Tuesday, October 17, 2017

THE 3:16 VERSES OF THE BIBLE, PART 12: "THE BEAUTY IS IN THE DETAILS"

He made chains in the inner sanctuary and placed them on the tops of the pillars; and he made one hundred pomegranates and placed them on the chains (2 Chronicles 3:16)
Almost anyone, from any walk of life, marvels at the intricate pattern of colors at the creation of an intricately detailed and beautiful butterfly from a caterpillar, or the rugged majesty of a bald eagle in flight. Both creatures emanate from the unfathomable mind and creative powers of Almighty God. He has made everything in its season, according to the purposes of His Will, according to His Love, Grace and Mercy.

Words are not enough to describe or define the Mind and Methods of the Great God of Heaven Who is Eternal, not created and has always lived forever. There is no way to wrap our puny little minds around just Who He is; How Powerful He is and How Majestic He is. 
He is to be feared. 
He is to be revered. 
He is to be loved. 
He is to be worshipped. 
He is loved. 
He is to be obeyed. 
He is to fully sold out and committed to -willingly. 
He is God. 
(To read just a brief glimpse of behind the scenes with God @ Creation” – (CLICK HERE AND READ JOB CHAPTERS 38-41)

This God of Heaven never leaves His created children guessing as to how we should conduct ourselves (see: All of the Bible). He is also very meticulous about how He wants certain things done, made and the instruction is ALWAYS down to the last details. The popular (to the world) cliché of the "devil behind in the details" could not be MORE wrong. GOD is in the details. He is very specific in how we should live - from the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 to how we can keep our thoughts clear, clean and culture-enhancing, in Philippians 4:8. When Moses spoke with God about the desert Tabernacle, Moses was told: "Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you" (Exodus 25:9). Then in the chapters that follow, the pattern details were filled in.

Here in 2 Chronicles 3, the great king Solomon is putting the final touches on the most magnificent temple or church ever built in human history and they are the epitome of artistic creation and beauty. If you read the entire chapter (here), you will notice the full attention paid to measurements, the appropriate color to use as well as the items, which comprise the detailing of each portion of the construction. It is like the best contractor one can think of who builds your dream house, then uses the most exquisite trim to set off the room, which he or she has just put up for you.
The choice of pomegranates is particularly interesting. This fruit is full of many healing qualities which will be studied in detail at another time, but for now, we see the pomegranate mention several times in the Bible. It is one of two Biblical fruit which have special significance. We read in Exodus 28:33-34  that the images of pomegranates should be woven into the hem of the "me'il" (or 'the robe of ephod'), a robe worn by the Jewish High Priest. It is said, in ancient Judaism (where half of our faith comes from, as Judeo-Christian believers), that the pomegranate represents fruitfulness, knowledge, learning, and wisdom.
This is what we expect when we go into our modern temples or churches. But more importantly, these are the qualities which God expects from all this children.
We are to be fruitful not just in building our families and homes, but in our outreach to others. We do so with the same grace, love and compassion which Christ showed us, when He first saved us.
We are to be knowledgeable in all the Ways of the Lord by learning about Him. God Himself says that His people suffer due to a lack of knowledge. In modern terms, this means Christians are more illiterate about the Word of God – the Bible. This is not for a lack of Bibles in the wealthy western world. It is due to wanton neglect and the unintentional consequences of the last two generations of church leaders who promoted the idea that carrying a bible to church was not cool, and all the church-goer had to do was to read the verses on the TV screen above the preacher on Sunday morning. All kinds of recent surveys, from Barna to the Pew Research Center, confirm that only around 9% of Christians have a Biblical Worldview. That means the Knowledge of the Lord, His Ways and His Marvelous Attributes are unknown by those who call themselves by His Name.

This Knowledge is key to being the “beautiful trim” in the Kingdom God is building for those whom He calls.  The desire to know Him comes with being born-again. Knowledge of the Holy is what leads to being fruitful for the King. It is critical that we attempt to influence those around us who have access to 100 bibles a piece, to open them and comprehend. Even if most folks do not read these days, dramatized audio bibles make the Living Word come alive. Let us not give up or grow weary in the Learning about our great God and Savior. In this lifetime, we will never learn enough about Him. But we can have wisdom to process the little we know.

This brings us to the third thing which the Pomegranate represents in Old Testament times, which is and could be a huge benefit to us, today in the church age. This is Wisdom.  The dictionary definition of wisdom is, to paraphrase, a combination of good judgment and making sound decisions guided by experience….in so many words. Biblical Wisdom is a different kettle of fish. The Christian who seeks Biblical Wisdom has a big qualifier right off the bat and it begins and ends with one thing. This one thing is the Fear of the Lord.

We are not talking just about fearing what God can do – this is natural, even to the unbeliever or pagan. The Fear of the Lord is a holy, reverent respect for the Almighty, Who He is and What He has done.  This qualifies the believer to then seek and attain Godly wisdom which leads to understanding His calling.

We are called to walk in Wisdom, as in here: "Ephesians 5:15-16 "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil"


We are called to talk with Wisdom, as the Scripture says here: "Proverbs 16:23 "The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips."

Finally, we are called to attain to the Wisdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Who speaks fearlessly, throughout the entire Bible. What does any of this have to do with 2 Chronicles 3:16? As Solomon laid out the beautiful pomegranates as trim to bring out the beauty of the temple walls, so must we, in righteousness, knowledge and wisdom live our lives as fruitful and full of passion for the Lord as possible. Amen.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

THE 3:16 VERSES OF THE BIBLE, PART 11: "AN UNLIKELY FAMILY TREE"

The sons of Jehoiakim were Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son. (1 Chronicles 3:16)
There is a huge tendency for the vast majority of bible readers (including myself in the past) to just skim over names, places, genealogies and in the like, when reading the Old Testament.  Even the genealogy at the very beginning of the Gospel of Matthew is overlooked.  Paying short shrift to any of this is a mistake, as we have learned over the course of maturing in the Word of God.

The genealogies comprise a very important part of the confirmation of Accuracy, Sufficiency and Reliability of Scripture. For instance, Matthew Chapter 1 methodically leads us backward from the Birth of Jesus, using actual names – to the very first human being – Adam. Along the way, major Biblical figures stand out who were not Jews. Rahab is one. Another genealogy around the time of the Exodus lists Bithiah, whom we know as the Pharoah’s  Daughter who rescued Moses from the river, after his mother put him in a basket, in order to save his life.  Yes, genealogies are important.

On the surface, 1 Chronicles 3:16 seems very pedestrian. For instance, there was some ancient king named Jehoiakim who had  sons name Jehoiachin and his brother Zedekiah. This really changes nothing, as far as the casual eye can see. But looking closer, it is a significant statement from the writers of Chronicles, the official historians of God’s people at the time. 

These last two names are important as they are the very last kings of Judah before the First (and future) Coming of the King of the Jews – the Lord Jesus Christ! The last kings of Israel, from Jehoiakim to his sons, were basically heathens. Not just that, but they had ignored the multi-year and intense pleadings from the great prophet Jeremiah, chosen to listen to their own false prophets and then persecute the man of God constantly, i.e. – Jeremiah.  

God had decided to cleanse the cancer festering all through Jerusalem where even the priests were corrupted and idol worship was a prevalent throughout, like the use of social media is today.  God raised up the great Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar to come against Jerusalem and do His will. The fearsome Babylonians had surrounded the city, held it siege and basically had their way with the “leadership” of Jerusalem.                  
After he sacked the city of Jerusalem, King Nebuchanezzar carried off most of the Jews into a 70 year old pre-ordained (by God) exile into the great city of Babylon – a fortress so strong and rich, it was the greatest city in the world at that time.  The King also had Zedekiah’s eyes removed and imprisoned the blinded man after making him walk in chains from Jerusalem to Babylon - no walk in the park, at any time!  Jehoiachin was imprisoned for 37 years and archaeologists have find documented proof on tablets of his prison rations, which began under Nebuchadnezzar and continued after this Babylonian king was humbled and then became a believer in Yahweh. So both brothers - Jehoiachin (or Jeconiah) and Zedekiah (or Mattaniah) were Kings of Judah at one time each, but now both were unwilling imprisoned guests of the larger-than-life Babylonian ruler!

In light of this brief historical background, why should any of this concern us? Well, for apart from our own enhanced knowledge of confirmed biblical history, we see a few things which can instruct. The Book of Ecclesiastes tells us there is nothing new under the sun and there really isn’t. As we read and write this, the sun rises in the east and is setting on the other side of the planet in the west. Babies are being born and hundreds of thousands of humans leave this life for the next. Rivers flow to the sea and the sea does not fill up……and human beings are the same….to wit:

1.  Sometimes, people only care to listen to the advice they WANT to hear, and not the Truth. Rather heed the dire warnings from Holy God, as presented by Jeremiah. These last remaining kings of the failed state of Judah listened to the made up lies of the false prophet Hananiah, whom God immediately dealt with.  The lesson for us is to always listen to the Truth and walk accordingly. No matter how dark the circumstances,  heeding Godly warnings and counsel will benefit and save us in the long run, maybe not in this lifetime, but 100% most definitely, in the next. (Click the link provided for full account of this occurrence). 

2.  The cleansing fire of the Lord takes many forms. These men here refused to obey the Word of the Lord and at the appointed time, His Fury was unleased. The entire massive and beautiful city of Jerusalem was taken down to the ground and with it, the Temple of Solomon which had become completely dishonored by corrupt men. Just as these kings saw that destruction,  we too are witnessing similar cleansing and destruction as the Lord predicted, in these last days. What should personally concern God’s people is the personal Refining Fire of the Lord which cleanses us from within, in order to transform us into the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ! This begins with personal acknowledgement and repentance of ALL our sins (even those we cannot remember) and a humbling of ourselves before the Lord our God. If we do this and seek His forgiveness and move in our lives, He is faithful and true to forgive, restore and transform us, into the Image of His Son.

3.  The Word of God is true and more and more History confirms this with each new archaeological find.  Tablets found in Iraq not just explains the food rations for Jehoiachin and other Jews imprisoned and in Exile. The grave of the prophet Daniel and others is still in the Persia (Iran). Other areas close to the ancient city of Babylon (which is not far from modern day Baghdad, Iraq) are full of all kinds of recently found archaeological finds keep validating Scripture!

As previously mentioned here, 1 Chronicles 3:16 tells us who these final three secular kings of either Israel or Judah are.  There is one final important point to make. Jehoachin was an ancestor of Joseph, the husband of Mary, the step-father of the true King of Israel – the King of Kings and the Eternal Ruler of All Heaven and Earth – the Lord Jesus Christ! 

How cool is the Bible?! 

Monday, October 9, 2017

THE 3:16 VERSES OF THE BIBLE, PART 10: "GENERAL GRACE, SAVING GRACE"

He said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Make this valley full of trenches.’  For thus says the Lord, ‘You shall not see wind nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, both you and your cattle and your beasts. (2 Kings 3:16-17a)
The incredible thing about our loving Heavenly Father is how long He will put up with rebellion and rejection and then turn around and help those who hate Him with a passion. The Bible tells us that God "causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous". (Matthew 5:45b. 

You know the routine - the majority of the richest, wealthiest and most powerful people in the world are atheist. The biggest persecutors, dictators and rulers of God's people all through Judeo-Christian history lived well and prospered. This continues, regardless of the lessons of history. Their children lived high on the hog and on and on. While they do not acknowledge the God Who gave them breadth, the ability to gain and hold on to their temporal wealth and property, He still grants them His general Grace. He did send God the Son - Jesus - to give His life for ALL (John 3:16), so He knows no one is beyond redemption. They just choose to reject God's gift.


This general Grace however, is only for this short lifespan on earth. This is because, while God is really so good to ALL people at ALL times, His Saving Grace is only for those whose sins are forgiven and put their complete Faith and Trust in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as Lord and Master. Those who are reap the rewards of the good life reap them now. Like the rich man in Hell, who Jesus talked about, he enjoyed the good things only in his life on earth. The Saved, Redeemed and the Elect of God's reward is laid up ahead as we persevere and keep Godly perspectives while the wicked reign on this earth.

In this passage of 2 Kings Chapter 3, we see the three regional kings - the king of Edom (descendants of Esau), the King of Israel (the pagan northern kingdom) and the King of Judah - Jehoshaphat coming together to fight against the King of Moab, a powerful and rich man. Of these three kings, only Jehoshaphat was a follower of Yahweh, everyone else in this picture is full of pagan idolatry. After a while, the army and supplies of this combined army ran out of water for all their horses and were suddenly in dire straits.


Jesoshaphat knew enough of the Ways of the Lord and sought a minister who could approach the Lord for His help. The spiritual son of the great Elijah, Elisha, was now the main prophet of Israel. So Elisha was sent for and he was not amused. This tells me that this joint venture was not the Will of the Lord. Elisha was hesitant about going to meet with the three kings until he heard that the well-regarded Jehoshaphat, who lived in Jerusalem, was one of them. 

It was at this point, as we come to this 3:16 verse, as Elisha approached the Lord God of Heaven Who responded mightily, because His prophet Elisha asked. What God did was miraculous. He did not send rain to fill up creeks and rivers with running water. He told Elisha to have the kings dig trenches and wide areas which were then miraculously filled with literal pools of water from the springs out of the direction of Edom! The water was so plentiful coming out of the East that it looked like a lake....and led eventually to the victory of three allied kings.

What we see here  the following in this wonderful passage from John's 19th.- the General Grace of God on display...for the Glory of God! The enemy who all three kings went up against - the King of Moab- misread the sun shining off the brand new "lake" and thought it looked like blood and rode straight to his and his army's defeat. The Lord made the victory again. The question of us, who are reading this - are we under this General Grace of God only or have we been saved by Grace alone, through Faith in Christ alone for the Glory of God enough? The choice is entirely up to each one of us!

Friday, September 22, 2017

THE 3:16 VERSES OF THE BIBLE, PART 9: "SPLITTING THE DIFFERENCE"

"....Then two women who were harlots came to the king and stood before him." (1 Kings 3:16)
Some of the most popular everyday sayings around the world came directly from the Bible - believe it or not! Here are just a very few examples out of many:
1. At my "wits end" (from Psalm 107:27)
2. "Drop in the bucket" (from Isaiah 40:15)
3. "Eat, drink and be merry" (from Ecclesiastes 8:15)
4. "Give up the ghost" (from Luke 23:46)
5. "Labor of Love" (from 1 Thessalonians 1:3)
6. "Out of the mouths of babes" (from Psalm 8:2)
7. "Salt of the earth" (from Matthew 5:13)

These are just a few of over thirty well known and universally used phrases and words. The one we are about to take a look at - 1 Kings 3:16 - gave us another popular phrase "split the baby" or if that truth is too stark, then how about "split the difference"?

Here is the story from 1 Kings 3:16-28: two prostitutes appeared before King Solomon, the wisest man in the world to have a matter judged. Both of them lived in the same house and both had a son within three days of each other. For some reason, the son of one of the women died unexpectedly.  Not wanting to accept the unfortunate, untimely death of the poor child, both women claimed the only living son now as their own. The argument went on and the matter ended up before the wise King of Israel to be resolved.

Using Godly wisdom, King Solomon came up with a plan to basically, smoke out the true mother of the only living son. He called for an attendant to get a sword and divide the baby in two and thus, "share the child"! From here, the Bible picks up the account: "26 Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death.” But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him.” 27 Then the king answered and said, “Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; she is his mother.” 

Solomon discovered many powerful truths here which are still applicable to use today, almost 3000 years later: 
1. Wisdom to discern and make proper judgment can only come from God. (Read earlier in the chapter 3)
2. Always pray (as Solomon did earlier in the chapter) for Godly direction in our lives.
3. Even in a dark, corrupt and greedy world, natural law kicks which allow the instincts of a person seeking truth, to always do the right thing.
4. A parent would sacrifice anything to protect the life of his or her child...including give up the child. We see this in many who choose to carry a child through pregnancy and give that child up through adoption rather than commit abortion.

This is an amazing account and example for us to pick up on being able to make good and wise decisions in life. Let us always strive to attain such wisdom.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

THE 3:16 VERSES OF THE BIBLE, PART 8: "GET A GRIP, MAN!"

2 Samuel 3:6 "But her husband went with her, weeping after her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go, return.” And he returned."
The Bible is full of difficult verses to comprehend, even when taken in context. Sometimes we have to go back to another passage or number of chapters to find the true meaning and background behind a statement, which the Holy Spirit put in there for us to behold.

In order to understand what a great Hebrew general named  Abner meant, when he told a man named Palti to “go back home”, it is necessary to read the entire chapter of 2 Samuel 3. It is a stark reminder of the width and depth of the depravity of human sinfulness.

There are some incredible charges, counter-charges, sinful talk, double-crossing and more….in just twenty verses (2 Samuel 3:6-26 and beyond).  God had already taken away the kingdom from the disobedient King Saul and handed it to David.  In the process, Saul had promised his daughter Michal to David if he killed and did some despicable things to Philistine men, which David did. Then jealousy got the best of Saul and he tried for 13 years to kill the Lord’s next appointed King – David, who was now on the run all across the land of Israel.

In the meantime, Saul’s daughter becomes a bigamist and marries another man named Palti. This was too much for Abner a great warrior general, who, while loyal to Saul as King, was also tuned in to the fact that the real Commander in Chief – God – had deposed Saul and replaced him with David. Except Saul would not cooperate.  To get back at Abner, one of Saul’s wicked sons Ishbosheth accused Abner of sleeping with one of Saul’s many women (outside of his marriage) also known as his concubines. 

The honorable general Abner was rightly outraged and vowed then and there to help David ascend to his rightful place on the Throne of Israel, as ordained by God. His loyalty to Saul was betrayed by Saul’s son so Abner reached out to David, who then said he will deal with Abner only if Abner brings Michal, his (David’s) wife to him. This was agreed to and Abner was on the way to David with the latter’s wife, while her current husband Palti, followed crying over the loss of Michal!

The bigamist story, involving Michal, had a sad end for this unfortunate young man – Palti, as General Abner instructed him, to go back to his house. In a no win situation, we read in 2 Samuel 3:16, that Palti complied.

What is the message here for us in the 21st century? This ancient tale has a horrible ending with Abner who just executed the Will of the Lord, being killed by Joab, who had a personal grudge extending far beyond official duties. A few things are obvious: 
-      You can’t make some of this up, even in on Hollywood screenwriter’s desk! All this intrigue stemmed from one man’s disobey and sinning constantly against the Lord.  Because of Saul’s sin, his daughter committed bigamy. His son accused a loyal general of sexual misconduct. Bickering and slander ensured and hearts were broken (Palti).

-     Sin will find you out and there will be a price to pay. Saul was told by the great prophet Samuel that God had taken away his kingdom and given it to the shepherd boy/harpist and poet David. Yet he refused to step down, allowing his pride and arrogance to eventually cost him his life.  The  price sin exacts is not worth the temporary rush of self-satisfaction.

-     Partnering with sin will bring humiliation. While Palti is to be pitied here in 2 Samuel 3:16 for having to following a mighty general in Abner, who was simply following God’s will in getting David to the Throne of Israel which was rightfully his, he (Palti) knew what he got into! Here, as we learn in this verse, was Abner returning David’s rightful wife to him and here was this woman’s second husband hanging on like a puppy dog after something he had no chance of winning. When he “married” Michal, he was completely aware that she was married to David. There was no divorce according to the Law of Moses, in force then nor was there a death of a spouse, which would have enabled Michal to remarry. These were the only two grounds for Palti to legally claim Michal as his wife.  The lesson here is this – we lose EVERYTHING when we put our heads in the sand and pretend God sees nothing, knows nothing and will say nothing.  He – God – always has the final word, and if we line up on the wrong side of Him, we too will pay a heavy price.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

THE 3:16 VERSES OF THE BIBLE, PART 7: "FLIRTIN' WITH DISASTER"

3:16 BIBLE VERSE:
Then Eli called Samuel and said, "Samuel, my son." And he said, "Here I am." (1 Samuel 3:16)

OPENING LYRICS TO "FLIRTING WITH DISASTER":

I'm travelin' down the road
I'm flirtin' with disaster
I've got the pedal to the floor,
My life is running faster
I'm out of money, I'm out of hope,
It looks like self destruction
Well how much more can we take,
With all of this corruption


We're flirtin' with disaster,
Ya'll know what I mean
And the way we run our lives,
It makes no sense to me
I don't know about yourself or what you want to be, yeah
When we gamble with our time,
We choose our destiny
 (Molly Hatchet 1979 Writers: Brown, Hlubek)
It is a terrible thing to try the patience of the Lord. We humans do it all the time, including those of us who not only know better, but serve Him in a mighty way.  This propensity to sin, with which we were born, will always with us until we pass on to Glory at the end of our natural life on earth.

That being said, there comes a point in our spiritual maturity when we do not do the things we used to do….just because. How many times have we made a deal with God that “if You get me out of this one, I will never…..(fill in the blanks)”.  Those kinds of promises are extremely impossible to keep. That is why the bible tells us to NOT make oaths like these.

For the normal person, God’s grace is sufficient. He forgives our sins and removes them from us, as far as the east is from the west. For a church leader, pastor or priest, the standard is ten times higher!!  There is not just a higher level of conduct expected but a ministry leader’s respect and reverence for God has to be as close to perfect as humanly possible.


There is something in the background story behind 1 Samuel 3:16 which should give us pause, especially with anyone who thinks “flirtin with disaster “makes life more interesting.  Eli was the priest of the nation Israel and had a tremendous spiritual mantle/burden/responsibility to carry.  Samuel was still a boy, yet because the Lord had pre-ordained him, he became Eli’s understudy.

Eli had two sons – Hophni and Phinehas, who were also priests in the Lord’s Tabernacle and were supposed to conduct themselves, according to the requirements of their office. But they were both evil and corrupt men who not just violated God’s laws openly but flaunted their corruption.

Under Jewish law, all priests serving  in the temple were provided for by God. They were fed, clothed and supplied by the tithes and offerings of Almighty God. The Lord was their Provider. But Hophni and Phinehas, instead of allowing the sacrifice to be offered to the Lord first – as any sane person knows, had their henchmen accost those approaching the altar with their sacrifice. The priestly hoodlums, I mean helpers, would then grab more than their share of the choicest portion of the Sacrificial Animals BEFORE it was offered to God! They cut off the prime cuts first and gave the meat to Eli’s sons.


These men not only stole the prime cuts of meat for their own families but these two “priests” had illicit and immoral relations with young women in the temple, in broad daylight, right in the open…. IN THE TEMPLE OF GOD! God Himself warned His high priest Eli about his sons’ conduct, but Eli refused to do anything about it.  Not just that but it appears that Eli himself was eating ill-gotten meat because the bible says when he fell over and died in his 90’s he was a very fat man! In those days, not many people were fat, far less a minister of God. Potlucks were not invented in church  yet. 

The Lord finally had enough and determined to not only take Hophni and Phinehas out of the picture, but not just these two evil men who called were literal Levite priests. God also decided to remove their father Eli from the land of the living. 

Here is where we come to 1 Samuel 3:16 where the message for the young boy, who would become the greatest prophet/Judge of Israel – came loud and clear from God.  The Lord had given Eli endless warnings and upbraiding about his wicked sons, but he ignored God on purpose and never listened to the Lord. 

This is the direct message from God Himself for the young Samuel from 1 Samuel 3: "11 Then the LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. 14 Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

There are several things God’s people should learn from this and it is IMPERATIVE you and I take this to heart:
-  When God speaks, we had better listen. He still speaks audibly to the hearts and souls of His people through His Spirit. For the most part, He speaks through His Word.

-  When God speaks and warns us of sin of both omission and commission, we will be wise to address that sin as soon as possible. Many maturing Christians know it is better to keep short accounts both with God and man. This means we do not let the sun go down on our sin or the devil will magnify it until we are sunk in the mire and wallowing in dirt and despair. Do not be like the rest of the world and modern western “Christianity”.

-  God will not put up with continuing blatant sin from those who claim to work for Him. This sin which flaunts its perversion and causes others to disparage God will be judged and judged harshly. His Holy Name is more than important to Him because He is the Holy One of Israel. The task for us today is to be constantly aware we carry His Cross on more than our sleeves. He bear His Mark to a lost and dying world. If we are the only Bible that people read, we had better make sure our character is not related to the official misconduct of some of our great Bible heroes. There are enough fallen preachers in the world today, who have caused the name and ministry of Christ to be scoffed at by the world. Let us not be the ones, who are indulge in – Flirtin’ with Disaster

Monday, September 4, 2017

THE 3:16 VERSES OF THE BIBLE, PART 6: "THE GREATEST 'BUYBACK' OF ALL TIME".

14 So she lay at his feet until morning and rose before one could recognize another; and he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” 15 Again he said, “Give me the cloak that is on you and hold it.” So she held it, and he measured six measures of barley and laid it on her. Then she went into the city. 

16 When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, "How did it go, my daughter?” And she told her all that the man had done for her. 17 She said, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said, ‘Do not go to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’” 18 Then she said, “Wait, my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out; for the man will not rest until he has settled it today.” (Ruth 3:14-17).

The 3:16 verse here is almost like an illustrated precursor of what Jesus the God-Man ended up doing for all mankind! The man spoken of here in Ruth 3:16 is Boaz, the great son of an even more amazing woman - Rahab! Rahab is known throughout all history as the former prostitute of Jericho who rescued the Hebrew spies sent by Joshua and was given a large measure of Faith in the one True God - Yahweh. Rahab went on into the Promised Land with the conquering Jews and eventually married a man named Salmon, the Father of Boaz. Boaz was the grandfather of King David...of whose lineage we have the Lord Jesus Christ (via Mary).

So Boaz was no ordinary man. He was also Ruth's Kinsman Redeemer. Under this strictest reading of God-given Torah, a kinsman redeemer was a rich benefactor, or person who frees the debt holder by paying the debt or "redeemed" cost owed. The book of Leviticus 25:25 says "If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold" . Boaz was Ruth's closest male relative and was financially sound to accomplish this task. Boaz was related to Ruth's mother-in-law, Naomi.

Now, let us get this again, more clearly. Leviticus 25:25 says the following in essence: 
- A poor person has nothing because he/she has to sell everything for whatever reason.
- The closest family member comes and buys back, or retrieves and restores, that which was taken.

Is this any different from what Jesus, the Son of God and the God of Heaven Who became Man, did? Of course not! He is Our Redeemer! And I know MY REDEEMER LIVES! Again going off Leviticus 25:25 and now looking at our own poor situation through God's Eyes:
- We are poor and worthless and destined for destruction because of our sin!
- We have nothing with which to redeem ourselves and in any case, a finite person literally cannot make ourselves right before an Infinite God.
- Our closest Family member is again, literally, God our Father.
- He used His own given Law to set the redemption process (the Great Buy-Back) in process and then God the Son stepped off the Throne to give His Life as a Ransom for many!
- Wow! Jesus did not consider equality with GOD a thing to be grasped and paid the Highest Price on the Cross for the Salvation of all the world for all time. He redeemed the Lost and called us His Kin- His Children - if we repent and put our faith fully in Him as Lord and Savior!
- Jesus is our Kinsman Redeemer - the Ultimate Kinsman Redeemer!


So now, can you and I testify about all THIS MAN - God Who became Man - Jesus, has done for us? Let's pray the answer is YES! As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. As for all Scripture - well, it's all about Jesus- from cover to cover!

Friday, August 25, 2017

MY NEW BOOK: ACTIVATE - "UNLEASH THE PRAYER WARRIOR WITHIN"


The concept of Prayer has been studied so many ways, in so many forms that I think the original intent of the Founding Father – Almighty God, sometimes gets lost in the drive to create a movement, a mania or a “new way of praying”. This is not the thinking behind ACTIVATE.

Our view of God and His thinking determines our worldview as well as the quality of our relationship with Him. A small view of Abba leaves us in the dust with the majority of mankind and the vast majority of Christians. The latter group may be saved, but not much else. A big view of God leads opens up the eyes of our hearts to the untold riches of Kingdom which we could never imagine possible.

This is why I decided to take some very important chapters of the entire Bible, go through them page by page and discover the prayers of God’s people. We know that ALL Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).  The Book of Genesis is obviously the very first place to begin to understand what Prayer really is. It is a conversation between God our Creator and His redeemed – us.  The very first prayer is so interesting and from there, we proceed all the way through to this mighty Book of Beginnings.

Chapter 2 of ACTIVATE will surprise a lot of people. As aforementioned, just like the Constitution of the United States, the key is Original Intent. In other words, how does God really want us to pray. I do not follow the book layout of the Bible, but God’s thinking after He gave us the Genesis or Beginnings of Prayer.

Therefore, the very next chapter of Activate is a full deep sea dive into the Book of James! There is a reason this little book of five short chapters, almost at the end of every bible, is so critical. We first have to understand just who the Apostle James really is! He was the unsaved half-brother of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself until after the Resurrection where the Bible makes a point of saying that Jesus showed Himself to 500 AND JAMES!  James was once one of His siblings who thought their older brother was a little of our His Mind. The Resurrection changed all that as two of the Lord’s brothers, who were direct sons of Joseph, wrote books in the Bible. They are James and Jude.

While the Sermon on the Mount is the definitive standard for Christian living, the Book of James is the standard for Christian conduct in everyday life situations. It is also the standard for prayer. There are no prayers in the Book of James. However, the great leader of the Church in Jerusalem – James, gives the most in-depth and beautiful teaching on HOW to pray, than any other book of the Bible.  This amazing instructional is called “The Mechanics of Prayer”.

James was called “Camel Knees”. It is no wonder that God revealed these teachings to His servant James to pass on to us, because only a fervent man of effective prayer could have written what we examined in Chapter 2 of this new book.

Some of the most critical issues of life, from matters of the soul to personal matters are not just addressed by the Lord in His Word here, but He explicitly demonstrates how His free people can approach Him, in prayer. This is more than a “How-to” manual straight from the Source. But it is a hands on, and pro-active examination which, if done as the men and women of the Bible shows us how, will put our spiritual maturity growth spurt on steroids.

God made us for relationship, first with Him and then others. In fact, Jesus said these are the two greatest commandments for anyone who ever lived. We nurture and grow that relationship with Abba Father ONLY through prayer. Proper application of the lessons learned from the Bible in this book – Activate – will unleash AND power the inner prayer warrior in us.
ACTIVATE (eBOOK AND/OR PAPERBACK IS AVAILABLE HERE ON AMAZON.COM)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

THE 3:16 VERSES OF THE BIBLE: PART 5: "...AND ON THE OTHER HAND....."

15 But when the sons of Israel cried to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for them, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. And the sons of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab. 16 Ehud made himself a sword which had two edges, a cubit in length, and he bound it on his right thigh under his cloak. (Joshua 3:15-16)
Life is not a pleasant experience sometimes, to which we can personally testify. All that is needed is for us to turn on the TV News or visit our favorite news website for ever-increasing, disturbing evidence. The thing is – there is nothing new under the sun.  People have always been the same. They had the same proclivities, sin nature and every human trait currently noticeable 3500 years ago, as we have now. The main difference is the fact that we live in the information age, and everything is immediately available at a moment’s notice.

So when we read in Judges 3:16 (above) about this leader of the people of God named Ehud, it is easy to just run past the account there of an armed leader of a nation. There is nothing, heretofore, unusual. That is, until we read just a few verses before that Ehud was the God-appointed rescuer of Israel which committed pagan idolatry against the Lord. God had Eglon, the King of Moab take Israel captive. For 18 years, Israel’s worse enemies oppressed them and they cried out to Him, in distress. 

The left-handed Ehud was well, left-handed for a reason.  God created him left-handed.  There is some thinking where being a “south-paw” is not a good thing or even a curse. This comes from the highly exalted position associated with “The Right Hand”.

For instance, being on the right hand of God denotes power. This pertains to only One Person – the Lord Jesus Christ. Since bible days, the right hand denotes influence and more!  We have all heard the term “right-hand man (or woman)” being used to describe someone who has the error of a president, CEO or even a pastor. 

Being left-handed is nothing to sneeze at either. God made both. In baseball, southpaw pitchers are some of the hardest to hit, which is a good thing for their teams. In bible terms, apart from Ehud, this particular, some heroic warriors were all left-handers. Judges 20:15-16 tell us: “15 From the cities on that day the sons of Benjamin were numbered, 26,000 men who draw the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah who were numbered, 700 choice men. 16 Out of all these people 700 choice men were left-handed; each one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

So this is all normal, as the Lord made both the left and right hands. However, in pagan “religions” and cults, all kinds of made up nefarious things are concocted by these people. A certain eastern religion says “left handed witchcraft” is dark and evil, while “right handed” is “good”! Eglun, the king of Moab lived in a region which was steeped in all kinds of such evil and human sacrifice.

God sent Ehud into his (Eglun’s) chamber to begin the rescue of Israel and the king’s guards searched only his right side as no one suspected the Judge of Israel would be a southpaw. The results are found in the following verses of Judges Chapter 3:26-28a "26 Now Ehud escaped while they were delaying, and he passed by the idols and escaped to Seirah. 27 It came about when he had arrived, that he blew the trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel went down with him from the hill country, and he was in front of them. 28 He said to them, “Pursue them, for the Lord has given your enemies the Moabites into your hands.” 

God’s plans for deliverance are set up, even before the day of our birth. They will always be accomplished.