Saturday, December 17, 2016

Center Of The World - God’s Timepiece

The central and most important point in the world was appointed long ago when God gave the Israelites the land known as Israel. All geographic points referred to in the bible are referenced using Jerusalem as the absolute center of God’s compass. It was here that He was destined to be born into man’s family in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. It was here where He would offer himself up as the ultimate and final sacrifice for the sins of man, and it will be here where he returns triumphantly as the avenging Messiah and savior of the world. There is no other place in the universe that holds such importance for the future of mankind, which is why the enemies of God have forever sought to destroy it and all of it’s people. Israel has always been God’s timepiece, with distinct preordained moments set for certain biblical events which have long ago been decreed, it is steadily ticking until the stunning appearance of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords signals peace on earth and the end of mankind’s flawed rule. 

Down through the ages the land historically known as Israel has been trampled by the Armies of Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Greece and a number of other nations including the armies of the Roman Empire. Following the siege of Jerusalem in 63 BC, the Hasmonean Kingdom became a protectorate of Rome, and in 6 CE was organized as the Roman province of Judea. This was during the earliest years in the life of Jesus of Nazareth who later as an adult foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. 
Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down.” (Matthew 24:1-2)
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it; for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. Alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days! For great distress shall be upon the earth and wrath upon this people; they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led captive among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21: 20-24)

One might wonder why this happened and what was the reason? The answer is twofold and is found in two of the following verses;  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. 
(John1:1-5, 11-14)

He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.
The Jews had lost sight of the significance of the animal blood sacrifices in the temple throughout the years for the annual rolling back of their sins, they were looking instead for a Messianic avenger with a sword to deliver them from an oppressive Roman government. Having failed to recognize their Messiah, God used their  oppressor to destroy the temple and thus cause animal sacrifice to cease as it had become an abomination to God who had offered His only begotten son as the final sacrifice for the sins of mankind for all time, and sadly they rejected Him.

But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 
Those Jews and gentiles who did acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah were persecuted unmercifully first by the Jews and then by Rome, they too became a part of diaspora, which was God’s plan to spread Christianity to the four corners of the earth.

The Jews had revolted against the Roman Empire in 66 AD during the period known as the first Jewish-Roman War which culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD just as Jesus had prophesied. During the siege, the Romans destroyed the second Temple and most of Jerusalem. Jewish leaders and elite were exiled, killed or sold into slavery. In 132 AD, the Jews under Bar Kochba rebelled once more against the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who defeated the Jewish armies in 135 AD and Jewish independence was forever lost. As punishment Hadrian changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capotolina, turning it into a pagan city and banned the Jews from living there. The Romans engaged in mass executions and enslavement, and destroyed large numbers of Judean towns, forbidding Jews from settling in Jerusalem or its environs, there was no further Jewish government or overarching legal system thereafter in Judea; this effectively turned the expatriate Jews of the Diaspora into a permanently exiled people with no national homeland. Restrictions (taxation, discrimination, social exclusions) further alienated and marginalized remaining Jews in the Negev and Galilee that favored the settlement of culturally pagan Syro-Phoenicians and others. It was at this time that Judea became normatively known as Syria Palestina. A Roman policy was put in place to alienate Jews from the Land of Israel and Judea, ensuring that no Jewish temple, Jerusalem or state ever rose again. 

One might think that would have been the end of Israel, Jews have been persecuted and murdered in every corner of the world ever since, even the most murderous attempt to eradicate Jews from the face of the earth only served to put it into the hearts of a remnant to return to their promised land and begin anew. The Jewish word “Aliya” means the return of Jews back to their ancient land of Israel, from wherever they may be scattered. The Zionists of the late 19th Century formally created this concept, as they urged all Jews to pull up their roots and migrate back to their ancient land. Little by little, from the 1890's to the present time, Jews have migrated by the several millions to Israel, giving her great vitality and citizens of unique skills she could have attained in no other way. Of course, the greatest single motivation for this return was severe persecution against Jews in the lands in which they were residing. This is all according to God’s plan which has set the stage and is leading up to a grand finale when Jesus the Messiah returns triumphantly as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

2016 Hanukkah And Christmas Dates Coincide

Hanukkah pronounced Chanukah, means dedication and is known as the Festival of Lights. It is an eight day holiday that commemorates victory over the Seleucid king Antiochus IV who had erected a statue of the pagan god Zeus in the temple at Jerusalem he further defiled it by sacrificing pigs on the alter. When a Greek official tried to force a priest named Mattathias to make a sacrifice to the pagan god, he killed the man and the Jews rose up and fought for their liberation from the Greeks and Hellenists by joining Mattathias and his five sons known as the Maccabees. Antiochus underestimated the will and strength of his Jewish adversaries and sent a small force to put down the rebellion. When that force was annihilated, he led a more powerful army into battle only to be defeated. In 164 BC when Jerusalem was recaptured by the Maccabees and the temple was purified, it gave birth to the holiday known as Chanukah, celebrating the messianic-like victory of the Maccabee’s deliverance of Jerusalem and the rededication of the temple. It was a foreshadowing of a future event when the Messiah comes to purify and deliver his people from the oppressor forever. This year Chanukah begins on Christmas (Messiahmas) Eve! This has only happened four times in the last one hundred years. Even though we don’t know exactly when Yeshua was born, it is always joyful time to celebrate His birth, it is especially meaningful to see Chanukah celebrated at the same time of the Messiah’s nativity as we take a trip through bible history and connect the dots. The old testament (Torah) is the foundational basis for the new testament, both are two halves concerning the beginning and the end of all things. Here we will look at the old testament prophetic promises and the new testament fulfillment of those promises up through the birth of Jesus the Christ (Yeshua the Messiah). 

In a veiled comment found in the old testament (Torah) we see this reference to the coming of a Messiah immediately following the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, when the Lord spoke to the tempter. 

Messiah would be born of a woman.
OT - “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” 
(Genesis 3:15)

NT -  But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law. (Galatians 4:4)

Messiah would come from the line of Abraham.
OT - The Lord speaking to Abraham made this promise, “I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves.” (Genesis 12:3) 

OT - “and by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.” (Genesis 22:18)

NT - This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham: (Matthew 1:1)

NT - They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. (Romans 9: 4-5)

Messiah would be a descendant of Isaac.
OT - The Messiah would come through the lineage of Isaac; But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. (Genesis 21:12)

NT - the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, (Luke 3:34)

Messiah would be a descendant of Jacob.
OT - And down through Jacob; “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the people of Sheth. (Numbers 24:17)

NT - Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. (Matthew 1:2)

Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah.
OT - The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. (Genesis 49:10)

NT - the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, (Luke 3:33)

NT - For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. (Hebrews 7:14)

Messiah would be heir to King David's throne.
OT -  When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever.(2 Samuel 7: 12-13)

OT - Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.(Isaiah 9:7)

NT - He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.”(Luke 1:32-33)

NT -  the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh (Romans 1:3)

Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.
OT - The Lord spoke through the prophet saying, “But you, O Bethlehem Eph′rather, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. 
(Micah 5:2)

NT - After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2)

NT - So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, (Luke 2:4-6)

Messiah would be born of a virgin.
OT -  Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

NT - Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emman′u-el” (Matthew 1:18-23)

NT -  In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. (Luke 1: 26-35)

Messiah would be called Emmanuel.
OT -   Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

NT - “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (Matthew 1:23)

NT - In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirin′ius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7)

In April 2017 Easter and Passover will intersect and we will look at the connection between those two events and examine the significance of the remaining prophecies that have been fulfilled by the life, death and resurrection of Yeshua the Christ along with the promise of His victorious return as the avenging “Lion of the Tribe of Judah.”

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Ugly Two Faced People

Have you recently been engaged in a conversation when suddenly disparaging remarks have been made to your face relative your Judeo-Christian beliefs, snide and deprecating remarks made about Jesus Christ even denying the existence of God Himself? It seems like a sharp slap to the face when someone who is considered a trusted friend suddenly blurts out such despicable comments. The times of unity and civility seem to be rapidly dissipating and are being replaced by all manners of disharmony, divisiveness and strife. We see it in national, state and municipal governments all the way down to the smallest unit of government, friendships, even the family. The entertainment business is rife with anti-Christian and anti-God comments and attempts at humor, comments made during the recent US Presidential election about President Elect Trump, Vice President Pence, their religious beliefs and their families were an abomination. The very first Psalm speaks to this; Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1: 1 - 6)

Believers are admonished to shun openly wicked people and not run after them no matter how much fun they are to be with or how nice they seem to be at other times. Whether one understands it or not, they are being openly persecuted and ridiculed for their faith by those who hold a deep seated hatred for God and His Christ. Jesus said, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6: 45)

In order to understand why a supposed friend would act so badly one must understand that when a man or woman turns to God and asks Jesus to come into their life as Lord and Savior, their relationships change positionally, they no longer belong to the world, they belong to Christ. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15: 18 - 19)

Sometimes one wonders about shunning such a person, thinking that perhaps they must have some redeeming quality or something can be said to turn them around, in spite of the vile things they say continuously mocking God and rebuking believers. Often times we see seemingly good but worldly people who turn to Christ and are saved, but those who rail against God and His kingdom, have already made their bed with the devil and so “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord.” (James 1: 5 - 8)
This is an admonishment that God expects believers to leave such people completely and not be double minded and wishy-washy about it which only serves to encourage more evil. When one asks in faith, believing without doubt, then God will provide the necessary answers and strength to deal with the problem decisively. One cannot have one foot in the Kingdom of God and the other in the world.

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.” 
(Mathew 5: 10 - 12)

Friday, November 11, 2016

All Authority Comes From God

America has just survived the most acrimonious national election cycle in US history, the will of the people prevailed in spite of horrendously evil commentary from media sources. It is a unique nation, founded on godly principles and the premise of "One nation under God." Throughout the last half century this nation has systematically been rent by ungodly forces, and shredded by those who have wormed their way into high places until there reached a tipping point, teetering on the edge of an abyss from which there would be no return. However Millions of citizens remained awake all night watching the election results to see if their candidate would prevail. My household interceded in prayer to God on behalf of the candidate that millions of others had also prayed for and we retired for the night at a normal hour knowing that all was in God’s hands and His will would be done.

Having done that was a throwback to the lesson learned from (Genesis 18). The Lord set out to levy His righteous judgment against Sodom and Gomorrah because it had become a cesspool of unrepentant evil doers, but Abraham interceded and begged the Lord to save those few good people living there. The Lord honored Abraham’s persistent intercession, Lot and his family were spared just as Noah and his family were spared from the flood earlier. (Genesis 7) In both instances the thoughts and actions of the general population had been given over to continual evil and the Lord’s judgment resulted in their destruction.

Likewise America has been turning away from God, Christians and Jews alike have been suffering abusive comments and actions of ungodly people, many believers have also allowed themselves to be drawn into a worldliness that is most unbecoming. All manner of perversion and licentiousness has prevailed, women murdering their unborn children in their wombs by the tens of thousands and much more perversion that just as in the days of old God has set a day for his judgment on this nation which appears to have begun on September 11, 2001 as the destruction of the World Trade Center twin towers the modern day Ziggurat of Babel and the loss of three thousand lives may be the ominous foretelling of much more to come.

So then God has put it in the heart of a man to lead who will strike down the machinations of those who have served before him. This man is by no means perfect, but has in himself certain qualities to work God’s will as a direct response to the millions of intercessory prayers by this nation’s righteous which He may honor. Here then is the principle at work; “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.” (2 Timothy 2: 1 - 2)

There is another spiritual event that took place according to a noted Rabbi in Israel. When President Elect Trump said that he loves Israel and he vowed to acknowledge Jerusalem as the everlasting capitol of Israel. God immediately blessed him and bestowed the mantle of this nation’s headship upon him in spite of tremendously overwhelming odds against the possibility of his election ever happening, because Israel is the apple of God’s eye and central to His plans.
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” 
(Romans 13: 1)

Even as I write this, those who followed after the opposition candidate, who is the physical embodiment of lawlessness, are rampaging in the streets as would be expected of the children of perdition. Mindlessly destroying the goods and property of others insisting on mob rule over the will of the majority in this Democratic Republic but we should not be surprised, it is a sign of the times. “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” (2 Timothy 3: 1 - 4)

“Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of him who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, or he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.” 
(Romans 13: 2 - 7)

May the people’s hearts turn to God and may He bless America once again!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Attitude Is Everything

How many times has it seemed that it would be fitting to lash out and throttle some seemingly deserving person? I admit to having those feelings at times, but the constraints of the Holy Spirit gives us strength that allows us the option to resist the temptation. Those of us who have called on the name of Jesus Christ and have invited him into our lives as Savior and Lord have also been given certain gifts, one of these gifts is a sense of discernment which comes into play as we live out the following verses and understand how to apply them in terms of the beatitudes or as I prefer to call them the [be attitudes] reflecting how we should react toward others and especially in front of unbelievers. 

(Matthew 5: 38 - 39) “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

So often people assume that being a Christian means they are required to submit to being beaten, pummeled and suffer all manner of mental, verbal and physical abuse because of Christ’s admonition to ‘turn the other cheek’, this is where discernment comes in. First of all we need to consider the word evil in the context used by the Lord. Here he is addressing his apostles when he says; “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13) 
We know that eleven of his twelve apostles were good men according to worldly standards and yet Jesus addressed them as, “You who are evil,” it is because although he loved them and they were righteous in their desire to know God, he had not yet suffered and died for them on the cross and they had not yet confessed him as Lord and Savior, so in God’s eyes they were evil. 

We all know and like many people who are basically good in terms of worldly standards and yet they have never named Jesus as their Lord and Savior. God loves them enough to have sacrificed His only begotten Son on the cross for them but they refuse to acknowledge Him, thus they are evil in God’s sight. Therefore if any one of these who are evil strikes you, it is the will of God and a witness of His power in your life to turn the other cheek. Keep in mind though that every man’s head comes equipped with only two cheeks and God does not intend for us to become doormats and whipping posts for abusive people.

Now there are two other types of evil which we may have to deal with, both are of a malevolent nature. The first one has to do with protecting ourselves or others from an assault by a malevolent person or persons intent on inflicting serious bodily harm or death. We are not expected by God to be victims by turning the other cheek, it is our God given right and His expectation that we will defend ourselves and others.

In the third and most malevolent instance under the worst case scenario when subjected to extreme persecution as Christians, we are to surrender our souls to God and prepare to suffer unspeakable tortures and even die in the defense of our faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ rather than deny the Lord to save ourselves. 

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done. 
(Matthew 16: 24 - 27)  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Special Thanksgiving Season

Now that Fall is upon us Winter is fast approaching with it’s cold winds, rain and snow, the trees have shed their leaves, all the flowers have died, and all have dropped their seed. It is a promise that new life will come forth in time from what is now dead and a reminder that we will again see those who have passed before us. It is a time of reflection, thanksgiving and communion with God as we wonder about the brevity of life. Walking up the steps of the garden path the lantern reminds us; “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”                     (Psalm 119 - 105)

Recalling this past Summer how little Blackcap Chickadees built a nest in the center of a plant basket hanging from the eaves just outside the bedroom window. 

My spouse delighted watching the birds taking turns keeping the tiny eggs warm that the female had laid. Soon there were little mouths to feed and the adults flew back and forth gathering things for the little ones to eat. 

Finally it came time to try their wings as the little birds cascaded out of the nest spreading their wings just in time to land safely. Sadly though, one little bird crashed headlong onto the concrete patio below, his little beak moving as he gasped two or three times, closed his eyes and died. The mother bird returned to have one last look and flew away. We buried the tiny hapless creature and thanked the Lord for him brief as his life was. Pondering what had happened one has to consider the brevity of our own lives and of those loved ones who have passed before us, sometimes in an untimely death, the Lord comforts us with these words; “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? (Matthew 6: 25 - 27)

With these thoughts in mind perhaps this Thanksgiving season will be more meaningful to those who honor the Lord trusting in His lovingkindness toward us as we consider the following…

O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! 
(Psalm 8: 1 - 9)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What In The World Is Wrong With Us?

God gave Moses the law for the Hebrew people to live by at which time Moses reiterates what the leaders of the Hebrew nation had said as they requested that he ask God for rules to live by when they said, “Go near, you yourself, and hear all that the Lord our God will say. Then tell us everything that the Lord our God tells you, and we will listen and do it.”  
Now this is very important, and few people really notice it or pay attention to the significance of verse 27 of Deuteronomy chapter 5 which encapsulates the insufferable and deceitful arrogance of the human heart. Try as they will all human beings have failed to follow those ten laws perfectly. The prophet Jeremiah later puts his finger on it when he said; “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17: 9) 
Practicing Jews bind themselves to the law, whereas it has become the basis for civil law in all the nations of the world today and it is the law of the spirit in the Christian life which is encapsulated in what Jesus said; “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22: 37 - 40)

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.”

Being brought out of the land of Egypt and the house of slavery is clearly a reference not only to physical delivery from slavery and harsh cruelty but to a spiritual delivery from an eternal death, the consequence of sin until Yeshua the Christ came to deliver salvation to mankind. However in spite of that all of humankind continually fails under the law by ignoring the following admonition; “You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God..…”

Unfortunately we have so many other beguiling interests in all the electronic devices, entertainment and toys, cars, boats just to name a few things that take precedence over our daily relationship and communion with God. These then are idols that we have allowed to come before Him, so we fail the very first commandment every day in so many ways without even realizing it. How much time do we give to God each day? Do we even bother to pray and then wonder what is wrong with our lives and why the blessings are so scant or the answers are missing?

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.
How often have we had an outburst of temper and used the Lord’s name in vain, for some it has become a habit of speech that is not only very unbecoming but is a clear indicator of the corrupt matters of one’s own heart. We have all failed to keep this commandment.

Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day.
There was a time when businesses were closed in honor of God’s admonition to make one day holy and abstain from work, everyone dressed up and attended a church or synagogue to honor the Lord either on Saturday or Sunday, for most people these things don’t happen anymore and God is not honored because of it.

Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
How often we have all failed and at times have dishonored our parents.

You shall not murder.
Some translations use the word “Kill” but the original word used was murder as in Cain's vicious murder of his brother Able which was a pre-meditated offensive act, whereas killing can be justifiable before God as a purely defensive act of self defense or in defense of another. But we are all guilty of breaking even this commandment as we are all swept up in the violence and murder produced by the entertainment business, we are complicit in the murder of millions of the unborn children in their mother’s wombs as we acquiesce look away and underwrite this egregious activity.

Neither shall you commit adultery.
We have all cheated in our minds and hearts many times over and we lie to ourselves to say otherwise. Our love of God is also adulterated by everything else that takes precedence over Him, so yes we are all adulterers.

I’ll not even bother to comment on the remaining commandments as we all know that we have all failed to keep them perfectly.

Neither shall you steal. Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor. Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife. Neither shall you desire your neighbor’s house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Deuteronomy 5: 6 - 21) 

But know this, these following verses point out the problem and hold the answers to the conditions which we suffer from and the means of how God will deliver us from it's eternal bondage.

“Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” (James 2:10)

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. (Romans 3:23)
“The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

“Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:38-39)

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” 
(Romans 1:16)

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” 
(Ephesians 2:8-9)


“I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2: 1 - 2)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

War And The People Of The Book

The term “people of the book” refers to Jews and Christians who believe and understand that the Bible is the inspired word of God. Each generation of bible adherents both Jew and Christian has experienced personal attacks against their beliefs and in many cases their persons. Currently unbelievers have been embracing a delusional mindset concerning righteousness wherein good is called evil and that which is evil is called good. 

“But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. (Jude 17 - 19) 

All throughout the Western nations Jews and Christians are coming under violent verbal and physical attacks and are being murdered for their faith by the emissaries of Satan, while national leaders are paying obeisance to the will of Anti-Christ and his Satanically inspired armies and murderous minions.

"And I saw, and behold, a pale horse, and its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him; and they were given power over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine" - (Revelation 6: 8)

Politicians that mistakingly assume they can placate this insidious threat by soft peddling their responses are delusional and their beliefs are suicidal and a direct result of their own humanistic godlessness and misunderstanding of the machinations and dynamics at play in the world today. Because of that the economies of these formerly great nations are failing, infrastructure collapsing, the quality of life waning with much less abundance than in former times. All this is attributable to a direct affront to the will of God. Women clamoring for the legal right to murder their unborn children, men wanting to become women and women wanting to become men, corporate greed and avarice abounding, hatred and loathing of others without cause, every man’s hand on his neighbor’s throat over petty arguments. The nations are about to be judged but it may still be possible to turn God’s judgment away by doing three things; turn from all unrighteousness, call on God, elect upright leaders willing to acknowledge the truth and deal with the problems at hand and deal harshly with the nation’s enemies. 

God said: “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.” 
(2 Chronicles 7: 13 - 15)

It is the will of God that we turn to Him and humbly pray in behalf of the nation and it’s leaders. Also in his admonition to Christians the apostle Paul offers advice concerning what each of our attitudes should be while facing the onset of possibly great adversity in these times: 

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6: 10 - 18)

God has prepared beforehand a final plan for the enemies of Christ who refuse to acknowledge the truth and continue in their evil ways.

For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven other persons, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomor′rah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example to those who were to be ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the wicked (for by what that righteous man saw and heard as he lived among them, he was vexed in his righteous soul day after day with their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment. 2 Peter 2: 4 - 9)