.

     8: David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king.  And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself (24:7-8). 

    Again, David gives honor and respect to his king.  David's men would have killed Saul at one gesture from David, but David refused to end Saul's reign in such fashion.  But David goes out and attempts to put an end to the hostilities between them.  David only desires to serve Saul, not to usurp his throne.

     9: And David said to Saul, Where have you heard your men's words, saying, Behold, David seeks to hurt you?

    10: Behold, this day my eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered you today into my hand in the cave:  and some bade me to kill you:  but my eye spared you; and I said, I will not put out my hand against my lord; for he is the LORD's anointed (24:9-10). 

    David showed to the king that he was not out to kill him at all.  Saul had listened to advisors, had not asked David in person what was going on.  David's act of mercy, did it change the relationship between him and his king?  That is for next time!  Grace and peace be with you all.

    ~Eric



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    Thu, Jan 6th - 12:53PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "Integrity is the glue that holds our way of life together.  What our young people want to see in their elders is integrity, honesty, truthfulness, and faith.  What they hate most of all is hypocrisy and phoniness.  That is why it is important for us to go to church, to read the Bible, and to say grace at the table.  Let them see us doing what we would like to see them do."

                                 ~Billy Graham 

     1: And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of En-gedi.

     2: Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats (24:1-2). 

    David continues to attempt to avoid confronting Saul but, spies keep zeroing the king in upon David's whereabouts.  Saul takes enough fighting men with him, don't you think?  Five times as many men as David had Saul, but David knew the terrain much better. 

     3: And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet:  and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave.

     4: And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto you, Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it shall seem good unto you.  Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe quietly (24:3-4). 

    King Saul goes into the exact same cave in which David and his men are hiding!  The king went into the cave to take a short nap.  Saul's soldiers are all on the outside of the cave on guard duty to make sure no one disturbs the king's nap!  David listens to his men and slips on over next to the king and cut off the bottom part of the man's robe while he slept. 



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    Tue, Jan 4th - 7:39PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



    In chapter eight of Hebrews we are introduced to the true tabernacle.  In the previous chapter we learned that we do not place our confidence in simply a man when we place our faith in Christ Jesus.  The Man Jesus can sympathize with us and is able to meet our need.  He is a royal priest, a righteous priest, a peace-promoting priest, and a personal priest.  He is your priest.  He is also an eternal priest who shall never need to be replaced with another.  Now in chapter eight we find out that our High Priest ministers in a superior sanctuary.

     1: Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum:  We have such a high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens (8:1). 

    The total of what the apostles had spoken was that we have a High Priest who presently sits on the right hand of the throne of God Almighty in heaven.  No human priest ever did what Christ was able to do, present a blood offering for sin in heaven.  None of the Aaronic priesthood was capable of doing this, and none of them had a chair waiting for them next to God.  Aaron did not have time to sit down because he had all sorts of things to do which were foreshadows of Christ.  Now that Jesus Christ has come and fulfilled all of those things, there is no need to wonder if we doing enough to merit salvation from our sins.  Legalism is not required.  Ordinances are not required.  Faith in Christ Jesus and His Word is what is required.  Christ was able to sit down next to the Father in heaven because His redemptive work was finished, it is simply up to us to accept it.

     2: A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man (8:2). 

    Master craftsmen made the furniture of the Tabernacle in the wilderness.  The mercy seat and golden lampstand were made of gold and highly ornate.  The Holy Spirit of God directed the crafting of the items, but men made them.  Contrasting with this is Jesus ministering in a tabernacle that He Himself has created up in heaven.  The earthly one was fashioned after the one found in heaven.

     3: For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices:  therefore it is of necessity that this man have something also to offer.

     4: For if He  were on earth, He should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law.

     5: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle:  for, See, says He, that you make all things according to the pattern showed to you in the mount (8:3-5). 

    Verse four indicates that at the time of the writing of this book of the Bible that the Temple still existed and priests were still offering gifts according to the law.  When Moses was given instructions on building the tabernacle and its furnishings he was provided a "pattern" to follow.  This "pattern" came from the original which can be found in heaven even this very minute.

    As we are told in the New Testament, the tabernacle represents Jesus Christ.  To gain a greater understanding of what this tabernacle represents, reference my study on the Tabernacle.  To simplify some of that study:  the sacrificial altar represented Christ's redemptive work upon the cross, the lampstand represented Christ as being the Light of the World and is found in the Book of Revelation amongst the churches.  The shewbread represented Him as the Bread of Life.  On the Day of Atonement the high priest passed through the veil to the inner sanctum, the Holy of Holies.  Here was to be found the Ark of the Covenant within which were the Ten Commandments, a pot of manna, and Aaron's rod.  Covering the Ark was the Mercy Seat.  Crowning this seat were two cherubim of beaten gold.  Once per year the high priest must come here to place blood upon the mercy seat, God's dwelling place; the place where God met with the children of Israel. 

    Around the tabernacle was an outer court where the priests served God.  There was an altar of brass and a laver filled with water.  Priests washed themselves clean at the laver between serving at the sacrificial altar.  The priests served and worshipped there.  Believers today are washed clean with God's Word and we serve and worship Him in everything that we do each day. 

    That is all for now on this subject.  Tomorrow I will continue and then move on to the new Covenant.  May Christ richly bless you!

    ~Eric



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    Tue, Jan 4th - 12:53PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "The world will never have lasting peace so long as men reserve for war the finest human qualities.  Peace, no less than war, requires idealism and self-sacrifice and a righteous and dynamic faith."

                            ~John Foster Dulles 

     20: Now therefore, O king, come down according to all the desire of your soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him into the king's hand.

     21: And Saul said, Blessed are you of the LORD; for you have compassion on me.

     22: Go, I pray, prepare yet, and know and see his place where his haunt is, and who has seen him there:  for it is told me that he deals very subtly.

     23: See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hides himself, and come again to me with the certainty, and I will go with you; and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out throughout all the thousands of Judah.

     24: And they arose, and went to Ziph before Saul:  but David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the plain on the south of Jeshimon.

     25: Saul also and his men went to seek him.  And they told David:  wherefore he came down into a rock, and dwelled in the wilderness of Maon.  And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon.

     26: And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain:  and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them (23:20-26). 

    We can see Saul's self delusion.  He feels that David has acted in treason against his throne.  The exact opposite is the truth.  David only did that which was honorable and in support of his king.  Jealously is what fuels Saul's anger towards David.  He understands in the depths of his heart that the people gravitate towards the younger man because of his solid character. 

    We find that the Ziphonites were going to try and hand David over to Saul.  Saul continuously pursues David and his men, trying to trap them.  By verse 26 Saul has finally trapped David against the mountain, victory is his!  But wait!  Something has happened. 

     27: But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Hurry, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land.

     28: Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines:  therefore they called that place Sela-hammahlekoth.

     29: And David went up from there, and dwelt in strong holds at En-gedi (23:27-29). 

    A miracle happened!  The nemesis of Israel, the Philistines, had chosen that exact moment in time to invade Israeli lands.  Saul had no other choice, he had to retire from his personal vendetta and engage the Philistines in battle.  The king could not ignore this external threat, he had to discharge his duties as king of the people.  In these circumstances we are able to see God's perfect timing of events for the good of His children.  David is given an opportunity to escape death.  But the Ziphonites apparantly continue to watch everywhere for David and his band of men. 

    This completes chapter 23.  We have learned of how king Saul relentlessly hounded David and his 600 men.  We have seen how less honorable men try to curry favor with the office of authority by spying and reporting what they have seen.  These things go on in our world today, beloved.  Heaven help us if it continues to spread and becomes the normal thing to do in our society!  For if we reach that point it will mean we live in a tyranny.  Freedom will have disappeared from our lives. 

    Chapter 24 will continue the account of David's avoidance of king Saul and his jealous rage.  Hope you come back to find out more!  Peace and grace of Christ be with you.

    ~Eric



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    Tue, Jan 4th - 7:13AM

    NLC



    "My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin.  And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world (I John 2:1-2)."  

    The truth of this verse is that Jesus lives to intercede with the Father for us.  Propitiation means to be an atoning sacrifice; to gain, or regain, the favor or goodwill of someone.  Jesus became the atoning sacrifice in order to regain God's favor and goodwill for all of us here on earth.  


    As Christians, when we are faced with any sort of situation, whom should we call?  Jesus Christ, that's who.  In America, when citizens are accused of a serious crime they can call upon a defense lawyer to come and protect their rights, to be their advocate before the judge.  Spiritually, Jesus Christ is our Defense Lawyer, advocating and defending our righteousness before the Judge of all creation.  Satan is the one who is our accuser before God and therefore we need defending.  Jesus is our High Priest in heaven, one who applies His blood to our hearts and to our lives, making us righteous in Him.  We may be self-righteous but we won't be acceptable in the sight of the Judge of all creation and this is why we must have the righteousness of Christ in order to gain the goodwill of the Judge of all.


    Jesus is called our high priest.  What does a high priest do?  I covered this quite recently in my study in Hebrews.  A high priest enters the presence of God once per year to offer up blood for the purpose of covering the sins of an entire group of people.  This must be done every year.  The human high priest must first cover his own sins with blood, then he may enter God's presence to do so for the entire group.  Jesus Christ became our high priest, replacing the Old Testament priesthood's high priest, by offering up His blood to not just cover our sins but to absolve us of our sins completely.  Christ had no need to cover His own sin for He was sinless to begin with.  Human high priests are mortal and eventually die and must then be replaced but Christ Jesus is immortal, living eternally, and thus needs no replacement.  Jesus is our High Priest for He shed His own blood as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Christ became the atoning sacrifice for us.  Christians need to never forget this important fact, it helps us keep our focus correct and accurate.  Jesus is our reason for living, He is our anchor in times of turbulence, He is our compass in stormy seas.  




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    Mon, Jan 3rd - 8:15AM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "To find one's work is to find one's place in the world."

                                      ~Richard C. Cabot

    "What the world expects of Christians is that Christians should speak out, loud and clear...in such a way that never a doubt, never the slightest doubt, could rise in the heart of the simplest man."

                                      ~Albert Camus 

    I will begin with verses 14-16 today in chapter 23.

     14: And David dwelled in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wildeness of Ziph.  And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him out of his hand.

     15: And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life:  and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in a wood.

     16: And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God (23:14-16). 

    There has been some question as to whether or not David fled with all of his men intact as a single group, or not.  I do not think that it is a vital question needing an answer.  Nothing indicates thus far that David did not have six hundred men with him in Ziph.  But we must note here how faithful and loyal Jonathan remained to his friend David, even at great risk of losing his life.

     17: And he said unto him, Fear not:  for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you; and you shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you; and that also Saul my father knows.

     18: And they two made a covenant before the LORD:  and David dwelled in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house (23:17-18). 

    Jonathan informs David that Jonathan's father knows what God intends for David, but he is determined to fight against it.  King Saul is an example of someone knowlingly striving against the will of God.  He is completely rebelling against the wishes of God.  Jonathan however is willing to assist in executing God's will in this matter.  Jonathan is revealed to us as a great man, a shining example of how we all ought to be living our lives.  His example is quite similar to that of John the Baptist:  "He must increase, but I must decrease."

     19: Then came up the Ziphites to Saul in Gibeah, saying, Doesn't David hide himself with us in strong holds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon (23:19)? 

    Ah, what scoundrels these Ziphinites are!  They go to the king and most likely expected to receive some sort of reward for revealing David's hideout.  It matters not that the king is corrupt, and not working out God's will for the nation Israel.  No, they wish to remain in the good graces of a wicked king, unwilling to stand up for what is right and proper.  Take note Christians in America!  We must stand up and voice our opinion of what is right and of what is wrong.  If we do not, then just like with school prayer being banned from public schools we will lose whatevere credibility we may still cling to.  Abortion law has led to loss of respect for human life, all human life.  Living in dignity is slowly falling by the wayside in our entire culture.  Freedom of speech is being trampled in state courts, in zoning appeals courts, in county supervisor meetings.  When shall we finally decide it is important enough to open our mouths and say, "No!"?  When they tell us we can't preach God's Word on Sundays?  When they tell us we can't assemble together to worship Christ?  When they tell us that we can't believe in God anymore?  If we wait that long it will have been too late to say anything in order to make a difference legally.  We will have reached the point of civil disobedience as our only recourse.  Martydom will follow shortly thereafter for the government run by atheists will not tolerate disobedience to their collective will.  We all need to revisit what went horribly wrong with Christians in Germany while the Nazis consolidated their power.  If not, then it will be repeated here in America before too much longer.  The church is the conscience of the government and of the people of this great nation and must therefore be heard on matters of morality and ethics.  We must all realize that government requires the presence of religion to address the issues of morality and ethics.  Governments can't address these things by themselves, they require a higher standard be applied to them than mankind can supply.  Measuring ourselves by ourselves leads to deep satisfaction of being good compared to others outside our group.  This is self deception and is wrong. 

    Well, beloved, I will stop right here for now.  I hope to post again later today, hope that you return to learn more about God and what He desires from you! 

    ~Eric



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    Sun, Jan 2nd - 2:08PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



    "Two dissenting judges in 1963's Abington School District vs. Schempp warned that "unilateral devotion to the concept of neutrality can lead to...not simply noninterference and noninvolvement with the religious which the Constitution commands, but a brooding and pervasive devotion to the secular and a passive, or even active, hostility to the religious."

                       ~Charles Colson, Kingdoms in Conflict 

    Christ in His person is perpetual and perfect as our Priest. 

     23: And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death.

     24: But this man, because He continues ever, has an unchangeable priesthood (7:23-24). 

    The Levitical priesthood always ended in death.  These priests were mortal men.  They would lose their high priest to death regularly and must replace him with another mortal man.  Their priesthood was ever changing, but ours does not change with time.  Our High Priest is Jesus Christ and He is eternal.  Jesus allowed Himself to die once, and once only.  He will not be suffering death anymore. 

    Christ is on duty 24/7, He misses nothing.  While I am sleeping each night Jesus is ministering to people on the other side of our planet.  He sees to it that His Word does not come back to Him void of good works.

    25: Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He lives ever to make intercession for them (7:25). 

    We find here once more that hinge word "wherefore" which swings back into what has been said previously and swings forward into what is yet to come. 

    This verse reminds us that Christ Jesus is not dead and buried in a tomb somewhere but that He is alive.  Christians emphasize the death and resurrection of Christ but we ought to go further, go beyond that and emphasize that He is alive and at the right hand of God in heaven.  We have to deal with a living God, a living Christ.  We can't know Him today according to the flesh.  We know Him as our High Priest.  Christ died down here to save us, but He lives up in heaven to keep us saved.

    "To the uttermost" means all the way through.  Christ is able to save us completely and perfectly.  He came to seek and to save that which was lost.  If you feel lost today, then He has come to find you.  He will find you and take you home with Him one day.  And once He finds you He will never lose you again!  If you are one of His sheep He has become your Shepherd and will lead you home. 

    "Intercession" means intervention.  Christ intervenes for us, as is told in Romans 5:10.  The apostle John speaks about this in I John 2:1 where he writes about our having an Advocate with the Father.  An advocate is someone who stands by our side.  Christ Jesus' Holy Spirit stands by our side to help defend us against the accusations of Satan.

     26: For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens (7:26). 

    This means that Christ is exactly what we need.  He came in human flesh, became us, in order to provide us assurance that He understands how we feel.  Attributes are listed here, things which define Christ.  He is holy or separated unto God, He is harmless, free from malice, craftiness or non threatening to the lost sinners, he is undefiled or untouched by the effects of sin, He is separate from sinners or not of Adam's bloodline. 

     27: Who doesn't need to daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for His own sins, and then for the peoples':  for this he did once, when he offered up Himself (7:27). 

    Christ Jesus did not need to offer up any sacrifice for His own sin, He had none.  The continual sacrificing in the Old Testament must have become rather tiresome for the priests.  Over and over they were required to go and wash their hands before accepting another animal for sacrifice at the bronze altar.  What they needed to remember was that God was trying to tell them that sin is a terrible thing and it required the shedding of blood to become clean once again.  They needed to remember that their Messiah was coming one day to die upon a cross, that when He did that there would be no more shedding of blood.  The Messiah will have paid the entire cost of their sins.

     28: For the law makes men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, makes the Son, who is consecrated for evermore (7:28). 

    "Consecrate" means to make or declare sacred; dedicated to a sacred purpose.  So Christ was dedicated to becoming our High Priest which is a sacred purpose.  Law can't make men high priests today for that has become obsolete in light of the work of Jesus Christ upon the cross.  There can be only one high priest, and that is Christ Jesus. 

    This completes chapter seven of Hebrews, beloved.  I shall move on to the next chapter this week and continue delving into God's Word in study of its truth.  I hope and pray that you will continue to follow along with me in the coming weeks and months of this new year!  Grace and peace be with you!

    ~Eric



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    Sat, Jan 1st - 10:44AM

    NLC



    I am going to give five verses which all help us to grow in Christ.  Let's make it our resolution on this first day of 2011 to grow in Christ and redeem the time!

    "But seek you first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33)."  What does it mean to seek the Kingdom of God?  It means to determine in our hearts to read and study God's Word in order to understand that we are not to focus our energies upon temporal things, physical things.  The love of money is the root of all evil, not money itself, but in making it the "god" of our lives.  The Kingdom of God has to do with seeking Jesus, accepting Him as our Lord and Savior.  Then we are to learn all that we can about Him, in this way we can please Him and continue in doing God's business here on the earth.  We are to love unconditionally all of the brethren of Christ, we are to give to the poor, we are to look after the widows and those children without parents.  When we choose to do these things THEN God says He will give us all of those other things as blessings.  In losing ourselves in Christ we are able to gain our lives back, and then some.  God promises to bless us if we choose to seek His kingdom first and not seek our kingdom first.

    "Commit your works unto the LORD, and your thoughts shall be established (Proverbs 16:3)."  I must decide, and commit, all that I do to God.  I can't pick and choose which parts of my life are to be God's and which are to remain completely mine.  Christ said that with His sacrifice on that cross our lives became His, He bought us with His life's blood.  We are not our own anymore, we are Christ's.  We have become His bondservants.  So each person must decide whether or not to commit their works to God, or not.  To commit everything that I do to Christ means including Him in everything that I decide to do.  This does not mean I have to wait for Him to tell me what clothes to wear or how many times I must brush my teeth each day.  It does mean that before I go out and purchase a vehicle I must take it before God in prayer and try to find His will in the matter before going and purchasing it.  Same goes for career decisions, home purchases, marriage, having children, going to college, moving from home to a far away place to work, or changing jobs/occupations.  We must include Christ in making all sorts of choices.  Who will I date?  What should we do in church now that we are so crowded with members?  Expand the building, or create a new congregation from out of the members we now have?  Search the scriptures and pray fervently while doing so.  This is the only way we can proceed in our lives.

    "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law (Galatians 4:4),"  Who controls the timing of things, us or God?  We fool ourselves into believing that we do control the big things in life when in reality we control the little things and God controls all else.  Am I saying that we do not have freedom of choice?  No, I am not.  I am saying that we do not control the weather, the seasons, the force of gravity, the laws of physics, or the migration patterns of birds.  We control our own personal decisions and that does not even include our own time of death, unless of course we choose to commit suicide.  Can we force God into doing things our way?  No.  Did our sin force God to send His Son sooner rather than later?  No.  Before the foundations of our universe God the Father had already determined how to save all of us, where it would happen, and when it would happen.  God always does things in the fulness of the time, not by accident, and not because He must rush to get caught up with a schedule.  That is what we do as human beings.  We must, as believers, get our lives aligned more closely with God's will so that we gain a greater vision of what time and history are bringing about during our lifetimes and beyond.  We must force ourselves to consider things outside of this finite box which we find ourselves in.  We must not give in to only the "here and now" view of life, but we must look at the "bigger picture," step back from the canvas of life to see the movement of humanity across our planet.  

    "A man's heart devises his way: but the LORD directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9)."  Oh, aren't we all so good at making plans for our lives?  We figure out what we will do for earning a living wage, or how large of a house we will own.  Perhaps we figure out what type of automobile we shall drive around town in.  Or what kind of person we shall marry and have children with.  All of these things are what our hearts attempt to "devise."  But we so easily forget that God is the one who works all things for our own good as long as we are living according to His will for our lives.  Those who strive against God at every point in their lives find that things are always in turmoil, never finding peace and security for themselves.  People need to realize that attempting to always row upstream against the current eventually leads to physical exhaustion and failure.  That person eventually will just give up and allow the currents of water to take them where ever they are happening to go.  This is how we act within our own societies.  We either strive against God until we are exhausted and must then surrender to the current of our society, or we believe God only partially and surrender to the ever present currents of our society and allow them to carry us to unknown places, or we can surrender to God's will and allow Him to carry us to safety on the nearby riverbank.  The first two options do not end pleasantly while the third option brings us into the protective custody of God the Father through Christ the Son.  Here in America too many people are living the first two options and do not realize where they are going, just that it is an easier ride.  Those of us who have chosen option number three realize that our society is changing quickly into something foreign to the intent of our Founding Fathers and if not careful it shall metamorphose into a totalitarian society run by an elitist class of individuals.  Is this God's will for America?  I honestly do not know.  It could be.

    The soul of the sluggard desires, and has nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat (Proverbs 13:4)."  How does a diligent person use his/her time compared to the sluggard?  The sluggard may decide that the shortest route to obtaining things is to simply go out and steal them from others.  Or the sluggard may decide that it is much easier to simply sponge off of the other diligently working people of society via the governments entitlement programs.  The sluggard can obtain things in this fashion but spiritually has gained nothing in the process.  They will not place any value upon their possessions for they did absolutely nothing to earn them.  They will feel that they can be easily replaced for they were so easily gotten.  However, the diligent person works hard and therefore understands the value of possessions and thus takes better care of them.  The diligent worker gains more than the sluggard, they are rewarded for their efforts.  The diligent seeker of God's will in his/her life discovers that their soul becomes nourished, their cup runs over in abundance.

    I hope that these five verses will help in deepening your new life in Christ (NLC).  This coming week we shall study about our great Advocate, Jesus Christ.  Come on back, you hear?  Grace and peace be with you all on this first day of the new year!

    ~Eric


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    About Me

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

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