Tuesday, October 13, 2009
... The Law, in it's entirety, reveals 613 different views of that little three letter word, sin. The short answer is that sin is disobedience to God but the long and proper answer is one that teacher and the preacher do not have time to teach on a Sunday Morning nor a Sunday Evening. The problem is that we have all been taught that the scriptures are worthy to be studied and taught (2Tim. 3:16) but the assembly halls of the Christian faith have filled up with members of the world and rather than to study to show themselves approved (2Tim. 2:15), they are Pew Whales, hoping to purchase some Fire Insurance ad there-by escape the Great White Throne Judgment.
... There really is not a good short answer for the question, "What is sin?" Like a fine cut stone, there are many facets to the answer.
The Christian of today lives in one of the two most exciting time periods of the world, up to this time. I'm sure that the time of the disciples was an exciting time, they walked with and were taught by the living God in the flesh of Jesus. After the LORD had ascended to the Father they were stalked and killed because of their teaching. Having been a soldier on the field of combat, I know the adrenalin rush of near fatal escapes and I would believe that many of them knew the rush of escape also.
As Christian followers of the LORD today we have some choices to make and I feel that we will make them very soon. If we have kept abreast of the World News we know that in the South of Sudan there are hundreds and some days thousands of Christian men murdered every day and their wives and children are sold into slavery by the Muslims of that country. Many American Muslims will cry out that they are different from these Radical Muslim Sects but there is a very open problem with that statement. The men killing these folks and making slaves are government sanctioned troops and, of course, nothing is done to stop them.
These same people hold the lying, murdering, pedophile, Muhammad up as the most excellent example of what a man should be. No, not just the troops following Osama and no, not just the ones murdering Christians and Osama's troops, every Muslim holds their Prophet to be greater than Jesus. Added to that threat are the laws being passed by the legislators that are serving our safety and good will? The Congress and the Senate have added to the law that protects us from Domestic Terrorists such as the KKK and the American Neo-Nazi Party that now makes Christians that teach that homosexuality to be sin are just as dangerous.
The wheat and the chaff will soon be separated and I feel that our LORD will appear atop that cloud at any time now. Some will say, “But, what about the great falling away?” Others will ask, “What about the final Awaking, the final Great Revival?” I suggest to you, look at Europe and the US, church buildings are being abandoned and those not abandoned are being bombed, the great falling away is all about us. And the final Great Revival, the final Awakening, There are thousands being saved in Asia and Central America... every day!
What do I suggest? Today is a great day to plan what you will answer when you are confronted about your belief. Will you deny Him and live? Or will you profess His name and gain eternal life? It is going to be a very tough choice for those that have not planed.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
... Going deeper into this matter, Jesus, in the four Gospel Accounts, makes it clear that He is not just some way or a way to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven but He makes it clear that He is the way, the only way, to enter into Heaven.
... We are left with all those Old Testament saints, Moses, Abraham, Israel/Jacob and on and on that looked forward to the coming of Messiah but had not seen Him and could not enter into the presence of God until they had. Matt. 27:52 through v:54 is seldom preached but it is an important passage and it is felt by this lay teacher that it bears on this subject.
... It has been and short of the pastors and the men on the mission field that will receive this posting, that these dead people running through the streets of the Holy City are the just released, by Jesus, Old Testament saints. It is taught, in many circles that Jesus descended into Hell for three days but the only place I have ever found that statement is in the Christian Creeds of old and I have, to this point, failed to see the idea supported by scripture.
... So, the short answer to the question, "Are Heaven and Paradise the same place," is no.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Psa 23:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
The very first verse makes a personal connection with God in the word “my.” People today do not generally understand this verse, God has not promised us all a Mercedes nor will He see to it that we have one. David was a shepherd and understood the proper order of leadership and care. As a shepherd he had very little and yet he lacked for nothing that he needed.
Psa 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
Our Lord is with us where ever he leads and just like the shepherd of the sheep, when things get rough He never abandons us but prepares a resting place for refreshment for us. I, especially, like the illustration of the shepherd and the running water. Moving water scares sheep ad in the wilderness there is often no lake to drink from, the shepherd would place large stones in the stream and damn it up, creating a quiet pool to be refreshed from. If we will keep our attention on God, He is doing the same thing for us today. We can always escape the world for a time by turning to God in prayer and in praise.
Psa 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
In the wilderness the refreshing green foliage is often far apart and the shepherd must be knowledgeable of the terrain and exercise wisdom in the feeding and the movement of his sheep. Allow them to feed from the land to long and sheep will eat the roots and the next crop will not grow. Move them to quickly and they will not be restored to traveling condition. In a similar fashion, if God were to leave us exposed to the world and not give us refuge we would become worn out and ineffective. When we do not go off half cocked and wait for God to direct us we will be both effective and we will glorify God with our actions. God will never lead us into any situation that will shame or dishonor Him.
Psa 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
My wife has been known to insist that I hush before the person I'm correcting hurts me and this might be good advise if it were not for the fact that I am usually speaking out against men cursing like sailors in her presence. Psa.23:4 assures me that I have nothing to fear because my LORD has His rd and His staff ready to save me. This verse does not guarantee that I will not be slain for standing up for Godly principals but I do garner from it that I am not to withdraw because I covet life here more than I love my wife and my God. When we study shepherds around the world we find that shepherds are brave people. We find instances in Africa where a young man was mauled by a lion he had stabbed in the chest with his spear and in India we find a shepherd in his eighties that is injured by a Tiger when He beat the cat with his Rod. Both were loyal shepherds and were defending their flocks.
The shepherd's rod was used to defend his herd and his staff has a multitude of purpose. As the sheep are being moved he can use his staff to tap, prod and to guide the sheep. When the shepherd looks for a piece of material to shape his staff he must find a green limb that he can bend one end of to form the hook or the catch at the top but it must also be of a tree or plant that when dried will be strong and long lasting. That catch at the top is very important to the shepherd and to the sheep. When a sheep falls into a crevice or a short distance down a cliff the shepherd will use the catch to rescue His charge. God is like the good shepherd, prodding, tapping and pulling us back to Him,
Psa 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
There are a wide range of applications for the anointing with oil from the medical uses, then and now, to the cooling and refreshing effects it has on the body of one that spends time I the arid wilderness. The idea that God would take the time from sustaining the universe and would not just sit down for a meal with us but would prepare the table for us Himself is a precious thought and a vivid illustration of the love that God has for us. That David tells us his cup is over flowing shows us just much he cherished the fellowship with God.
Psa 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Just as David was sure of his relationship to God so can each and everyone of us that have determined to remain faithful forever.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Psa 9:1 For the Chief Musician; set to Muth-labben. A Psalm of David. I will give thanks unto Jehovah with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvellous works.
To thank someone is to accomplish an action, the word is a verb. With my whole heart tells me that we are to feel earnest about this action.
Psa 9:2 I will be glad and exult in thee; I will sing praise to thy name, O thou Most High.
Miriam Webster defines exult as leaping for joy! Not just on Sunday, but on everyday, all day long we can sing praises to God remembering that Most High means just that, there is no one and no thing that can stand on God's level. What great work have you seen God do with your own eyes?
Psa 9:3 When mine enemies turn back, They stumble and perish at thy presence.
We know that we are in the presence of God and we have seen in the scriptures, Jos. 5:13_15, and that He wil not abandon us. On the other hand, as soon as or enemy loses heart, eve before he does, he is defeated.
Psa 9:4 For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; Thou sittest in the throne judging righteously.
In the first half of this verse we see that it is God that guarded over David and maintained the appropriate justice for him. In the second part we find him affirming God to be the same type of judge that He commanded all judges to be, righteous!
Psa 9:5 Thou hast rebuked the nations, thou hast destroyed the wicked; Thou hast blotted out their name for ever and ever.
Here David appears to be speaking of not just the people of Canaan although they are a very good example to use. In my studies in the past I have noted that archeology has found the Canaanites to be a people riddled with STDs. Not only were they a diseased people but hey worshipped the gods of this world and did not seek after God.
Psa 9:6 The enemy are come to an end, they are desolate for ever; And the cities which thou hast overthrown, The very remembrance of them is perished.
If it were not for them being mentioned in the Bible the world might never have even searched out any information on them.
Psa 9:7 But Jehovah sitteth as king for ever: He hath prepared his throne for judgment;
Unlike the kingdoms of this world God's kingdom will never perish. In the Kingdom of God we find the Bema Seat of Judgment and the Great White Throne.
Psa 9:8 And he will judge the world in righteousness, He will minister judgment to the peoples in uprightness.
When God is seated at the thrones we will ever worry about someone “priming the pump” to see their desires come to the fore ground. The judgment of God is even and always fair.
Psa 9:9 Jehovah also will be a high tower for the oppressed, A high tower in times of trouble;
I prefer to teach, standing on the ground that I know from experience and in the case of the infantrymen that I had the privilege to serve, my helicopter, dropping from the sky to pull them to safety was their high tower and they often admired us so much that we had to be very careful of it. In a similar fashion my high tower was, I, then thought, was the nuts in those gunships and fighter planes that flew hundreds of miles per hour and dropped down inside those trees to get us safely home.
In the same manor God is there for His people. I look back at the time before I decided to serve God, even though I understood He had called me, and I break out in tears remembering the times I had already given up and God stepped in a preserved me and the men on my aircraft. Unlike the fighters from the Air Force and the Navy god is always on time because He is ever vigilant ad does not need to do a preflight and then launch, He's there before the trouble begins.
Psa 9:10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee; For thou, Jehovah, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
John 15:15 Jesus, our LORD ad God has called us His friend. Just as the men that jumped on the grenades to save their friends lives, Jesus hung on that cross to purchase our pardon from the sin of our lives ad there is nobody as rust worthy as he that will die for you. The only price we must pay is to seek Him and His forgivness.
Psa 9:11 Sing praises to Jehovah, who dwelleth in Zion: Declare among the people his doings.
We should go to sleep at night humming the hymns like Amazing Grace, awaken to singing ad remembering them and then proclaim to the world why it is that we are so happy.
Psa 9:12 For he that maketh inquisition for blood remembereth them; He forgetteth not the cry of the poor.
We have such a promise from God! Even when the evil man thinks he has on, he has lost. Our God will never forget the injustice folks try to perform against us. Just as we will be rewarded at the Bema Seat the oppressors will be judged all the more harshly at the Great White Throne.
Psa 9:13 Have mercy upon me, O Jehovah; Behold my affliction which I suffer of them that hate me, Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death;
Here, it is very possible that David was facing death. We know from studying the book of Ruth that important decisions were settled at the gate of the city and we know that he was pursued by his enemies that sought to murder the king. Still, David calls out to God to preserve him, not for his sake but for the sake of God's memory. David always remembered God's name and what it meant.
Psa 9:14 That I may show forth all thy praise. In the gates of the daughter of Zion I will rejoice in thy salvation.
From the gates of death to the gates f the daughter of Zion is a remarkable contrast.
After walking with death nipping at my heels for 30 months on the field of combat the first place I went was not home. I purchased a room in the Rice Hotel, in downtown Houston, less than ten miles from my dad's house, my home. There was a journey that needed to be made. Not acknowledging that God had been protecting me I had, early on, admitted that I was a dead man walking. I suspect that David, like myself, had a journey to make back into life. The committed Christians I knew made that journey much easier than I and other lost men did because they knew God and had only to readjust to people nt trying to kill them every day. They already, like David, knew that God was for them. David, with his enemy in persuit of him already knew the joy of his salvation, no matter the outcome.
Psa 9:15 The nations are sunk down in the pit that they made: In the net which they hid is their own foot taken.
The lost man, the man of the world cannot prevail against God's chosen God snares them in their own traps.
Psa 9:16 Jehovah hath made himself known, he hath executed judgment: The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.