Devotional

Let Me Tell You a Story – Efforts and Effects

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

How often have you heard of the importance of balance in life? We all need balance. Equality. Fairness.

Another thought that is commonly referred to in our day to day lives is the Newtonian principal of “every action has an equal and opposite reaction”.

In other words, ya git what you deserve. Really? We are to apply a law on physics to our moral universe?

Not to sure of that logic.

So….. Let me tell you a story. 

A few nights back, I was reading a book on the couch (my favorite couch!) and got a text from one of my kiddos. My grandchild sent me a little video, saying “Hello gampa, I wov you!” Now this little one is not even two years old, and he was merely repeating what someone told him to say, but ol’ blubberpuss Carl – well he well nigh just about fell apart. The little video hit me right in the tear ducts and I watched it over and over again. And I thought about it, (after I wiped myself up and blew my nose). Yes I thought about it, considered it, analyzed it and came to a conclusion.

An action does not produce an equal and opposite reaction!

This little one merely repeated some noise, made vibrations from the throat and mouth, and went off to play. Probably went to play with a toy or to cause some havoc somewhere. A minor effort on the youngin’s part, a soon forgotten happening.

As for me, it will be one of many times my grandchildren have touched my heart, and made me a bit more of a softy.

It all started with my little ones, and watching each of them growing, connecting with each of them, at different times and in different ways. The memories are priceless. And my chillun didn’t understand their effect on their parents until they joined the club. The parenting club.

Now, I can see it in their eyes, when my chillun are around their chillun. The give and take is NOT equal. A little smile, nod of the head, a first step and the parent goes wild with pride, swells up with love and would give anything, do anything for the sake of the child.

No it is NOT equal.

The child’s efforts are many times small and seemingly insignificant. The receiving of a negligible act on the part of the child, causes emotional meltdowns for the parent, a recommitment of the parent to the child’s good, a sacrificial attitude that no one saw coming prior to the little ones arrival.

No it is NOT equal.

That love, that commitment, that connection never leaves a parents heart. At times, that love can crush a parent’s heart, the sorrow of seeing a child suffer. It can be excruciating.

But the effect is the same. A yearning for the best for the child, a desperate desire to guide the child into right living.

But then it hit me.

I am looking at this so horizontally.

Yes the impact of a minor effort on the child’s part can have major impact on the parent. No denying it! But isn’t that a reflection, a minor picture of the Lord’s fatherhood to usward? When we reach out to Him, is it not as a child, reaching out to their Father. Is not this truth much of the message Jesus would seek us to think on every time he calls the God of the Universe, the Holy One of Israel, the Almighty One, every time He calls Him Father?

Our relationship with God is based on familial standards. Family! Not a business. The family of God is not to be considered an LLC, or a Sole Proprietorship, with God as the CEO. That is not the picture the New Testament paints for us.

Consider the impact of your simple desire to please Him, how that must effect Him. Does your child’s obedience and affection for you not make your life rich beyond description? To think that our insignificant, bumbling efforts could impact the Living God is mind numbing. The fact that He would sacrifice His own Son in order to bring us into His Family is beyond the pale.

We were his enemies. His love brought us into His Family, and our connection with Him not only greatly benefits us, but also effects Him. This is a wonder I spend much too little time on. My efforts to please Him are insignificant, but the fact that I am His child, makes all the difference.

Truly – Effort does not equal Effect!


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

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #144

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #144
Description
His character-Goodness
Old Testament Prophecy
 Psalm 100:5
For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.
New Testament Fullfillment
Matt 19:16-17
And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”

And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”

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.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

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.

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Bible

Simple Thoughts – Lambs and Wolves

Occasionally I will be dwelling on a verse or passage, ruminating on the message, (or to be honest, wandering off into some undisciplined daydreaming), and the Lord will bless me with a truth that is so obvious, so fresh and such a blessing that I just want to share it with you.

Such is the following passage

And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ – Luke 10:2-5 ESV

Jesus sent out the disciples as lambs amongst wolves. Lambs. The folks being described as lambs in this passage are not the future apostles, since verse 1 speaks of the Lord appointing 72 others. These would include those that, relatively speaking, were on the fringe of the group following the Master. Not the core group of Peter, James, John and the rest we know of.

So when the Lord describes them as sheep in the midst of wolves, what is He communicating? He is communicating danger! Danger for the ones He is sending out.

These appointed ones are as sheep in the midst of wolves. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be near wolves fully armed with Glocks! The term ravenous comes to mind when I think of wolves.

Definitely Jesus will provide these 72 appointees direction on how to avoid being attacked. He must be implying that they are to defend themselves as sheep do. So how do sheep defend themselves?

Sheep defend themselves primarily by remaining in flock. Numbers are the game for sheep, and to remain with the group brings security to a sheep.

But Jesus is sending these appointees out two by two. He isn’t sending out groups of “sheep”. He is sending each of them out with a solitary partner. This natural defense associated with sheep therefore is greatly reduced, if not removed by being separated into teams of only two.

As I listened to this passage I noticed that the translation spoke of a lamb, and not a sheep. Speaking of the appointees as being sent as lambs instead of sheep further speaks of the defenselessness of the ones being sent out.

As for the wolves, as might be expected, there is no reference in the Word to wolves as being kind, truthful or gentle. Adjectives such as ravening and grievous are used to describe wolves!

Little lambs in the midst of ravenous wolves! What a picture!

I certainly can not claim that Jesus was whitewashing the situation. He laid it out in stark description, and further spoke of reducing them to utter dependency on those they met. He defined their behavior in the midst of wolves as being peacemakers.

Now I don’t think Jesus is telling them every person they came across is to be considered a wolf. Not at all. Yet that is another challenge, for they were to be open to all, willing to offer peace to those they met. They were to understand the general danger, but to be specifically peaceful to any they came across.

None of this behavior speaks of a defensive position, of an ability to be self protected. Consider hearing this direction from the Lord. I know I would have serious doubts about any success, or possible surviving, since He describes me as a frail lamb amongst wolves!

Also, consider if the appointees may have been ignorant of the situation they were being called to. If it was early in the ministry of the Lord, many may have considered this description as mere hyperbole. According to a timeline I found on the web, and assuming it’s accuracy, this sending out was relatively late in the ministry of the Lord. If they had followed Jesus for any time, they saw the reactions of the religious powerful, and had been warned multiple times of trials and suffering ahead.

But back to my original thought. What natural defense does the lamb have? It seems the flocking defense has been stripped away, and the reference to the youth of the lamb speaks of innocence.

But a lamb has one defense. A Shepherd.

Looking behind this instruction, even beyond the intended purpose of preparing the neighboring cities for the eventual entrance of the Messiah, these appointees would look back on their experience and realize they had a Shepherd protecting them, guiding them and providing for them. This event had a great impact on the larger group, and caused much joy in the immediate return.

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” – Luke 10:17 ESV

So where does this take me?

This passage reminds me of the Shepherds care of His sheep, and more importantly, as a lamb before Him, to drop our defenses in order to realize His protection, guidance and strength.

It must have been scary for those lambs. It is no less scary for us.

We must follow with trust and wisdom that only He can provide.


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

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #143

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #143
Description
His exaltation predicted
Old Testament Prophecy
 Psalm 97:9
For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth;
    you are exalted far above all gods.
New Testament Fullfillment
Acts 1:11
and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
 Eph 1:20
that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,

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.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

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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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 36 – B

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 36

1 To the choirmaster. Of David, the servant of the LORD.

Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes.
2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
3 The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
4 He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil.

In our last post, we looked at the first two verses, and it didn’t look good. I mean, the trend of this wicked man was downward from the get go!

Let’s hope for the best, but I’m gonna warn ya. Our next two verses do not provide much hope!

Words

The very words that come out of our mouth are described as “trouble”. Deceit I get, I understand the lying tongue, my goodness I get it! But the psalmist states that the wicked man’s very words are trouble.

And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words, while his heart gathers iniquity; when he goes out, he tells it abroad.

Psalm 41:6 ESV

This term can be translated in a number of ways, including “emptiness” or “a vanity of words”. This may be emphasizing a hollowness of communication, but shouldn’t be considered a neutral condition that we may consider allowable. Vanity is often associated with idol worship, and we know God’s attitude towards idols!

Let us not speak vain or empty words. Empty words are definitely not associated with righteous activity, with loving actions or a spirit of mercy!

A Change of Behavior

The psalmist now describes the wicked man’s actions, his doings, his outward appearance and behavior. It is interesting that the wicked man ceases to act wisely. Does this imply that the wicked man acted wisely in the past? Was this wicked man of a better ilk in the past, of some better character prior to his listening to transgression, prior to his self flattery?

Was this wicked one of a better ilk in the past, of some better character prior to his listening to transgression, prior to his self flattery?

I heard a philosopher speak of the necessity of time in relation to our existence, and that time allows for change. Time allows for change. Change that occurs as either growth or decay.

This wicked man is decaying, rotting on the vine, becoming less as time passes, by listening to transgression, by avoiding the fear of God, by elevating his own self importance before his eyes. The decay is becoming evident to those around him by his behavior.

He begins to stop acting wisely and to stop doing good. But this is simply a point in time, a fraction of a moment, when the direction of his life is determined. To stop doing good and think we can remain neutral is a fallacy.

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. – Luk 11:23 ESV

We are either with God or against God. There is no middle ground, and that is why I am stating that this stopping of doing good occurs in a mere fraction of a moment, since this state of neutrality can not be maintained.

A Leader of Wickedness

This man of wickedness now blooms into a leader of wickedness. He plots his day while others sleep, spending time on how to attain his goals. He is consumed with his thoughts of greatness, and he has no one to guide him, or to caution him, since the fear of God has been ignored, even silenced to his ears.

He establishes himself in a path that is not good. The term speaks of a steadfastness, a withstanding or refusal to be moved. He has chosen to be in a path that is not good, and his very intent is to remain in this path.

To be in a path that is not good, he eventually must lay his defenses down. He does not reject evil. He may have rejected evil before, but I tend to think this is simply the decay settling into his person, a strength of resistance simply not available to this man.

Story time

My wife and I went walking last night on our favorite path, lined with massive trees, bushes and grasses. It so happened that one of the tress we enjoyed last year had fallen, now on its side, with the trunk completely broken. No saw had come upon the tree. No – it had decayed from the inside out and the strength of the trunk had disappeared. Last year it appeared strong. One swift wind, and its inner lack of strength gave way to the wind. The tree is down.

Such is the life of the wicked man. Early listening to transgression, denial of the fear of God, speaking lies to his self in the form of self flattery, becoming “neutral” towards truth and finally setting himself in a bad path. Finally there is no resistance to evil.

I find it interesting that when the psalmist describes this man, he refers to an absence of good. Not until the fourth verse, does he use the term evil. Yes, iniquity is referred to, but that it cannot be found in the wicked man’s own eyes. I also admit trouble and deceit are spoken of as coming of his mouth. This is the beginning of the wicked mans inward decay being exposed to those around him.

This is our condition. Or should I say this is our condition, our eventual destination if it were not for the steadfast love of God. He is the Savior, the Deliverer and the One who brings us back from the edge.

I am very much looking forward to the psalmists descriptions turning from the wicked man to the righteous God. For He is good, and we certainly need Him!


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

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #142

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #142
Description
Identified as Messianic, used to tempt Christ
Old Testament Prophecy
 Psalm 91:11-12
For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone
New Testament Fullfillment
Luke 4:10-11
for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’

and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'”

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.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

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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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Sardis

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our fifth letter is to the Church of Sardis

John reaches back into the later prophetic period of Israel’s history for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 3:1-6

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.
Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.
Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.
The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Consider the following

  • The Angel speaks of the seven spirits and seven stars, reaching back to a witness by the prophets speaking by the Spirit of God
  • A remnant is referred to often in the prophets writing during this time (Isaiah 1:5-23, 6:9-13, 65:8-16, Jeremiah 7:1-7, 8:11-12)
  • Imminent judgement on this church is declared, as with the pre-exilic prophets message (Isaiah 1:24-31, 2:12-21, 26:20-21, Jeremiah 4:5-31, 7:12-15, 11:9-13.)

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you.


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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 36 – A

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 36

1 To the choirmaster. Of David, the servant of the LORD.

Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes.
2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
3 The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
4 He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil.

In our last post, I veered from the specific passage above in discussing a topic brought to mind by the verses above, and that I find I am coming back to often in my thinking.

I would like to consider these verse with the approach spoken of in our previous post (Psalm 36 – Introduction). We are sinners. Yes, we have been granted the righteousness of Christ, but we live below, and David is describing the wicked man in the verses above. As mentioned earlier, we shall find good counsel in understanding this description of the wicked man as a description of our own condition while we walk with Him during our pilgrimage.

Let’s consider David’s description of the wicked man, the man we are if we are honest with ourselves, the man we are without the grace of God being shed abroad in our lives.

Transgression speaks to the heart

Even as I sit here and consider this passage, I am reluctant to admit of the times I listen to sin speaking to my heart. Do not get me wrong, I understand that the sin thoughts are not necessarily sourced in my own soul, but the fact that I listen to them is the shame I experience. Oh to be willing to turn a deaf ear to the whispers I hear in my heart. Deep in my heart, where there is more mystery than understanding, transgression speaks to me.

Transgression utters, or declares to my heart, and gains a foothold when there is no fear of God before my eyes. This term “speaks” is interesting since it is used of God speaking in many passages of the Old Testament. Now before any one tries to condemn me for associating sin with God, that is not my intent. My intent is only to notice that “speaks” is commonly used to describe a message that is “spirit” and we know that by study and experience, this includes spirits that are not of God.

No fear of God

Transgression gains a foothold in the wicked because there is no fear of God before our eyes. Transgression may “utter” all day long, and with no fear of God, will gain that foothold and progress into a growing struggle with sin. This we all can attest to and suffer under!

The fear of God. Many who read this blog may know that I spent years under the fear of God – no wait – let me correct myself – more specifically under the fear of the judgement of God. There is a tremendous difference. The fear of God, in my understanding now, is to know the living God, the fountainhead of knowledge, wisdom confidence and life.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Pro 1:7 ESV
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. – Pro 9:10 ESV
The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short. – Pro 10:27 ESV
In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. – Pro 14:26 ESV
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. – Pro 14:27 ESV

Do not believe the lies spouted by many that the fear of God produces a sour spirit. The fear of the Lord is a wellspring of life.

Flatterings

He flatters himself! But this isn’t the boastful arrogance of a loud and proud man speaking of his greatness. No no no. This refers to the quiet ruminations within himself, of his discussions with himself, where he is telling himself how great he is! And who is to argue, if the fear of God is now a distant influence!

Pride of self, a self inflicted perception of ourselves that we are better than we truly are. We flatter ourselves. To flatter is “to praise excessively from motives of self interest” This must be recognized as being so out of touch with the nature of God as to be obvious.

Is self flattery of the character of our God…

who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. – Philippians 2:6-8 ESV

This too seems so obvious, if we are honest with ourselves. How often have you considered yourself better than your neighbor, your boss, your friend or your spouse? Paul addressed this danger amongst leaders, even apostles within the Corinthian church.

Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. – 2 Corinthians 10:12 ESV

Even those who may consider themselves to have low self esteem, flatter themselves with their weakness, in their standing in comparison with the appearance of others, their lack of confidence, of their inabilities, or a host of other characteristics that they use to draw attention to themselves.

We are to consider ourselves with sober judgement.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Romans 12:3

Was it Spurgeon or some other saint who said that the believer was not to attain to a high self esteem, nor a low self esteem, but of no self esteem.

God is to be the only One we are to esteem. Consider the wise, mighty and rich in Jeremiah 9. They had attained. But they were instructed not to esteem their own selves but the LORD who practices love justice and righteousness in the earth!!! (By the way – we don’t practice love justice and righteousness!)

Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” – Jeremiah 9:23-24 ESV

Let us break for now and continue with the next two verses of this passage in our next post. Suffice it to say, the first two verses do not offer much hope to the wicked man. And in our next post, verses 3 & 4 will only expose more difficulty and trouble, problems and traps.

Who is able to rescue me? Who can deliver me from this awful condition!


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

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #141

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #141
Description
He is from everlasting (Micah 5:2)
Old Testament Prophecy
 Psalm 90:2
Before the mountains were brought forth,
    or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
New Testament Fullfillment
John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

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.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

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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Calvinism · Doctrinal · Interpretation

Calvin’s Concerns – John 15:16 Revisited

Calvin’s followers seek to justify their teaching with verses that, with just a little bit of explanation, seem to reinforce their philosophy.

You know – the Romans 9 passage, or maybe 1 Corinthians 2:14.

Some of these passages, without considering alternate views (i.e. listening to only Calvinist teachers!) tend to reinforce the Calvinistic thought pattern.

This series of video podcasts will provide a discussion that many Calvinists may have never heard, or considered.

Take a few minutes, and try to have an open mind.


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

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #140

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #140
Description
His character-Faithfulness
Old Testament Prophecy
 Psalm 89:36-37
His offspring shall endure forever,
    his throne as long as the sun before me.
Like the moon it shall be established forever,
    a faithful witness in the skies
New Testament Fullfillment
Rev 1:5
and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood
Rev 19:11
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.

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.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

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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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 36 – Introduction

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 36

1 To the choirmaster. Of David, the servant of the LORD.

Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes.
2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
3 The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
4 He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil.

The wickedness of man and the goodness of God.

This psalm magnifies the differences between our existence and the character of our God. For the first four verses, David dwells on the wicked man. As I read passages such as open this passage, where the Old Testament speaks of a “bad” fellow, I am reminded of an old pastor who focused my thoughts on identifying with the bad guy in the story.

We so often want to associate with the godly, the righteous and the beautiful (at least I do), that we often miss the truth the Word is trying to provide. Without continuously acknowledging our sinful tendencies, habits, actions, thoughts, and motives, we tend to “join the righteous” in righteously excusing our “trip ups” and condemning those sinners, and in our effort to look good, we become hypocrites in the eyes of many! This should not be so!

This concept reminds me of a time, very early in my faith, when I sought the Lord and found only sin. Everywhere in my experience, I found rebellion, acts of sin, transgression and failings. I so wanted to be close to God and to love the Lord Jesus, and yet found sin. I confessed this to a believer, and he simply stated that when we press in, the light of God exposes our nature. Get used to it!

Humility and a consciousness of our “self” is the result of facing the One who is truth. Is this not the experience of those we read of in the Old Testament.

Consider Isaiah

And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” – Isaiah 6:5 ESV

Or Ezekiel

Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking. – Ezekiel 1:28 ESV

David often confesses his sin, acknowledging his failings.

I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah – Psa 32:5 ESV

Daniel joins in the confession of his nation’s sin

We have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules Dan 9:5 ESV

You may be reminded of other instances in the Old Testament where a saint, in seeing the Lord not only glorifies the One above, but reduces his own standing in his own eyes. (Somewhat of a difficult verse for the self esteem movement!)

Consider Job

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” – Job 42:5-6 ESV

The New Testament continues with this witness.

But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” – Luke 5:8 ESV

Paul was knocked down before he was called.

Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. – Act 9:3-5 ESV

Paul even spoke, as an old man of God, of his being (not was) the chief of sinners, the foremost of sinners.

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. – 1 Timothy 1:15 ESV

Oh the tension we find in our seeking of the truth. We have been provided the righteousness of Christ through faith in our Savior and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, and yet our sinful tendencies are ever before us. That “wicked man” that we drag behind us, constantly seeks to pull us down. Ignoring or avoiding this truth will not benefit our souls. As my favorite wifey reminds me at times….

But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out. – Numbers 32:23 ESV

The battle is real my friends. The war has been won, but we each have battles to fight. In all of this discussion, a sense of humility and a consciousness of our wickedness needs to be ever before our eyes. But in the very moment I speak of this, let it be understood that there is a danger of only acknowledging our sin. We cannot lay in the cesspool of our needs, and not be looking off to the great and mighty Jesus.

As Paul reminded the sin laden Corinthians, we need to remember the nature of our God, and of His forgiving nature, His nature of comfort, and of His continual love toward those who fall. Paul directed the believers to mimic God’s nature in the following passage when confronting a condemned believer, that they

… should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. – 2 Corinthians 2:7-8 ESV

We are to live in the truth, and that includes acknowledging to ourselves and our Father, our weakness, sin tendencies and failings. This is a bitter pill to swallow but this truth will produce within us a humility greatly needed within the church today.

And we are to rejoice in the salvation our great God has provided. A salvation that delivers us from past guilt, current sin and a future of release from the presence of sin.

He is good.

Consider where you stand, lest you fall!


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

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #139

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #139
Description
David’s Seed, throne, kingdom endure forever
Old Testament Prophecy
 Psalm 89:35-37
Once for all I have sworn by my holiness;
    I will not lie to David.
His offspring shall endure forever,
    his throne as long as the sun before me.
Like the moon it shall be established forever,
    a faithful witness in the skies
New Testament Fullfillment
Luke 1:32-33
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 forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

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.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

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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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Thyatira

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our fourth letter is to the Church of Thyatira

John reaches back into period of Israelite monarchy for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 2:18-29

“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
“‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.
But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.
I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.
Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works,
and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.
But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden.
Only hold fast what you have until I come.
The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,
and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.
And I will give him the morning star.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Consider the following

  • Christ is introduced as the Son of God (Ps 2:7, 89:19-37, Jer 30:9, Ezek 34:23-24, 37:24-28, Hos 3:5)
  • Jezebel is referred to and rebuked in both this period and this church (1 Kings 16:29-34, 21:25-26)
  • Tribulation is threated upon both Jezebels (1 Kings 17:1, James 5:17)
  • Both will loose their lives and their offspring (2 Kings 9:22-37)
  • Overcomers, like David, will be granted authority over nations (2 Sam 7:19, 8:14)
  • The final promise for overcomers reaches back to Ps 2:9

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you.


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Devotional

Let Me Tell You a Story – Theoretical Christianity

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

A brother in the Lord has recently been experiencing tremendous trials, especially from family members. His entire world is being shaken to the core with experiences I would wish on no one. He and his wife are struggling with the pain of hateful actions and hurtful words from “loved ones”.

My wife and I pray for them, and often speak of their trials. We are at a loss of what we can do to fix the conditions they are in the middle of, and other than prayer, seek to listen to their concerns, helping them by giving them a sounding board.

In a recent reading, wifey and I came across 1 Peter 3:9.

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

Challenging words to read, but to apply in my friends situation is beyond my imagination. To bless those who hate me, revile against me and do evil towards me is otherworldly.

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. – Luke 6:27-28 ESV

Personally, I have been challenged in areas of forgiveness in my faith, and have found release as I release others from my bitterness and anger toward them. But I must confess, it is a struggle. To forgive, to bless those who revile against me, is the character of our Lord and a fruit of His Spirit.

In the past week or so since this concept in the Word began to have a greater influence in my thinking, and I have been reminded of the story of Dirk Willems, an Anabaptist who lived in Holland during the 1500’s. The following story is repeated throughout the internet, but I am referencing a copy of the story from “Christianity.com” for your reading convenience

One of the Anabaptists who died in flames was Dirk Willem. His story is particularly touching, because he forfeited a real chance to escape when he turned back to help one of his pursuers.  Dirk was captured and imprisoned in his home town of Asperen in the Netherlands. Knowing that his fate would be death if he remained in prison, Dirk made a rope of strips of cloth and slid down it over the prison wall. A guard chased him. Frost had covered a nearby pond with a thin layer of ice. Dirk risked a dash across it. He made it to safety, but the ice broke under his pursuer who cried for help. Dirk believed the Scripture that a man should help his enemies. He immediately turned back and pulled the floundering man from the frigid water.  In gratitude for his life, the man would have let Dirk escape, but a Burgomaster (chief magistrate) standing on the shore sternly ordered him to arrest Dirk and bring him back, reminding him of the oath he had sworn as an officer of the peace.  Back to prison went Dirk. He was condemned to death for being re-baptized, allowing secret church services in his home and letting others be baptized there....
Dirk was burned to death on this day, May 16, 1569. 

My friends, much of my Christianity is merely theoretical in nature, and when I am challenged in my faith, find it easy to argue against the truth. It seems Dirk Willems blessed his enemy, and was rewarded with a torturous death. It may be easy to say I would do the same, that I would love my enemy, but the power of my reasoning spirit sometimes dominates my thinking.

  • Was Dirk a family man?
    • How could he abandon his wife and family by returning to his captor? Was he not tasked with the command to love his wife as the Lord loved the church. Is this return to the captor elevating love of enemy above love of wife? Is the example that Dirk provided of greater worth to his family than self preservation? This is a very difficult discussion for me, as I would naturally run, not looking back, not concerned about the welfare of those who would do me and my family harm.
  • Was the escape from prison and apparent success of his avoiding recapture the will of God?
    • It seems obvious that God had provided Dirk’s escape, much like many believers have escaped from the clutches of the enemy. Peter was delivered from prison, with his guards eventually put to death. Paul escaped using a basket out of a window.
    • Could Dirk have continued with his escape, considering the pursuer as receiving his just recompense for his evil life? I could easily justify this type of thinking, especially after studying through Psalm 35, specifically Psalms for Psome – Ps 35 – B. And yet in the background, I hear the verses of loving our enemy, of blessing those who revile against us.

I am in no way taking away from Dirk Willems and his tremendous exercise of forgiveness and blessing to his enemy. This is definitely not my intent in this post. I am simply admitting that at this time in my Christian walk, I am confessing my lack of understanding (willingness?) on how to bless those who revile me.

Dirk’s story is an ultimate example of a man obeying the Lord’s command to love his enemy.

Surely, our daily lives have opportunities to mimic the Lord’s example of loving our enemies. Think of a recent time when someone may have said something against you, or insulted you or gossiped about you. How have you responded? Have you returned a blessing to those who curse you? Or like I, justified my reactions, ignoring the leading of the Spirit of God.

May God give us wisdom and power in loving our enemies.


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

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #138

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #138
Description
Emmanuel to be higher than earthly kings
Old Testament Prophecy
 Psalm 89:27
And I will make him the firstborn,
    the highest of the kings of the earth.
New Testament Fullfillment
Luke 1:32-33
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 forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

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.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

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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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Interpretation · Doctrinal · Calvinism

Calvin’s Concerns – Romans 9:13 Revisited

Calvin’s followers seek to justify their teaching with verses that, with just a little bit of explanation, seem to reinforce their philosophy.

You know – the Romans 9 passage, or maybe 1 Corinthians 2:14.

Some of these passages, without considering alternate views (i.e. listening to only Calvinist teachers!) tend to reinforce the Calvinistic thought pattern.

This series of video podcasts will provide a discussion that many Calvinists may have never heard, or considered.

Take a few minutes, and try to have an open mind.


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

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #137

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #137
Description
Firstborn
Old Testament Prophecy
 Psalm 89:27
And I will make him the firstborn,
    the highest of the kings of the earth.
New Testament Fullfillment
Col 1:15-18
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.

And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

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.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

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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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Bible

Song Squawk – Easy Listening

In the mid nineties, I had a little red Buick and a big ol’ bass box in the trunk, and would listen to “Christian Rock”, cranked to 11.

(What did you say?  Huh?  Can  you say that again, I didn’t hear you….)

I have gotten away from that genre for many reasons, the least of which may be a loss of hearing, but some songs have stuck with me over the decades.

The artist’s I listened to sought to reflect Scriptural teaching for the most part. They ranged from “preaching” pop culture religion to significant theological teaching. As I listened to the lyrics, I found some to be quite challenging.

To be honest, I listened because I could justify the rock beat with “sanctified lyrics”.

Occassionaly I will post a song, supply the lyrics and make a comment or two. If you decide to listen to the tune, turn the speaker down unless you are already deaf. Some of the songs tend to have a certain “volume” about them!


This post will consider the song

Easy Listening – Steve Taylor

A portion of the song that rings so true today.

Tickle my ear and I’ll pay for your show
Sing about stuff that I already know
Whisper sweet nothings
Pour a nightcap
Gimme that old-time easy listening

I don’t think I have found a song of this fella’s that doesn’t bite a bit.

Take a listen!

Easy Listening – Steve Taylor

Gather-me-grandchildren if you love a good mystery
Gather-me-grandchildren for a little church history
It’s 2044
You’re avoiding our turn-of-the-century ways

How did we strike it rich?
Kissing up to the powerful
How did we make our pitch?
Satellites by the towerful
Why do you young people have to go and get caught up in a radical phase?

My conscience was clear and my wallet was full
I didn’t hear none of this “sacrifice” bull
Tough times call for a backtrack
Gimme that old-time easy listening

Cuddle up, yeah, yeah
12 hours, twice a day
Cuddle up, yeah, yeah
Simmer down
Attaway

Color me old-fashioned, but I still remember when
The sermons were affirming, ’cause the Lord liked us better then
It’s 2044
And I don’t want to be my brother’s keeper no more

Color me chicken yellow if I liked it in the ozone
Call me lemon jello if I lacked a little backbone
We’re King’s Kids, dang it
And we used to know what a housekeeper was for

Tickle my ear and I’ll pay for your show
Sing about stuff that I already know
Whisper sweet nothings
Pour a nightcap
Gimme that old-time easy listening

Cuddle up, yeah, yeah
12 hours, twice a day
Cuddle up, yeah, yeah
Simmer down
Attaway

Cuddle up, yeah, yeah
Order now, don’t delay
Cuddle up, yeah, yeah
Sleep it off
Drool away

Gather-me-round children, ’cause your faith is a mystery
Gather me grandchildren for a little church history
It’s 2044
And I miss our turn-of-the-century ways

How did we strike it rich?
Kissing up to the powerful
How did we make our pitch?
Satellites by the towerful
Why do you young hotheads have to go and get caught up in a radical phase?

I’m ok, you’re ok, we’re ok, so
I think I’m gonna buy my own radio show
Spread the good news and the Barry Manilow
Happy talk, no rock, non-stop easy listening

Let me know what you think of the lyrics, and of the tunes!


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

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #136

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #136
Description
They stood afar off and watched
Old Testament Prophecy
 Psalm 88:8
You have caused my companions to shun me;
    you have made me a horror to them.
New Testament Fullfillment
Luke 23:49
And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.

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.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

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


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.