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.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

THE 3:16 VERSES OF THE BIBLE, PART 4: "....ON DRY LAND"

14 So when the people set out from their tents to cross the Jordan with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant before the people, 15 and when those who carried the ark came into the Jordan, and the feet of the priests carrying the ark were dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest), 16 the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho. 17 And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan. (Joshua 3:16)
Forty years after God parted the Red Sea so that two million former Israealite slaves could walk away from Egypt, He did it again. In His Sovereign Power, He backed up the swollen, flooded Jordan River almost twelve miles (in ONE HEAP) so that His people could enter the Promised Land of Canaan! This was on downstream side, then He cut off the River - which He created - from the exit into the Dead (or Salt) Sea. As an aside, the minerals and salt products from this Sea are premium cosmetic items used far and wide!

On both Partings of Major Bodies of Water (Red Sea and the Jordan), the complete Sovereignty of God were on full display for not just Israel, but those they were about to conquer and replace, in the Promised Land.

The Crossing at this point on the River Jordan was strategic. Led by God's General Joshua, the Exodus was complete right outside the City of Jericho where the conquest began almost immediately. The Mighty Power of God's Hand was again immediately obvious here. Jericho was almost like a sanctuary city for those who had heard what the God of the Israelites was doing to clear the path for His plans and purposes. The King of Jericho, a city of around 40,000, had to have seen the multitudes across the flooding River from his city one day.  Then the very next day - the River bed is clear and all the water backed up as high as small mountain upstream. We all know what happened when Joshua led a crack military unit around the double walled city with shofars and rams horns - the secure, tough city of Jericho fell. The Lord can break down the ramparts of despair around us, when trouble comes, when we too release the sound of worship from our hearts.

TRUTH: All of this history, now confirmed by archaelogists,  is contained in the accounts surrounding Joshua 3:16. This verse, like ALL the other 3:16 verses we are looking at, is pivotal. It is here where God made a way, where there was no other way. It is another example of the Mighty One showing His Power and Majesty as King of all things.

LESSONS: Like the River Jordan, overflowing during the flood season here in Joshua 3:16,  sometimes we get run over by life. When the semi truck of sadness and sorrow beset us and more troubles pile on than we could ever imagine, this is the perfect opportunity for the Sovereign Hand of God to make a way, where there is no way. Here is where God rolls back the stone.....or sends the water that's drowning us so far back upstream that we cannot see it.  It is here we see God do His best work. 
There is a caveat - we must believe three things - that He alone is God; that He is Sovereign and thirdly, that He loves YOU.  Yes YOU and I. He loves us so much He gave His Life for us. That is already done. The rest is easy for Him. The rest is resting in Him. For the rest of it, He is full of mercy, grace and long suffering and will bring it to fruition. Breakthrough can be had, until it is our time to go, if we give EVERYTHING to Him, holding nothing back...no hidden sin, no disbelief....holding nothing back from Him. Trusting Christ in the Flood, with Godly perseverance and Faith, can lead to crossing over....on dry land.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

THE "3:16" VERSES OF THE BIBLE. PART 3: "DO AS HE SAYS"

So Moses numbered them according to the word of the LORD, just as he had been commanded  (Numbers 3:16)
Has God ever said “go” and you said “no”? Has He said “slow” and you say “how fast”? Then the Lord said “come” and you run.  The Lord Himself did that several times in Scripture and continues to do so now in, via the promptings of the Holy Spirit. 


The Lesson here is this – when you’re a Christian worker, church leader, volunteer or even a mature Christian who should know better and  God asks you to do something, it is a wise to listen. It is not only smart to do so, but also to act on what He says. Failure to even obey reluctantly could endanger others and then cost you a huge blessing.

King David was told by God to NOT take a census at a certain time during His reign. (CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ACCOUNT). David was a man who should have known better at this stage in his life, but he went ahead and ignored God. He took the census anyway.  The Bible literally says that “Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census” (1 Chronicles 21:1).   

What does this mean? Well, it means that Satan, the world and the flesh knows our weaknesses and always goes for the reaction which is predicated on Pride. David’s huge pride led him to disobey God, take the census and people died. Our pride does the same thing when we think we know better than God since we are the ones who know this or that process for victory. The system also says it will work this way, if we do it and do it now. So we not just disobey but get ahead of the Lord and often fall flat on our faces. 

Moses did as he was commanded here. It is simple and plain as day. Later on, NOT doing as commanded would cost him his natural life. This time, Moses’ taking of the census would serve the plans of the Lord well, for organizing the new nation of Israel by tribe and function. Moses did as God said. We should too, when He reveals His Will, through His Word, no matter what the task or how BIG the job. Think of Moses - one man - attempting and completing, the job of doing a Census of up to two million people. He had no computers, calculators or clipboards. All He had was the Lord and that is more than enough.

TRUTH: A follower of the Lord,  a Christian will be called on by God to do certain things which accomplish three purposes: Advance the Kingdom, Mature the Believer and Glorify God. This is what we committed to when we were first saved and surrendered our lives to Christ.

LESSON: When Abba, our Father Who IS in Heaven calls, it is more than advisable to say yes the first time….or even reluctantly, while still doing it. Disobedience has dire consequences for not just the disobedient but quite possibly, for generations to come. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

THE "3:16" VERSES OF THE BIBLE, PART 2: DOMINION, OBEDIENCE, LEGACY

16 The priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar as food, an offering by fire for a soothing aroma; all fat is the Lord’s. 17 It is a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall not eat any fat or any blood.’" Leviticus 3:16

Any human being alive, including every billionaire around today, are kidding themselves if they think they actually own anything. In temporal terms, they do. Their wealth can buy homes, boats, airplanes and the rich lifestyle which comes with material possessions. But the land which all houses are built. The waters which nations claim dominion over. The airspace which governments control. Everything - they all belong to the Lord.

"For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills". Psalm 50:10

Man has given temporary dominion over all the earth and so far, his stewardship has been found wanting, in general. But many have found obedience in the service of the Lord. The first one who realized the teaching from this verse (Leviticus 3:16) that "all fat is the Lord's" was Abel. Genesis 4:4 tells us that "Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering".

For his obedience, love and reverence for Holy God, the second son of Adam, the first man, was murdered by his jealous brother Cain. But recognizing the Right Kind of Offering to the Lord which Yahweh later would codify the The Law given to Moses, brought until rewards. 

Abel's obedience to the Word and Promise of God landed him in the Hall of Fame of all believers. Hebrews 11:4 says "By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks". The fat belongs to the Lord and even without a commandment from God, Abel listened to, loved and obeyed His Creator - by Faith. 

TRUTH: Everything - all the fat....that is, even the smallest thing on earth, belongs to God. The sooner we recognize we are nothing and own nothing, in light of the Eternal God, the quicker the Scripture references here will come alive to us.

LESSON: Obedience to God leads to Kingdom Blessings, as we see in Hebrews 11:4 where our testimony, like Abel's, leaves a Legacy of Faith.  We do not sacrifice animals and offer the fat or bulls and goats on a burning altar, to the Lord as our offerings. However, He expect those who say they are committed to Him to offering a Sacrifice of Person (ourselves in complete loyalty); Praise (worship to the Triune God) and Perseverance (steadfastness in the face of Evil).
Glory to His Name.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

THE "3:16" VERSES OF THE BIBLE. PART 1: GOD SEES AND DELIVERS


GENESIS 3:16 AND EXODUS 3:16

From super fans holding up signs at football games to Vacation Bible School bible verse drills, the entire planet knows John 3:16 (….for God so loved the world…). So, what about the other 65 books of the Bible? Most of them do have “3:16” verses which while not as packed with Eternal Impact for the believer, carry equally significant weight for the Christian! 

It is absolutely beneficial to our spiritual growth to do a study of these verses for many reasons. I discovered the reasons myself while doing precisely this same exercise. While not every book of the sixty six (66) Books of Canon (The Bible) has three chapters or even a 16th verse, the majority of those I found all have a theme relevant to the Christian life!


In some cases, the "3:16" verse is self-explanatory. In many cases, we have to read the previous or the "17" verse in context to get the full meaning. Where the verse is plain, we will no try to over-explain. But they will be kept as focused as possible in this new series, so as to get the full measure of what God is saying, in these passages of Scripture.

To be clear, the original manuscripts were NOT written in Chapter and Verse! The original Old Testament was written in Hebrew and only put in verses in the 15th century by a Jewish Rabbi. The English Bible was divided into chapters by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the 13th century and less than 160 years, the great and first Wycliffe English Bible made it permanent. The division into chapter and verse occurred to make the great Words of God more understandable to the world.

This has occurred and the Lord has used The Greatest Book Ever Written to change, transform and rescue lives ever since. Here we go:
ORIGINAL SIN BRINGS THE FIRST CONCEPT OF JUDGMENT
Genesis 3:16:
To the woman He said,
“I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.”

While feminists may not find this particularly appealing, in fact it was Eve - the first woman - who negotiated with a serpent, believed him over God and fell for the lie. Adam was ultimately held responsible by God for this sin, but look at the hammer coming down on all women for all time due to Eve listening to Lucifer and eating forbidden fruit! 

Here we have the first introduction of PAIN into the human equation. Pain was not meant for to happen. We brought it on ourselves. This was just the beginning of all kinds of trauma and pain because Eve's first offspring and son - CAIN, an angry and jealous man increased this Pain by killing his own brother Abel.

LESSON: DISOBEDIENCE HAS CONSEQUENCE WAY BEYOND THE IMMEDIATE AND CAN AFFECT GENERATIONS YET TO BE BORN.

GOD CARES ABOUT THOSE IN DESPAIR
EXODUS 3:16 "Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt".

Sure, Eve brought pain and suffering into the World, but our God is the God of Mercy, Grace and Compassion and His love endureth for a life time. The Jews were an oppressed and mistreated people for 400 years as slaves in Egypt after the death of the great Joseph and his benefactor Pharaoh. The time of their pending departure and entry to the Promised Land. In Exodus 3:16, God Himself said He was "INDEED concerned and knew of their hurt and persecution". He was about to send the Great Deliverer - Moses.

LESSON: WHAT YOU OR I MAY BE GOING THROUGH IS NOT NEWS TO GOD. HE SEES THE PAIN, DEPRESSION AND LOST NATURE OF HIS PEOPLE NOW, AS HE DID 1000, 2000 0R 4000 YEARS AGO. HE IS INDEED CONCERNED, CARING, COMPASSIONATE AND LOVING AND WILL RESPOND WITH DELIVERANCE - ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

PURSUIT WORTHY OF CONSIDERATION

""Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you...Matthew 7:7"
We all love watching a good fast chase, whether it is a car chase in the movies or on TV, or a boat race on the lake.  We even think It’s cute when one of our pet dogs playfully chases the other one around the back yard. We involve ourselves in our own chases at various times in our lives. In our teens and early twenties, the more educationally ambitious of us may chase down multiple college degrees (not me – one is enough). Those who are more bent towards business take risks and joyfully suffer the birth pangs of launching, maintaining and growing their own small business, as they chase their dream of the freedom of self-employment and probable riches. in general, though, it does seem as if sometimes, everything else is a chase, race or making haste.

The common goal of these various chases, from the self-motivated  young entrepreneur to the person who obtains the right educational background for a better job and benefits in order to raise a family or accumulate enough of a nest egg for later on, is success. There is absolutely nothing wrong with success and the process it takes to get there. As long as everything is legally,  ethically and morally done – the sky is the limit. Millions are willing to go into major debt to, excuse me, kiss the sky, in this pursuit.

Most times oft, than not, though, matters of the soul are completely ignored in this paper chase. (The paper chase mentioned in this article is all about the financial documents which represent wealth held by those who primarily seek only worldly success). Increasingly, with very few exceptions (less than 10%) the vast majority of people under the age of 40 have little or no faith in the God of Heaven. Men and women instinctively know that we were ALL created with the Law of God (His commands) written on our hearts. Even those who have not heard the Gospel possess this.  It is called the conscience where we learn right from wrong. Even those who hate God have a conscience. They just block it out. They just don’t pursue Him.

In the greatest sermon ever preached – the Sermon on the Mount, God Himself – through His Son the Creator, teaches many Eternal Truths about Life on earth. Almost all of the Teachings of Jesus are counter-cultural and against any of the worldly thinking of man. There is so much in this Greatest Message of All Times, but what is relevant here is the statement of Matthew 7:7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you"

In short, the Lord recommended the following three specific actions – all in the present tense:
-          Ask
-          Seek
-          Knock on the door

Those in pursuit of success in the Natural (through Education, Business etc.) have no problem at all with any of those three. Whether we work for a company or run the company or teach a junior college class for a living, around age 30-40 we have done more than our fair share of asking, seeking and knocking on doors.  A 75% or more failure rate never stops us in our pursuit of excellence in our chosen career paths. The majority of us would just take deep breaths and move on to the next thing. However, for some reason, on the supremely important matter of eternity, the hard work of research into the Truth – the True Truth – is left on the cutting floor!

It is very telling that the very same committed and purpose-driven people who would work 70-90 hours per week to study part time while working would not take an hour of their entire week, on one day, to see if the claims and promises of God are true. A small business owner would be the last person to get paid at his business, while getting no sleep or vacation, but he or she would press so hard in one direction, that the real direction that matters will also be neglected.

Even so, Jesus has a proposition for those who are worn down, beaten up, tired out, flamed out and just plain over their heads in the hot pursuit of success, the World’s Way. He has three simple words: Ask, Seek, Knock. What’s behind these three doors is nothing magical, but it IS something Eternal. It is Rest. It is Peace. It is Joy. It is Contentment. It is Heaven.

Success the world’s way could and should get you that – a comfortable successful life….in THIS Life ONLY!  But the Pursuit of Heavenly Treasure lasts forever. For those are interested in what comes next after this swift fleeting life.  Again – it’s free ….and so simple. In fact it is so simple, most do not believe it cost them nothing, thereby missing the boat.

ASK:
Like everything else in matters of eternity, it comes down to the Heart – the Spiritual Heart. To even get to the point of asking, we need to be able see and then know, that for which we are asking or requesting. Scripture, in Ephesians 1:18, cries out to us “open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord”.  There is nothing in the make-up of a human being which is worthy of us being even qualified to "ASK" the Great God of Heaven for anything. It is by sheer mercy and grace we are alive and then have the means to live comfortably, and function at any capacity. The sooner we realize this, the quicker we will make haste to the Throne Room of God to ask Him to be the Guiding Light of Our Lives.

SEEK:
Anyone who is born again, instinctively knows we were near seeking and finding a relationship with the True God of Heaven and our Creator. At some point in life, we may have been seeking for the great answers of life - (who am I, why am I here etc...). However, if you look at some of the "-sims*" that led countless millions astray, none of them sought after the real God of Heaven as found in the Bible. (Think of "isms" like extentialism, atheism, communism etc...etc...). All of these "systems" were thought up by mortal men. All of these men had disturbing final words and horrible fruit of their labors and teachings. Jesus is inviting us to search Him out AND He gave us the most powerful flashlight and road map ever- The Bible. To those who have been redeemed, He sends the Holy Spirit to continue the life long pursuit of seeking out eternal truths in through Prayer and the Full Counsel of God. These are the only riches which are worth nailing down first, before all else. Seek and look for Him, He and all Heaven are within reach!

KNOCK:
The portals of Heaven still remain open to all who ask, seek and then knock. The original meaning of the word "knock" is to literally "beat the door down with a stick"....or perseverance, persistence and never giving up in your pursuit of this amazing God. How do we knock on Heaven's door? We do so by daily, consistent pressing into the very Throne of Heaven, where we camp and not leave until God provides the guidance, direction and answers we are seeking and asking. 

All there active processes imply and ongoing and well, active response on our part. They proceed out of a heart set on God. In all the great chases and pursuits we can have in this life, at any age, this is the only one built to last.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A TRUE GIFT OF A BOOK

BOOK REVIEW: 
THE HOLY SPIRIT-SPIRITUAL GIFTS: BOOK 2
One of the key things I’ve discovered, when reading any of Susan Rohrer’s books is this: there is never a dull moment.  Rohrer uses her background as a TV/Movie producer, screenwriter, director, and author to expertly weave a flowing narrative, regardless of the genre of book project she explores at the time. I have read all of Rohrer’s previous nonfiction titles (The Holy Spirit – Spiritual Gifts: Book 1, Is God Saying He’s the One?, Secrets of the Dry Bones) and her entire Redeeming fiction series. The latter were novels with wholesome, beautiful, romantic themes that I’ve addressed from my point of view of a minister, in the reviews that have previously appeared here on my blog. Rohrer’s novels are adapted from her many screenplays. They are fast moving, dynamic, with the high-quality dialogue you would find in one of her screenplays or movies.

It is that literary quality that the reader will find in her second book in the Illuminated Bible Study Guides series, The Holy Spirit – Spiritual Gifts: Book 2: SurprisinglySupernatural Service Gifts. What Susan Rohrer has done in this comprehensive study of the Gifts of the Spirit, examined in detail, fleshed out with the appropriate in-context Scripture and with the healthiest dose of personal story and testimony, is just remarkable. She has rendered some extremely difficult to explain and comprehend Biblical principles in easy to grasp terms.

If you’re a regular “Rohrer Reader” (i.e. a fan of her books like I am), the
conversational literary style is recognizable from her novels. If you look at Jesus’ simple stories in the Gospels, He speaks plainly all the time. This is especially true in the Sermon on the Mount. When a Christian speaks plainly and truthfully in context with the Bible, he or she operates in the gifts and blessings embedded in us by our Heavenly Father. Herein lies the key to unlocking the riches found in Susan Rohrer’s new book.

Whether one has directed national award-winning films or CBS television specials like Susan Rohrer or is like the rest of us with our little daily VBS comedy skits annually, there is one significant common denominator needed – attention to detail. Attention to detail shows commitment, confidence in the knowledge of the subject matter, and a healthy respect for the work with which one is tasked. The effective communication of vision and message requires not just a grasp of detail, but also how it applies or does not apply in certain situations. This is what the author does in her book here. She goes into some really solid insight by paying attention to the details and application of each of our God-given spiritual gifts. This is not an easy thing to do, especially in today’s five-second sound bite world, even in Christianity, where people do not even go to church with their Bibles anymore.

What has resulted from Susan Rohrer’s long labor of love to mine the depths of the meaning and application of these graces is this wonderful manual on Divine Giftings. Her book is more than worth the investment of both time and resources. Not just that, I may even venture to say that it should be kept as a reference book so we may readily refer to it, in order to assist others in discovering how to discern which gifts they are endowed with for kingdom work.

The full range of service gifts are lovingly, firmly, and accurately defined with application in The Holy Spirit – Spiritual Gifts: Book2. There are chapters on the gifts of encouragement, giving, mercy, and ministry. Among others, the chapter called “Heroic Helps” will inspire, as well as this very sensitive topic: Celestial Celibacy.  For those of us who are or were in church or ministry leadership, the final two chapters are particularly important. 

What really spoke to me, knowing that the author – Ms. Rohrer – spoke directly from the Word of God, were all her points on godly leadership and administration talents as a function of the high level of stewardship we are expected to deliver as ministry or church leaders. If a deacon, youth pastor, small group leader, or even a senior pastor can honestly assess one’s life in light of the last two chapters, then any portion of the previous chapters on the gifts can be easily explained to one who is searching.

Christians of all ages operate way below their talents and potential imparted to them at the point of salvation. There is absolutely no reason why we cannot live life in the fullness of joy and true service.  If you want this kind of life—knowing that the God of Heaven saved you and me through Christ, to be His Hands and Feet during our lives here on earth—The Holy Spirit -Spiritual Gifts: Book 2 is for you.

Finally, I’ll suggest an even more personal reason to read Susan Rohrer's new offering. What the reader will discover really endearing and, most of all, authentic about this book is the author’s application of her own story. Susan Rohrer is more than transparent about her own victories and even times when things did not go well at all. She uses her amazing life experiences to give itemized warning lights for readers to seriously consider as we journey through her book, sharing her life, in context, with the foundational Truths of Scripture. This book is five star reading.

For more about author Susan Rohrer and her books, click on the following links:

Holy Spirit - Spiritual Gifts: Book 2:


Holy Spirit - Spiritual Gifts: Two Book Set (includes Book 1 and Book 2):

Susan Rohrer’s Amazon Author Page
(for all of her fiction and nonfiction books):

Follow Susan Rohrer on Facebook at:


Thursday, July 20, 2017

KEVIN'S KORNER: "WHEN MEN AND MOUNTAINS MEET"

This article comes from a member of Finding Noah, a documentary chronicling the journey of an intrepid group of explorers searching for the final resting place of Noah’s Ark.
Great things are done when men and mountains meet. – William Blake

Finding the Depth of Man

The tag line for Finding Noah reads: “Beyond myth, science, and faith lies
KEVIN DEVRIES
something deeper.” But what exactly does that mean? If time can only tell what eternity has to say, what is the depth of this statement trying to tell us? What can be so deep as to be beyond even our faith? Can myth become fact? Will science someday give way to the supernatural? How can eternities weight thin time into what the early Celtic Christians called a “thin place” – a place where anything can happen in time because it has already happened in eternity? 


These deep questions can drown a shallow man. But there is hope beyond hope for all of us. There is depth in the heart of every man that only eternity can fathom. We live in time, but we are made for eternity. When hope only hinders and faith fails, love alone prevails. Hope helps. Faith believes. Love knows. The bridge from hope and faith to love is an act of grace apart from us.


Finding Our Purpose

And from the place where grace dances among the glorious ruins of our original glory, we discover this: We are all Noah. We are all searching for the same mystery that filled a man with marvel (Genesis 6:8) while a world drowned in madness. In Finding Noah, God’s mystery disguises miserable monarchs as mythic mountaineers. We climb misery to find our message. When we find Noah, we find what is most true about ourselves – we’re all exiled kings in a foreign country, wandering a wasteland of wounds who must climb our own Mt. Ararat – “The Painful Mountain” to discover our purpose. Pain encrypts purpose. 

Find your pain to find your purpose. Your destiny is formed and and most often found in suffering. The same is true of your heart. It is the chamber where eternity resides (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The true and greatest journeys are always within. Everything you need you cannot see unless God’s grace has first opened the eyes of your heart to a secret kingdom only the child within can enter (Matthew 18:3).

Finding Ourselves in God’s Mystery

We know from Proverbs 25:2 that God’s glory is secrecy. The glory of monarchs is the search, so God’s majesty is revealed not in mastery but mystery – a mystery that answers our unanswerable questions with God’s unquestionable Self. Mystery that cloaks itself in the shrouded mists of a mountain’s hallowed halls and ragged ravines rustling with the rumor of a King’s return and with it our original glory as well. This same mystery crowns white, wispy peaks with a crown and robes shoulders with majesty as if they were our own. What else can transcend the savage within to crown us as nobles and give us a new and numinous name except the love of God to us as His beloved sons? 

Love is the mountain that conquers us as we climb towards God. We are climbers not criminals. We must descend to ascend and heal. Nothing heals in thin air. We are patients not prisoners. Pain is more than punishment. We hurt to heal. We cannot heal if we cannot feel. Guilt convicts and hurts to heal. Shame condemns and hides to harm. Guilt is good. Shame is bad. Guilt says you’ve made a mistake. Shame says you are a mistake.

Pain therefore is the passport that takes us to places pleasure has neither the courage to go nor stay. It bends our will so we are formed into the beautiful likeness of God’s Son. It breaks barriers so we pass without sound into a great silence. A silence so deep and profound it can only be shattered by the same silvery voices that sung like morning stars when time was only a wrinkle on eternities face. Pain is heavens salty tears dripping into our wounds made by weapons that have both wrought and wrecked us with wonder. It is the final portal we must pass before we enter into paradise where death drowns in dreams of life that never end. Do we know anything before we suffer? Hardly. Death is the final suffering before we truly know.

Finding A New Beginning

Timeless trauma can only be healed with transcendent time. Sometimes we have to travel to the ends of the earth to reach the end of ourselves and find a new beginning in God that never ends.

And what do we find in the end? An Ark? You’ll have to discover that for yourself. In our search for the Ark of History, we found the Arc of our Story. Finding Noah is more than about finding a boat. It’s about a brotherhood found in Christ. Chaos creates calling and misery moves men to climb mountains to make a movie with a message so large it can only be read from the final frontier of the heart. A message from eternity that echoes into time: The greatest discovery in life is Who finds you when you are looking for something else.

Don’t lose heart. If you cannot change your circumstances, allow God to change your character instead. There is great hope in that. More than that, you’ll find a Fathers love awaiting your prodigal return as a true and mythic mountaineer searching for an Ark inside your painful heart. 

Kevin DeVries is an Entrepreneur-Explorer, Author-Adventurer, Inspirational Speaker and loving father of two from Grand Rapids, MI. He has served as a director and consultant for several faith based, nonprofit organizations across the country and is currently the Founder and President of Grace Explorations.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

SEVEN FAMOUS BIBLE VERSES #7: LOOK UP - GRACE & LOVE ARE FREE

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life"....John 3:16
You see it in the end zones of football games, from the NFL to the CFL (Canadian Football League) to College and definitely Friday Night Lights at high schools across America. I have seen it at basketball games, music concerts and even secular downtown parades on hand-made signs anywhere. Everyone uses it across Western Civilization. They even quote it in King James English. While "Judge not less ye be judged" is used is a negative defense mechanism, John 3:16 is proclaimed worldwide as the main proof of our Loving God, even by those who don't believe in Him.

This is not criticism because John 3:16 can stand by itself, if the person proclaiming or hearing it spoken, understands even 10% of the full counsel of God as found in the Scriptures. But it is necessary, as in ALL of the Word of God, to grasp context, content and comprehension.

CONTEXT:
John 3:13-18 says: 13 No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

CONTENT: 
- Before the Resurrection (which is when the hope of Eternal Life was realized), no one but God, could get to the Throne of Heaven except God Himself, with His Angelic beings. Old Testament saints who slept with their fathers, were in paradise, until Resurrection Sunday. Jesus is the Advocate and Intermediary, in that, He had to come down from off the Throne (as confirmed in Philippians 2:5-11) and if you read this passage from Philippians 2, we will know what all that really means. Without this amazing selfless act of love and grace, we would all be lost forever.

- The example of Moses "lifting up the serpent in the wilderness" was given to us by Christ so we could escape the sting of the second and final death. To go back to the Exodus, the Israelites were getting attacked, bitten and killed by snakes, as a direct warning from God. Moses prayed and God told him to make a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Moses was then to tell the people who were attacked by the sting of the serpent to simply LOOK at the bronze pole and believe and be saved. Jesus is telling us that if we too look up to Him, His Sacrifice, death, burial and Resurrection - all signified by the Cross - we too shall live forever in the Kingdom of Heaven - and be saved!

This is the main thing to be grasped in this passage. We have no choice but to look to the modern day bronze pole of Moses, now called "The Cross". Like the pole, the Cross defeated the serpent. Like the bronze pole, the Cross defeated death. Like the bronze pole, the Cross brought God directly to us - if we would just open our hearts to Him.

COMPREHENSION:
We see the main content is the Cross (John 3:13-15). We see God coming down from Heaven to show the way there to anyone who believes. What we pick up from the verses now, after John 3:16 is the Rationale of the Almighty, found here in John 3:17-18. We really do need to catch this or those who don't, won't or could care less, would fall in the category Jesus warned about in John 3:18...and as the Bible says "it is a fearsome thing to fall into the Hands of the Living God". Only the unredeemed face this scenario 100% of the time.

To wit, we see:
- God loved the world (John 3:16)....His general Grace, love and mercy is for all. Even those who reject and continue to reject Him. Still He loves. What people say and do to and about God daily condemns them daily, yet He lets us live. What a mighty loving God! His Grace is free. His Mercy is free. His Love is free.
- Because He loved, He gave. When God gives, He does not hold back. He gave the most precious only Begotten (which literally means "One of a Kind") Son, the Lord Jesus as part of His plan to redeem all mankind, from sin which destroys forever. He loves us even now, no matter how much we mess up all of that which He gives us to be stewards.
- The offer was/is and will always be there (with an expiration date) that if we confess with our mouth (Godly sorrow leadeth to repentance) and believe with our Hearts that Jesus IS LORD - we too can be part of this Great Plan of Redemption, conceived in Love. We WILL be saved!
- The "Whoever...or Whosoever" believes is the most crucial thing here. There are only two options: reject and perish via eternal separation from the God Whom the majority has and will reject or believe, have Faith and be welcome to the paradise prepared for ALL those who love God, and are called by His Name! It comes down to this.

THE CHOICE:
So what do we do with this knowledge of the most famous and popular verse in the known world? Is it just a happy "saying" for carefree events and then go about our business, with not a care in the world? What God is telling us this - we had better care! Just as people make plans for their older age, buy life insurance or save for retirement, it is very scary to see the majority of people all around us, who care not about the most important thing in the world - their eternal souls. While there is still time, there remains the free gift which avoids us harsh and final judgment where there is no cover for our sins. While there is still time, we can really grab John 3:16, pull it into our heart and run with it, until it becomes a part of us. The latter is the only way we can avoid being eternally separated from the Loving God, Who gave His One of a Kind Son - King Jesus.

Monday, July 10, 2017

SEVEN FAMOUS BIBLE VERSES #6: "NO WEAPON FORMED WILL STAND"

"No weapon that is formed against you will prosper" (Isaiah 54:17a)
This is an amazing truth for the believer as it was when the Almighty spoke it through the prophet Isaiah in Chapter 54This is another of those most popular Bible verses which merchandisers love to put on bronze plaques, posters, men's ties, bible covers and more. Anyone looking at this promise can understand why we all love this portion of a fairly long verse. Quite simply, it reaffirms that if God is for us, who and this means - no one - can be against.

But like all the other world famous five previous verses we have looked it, context is everything. God may have spoken in riddles and Jesus did speak in parables. However, even those parables from Christ Himself, were full accounts which taught various eternal truths. What God is saying here in Isaiah 54 is full on incredible.

Just previously, in Isaiah chapter 53, Isaiah, under the direct Word of God, prophesied the Final Sacrifice which Jesus gave of Himself in the entire Crucifixion story, in stunning detail. The horror of what was done to Jesus by those who tortured and killed Him on the Cross, is laid out in full view as well as, the reason it happened. 

However, immediately, next up in Chapter 54, God turns the lights on. In Psalm 30:5 He says "though weeping may endure for a night, joy cometh in the morning". This joy is the Hope of Zion. The Hope of all who trusted in what just happened in Chapter 53 with the Sacrificed Life of the Suffering Servant - the Lord Jesus Christ.  For the entire chapter of Isaiah 54, God recounts the suffering and persecution of His people and extrapolates this to us, as our example of where we should put our Hope.
Isaiah 54:13-17, we read:
13 “All your sons will be taught of the Lord;
And the well-being of your sons will be great.
14 “In righteousness you will be established;
You will be far from oppression, for you will not fear;
And from terror, for it will not come near you.
15 “If anyone fiercely assails you it will not be from Me.
Whoever assails you will fall because of you.
16 “Behold, I Myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals
And brings out a weapon for its work;
And I have created the destroyer to ruin.
17 “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;
And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord.

There is coming a Day, when we all graduate to Glory (Heaven) and all our children who believed in Jesus as Lord and Savior will "be taught of the Lord" (Verse 13a)...and BY the Lord. Heaven will be a place of instruction because the we only know a fraction of 1 percent of what we think we know on this side of eternity.

There is coming a Day when the "well-being" of the family of God will be great (Verse 13b) and He Himself will wipe away all our tears and there shall be joy forever more.


There is coming a Day, when we shall not fear the enemy and those who persecute Christians, the Elect of God, because the wicked will not stand in the assembly of the righteous (those who are saved). Psalm 1 tells us this Truth. All persecution, oppression and its false religion and ideologies will be gone. (Verse 14)

But for now, we see the goodness of God to even those who do not like Him and even war against Him. The Lord is good to both the just and the unjust, because He is always full of grace, love and long-suffering. He is always patient and wishes that none should perish away from Him. The rain falls on both the Christian and those who do not support us...evenly.  God is a loving God is continually gives us time to make things right before Him and our fellow man or woman. It was the Lord Who gave mankind the ability to make the same destructive weapons used against His people.

But God, He has a day coming when none of those supposedly superior man-made weapons will succeed against God's people. For The Lord Himself will descend with a shout .....and those who His will rise up to meet Him in the air. The blacksmith, whose talent built the weapon which will be used against a child of God, will see that sword melt in the enemies' hands, as Christ returns to take full control.


This prophetic promise is coming for the Day of Reckoning when the All Powerful Righteous Judge will call us into His Throne room as He vindicates us, and sets the Captives Free. Why is this possible? Because He, God, says so. When God makes a promise, no weapon, scheme or plan of man, can ever thwart it. Amen.

Friday, July 7, 2017

SEVEN FAMOUS BIBLE VERSES #5: "SECRET BEHIND PHILIPPIANS 4:13"

Mankind has always coveted power from the dawn of time, and especially when life on planet earth was rebooted, post Noahic-Flood. One of Noah’s great grandsons was a….Nimrod. In fact, Nimrod was his name. He is the person responsible for the reintroduction of idolatry and pagan worship into the world after God had cleansed the earth of every evil thing and person. Nimrod wanted power, longing to be like God and decided to build a tower that he thought would reach the sky…all the way to heaven. The result was the Tower of Babel and the true power of God revealed when the Almighty scattered mankind across the land, speaking in strange languages and tongues. Before this event, all living humans spoke the language of Noah.

Nimrod used his God-given gifts and abilities to shake his fists at the Creator and do things in his own power. Then God showed up. Many will see the brilliant and lost in this world prospering to the tune of billions, while blaspheming God or worshiping their own creations (whether it’s in the technology or financial world). They see this inconsistency going on while God’s people suffer in most countries of the world and have nothing. This should not concern us to the point of sin. It should inspire us to work harder in Kingdom Service and not to an obsession of what is celebrated in this celebrity culture, but a reliance on the Strength and Character of God, in order to be like Him.
  
The popular Philippians 4:13 verse is a favorite of a lot of people, especially soldiers, college students and even athletes, most of whom do not follow Christ.  Taken by itself, the impact which God intended for us to have from this verse is lost. By itself, it even becomes somewhat of an idol if we are not in relationship and fellowship with the God Who had it written down for us. The Power is not in the word but the Word Who became flesh. The Power is not in the t shirt, hat or mug it is on, but in the Author of Life. The run up to this exhortation (4:13) is Philippians 4, verses 11b and 12.  If we miss this, we are operating in midair with now landing gear down.  The Apostle Paul, under inspiration from the Holy Spirit writes the following:
Philippians 4:11b-12 ---  11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 

The above passage should be an example to those of us in modern times who sometimes feel as if we need the next best thing....and then we will be happy. Or maybe, if we had this new car, or new job, or new home, then we can really be satisfied with our lives.

Focusing on the wrong things brings dissatisfaction, but peace with God and the simplicity of the Gospel lead to peace, joy, contentment. The mark of a true believer is how one carries oneself under ANY circumstance. This is the main point of the passage. 

When the modern cultural fad adopts the "Bumper Sticker" man-made attribute of "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me", the fad creates more fad adherents than followers.  When Philippians 4:13 becomes written on the back of your cleats, or on your ball cap or coffee mug, it should be more than just YOU and I making some kind of statement to the world that we are "Christians".

Because the Gold of this teaching is found here in Verses 11b and 12, we can surely NOW rest in Philippians 4:13 ("I can do all things through Him who strengthens me") but more important, we must ensure we are filled with the sense of the main thing which is integral to our soul and its well-being BEFORE we get there. The main things ARE the main things and here they are:
 -  Open our eyes to what the Lord has done for us and be grateful for every single thing He has done for us. 
 -  Gratitude for what our Heavenly Father has done for us, beyond just meeting our needs, but allowing us to be even more comfortable and prosperous than we were, maybe even ten years ago, should lead us to proper humility.
 -  This Humility should result in perspective of the kind where we can handle any form of adversity which the world throws at us in general, or at Christians specifically. Life will happen to all. Life is lived in the valley of sometimes flowing waters and fertile soil, but many times, life is lived in the valley of despair. The Secret is found in the Oracles of God, Who laid them plainly out in Scripture.
 -  Adversity, in the Valley of Despair, can always be handled with Godly dignity and grace if we know the Source of Everything and not just the Strength and Power which comes from God.
 -  Gratitude, Humility, Persevering in Adversity even when times are good (and they will not stay good forever) can be rolled up into one thing - Godly Perspective. This is the Real Secret which are available to the Faithful who can now claim the ability to possess all these attributes, because his/her reliance is in the Lord Jesus Christ - Who has given us and embedded His character and power IN us. 

Therefore, if we are really searching for the Secret behind this popular or any other verse of its genre, we will most certainly find that there is no hidden magic formula at all! God has written it all out in the open! All we should immediately grasp is this - our God is a God of order and is also Process. He IS in the details and longs to fill them in for us - if we will only ask.