Saturday, January 31, 2015

When I as a Christian starts being “careful” in serving the Lord, the power goes out of my message 540 - 2 - 2

Proverbs 27:17, "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend."
John 6:61, “When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?” to me, this is an example of iron sharpening iron. Many of Jesus’s followers turned away from Him by interpreting John 6:51-54 as being pagan. By being careful, these former followers forfeited “the true Bread” and “The atoning blood of Christ.”
With thanks to e-sword summarized Bible:
“Conclusion: Jesus Christ, the true Bread, is that to the soul which bread is to the body, nourishing and supporting the spiritual life. Our bodies could live better without food than our souls without Christ. Those who have received this Bread are to be the distributors of it to other hungry souls.”
Although I know I should be more outspoken with family and friends who follow the false doctrine of the Catholic Church concerning transubstantiation I usually compromise by saying something to the effect that when Jesus said from the cross “It is finished” it was finished. I should be more explicit by saying that we come to the Lord’s Table in remembrance; Luke 22:19-20, “19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”
The disciples spent three and a half years in the presence of the living Jesus and still they failed to grasp that he was to be the suffering Messiah. After the crucifixion they were in fear of their lives. After the resurrection they became fearless and after Pentecost were fully indwelt by the Holy Spirit. All but John were martyred in fulfilling the great commission. As a very old man John had the great honor and privilege of witnessing Jesus in his true glory, the Alpha and the Omega.
Then there was Saul/ Paul. After witnessing the glory of the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus Paul brought the gospel to the Gentiles throughout the known world. These were men who were bigger than life and displayed great courage through beatings, stoning’s and martyrdom. I wish that I had it in me to better emulate the courage of these early followers of Jesus.
I've often criticized Christians for keeping within the confines their/ my little BAC group(s). More than once I've asked if we have forgotten the great hymn, Onward Christian Soldiers; “Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before.” While I don’t back down from those mocking the Word, I do most of my witnessing through the impersonal Internet. So I tend to take the careful method of sharing the gospel by blogging and posting on Facebook and pray that my reaching out connects.

My interpretation of the return of Christ has a very positive effect on my life 540 - 2 - 5.

I anticipate the return of Christ for His Church at any time and I seek to not be found wanting.
According to CM “The primary lesson in the Book of Job is the oldest lesson in the world and the most important lesson that it is possible for us to learn…. This is a lesson I cannot teach you: How shall mortal man be justified with God?”
With Job there is both an upper story at a lower story. He was not cognizant of the upper story in which he was being used by God in a challenge to Satan. In the lower story Job was afflicted by great family and material loss and horrific physical trauma. Through it all Job never cursed God and all is ultimately restored to him.
Job 19:25, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:” Job seems to have had an innate respect for God and knowledge that there would be latter days.
In my opinion, we are most assuredly in the end of the end days and the very soon return of Christ. While I am not anywhere near as upright as Job was, I daily work at my sanctification.
About those Crowns:
2 Timothy 4:8, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
This is one crown that I surely will be qualified for as I wake up in the morning with the regret that Jesus didn't come for his Church during the night. I go to sleep in anticipation that this just might be the night...
James 1:12, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”
Again, daily I’m working on my sanctification, no simple task while I am still in the presence of sin.
1 Peter 5:4, “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
While I realize that I have been justified by the free gift of salvation offered by Jesus on the cross, the thought of being awarded crowns is very appealing. Any crowns earned would be presented to Jesus with great thanks for being granted the privilege of spending eternity with Him.
As the time of Christ’s return draws nearer it does seem that the devil is a roaring lion looking for whom he may devour. There is an acceleration of immorality throughout the planet and our country is a chief offender. Groups such as ISIS are very effective minions of the devil and create havoc in a very explosive part of the world. One denomination is trying to write Israel out of the Bible, total blasphemy. So I stand as a watchman on the wearing the spiritual armor of the Lord.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My sharing the Gospel often arouses hostility. 540 - 1 - 3

In my opinion I have an interesting family background. Relatives on both my mother’s and father’s side consider themselves to be Christians.
My mom's family farmed several miles out of town. My maternal grandmother was raised Catholic but apparently was not conflicted about joining the Lutheran faith of my grandfather. My grandfather died when I was three so I don’t remember him other than my mother saying that he often read the Bible. Growing up I remember that every Good Friday my grandmother insisted that we kids sat quietly for two hours in observance of the crucifixion. I know that when the time comes I will be reunited with my mother and her parents, all Godly people.
I’m far less assured of being reunited with many on my father’s side. While my grandmother came from a Quaker background she became a devout Christian Scientist. I’m not sure of my paternal grandfather’s religious affiliation but he was a Mason and served as Grand Master of his Lodge. My parents were divorced when as quite young and I spend very little time with my father. Decades later as my father was dying a neighbor who was a born-again pastor tried to spend time with him. Both his sister, my aunt, and my father refused the pastor entrance. Much is I loved my father and aunt, I’m very concerned for their eternal destination.
 Last year we held an open house for my mother’s 102nd birthday. One of my paternal cousins, looked right at me and said I’m a Christian Scientist and we don’t believe in hell. She then looked at my sister-in-law, a lifelong Catholic, and said and there’s no such place as purgatory. While I agree with her concerning purgatory, her attitude was very hostile. Whenever I was around her younger sister I always felt that I had to be very careful to make no reference to Christianity or I risked incurring her hostility as well.
My mother recently passed and as she was my main connection to them, I don’t really expect to have much to do with my father’s side of the family. They continue to be my friends on Facebook so perhaps once in a while they read my postings often dealing with Jesus.
I’m very fortunate in the winter as I’m surrounded by BAC friends. Not so in my summer home. I was taken back when a very good friend of mine told me that I lived in the past since I studied the Bible. I provided her with information considering the relevancy of the Bible and try to be an example to her. Add to that I have several Mormon friends who give lip service to Jesus. A potentially great mission field.
I maintain a blog that has gained a rather limited readership throughout the planet. If I can bring a few readers into the kingdom and they can bring others into the kingdom I guess you could say it’s praying it forward.

, Prophetic hope drives me to holiness and evangelism. 540 - 1 - 4

I use Facebook as a witnessing tool and follow groups such as The Hal Lindsey Media Ministries. Just yesterday a member added that “Someone posted in one of my earlier posts, that she felt that "time itself was somehow speeding up" and wanted to know if anyone else was experiencing this as well? I would like to expand on this thought and say "In a world that is becoming ever meaner and colder by the day, it's harder for me to find joy in anything "of this world" other than my loved ones, and the promise of our salvation. Is anyone else experiencing these feelings? Want to make sure I'm not alone in this?”

In less than 24 hours there were more than 250 “Likes” and 160 comments most in confirmation of the seemingly increasing divide between good and evil.  There also were many reference to the closeness of the coming of Jesus for His Church.

Even unbelievers are sensing that things are going from bad to worse. There’s an acceleration in people referring to Matthew 24:7-8, “7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

I suspect that I’m typical of those of us who are eagerly awaiting the blessed hope. I want to be like the five virgins who had plenty of oil for their lamps as they awaited the bridegroom. To this end, I do my best to lead a morally upright life and to avoid doing anything by which I might be a stumbling block to others. As a believer I’m very aware that my behavior will be scrutinized by unbelievers looking to find fault. As one claiming the title of Christian I realize that I am an ambassador for Jesus in keeping with the third commandment.

An awareness of the times and how rapidly events are falling in line with Bible prophecy only and intensifies my drive to bring more people into the kingdom while there still is time.  In my opinion, one of the greatest barriers is that many people already claim to be Christians when at most they are pew warmers. Typical of this is my older brother who says that he attends church once in a while and does good things. So I pray intercessor prayers that he will come to the foot of the cross and leave the task of convicting him to the Holy Spirit. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What new perspectives have these studies revealed to you about your relationship with God? 514 - 8 - 3

I really have not gained any new perspectives about the character of God and His Sovereignty, rather I gained even more confirmation of something I’ve always seem to intuitively know. As a child I would look out at the vastness of the universe and know that there was greatness and majesty behind it. From a post I wrote in 2012, “To this day when I’m in an area having less light interference, I feel nearly lifted up when observing the wonder of the heavens.”

I give little credence to the study of astrology, however, what is referred to as the “Signs of the Zodiac” is known in Hebrew as “the Mazzeroth” and seems far more believable. As an aside, I was born August 26 in the cusp of Virgo and Leo.
Given the creation, Paul tells that we are without excuse! Romans 1:19-21, “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 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:  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.”

By venerating the created rather than the Creator and worshiping at the altar of evolution, man has brought the judgment of homosexuality upon himself.
Just as the heavens declare the glory of God, so do many of the Psalms and other verses throughout the Bible. We serve an awesome God.

Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.”

Psalm 104:1-3, “1 Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. 2 Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: 3 Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:”

Job 38:4-6, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. 5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;” The schooling of Job continued through much of the remainder of the book of Job until chapter 42.

True Repentance 514 - 8 - 5

With thanks to Wikipedia:

“Repentance is the activity of reviewing one's actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs. It generally involves a commitment to personal change and resolving to live a more responsible and humane life. The practice of repentance plays an important role in the soteriological doctrines of the world's major religions where it is considered necessary for the attainment of salvation.”

“The Reformers, upholding the doctrine of justification by faith, held that repentance consisted in a change of the whole moral attitude of the mind and soul (Matthew 13:15; Luke 22:32), and that the divine forgiveness preceded true repentance and confession to God without any reparation of "works". Rather, "God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance" (Romans 2:4, ESV).”
Repentance to me is between the individual and God and involves a re-direction of one’s life, a re-direction not to be confused with works. In contract is penance. According to the CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: The Sacrament of Penance › Catholic Encyclopedia › New Advent

“Penance is a sacrament of the New Law instituted by Christ in which forgiveness of sins committed after baptism is granted through the priest's absolution to those who with true sorrow confess their sins and promise to satisfy for the same.” Absolution granted by man, sounds like a non-Biblical heresy to me.

After the “schooling” of Job, he more fully understood the absolute awesomeness of God. Job 42:6, “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent (H5162) in dust and ashes.”

H5162 - A primitive root; properly to sigh, that is, breathe strongly; by implication to be sorry, that is, (in a favorable sense) to pity, console or (reflexively) rue; or (unfavorably) to avenge (oneself): - comfort (self), ease [one’s self], repent (-er, -ing, self).

Hosea has an interesting story with respect to the woman chosen by God to be his wife and the original names of his children. Promised was after national repentance there would be a restoration. Will the Second Coming bring Israel to repentance and a final restoration?

Hosea 13:14, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance (H5164) shall be hid from mine eyes.
H5164 - From H5162; ruefulness, that is, desistance: - repentance.

Add to that, Zechariah 12:10, "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn (H5594) for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."

H5594 - A primitive root; properly to tear the hair and beat the breasts (as Orientals do in grief); generally to lament; by implication to wail: - lament, mourn, wail.
Repentance and restoration, applicable on the individual level and on the national level.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

About Job and the behemoth and leviathan as types of evil 514 - 7 - 6

With thanks to Shakespeare, "To sleep, perchance to Dream." And in that twilight state between wakefulness and sleep I was framing my answer to this question pertaining to the behemoth and leviathan. I remember the old quote that "Where there's smoke there's fire." So many old legends of fire breathing dragons and the mortals and semi-mortals who fought them. Add to that the myth of Typhon of whom it was said that even the Olympians feared.

Then I drifted to the many articles that appeared of strange sightings such as the Lockheed monster and strange and huge lifeforms being dredged up from the oceans. My mind drifted around to fallen angels and the rumors of research in the area of Chimeras perhaps driven by the dream of the perfect soldier. As humans flirt with Transhumanism, the singularity point and introducing animal DNA into humans we are indeed in the days prophesied “As it was and the days of Noah.” Perhaps the greatest warning against research into combining human and animal DNA is the concern that Chimeras are unredeemable.

When I woke up this morning what I thought was a very insightful answer to this discussion question vanished with the vapors of sleep.

But I once again digress. CM was very comprehensive in his description of the absurdities of equating Job’s Dragon to animals such as rhinoceros and elephants.  CM likewise points out 2 Peter 3 and the concept of willful ignorance. In my opinion, in the present state of willful ignorance on the part of many in the scientific and military communities they are treading on very dangerous ground. God will not be mocked and we are inviting his wrath.

At the indoctrination level, today there is a fixation on video games such as Dungeons & Dragons and seemingly more games of the same venue daily being advertised.

In summary, I believe that all kinds of monsters exist today, however, far more concerning are the monsters being created in the minds of men. In our continuing arrogance surely we will “Inherit the wind.”

Is ther a mystery concerning the lawlessness manifested today 514 - 7 - 5

Lawlessness was not in the KJV, rather iniquity. Lawlessness appears in the NIV 2 Thessalonians 2, however, both speak to the latter days.
2 Thessalonians 2:1, “[ The Man of Lawlessness ] Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters,”
2 Thessalonians 2:3, “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.”
2 Thessalonians 2:7, “For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.”
A little about the KJV of 2 Thessalonians 2:7, “For the mystery (G3466) of iniquity (G458) doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” (KJV)
G3466 - From a derivative of μύω muō (to shut the mouth); a secret or “mystery” (through the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites): - mystery.
G458 - From G459; illegality, that is, violation of law or (generally) wickedness: - iniquity, X transgress (-ion of) the law, unrighteousness.
As for the mystery of lawlessness manifested today, to me not really a mystery. We live in a fallen world and Satan owns the title deed. It is my opinion that only by clinging to Jesus and the Word are we protected from Satan. Ephesians 6:12, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." As in Ephesians 6:11, we must daily “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
Jesus warned against deception throughout the Gospels. Just one example is 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.”
In the book of Job, God used terrifying animals both from the land and the sea as types in the final days. In the last days the son of perdition and his sidekick, the false prophet, are prophesied as representing the land and the sea. Like the behemoth and the leviathan they will be indestructible until the Second Coming.
God will not be mocked and will have the final victory. Malachi 1:14, “But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.”