Thursday, April 21, 2016

Earthquakes in Various Places

I am interested in earthquakes, and lately there have been many which appear on the evening news. So recently, knowing that earthquakes are mentioned in the Bible, I did a short word study.

Picture this: Elijah, the prophet of God, has just done a big thing. Now Jezebel is out for blood, and he runs for his life forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God. There he has a conversation with God, and we read this:
1Ki 19:11  And he [God] said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 
1Ki 19:12  And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 
1Ki 19:13  And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? 
What does it mean, for us today?
God is in charge of every event, every day. He uses them for his own good purposes. But He is not necessarily IN them. We must not use such things for guidance. Instead, we must listen for his "still, small voice."
Isa 30:21  And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. 
Then, when we have heard, we must do. I know, this is easier said than done. Nevertheless, it is true. 
So, when you hear of  these things "...nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places." (Mat 24:7) do not be afraid or give up hope. Listen for God, and do what he says. He has promised he will not leave you.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Give Glory to God

Did you ever wonder what it means to give glory to God? It's one of those things we are told we are supposed to do, and it sounds like a very good thing, but what does it look like? Are we giving God glory when we sing a worship song or hymn? Go to church? Pass out religious literature? Take communion? Pray? Read the Bible? Point out sin? Preach?

Not necessarily.

God has some things to say about giving Him glory, and we can learn what He means from what He says. Searching the New Testament for the words "glory God," I learned.
It is simple.

Luke 2:8  And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

  • This passage is about Jesus' birth. The whole purpose of Jesus' life and death was God's glory. When we follow Jesus according to God's plan, we are giving God glory.

Luke 17:11  And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
12  And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13  And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14  And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
15  And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16  And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17  And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18  There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19  And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

  • This teaches us that thanking God for what He has done is giving Him glory.

John 11:1  Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
3  Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
4  When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

14  Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

40  Jesus saith unto [Martha], Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
41  Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
42  And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
43  And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
44  And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

  • This is a little more complicated: Obviously, that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead gave God glory. But how does that apply to us today? One does not often see people raised from the dead least not physically. But spiritually it is a different story. Every person who becomes Jesus' disciple passes from death into life (See John 5:24). So our salvation is a resurrection, and gives God glory.

Acts 12:22  And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.
23  And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

  • Herod was a great orator, but God judged him "because he gave not God the glory" for his skill. When we give credit to God our Creator for our abilities, we give Him glory.

Romans 4:19  And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb:
20  He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
21  And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
22  And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

  • Abraham, in his faith in God's promise of a son, gave Him glory through that faith. Likewise, we give God glory through our faith that He will keep His promises. Further, we give God glory when we live according to our faith (Romans 14:23 & 1 Corinthians 10:31).

Rom 15:7  Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

  • Strong's lexicon defines receive as “to take to oneself, that is, use (food), lead (aside), admit (to friendship or hospitality." So we give God glory when we break bread together, counsel each other, and extend friendship or hospitality to one another. This is the outworking of the commandment to love one another, and the witness to those outside the body of Christ that we are His.

There are a few others, but these sum it up: Turn to Jesus for salvation and follow Him in faith; thank God, giving Him credit for what He has done; love one another. That is how to give glory to God. Simple.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

October 31

I am not a fan of halloween.

Some years ago, I worked the evening shift. I enjoyed listening to the radio as I commuted, because at that time I could hear a folk music show on my way home. One night, every song played had the devil as its subject. When I noticed this, I first wondered why, then I remembered it was halloween. That was the night when God brought home to me that halloween was the devil's holiday.

Eph 5:11  And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather even expose them. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

First Corinthians 1: Christ Is Divided

Psalm 133
1  A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
2  It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
3  As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. 

I was reading Ivan Panin's numeric translation of First Corinthians when the Holy Spirit highlighted a verse for me. The verse was 1 Corinthians 1:13, which in the King James Version says this: "Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" Panin, however, made the first phrase a declaration instead of a question: "Christ is divided: was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized into the name of Paul?" (My emphasis)

Full stop. This is different. What does it mean?

Christ is divided. Not good. Not good at all.

The context bears this out: Paul is chastising the Corinthians for contention and factionalism:
1Co 1:10  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
1Co 1:11  For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
1Co 1:12  Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
1Co 1:13  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? 
Specifically, he is telling them that following a man, even a well-known one such as Paul, Cephas (Peter), or Apollos, is not right. Each of them had been baptized into the name of Jesus, therefore they all were to follow Jesus. To follow anyone else is contentious, and carnal (1 Cor 3:3). It is sin.

So, what does that mean today? Do we, who claim Jesus, divide him? Are we contentious?

We follow, for example, Luther, the Pope, Calvin, Wesley, or one of a host of others. We follow this or that radio, television, or internet preacher. We follow "our" pastor or priest or minister. We divide the body of Christ over men. 

It is idolatry. 
We need shepherds, because we are sheep. But if we follow a man who is not Jesus, and do not compare what he says and does with what is taught in the Bible; if we accept what a man teaches, and do not reject the lies and misinterpretations which creep in; we are in sin. We are making that man, whoever he is, into our god.

It is death.
We who claim Jesus as our savior and lord are one body, Christ's body, on earth, and he is our head (Rom 12:5, 1 Cor 10:17, Eph 1:22-23, Col 1:18). If a man is beheaded, he dies. Similarly, if one part of the body is cut off from the rest, that part dies. So if we remove Christ as our head and put a man there, or if we separate from one another because of a man, something dies. Not Christ: he overcame death in resurrection. But we die, our witness dies, our usefulness to God dies. Fellowships die. Churches die.

This need not be.
The solution is simple, although it isn't easy. It is as simple as turning away from putting man ahead of God, learning scripture, and asking God to reveal the lies we have believed. He answers that prayer, if we mean it.

Examine yourself to see if you are guilty of this. Ask God to search you and reveal any idolatry and all lies, then turn from those he reveals. It will not be easy, but it is right.

It will allow us to experience the blessing of Psalm 133.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Think on These Things

Matthew 25:40b  ...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 

Have you been overwhelmed by the struggles and need of others? I have. And I have often not done anything, because what I could offer seemed so small. But God showed me today, that if we each do the small thing the sum will be large for the one in need. And He promised in this passage that when we help those in need, we are  doing Him worship. 

With God's help, I will do the small things He puts before me, and trust Him to make the sum large.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

One Little Word

I have been reading Ivan Panin's numeric translation of the New Testament recently. Today I was reading Acts 16, and a word in verse 17 caught my attention. The word was "a..": 
Acts 16:17 The same following after :Paul and us cried out, saying, These :men are bondmen of the Most High :God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation. (Panin)
(Before I go on, I should tell you that Panin was concerned that his translation be as accurate as possible, so when the Greek used a "the" which would not be grammatically acceptable in English, he inserted a colon [:] in its place. In this verse, you see this before "Paul," "men," and "God.")

Now I can go on. I noticed the "a" near the end of the verse. In many translations, including King James, "the" is used instead of "a." I looked at the passage in my Greek Interlinear Version and in Young's Literal Translation, and found that they were in agreement with Panin, so his is not a unique translation.

You may be wondering what that small difference makes. Maybe not much, but I have been puzzled WHY Paul was so bothered by the (supposed) testimony to the truth from the mouth of the girl. Here is the passage, in King James, so you will know the context:
Act 16:16  And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 
Act 16:17  The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 
Act 16:18  And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.  
It is true that Paul was a servant of the Most High God, and that he was showing the way of salvation, so why was he "grieved?"

I remember an explanation which focused on the spirit of divination which possessed the girl (v 16), saying that was his reason for grief, and that may be true. But the use of "a" in this context, instead of "the," turns a true statement into a lie: Paul was not showing the people "a" way of salvation (one of several), but "THE" way of salvation (the only one).

I am glad God showed me the answer to my question, and revealed (again) how easily the truth can be turned into a lie. All it takes is one little word.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What is Truth?

Joh 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 

Jesus is the truth. He truly came. He truly taught. He truly died. He truly rose again from the dead. He truly sits in heaven at God's right hand.

Does that mean that everything which is taught in His name today is true?

If He taught it, it is true. But if He didn't teach it...

Have you ever asked God to show you the lies which you have believed?

If not, are you willing to ask? You will surely be surprised at His answer.

If you are willing to have your faith challenged, to find the idols in your life, to embrace the truth, ask.

You will be changed. You will become more like Him.