Sunday, September 27, 2015

Jesus humbled himself 538 - 3 - 5

Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Here the Hebrew word for God is Elohim. "El" means mighty and strong. The "him" ending is a plural ending in Hebrew that indicates three or more. Again the plural form of God, Elohim is used in Deuteronomy 4:35, “Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.” As a member of the Trinity, Jesus always was, always is and always will be. John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus was fully man and fully God!

Jesus humbled himself by taking the form of a man so that he could become our propitiation for sin. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:" Jesus suffered the most humiliating and condemned form of death, being hung from a tree. Psalm 22 is a horrific foretelling out His death.

During his incarnation Jesus labored under the cloud of illegitimacy due to his conception. Psalm 69:8, “I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children.” Psalm 69:12, “They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards.” His siblings did not believe in the divinity of Jesus until after his death and resurrection. Perhaps Matthew 12:50, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” reflects this rejection by his siblings.

The leaders of the temple called the legitimacy of Jesus into question and Jesus answered them; John 8:41, “Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.” In John 8:44 Jesus added, “Ye are of your father the devil”

Someday we will be privileged to see Jesus as he truly is, as the disciples Peter, James and John saw him on the Mount of Transfiguration. Matthew 17:5, “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” 

A very humble servant of God I'm blessed to know. 538 - 3 - 7

About two years ago I was back home in Arizona after an extended stay in California helping to take care of my elderly mother. At that time I had a single wide trailer, a RV and two fully packed storage sheds. I wanted to simplify my life. I nearly gave the trailer and storage sheds away, rented a public storage shed and moved my RV onto the Bureau of land management.

Sometime during this time period, I was at the local McDonald’s. As I walked through the parking lot there was a white box truck with “Simplify” painted on one side. As I was walking past the truck I saw two men sitting in the open truck. There were many signs with biblical references so of course I stopped to chat and admire this tiny home. On the other side of the box truck was “Time to Simplify.”

Later at church we had a guest speaker named Mike Vier, one of the men from the simplify truck. Although Mike started his prepared presentation we ask to hear his life story and what a story!

Mike, a cradle Mormon, was born and raised in Utah and held a high position in his stake. He was a maintenance supervisor in charge of several buildings. Mike was trying to convert a BAC friend so he attended his friend’s Assembly of God Church. Mike never had the burning in the bosom that Mormons hold so dear. Eventually Mike prayed to God and felt that he was born again. Later he was called upon to speak at a Mormon function and he told his fellow Mormons that they should be born again. Mike was demoted and eventually left Mormonism and lost his family as well.

Mike travels in his “Time to Simplify” box truck/ tiny home. He teaches wherever he is asked. Mike uses visually aids as he provides his answers to these questions often asked by Christians:

1. How do we love God with all our hearts?
2. How do we believe without doubt?
3. How do we hear from God?

Years ago Mike also produced a six part DVD set Titled “God’s provision for intimacy with him.” Mike deals with many subjects including the authenticity of the Bible, the Trinity, Grace and more.

Mike remains a very humble individual and is not very technologically savvy. I suspect by choice. He is not on the Internet and use a cell phone for calls only. He lives a very quiet life and is currently a host in a campground. A great servant of God.

Oh my, Biblical expectations reserved for false teachers.533-2 - 1 - 6

False teachers you say? There is Oprah, the diva of the new age, prosperity tele-evangelists such as Joel Osteen, promoters of the New Apostolic Reformation, the group “Christ at the Checkpoint,” and many more.

As an aside and from an older post, a quote from The Matt Walsh Blog “In more primitive times they burned heretics at the stake. Now we greet the blasphemers with applause and multi-million dollar book deals. I’m not sure if the latter response is any more enlightened than the former, but both are wrong.”

 Today many people want their ears tickled by tele-evangelists rather than following the clear command of Jesus; Luke 9:23, "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Jesus warned us again and again about false teachers including Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

So what of these ravening wolves? The majority of the verses in the Bible dealing with false teachers warn against them, however, there are some real gems. lI Peter 2:1, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” 

Rather than acknowledging the finished work of Jesus, a work doctrine is often added to grace. Revelation 22:18 warns that "If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book." And the very frightening Revelation 22:19, "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."

What does it mean to be “God-fearing”? 533-2 - 1 - 5

Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” This is not fear in the usual sense rather it is having a right relationship with God, of being absolutely in awe of God, holding him in complete respect and being obedient to His will.

Proverbs 2:5, “Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” The book of Proverbs has more verses that refer to the fear of the Lord including Proverbs 2:5, 3:7, 9:10, 10:27, 14:26 and several more.
Then there is Job who was schooled by God; Job 28:28, “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”

So in addition to admonishing us to have a sense of awe  and knowledge and understanding of God, there are warnings of coming judgment in the Books of Isaiah, Joel, Ezekiel, Job and more. Isaiah 2 speaks to judgment beginning in verse 1 with “a rod out of the stem of Jesse” and in verse 2 “knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” With thanks to Strong’s H3374, here fear is infinitive; morally reverence; dreadful, exceedingly, fearfulness.

For those of us who have ears to hear, it is certainly time to be in fear of our righteous God and to share that fear with unbelievers. For several years God has put it on my heart to be like the man standing on the corner carrying the sign that says “Repent the end is near.” The justice of our righteous God often results in judgment as, IMO. Is very apparent today. Ultimately, all will be judged; some at the Bema Seat judgment and some of the White throne judgment. Philippians 2:10, "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth."

Friday, September 18, 2015

Intentionally and daily developing my capacity for appreciation for what God is doing in your life. 538 - 2 - 5

 Life often seems to get in the way when I try to immerse myself in the study of/ the appreciation for God’s word. Two passages that seen appropriate are from Psalms and Isaiah. Psalm 108:1, “O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.” Isaiah 26:3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee”

I realize that not everyone shares my passion for God, however, yesterday it was brought home to me how resentful a good friend was about my love of the Bible. We were talking about the Stuxnet Worm that infected the computer software used by Iran in their effort to develop nuclear weapons. I started to share the story of Esther who played an important role in Jewish history by saving her people from destruction. In one of his books author Joel Rosenberg referred to a New York Times story. “In a Computer Worm, a Possible Biblical Clue.” Wrote reporters John Markoff and David Sanger, “Deep inside the computer worm that some specialists suspect is aimed at slowing Iran’s race for a nuclear weapon lies what could be a fleeting reference to the book of Esther, the Old Testament tale in which the Jews pre-empt a Persian plot to destroy them. That use of the word ‘Myrtus’— which can be read as an allusion to Esther— to name a file inside the code is one of several murky clues that have emerged as computer experts try to trace the origin and purpose of the rogue Stuxnet program.”

He cut me off before I could finish the story. I should have taken a clue but didn’t. Next Bill brought up the TV series “Person of Interest.” I mentioned in passing that one of the stars, Jim Caviezel, played the part of Jesus in the movie, “The Passion.” Bill nearly took my head off about always bringing up religion and that he had it shoved down his throat as a child. So now I’m walking on eggs around him.
Later we were watching the news and had no idea what countries the newscaster was talking about. I almost slipped and mentioned Noah’s descendants as a clue but I stopped myself in time.

So what does this have with appreciation for what God is doing in my life, makes me realize how fortunate I was in my upbringing. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

What I'm doing in a concrete manner to participate in advancing the gospel 538 - 2 - 7

I have three primary means by which I attempt to advance the gospel. First is to try to be an example to others; to recall the initials WWJD, What Would Jesus Do? Next, I witnessed to people directly and via the Internet, most notably Facebook and my blog. And finally, I financially support the church I attend and other ministries as covered in week one discussion question.

Try as I may to emulate Christ I continually fail to do so. I am very concerned that I may be a stumbling block to others by appearing to be just another Christian hypocrite. In my opinion, many who called themselves Christian are Christians in name only. They may go to church and talk the talk but they don’t walk the walk. I pray that with God’s guidance I am not one of them.

I spend my summers in northeastern Arizona in a remote and off the power grid location. However, Friday, Saturday and Sunday I own and run a small shop in a flea market. This brings me into contact with many people and provides an opportunity to fellowship with believers and possibly rub off on non-believers.

I belong to several special interest group on Facebook; mostly Christian groups that firmly support Israel. As for my Facebook friends, I often share relevant Internet article find on websites such as Rapture Ready.

Then there are my blogs. My first blog, sallycp, is pretty much comatose. My next blog, The Politically Incorrect Club (TPIC), was an outgrowth of an eBay chat room often dealing with Christian issues. TPIC blog gave way to my current blog, in the beginning God. In the beginning God is a labor of love and has a limited but worldwide readership and is a labor of love.

As for supporting and my church and Christian organizations such as the Voice of the Marker, this is the easier thing I do. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

So what is the difference between a “deacon” and an “elder.” 538 - 1 - 7

A very detailed Word Study resource is Dickey, Joshua (2014-01-14). The Complete Koine-English Reference Bible: New Testament, Septuagint and Strong's Concordance. However, I prefer Strong's Concordance for a quick lookup.

With thanks to Strong's Concordance:


From G1249; to be an attendant, that is, wait upon (menially or as a host, friend or [figuratively] teacher); technically to act as a Christian deacon: - (ad-) minister (unto), serve, use the office of a deacon.


Probably from διάκω diakō (obsolete, to run on errands; compare G1377); an attendant, that is, (generally) a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specifically a Christian teacher and pastor (technically a deacon or deaconess): - deacon, minister, servant.

We read in Acts chapter 6 that there was complaints that widows were being neglected so deacons were appointed to serve tables. Stephen was one of the first seven deacons in the Christian Church. This freed the disciples to "continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word."

As an aside, this was same Stephan who lectured the Sanhedrin concerning hitherto not widely known facts from the Old Testament. He was accused of blasphemy and stoned. As Stefan was dying the heavens opened up and he saw Jesus standing at the right hand side of the father. Jesus standing, not sitting as usual; pretty much giving Stephan a standing ovation.



From G4862 and G4245; a co-presbyter: - presbyter, also an elder.

An elder may be “A senior forefathers a term of rank or office among the Jews members of the great council or Sanhedrin (because in early times the rulers of the people, judges, etc., were selected from elderly men) of those who in separate cities managed public affairs and administered justice among the Christians, those who presided over the assemblies (or churches)”

G4862 - A primary preposition denoting union; with or together (but much closer than G3326 or G3844), that is, by association, companionship, process, resemblance, possession, instrumentality, addition, etc.: - beside, with. In compounds it has similar applications, including completeness.

G4245 - Comparative of πρέσβυς presbus (elderly); older; as noun, a senior; specifically an Israelite Sanhedrist (also figuratively, member of the celestial council) or Christian “presbyter”: - elder (-est), old

My take away from all this legalistic language is that deacons are the workers and the elders are more elevated both in stature and in authority. That said, at His first coming Jesus was the suffering servant. Like Jesus, Stephan was not too proud to be a servant and wait table even as he performed miracles.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Ministries God has led you to faithfully support financially or with prayer.538 - 1 - 6

Over the years God has led me to support many Christian organizations. God also led me to be very discerning about who I support. The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) website is helpful.

From the ECFA website:

“ECFA accredits its members and holds them to high standards of accountability with respect to governance, financial management and stewardship/fundraising practices.

When you give to an ECFA accredited organization, you are supporting a church or nonprofit organization you can trust to use the gift to carry out the Great Commission while meeting high standards. ECFA does not compare one member with another. For over 35 years, ECFA has effectively used a pass-fail approach requiring its members to meet all of its standards—all of the time!"

In addition to supporting the Assembly of God church that I attend I am faithful to three other groups. The Voice of the martyrs (VOM) is an organization very involved with persecution against Christians throughout the world. Pat Robinson’s Christian broadcasting network (CBN) is very proactive throughout the planet. Often their relief ships beat the governments FEMA in getting to locations hit by natural disasters. The lion and Lamb Ministry is a prophetic website. To me, this is a very good balance of organizations to support. There are other groups that I have supported/still support as needs arise.

Voice of the Martyrs
Their about page:
Use of VOM Resources in 2014:
12.8% Administration
4.3% Fundraising

Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN)
Last year alone, it is estimated that CBN partners provided:
Distribution of 68 million pounds of food and relief to Americans in need
Medical treatment to more than 250,000 people around the world
Wells for more than 362,000 thirsty people
Help and supplies to victims of 8 disasters here in America
The Gospel in 147 countries and territories, in 62 languages
Food, shelter, educational opportunities, medical help, job training, and Christian discipleship in 50 countries to over 100,000 children at risk through Orphan’s Promise

Prayer—The CBN Prayer Center had over 2.8 million contacts
Lamb & Lion Ministries
“Lamb & Lion Ministries was established for the purpose of proclaiming the soon return of Jesus. We do not believe it is possible to know the date when Jesus will return. But we do believe it is possible to know the season of the Lord's return, and it is our conviction that we are living in that season.”

Again, a good balance of organizations to support.