Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Job 1:20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe(AS) and shaved his head.(AT) Then he fell to the ground in worship(AU) 21 and said:
 
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.[c](AV)
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;(AW)
may the name of the Lord be praised.”(AX)
 
I wish I could be like Job. I’ve gone through a lot in my years, but nothing like him. He had just had various messengers come to him and tell him that all of his livestock was dead, all of his workers, and all 10 of his children had died at once. All within an hour. So what does he do? Job 1:20 tells us that he fell to the ground and worshipped God. That is truly an amazing act of faithfulness!
 
How many times have we gone through just a fraction of what Job did, and yet all we did was complain or feel sorry for ourselves? I know I’ve done both. We need to become more like Jobe and find our ability to worship and love God in ANY circumstances.
 
So how do we become like Job? We take each set of circumstances that bring us a rough patch in life, and praise God that it’s not worse. Every time we do this, it becomes easier to do because we grow stronger. We become worship athletes if you will, and our ability to run the race that we call life much stronger in our faith, and much happier.
What do you give God?
 
Genesis 4:1 Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth[c] a man.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
 
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions(H) from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering,(J) 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
 
Would you get jealous of someone else if they brought a better gift to God than yours? If you would, there’s a way to prevent that, bring the best you have to God.
 
God doesn’t necessarily judge us on what we bring in terms of money, He just wants the best of what we are able to give. An example of this is found in Mark 12:43,44
 
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
 
It’s not how much we give in Dollars, it’s how much we give from our hearts. So what have you given your best of today? Your time? Your devotion? Your attention? All of these things are worth more than gold to God, and you can afford to give them.
 
Beginning today, wake up in the morning, pray that God shows you what He wants from you, and give it your best. Make it an offering of sacrifice, but make sure it’s the best of what you have. Doing this will bring more blessings than you have ever seen.
Today’s look at the books that most people know very little about is….
 
2 Chronicles: Be Wise and Learn from History
 
This is a book for history buffs. Along with 1 Chronicles, this book is a compilation of official and unofficial documents, the record of the history of God’s people. The history in 2 Chronicles extends from the beginning of King Solomon’s rule to the exile of Judah to Babylon. The author, likely Ezra, focused on telling the story of King David’s descendants and the centrality of the Holy City, Jerusalem, to their lives.
 
Solomon established his authority, unified Israel, and set about to put down early rebellions against his throne. He also built a glorious temple in Jerusalem. Israel’s history during these years included kings who “did right in the sight of the Lord,” others who “did evil,” and some who strayed and then repented. Solomon, on the other hand, started off following God but fell into sin.
 
While there are some who like to erase history, those who are wise will learn from it. Remember God’s blessings. Remember the consequences of sin. Use it all to grow in faith and obedience.
Today’s Book of the Bible that doesn’t get its share of time in the spotlight is….
Judges: Sin Never Goes Unpunished
Judges, likely authored by the prophet-writer Samuel—Israel’s last judge—was more than a collection of military and administrative “stories” from Israel’s history. The phrase, “in those days there was no king in Israel” occurs throughout the book; so Judges describes a character-rich period of history after Joshua’s death and before Saul’s anointing as King, a period of nearly 300 years.
Judges offers an overview of Israel’s moral decline and apostasy, the political and religious upheaval as the Israelites attempted to possess yet-unconquered lands God had promised them, and even tribal infighting in Israel (Judges 12; 20-21). A cycle repeats throughout the book: idolatry and rebellious unbelief followed by God’s judgment through Israel’s enemies, and then a deliverer—a judge raised up by the Lord—to call God’s people to repentance.
This is not a “happy” book; there are numerous disturbing stories. But there are many spiritual giants as well, including Gideon, Samson, Othniel, Shamgar, Jephthath, Ehud, and wise Deborah. Judges’ primary message is this: God will never allow sin to go unpunished. That’s why we need a Savior!
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.

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