Saturday, April 21, 2012

DQ#3. Have you ever "fallen behind" God, or perhaps "fallen away"? How did God restore you?

As a very young child I accepted Jesus in my life, nothing momentous, just a wonderful feeling of love. According to the belief “Once Saved, Always Saved” should one wander too far from righteousness, the saved person would be taken home fairly early. As an example, Acts 5:2-4, “2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” Both Ananias and his wife Sapphira fell down dead. After hearing that I started to question was I really saved and if so why hasn't God struck me dead years ago.

I grew up in the church, learned verses and read Bible stories. I sang in both the junior and senior choirs. As a college student I joined my husband’s church and my children and I attended church most every Sunday even after we divorced. However, all the Sunday mornings spent on my knees didn't keep me from playing the field whenever possible. After college I drifted further away from God and later played around the edges of the “New Age.” I went so far as to join a “New Thought” church and attend classes for two years. I studied “Science of Mind” and scientific prayer treatment. I even became ordained and performed marriages, mostly in prisons. By the way, this little bit of service in prisons created in me an interest in a prison mission, something I've never done anything about.

Well God sure claims His own! Good career or not I had a hunger that the “All roads lead to God” couldn't satisfy. I got into a Bible based church and started back on the path I wandered away from. Did I ever totally fall away? I don’t think so. I was in a Bible study and heard “Repent and be baptized.” Repentance was not a problem as I was feeling in great need of forgiveness. Over family objection that I was baptized as a child I had a full immersion baptism.
So why did God spare me all those years while I fell behind Him? Perhaps so I would be the discerning Christian that I am today. I've heard many of the enemy’s non-Biblical teaching and can recognize a red flag when I see it.

DQ#8 The Need for a Selah Moment

At the risk of repeating myself, after starting BIB501-1 in December of 2011 my mother became very ill so off to live with her for as long as she is able to remain in her home. This was not the first time I've had to care for her; however, this time it is for the foreseeable future. My life was going so well, I love my Arizona and Michigan church families and was very involved in Bible studies. So off to California, the land of Atheists, Agnostics, New Agers and Catholic friends and family. Being a student in KI was a life-line to me as I went through several weeks of depression. Guilt is a difficult companion tearing me between love of and duty to family and missing my peaceful life filled with “Selah Moments."

To me "Walking with God” requires daily, hourly “Selah Moments.” Due to the demands of helping to care for my mother I seem too often be falling behind. There are few really physical demands as mom has a care-giver twice a week; however, it’s the nearly constant interruptions of phone calls, doctor/lab appointments, and meal preparation. A few nights ago I picked up the Bible and turned to John for a "Selah Moment." I was so tired I only got part way through Chapter three. The next day was another day of trying to study with poor results. Just when I was thinking I’d have the time after dinner to myself, my brother called to say he and his wife and two young grandchildren would be over to visit us. We are making plans for my mother’s 100th birthday party and selfish as it may sound, I am in great need of time to myself.

Much as I love my family I can sure understand Jesus’ comment in Mark 35:32-35, “And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.”

So it is time to reflect on Micah 6:8, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” I count it as a great blessing that years ago I bought several Cd's by The Maranatha Singers. I copied these to my computers and NowBible MP3 player. When I am questioning “Why Me God,” I put on a headphone and listen to these Praise and Worship Songs including Micah 6:8. Another much needed Selah Moment and resting in the knowledge that God has planted me where He wants me to be.

DQ# 4 How do we know that Jesus was resurrected from the dead?

A few days ago my mom folded her breakfast napkin neatly and laid it by her plate. I shared with her that in the tomb the burial napkin was neatly folded beside where Jesus' head should have been. In that day a folded napkin meant "I am coming back." This plus so many other things could be listed as evidence that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. To me the number one proof at that time is that Jesus’ disciples, the same men who ran like scared rabbits when Jesus was arrested, became radically changed after seeing the risen Jesus. The disciples became so strong in their conviction that they spread the Word at great sacrifice. All but John were martyred; however, John was tortured and imprisoned. So many other events point to the resurrection:

At the tomb "The Undisturbed Grave Cloths", the rolled aside stone, that the tomb was guarded and the missing Jesus evidence of a risen Christ.
Hundreds of people saw the risen Christ. After the resurrection Jesus appeared on several occasions including Saul/Paul on the road to Damascus, to Mary Madeleine in the garden, in the Upper Room, to Thomas and preparing breakfast. Add to all that the many Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the final week that could have been written at the foot of the cross.
Fast forward two thousand years, the life and resurrection of Jesus was and is the most important event in that ever was or will be. Hundreds of thousands have been tortured and/or executed because they would not deny Jesus and His finished work on the cross.
Jack Kinsella discusses “the overwhelming evidence for Christ's resurrection” in his article:
"Still the Greatest Story Ever Told" By Jack Kinsella

DQ# 6 Why did the disciples have a problem recognizing the resurrected Jesus?

The question of why did the disciples and others had a problem recognizing the resurrected Jesus tears at my heart like the news did when my beloved sister passed away so many years ago. It’s a physical pain like my heart is being squeezed in my chest. This may sound strange but it is my best description. However, painful, it is eased by the knowledge that I will someday be with Jesus. I pray that I’ll see my sister as well; however, I don’t know the status of her acceptance of Jesus’ gift of salvation.
Again I digress. The Gospels share many of the occasions when someone/ some didn't immediately recognize the risen Jesus. These include Mary in the garden, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus and later the same night in the Upper Room with most of the disciples. Jesus even had to ask the disciples, “Why are you so frightened? I’m not a spirit. Handle me and see. A spirit does not have flesh and bone.”

Perhaps as Dr. Missler brings up, the difficulty in recognizing Jesus was that His beard was ripped off as suggested in Isaiah 50:6 “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” Painful as this would be to see, I pray that this is the reason for their lack of recognition and not that Christ will bear the scars of the horrific beating He was subjected to. The whips of the Romans had items embedded in them that would tear flesh. If the evidence of His beating and crown of thorns are visible in Jesus’ resurrected body He will have to “Wipe away all tears” for me. Tears of pain mixed with tears of joy and gratitude for His gift of salvation He won for me at the cross.

6. Read Act 15. What is the major issue behind this chapter?

The Book of Acts Chapter 2 marks the beginning of the Church Age; Chapter 15 opens the door to the Gentiles and salvation by grace, not works. Jesus assures Israel they are not forgotten and He will return to rebuild Israel after the Rapture of the Church.
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8-9 These are harsh words however Paul was very justified. In his letter to the Galatians Paul is criticizing them as they were listening to the “Judaizers” who opposed Paul’s teachings of salvation by grace, not through works. Although the Judaizers confirmed the teachings of Jesus, they taught that some Jewish religious practices much be adhered to; most notably circumcision. A faction in the church held that it was necessary to first become Jewish to achieve salvation causing confusion and concern among Paul’s recent converts.
The Judaizers claimed they spoke with James’ approval so Paul and Barnabas returned to Jerusalem. With the backing of Peter, the elders concluded: Acts 15:28-29, “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.” To quote Dr. Missler “the Gospel was now open to the Gentiles, too. And although God used Peter to open the door to the Gentiles, Paul was to be the missionary to the Gentiles; Peter would continue to be the apostle to the Jews.”

A few side-bars:
Habakkuk 2:4, “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” As I understand it, this plus The Book of Galatians had a major impact on Martin Luther and the Reformation; it is by grace that we are saved, not by keeping the law. Thank you Jesus!

Paul stated that “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:” Galatians 1:6. If people could wander from Jesus’ teachings so soon after His time on earth, what of today? Although Jesus offered salvation through His completed work on the cross, it seems to be human nature and/or pride to add to it.
Paul further warned: ” Acts 20:27, 29-30. “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God…For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Hand of God Protected Sandy Pines! Revisited from 2009

Today as many are in the path of danger from today's out-break of tornadoes I am reminded of an event that happened during 2009 when we were protected, IMO, by the hand of God.

About 4:00 AM or so last Saturday morning we were having an impressive thunder storm here in Sandy Pines, my summer home. My 75 pound dog crawled in bed and plastered her trembling body against me. I listened for a warning siren, none. I finally got up and turned on the TV, nothing. By now the rain was coming down so hard you couldn't see outside. Then I thought it was hailing. The drapes on my porch were blowing and one rod was blown off. The wind was unbelievable and over in a flash. I finally went back to bed, got up and ate breakfast. I heard chain saws and finally hopped in my golf cart to check out the neighborhood. The park loop where my son has a place was blocked by a huge tree across the road on the right. I was able to drive around the loop from the left by dodging around more trees. My son's place was OK. God bless his little Agnostic heart, as he rocked in his trailer he said he thought that he might find out if mom's right about the after-life. At least that's a little progress....

More than a hundred trees were knocked over or uprooted in the park. Some claim it was only a wind sheer and other (including me) think it was a small tornado. Our park has camp sites and trees fell between tents not hurting anyone. My neighbor about 230 feet down the road lost part of a huge hardwood tree. Surely God keep us safe. Another neighbor had a tree fall between his RV and car doing no damage. In another phase a tree sliced through a park model to within a foot of a couple asleep in their bed, quite a way to wake up.

There were many stories of how close people and or property came to having trees drop on them. No one was hurt and property damage was very limited.

Our park is a religious park for the most part. So...yes, the hand of God protected us. Thank you Lord Jesus!

Friday, April 6, 2012

BIB501-2 wk 2 DQ#8 Theologies That Thumb Their Noses at Revelation 22:18-19

Where to start; To name a few, Mormonism, Islam, Christian Science, New Age or the Roman Catholic Church? The Bible is the Word of God and here I am not referring to watered down Bibles such as “The Message.” In the Book of Mormon Jesus is the brother of Lucifer and man can achieve the godhood. The Jesus of the Quran more correctly could be labeled the False Prophet of Revelation. Christian Scientists believe the trinity is life, truth and love. The New Agers for the most part are gentle loving people with an “Anything goes” theology, been there, done that and I thank Jesus for not giving up on me.
I was raised in a rather conservative Protestant church in a very small town in Michigan. One of our few claims to fame was that the bestselling author, James Harrison, lived there during his formative years. The other and greater in my opinion is that our town was “The Home of the Living Author,” Reverence George Bennard. Reverence Bennard, the author of the well-known hymn “The Old Rugged Cross,” spent his retirement years in my home town and gave the town land to erect the “Old Rugged Cross Historical Museum.” Life was simpler then and our church celebrated the Lord’s Table several times a year. We did this in remembrance of Jesus’ completed work on that “Old Rugged Cross.” I still remember a friend telling me that it was a shame that I was going to hell as I was not a Catholic. I didn’t take her comment seriously those many years ago. Growing up I read about the evils committed in the name of Christ by the Roman Catholic Church, however, these crimes were in the past and forgotten weren’t they?

I likely would have lived the rest of my live comfortably ignoring the Catholic Church as just a bit misguided faith except for the conversion to or return to Catholicism by friends and family. Last summer one of my best friends told me she was back in the Catholic Church and yes, purgatory is still part of the Catholic theology, how else is one purified enough to enter into the presence of God. Also she told me that the elements really do become the body and blood of Christ during Holy Communion. Back in my adopted state of Arizona I surrounded myself with mostly with likeminded Bible believing Christians. Now that I’m living in California for the foreseeable future, I often joke that I’m surrounded by Atheists, Agnostic, New Agers and Catholics.
Once again I'm up against the 500 word limit so to be Continued.
Acts 4:11-12: "This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." And that includes the Pope!
Hi Jeanine and thanks for the information, Evangelical Christians are now "crossing the Tiber” and joining the Catholic Church. I had not heard this expression before, however, the catholic Church is busy evangelizing and I understand are having success.
In the above Discussion Question I closed with, Acts 4:11-12: "This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." And added the comment that “no other name” includes the Pope! I know from Catholic friends that the question of Peter as the “rock” is a touchy subject. In John 21:17 Jesus asked Peter, “He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” Some think Jesus asked three times as Peter had denied Jesus three times, however, it sounds like the Catholic Church may be using “Feed my sheep” to promote Peter as the “rock” rather Jesus who is our cornerstone. I found this on the Internet:
First Things Evangelicals in the Church of Mary by Daniel P. Moloney
“Likewise, I think evangelicals ought to accept the authoritative voice of the successors of Peter and the apostles not as an oppressive imposition but as Christ’s gift and as an aid in evangelization. After all, Jesus asked Peter to take responsibility for feeding Christ’s sheep. If at times Peter’s successors have seemed less interested in feeding the sheep than in fleecing them, it should still be acknowledged that Jesus wanted the sheep to be fed by Peter, and he wanted the sheep to want Peter to feed them. Since both the pastor and his flock are guided by the Good Shepherd who is Jesus, the leading and the being led are both in obedience to Christ.” Link to complete article:

There was something called The Lutheran-Catholic Joint Declaration Justification signed Oct. 31, 1999 in Germany. It seems “Catholic/Lutheran differences had been put behind them”. Wonder how all those who were martyred for proclaiming the Gospel as the Word of God would look on this marginalization of the Reformation. Dave Hunt writes of this in his book, “A Woman Rides the Beast: The Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days.” Dave Hunt’s book is very informative and is heavily documented.

What is the main issue behind the blood curse that God gave to Jehoachin? Why is this a great witnessing tool when speaking to a Jewish friend?

Jewish friend, try a Catholic friend. We were talking about Easter and I said Jesus’ brother James didn't believe he (Jesus) was the Messiah until after the resurrection. I was quickly informed that Jesus had no brothers by Mary and Joseph only spiritual brother. From bad to worse as I said Mary and Joseph had a number of children and I added that Mary was not the product of an immaculate concept. I was informed that Mary died a virgin. I never had a chance to point out that Mary would not be of David line if not for her father Heli. We’re good friends so we agreed to disagree; however, perhaps I have her thinking. So I’ll save our discussion about the blood curse on Jehoachin and Jesus descending from King David’s son Nathan through Heli the father of Mary for another time.

Although I had written on this subject in PRO501 after today’s discussion a re-visit is timely.
It is always amazing how God sets in motion an event that will have great important at a later date. King Jeconiah, a descendant of King David through Solomon promoted idol worship and evil deeds which really out-raged our righteous God. So God pronounced a blood curse on the line of Jehoiachin, saying that none of his descendants would ever sit on the throne of David. This meant that no Messiah could come from a male in the line of David as there was now a blood curse pronounced on the only males left in the royal line.

Centuries before the daughters of Zelophehad had no brother for their father to leave his goods and property to. So they petitioned Moses Numbers 27: 4, “Why should the name of our father be done away from among his family, because he hath no son? Give unto us therefore a possession among the brethren of our father.” Moses took their petition before the Lord. And the Lord said, Numbers 27: 8, “And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a man die, and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter.” When the daughter married her father would adopt his son-in-law as his son.
Thus God solved the future problem of the blood curse on Jeconiah and all his sons. Jesus’ mother Mary had no brother so her father could adopt her husband Joseph, the legal father of Jesus. Joseph was in the line of King David but was tainted by the blood curse. Mary was in the line of Kind David through his son Nathan. Mary was the biological mother of Jesus born of her “seed” as predicted thousands of years before in the Garden of Eden.
If I were trying to convince a Jewish friend I would use this line of reasoning and pray I was more convincing than I was with my Catholic friend.