Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #1

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #1
Description
Seed of a woman (virgin birth)
Old Testament Prophecy
 Genesis 3:15
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
New Testament Fullfillment
Gal 4:4-5
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,

to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
 Matt 1:18
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 from the Holy Spirit.

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration. Find link below.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

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Christian Security

Conditional Security – Hebrews 4:13

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

Hebrews 4:13

13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

While working in a book study a few months back, I found that Paul/Apollos/Barnabas – whoever wrote that book, was dead serious about the condition the Hebrews found themselves in.

Is it Desirable to be “Naked and Opened”?

I had been looking at the words in 4:13 and stumbled across the phrase “naked and opened…”. The word “naked” held no surprise, but “opened” revealed the authors seriousness.

You see, it seems that the word “opened” is the word trachēlizō (Strong’s 5136) (I think the medical term for throat is trachea).

Thayer’s definition is below

1) to seize and twist the neck or throat
1a) of combatants who handle thus their antagonist
2) to bend back the neck of a victim to be slain, to lay bare or expose by bending back
3) to lay bare, uncover, expose
4) laid bare, laid open, made manifest to one

Keep me from being “Opened”

I find it amazing that in the verse previous to this “exposing of the neck”, the author uses a picture of the Word of God as being a SWORD! Consider the 2nd definition under Thayer’s, and the possible implications. Since this book was written just before the Roman’s came to “visit” Jerusalem, the verse seems to hold a completely different meaning to me now.

Of course this understanding only intensifies the original impression of a threat, but now it also brings to mind a visual that is hard to forget.

Oh to be rescued from being a “stiff-necked people!”

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Devotional · hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 20

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Occasionally we will be reading through the Psalms and a passage will open up a wee bit for us. This happened last night as we were slowly reading through this psalm of prayer. Lets take a moment to read Psalm 20

Psalm 20

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion!
May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah
May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!
May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!
Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.
O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call.

David recorded the prayers of the congregation for the King, asking that David’s prayers be answered, and all his petitions be fulfilled. The congregation capped of their initial requests to God with an overarching request to God that all of David’s petitions be granted by the Lord

May the Lord fulfill all your petitions

What jarred us last light was the term “anointed” in verse 6. In David’s time, history tells us that the Lord rescued him in the day of battle. David was triumphal in his battles, not only saving David from defeat, but providing great victory. The anointed King David’s petitions were fulfilled.

Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;

But as we considered this verse, it occurred to me that anointed is the same term as Christ.

As the Savior read the Scriptures, pondering on them, how would he initially relate to verse 6, reading that the LORD saves His anointed. When did He understand that the salvation David experienced would not be the same as the salvation He would experience?

It becomes obvious as we read through the gospels, that the salvation Jesus would experience was the salvation of the resurrected life, that He would have to enter the battlefield of sufferings and death to gain the victory.

He entered a battle field all alone, eventually being abandoned by the Father. All appearances of victory were demolished, and certain defeat was apparent. His suffering appeared to be for naught, the death of an itinerant rabbi that had simply crossed the lines of a jealous leadership.

Place yourself at the foot of the cross. Your hope in the Master completely crushed. Your shock at such a hateful mob, cursing the One who just days earlier was being praised by the crowds. The horror of the sight, of the One whom you had spent three years with, learning from and coming to love, being exposed shamefully for all to gape at. The teasing and the taunting, the fear of association with this movement.

And the disappointment. How could God save Him? He was doomed to an ugly death.

And yet on this side of the cross, we know of the result. He is victorious.

He is Jesus, for His very name means “The Lord is Salvation”.

Trust Him in the darkness, for He is ever faithful. Hang onto the promise, for He will supply a salvation that is greater than you expect.

But know that the darkness is very real.

Trust Him.


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Bible · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Introduction

Bible Scroll

Recently I have considered the faith we have in the Messiah, and how some may call it “blind faith” or that we have “faith in faith”, or that “it doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you have faith in something”.

What rot!

Our faith is a faith based in fact. Historical occurrences, where God has not done His work “in a corner” (Acts 26:26).

When I first believed, I received a book that spoke of the prophecies of the Old Testament and the fulfillment of these prophecies in the person of Christ. My faith was repositioning itself from a fear/feeling faith to a friendship/fact faith. (alliteration is somewhat difficult!)

Nevertheless, the prophecies of the Christ (as all of the Word) are provided to us so that we may have encouragement and endurance for the race ahead.

Romans 15:4

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

With this introduction, I would like to offer a document providing over 350 prophecies found in the Old Testament, that the New Testament claims has found fulfillment in the Lord Jesus.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us.


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Jesus · Love

Love Like Jesus – Believing all Things


lovelikejesus_157x157

Lately, I have been exclusively in the Apostle John’s writings, in my personal readings, my blog writing, and my time with my wife.

John reiterates one theme, over and over again in my opinion, and that is that we are to love one another, to love like Jesus, to love.

It is refreshing to be reminded of the core mission of believers.

Love like Jesus.

Believing all Things

Love is the goal of all of Christian life.  Love that is displayed in the life of Jesus.  The life and death of Jesus.  This love is described in 1 Corinthians 13.  Let’s consider

Love believes all things

It has been years since a brother once instructed me to replace the term “love” with “Jesus” to get a better understanding of who He is.  

Jesus believes all things

1 Cor 13 - 4100 believe

Whenever I read this verse, I think – this is so impractical. No one can believe all things. All things are contradictory.

Johnny says the sky is blue and I believe him. Franky says the sky in not blue. I believe him too?

This contradictory belief of all things cannot be what Paul is writing to us about. This is just foolishness Carl.

Okay so smarty-pants, what is Paul talking about?

How bout this – how bout being gullible over everything we are told of? Did you know about this investment opportunity I have? Send me 50 bucks and I will send you the secret.

Okay – that is obviously not what Paul is getting at.

Some folks teach that Paul is teaching the Corinthians that they are to believe all things written in the Scripture. That is a truth that I support. I just don’t see it in this particular passage. There are many passages that teach of that, yet this verse seems to be speaking of something a wee bit different in my opinion

I like what Vine says in his collected writings – This verse “does not mean that it accepts as true all that is stated. Love is never taken in thus. It is, however, ready to impute the best motives even to one whose act is unkind or detrimental. In bearing with evil conduct, it seeks to avoid undue suspicion. Where there is any element of doubt as to the real intention, love decides to regard it as good and honest.”

This love that believe all things is a matter of trusting your brother, believing he has good intents, of thinking your teen age son will do the right thing and telling him so. “Believes all things” when it comes to fallen people is risky, yet love believes in them, in their good intents.

And when they disappoint, or break trust, we are to believe all things. This gets dicey, since a man that lies to me and asks for forgiveness 490 times is to be forgiven. At the 423rd time of requesting forgiveness, it is sheer gullibility on my part that I believe he is still coming to me with sincerity?

Oh Lord – what wisdom we lack. What discernment we need in the exercise of true Christian love.

Jesus replacing Love

So is my brother’s suggestion of replacing the term love with Jesus accurate and helpful?

Is the phrase ” Jesus believes all things” an accurate phrase, a truthful phrase?

How could He believe all things, in the way we considered above? He knows what is in man.

John 2:24-25

But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people

and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

But notice that this passage speaks of knowledge. It is true, He knows what is in man. The evil heart, the greed, the lies, the murder and envy. He knows. And yet He accepts us in our brokenness and failings. He seeks out those who lash out at Him.

Yes – He believes all things. He regards our mixed motivation with a positive response. He accepts us in our brokenness and our self delusions.

Please join me in our next study where we will consider our hope and its relationship to true Biblical love.

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Devotional · hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 19

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

It seems that every Psalm I come across is too full. Too full to address sufficiently in the arena of the blogosphere.

This particular Psalm is again an experiential psalm, a psalm to reflect Davids reviving’s, joys, desires, warnings and rewards. A Psalm that is to be shared with one another in our experiential relation with the God of the Universe and His Word.

Psalm 19

1 – To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 – Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 – There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.
4 – Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5 – which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
6 – Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7 – The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
8 – the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 – the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
10 – More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 – Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
12 – Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 – Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
14 – Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

His Word. The psalm describes His Word as

  • The Law of the LORD
  • The Testimony of the LORD
  • The Precepts of the LORD
  • The Commandments of the LORD
  • The Fear of the LORD
  • The Rules of the LORD

Four of these descriptors of the Word has its resultant effect on the trusting believer. The last two are statements of fact, referring to the eternality, truthfulness and righteousness of the Word. Of Jesus.

He is the Word

He is the Law, Testimony, Precept, Commandment, Fear and Rule of the LORD, that we are to look to. He is the Eternal, Righteous Truth.

Let’s consider one of these phrases – that is

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.

But David – don’t we know that the law brings wrath?

Romans 4:15

For the law brings wrath…

David saw behind the rules and into the spirit of the law. The truth of the law is evident, and to those without faith, the law does brings wrath and condemnation.

Yet as a believer, the law of God, fully realized and expressed in the life of the Son of God, is the source and end of all life and blessing for the believer. He truly revives the soul, continually feeds the soul, directs the soul, guides the soul, loves the soul.

Need I go on?

To those who know the Messiah, I am “singing to the choir”. To those who do not know Him, wrath is the only thing the law brings, and it is evident that no-one wants to face judgement.

My friend – You may run from the Law, but it is eternal (and you are not!) Running will simply avoid the inevitable.

Unless – you change your mind about sin & rebellion against the God of the Bible (repent of your sin) and accept that the God of the Bible is the source of all truth, that He is a loving and gracious God who sacrifices Himself for His enemies (Trust/Believe in Him).

Follow His ways, for He is good.

Yes, He revives the soul. Without Him, there is no life. With Him, life, peace and joy.


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Devotional · hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 18

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 18 is a wonderful Psalm and David praises the Lord through out the Psalm, speaking of the deliverance afforded him by God.

There are a few verses that are special to me that I would like to bring to your attention.

Psalm 18

2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

In David’s deliverance, he cannot stop in his ascribing different aspects of the Lord’s provision to his life.

Rock, Fortress, Deliverer, God, Rock (again), Shield, Horn of my Salvation, Stronghold.

Each of these descriptors are possessions of the author. God is described as David’s God, David’s rock.

This is not a psalm where the nation is addressed, where the bulk of humanity is spoken of in relation to God. This is a personal, intimate experience we are entering into with David as he writes of his relation to God.

But as you might expect, this is also a view of the more intimate relationship between the Messiah and His Father. David’s relationship, though real and far superior to many during his time, pales in relation to the Messiah’s.

Psalm 18

3 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

4 The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me;

5 the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.

Both David and Jesus experienced this salvation from enemies, but as we know the enemies are somewhat different. David was saved from death, whereas Jesus was saved through death. His victory was over death, not from death. Lightyears different, yet the Psalm expresses praise for the God who saves.

Psalm 18

6 In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.

Both David and Jesus cried out to God. Both David and Jesus had their prayers heard, yet the greater Son had the faith to enter death to receive His answer. What faith, and trust in the Father, in the midst of such contradiction and confusion.

Psalm 18

30 This God–his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

After the deliverance is granted, and the struggle is complete, the Psalmist concludes, at least at the interim in the Psalm, that His way is perfect. This term is often translated as “without blemish”, or “entire”, “without spot” or “in accord with truth”.

This is a verse I ruminate on often, trusting that in all the struggles we go through, there is purpose and reason and that as we seek to serve Him, He is performing His good work in us. Paul may have been thinking of this verse, or at least the concept, when he penned the following.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Take refuge in Him.

His way is perfect.


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Christian Security · Conditional Security · Doctrinal · Interpretation · OSAS

Conditional Security – 2 John 1:9

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

This passage, in relation to conditional security is apparent when we realize the apostle is writing to believers, as is obvious in the opening verses, where he rejoices that some (vs 4) are walking according to truth, (implying some of the children are not walking in truth).  He goes on to speak of deceivers going out into the world, a separate group from the church it seems. (vs 7).

His warning to the believers are to watch, to hang on to the truth, do not lose what you have gained, but to win a full reward.

Then John writes vs 9, where he speaks of one who goes ahead of the true teaching, not abiding in the teaching that has both the Father and the Son. 

2 John 1:9

9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

The deceivers were against Christ, speaking of Him as only a man, or only as God, not the God-man.  (I understand two forms of Gnosticism were rising in the church at the time, either restricting the humanity of the Messiah, or the Deity of the Messiah.  

That bit of information was a freeby, since the issue in this post is the responsibility of the believer to maintain the true teaching of the Word, in relation to the Son of God.  

It seems John was giving the church a choice.  You can abandon the teaching of Christ, and not retain God, or you can abide in the truth and have both the Father and the Son.  

I can’t see how John would be addressing two different parties (lost and saved) in the same phrase, unless I was committed to a teaching that didn’t allow this consideration.

Your thoughts?

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Devotional · hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 17

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book. Let’s take a few minutes in Psalm 17

Psalm 17:1-15

1 – A Prayer of David. Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
2 – From your presence let my vindication come! Let your eyes behold the right!
3 – You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me, and you will find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
4 – With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent.
5 – My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped.
6 – I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words.
7 – Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.
8 – Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,
9 – from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me.
10 – They close their hearts to pity; with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
11 – They have now surrounded our steps; they set their eyes to cast us to the ground.
12 – He is like a lion eager to tear, as a young lion lurking in ambush.
13 – Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,
14 – from men by your hand, O LORD, from men of the world whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants.
15 – As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.

It is truly amazing that David could say the things he did, but for the fact that he was prophesizing of the Messiah. Consider verses 3- 5, where he declares his life as blameless and righteous, his heart clean, his speech without transgression and his actions pure.

Verses 7-9 speak of David’s (and even more so, the Messiah’s) confidence in answered prayer, and the protection for the One who is the apple of God’s eye.

10-12 speaks of the authors enemies and their hardened hearts, arrogant speech, evil walk and jealous vision. So unlike the King.

13-14 is the request for defense against the enemies, of deliverance from his enemies. David received deliverance physically. Not so with the Messiah, and yet both could claim the same promise of verse 15.

Satisfaction.

In this world of advertising and one-upmanship, I wonder if we, as believers understand the concept of satisfaction. Of true contentment.

I think the Rolling Stones stated a general truth when they sing about satisfaction, and the elusiveness of it. Of course I don’t refer to the Stones for truth, for that is some shaky ground, but a broken clock is correct twice a day!

So it is with the general message of this song. While we are on this earthen ball, satisfaction is an elusive friend, and the world system does all in her power to keep us unsatisfied.

But for one secret.

Verse 15, this verse describes the ultimate victory of the Messiah (in the midst of a seeming contradiction of verses 8 and 9,) this verse speaks of satisfaction, but after death.

My question to the reader – Is there satisfaction for the Christian in this life? Is there any promise on this side of the grave for the Christian to be truly satisfied?

I’m not speaking of that satisfaction when I get what I want, or when my needs are relieved, or when the satisfaction depends on my circumstances, environment or feelings. No that is not what I’m trying to get at.

Satisfaction that is not dependent on me, that is not a result of my actions or work, or effort, or lifestyle, or purchases, or….

Consider my question, and let me know your thoughts, or better yet, your experience in any struggle for satisfaction.

Your thoughts and comments are always appreciated.


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Calvinism · Doctrinal · Interpretation

Calvin’s Concerns – Romans 9 Summary

A few weeks back, I published the first of a series of posts offering 60 second video discussions on alternatives to the popular Calvinistic teaching in our churches these days.

The videos were provided by Dr. Leighton Flowers, and addressed a number of topics that related to Calvinism and it’s resultant effects on the believer.

Since then I have provided a few additional videos describing different aspects of a provisionalist perspective on the Scriptures.

When some of my brothers review the content of the videos, more often than not, Romans 9 is referred to as a slam dunk refutation of this teaching.

The following video supply’s a very good summary of Romans 9 and is offered to you for your consideration.


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Proverbs · Wisdom

Proverbial Thoughts on Humility

Thoughts on the topic of humility from the book of wisdom.

In the midst of the daily grind, when all the voices are yelling at you about asserting yourself and taking control and being confident, the message sometimes becomes garbled. To be confident is definitely not an attribute that is to be rejected, but that the confidence needs to be in the right place.

God is our strength, and as the day starts, I look to Him for strength. I have a certain area I like to walk prior to going into the office, that is my place to ask for help during the day.

You see, I have begun a new chapter in my career, and to be honest, it scares the heck out of me. New responsibilities, new relationships, new levels of ignorance (on my part) that seem to overwhelm me.

Why am I speaking thus?

I am speaking this way, since 83.4% of my struggles are in relation to my pride in the work place. I fear failure, to the point of paralysis, and because of that my thoughts are clouded and my interactions with others are not as fruitful as possible.

Then along comes the book of Proverbs, with multitudinous volumes of instruction on proper living. The instruction that has helped me most in the past few months is the instruction on humility, and I have found that my confidence is rising as I admit my weakness, my ignorance and my inability to God first, but also to those around me .

Check out a few verses with me.

Humility

3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

What is pride if it doesn’t include the self wisdom we dabble in, the ability we have to figger things out. Don’t be self wise, but fear the Lord, and in that fearing, you and I will naturally pull away from evil

3:34 Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.

Oh to find grace in the eyes of the Lord, to experience grace on a daily occurrence. If you are currently not experiencing grace in your life, if life is difficult and seems to contain sandpaper pillows, consider the pride factor in your life. Grace is the environment a lowly person inhabits. A lowly person seeks not to require their own way, or to argue just for the sake of winning. No no no. A lowly person will state truth, stand on the truth, but arguing over the truth doesn’t seem to be in the lowly persons toolbox of life skills.

Quick question. When do we find Jesus arguing with His disciples or the Sanhedrin or the Pharisees or the ….. He stated truth, laid it out, made His claim and left it for all to receive or reject.

11:2 When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.

How ofter has wisdom come up in the past few posts. It seems to be a common refrain in my thought, that is my severe lack of wisdom in my daily life. Carl – consider attitudes of pride in your life, for where pride cometh…..

A few more verses for your reading pleasure. Consider the wisdom and grace of a humble life. So many benefits and such a proper position to be in when we consider our Maker. Would you not agree?

16:19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

18:12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.

20:6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?

22:4 By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.

25:27 It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.

27:2 Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.

29:23 A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

 


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Jesus · Love

Love Like Jesus – Bearing all Things


lovelikejesus_157x157

Lately, I have been exclusively in the Apostle John’s writings, in my personal readings, my blog writing, and my time with my wife.

John reiterates one theme, over and over again in my opinion, and that is that we are to love one another, to love like Jesus, to love.

It is refreshing to be reminded of the core mission of believers.

Love like Jesus.

Bearing all Things

Love is the goal of all of Christian life.  Love that is displayed in the life of Jesus.  The life and death of Jesus.  This love is described in 1 Corinthians 13.  Let’s consider

Love bears all things

It has been years since a brother once instructed me to replace the term “love” with “Jesus” to get a better understanding of who He is.  

Jesus bears all things

1 Cor 13 - 4722 Beareth

Here in the next four statements, Paul supplies general truth about love. He will summarize all of his teaching after these general truths about love.

To bear, in the Greek, is synonymous with suffering. Suffering for another, bearing the pain and carrying the load of another. Love protects the one suffering. It is interesting that this term had a connotation of protection by placing a roof over the one who is vulnerable. It also speaks of suffering silently, patiently, possibly directing this teaching to those in the Corinthian church who were seeking flashy, self aggrandizement. It is so good that the modern church has shed its reputation of this problem!

Love suffers silently. Love protects the weak and vulnerable.

When I was a itty bitty boy living in Canada, during the winter, our family would huddle around the TV to watch Hockey Night in Canada. It was almost ritualistic. Each of us boys had our favorite team. For me, it was the New York Rangers. They never won a Stanley Cup, barely made it to the semi-finals, but I tended to the underdog. For some reason, the weak appealed to me. (Forgive me Brad Park!)

Then, on June 14th, 1994, after 54 years of being without a Cup, the Ranger won! (They simply bought the Edmonton Oilers to do it!) Nevertheless, it was the last hockey game I ever watched. They didn’t need any attention. They were champions.

Do you root for champions in the church, in the workplace, in your family relations? We are to rejoice with those who are rejoicing, but we sometimes forget that we are to simply love the unlovely. Help the ones who are not visible. The weak and vulnerable are the ones we can exercise our love with.

Of course, if we seek the weak simply to love them (and to get a notch in our belt), we completely miss the point. Remember, the term speaks of suffering silently with the weak.

1 Corinthians 9:12

If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.

Paul is speaking of enduring/bearing anything rather than placing an obstacle in the way of the gospel. This is such an high calling, and Paul so often exemplified this attitude. He was so faithful.

1 Thessalonians 3:1, 5

Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone…

For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.

Golly Paul, this love thing is tuff. Love bears all things and yet under the mounting pressure you experienced in Athens, you admit you could not bear “it”.

But wait Carl – don’t be so quick to judge. The bearing in 1 Corinthians 13:6 speaks of bearing all things. In this passage, Paul is speaking of his desire to be with the church in Thessalonica, but that Satan hindered him over and over again. This is what he could not bear. The frustration of Satan’s hindering, the longing to see his brethren. Paul exposes his weakness to the church, his desire to be with them.

Love bears all things, yet when a giving heart is not able to love, it can become unbearable.

Jesus replacing Love

So is my brother’s suggestion of replacing the term love with Jesus accurate and helpful?

On the cross, Jesus suffered. It is well known that Jesus uttered seven sayings from the cross, and the sum total time to express these thoughts are under a minute. As far as we know, the remining time on the tree, He suffered silently, willfully hanging in shame and extreme pain, suffering unjustly, in order to protect the vulnerable, the weak and destitute, the one who is writing these words. The one who is reading this post.

He bore all things for our redemption and rescue, for our protection and provision. Give thanks brothers, for He is good.

Please join me in our next study where we will consider the next “all things” phrase. You won’t believe the topic!

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Christian Security · Conditional Security · Doctrinal · Interpretation · OSAS

Conditional Security – Joshua 1:9

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

Joshua 1:9

9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Sunday school class was very good this weekend.  We started in the book of Joshua and reviewed the portion of Scripture above.  During our discussion, a lady made mention that verse 9 is a great promise that should give us courage.  I honestly tried to be quiet but I just couldn’t. So I broke my silence – something that happens too often I fear!

Is not the command “Be strong and of good courage” first in the passage?  Is not the last phrase – “for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” a result of obedience to the command to be strong and courageous?  Is not the context of the entire passage an exhortation to be courageous?  I suggested that if Joshua did not obey, God would not be with him.  That this verse actually contains a conditional promise.  I also reminded some that this is somewhat similar to Jeremiah’s situation in the first chapter of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 1 :17

Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.

Jeremiah was being warned – obey or be confounded (confused) in front of the enemy.

We chatted for a few minutes and one believer noticed that there was no “if” in Joshua 1:9, therefore it could not be conditional.  I admitted that that was an argument for their position and was willing to consider it.  A bit more chatting, but I became distracted by the passage again.  I always assumed the verse said …. for the LORD thy God  “WILL BLESS” thee whithersoever thou goest, – but it doesn’t strictly say that.  Just that God would be with Joshua/Israel.  I think that is possibly a different scenario.

Consider Joshua being afraid instead of being strong and courageous. God would not be with him. Not a comfortable situation!

I’m thinking the conditional/unconditional issue isn’t the central issue.  God promised to be with Joshua, and the command was to be strong and courageous.

Live with it!

The choice is ours and He will be with us!


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Devotional

Let Me Tell You a Story – A Proper Response

let-me-tell-you-a-story.jpg

Wisdom.  Oh how I lack it.

Recently, I was in conversation with a brother and found that I had offended him.  I was astonished at the claims he made, and found I was completely taken aback by the pain that he expressed.

I sat and listened to the pain he was experiencing, of the anger and frustration he was going through.  He is a dear friend and I love him, but I heard him say that I had failed him, that I was not the believer I should have been.  

Immediately, I wanted to rear my defenses and fight back, and yet this is not the Christian life. 

Romans 15:1-3

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”

Did I commit some (or all) of the offences my brother was speaking of.  Yes, I may have, although I can frankly state that his perception of my actions are not in line with my intentions.  I will not defend myself any further, for that is fruitless. (This type of event seems to recur in my life, and I am such a slow learner – check out my “Story Time” portion of Commandments for Christians – No Murder)

The issue I would like to consider is the proper response to a brother coming to you, speaking of an offense of yours.  What is the Christian way to address this?

Romans speaks of not pleasing ourselves, but of pleasing our neighbor.

It is an interesting word, that is, to please

It is as it is translated – that is to please or to strive to please, to accommodate one’s self to the opinions desires and interests of others.

Of course in the midst of this definition, we need to remember the larger biblical context of obedience to the Master for us in receiving the offence, but also of responding to direct the brother or sister onto greater devotion to the Lord.  We cannot simply allow them to reside in bitterness or anger, but we need to direct them to the Lord Himself.

If they are speaking out of a heart of pain, and have forgotten the mercies of the Lord, our focus is to listen, and direct them to the One who is good.  Repentance of sin and a spirit of forgiveness needs to be expressed.

And this is the rub, where wisdom is needed!  In the midst of an often emotional discussion, truth needs to be discerned, and I struggle in this very act.  I want to defend myself and spend my energy either defending myself or attacking the claims being made.  I need to listen for the Spirit’s direction, for passages of Scripture that come to mind during the discussion, determine the appropriateness of the passage, and gently direct the conversation to the Lord.

Gently direct the conversation to the Lord.

Wisdom. Patience. Love. Humility.

All I know is that I am poverty stricken in these qualities, the very characteristics of the Messiah.  He is the One to look to. 

Help me in my dealings with those you love.


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New Testament · Parables · Simple Truths

Parable Surprises – Growing Seed

The Growing Seed is a short parable, and straight to the point! It is only found in the gospel of Mark, and it is, like our previous parable, concerning growth.

Mark is a gospel that is efficient. quick and nimble in the way truth is provided. I remember like it was yesterday, when I found out the most frequent word in the gospel of Mark was not Jesus, nor God, but “immediately”

It is as if Mark is on a mission to get the news out. Everything seems to have a time dependency in his gospel, and of course this parable is in no way lacking when it comes to the time factor. But alas, let us read it for ourselves prior to my entering into the story

Mark 4:26-29

26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

This is likely the same crowd that heard the parable of the sower. Matthew 13 was a busy day of pouring truth out to the crowds through the medium of parables. Many in the crowds were receiving teaching that would challenge men and women for millennium, and that for past saints, had been precious truth they based their lives on. But for the most part, the audience were deaf to the message being provided on this day.

When did the Lord give this parable?

Check out my previous post.

Where did the Lord teach the parable?

Check out my previous post.

Why did the Lord give this message?

During the previous teaching, one element seems to be a recurring thought. The mystery of the Kingdom, especially in the way of growth, and fruitfulness.

Sprouting seeds in the earth is a mysterious action. We don’t see it, or pay any attention to the process, unless you study botany, but that is not the usual setting for those in His audience! Jesus admits to this ignorance on the part of the audience in vs 27, where He states “he knows not how” The process of seeds sprouting and developing into a full plant, able to produce seeds for food (and the next generation) is mysterious to those in His audience. To be fair, although modern man has much knowledge of the process of a seed sprouting, the understanding of the process has much to be desired.

Nevertheless, the Lord’s purpose in providing this short parable seems to point to the mystery and culmination of the Kingdom. And that somewhat startles me, since the Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, am I correct in stating this parable speaks of it’s culmination?

I think I may be getting ahead of myself, for that questions may be better responded to under the next heading

What was the message for the original audience?

The message for the original audience seems to be simple – the kingdom is like any other growing season. There are a number of elements brought out in this teaching that are worth considering

Time

As mentioned above, time is a critical factor in Marks telling of the good news. This parable does not disappoint in that regard. Jesus adds the description of sleeping, and rising day and night, describing a somewhat anxious farmer. The farmer may be anxious, but the earth is not. The earth, by it’s own ability, produces the growth, and that growth is very orderly, methodical and direct.

Responsibility

The Lord minimizes the farmers role, other than in the initial spreading of the seed, and the harvesting at the end. In the middle, the process is wholly dependent upon the earth. The earth produces by itself.

It is the earth that is responsible for the growth of the grain. The earth is the provider of the energy and sustenance providing growth to the seed.

The Lord is introducing to this audience a truth that has been expressed throughout the ages, and that is that growth comes from God, the uncaused cause, the eternal One who alone is life. He is the giver of life, as Jesus describes “the earth” in this parable.

Purpose

The purpose of a farmer, in spreading his seeds, is not to feed the birds! (My apologies to all those ornithologist’s out there!) The purpose of the farmer in spreading his seed is to produce enough seeds to supply grain for his family, crop to harvest for his income and to store enough seeds for the next year.

The purpose is clearly defined in this parable, where the harvest is described. All in the audience were either farmers or had intimate knowledge of the agricultural life.

Note that the harvest in initiated when the grain is mature. The grain, to be harvested, to meet its intended purpose, needs to be mature, fully grown and in it’s adult stage. At that point the farmer has use of the plant. Until then, the farmer would not think of laying a sickle to the plant, for he would lose all potential for any food or profit.

Maturity is a goal. And the reward of the grain upon reaching this goal is it’s death.

What is the message for us today?

What is the message for today? I can’t help but think that the message we need to consider is two fold.

Maturity

That last phrase is getting “stuck in my craw”, as my momma used to say. “When the grain is ripe…”

The purpose of the grain was found in it’s harvesting. The only indication that harvesting was the correct phase to enter into was the ripeness of the grain, it’s maturity.

Notice, that although the gospel of Mark considers time to be a factor in his telling of the story, this parable does not define the time taken for the grain to ripen. It does refer to time in relation to the farmer, in his anxiousness, but not in relation to the grain itself!! This may not be the focus of the parable, but I can’t help but think that the earth, in this parable, does not worry. The earth provides and produces, it does not fret or worry, for it (the earth) is more than sufficient to meet its responsibilities. (BTW, consider the parallels between the earth in this parable and God the Father in your life!)

Purpose

The purpose of the seed being strewn into the field is the growth and multiplication of the same seed.

Is the Spirit of God being replicated in your life, and extending to others, actually multiplying its effects and influence on those around you?

Remember – the farmer went to harvest when the seed had been duplicated many times over. Consider.



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Devotional · hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 16

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 16 – A psalm full of amazing truth. I can only promise that I will fail at even scratching the surface of this Psalm, but let us not keep from reading this psalm simply because it has so much to absorb.

Psalm 16:1-10

A Miktam of David. Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.
The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Peter preaches the resurrection, giving Old Testament sourcing of Psalm 16 in his reference to the grave. I understand the Jewish rabbinic literature, written prior to the appearance of our Lord on the earth, also stated this Psalm to be Messianic.

There is so much in this Psalm, yet the reference to “the lines have fallen” grabs my attention in this reading.

During the establishment of the newly formed nation of Israel, upon entering the land of their inheritance, each tribe was assigned a portion of the land by way of “lots”. David is referring to this historical event and applying it to his life. He has indeed a beautiful inheritance, a wonderful situation, in which the Lord took a poor shepherd boy and exalted him to be Israel’s greatest earthly King.

Yet, this psalm is Messianic. It is a picture of the Christ and of His Passion, His life and death, and resurrection.

Let’s pull back and get a 30,000′ foot view of the psalm. Take a moment to read the Psalm once more.

Would you not consider the author to be expressing great joy, confidence and trust in the Lord? His general attitude of this psalm is of victory. Such victory that this psalm includes victory over the greatest enemy, death and the passage through it unto life.

Back to my focus verse. The lines have fallen (for the Messiah) in a pleasant place.

How can that be said?

Pain and terror await the Messiah on the cross, and during His ministry, He was rejected by the very people He came to save. His few disciples didn’t get the message, and He is described as a Man of sorrows, One who was acquainted with grief.

The psalm itself holds the key, for in Psalm 16, the psalmist directs us to the Messiah’s ability to enter each trial and challenge with joy.

Consider the Psalmists inner life.

vs 5 – The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot

vs 7 – I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;

vs 8 – I have set the LORD always before me;

On a personal note, I have often fallen into the miry slough of self pity and self examination, which drives me into comparisons with others and finally a deep sadness of experience. As I look back on my travels with the Lord, I find I looked to myself for strength, for knowledge and for joy. My accomplishments would provide me my worth, and my holiness would show my devotion.

This is folly. My only strength, wisdom and love is to focus on the One who claimed me so long ago, that suffered the cross, looking to the joy that was ahead. He is to be the focus of my affection, the One whom I bless, and the One whom I need to keep before me, in front of me.

As I look to Him, verse 9 becomes real in my life, a fruit of the Spirit.

 Psalm 16:9

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.

Brother / sister – where is the Lord Jesus? Is He ever before you?


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Christian Security · Conditional Security · Doctrinal · Interpretation · OSAS

Conditional Security – 2 Corinthians 1:24

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

It has been months since I have touched this subject and have numerous verses to offer my dear readers to consider in relation to the topic at hand.

Of course, I am not putting forward that thought that we can loose our confidence by a single sin, or even a prolonged backsliding (to a point), but there seems to be a preponderance of verses in the Word that provides the possibility of the believer walking away from the faith, and that this action has eternal consequences.

The verse under consideration today is 2 Corinthians 1:24

2 Corinthians 1:24

24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.

Golly Carl, this very verse speak of our security in the Lord Jesus! Yes. That security is in the Lord Jesus, yet Paul does not say … “you stand firm in your Savior”, but you stand firm in your faith.

That faith which is yours.

My concern is for those who throw away their faith, their confidence in the Savior, the slow and imperceptible drifting away that is so common amongst the pulls and temptations of our modern life. (Consider Hebrews 2)

I will readily admit my fire is not burning hot as it was when I first believed, and with that I confess my weakness. Of course, I consider some of this diminishing of fire to be necessary in order for wisdom, understanding and patience to take hold of my life. That is an aspect of maturity and growth.

Yet I wonder…

The truth of the matter is that the lure of this materialistic life is a great danger and I fear that my faith may shrink at times.

My Savior is great and He is the One who rescues me, and yet I need to accept the responsibility of this relationship He has invited me into.

Consider your faith.

Are you standing, or drifting away?


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Devotional · hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 15

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

We have come to a psalm that I avoided for years and now look to it for encouragement, for a challenge and for a check on my spirit. Lets read this awesome psalm

Psalm 15:1-5

A Psalm of David. O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

As many of you who have followed this blog may remember, I spent an extended period of time in a teaching that minimized the Old Testament, and the Ten Commandments. Oh, of course it would reach into the OT for a verse here or there to support its teaching (or was it me that wanted to avoid the Law of God?)

Nevertheless, once the Lord opened my eyes to some of the contradictions I was allowing my self to believe, I avoided the Decalogue and therefore the tremendous dependency of the OT on His law. How foolish. (Consider the influence the commandments have on the NT – check out my series of posts Commandments for Christians – Introduction and Jesus on the Sabbath – Introduction)

Psalm 15 is a stellar example of how the law of God is the heartbeat of the believer. David got the New Testament life if you ask me!

A couple of points that occur to me as I sit and ruminate on this precious psalm.

To Walk Blamelessly.

I am thankful that the term is not “sinlessly”, for I know I am unable to maintain a sinless life. But when I sin, (and who doesn’t?) I am responsible for making amends, correcting the error if possible, and communicating with any offended or hurt brother of my repentance and request for forgiveness.

Speaks Truth in his Heart

Do we sometimes seek to speak the truth, or at least to avoid lying, in order to “woodenly” obey the 9th commandment. One looking to the commandments can seek to “do the minimum” or do as this man of God desires, and that is to speak the truth “in his heart”, where no one but God can see. To speak the truth in our heart is a safeguard against deceiving ourselves, a very dangerous condition per many New Testament admonitions. But again, David was describing his positive pursuit of truth, even in his own heart, where lies have no competition in the race for capturing the man’s life. He is not simply doing the minimum, but seeing the depth of the commandment, the all encompassing effect it is intended to have on the follower.

Speaking truth in his heart. A challenge and a blessing for the believer, but alas, we need to know the truth, the absolute truth found in the Word of God, and more tentatively, that subjective truth that each of us experience with our relationship with the Lord Himself. And this is where love comes in, for we must not slander another believers subjective experience, but I am getting ahead of myself!

Does not Slander with his Tongue

How often have I slandered a brother whose experience is different than mine, and yet it is obvious he is seeking to know the Word of God for his life. Too often I fear, and it can be too easily justified by my claiming I was fighting for the purity of the gospel, when in reality my heart was dark and my intentions were evil. To slander, or to backbite is a tell tale sign in my life that I am NOT acting as a believer. The red bells should flash in your head and the sirens should blare in your heart, when you catch yourself devouring your neighbor, especially a believer for whom Christ died!

Who Swears to His Own Hurt and Does Not Change

For myself, this is the big one, the one phrase that got stuck in my “craw” when I first sought to internalize this chapter. This believer is not simply keeping his word, that is had made a promise but found out later that it may not turn out as he expected, but this follower makes a pact “To His Own Hurt”

How much more Christlike could the believer be by being self sacrificing, by following through and performing his oath, knowing from the start, from before making the promise, that it would cause pain for himself.

I said earlier that David understood the New Testament life. I want to clarify that statement.

David knew his Lord.


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Jesus · Love

Love Like Jesus – Rejoicing in the Truth


lovelikejesus_157x157

Lately, I have been exclusively in the Apostle John’s writings, in my personal readings, my blog writing, and my time with my wife.

John reiterates one theme, over and over again in my opinion, and that is that we are to love one another, to love like Jesus, to love.

It is refreshing to be reminded of the core mission of believers.

Love like Jesus.

Rejoicing in the Truth

Love is the goal of all of Christian life.  Love that is displayed in the life of Jesus.  The life and death of Jesus.  This love is described in 1 Corinthians 13.  Let’s consider

Love rejoices with the truth.

It has been years since a brother once instructed me to replace the term “love” with “Jesus” to get a better understanding of who He is.  

Jesus rejoices with the truth

1 Cor 13 - 225 Truth

In our last post, we considered what rejoicing does not do, in that it does not rejoice in iniquity, in injustice. We spent a few moments considering situations where we may delude ourselves in certain circumstances, where our happiness may not line up with the Word’s definition of righteousness and unrighteousness. I mentioned that the only basis for determining what is righteous is from the Bible, and without a solid understanding of it’s message, and the moral expectations laid out, we can justify almost any action as “right”

This is so dangerous, in that self deception is so easy.

Love rejoices with the truth. But what is truth? In our culture, we have lost grip with truth. Our walking away from the Word of God has left us with no foundation upon which to understand God and our relationship with Him and others. Without a knowledge of the Word, we simply fall prey to any lie offered.

Consider a believer that is seeking to obey the Word, to be pleasing unto the Lord. As we seek Him, we experience a constant temptation to abandon His Word. Hear me now – believers are constantly tempted to leave the Word behind.

Please understand that the habit of Bible reading is critical in a believers life. Knowledge of the truth is the foundation of successful living in front of the Father. The foundation that is. Even better is the habit of understanding the Bible for my life. There is a difference!

If you are a believer seeking to follow the truth, you know of the testing’s, the fighting’s, the struggles to come under obedience, the doubts, the fears, the tears. The tempting’s to ignore the Word, to turn to something “not so demanding”

My brother and sister, God the Father has high moral expectations of His children. His goal is to mature His children into the image of Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:29

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Jesus the Son has supplied the model. He has provided, in His life, a guide to understand the Old Testament laws. His life is an interpretation of the moral code that the religious man or woman needs to consider. He never failed in understanding the intent of the Law in front of the Father.

Sadly I fail. I was well on my way to knowing the truth, to getting the letter of the law under my belt, to knowing the facts of the law. It has been a blessing to have that foundation. I thank my teachers and friends for their encouragements and efforts in my life. Yet my handling of the facts made me religious, a Pharisee, a believer that looked down on others. Pride took residence in my life!

The truth is based in the facts of the Bible. Yet the truth is also found in the Spirit of God, interpreting those facts through the lens of Jesus.

If you are not a believer, understand that you do not understand Christianity. In your ignorance, you may judge the failings of believers, feeling this justifies your rejection of Christ. This is a false security my friend, since you are judging what you know not.

Jesus replacing Love

So is my brother’s suggestion of replacing the term love with Jesus accurate and helpful?

Jesus rejoices with and in the Truth. He is the Truth. He has accomplished so much, and is in perfect relation with the Triune God. He is the Alpha and Omega, and in these truths, He rejoices.

Our rejoicing is to be in the same source, that is in Him.

Please join me in our next study where we will begin to consider the last four descriptions of love.

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Devotional

Let Me Tell You a Story – Sharing

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Y’all know I am a foreigner, a transplanted Canadian that grew up in the 60’s and 70’s.  Much of my cultural baggage is from summers listening to music, predominantly Canadian based music, since the national government mandated a certain percentage of radio air time to be Canadian content.  (Sweet City Woman still echoes in my ears!)

Well, during this time, a Canadian band by the name of the Guess Who (ask me sometime how they got their name) published a song called Share the Land. It became one of their greatest hits and the music reminds me of the early 70’s, when the only thing that mattered was to beat, the rhythm, and the title of the song – Who cared about the message?  I was too “occupied” to be concerned with a message.  Take a listen to this ol song and tell me you don’t like the sound!

Let 40 years slide by, and find me on my patio, working on some project, when this song comes on out of nowhere.  I crank it up, and start to get into it, when all of a sudden I pay attention to the lyrics.

Let me share them with you. 

Have you been around?
Have you done your share of comin’ down
On different things that people do?
Have you been aware?
You got brothers and sisters who care
About what’s gonna happen to you
In a year from now

Maybe I’ll be there to shake your hand (Shake your hand)
Maybe I’ll be there to share the land (Share the land)
That they’ll be givin’ away
When we all live together, we’re talkin’ ’bout together, now

Maybe I’ll be there to shake your hand (Shake your hand)
Maybe I’ll be there to share the land (Share the land)
That they’ll be givin’ away

When we all live together, we’re talkin’ ’bout together, now

Did you pay your dues?
Did you read the news
This morning when the paper landed in your yard?
Do you know their names?
Can you play their games
Without losin’…

My friends, this song has a message and this message is couched with great images – Sharing the Land, giving the land away, living together, shaking hands, being together…

Now, y’all know I am a believer in the Lord Jesus, and am looking forward to the day when King Jesus will have rescued us from the presence of sin, and provided us our home where sharing will be a natural characteristic of every redeemed soul.  Where worship will replace worry, and praise will replace pride.  Where honor of my brother is paramount in my mind and to serve (properly) will be realized perfectly.

“Sharing the land” during the future kingdom will be a natural, common, glorious expression of love and kindness, erupting from a heart of praise to the One who rescued us from ourselves.

Now I can’t speak for Burton Cummings of the Guess Who, or any of the other members of the band, but I don’t think they were thinking of the future kingdom brought to reality through the Lord Jesus.  

I fear the message would be realized via forced sharing, a sharing that would be required.  A sharing that is fueled by fear, domination and regulations, enforced with the end of a gun.  

This style of sharing is not a stranger on this earth.  Some, with good intentions I suppose, consider the forced sharing of goods to be a gateway to utopia.

Without the Lord Jesus Christ in the middle of the utopia, there is no utopia. When you hear a leader speak of sharing the goods of others (by legislation), or redistributing wealth (by force), or providing free services to the poorest (by regulations), please understand this is a deception.  

We are a sinful people on this earth, and without the Lord Jesus Christ, we have no ability to willingly share with others.  With family, sure.  With friends, at times.  But with strangers, and enemies – the human spirit cannot reach that far.

(But can it?)

He left us the Body of Christ to taste the glories of this life of sacrifice with one another.  Governments have since time immemorial sought to replace the genius of the love of God being spread abroad to others, through a mandated forced sharing.

Mans method of universal sharing cannot work, since it is born out of selfishness, fear and hatred.

God’s method works, yet many in the Body of Christ seem to be starving for the Christian life.

If you are rejoicing in your Christian life and enjoying Body Life with other believers, share your experience.  If you are struggling to find that experience of sharing, (in other words, fellowship), please comment.

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