Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Parable of the Sower 529-1 - 9 - 1

In Matthew Chapter 12 we learn that the Temple leaders committed the unpardonable sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit by attributing Jesus’ miracles to Satan. Matthew 12:24, “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.”
After this, Jesus spoke in parables. A parable according to Strong’s H4912 is “in some original sense of superiority in mental action; properly a pithy maxim, usually of a metaphorical nature; hence a simile (as an adage, poem, discourse): - byword, like, parable, proverb.”
The disciples asked Jesus why he spoke in parables. Jesus clarified the difference between the unbelieving crowd and the believing disciples. While the unbelievers would not be permitted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, Jesus would explain the parables to his disciples.
Psalm 78:2, “I will open my mouth in a parable (H4912): I will utter dark sayings (H2430) of old:”
H2420, properly to tie a knot, that is, (figuratively) to propound a riddle: - put forth.; a puzzle; hence a trick, conundrum, sententious maxim: - dark saying (sentence, speech), hard question, proverb, riddle.
Ezekiel 20:49, “Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?” This was a prophecy against Judah, that it would be destroyed by fire, a type of the coming Babylon invasion. Hundreds of years later, Jesus foretold of the destruction of the Temple. When Jesus said destroy this Temple and I will rebuild it in three days He was referring to the crucifixion and resurrection. A parable not understood even by His disciples
My favorite parable is The Parable of the Sower, good insight as we witness to others.
Matthew 13:4, “And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:” This is the “The hard beaten path, where no plough had broken up the ground.” Seemingly no chance as there is no interest or any understanding.
Matthew 13:5-5, “5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6, And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.” Here there is a thin layer of earth and mostly stones. This would allow for little ploughing an no place for the root to spread.
Matthew 13:7, “And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:” Perhaps the earth was somewhat broken up but was not cleared of brambles and thorns.
Matthew 13:8, “But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” Here the earth is deep and well ploughed so the roots (Word) could take hold.  The thorns (Flesh) were removed so the roots were not choked off.
CM provided a very pithy summary of the Four Soils:
• Wayside without understanding; birds steal the seed away.
• Stony places without root; fail under pressure.
• Among thorns; too entangled in the cares of this world.
• Good ground; hearing and understanding: bear much fruit.
This is my favorite parable as it provides insights into witnessing. I’ve been witnessing to a good friend for several years. Usually my words fall by the wayside. A few times I seen to plough up a little but no real progress. Sadly, she is an example of “The only barrier to truth is the presumption that you already have it.” Still I pray that someday I can pierce that barrier.

Matthew 12:45 529-1 - 8 - 6

Matthew 12:43-44, “43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 44, “Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.” 
While it seems that Jesus was speaking to His generation, is He contrasting it with Israel? Is it a summary of the past, present, and future of unbelieving Israel in parable form?
The man is a type the Jewish nation returning from the Babylon captivity, cured of his/ Israel’s idolatry. In the book of Ezra, we read of the temple being finished and dedicated. Ezra 6:19, "And the children of the captivity kept the Passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month." There had been Israelite's who had married foreign (strange wives). In the past, foreign wives were a portal to idolatry, so they were “put aside” in obedience to God.
In the many attempts to rebuild the temple, there were attack made as the walls had been destroyed. Nehemiah was allowed to return to Jerusalem and organize the rebuilding Jerusalem's walls.
From the end of the captivity to the present, the Jewish people have not been idol-worshipers, rather like a house that is empty, swept, and put in order. Sadly, when the Messiah presented himself He was rejected. Although many still hold to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Israel has become increasingly secular.
Matthew 12:45, “Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”
Does “last state” refer to the end days, when an apostate nation/ world will worship the Antichrist? The tribulation follows the end of the church age and is a period in which God works to bring Israel to faith. The nation (house) of Israel will be filled with idolatry and unspeakable evil. Although unbelieving Israel will suffer the judgments of the Great Tribulation, a remnant of Israel will take refuge in Petra during the second half of the tribulation.
Just a sample of the Tribulation during which there will demonic locusts with a king whose named Abaddon.
Revelation 9:2-3, “2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. 3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.”
Revelation 9:7-10 provides a horrific image of these demonic locusts. They had hair like women's, lion-like teeth, armor-like iron breastplates, making them impossible to destroy. They will have tails like scorpions, the sting of which will cause five months of unrelieved suffering and death will be impossible.
Lesson learned from Matthew 12:43-45, clear your house of unclean spirits and keep your house (Israel and/ or the individual) free of unclean spirits by the acceptance and protective covering of Jesus.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

John the Baptist, messenger to “prepare the way.” 529-1 - 7 - 8

The last book in the Old Testament is Malachi which ends with a curse, Malachi 4:5-6, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
There were 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testament, years in which God did not speak to the Jewish people. Silent years but years of fulfillment of prophecy.
Daniel 2:1-13 tells of King Nebuchadnezzar having a dream. In Daniel 2:31-35 Daniel recounts the king’s dream, that the king had seen a huge image, the image's head was of fine gold, (Babylon), its chest and arms of silver (Medo-Persia). its belly and thighs of bronze (Greece), its legs of iron (Rome), its feet partly of iron and partly of clay (the final empire). Then “a stone . . . cut out without hands destroyed the image and became a great mountain, filling the whole earth.” The stone is/ will be Jesus.
Daniel 7:2-3, “Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. 3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.” The first, the lion represents Babylon. Next the bear representing Medo-Persia. third leopard is a type of Greece. The fourth beast, powerful and “destructive, dreadful, exceedingly strong, with huge iron teeth” would be Rome.
Although Malachi was the final book of the Old Testament, John the Baptist ended the period of the Old Testament.
“In Chronicles chapter 24 we are told how the priestly and Levitical divisions were formed. There were twenty-four households or divisions of priests (vv. 1-19) and twenty-four divisions of Levites (vv. 20-31). Each division was assigned a schedule on a rotating basis to minister in the temple, thus giving everyone the opportunity of serving approximately two weeks each year. Zacharias (Luke 1:5) belonged to the eighth course, the course of Abijah (v. 10).”
[Believer’s Bible Commentary]
An angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias, Luke 1:13, “But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.” John would be the prophet of the Most High, the forerunner of Jesus and was tasked with preparing the way for His coming. This was in fulfillment of Malachi's prediction of a messenger to “prepare the way.”
The approximate time of the birth of Jesus can be calculated from the time that King David organize the 24 courses of priests until the temple duty of Zacharias and his visitation by the Archangel Gabriel.
When Mary visited her cousin, the six-month-old fetus being carried by Elizabeth jumped for joy within the womb. Jesus was born most likely sometime in September which makes sense, Luke 2:8, “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” Would shepherds be watching their flock by night during winter?

Friday, March 16, 2018

Isaiah Chapter 5 and America today 543 - 3 - 4

Although what Isaiah wrote in chapter 5 through the inspiration of God originally concerned Israel, it has application to America.
Isaiah 5:1-2. “Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: 2 And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. “
Historically it's as if America had its own original sins, slavery not only of Africans, also the poor who were in bondage and the cruel treatment of the original occupants of the land. In many cases instead of the good harvest God was expecting, the people were disobedience, rebellion, and practiced idolatry.
In Isaiah 5:5 God said what he would take down His hedge of protection from around His vineyard and command the clouds that no rain would fall. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 shattered America’s complacency. Parts of the country have had extreme droughts and in other parts of the country, there's been massive flooding and mudslides.
Isaiah 5-7, God was expecting fair judgment but instead found oppression rather than righteousness. The balance of the chapter deals with “Woe to the Wicked. CM provided a simplified listing of the six woes mentioned in Isaiah 5:
1. Materialism
2. Hedonism
3. Flaunting Sin
4. Denial of the Word of God
5. Relativism
6. Lack of Justice
Black Friday has long been an example of materialism. This has been upstaged by the riots and looting due to covetousness.
Hedonism is the pursuit of pleasure as the highest good and proper aim of human life. Drugs, drunkenness, sexual deviance and more in the name of “Doing my thing.” Millions of unborn babies have been sacrificed on the altar of convenience.
As for flaunting sin, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) community has hijacked God’s rainbow. They are demanding that their deviant lifestyle to be treated as normal. Sadly, the mainstream church is becoming more acceptance of the LGBT agenda rather than following Scripture.
Denial of the Word of God, Atheists work very hard to prove that the God they don’t believe in doesn’t indeed exist. While not directly denying the word of God, many claiming to be Christians do even greater harm through false teachings. Prideful and arrogant had its start in the garden with the question, “Did God really say that?”
Relativism is the doctrine that no ideas or beliefs are universally true but that all are relative, there are no absolute truths, only what is right in his/ her own eyes.
Lack of Justice due not just only to corruption in the judicial area but with those authoring laws. We are slowly learning the extent of the damage done by the last administration and the existence of a deeper shadow government, minions of the one world government agenda.
God speaking through Isaiah summed it up; Isaiah 5:20, “Woe (H1945) unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
Woe, H1945, an interjection meaning alas! It is used in lamenting a person's death, It is used in prophetic announcements of judgment or threats.
[The Complete Word Study Dictionary]

Dr. Stephen Hawking, an eternity loss through works alone? 543 - 3 - 8

I think I was in the eighth grade when I discovered Albert Einstein. Among his very insightful quotes are:
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.
A few years later in high school I read a book with the title “123 relativity.” I have searched for the book and cannot find any mention of it on the Internet. After 50 plus years, I may have the title wrong. What I do remember is that the special theory of relativity was rather straight forward, the general theory of relativity was more difficult to comprehend, and time is the fourth dimension.
In a least one of his teachings CM compared the four dimensions to Ephesians 3:18. In context, Ephesians 3:17-19, “17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
I believe the expression “To know the mind of God” was coined by Sir Isaac Newton but another fruitless Internet search didn't confirm this. That said, did Einstein get a glimmer of the mind of God?
At the time of his death Einstein was still working on his The Unified Field Theory in which he was attempting to prove that electromagnetism and gravity were different manifestations of a single fundamental field.
With the optimism of a youth I thought someday I would finish his work and solve the unified field theory. Later I found that college level math and physics were far more complicated than in high school. Any thoughts of finishing Einstein's work evaporated in the reality of my limited intellect, limited intellect but still appreciative of great minds.
Now more than half a century later, the passing of another great mind, Stephen Hawking. Decades ago the unified field theory had been replaced by M-theory’. A theory Stephen Hawking hoped would fully explain the universe. I read that to understand the basic idea of M-theory, rather than describing the universe based on point like particles, it could be describe it in terms of tiny oscillating strings (tubes of energy). I’m way out of my league.
Stephen Hawking had a long history in theoretical physics pushing the envelope of knowledge as well as teaching and inspiriting generations of physicists. Although very severely handicapped, Dr. Hopkins never let this impede his work. Work, sadly that says it all.
Stephen Hawking says universe not created by God
"In the new work, The Grand Design, Professor Stephen Hawking argues that the Big Bang, rather than occurring following the intervention of a divine being, was inevitable due to the law of gravity.
In his 1988 book, A Brief History of Time, Hawking had seemed to accept the role of God in the creation of the universe. But in the new text, co-written with American physicist Leonard Mlodinow, he said new theories showed a creator is "not necessary"."
I was grieved by Stephen Hawking's atheism not only for him but because I had hope to someday meet both him and Albert Einstein, two brilliant men that I greatly admire. My prayer is that before his last breath, Stephen Hawking cried out to Jesus. Where Stephen Hawking spends eternity is up to God and I pray that he is merciful, and that Stephen Hawkins inherited the glorious body that was his only for the acknowledgement of the creator of the universe, the universe that he so admired. Ephesians 3:19, “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”

Saturday, March 10, 2018

God gave America a mulligan

Although there have been judgments in the form of birth pains in America (Matthew 13:7-8), in my opinion, God has given America a mulligan before final judgment.
America has committed a trifecta of sins:
1. Abortion.
2. Acceptance of homosexuality/ Same sex marriage.
3. Throwing Israel under the bus.
In ancient times babies were placed on the red-hot arms of the pagan god Molek. Horrific as this was in the last several decades millions of babies have been destroyed on the altar of convenience. Unborn babies have been dismembered and ripped from their mother’s womb and their parts sold by Planned Parenthood.
Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed not because of the high incidence of homosexuality, rather by the acceptance of it. The LGBT agenda in this country is a minority but very powerful and when pastors quote the Bible they are often accused of hate speech. Christians and pastors let this happen by being fearful of being politically incorrect.
The last several presidents have kicked the can down the street concerning moving our embassy to Jerusalem. Not only that, there has been much bloviating about a two-state solution going back to the 1967 border that would leave Israel nearly defenseless.
God gave us a mulligan with the presidential election of 2016.  I believe that President Trump was voted into office due in large part to the Intercessory Prayers of Christians. In the presidential election of 2012 many Christians would not vote for Mitt Romney because he was a Mormon resulting in the re-election of Obama, lesson learned.
Pray warriors such as Mary Colbert organized prayer groups to pray for the election of presidential candidate Donald Trump. Mary Colbert did more than pray. She organized the blowing of the shofar at nine o’clock in the morning of Election Day, November 8, 2016 by people all over the nation. When the clock struck nine, “the blast was heard all over the airwaves.”
The election of Donald Trump as POTUS has ushered in an administration supportive of Israel. First the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and now the move of our embassy to Jerusalem scheduled to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the state of Israel, May 18.
Several states are beginning to take steps to limit abortion on demand. President Trump has declared that he is more supportive of pastors and Christians speaking the truth. The left has pulled out all stops in their opposition to President Trump. The lines are being drawn.
Again, and in my opinion, we have been granted a Mulligan from a final judgment of America. However, Matthew 12:43-45 warns of getting rid of an unclean spirit, sweeping the house clean but then allowing other unclean spirits back in. We swept the White House clean of the past president and vice president and dodged the bullet of Hillary Clinton. However, we must not let the spirits indicative of the Obama's and Clinton's back into the White House. Plus, there is a lot more cleaning necessary in Congress and throughout the country.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Christians and demonic possession 529-1 - 6 - 6

As an aside, I compare demonic possession to being abducted by what are called aliens and who are, in my opinion, demons from another dimension. There's a theory, one I believe, that Christians can only be abducted if they give consent.
I took a survey in two Bible studies that I attend asking the straight forward question, “Do you think a Christian can be demon possessed? A simple yes or no question about being possessed. Nevertheless, two men stated that there is a difference between being obsessed and possessed. Yes, of course, there is a difference; to be obsessed is to be preoccupied and to be possessed is to be controlled. For a minute I thought we were going to get into a discussion of how many angels can dance on head of a pin. Finally, there was 100% agreement that Christian cannot be possessed unless they invite demons into their life.
A Ouija board can be a gateway by which a demon will possess a person. The late Jane Roberts was using a Ouija board when an entity jumped on it named Seth. Ms. Roberts wrote many best-selling books purchased by many. She wrote entertaining fiction, however, I found that the books she channeled from Seth to be unintelligible.
Mary Magdalene met Jesus, Mark 16:9, “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils (G1140).” After that Mary Magdalene became a follower of Jesus and never again was there any mention of her having demons.
James 2:19, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils (G1140) also believe, and tremble”
G1140, a demon or super natural spirit (of a bad nature): - devil.; a daemonic being; by extension a deity: - devil, god.
As an aside, even demons believe in the existence of God and fear their eventual punishment/ destination. Matthew 8:29, “And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” The demons asked, “If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.” The demons entered the swine they “ran violently down a steep place into the sea and perished in the waters.” The swine could not be possessed without permission from Jesus. Just as demons cannot possess Christians unless invited in.
Mark 3:28-29, “28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:”
Here Temple leaders committed the unpardonable sin by accusing Jesus of casting out demons by demonic power when it was through the power of the Holy Spirit. They not only rejected Jesus, they referred to the Holy Spirit as a demon. Little sins and not so little sins and all kinds of sins can be forgiven but not the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, this is an eternal sin.
Christians do not become possessed by demons unless they first invite them in. Ouija boards are one of the tools used by demonic forces to enter someone's life. The best cure is prevention. Do not allow the occult into your homes thereby exposing your unbelieving family members to demonic entities.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Angels and demons 529-1- 6 - 4

Most assuredly, there is a difference between angels and demons. Demons are disembodied evil spirits while angels can take on physical bodies.
Demons are disembodied and seek to inhabit an earthly body. There are examples of this and Jesus commanding them to leave their host body. Mark 5:8, “For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.” Jesus allowed the demons to enter a herd of swine. Mark 5:13, “And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.”
Jesus cast out an evil spirit from a man who couldn't speak. To the Jewish leadership, it was impossible to cast out an evil spirit until that spirit had identified itself. The Pharisee did not take kindly to this. Matthew 9:34, “But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.” This led to the discourse by Jesus in Matthew 12 concerning a kingdom divided against itself will not stand. By stating that Jesus worked through the devil, they had committed the unpardonable sin.
Angels are powerful and serve God and can take on the form of a human being as evidenced by the Bible:
Genesis 19, fire and brimstone could not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah until Lot his family were removed from danger by two angels.
Daniel had a vision of the archangel Gabriel, God's messenger, and provided this awesome description of the physicality of an angel of God. Daniel 10:5-6, “Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: 6 His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.” Gabriel had a message for Daniel but was hampered for 21 days by the Prince of Persia and required the help of the archangel Michael, God's warrior. The Prince of Persia, an agent of Satan, a manifestation of the fallen angels?
Two angels appeared at the empty tomb, Luke 24:3-4, “3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments”
The Rephaim were the descendants of fallen angels, giants, such as Og king of Bashan whose bedstead was nine by four cubits.
Deuteronomy 20:17-18, “But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee: 18 That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God.” 
Sadly, the entire land promised to the Israelite's had not been totally conquered and occupied in the time of Joshua, a thorn in the side of Israel to this day.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Living in Christ 543 - 2 - 1

Sunday morning at the Assembly of God Church Pastor Bruce was speaking about a life lived for Christ. As I took a few notes I was reminded of our study of James and this question specifically. Pastor said to get rid of things drawing one towards sin. Don’t compromise. Be set aside. Carnal Christian, an oxymoron. Live according to the spirit. Live in the freedom of a life in Christ.
I agree with Pastor and suspect so would James, that the worldly Christian is an oxymoron. The behavior and attitudes of those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, but still clings to their old ways of living aren’t much different from those of their unbelievers. 1 Corinthians 3:3, “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”
Is this due to the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) gospel creeping into the church rather than the clear message of repentance? Revelation 3:15-16, “15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”.
The sanctuary in the Assembly of God church has three columns of chairs. Pastor was talking about this very verse Sunday night at Fellowship Service. His illustration was at the column of chairs to his right were cold, those to the left of him were hot and those in between he referred to as the lukewarm church.
Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Is this where Jesus has been relegated by many claiming to be Christians, ignoring his voice and the tug at their heart?
Study Compares Christian and Non-Christian Lifestyles
"A new Barna Group survey measured the type of lifestyles Americans live. Results showed they live one of sacrifice and of self-indulgence. And the story is not that much different for born-again Christians."
Several times Jesus said be not deceived. As we are winding down in these the last days, good advice. Luke 21:8, “And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.”
Little gods Heresy
Kaycee Watchman published multiple clips of the Word of Faith preachers preaching that Christians are little gods, Jan 8, 2013.
James 1:26, “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” Little gods? “This man’s religion is vain.”
By grace we are saved and not works, nevertheless, God will judge our fruit. Those who would mislead their followers with a false message will likely be judged harshly. How harshly will God judge those of weak faith thereby easily deceived?

Saturday, March 3, 2018

James 1:19, very good advice 543 - 2 - 5

James 1:19 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear (G191) slow to speak (G2980), slow to wrath: (G3709)”
Hear, G191, to hear, give an audience, be reported, understand.
For several years, I sold mineral specimens as well as jewelry at markets. One of the things I really enjoyed was children who had an interest in stones. I would spend time going over the various stones with them and most were interested enough to listen. Then there were those children who would ask one question and while I was answering their question would ask another question.
A few years ago, I heard a talk by a former Mormon who has recorded DVDs on how best to witness to Mormons. He mentioned that in college he had a course on listening. To me, really listening and processing what is being said will likely result in critical analysis. Also, it shows respect for what someone else has to say.
Speak, G2980, to talk, to utter words, preach, say, tell, to “lay” forth, that is, relate (in words, usually of systematic or set discourse.
I just had a flashback of my maternal grandmother saying, “Children are to be seen not heard.” She often took care of us kids while my mother worked and could be strict. The older I get the more I appreciate the values this farm woman instilled in me.
 I have a good friend who rarely listens and whatever I might say she will somehow make it about herself. She is usually transmitting rather than receiving. 
I have another very good friend who teaches the two weekly Bible studies I attend. She is a great listener and has helped me work through difficult Bible verses. My goal, to be more like the second friend.
Wrath, G3709, violent passion, ire, or abhorrence, by implication punishment, anger, indignation, vengeance.
Merriam-Webster defines wrath as:
1: strong vengeful anger or indignation
2: retributory punishment for an offense or a crime: divine chastisement
Definitions 1 and 2 sounds like wrath in the flesh except for “divine chastisement”
Google further defines retributory, “of or relating to or having the nature of retribution; "retributive justice demands an eye for an eye" relatiative, retaliatory, retributive, vindicatory. punitive, punitory - inflicting punishment; punitive justice"; punitive damages".
In the next verse James states, “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
Although I have known what I would call righteous anger, I strive never to be wrathful. I leave the wrath to our righteous God.
 Isaiah 61:2, “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;” 
Isaiah 63:4, “For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.”
Romans 12:19, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
It is my sincere prayer to be out of here before God's day of wrath. Meanwhile, I'll do my best to conform to James 1:19.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Our daily bread 529-1 - 5 - 4

Matthew 6:11, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Here I acknowledge my dependence on God for both spiritual and physical. daily food.
God originally placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the garden of plenty. After the fall, Adam and his descendants lost the perfection of Eden.
Genesis 3:19, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
Genesis 14:18, “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.”
A theophany, a pre-incarnate visit by Jesus? Included are the elements of the Lord's table. 1 Corinthians 11:24-25, “24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”
Genesis 49:20, “Out of Asher (H836) his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.”
Asher, H836, happy; Asher, a son of Jacob, and the tribe descended from him, with its territory; also a place in Palestine to be straight, especially to be level, right, happy); figuratively to go forward, be honest, prosper, called blessed, go, guide, lead, relieve.
Exodus 13:3, “And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten.”
Leaven is to puff up, often used figuratively as sin.
Exodus 16:4, “Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.”
Malachi 1:7, “Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible.”
Here the priests were bringing the Lord defiled offerings rather than first fruits. Like Cain they acted as if less than the best was good enough for the Lord. When we approach the Lord's table we must first examine ourselves, that we are not doing it “unworthily,” 1 Corinthians 11:29, “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.” 
John 6:51, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Many of the people misunderstood what Jesus meant as he was speaking allegorically and not of his actual physical flesh.
Matthew 4:3-4, “3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 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.”
Like the rock, bread appears many times throughout the Bible, often an equivalence to Jesus. Jesus, our living water and bread of live on whom is the solid rock of our foundation.

Salvation, a beginning 529-1 - 5 - 5

Matthew 6:19-21, “19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
These words by Jesus really resonate with me. About 30 years ago I thought it would be fun to try buying and selling jewelry weekends. It wasn't that I needed the money, as I had a very good job. What started out as a hobby became a near consuming passion. Over the years I have purchased dozens of pieces of Native American crafted jewelry, hundreds of strands of beads and turquoise nuggets plus kilos of sterling silver findings. I’ve incorporated the strands of beads into hundreds of items of jewelry. I often say I do not own my inventory, it owns me.
I have both a winter and a summer home in Arizona. Both are very unpretentious and very economical. My property tax on my northern home runs less than 50 dollars a year. Every time I drive back and forth between homes I drag boxes of jewelry with me. It is like the legendary albatross around my neck or to quote the Sufi, it's my ton of cabbage.
While jewelry is not susceptible to moth or rust, pieces are too often stolen. Over the ensuing decades I know that my true treasure is not in jewelry nor in beads. My true treasury is my relationship with Jesus.
Receiving salvation through Christ Jesus is not the climax, but the beginning. Now that I have salvation, what have you done for with it?
My mission field is primarily the Internet and that It is my desire to become a very effective Christian apologist. Here I will extend this to doing my part to fulfill the great commission assigned to us by Jesus. Matthew 28:19-20, “19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Saturday, February 24, 2018

I'm saved so what am I doing with it? 543 - 1 - 4

My love, respect and awe of God is central to my life. I am passionate about bringing people into the Kingdom. Time is short and so many are rushing though the wide gate. Matthew 7:13-14, “13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Sadly, many are heading through the wide gate due to false teachings. Many religious leaders are promoting a more universal and less Biblical approach to religion as foretold nearly 2000 years ago in 2 Timothy, “will not endure sound doctrine; having itching ears, turn away from the truth, and turn to fables.” I often counter misinformation, however and to quote CM, “The only barrier to truth is the presumption that you already have it.”  
I seek to be a productive Christian Apologist with the Internet is my primary mission field. Facebook provides fertile ground. When I read some of the comments made by unbelievers I cringe, and think have they no fear of God, what of their eternal destination? I have a blog devoted to the Word of God that has a small but worldwide readership. Currently I have more page-views from Russia than the United States.
We are in the days of Isaiah 5:20, “Woe (H1945) unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” 
Woe, H1945, an interjection meaning alas! It is used in lamenting a person's death, It is used in prophetic announcements of judgment or threats.
[The Complete Word Study Dictionary]
This is the fourth of the six woes in Isaiah 5 and concerns those who distort moral distinctions, denying the difference between good and evil, when good is called bad and bad is called good; abortion and homosexuality being prime examples.
That the Bible is the inspired Word of God is undeniable based on many fulfilled prophecies. There too often is bitterness aimed by unbelievers at believers; thankfully I have “The whole armour of God.”
180 degrees removed the unbelievers are those It caught up in “works,” for example members of the Catholic Church. Works denigrate Jesus’ death on the cross as not being enough, so I ask What part of “It is finished” is not clear? Here I’m very concerned as I have many Catholic friends and family. Indoctrination is so complete that I can do little more than pray.
Death can happen in a split second and if unsaved there is no changing one’s eternal destination. Nevertheless, God knows our heart, so I pray that many will cry out to Jesus with their last breath.

Friday, February 23, 2018

character, integrity and conduct 529-1 - 4 - 1

CM says that the difference between character and integrity is that integrity equals belief plus discipline and refers to It the vertebrae of the soul.  Character adds wisdom to integrity and is what you are when no one is looking. Character always comes before conduct, because what we are determines what we do.
Unpacking the above, Solomon comes to mind. God chose Solomon to build His temple rather than King David. 1 Chronicles 28:3 “But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.” 
Before his death King David warned Solomon, 1 Chronicles 28:9  “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off forever.”
When asked what he wanted, Solomon choose wisdom. 1 Kings 4:29-30, “29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. 30 And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.” 
Solomon built the Temple. 2 Chronicles 5:14, “So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.” The shanika glory filled the temple.
Solomon started out well, Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Before his death Solomon had 700 wives and 300 columbines several of which lead him into idolatry. After his death, the kingdom was divided. First the Northern Kingdom fell and later the Southern Kingdom went into captivity. By this time the Shanika glory had departed the temple. Ezekiel 10:18, “Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims.”
The history of the divided kingdoms is a study in kings of good character and those who chased after other gods.
Given a choice between character and integrity, I would choose integrity. Character comes before conduct and lessons learned from the kings of Israel, their conduct often evidences poor character.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Book of Psalms, a wonderful study 515-2 - 24 - 8

Let’s end this wonderful study of the Psalms with praise! Let everything Praise the Lord and that includes the musical instruments of David’s time.
Psalm 150:1, “Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.” 
Sanctuary, H6944, a sacred place or thing; consecrated, dedicated, hallowed, holiness
Many of the Psalms have been put to contemporary melodies; these I often listen to as I sleep.
The first lines of the Sanctuary Praise song:
“Lord prepare me, to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true
And with thanksgiving, I'll be a living, sanctuary, oh for you”
Psalm 150:2, “Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.”
I’ve been friends with a great guy who is caring, loyal, is a great cook, and knows car and home repairs. However, he is not on fire for Jesus and pretty much tolerates my enthusiastic love for Jesus. So much as I care for him, this is a bridge too far. 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”
Psalm 150:3, “Praise him with the sound of the trumpet (H7782) : praise him with the psaltery (H5035) and harp (H3658).”
Trumpet, H7782, a cornet or curved horn: - trumpet.
 Psaltery, H5035 Brown-driver Briggs Definition: 2) harp, lute, guitar, musical instrument
Harp, H3658, to twang; a harp.
Someone pointed out that if you say the last names of our POTUS and VPOTUS it sounds almost like Trumpet.
Psalm 150:4, “Praise him with the timbrel (H8596) and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.”
Timbrel, H8596, to drum, that is, play on the tambourine.
Psalm 150:5, “Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.”
Cymbals, H6767, a clatter, whirring (of wings); a cricket; vibration); to tinkle,  quiver, tingle.
Psalm 150:6, “Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.”
As long as I have breath, I will sing praises unto the Lord.
What a joyful Psalm to end with. As I looked up the various instruments listed I remembered the rhythm bands of kindergarten. We would happily parade around the classroom making a joyous noise. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

No pit so deep 515-2 - 23 - 4

Psalm 142:1-2, “1 I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication. 2 I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.”
David was being pursued by his enemies and had been deserted by his friends. He is hiding in a cave and praying aloud and sounding forsaken. He cries and pours out his complaint before the Lord, a simple telling of his trouble and grief.
Psalm 142:3-4, “3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me. 4 I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.” 
“No man cared for my soul” cries out the depth of David’s pain of rejection.
Psalm 142:5-6, “5 I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. 6 Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I.”
Luke 9:58, “And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”
Psalm 142:7, “Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.”
Like David, Betsie Ten Boom never lost her faith even in a Nazi concentration camp. As Betsie was dying she whispered to her sister Corrie, "Must tell people what we have learned here. We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. They will listen to us, Corrie, because we have been here.”
I stared at her wasted form. “But when will all this happen, Betsie!” “Now. Right away. Oh, very soon! By the first of the year, Corrie, we will be out of prison!”
[Boom, Corrie Ten; Elizabeth Sherrill; John Sherrill. The Hiding Place]
Betsie Ten Boom was right, they were both out of prison by the first of the year, Betsie through going home to be with the Lord and her Sister Corrie was released due to a clerical error. Corrie went on to be a very effective speaker.
Psalm 146:1, “Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul.” Double praise, very strong devotion on the part of the Psalmist who believes in the existence of his soul. I often listen to Praise and Worship music and it does play to something deep within; my soul?
Psalm 146:2, “While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.” While I’m in this incarnation I will praise the Lord and after I drop my tent, I will praise Him throughout eternity.
Psalm 146:3-4, “3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.” 4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.”
Psalm 2:1-4, :1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 
Princes, POTUS, come and go, nevertheless the Lord is forevermore, and I will trust in the Lord. That said, in my opinion God has provided our country with a President for such a time as this. 
Psalm 146:5, “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:” My hope is in the Lord who said “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
Psalm 6, “Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth forever:” God the Creator is Omnipotent and unchanging.
Psalm 146:7, “Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners:” Although I’m just passing through I’m provided for and better than food is the living water. Even prison could not keep out the love and judgment of God.
Psalm 146:8-9, “8 The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous: 9 The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down. 
The Lord opens the eyes of the blind be it physical or spiritually and relieves those who are bowed down with burdens, the widows, and the orphans. The Lord loves the righteous and brings down the wicked.
Psalm 146:10, “The LORD shall reign forever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.” The Lord shall reign throughout eternity and I will be will Him. 1 Corinthians 2:9, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The four James of scripture 543 - 1 - 2

1. James, the son of Zebedee; brother of John known as the beloved disciple. The brothers were known as sons of thunder. He is commonly called James the Greater to distinguish him from James, the son of Alpheus, who is called James the Less. (James #2) He was the first martyred of the apostles by the order of Herod. His brother John was tortured but not martyred and lived to an old age and authored The Book of John,The Epistles of John and The Book of Revelation.
2. James, the son Alpheus (Alphaeus?), brother of Judas (not Iscariot). Rather confusing, Matthew 10:3, “Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;” During the Crucifixion, Mark 15:40, “There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;” Also, Matthew 27:56, “Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.”
3. James, the father of Judas, not of Iscariot who betrayed Jesus. And my confusion continues with Luke 6:16, “And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.” Act 1:13, “And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.” 
4. James, the brother of Jesus who wrote The Epistle of James. There are several passages naming Jesus’ siblings including Mark 3:31, "There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him."
Matthew 13:55-56, "55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?" See also Mark 6:3
Joh 2:12, "After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days." 
Mathew 12:46-47, “46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. 47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.”
Matthew 12:48, “But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?” Jesus said, “whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
Mary of course knew who Jesus was, but His brothers and sisters likely were embarrassed by Him, Psalm 69:8, “I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children.”
Jesus had siblings born to His mother Mary and step-father Joseph after the birth of Jesus. Catholics claim that the siblings of Jesus were His cousins. The Catholic doctrine cannot tolerate a no longer virgin, virgin Mary, a virgin Mary who is possibly to be elevated to co-creator. There have been several movies made concerning the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus but not one mention siblings. Very politically incorrect.
There were four James in scripture including the brother of Jesus who after the resurrection became a believer and wrote a book of the Bible, The Epistle of James

The Law and does a Christian have to keep the Law

Galatians 4:3-5, “3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
A very short and concise statement of the purpose of the Law follows:
“Judaism was physical, external, and temporal; Christianity is spiritual, internal, and permanent. These externals were a form of bondage to the children.”
[Believer’s Bible Commentary]
As Martin Luther “repeated his prayers on the Lateran staircase, the words of the prophet Habakkuk came suddenly to his mind: ‘The just shall live by faith.’ Thereupon he ceased his prayers, returned to Wittenberg, and took this as the chief foundation of all his doctrine. Luther himself said of this text, ‘Before those words broke upon my mind I hated God and was angry with him because not content with frightening us sinners by the law and by the miseries of life, he still further increased our torture by the gospel. But when, by the Spirit of God, I understood those words – “The just shall live by faith!” “The just shall live by faith!” – then I felt born again like a new man; I entered through the open doors into the very Paradise of God. Habakkuk 2:4, “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.”’
Habakkuk 2:4, “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.”
This verse contains an antithesis. Lifted, puffed up, haughty applied to those in power at the time of Habakkuk. The just sought righteousness and to be obedience leading a holy life. Paul used “the just” in three of his epistles.
How are we justified? Romans 1:17, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
How shall we live? Galatians 3:11, “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.”
We stay in faith by not turning away from Christ. Hebrews 10:38, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”
Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Jesus had not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them. Jesus insisted that not one jot or one tittle would pass from the law until it was completely fulfilled.
Galatians 4:6-7, “6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
I’m saved by grace and not under the Law, nevertheless, obedience should follow including the Ten Commandments. Further we are to “Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.”