Sunday, November 30, 2014

Book of Job, Upper Story and the Lower Story 514 - 2 - 3

Job 1:1, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect (H8535) and upright (H3477), and one that feared (H3373) God, and eschewed evil.”

Unbeknownst to Job, God had pretty much bragged him up to Satan. Job 1:8, “ And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?”

Satan marginalized the character of Job to God using the rationale that God had a hedge of protection around Job and that Job was rich in livestock and in family. Would Job continue to be perfect and upright with the fear of God if he suffered great loss and tragedies? God allowed Satan to have control over all that Job had but not to hurt Job himself. After losing his 10 children and all of his wealth Job remained faithful to God.

Job 1:21, “And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

Next Satan asked to up the ante and actually inflect harm on Job. God agreed with the proviso that Satan could not take Job’s life. Job 2:7, “So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.”

Job’s wife encouraged him to curse God and die. Job 2:10, “But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”

With thanks to Randy Frazee “The Upper Story and a Lower Story”
“The Lower Story, our story, is actually many stories of men and women interacting with God in the daily course of life. The Upper Story is God's story. The Bible contains an Upper Story and a Lower Story. The Upper Story tells the big picture, the grand narrative of God unfolding throughout history. The Lower Story contains the sometimes delightful, other times appalling particulars of human experience. Without the lens of the Upper Story, the Lower Story seems out of focus and perplexing.”

Unlike Job, we have the advantage of knowing the upper story, God’s story. Job, his wife and Job’s three disapproving friends only knew the lower story, Job’s story. To quote Mr. Frazee, “Without the lens of the Upper Story, the Lower Story seems out of focus and perplexing.” Indeed without the upper story it would seem perplexing that so many wicked things could befall a perfect and upright man who feared God.

H8535 - complete; usually (morally) pious; specifically gentle, dear: - coupled together, perfect, plain, undefiled, upright.

H3477 - straight (literally or figuratively): - convenient, equity, just, meet (-est), + pleased well right (-eous), straight, (most) upright (-ly, -ness).

H3373 - fear, fearing; morally reverent

2 Samuel 11: 2-4. the story of David shows “where sin begins? 503s - 8 - 4

While David was running for his life from King Saul he maintained a virtuous life and would not kill God’s anointed when he had the opportunity. Years and many battles later King David decided to stay home and leave the fighting to his men. David had time on his hands and “Idle hands do the devil’s work” as do the eyes.

The eye is the portal used by Satan to tempt mankind. 2 Samuel 11:2, “And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.”

I remember this scene from the decades old movie “David and Bathsheba” starring Gregory Peck and Susan Hayward. As I recall in the movie Bathsheba bore some responsibility for the affair as she bathe on the balcony where King David could look down on her.

2Sa 11:3, “And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?”

King David couldn’t claim innocence as he knew that Bathsheba was married to one of his mighty men. This did not stop King David.

2Sa 11:4, “And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.”

King David and Bathsheba’s adultery bore fruit as Bathsheba became pregnant. Normally Bathsheba would have been stoned to death as an adulterous, however and as the well-known story goes, King David arranged the death of Uriah the Hittite and they were married.

Nathan the prophet told David a parable that concerned a rich man who took a poor man’s little ewe lamb, 2 Samuel 12:1-13. At first David was angry, 2 Samuel 12:5, “And David's anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die.” Nathan told David he was the rich man in the parable moving David to say, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

Yes indeed he sinned, 2 Samuel 12:14, “Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.”

King David repented and was forgiven by God. Although King David never lost the love of God, sin does not go unpunished by a righteous God. The first child of King David and Bathsheba died and his family was very dysfunctional.

Explain what it means to be “mature in Christ.” Meat vs Milk 503s - 8 - 8

As I attempted to write on DQ#7 I remembered the “teething problems” I had endeavoring to grow in the Word. As a result, DQ#7 morphed into DQ#8 with thanks to Strong’s.

1 Peter 2:2, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk (G1051) of the word that ye may grow thereby:” Here Peter seems to be gentle with new believers as they grow in their faith.

The Apostle Paul called the Hebrews immature, backward, untaught, and dull of hearing. Paul expected far more of the maturing/ mature believer who should seek the Meat of the Word and teach the Word.

 Hebrews 5:11-14, “Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk (G1051), and not of strong (G4731) meat (G5160). For every one that useth milk (G1051) is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong (G4731) meat (G5160) belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

Milk, G1051, of uncertain affinity; milk (figuratively): - milk.

Strong, G4731, stiff, that is, solid, stable (literally or figuratively): - stedfast, strong, sure.

 Meat, G5160, nourishment (literally or figuratively); by implication rations (wages): - food, meat.

IMO many who refer to themselves as Christians are far removed from any desire for meat and spit up the little milk that they attempt to take in. Many prefer the “All roads lead to God” false theology to the truth of our being responsible to God and that, John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

Paul also had this to say to the humanists, 1 Corinthians 3:1-3, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal (G4559), even as unto babes (G3516) in Christ. I have fed you with milk (G1051), and not with meat (G1033): for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?"

 Carnal, G4559 - pertaining to flesh, that is, (by extension) bodily, temporal, or (by implication) animal, unregenerate: - carnal, fleshly.

Babes, G3516 - not speaking, that is, an infant (minor); figuratively a simple minded person, an immature Christian: - babe, childish.

Milk, G1051, of uncertain affinity; milk (figuratively): - milk
Meat, G1033 - food (literally or figuratively), especially (ceremonial) articles allowed or forbidden by the Jewish law: - meat, victuals.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The value of integrity is so important in the life of a believer 524 - 1 - 2

Exodus 20:7 “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain (H7723).”

With thanks to Strong’s one can see that taking the name of the Lord in vain is not about profanity, rather deals with being appropriate ambassadors for God:
H7723 - in the sense of desolating; evil (as destructive), literally (ruin) or morally (especially guile); figuratively idolatry (as false, subjectively), uselessness (as deceptive, objectively; also adverbially in vain): - false (-ly), lie, lying, vain, vanity.

Years ago I started to use the expression. “I swear to God” in church. I was immediately corrected and understood that I had made a major oops. This was reinforced by CM and KI; taking the Lord’s name in vain has to do with being a poor representative/ ambassador for God.

With thanks to e-sword, the following are just a few examples of how important integrity was/is to men of faith in the Bible.

Abraham didn't lie about Sarah and she was his half-sister. However, he omitted the fact that she was also his wife to the detriment of Abimelech king of Gerar. Genesis 20:5, "Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this."

The word integrity appears often in Psalms. Jehovah God appears to Solomon and confirms the covenant he'd made with King David.
1 Kings 9:4-5, "And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments: Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel."

Psalm 7:8, "The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me." Here King David prays for deliverance from persecutors.

Psalm 25:21, "Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee." Here the prayer is for guidance, forgiveness, mercy and deliverance.

Psalm 26:1, "A Psalm of David. Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide." Here David prays for vindication and deliverance and pledges faithfulness.

The word integrity also appears in Psalm 41:11-12 and Psalm 78:72.

Proverbs is usually very to the point.

Proverbs 19:1, "Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool."

Proverbs 20:7, "The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him."

Why does God allow Satan to test believers, What of Job? 514 - 1 - 1

The expression often used is “The patience of Job,” perhaps the dedication of Job to God would be a better phrase. Satan is “the accuser of the brethren” and God allowed Satan to test Job severely.
Book of Job is considered to be the oldest book in the Bible dating back to about 2000 BC. The geographical setting of the Book of Job is thought to be the area of the Arabian Desert east of Palestine, where Midian was located, Saudi Arabia today. Of great interest are the many scientific insights found in Job and later proven by scientists. Also, the Book of Job answers the question of are there dinosaurs in the Bible.
Unknown to Job God has praised him to Satan; Job 1:8, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” Satan remarks that God has a hedge of protection around Job who has great wealth both in material things and family. Job 1:12, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD”. Satan wiped out Job’s wealth and children but did not touch Job. Regardless of his losses, Job still glorified God.
Next Satan wanted to harm Job physically so God allowed it, 2:5 “But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. 2:6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.” Job was covered with painful boils and his wife told him to curse God and die. Job answered, “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?”
Job’s “friends” Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar are for another time. Job finally called out to God who asks, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.” What follows is a great declaration of the majesty of God, also for another time.
Finally the contest is over and Job is rewarded two-fold.
It is very easy to remain faithful to God when we are not tested, so yes, I believe that faith which cannot be tested cannot be trusted. There is a spirit of antichrist in the United States as well as throughout the planet. It will be interesting to see who ultimately remains faithful. To disavow belief is not without penalty; Matthew 10:33, “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”
In the “Parable of the Sower” both temptation and “cares and riches” cause a falling away. Luke 8:13-14, “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.”
The Israelite s were tested with the result of wandering in the wilderness for an additional 38 years. Even Moses disobeyed God.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Nothing can separate us from “God’s Love;” however.... 503s - 7 - 2

Genesis 4:7, "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin (H2403) lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him."

H2403 - A feminine noun meaning sin, transgression, sin offering, punishment. The word denotes youthful indiscretions; evil committed against another

According to CM, Sin is “To miss the mark” and Transgression is “Crossing over the line.” CM also states that “Romans Chapter 8 opens with no possibility of condemnation, and closes with no possibility of separation."

The apostle Paul always says it so well. Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

However, there does seem to be a sin that can separate us from God.

Matthew 12:31, “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.”

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit seems to carry greater condemnation then blasphemy against Jesus.

Matthew 12:32, “And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”

I would suggest that the above is a sin due to pride. A proud look is first on God’s hate list; because of pride Satan sought to rise above God. Lucifer fell from heaven and took a third of the angels with him, angels who came into the daughters of Adam resulting hybrid offspring. Thus was God’s wonderful creation totally corrupted.

As a child of God, nothing can separate me from the love of Christ. That said, if I had to depend on myself, I don't know how I could maintain my salvation. When Jesus ascended he said that the comforter would come. I am justified through Jesus' death on the cross and my acceptance of that gift so freely given. By being consumed by the word of God and with the continuing activity of the Holy Spirit in me I am growing towards sanctification. 

About the “Parable of the Sower” Luke 8:11-15 503s - 7 - 5

Luke 8:11, “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.”
Luke 8:12, “Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”
Romans 1:20, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse”
The proof that God is God is all around us. Regardless, many who witness the miracles that abound attribute them to randomness rather than our Creator God.  They seem to have neither ears to hear nor eyes to see and they are without excuse.
Luke 8:13, “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.”
Praise and worship music is very uplifting and possibly that added to church fellowship can influence one to received the Word with joy. Then when one walks out of church and back into the secular world the person who does not have a solid foundation in the word of God falls away.
Luke 8:14, “And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.”
Here the seeds tried to take root and bear fruit but life got in the way. The world seems to be quickly imploding both economically and morally. The drums of war are beating across the planet and acts of terror with no foundation except in evil are becoming a daily occurrence. For some, the Spirit resides in a bottle or drugs. Acquisition of money and stuff has become an idol.
Luke 8:15, “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”
As in the case of the Philadelphia church, this is where many would like to be, myself included. IMO, this is best accomplished by being consumed by the word of God; Sola scriptura.
For several weeks now I’ve struggled with Nan’s definition of God’s love and find that if I liken it to the Holy Spirit, the comforter, it makes far more sense. If I keep my mind focused on God it is easier to bear fruit. As for my heart, it seems to be waxing a little bit cold concerning my immediate biological family. The continuing family drama has drawn me closer to my church family with whom I have much in common, our mutual love of the word of God and a close relationship with Jesus.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Solomon's Temple as it relates to a Believer 503s - 6 -

This second temple was started in the time of Ezra and was continually attacked until Nehemiah was given permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Later Herod, an Edomite, extended the temple into its form as witnessed when Jesus walked the earth. Herod thought it would make him more acceptable to the people, nevertheless, he was pretty much universally hated. The Shekinah Glory did not dwell in the temple as it did in Solomon’s temple.
The construction plans for Solomon’s Temple were given to King David but not the permission to build it; rather the building of the temple would pass to his son. In addition to The Shekinah Glory residing in Solomon’s Temple, the Ark of the Covenant was present.
Judah turned against God once too often and The Shekinah Glory was removed from Solomon’s Temple.
Ezekiel, 11:22-23, “Then did the cherubim’s lift up their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above. And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city."
In reading Ezekiel one can almost feel the sadness and disappointment of God as he withdrew his Shekinah Glory from his chosen people.
With thanks to Nancy Missler,
The Holy of Holies is analogous to a believer’s new spirit; his or her pneuma
The Holy Place represents to a believer’s new heart; his or her kardia
The Porch including the pillars is parallels a believer’s new willpower or volition; his or her dianoia.
The secret, hidden, wooden chambers around the main sanctuary represent a believer’s subconscious; his or her cheder
The Inner Court represents the conscious part of a believer’s soul; his or her psyche
The Outer Court represents a believer’s body his or her soma
It is very interesting and insightful to compare a believer to Solomon’s Temple, however, I prefer to focus on each of us as the Temple of God wherein we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. This is the model that brings me closest to God and imparts upon me a sense of responsibility to be so filled with the Holy Spirit that it leaks out on others as I am replenished with it.
As an aside, there was no requirement for The Shekinah Glory being present in the second Temple as Jesus was there. After the crucifixion and resurrection the slab where Jesus’s body had laid and the two angels sitting on either and would present a very decent facsimile of the Mercy seat.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The "Grand Apostasy" of 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 546 - 6 - 6

2 Thessalonians 2:10, “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”

Not only are many today not receptive to the Truth, they are very outspoken in their rejection of Jesus and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

2 Thessalonians 2:11, “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:”

A strong delusion, you think?

2 Thessalonians 2:12, “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

The world in general seems to be getting more hedonistic than I could ever have imagined when I was growing up in a far more innocent age.

Decades ago I attended law school for a year. While I never came close to completing law school one legal concept really caught my attention; nonfeasance vs. malfeasance. What I picked up on in the early 70s was rather simplistic compared to some of the definitions today. What I remember is that if you committed a wrong but didn’t know that it was wrong it was considered a nonfeasance. Conversely, if you committed a wrong knowing that it was wrong you are guilty of a malfeasance. While one was held accountable for committing a nonfeasance one was not as harshly punished as when one committed a malfeasance. Shades of today’s apostate teachings.

It is ultimately up to God to judge what really is in our hearts. However and in my opinion, those who deliberately pervert the Word of God will be held far more accountable than those who are lead astray. Although a number of celebrities are declaring their Christianity many are, in my opinion, sticking their finger in God’s eye. One of my rather snarly comments is that we have gone from “Father Knows Best” to “My Two Fathers.”

Very respected leaders in their field seem to be worshiping at the altar of atheism.

“Stephen Hawking Says 'There Is No God,' Confirms He's An Atheist”

Richard Dawkins - Official Site

The lateChristopher Hitchens was both a bestselling Author and an Atheist.

Romans 1:21, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” In Romans chapter 1 we read of the terrible price paid; the judgment of homosexuality. There is a growing and strong delusion that homosexuality is normal and many are partaking of “pleasure in unrighteousness.”

Through the centuries babies have been sacrificed to various gods. This pales in comparison to the United States where 50 million plus babies have been ripped from their mother’s womb; sacrificed on the altar of a woman’s choice.

The administration of United States is distancing itself from Israel in a direct confrontation with God’s admonition in Genesis 12:3. I will resist the temptation of railing against our leaders and quote Michael, “The Lord rebuke thee.

The Way of Cain 546 - 6 - 3

Genesis 3:7, “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”

A type of religious “doing it our way” reaching up to God rather than having a relationship with Jesus and placing our trust in Him.

Genesis 3:21, “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”

God was instructing Adam and Eve that the shedding of blood was necessary to provide them with covering for their sin. Hebrews 9:21-29, “Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. 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. As Jesus was dying on the cross he said “It is finished.” He was our propitiation negating any requirement for additional blood sacrifices.

Genesis 4:5, "But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell."

Cain offered God the “fruit of the ground” rather than a blood sacrifice such as offered by his brother Abel. Abel was doing it God’s way and Cain was doing it his own way.

Genesis 4:6,"And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?"

Abel’s sacrifice was consumed by fire from God. Cain’s offering of the fruit of the ground was not consumed by fire.

Genesis 4:7, "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him."

God offered Cain every opportunity to provide a proper sacrifice, however, the implication is that he refused to. Therefore “sin lieth at the door” and ultimately Cain killed Abel. Cain became “a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth.”

When we try to do it our way rather than trusting in God we are “walking in the way of Cain.” In these end days there is an abundance of fault teachings complete with designer god(s) and idols.

The best defense against going the way of Cain is to be consumed by the word of God. Sola scriptura Is my guide affording me the discernment to recognize false doctrine. The utterance of neither the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church nor the head prophet of the Mormons take precedence over the word of God, the Sola scriptura. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

we are admonished not to "rail at dignities”. 546 - 5 - 1

1 Timothy 2:1-4, "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."

Good advice but often very hard to follow given our current administration. That said, God is in control and his will be done. Was this week's repudiation of the POTUS and his minions by the electorate God’s will? There is/ has been much online discussion about the harm that could be done in the next two years by what is now a lame duck president who still has the authority to make executive orders.

While I honor the office of the POTUS and I of myself can do nothing, I will remember the words of Michael the Archangel. Jude, 1:9 “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”

Not only was President Obama elected in 2008, he was reelected in 2012. In my opinion his reelection was against all odds, however, it appears that it was God’s will. Perhaps the midterm election will help to turn the tide in our country that seems to be circling the drain. It’s beyond my pay grade so all I can do is hold onto Jesus and His Word.

Matthew 15:13-14, "But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch."

As an aside, while I was surfing the Internet trying to remember the verses in which we are to pray for our leaders I found this PDF. I have only scanned it but it looks like a good model for intercessory prayer.


two witnesses are in Revelation 11 546 - 5 -2

Elijah and Moses will, in my opinion, be the two witnesses in Revelation 11.

When Pharaoh would not release the Israelite's God used Moses to call down 10 plagues on Egypt. Each plague was a repudiation of one of the Egyptian gods. The final plague of the death of the firstborn was in response to Pharaoh’s plan of killing the firstborn of the Israelite's.

The plague of waters turned to blood will be repeated during the tribulation as will be painful boils and huge hail stones. Just as there was a profound darkness that could be felt by the Egyptians, this will also be repeated during the tribulation. There will be creatures that sting and cause so much pain and that people will seek to die but will not be able to. These will be far worse than the locusts is that invaded Egypt.

Through God Elijah was able to “Shut heaven from rain” a feat that will the repeated during the tribulation. Elisha could also call down fire from heaven, also to be repeated during the tribulation.

The two witnesses of Revelation will be hated and blamed for the plagues, fire and drought by the people. The two witnesses will preach the need for repentance for 3 ½ years. At the end of this three and half years the two witnesses will be assassinated and lay in the streets of Jerusalem rotting for three days. There will be great celebration by the people during these three days. The party will come to an abrupt end when the world is able to see the two witnesses come back to life and ascend into heaven.

As an aside, “God Heard Their Cry” is one of the Faith Lessons Series with Ray Vander Laan. In this series Mr. Vander Laan presents an in-depth study of the plagues as they related to the various Egyptian gods. 
As an aside two:

Genesis 5:21-24, "And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him."

Enoch was spared any possibility of dying in the flood. The death of his son Methuselah kicked off the flood. I wonder how corrupted the descendants of Enoch became as many must have been alive at the time of the flood.

The three temptations Satan 503s - 5 - 6

Sola scriptura, "by Scripture alone"

First - Nourishment

Mat 4:3-4, “And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Second - Security

Matthew 4:6-7, “And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

Third - Power/ Glory

Matthew 4:8-10, “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
To each temptation offered by Satan Jesus responded with Scripture invoking the name of God. Reminiscent of Jude 1:9, “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”

Perhaps God allows us to be tempted as a test and/or as a spiritual growth opportunity.

This summer I opened a little shop, now closed for the winter. It will reopen May 2015. As a BAC among mostly unbelievers there was/ will be the temptation to be politically correct; to bit my tongue when I hear potential customers/ other sellers promoting the theology that “All roads lead to God.” Then there is the fact that there is a major Mormon population claiming to be Christian while promoting false doctrine. Add to that those of the “New Age” and their “Designer god(s).”  

A discussion question from SD501 - Introduction to Spiritual Disciplines involved the important of making spiritual deposits?” Studying the Bible, attending/ leading Bible studies and really immersing myself in the Word is comparable to making “spiritual knowledge deposits.” Then I can make a withdrawal from my spiritual account to witness and to sweetly (PC) add, “It’s not me saying that, it’s in the Bible.”  

God commands us to love Him with all our heart, will and soul. 503s - 5 - 2

Jesus was asked "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?"

Jesus answered; Matthew 22:37, "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart (G2588), and with all thy soul (G5590), and with all thy mind (G1271)."

With thanks to Strong:

G2588 - Prolonged from a primary κάρ kar (Latin cor, “heart”); the heart, that is, (figuratively) the thoughts or feelings (mind); also (by analogy) the middle: - (+ broken-) heart (-ed).

G5590 - From G5594; breath, that is, (by implication) spirit, abstractly or concretely (the animal sentient principle only; thus distinguished on the one hand from G4151, which is the rational and immortal soul; and on the correspond respectively to the Hebrew [H5315], [H7307] and [H2416]: - heart (+ -ily), life, mind, soul, + us, + you.

G1271 - From G1223 and G3563; deep thought, properly the faculty (mind or its disposition), by implication its exercise: - imagination, mind, understanding.

Last week we discussed “Are you aware of any negative thoughts and emotions, which are preventing you from experiencing God’s Love? Why is it critical to give these over to God? How does knowing that God Loves you, help you to lay these aside?”

I added to the discussion with the following:

Once again my family is in crisis over my mother who is 102 years old and lives in Southern California. A major problem facing this nation is an aging population whose children are also aging. There has been family pressure for me to once again stay with my mother because I am "the daughter." The last time my temporary stay with mom turned into 18 months. As her health improved mine deteriorated. 

While I can understand that my mother does not want to stay in a nursing home I’m convinced the time is rapidly approaching. The question of mom's care is driving a wedge between me and my family. This time I am leaving the immediate decisions for her care to my brother. The long term solution I leave in the hands of God.

IMO, Southern California is, well, not a place I'm conformable in. Add to that, my family doesn't really share my beliefs and my brother told me I was intolerant. Of course I told him it wasn't me saying that Jesus is the only way, rather it is the Word of God. 

I love God with all my heart, will and soul and do my best to really internalize that he is in control. However, family dynamics over the last several years have given me a real appreciation for Matthew 12:46-50. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Campers for Christ 503 - 4 - 8

When I am in my winter home of Quartzsite Arizona I attend of the local Assembly of God Church. While I do not speak in tongues, my friends do as do most of the congregation. What I like about the church is not only being surrounded by people manifesting God’s love but also the fact that the church is Bible based. No pleasant messages that tickle the ears, rather God’s word.
Twice a year the group Campers for Christ holds a rally at the Assembly of God church. While my friends and I are not members of the group they welcome us to join in. I've attended two evening sessions in one morning session and there is definitely a movement of the Holy Spirit. Last night the speaker, Nathan Humbird, was young but much anointed by God. Several months before 9/11 he was recorded as having a vision of two tall buildings of pretty much equal height being impacted by jet craft. He told his audience he didn't know what the buildings were but given his description many in the audience immediately recognized the buildings as the World Trade Center buildings. A few months later his vision unfortunately became a reality.
Mr. Humbird’s talk last night certainly wasn’t an ear tickler. He spoke of the coming bad times here in America and that we were going to be going into captivity. We pretty much are a captive nation monetarily and rather quickly descending into Sodom. It wasn't all gloom and doom as part of the night was devoted to healing.
At the end of the session a woman spoke a word of wisdom, one that I agree with. With a sweep by the conservatives in Tuesday’s election, we have been given more time to bring unbelievers into the kingdom.
So what does all of this have to do with the way of agape? God loves us so much that not only does he want us with him but he wants us to bring more into his kingdom.
Tomorrow I will be attending both the morning and evening sessions to hear one of my favorite speakers, Charles Sivley.
Quartzsite, Arizona is interesting In that there are several revivals held here each winter. While there seems to be dark forces here in Quartzsite we have a number of evangelical churches as an offset. Again, in his great love for us God is giving us a wakeup call.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"Apostasy begins with Intellectual doubts; it is certain to end with physical degradation." Does this apply today? 546 - 4 - 4

With thanks to Wikipedia:

“Postmodernism is a late-20th-century movement in the arts, architecture, and criticism that was a departure from modernism. Postmodernism includes skeptical interpretations of culture, literature, art, philosophy, history, economics, architecture, fiction, and literary criticism. It is often associated with deconstruction and post-structuralism because its usage as a term gained significant popularity at the same time as twentieth-century post-structural thought.”
“The term postmodernism has been applied to a host of movements, many in art, music, and literature, that reacted against tendencies in modernism, and are typically marked by revival of historical elements and techniques.”

As for religion. Post Modernism:

• Rejects the notion of Universal Truth, something recognized as true

• It asserts its own truths about the Universe

• Constant never-ending change

Perhaps many feel that they have gotten way too intellectual to acknowledge God’s Truth, that we've outgrown the need for guidance from our awesome God. In my opinion, it all started in the garden with the very persuasive question from the father of liars, “are you sure God said that?”

Lucifer’s fall was due to pride. Isaiah 14:13-14, “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

Satan uses pride to recruit his minions who worship at the altar of their own truth and doing it their own way. Today, an increasing number of people and/or organizations are questioning the very biblical verses/principles. The organization, Christ at the Checkpoint, is certainly no exception and is likely part of what’s being called the emergent church. “A church is emerging if it seeks to reach those lost in the post-modern culture, rejects doctrinal absolutes, and, of course, proclaims itself to be emerging.”

So from demonically inspired intellectual doubt, civilization has descended into an ever increasing immoral world of no absolutes. Senseless crime is rampant as evidenced by the knockout game played by thugs and random murders. Millions of unborn babies have been sacrificed on the altar of woman’s choice. The homosexual agenda has permeated the political and academic worlds.
In the very end days it is prophesied that Israel will stand alone. The United States is descending into a world I hardly recognize. It is my opinion that as we abandon his chosen people God is dropping/ has dropped his hedge of protection from the United States.

What did Jesus mean when He said in Luke 17:32: "Remember Lot's wife”? Lessons learned! 546 - 4 - 1

The eyes are the portal used by Satan to tempt us. Genesis 13:10, “ And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.”

As a righteous man Lot was uncomfortable living in Sodom, however he chose to stay. Then came the rain of fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah.

As a righteous man, Lot and his family had to be removed before the cities could be destroyed. The angels sent to escort them out of Sodom had to convince them to leave. Lot and his family were told to not look back, however, Lot’s wife looked back in disobedient, perhaps not wanting to leave her current life situation. She was turned into a pillar of salt.

In Luke 17:32 Jesus tells us to remember Lot’s wife and in verse 33, “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.”

In Luke 10 Jesus tells us of an occasion where both a priest and a Levite ignored an injured man likely "drawing back" in fear for their own lives. A Samaritan came along and had great compassion for and took care of the injured man. The parable of the Good Samaritan likely would have angered the Temple leadership.  

CM provides other Biblical passages dealing with drawing back/ looking back.
Hebrews 10:38-39, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Luke 9:62, “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

This is relevant to us today as it was a forewarning of what’s to come. Luke 17:30, “Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”  
Luke 17:31, “In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.” While we may not be a part of the remnant rushing to the shelter of Petra, speaking for myself, there is much too much dross in my life. Lessons learned, you can't take dross with you and holding back can have great consequences.