Wednesday, April 24, 2019

In The Beginning

Our most important questions are answered in the Bible.


Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Isaiah 45:18 For the LORD is God, and He created the heavens and earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos. "I am the LORD," He says, "and there is no other.

There is a lot of fascination these days with the beginning of the family tree, there is a whole new industry that caters to the desire to know more about where you came from, and for a price you can learn about your roots.

The fascination with the beginning of things goes even further back in time. The oldest ancient civilizations had crazy theories about the start of human history. There where all kinds of stories about multiple gods, most of the theories that the ancient cultures had involved chaos, in fact most of their gods spent their time fighting each other.

Some people say that there isn’t any way that they can believe the Genesis account, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to satisfy them. Imagine how overwhelming it would be for the original readers of this book if it gave enough scientific information to satisfy modern man.

Elementary school students can understand more about science than they could back then but there is still so much that we cannot comprehend about God and how he can make something from nothing.

I am thankful that the Bible gives us information that is so much more essential for us to understand, the facts about creation are not as essential as the real message and purpose of God's word.

The Most Important Message Of The Bible


There is a higher power

There is a God that created everything around us without any raw material, without God the raw material wouldn't exist and they would never be able to come together to make such an organized, complex and intelligent end product.

Our existence would be so miserable if mankind were the highest level of intelligence and if everything was just an accident without any purpose. The big bang cannot answer many questions such as:

  • Where did the emotions come from? 
  • How did humans and the animal kingdom get instincts? 
  • How did the laws of physics come about? 
  • How could an opposite sex evolve in time for the original creature to reproduce before it died?
The higher power isn't impersonal
If the Bible stopped at just informing us about God and his ability to create then we would be stuck in a very delicate situation. We would have every reason to fear this all powerful force that made all things but God didn't create us and walk away and stay at a distance from us.

Thankfully he chose to relate to us even though he didn't need to have a relationship with us because he doesn't have any unmet needs.

The higher power's most important creation
    God didn't make us the same as the rest of creation, if he had then Satan wouldn't have any reason to hate us so much, no other part of creation disgust him the way that mankind does.
    Man is dear to God because he is like Him. Vast and glorious as it is, the sun cannot think God’s thoughts; can fulfil but cannot intelligently sympathise with God’s purpose. Man, alone among God’s works, can enter into and approve of God’s purpose in the world and can intelligently fulfill it.
    -Expositor's Bible Commentary
    Rather than speaking us into existence, God's personal touch was used as he made us from the dust and breathed life into us. Since we were born as a direct result of God's creative activity the Bible says that Adam is the son of God. This truth makes evolution impossible. God didn't create us as a lower life form and then evolve us into his masterpiece that would rule over the rest of creation.

    The higher power we need
    God made us special with desires that only he can fulfill, there isn't any other source of peace and joy that can fulfill and satisfy our intellectual desires, our desire for purpose and our desire to worship. The qualities that separate us from the rest of creation would be the cause of great distress if God didn't reveal himself and minister to our needs.
    There are four fundamental questions of life. You've asked them, I've asked them, every thinking person asks them. They boil down to this: origin, meaning, morality and destiny. 'How did I come into being? What brings life meaning? How do I know right from wrong? Where am I headed after I die?'
    -Ravi Zacharias
    None of the other theories of the beginning of the world and our relationship with the creator can give a satisfactory answer to those questions. Only in God's story that he has graciously revealed to us can we find purpose, hope and meaning for this life and for eternity.

    Thankfully God didn't just put "in the beginning" in the Bible but he also included what would be at the ending. He revealed to us our position before sin, the effects of our sin, and he told us how we can overcome our sin so that we can spend eternity with him.
    Revelation 21:1-3 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, "Look, God's home is now among His people! He will live with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them.
    As glorious as the first creation is, after only seven days of work, it is nothing compared to what we will see after all of the preparations that have been going on for thousands of years.

    Are you ready for the end of the story? Do you have an adequate answer for the four fundamental questions of life?
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    Tuesday, April 16, 2019

    Excited About Jesus

    Our desires can distract us from our greatest needs.


    Luke 19:37-41  When He reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of His followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.

    38  "Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the LORD! Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!"

    39  But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, "Teacher, rebuke Your followers for saying things like that!"

    40  He replied, "If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!"  41  But as He came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, He began to weep.

    From the beginning of Jesus ministry there was alway a lot of excitement, Jesus didn't go very many places quietly, there was a noisy crowd with him and his disciples just about everywhere that they went.

    As Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem, the city was all worked up about Passover, there was the normal festival excitement but this was so much more than that. This Passover came at a time when the local news featured miraculous stories about a man born blind that could finally see, a dead man that came back to life after three days and then there was also the thousands of people that were fed from a sack lunch.

    Could this Jesus be the political Messiah that we have been looking for and is he getting ready to announce that he is going to take charge?

    The excitement had intensified to a higher level than ever, the rumors and speculation were all over the city. the crowds loved the drama and they often daydreamed about the possibilities. Everyone knew that they needed better leaders and Jesus seemed to be the one that could bring them a better life.

    Jesus tried to make it crystal clear that he wasn't rising up to power but instead he would be going down to the grave. What they thought would be Jesus moment of glory would quickly turn out to be a great humiliation.

    It is too bad that their excitement for what Jesus was doing didn't equate to love for Jesus, too bad they were more interested in the temporary benefits of Jesus in the physical realm and they didn't perceive or care about the benefits that he would offer them in the spiritual realm.

    They remind me of the generations of people in the Old Testament that saw many signs and miracles, they got to experience God close up and witness such mighty deeds, they would taste of his goodness and delight in him but soon they would push him aside.
    The people of Israel, on the heels of unthinkable miracles, with their pockets full of Egyptian jewelry, grumble at their less-than-five-star accommodations in the desert. This wasn't just headache-induced grumbling or low-blood-sugar complaining. This was faithlessness.
    -John Piper
    We like to criticize the people in the Bible but most of the time we are them. Our pockets are full, we have homes that are more accommodating than most of the world, our stomachs are overfilled, and just like the Israelites we grumble about the Lord's goodness and we pray for even more blessings.

    When my excitement for Jesus is based on what he can do for me it won't take long for the thrill to go away. It is easy to love and serve him when there is a perceived return on our investment in this life but when the flow of blessings seems to slow down we are easily disappointed and our willingness to serve can disappear.
    1 Corinthians 15:19 And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.
    Our hope in Christ should be for the eternal benefits but too often our hope is for Christ to provide the perceived needs that we think that we have in this world. We begin to use Jesus for what he can do for us down here in the physical realm rather than focusing on what we can do for him because of what he has done for us in the spiritual realm.

    After Jesus resurrection and ascension the disciples got a new focus, they realized that the purpose of his ministry wasn't to give them a better life now, their excitement was based on the reality of a better life later in Heaven.

    Just like the disciples, we can go from being disappointed with Jesus to become excited about Jesus again, if we realize that our hope in Christ goes beyond our current situation. It is okay to pray for a better job, restored relationships or for healing but if our hope becomes focused on the things of this life then we are going to be disappointed because we will never have everything our way.

    Forgive me Lord for being so fickle, for losing my excitement and for trying to get you to fulfill my plans, I need to stay focused on your purpose for my life.

    Wednesday, March 06, 2019

    No Other Way

    God makes the rules.


    Matthew 4:17 From then on Jesus began to preach, "Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. "

    Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who calls out to Me, 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

    John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

    Imagine living in one of the most religious cities in the world, this city is full of teachers that want to tell you how you can do the right things to get to Heaven, it isn't very likely that you are going to be impressed when one more teacher shows up. That's the situation in Jerusalem when Jesus began his ministry.

    As soon as Jesus begins his ministry it is clear that he claims to be God and he is the King that decides if we will be able to enter his Kingdom. The Bible is God's gracious opportunity for us to know him and know how to please him so that we can live with him in his new kingdom.

    Nobody likes to hear that there is only one way and that each of us is responsible to discern what the truth is. Jesus tells us that the road and the gate is narrow and that it is a difficult path that few will find.
    2 John 1:9 Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.
    In today's culture we like to pretend that truth isn't absolute, that reality is optional and that every view of God is a different path to the same place. One of the problems with this idea is that in order to maintain this option you will have to discard the Bible and Jesus completely.

    "What is truth?" There is only one correct answer to the question that was asked by Pilate at Jesus' trial. The exclusive truth claims of Christianity don't allow it to line up next to the other religious paths and coexist as one more option in our efforts to be at peace with God.
    How Can All Of These Be True?
    Jesus says: I am equal with God and I am the only way to God.
    Jews and Muslims say: God could never become a human.
    Hindus say: God can often become human.
    We are all religious, we all have a theory of what is next when we stop living here, to say that all religious views are equal and that none of them is superior is in itself a theory that you are trying to advance. But why do we think that God is so passive and tolerant and that he will let us decide how to be with him for eternity?

    It is a tragedy that so many people ignore God's generosity and choose their eternal destiny without digging into God's word. We don't get to make the rules and it is irrational to gamble our eternity without study God's word to see what he says.

    We all have faith in something, life is full of things that we cannot prove, yet we live everyday assuming that certain things will happen. The most meaningful things in life such as love for another person cannot be proven but we exercise faith that they really do and that they will continue to do so.

    Christ followers have good reason to believe that their view of the afterlife is superior to all others. We are the only people that have a leader that fulfilled hundreds of prophecies through his birth, his life and his death. We are the only people whose leader claimed to be God and performed many miracles to authenticate his claims, including his return from the grave.

    Don't accept the lie that all roads are going to the same place. Study God's word and see for yourself why Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
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    Thursday, February 21, 2019

    A Community Of Peculiar People

    Your source of blessings and love for your enemy should seem strange.


    Luke 6:20-23 Then Jesus turned to His disciples and said, "God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. 21 God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh. 22 What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. 23 When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.

    Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship with their creator and with each other but that didn't last for too long. The Bible is the story about how quickly our relationship with God was broken, the effect it had on all other relationships and the long road back to living in perfect community again.

    God called out a community to be his people, he gave them a standard to live by that would govern how they related to himself and to each other. At Mount Sinai he gave the community ten simple rules that seems like an easy way to help them to live together peacefully but man has proven that we think we know better. (Exodus 19-20)

    When Jesus began his ministry he also called for a community that would live by a different set of rules. From the mountain where Jesus first recorded sermon was given, he challenged us to live by a set of values that is completely opposite of normal human wisdom.

    Our View Of Our Circumstances 


    The people inside the community of Jesus followers have a different outlook on life and value things that the world despises. This community has a different idea of what it is to be blessed, this community realizes that sometimes our blessings are very well disguised to the point that the world is very confused by what we value and consider to be blessings.

    Jesus said that his followers would be blessed at all times but especially when they are weak, poor, hungry and/or persecuted. We are not to go looking for ways to be persecuted but when we are our reaction is different. Because we know that all things work together for our good we realize that every situation is a blessing.
    Pain And Suffering Have A Good Purpose
    Cleanse and purify us by getting us to focus on God
    Cultivate our spiritual growth and strengthen our faith
    Certify his power to sustain us so that he gets the glory
    Jesus also told us that the things that the world uses to describe blessings are things that we should be cautious about having. We usually define blessed as having power, comfort, success and recognition but Jesus tells us that we need to be cautious when we have these things and we should beware of other people that have these things.

    Our View Of People Outside Our Community


    When we live with the proper attitude about power, comfort, success and recognition we can live with a radical new freedom. We won't have any reason to put down other people because we won't be trying to build ourselves up. Therefore we can be generous in using our time, treasure and talents for the benefit of others instead of for our own interest.
    When we realize that we are both sinners and saved by grace, we will have freedom from the values that previously defined us, and yet a regard and love for those who don't share our values.
    - Tim Keller
    There is a tendency to look down on people that are not on the inside, this is just as true inside the church as it is in the rest of society, very few people are drawn to befriend and seek the good of people that are not like us.
    Luke 6:35-36  “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
    It isn't enough to just tolerate your enemy and decide not to harm them, Jesus wants us to truly love them and do good to them, we are supposed to treat them better than most of us treat our best friend.

    Since God is kind to the unthankful and the wicked (that's us) we are obligated to do the same. We should have the same heartfelt compassion to treat the people outside of the community of believers just as awesome as God has treated us.

    Your source of blessings, the things you value and your love for everybody should seem strange to the world around you. So strange that they will know that you really are his child and they will be attracted to join us.

    How strange do you look to the world around you?
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    Wednesday, February 20, 2019

    The Waymaker

    He never stops, he never stops working!



    Video: Michael W. Smith, Waymaker

    You are here, moving in our midst
    I worship You, I worship You
    You are here, working in this place
    I worship You, I worship You
    You are here, moving in our midst
    I worship You, I worship You
    You are here, working in this place
    I worship You, I worship You

    Waymaker, Miracle Worker
    Promise Keeper, Light in the darkness
    My God, that is who You are
    Waymaker, Miracle Worker
    Promise Keeper, Light in the darkness
    My God, that is who You are

    You are here, touching every heart
    I worship You, I worship You
    You are here, healing every heart
    I worship You, I worship You
    You are here, mending every heart
    I worship You, I worship You
    You are here, turning lives around
    I worship You, I worship You

    Waymaker, Miracle Worker
    Promise Keeper, Light in the darkness
    My God, that is who You are
    Waymaker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper
    Light in the darkness
    My God, that is who You are

    That is who You are (That is who You are)
    That is who You are (That is who You are)
    That is who You are (That is who You are)
    That is who You are (That is who You are)

    Even when I don't see it, You're working
    Even when I don't feel it, You're working
    You never stop, You never stop working
    You never stop, You never stop working

    He never stops working
    He never stops
    He never stops working
    He never stops
    He never stops working
    He never stops working, no

    Our God is at work with us here
    Our God
    Our God is a Healer, He's a comforter
    Waymaker, Miracle-Worker
    Promise Keeper, Light in the darkness
    My God, that is who You are
    (We know, we know)
    Waymaker, Miracle Worker
    Promise Keeper, Light in the darkness
    My God, that is who You are (oooh)


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    Wednesday, February 06, 2019

    Follow

    Jesus offers a simple invitation to learn more.


    Matthew 9:9-13 As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector's booth. "Follow Me and be My disciple," Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed Him.

    10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and His disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with such scum? "

    12 When Jesus heard this, He said, "Healthy people don't need a doctor--sick people do." 13 Then He added, "Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: 'I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.' For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners."

    Following any religion or spiritual teacher probably makes you think of the work that will be required to follow their rules. Most religious systems say "change these things and you can join us," so it may seem strange to learn that when Jesus asked people to follow him he said "come as you are."

    When Jesus began his ministry, he looked for some men to partner with, men that were willing to check out what he was doing and get to know him better, they probably never intended to keep following for so long but there was something about him that they couldn't walk away from.

    When the unlearned, dirty fishermen and the repulsive tax man began to follow Jesus they didn't know what they were in for. They didn't really know him or his purpose for calling them, they didn't believe or have faith in anything, they were just excited to learn more about Jesus.

    God never did like religious people so it's no surprise that Jesus did not give the invite to any of those types of people. It reminds me of Jesus birth, the least likely to get the good news were the ones that got it, the dirty shepherds and the Gentile wise men were chosen while the religious Jews that were well acquainted with scripture missed it despite the heads up they received from the wise men.

    But don't be too hard on the Pharisees, some of them were really sincere and devoted to pleasing God, the bad news for us is that we are not much different. Their sinful attitude is common among man since the beginning and it continues with us.

    We tend to look down on other people, especially people that don't have Jesus' influence on their lives, we like to think that we are better than they are. The world sees our hypocrisy and it turns them off to following Jesus because too often our actions, our attitudes and our tongues prove that we are very similar to them. (Romans 2:1-3)
    The more conscious I am of the work that God has yet to do on me the less critical I am of what God has yet to do in you.
    -Andy Stanley
    We like to make following Jesus a complicated list of rules or beliefs but when Jesus first invited someone to follow him there were not any prerequisites. Jesus didn't say you have to follow the rules or believe a certain way, he invited people to follow first, get the facts and learn more about him.

    The church should be a place where those that are without Jesus feel loved, accepted and comfortable so that they can come close and learn more about Jesus. The church will never grow if people think that they have to obey our rules and be a better person before they can be welcome in our building.
    Matthew 23:13, 15 "What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people's faces. You won't go in yourselves, and you don't let others enter either. 15 "What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!
    To the people that do not know him he gives a warm invite but to the religious fakes that would not get serious about their relationship with God he was kind enough to warn them so that they could change their ways.

    Religion says to believe right, behave right, change your ways and if you are successful then you can join us. Jesus says come as you are, come and see what I am all about, follow me and then you will find the power to change.
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    Saturday, February 02, 2019

    Quit Making The Bible About You

    His name isn't mentioned in the Old Testament but it is all about Jesus.




    Hebrews 1:1-3 Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. 2 And now in these final days, He has spoken to us through His Son.

    God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son He created the universe. 3 The Son radiates God's own glory and expresses the very character of God, and He sustains everything by the mighty power of His command.

    When He had cleansed us from our sins, He sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.

    The Bible is God's story revealing himself to us so that he can know him. Thankfully God's desire is to be known, from the beginning in the garden he revealed himself when he could have stayed obscure and mysterious if he had wanted, but that would be incredibly sad for us.

    God inspired men to write his story and protect it from evil forces that would love to destroy it. Think about how many thousands of years old the earliest scrolls are and how many opportunities Satan has had to get rid of it, there were evil kings that ruled Israel without any fear of God and there were the kings of other countries that invaded Israel, Satan would have loved for those ancient manuscripts to be gone.

    The Bible is God's love story and Jesus is the main focus of the story, from Genesis to Revelation, because he is the greatest display of God's love. I found two extensive list online of the ways that Jesus is revealed in the Old Testament and how Jesus is portrayed in each book of the Old Testament:

    It all starts with Adam, God created Adam perfect without sin, just as Jesus is without sin, but Adam sinned, and through him sin entered the world. God tells Adam and Eve someday their great-great-great-great…. grandson will save the world from sin.  He will crush the snake, and death will be conquered.

    Abel showed us Jesus because he died blameless for someone else’s sin, just as Jesus died blameless for our sins.  But Abel’s death cannot save us.

    God sent Abraham away from a loving father into a dark world to act as a light to the rest of the world.  God sent Jesus to act as a light to a dark and sinful world to show them the way back to God.

    Isaac was a willing sacrifice on that altar, fully believing his father that all would be well.  Jesus was a willing sacrifice for us on the cross, knowing His death paid the price once and for all for our sins.

    Jacob shows us how far God will go to pursue a lost sheep.  Just like the story of the prodigal son, Jacob was brought home to God.

    Because of the sins of his brothers Joseph was handed over into slavery, but because of their actions Joseph was able to save his family in Egypt.  Jesus was handed over to death by lies and half truths, but because of his death and resurrection we are saved from sin.

    In Exodus we find the story of the Passover Lamb, and Christ is the sacrificial Lamb given for us.

    Moses was called out of 40 years of wilderness to lead his people to freedom from slavery to Egypt.  Jesus was called out of 40 days of wilderness to lead his people into freedom from slavery to sin.

    In Leviticus we read of the high priests making sacrifices for the people, and Christ has become our High Priest, making the perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins.

    In Deuteronomy Moses prophesied of a prophet who would come that would be greater than Himself. Jesus is that Great Prophet.

    In the book of Joshua, Joshua met the Captain of the Lord's host. That man is Jesus Christ.

    In Judges, the leaders were judges who delivered God's people, each of them typifying the Lord Jesus.

    Ruth was rescued from poverty by her bridegroom Boaz.  The church was rescued from their poverty of sin by its bridegroom Jesus.

    Samson shows the folly of trying to do it all yourself.  We can do many of the right things, but without the light of the world we cannot truly follow God.

    In 2 Samuel when the king is being enthroned, the entire scene is descriptive of the Lord Jesus.

    The books of Kings speak of the glory of God filling the temple and the Chronicles describe the glorious coming king, both referring to Jesus, the King of Kings.

    Saul looked like the perfect king.  He was handsome, he was tall, he was strong, but he did not follow God and ultimately was a weak king because of it.  Jesus did not look like a king, he was common, he was a carpenter, but he is the True King.

    A true king, one that pursued God and loved him with all his heart, king David pointed his people to God.  Jesus was both man and God and lived a perfect life. Jesus is the perfect king of all.

    Solomon shows us the folly of a church not daily relying on God.  He followed God for a while, but his house was built on his own wisdom, not God’s and at the end of his reign it was washed away.

    Ezra depicts Jesus as the Lord of our fathers. Job says clearly that the Redeemer is coming! Esther offers a picture of Christ interceding for His people. Christ appears time after time in the Psalms, including when David describes Him as "the Shepherd."

    All the kings of Northern Israel show us what life without God is like.  It’s painful, there are lies, murder, blasphemy, and more hurt.  In the end a world without God falls, and the kingdom of Israel fell.

    Hezekiah became king after many who had not followed God.  He wanted to bring Israel back to God, and did.  Jesus wanted to bring Israel back to God, and there were many Pharisees telling him it could not be done.  But ultimately Jesus brought the world to God.

    Jonah ran from God, which Jesus never did, but then Jonah sat in the belly of a big fish for 3 days, and preached the words of redemption just like Jesus.  Jesus was dead and in a grave for 3 days, and resurrected to preach the words of life to the world.

    Isaiah was given a vision of heaven and what Jesus will come to do.  He tells of Jesus birth, and his eventual death and resurrection.

    God called Hosea to love and marry a woman who did not love him, he stayed a faithful bridegroom, though his bride was not faithful.  Jesus too has married a faithless wife, the church.  Though we wander far from His love at times, Jesus will always stay faithful.

    Josiah became king as a young boy.  He followed God from a young age, just as Jesus showed us in Luke that He followed hard after God from a young age.

    In Daniel we see Jesus ruling and triumphant.  We do not see Jesus the sacrificial lamb, we see Jesus coming at the end to punish and to reward.  He rules eternal and forever.

    Jeremiah the weeping prophet shows us a Jesus who cries for the world’s sins.  Jeremiah cries for the fate of Jerusalem, a city he loves and knows will be destroyed.  Jesus hundreds of years later cries for Jerusalem as He looks at a city caught in sin and bound for judgment if they do not repent.

    Ezekiel gave us Jesus’ favorite title, the Son of Man.  Over and over God calls Ezekiel “Son of Man,” and Jesus called himself “Son of Man.”

    Joel describes Him as the Hope of His people. Amos tells us that Jesus is the judge of all nations. Obadiah warns of the coming eternal kingdom.

    Jonah offers a picture of Jesus being dead for three days, then coming back to life to preach repentance.

    Zephaniah says that He will be the king over Israel. Zachariah is the prophet who speaks of Jesus riding on a colt. Malachi is the one who calls Him the Son of Righteousness.

    Without the Bible we would have no hope of really knowing God, he would be a distant and mysterious being, thanks to scripture we have a lot of information about God and his character. Without the Bible we would not know that our lives have meaning and purpose much greater than ourselves. We would not know love or the reality of eternal life.

    Now that there are so many copies of the Bible and it has been copied into so many languages, instead of destroying the Bible, Satan's new strategy is to get us to neglect reading it and to doubt it's message when we do read it.

    Satan will ask you, "Did God really say that?" We need to be "digging the word" so that we will know for sure what God said.

    Thank you Lord for protecting your story and allowing us to read it and learn about you. I don't want to neglect Bible study because it is the best revelation of who you are and why I am here.

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    Friday, February 01, 2019

    Instructions From God

    It is obnoxious to disregard the opportunity to know him better.


    Psalms 19:7-8 The instructions of the LORD are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8 The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are clear, giving insight for living.

    Few people have a real appreciation for instruction books and owners manuals, we like to be self-sufficient, independent thinkers, we quickly toss the instructions and set out on our own way.

    For some of us the issue might be with the fact that you have followed the instructions before and it didn't work out. When you were finished the product doesn't look like the picture on the box and there are parts left over that seem to be necessary.

    There is an instruction book that you can trust that will give you the best results if you are willing to apply it. We should think highly of this book and give its teaching an opportunity to have an affect on us because these instructions were given to us by the one that created us.

    Instruction books that are seldom ever going to be best sellers but this one is different. The one that knows us best gave us instructions that are perfect, trustworthy, right and clear so we shouldn't be surprised that there are so many Bibles around.

    The thing that should surprise us it that with all of the benefits of God's instructions there are so few people reading and applying it. David says in Psalm 19 that these instructions from God revive the soul, make the simple man become wise, makes your heart have joy and it gives us insight. You cannot get these benefits from any self help book!

    This instruction book will help you build your life on a firm foundation that will survive when tragedy comes. The Bible will help you build your life so that there aren't any pieces left over that don't fit anywhere. If you follow God's instructions then you will be the most useful, ready to do the work that God wants to do through your life.
    Psalms 119:167 I have obeyed Your laws, for I love them very much.
    It isn't just a matter of following God's instructions because you know you ought to, our Lord wants our heart to follow his ways with great delight, we should be joyful in obedience. When you have the opportunity to receive instruction from the greatest teacher that knows everything then you should cheerfully welcome his input and follow through on what you learn.
    Nothing good can come from rebelling against the Lord, and nothing bad can come from obeying Him—even physical death for the sake of following the Lord is better than denying His will.
    I need to be eager to learn what God's word says because it really is God's word. God has done a lot to reveal himself to me and it would be obnoxious to disregard the opportunity to know him better and follow his instructions.
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    Bible Study Is Essential (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)

    Wednesday, January 02, 2019

    I Have Been Changed

    Let me tell you all my friends about this joy I'm living in!



    Video: Jordan Feliz, Changed

    Let me tell you all my friends
    About this joy I'm living in

    Let me take the mic, I wanna testify
    How I was dead and then I came to life
    No more living in the dark of night
    Now everything's alright

    I've been changed
    I've been saved
    Brand new day
    I've been changed

    Tell me why would I turn back now
    There's no end to the love I found
    Future's bright and there ain't no doubt
    I've been changed, I've been changed

    All my heartbreak fades away
    Like a book when you turn the page

    Tell me why would I turn back now
    There's no end to the love I found
    Future's bright and there ain't no doubt
    I've been changed, I've been changed

    I've been changed

    I put my hand in the air
    'Cause I know you're there
    (Your love did something magical)
    I put my hand in the air
    'Cause you heard my prayer
    (A transformation, radical)
    I put my hand in the air
    'Cause I know you're there
    (I know it's supernatural)
    I put my hand in the air
    'Cause you heard my prayer

    I've been changed
    Does Your Change Show?
    Psalm 16:5-11  Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance!

    I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

    No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one[d] to rot in the grave.

    You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

    Tuesday, December 25, 2018

    Worship The King

    How will you respond to the newborn King?


    Matthew 2:1-3 Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking,

    2 "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw His star as it rose, and we have come to worship Him."

    3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem.

    The arrival of a baby usually brings great joy and celebration but in the Christmas story it doesn't stop there. If we realize that the arrival of Jesus into our world means that God is with us then the celebration should also include worship.

    Mankind has such a difficult time with worship, most of us don't realize that we love to worship, but the problem is we are drawn to worship incorrectly or we worship the wrong things. (Romans 1:21-25)

    What do you worship? Some of us worship ourselves while for others that seems absurd because we know that we have way too many faults to deserve such high praise. Some of us are drawn to worship other people while some are content to worship something that doesn't even have life.

    Worse of all, some of us are drawn to worship evil, demons and spirits are the focus of their worship, this scares most of us but others are drawn to it without a second thought. In the last days the survivors of God's discipline will still refuse to worship him and choose to worship evil despite the consequences that it brings. (Revelation 9:20)
    If we fail to worship God, we always find a substitute, even if it ends up being ourselves.
    -Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life
    The Bible tells us that when we meet God our reaction will be worship so it is no surprise that when the wise men met Jesus their first reaction was worship. From their story we can learn a lot of lessons about worship.

    Jesus should be worshipped as the King of the Jews and also as the king of the world. Herod had the official title "king of the Jews" given to him by Rome but nobody in his kingdom respected him as king and no one would ever call him their Messiah.
    Genesis 49:10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from his descendants, until the coming of the One to whom it belongs, the One whom all nations will honor.
    At the beginning of Matthew's gospel he shows us that great men came from other nations to worship the infant king, the ruler of the kingdom of God, and if you go to the last chapter of the book Jesus tells us to find other people from every nation and make disciples of them. If we do this then they will also be drawn to worship the king.

    The wise men had to be educated in the Old Testament so they would know what to be watching for. Their knowledge caused them to watch with eager expectation which caused them to stop everything and go through a lot of trouble to find the child so that they could honor him with gifts and worship.
    Psalms 72:9-14 Desert nomads will bow before him; his enemies will fall before him in the dust. 10 The western kings of Tarshish and other distant lands will bring him tribute. The eastern kings of Sheba and Seba will bring him gifts. 11 All kings will bow before him, and all nations will serve him.
    The great effort and motivation of the wise men can be contrasted with the opposite great effort and motivation of Herod. The wise men were willing to give of their time and their treasure but Herod was only willing to protect his status and be a taker. Herod wouldn't allow anyone to challenge his position so he did anything he needed to do so that Jesus wouldn't make it from the cradle to the throne. 

    The great effort and motivation of the wise men can also be contrasted with the greatest apathy of all time. The religious leaders that Herod consulted didn't have any desire to go worship, they knew the child should be a short distance down the road, but just because you have all of the information doesn't mean you will have any motivation.

    Seeing all of these incredibly different responses to Jesus should be a little bit disturbing. What will my response be? How can I be sure that I will respond with the right amount of effort and the correct motivation? How great is my joy at the thought of worshipping him?
    The joy that I pursue is not the hope of getting rich with things from you. I have not come to you for your things, but for yourself. And this desire I now intensify and demonstrate by giving up things, in the hope of enjoying you more, not things. By giving to you what you do not need, and what I might enjoy, I am saying more earnestly and more authentically, 'You are my treasure, not these things.'
    Worshipping Jesus should be with great joy, I need to be thoughtful at all times about my response to Jesus, I need to stay aware of who he is and decide at every moment of my day that I will worship him correctly because I do know who he is.

    If I truly believe that he was the perfect man that is worthy of my worship then I will strive to imitate him by using my time, my talents and my treasure to please him. It's the only worship that he has ever wanted. (Romans 12:1-2, Hebrews 10:1)