Archive for the ‘God’ Category

Colossians 3:15-17 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And BE THANKFUL. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, WITH THANKFULNESS in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, GIVING THANKS to God the Father through him.
 
My Dentist is from Vietnam. He was a young child during the war, and lost a brother. His family was sponsored, and moved to San Diego. They proudly became citizens, and became involved in many Civic organizations. He now volunteers his services to the Wounded Warrior Project to help Veterans like me through their Dental issues at little to no cost. He said that it’s the least he could do for a Country that has been so wonderful to him. He doesn’t demand that his Country serves him, he finds a way to serve his Country. I consider him more Patriotic than a vast majority of Americans that were born here.
 
As we were waiting for the first shot of Novocaine to work it’s way into my gums, he said that he just couldn’t understand why there was so much arguing and bickering over such minor issues in this Nation. Most Countries would love to have these petty differences, but they have to focus on starvation, famine, extreme poverty, things that we cannot even imagine in our pampered lives. We rant, rave, and act like spoiled children over who’s right about the wearing of a mask while others starve to death.
 
So many people call themselves Patriots while demanding that their Country bow to their every want and desire. They’ve never done a thing for this Nation other than whine because it’s not perfect. We have become a Country of complainers.
 
Today’s verses talk about being thankful to God for the gifts that he has given us, and we need to take it to heart. We have been blessed and need to stop pouting about what we don’t have, and focus on what we do. We need to stop acting so spoiled and remember to help others like we used to do. We need to grow up spiritually and return to our roots of kindness, generosity, and Christian love.
Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.
I cannot remember a time in my life where I have seen this Country in such turmoil. It’s seems as though every time I turn around, people are expressing their shock about it. I’m not shocked at all! We turned our back on God, and this is what we get. It’s not complicated, we were warned, and given examples of Nations that did the same throughout the Bible. We knew what would happen, yet we did it anyways. We took God out of schools, aborted a future generation, became complacent. So here we are, surprised at how far down this Country has gone.
So how do we turn it all around? Easy, 2 Chronicles 7:14 says If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
That’s all there is too it. Repent, and turn back to God.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
 
If you’re not reading your Bible daily, your like a four legged bar stool with three legs. It’s our guide, our instruction manual, and without it, we cannot grow closer to God. It, that plain and simple, it’s that important.
Okie Dokie, it’s that time of day. It’s time to look at the lesser known Books of the Bible, and a little background on them. Today we look at the Book of Numbers.
 
Numbers: Learning to Walk the Walk
 
Along with the other four books of the Pentateuch, tradition attributes Numbers’ authorship to Moses. He is central to the book in recording events in detail. There are so many details—statistics, census data, and other data—some people avoid the book altogether. Moses also records the Israelites’ wanderings in the desert after leaving Egypt.
 
The book’s events begin at Mt. Sinai and end in the plains of Moab. Because everyone 20 years and older died as a result of unbelief and disobedience, Moses earnestly addressed the younger generation before his death. As an extra surprise, readers who brave all the details in this book will discover numerous significant events mentioned later in scripture, showing biblical continuity.
 
The book shows God’s people failing Him many times, yet the Lord continued to manifest His faithfulness. In the desert, He taught the Israelites how to walk with Him and live with integrity in front of the surrounding nations. Even today, God expects us to “walk the walk,” not just “talk the talk” of faith.
It’s that time of day again, today we look at another great Book of the Bible that most people very seldom read…🙂 And without further adieu, Here’s our Minor Prophet with a Major Message…
Nahum: God Judges but Remembers Mercy
Other than his message about God’s justice, not much is known about Nahum. He likely lived in southern Judah near another prophet, Micah—who also spoke of justice. Nahum is considered a sequel to the story in Jonah. For a time, the Assyrians heard Jonah’s message of repentance and received God’s mercy, but that all changed during the time of Nahum. The Assyrians conquered Israel in the north and bullied Judah in the south; so God instructed Nahum to announce His plan to judge wicked Nineveh.
The Assyrian Empire was ruthless, and Nineveh was its capital. Israel’s evil King Manessah ruled in Judah at the time, and Nahum preached during this especially dark and idolatrous period before Manessah turned to the Lord.
Nahum—whose name means “comfort”—also held out a ray of hope for the faithful remnant in Judah. His message was to declare God’s slowness to anger, goodness, and power to restore. This can encourage us, too. God is still at work in the darkest of times.

 

So, today we look at the Prophet Zephaniah, and his Book that focuses on purity and righteousness. When you read through this book, you’ll notice that there are no punches pulled, for an example, Chapter 1, Verse, 12 starts out reading “At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, ‘The LORD will do nothing, either good or bad.’ No beating around the bush here, and sometimes we need a blunt answer to a blunt word. Let’s continue on.

This prophet came from royal stock. his family tree hailed back to his great-great grandfather, Hezekiah, one of Judah’s best kings. He prophesied in Jerusalem and made many references to temple worship. Familiar with both political and religious traditions, his message carried a great deal of weight for his countrymen. He prophesied at the end of King Josiah’s reign in Judah, sometime after Josiah’s high priest discovered the lost scrolls.

In childhood, Zephaniah grew up under wicked kings: Manasseh and his son Amon. Zephaniah had to deal with many evils—idolatry, child sacrifice, and murder—along with temple desecration, which likely contributed to Zephaniah’s hatred of religious hypocrisy. He grew into a strong man of God, ready to proclaim God’s message of judgment for sin and calling Israel to reflect, repent, and return to God.

Many scriptures refer to the “day of the Lord”—not only concerning Zephaniah’s day, but eventually in the whole world. Zephaniah also spoke hope to his people, reminding them that God would dwell among, save, and rejoice over His people (Zephaniah 3:17).

So, how do you think this applies to our world today? How does it apply to you personally?

Take the time today to read this very special book of prophecy today, and see what God says about the past, and the present

Stay safe in Jesus

Isaiah 58:7

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

Luke 14:13-14

But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Proverbs 19:17

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

Leviticus 25:35-36

“If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you.

 

Cold

There has always been a question of why Christians struggle with sickness and poverty. Many Atheists will ring this into play when talking about the existence of God, and why a good God would allow the good people to suffer. I came across the article below written by Wayne Jackson. It sure does have some great points, give it a read.

A gentleman who professed identification with the Lord became quite disenchanted with Christianity. When an interested friend asked as to the nature of his problem with faith, he replied:

According to the Bible, God promised that those who follow him will be blessed with health and prosperity. As I observe Christian people, I see vast numbers who are sick and poor. I can no longer believe, therefore, in the promises of God.

What response should be made to this troubled man?

Who’s To Blame?

There are three possible ways to evaluate the argument stated above.

“It’s God’s Fault …”

God has failed in his promises. Either he is unable to complete his pledge (in which case he is impotent), or else he had no intention of fulfilling his bargain (which would make him deceptive). In either event, the fault would lie with God.

“If I were a better person … “

God is both willing and able to bless humanity with physical/material health and wealth, and, invariably, he does. Those who enjoy wholeness and prosperity are the righteous; those who do not are flawed in character. Any lack, therefore, is with man.

“Maybe I’ve misunderstood …”

The third possibility is that the assumptions of the argument cited above are grounded in a misunderstanding of certain passages relating to physical and material well-being.

In this case, the problem would be with the critic’s misinterpretation of certain passages.

Let us give consideration to each of these possibilities.

The Skeptical Theory: God’s to Blame

The first of the above-listed propositions partakes of the nature of that ancient argument employed so often by skeptics.

If God cannot do it, he is powerless, hence, not God. If the Creator will not do it, he is malevolent, thus, not God.

If he has both the power and the will, why then is someone sick or poor?

The assumption in this position, of course, is that ignorant mankind is qualified to pass judgment upon divine actions. And, if the Maker of men is not operating consistent with how “we” might do it, he is blamed as lacking either ability or will.

But the “ways” of Heaven are beyond human analysis (Job 9:12b; Is. 55:8; Rom. 11:33).

The fact of the matter is, God, in real history, has demonstrated both his ability and integrity in keeping his promises.

Twenty centuries before the birth of Christ, Jehovah promised Abraham that through his “seed” all nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 22:18). The prophecy pointed to the coming of Christ (Ga. 3:16).

Even though Abraham and Sarah were aged, and without offspring at the time, the patriarch never wavered concerning the promise, for he knew that “what [God] had promised, he was able to perform” (Rom. 4:21).

Too, God’s integrity was never suspect, for, as the writer of Hebrews noted (in discussing this very circumstance), it is an immutable proposition that it is impossible for God to lie (Heb. 6:13-18).

The messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, combined with the facts relative to Jesus of Nazareth, confirm both the integrity and ability of the Almighty.

The Character Argument: “If I were only good enough …”

The idea that one’s character can be determined by his physical well-being, or material prosperity, though widespread, reflects an erroneous generalization.

While it occasionally is the case that the Bible provides some examples of prosperity as a result of righteousness, that is far from the rule.

Consider two cases from the Old Testament.

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar insisted that Job’s plight (during which he lost all his material resources, and his health) was a result of his lack of spirituality. The patriarch supposedly had committed grievous sins. If he would only repent, God would restore his well-being.

The truth was otherwise. Job’s losses were the result of his goodness. He was Jehovah’s unique servant (Job 1:8; 2:3). The Lord permitted Job’s deprivation because he was proud of him, and knew he could maintain his integrity (Job 13:15).

Or consider the case of Asaph (Ps. 73). He surveyed society and noted the “prosperity of the wicked” (Ps. 73:3). He almost abandoned his faith at this seeming inequity — until Jehovah showed him the “latter end” of evil people (Ps. 73:17), and he learned the lesson that godliness cannot be judged by material status.

Then these New Testament examples.

Jesus’ circumstances during his earthly sojourn were those of the impoverished (2 Cor. 8:9). The Son of man did not even have a place to lay his head (Mt. 8:20). Did these meager conditions reflect God’s lack of fidelity?

Paul frequently was in situations where he lacked material prosperity (2 Cor. 11:27). In addition, he was afflicted with a terrible physical malady (2 Cor. 12:7). Surely it will not be suggested that these difficulties were the result of the apostle’s evil way of life.

Misunderstood Texts: What Does God Promise?

Without a doubt, there are biblical passages that promise prosperity and well-being, in some sense, to those who are faithful to God.

When the nation of Israel left Egypt, Jehovah informed them: “I will put on you none of the diseases which I have put on the Egyptians: for I am Jehovah who heals you” (Ex 15:26). And Isaiah declared that “by [Christ’s] stripes we are healed” (Is. 53:5).

Solomon affirmed that the one who honors God with his substance, with his firstfruits, will have overflowing prosperity (Prov. 3:9-10), and Malachi described the Lord as opening the “windows of heaven” and pouring out a blessing too bountiful to receive (Mal. 3:10).

How are these passages to be explained? There are a number of scriptural truths that will help bring balance to this oft misunderstood subject.

Principles of Well-Being

Death was visited upon man because of his transgression of divine law (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 5:12). In this earthly environment, therefore, humanity will never be exempt from sickness and death.

Be that as it may, there are principles within sacred Scripture that will enhance longevity as a general rule.

There were many sound principles in the Mosaic code that facilitated the good health that Israel generally enjoyed. Dr. S. I. McMillen has discussed this theme in his book, None of These Diseases (Revell, 1963). See also our chapter, “The God Who Heals,” in The Human Body — Accident or Design?.

As a rule, it is assumed that parental love will motivate mothers and fathers to train their children in sound health principles, so that it “may be well” with them, and that they “may live long upon the earth” (Eph. 6:3).

This certainly does not mean, though, that the Christian’s children are immune to illness, or will never die prematurely. This is a principle — not an inflexible law.

The proverb cited above (Prov. 3:9-10) contains a secluded truth supplied by the subsequent context. Derek Kidner has observed that generously giving to God, of one’s first and best, in “the face of material pressures” is, in truth, a test of faith, and is a vivid commentary on a man’s character (Proverbs, 1964, Tyndale Press).

Such a person, who so selflessly serves God, will be honor-bound to treat his fellows fairly. The practice of noble ethics in business (discussed in vv. 27ff) will generate respect, and rebound to the righteous man’s personal prosperity.

Again, though, this is not an iron-solid rule. Obviously, there will be times when the generous and honest Christian becomes the victim of those who take advantage of him. Such cases, however, do not invalidate the principle.

The Use of Figurative Language

The Bible abounds with figures of speech. Hyperbole (exaggeration for emphasis) is common (cf. Jn. 21:25), and metonymy (one thing put for another) is a frequent technical device. In his classic book, Hermeneutics, D. R. Dungan consumed more than forty pages in discussing this latter figure alone.

How does an understanding of this type of expression fit into our discussion?

There are occasions in scripture when spiritual concepts are conveyed in physical or material terms. A failure to recognize this teaching mode can result in the misinterpretation of important biblical texts.

When Isaiah declared that “healing” would result from the benefits of Jesus’ death, he was not speaking of physical healing, but a healing (forgiveness) from sin, as the immediate context reveals (Is. 53:5-6 — note “transgressions,” “iniquities”), and as was confirmed by Peter (see 1 Pet. 2:24-25).

The prophet Joel spoke of “those days” when Jehovah would pour out his Spirit, and supernatural phenomena would result (Joel 2:28-30). In Acts 2, Peter informed his Hebrew auditors that the events of that day (the apostles being overwhelmed by the Spirit’s power — Acts 2:4; 1:5) were a fulfillment of Joel’s oracle (Acts 2:16).

This was the commencement of the Christian age.

In connection with this wonderful era, Joel announced that “the mountains shall drop down sweet wine and the hills shall flow with milk,” etc. (Joel 3:18ff). The prosperity here described is not an agricultural boon. Rather, the material is used to depict the spiritual.

Those who attempt to literalize all the prosperity passages should take note of this idiom.

A survey of the terms “rich” and “riches,” as used in the New Testament, will demonstrate that these words are employed far more frequently of spiritual prosperity than they are of material wealth.

The Mysteries of Providence

We do not deny that God blesses his people in a physical and material way, consistent with his own will, by means of his providential activity upon the earth.

God had mercy on Epaphroditus, who had been “sick to the point of death” (Phil. 2:25-27) — with apparently no miracle involved.

This does not mean, though, that every child of God will recover from terminal conditions. To draw general conclusions from isolated Bible examples can lead to a variety of errors.

The Lord providentially directed his ravens to provide Elijah with bread (1 Kgs. 17:4, 6), and he has urged us to petition him for our daily sustenance (Mt. 6:11), but that does not mean that the child of God will never be bereft of food. He may be in need due to self-sacrifice, persecution, natural disaster, or plain laziness (see: 2 Cor. 11:27; Acts 11:28; 27:21; 2 Thes. 3:10).

One’s level of physical or material well-being, or lack thereof, is:

  • Not a reflection upon God’s ability or his concern;
  • And such is not the measure of a person’s standing before the Lord.

A Concluding Point

There is a strong argument that may be made against the position being reviewed, that almost seems too obvious to mention.

If it were the case that an inflexible rule obtains, in the divine order of things, that spirituality produces health and wealth, the following would clearly result.

Little children, the purest of earth’s society, would never get sick and die; yet, in many third-world nations, sweet children starve, their bodies are racked with disease and they prematurely go to God.

The wicked of the earth generally are more prosperous than the godly, and the righteous do not significantly outlive the non-Christian population.

If wealth was the direct result of becoming a Christian, men would be prone to accept the gospel, not because of their convictions regarding God’s Son, but merely out of materialistic self-interest. Such would bring no honor to either the Creator or the creature. The Almighty expects motives nobler than this.

One should never allow life’s difficulties to distort his view of God.

 

Scripture References

Job 9:12; Isaiah 55:8; Romans 11:33; Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:16; Romans 4:21; Hebrews 6:13-18; Job 1:8, 2:3; Job 13:15; Psalm 73; Psalm 73:3; Psalm 73:17; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Matthew 8:20; 2 Corinthians 11:27; 2 Corinthians 12:7; Exodus 15:26; Isaiah 53:5; Proverbs 3:9-10; Malachi 3:10; Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 6:3; John 21:25; Isaiah 53:5-6; Joel 2:28-30; Acts 2; Acts 2:4, 1:5; Acts 2:16; Joel 3:18; Philippians 2:25-27; 1 Kings 17:4, 6; Matthew 6:11; Acts 11:28, 27:21; 2 Thessalonians 3:10

 

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

I struggle with anger and patience issues. It’s not uncommon, but admitting it is. So while I was trying to write about the topic of self-control this morning, someone was trying to lure me into an argument. My first instinct was to jump in and let them have it with both barrels, then I looked at today’s verse and realized this was a perfect opportunity to practice what I preach. It was an opportunity to take the higher moral road and resist the temptation of being lured into a foolish argument. It was an opportunity to practice self-control.

When I’m at the pizza buffet and I’ve already had more than enough to eat, and I know there’s a good chance another slice will make me miserable for the next 3-4 hours and I eat it anyway …. I lack self control.

When I decide to stay up late and  surf the internet, knowing full well that I have to be up early the next morning and I’ll be so tired I’ll feel sick all day …. I lack self control.

When I procrastinate doing my taxes, leaving myself in a last minute panic to get it done …. I lack self control.

When I spend, spend, spend and never save … I lack self control.

When I watch 5 hours of TV a day, but spend only a few minutes in Bible study and prayer …. I lack self control.

When I choose the pleasures of sin, enjoying them for a short time … forfeiting the long term and eternal blessings of living in obedience to Christ, I lack self control.

Self control is the ability to choose wise actions. If we are going to put our hope in heaven, we will need to make wise choices…

What do you struggle with when it comes to self-control? We all face our own Demons, and Satan knows how to use them against us. He knows how to put temptation right under our noses so he can get our minds of of being holy. The struggle is real, but so is the chance to call upon God to give you the strength to resist it. It’s not easy, I say this from personal experience. Flee from the Devil, and run to God. Practice makes perfect.

 

Have an amazing day

Bless us with rest tonight, Jesus, and a good night’s sleep. Forgive us for the things we did today that did not honor you. Thank you for loving us so much and that you know us through and through. We need your help every day, and we thank you for the strength you give and for helping us know that with you, even hard things are possible. Bless our family and our home, and keep us safe through the night. May your angels guard us and watch over us, just like you promised.

You’ve told us we are just like sheep. And that you lead us and guard us like a shepherd. You know our names, and you make us feel special and loved. When we hurt, you help us feel better. Thank you, Jesus, for your good care and for giving us [mom/dad/parents/foster parents/pastors] to help. Thank you for the Bible, and for teaching us stuff in life that helps us grow. Bless the people in our world, and help them to know you love them, too. Thank you for all the people who help us so much: teachers, doctors, policeman, and fireman—and so many more.

Thank you for your good plan for our lives. Help us to obey you and love you more and more. When we awake in the morning, put a smile on our face and your purpose in our hearts, ready to start a new day. We love you, Jesus. Good night. In Jesus’s precious name, Amen.