Parables and Understanding

And with many such parables spake He the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. But without a parable spake He not unto them: and when they were alone, He expounded all things to His disciples. Mark 4:33-34 (KJV)

It has been said, speaking of the parables of Jesus, that, “A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning”.  I can see that.  It is clear as we read the parables of Jesus that there can be many possible explanations, but Jesus’s understanding is the proper understanding.

The Believer’s Bible Commentary for these verses…

4:33, 34 Verses 33 and 34 introduce us to an important principle in teaching. Jesus taught the people as they were able to hear it. He built upon their previous knowledge, permitting time for them to assimilate one lesson before giving them the next. Conscious of His hearers’ capacity, He did not glut them with more instruction than they could absorb (see also John 16:12; 1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:12). The method of some preachers might make us think Christ had said, “Feed my giraffes” instead of “Feed my sheep”!
Although His general teaching was in parables, He explained them to His disciples in private. He gives light to those who sincerely desire it. BELIEVER’S BIBLE COMMENTARY

Paul the apostle wrote…

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:14-15

That is part of what Jesus meant when He said in Mark 4:9…

He that has ears to hear, let him hear. (KJV)

When we hear Jesus concerning who He is as our Lord and Savior, our God and Creator we will understand what He teaches.

The LORD is Good

What do you think of when a roaring, howling, powerful storm comes; with flashes, and bolts of lightening, and sounds of crashing, rolling thunder?  It is a fearful thing when we see these things.  Many people have just recently survived such storms, suffering great loss, and we pray for you, and offer condolences to those who have lost loved ones.

I am a strange sort of man I guess; but storms fascinate me.  Lightening is a wonder to behold.  I have been on the edge of a tornado in my car, and kept driving, even though I could not see much past the hood of the car.  It is a fearful thing.  More fearful is to be on the wrong side of God.  Hear the words of Nahum the prophet to the Assyrians, their capital city Nineveh…

“God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserveth wrath for His enemies. The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before His indignation? And who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him. The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in him. But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue His enemies.”  Nahum 1:2-8 (KJV)

It could be said that Nahum’s prophecy is  a continuation of Jonah’s.  When Jonah went to Nineveh and preached of God’s judgment, the people, the whole city repented; yet that repentance was only one generation, and then God sent Nahum to warn them.

Does God, the LORD judge evil?  That is a question that many people ask; even today.  The answer to that is “Yes!”  God does judge evil.  It just is not always according to our allotted time.  Why can a wicked person live for years without illness, or grief, and seemingly be blessed with the world’s riches, and pleasures and never experience God’s justice?  He/She does, or she/he will.

The LORD is Good.  Let us consider this.  It could be that God in His goodness and grace is allowing that individual time to repent and change their way, coming to God through Christ Jesus.

The LORD is mighty, He is Almighty, He holds the storms of this life in His hand.  He knows the beginning and He knows the end.  This life is not about me, or you, or all those who are suffering from sickness, disease, pain, sorrow; from storms or shooters.  This life is about GOD, and His power and glory to Him. He has made a way for sinful humanity to come into His holy presence; and that is through the cross of Jesus Christ who suffered the most horrendous thing any man could ever bear.  Not only did He suffer the physical pain and agony of the cross, but He the holy Son of God was denied the face of His Father as He bled and died for us.  He in fact experienced Hell for us there.

The LORD is Good.

Better than Beasts

God reveals the kingdoms of men as beasts of the earth.  Beasts like a “Lion with eagle’s wings” (7:4),  “a bear… with ribs in its mouth” (7:5), “a leopard, which had four wings on its back…” (7:6); then, a fourth beast “dreadful and terrible”.  These beasts represent human governments which the LORD was showing Daniel would come on the earth.  None of these beasts are pleasant characters.  Yet, human government is a God given institution.

These governments of men, are all a precursor of God’s greater rule and kingdom, which is yet to be fulfilled.  Hear these words from Daniel which God gave him in the same vision…

“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14 (KJV)

The kingdoms of men (Human government) of any kind is not sufficient to bring peace, protection, health, or wealth to the world.  The governments of men will fail and eventually fall.  Yes!  Even the United States of America will fall.  Not a pleasant thought to this citizen of the U. S. of A. for over 60 years; but for us not to realize this is futile, and mere dreaming.  There is only one nation which God has promised will be forever (Jeremiah 31:35-37), and that is the nation of Israel with the heir of David as King.

That may just be the reason so many nations, and people hate the Jewish people.  That hatred is futile too.  It will lead to your ruin.  That King is King Jesus.  He is the Son of Man, Son of God, and God the Son.  He is the one who the Scripture is speaking of above.  He is the Christ the Son of the Living God.  One day every knee will bow before Him.  It is best to do it today rather than later.  It is your salvation if you do it today.  To wait for that day will be your eternal condemnation.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11

When you come to Jesus Christ and trust Him as your Lord and Savior the governments of men or the Beasts of men pale in comparison; you then will realize and know that one day every nation and king on earth, will bow before King Jesus, and call Him Lord.

Every Word of God

“Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”  Proverbs 30:5-6 (KJV)

First of all look at the phrase  “Every word of God”.  Not just one, not just a few; not even, “Just the important ones” or “The Ones in red”; but every word of God.  “Is pure” and there is no other greater word than the word of God.  It is holy.  It “given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  It is good for doctrine, reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.  If that is not pure, then nothing is.

The One who gives us His word is “A shield” to all who put their trust in Him.  Trust means our whole confidence.  We trust Him in life when everything around us is collapsing.  When our health is failing we trust God to know what lies ahead, and we keep believing He knows best for us; and we keep plugging along.  When the storm we are going through does not see, like it will ever subside, and the waves seem to grow in intensity, we keep believing, trusting.

In those times we do not add to His words for comfort.  We do not believe things such as “God helps those who help themselves”.  Contrary to what many so called Bible believing people think, that is not Biblical.  It is not mentioned one single time.  It teaches us the opposite.  “God helps those who cannot help themselves” and that is really all of us.

In order be be made well you need to be sick.  In order to be saved you need to be lost.  Jesus said,,,

They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Mark 2:17

Do not twist God’s word to suit your ideas.  Fit what God says in your life by believing what He says, and leave it that way; except to put it to work in your life.  It will make a difference in the way you view yourself, others, and the whole world.

The Stirring of the Enemy

Does God have his hand on the dealings of and with His people, and even the wicked of the world?  A short, but true answer is “Of course He does”.  You will believe that if you believe God and His word.  If you do not believe it.  Guess what?  Does not take a whole lot of guessing.

When the people of God walk with Him through faith there is not a need for worry or fear.  The enemy will stay away.  Mostly out of fear because of who you know; and Him knowing you too.  However there is a negative side – we have not banned the word “Negative” have we?  Hear what is written in 1 Chronicles…

“And they transgressed against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God destroyed before them. And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.” 1 Chronicles 5:25-26 (KJV)

Remember what I shared in yesterday’s post from Proverbs about our ways pleasing the LORD?  That fits right in with the theme of today’s word.

When we turn our hearts and backs against the LORD, His Son, His Spirit and His word then we can expect to find ourselves plagued by enemy attacks.  Do not get me wrong; I know that when things are going well between you and the Lord the enemy will attack too.  When the enemy attacks as in the above verse in Chronicles God uses it to drive us back to Him.  The enemy will attack us when we are right with God to distract us from loving God, and His word.  That calls for much prayer and discernment.

Those of us who truly love God know when we are walking with God or not.  When we are walking with God the fruit of the Spirit is evident in our walk in life (Galations 5:22-26).  You know when you are not right with Him too, because there will be no love, no peace, no joy;  your heart and mouth will be filled with vulgarity, rudeness, bitterness and anger; these things will proceed from you mouth.

If the enemy is stirring against you God is calling you to repent.  All it takes is to say something simple from your pleading heart… “Lord help me.”  He will hear and He will deliver you.  He has mad that possible through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ; the God-Man, God the Son.

Check Things Out – Pray

Making decisions involving others is not an easy task.  There are people out to take advantage of you, to get all they can get from you.  The Great and Awesome God who has made all things gave us a mind and heart to use, but we do need help at times.

I want to take  us today to an event in the life and leadership of Joshua and Israel after they had conquered Jericho, been defeated by Ai due to their sin, conquered Ai after dealing with the sin in their midst.

There was a tribe of people from Gibeon who were inhabitants of the land of Canaan, and tried to deceive Joshua into believing they were from a land outside of Canaan.

“Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us. This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy: and these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey. And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.” Joshua 9:11-14 (KJV)

These Hivites had heard of the victories of Israel on the other side of Jordan; the defeating of Sihon and Og.  They were frightened for their lives, and practiced deceit to win their lives.  Not any different than many people today.  “Whatever it takes”  we will often do to save our own lives, and that of family.

The sentence of the verses above I want us to focus on is verse 14…

And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.

Joshua and the leaders took their word, their food, as a gift of assurance that they were from outside Canaan.  Had they prayed, and asked the LORD’S counsel the outcome would have been much different.

These Gibeonites would eventually be found out; made servants for Israel; and would be a pain, sorrow, and thorn in the side of the people of God.

When it comes to dealing with others; making deals, promises, and such we ought always go to God in prayer first.  Prayer should not be the last resort; it should be the first thing we do when making decisions of life’s importance.

Jesus said…

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

Pray.  Seek God’s counsel.  Always.

Jesus Through the Bible – The Greater Prophet

“The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken; according to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.’ And the LORD said unto me, ‘They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him.’” Deuteronomy 18:15-19

Jesus, a prophet? Yes! But so much more than just a prophet. He is the Prophet of whom Moses spoke. Deuteronomy 34:10 tells us that when Moses had “died” (no man knowing his burial place) that “…There arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.” No one after Moses except for Jesus could have laid claim to speaking with God “face to face”.

Jesus was like Moses in several ways

He was spared death as a baby (Exodus 2; Matthew 2:13-23);
He renounced a royal court (Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 11:24-27);
He had compassion on His people (Numbers 27:17; Matthew 9:36);
He made intercession for the people (Deuteronomy 9:18; Hebrews 7:25);
He spoke with God face to face (Exodus 34:29-30; 2 Corinthians 3:7);
He was the mediator of a covenant (Deuteronomy 29:1; Hebrews 8:6-7). These are from the MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE notes for Deuteronomy 18:15-19.

Jesus a prophet? Definitely. So much more than a prophet; the Prophet, the Lord, The Savior, the Redeemer of mankind; the Son of God, God the Son. The Mediator of a Greater Covenant – The Gospel of grace.

The Conclusion

This is a post I shared on our Church site in July 2015. I thought it to be appropriate for today.

Shiloah Baptist Church

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

In reading the book of Ecclesiastes we find that the life of every individual has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The body of our lives includes many  plots and sub-plots, and climaxes.  Those climaxes are not the end, or conclusion of life.  They are just another peak reached, then we do something different, more, or less adventure, etc..

From seeing things as vain in life; “vanity of vanities all is vanity” were Solomon’s words as he writes of his life’s adventure.  He reaches the conclusion of the matter.

That conclusion is that only with God does life even matter.

The sole duty…

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God’s Word Fulfilled in the Past, Present, and the Future

“Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him. And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia. And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.” Daniel 11:1-4 (KJV)

The first verse is clearly the angel, whom we believe to be Gabriel, still speaking to Daniel to give Him understanding of all the things he has seen.
Explanations do us good in most things in life. Daniel was God’s man, God’s prophet for that period of time, and he had received one of the most profound prophetic visions of all the history of mankind. He was given wisdom and grace by God to reveal to Nebuchadnezzar what he had dreamed, and to give him its interpretation. Daniel also received the vision of the same prophecy as seen from God’s eyes.

Daniel was a student of Scripture. We are told that he read the prophet Jeremiah concerning the 70 weeks. That is where Daniel Got his faith, and grew to the man that he was. He was a student of God’s Word.

What does the angel explain to Daniel?

THE ANGEL SPEAKS CONCERNING PERSIA AND HER KINGS (vv. 1-2). I have already explained that the first verse is a carry over from the tenth chapter. This angel had stood with Darius/Cyrus as a protecting angel as he was carrying forth the edict of God in making a decree for Hebrews to return to their land. This shows the promise God made to Abraham – “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you”. It is best to stand with the people of God who are the Hebrews as a nation.

For Daniel these were future. King Cambyses (529-522 B.C.). Pseudo Smerdis (522-521 B.C.). Darius I Hystapes (521-486 B.C.). Xerxes or Ahasuerus of the Book of Esther (496-465 B.C.).
These are now history past. We are assured by their fulfillment that God’s Word is true. If these were fulfilled then the yet future prophecies will be fulfilled also.

Remember Daniel has already seen the line-up according to Nebuchacnezzar’s dream. The head of gold was Babylon (Chap. 2; the lion of chap. 7). The arms and chest of silver represent the Medo-Persian empire (Chap. 2; the bear of chap. 7). The belly and thighs of bronze are Greece (Chap. 2; the goat of chap. 8). The legs of iron, feet of iron mixed with clay is Rome (Chap. 2; terrible beast in chap. 7).

CONCERNING GREECE (vv. 3-4). This picture of course refers to Alexander the Great. He is only called “Great” because of the swiftness with which he conquered the then known world. The belly and thighs of bronze [brass]. The speed of a leopard with wings.

When he died his kingdom was divided between four of his generals. The four kingdoms were; Macedonia; Asia Minor; Egypt – referred to in this chapter as the “king of the South”; and Syria – referred to in this chapter as “king of the North”.

This, too, was fulfilled just as the book of Daniel says.

This book was not written after the fact; as many unbelieving professors say; but years before the events took place. The unbelievers do not believe that God has the knowledge/foreknowledge to know what will happen in the future. They really give no allowance for God at all, but that does not matter, they will still see Him one day, whether they believe in Him or not.

CONCERNING EGYPT AND SYRIA (vv. 5-20). Ptolemy I Soter and Seleucus I Nicator (v. 5). Seleucus is the stronger. His alliance allowed him to seize the throne of Syria.
Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Antiochus II Theos (v. 6). Marriage was a political matter for peace and unity between nations. Ptolemy demanded Antiochus divorce his wife Laodice in order to marry Ptolemy’s daughter Berenice. After Ptolemy died, 2 years later, Antiochus took back Laodice and she murdered Antiochus and Berenice. O the pit of politics.

Ptolemy III Euregetes and Seleucus II Callinicus (vv. 7-9). Brother of Bernice – defending his sisters honor and avenging her death; attacked the Northern kingdom and won.

Ptolemy IV Philopater and Antiochus III the Great (vv. 10-19). Antiochus gave his daughter Cleopatra I in marriage to Ptolemy V (7 years of age), hoping to use her to underrmine the Egyptian government. Cleopatra was loyal to her husband.

God is still the God of history, because it is His-story.

CONCERNING ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES AND SYRIA (vv. 21-35; also see 8:9-14). This man is the picture of the future antichrist – he is in fact an antichrist for his time.

This man obtained his throne by guile.

He was successful in his military endeavors.

In 170 B.C. he turned his attention toward Israel. He plundered and defiled the temple. He abolished daily sacrifices. He killed many of the Jewish people. He left soldiers behind in Jerusalem to maintain control. He invaded Egypt again only to be confronted by Romans (v. 30; “ships of Chittim”.

In 168 B.C. he desecrated the temple. He erected an altar to Zeus, and offered a pig as sacrifice in the Hebrew temple. NOTE: In the future the Antichrist will put his own image in the temple of God when he breaks the covenant with the Hebrews in the middle of the “Seventieth week of Daniel” – the seven year tribulation period.

There was a small group of faithful Jews who opposed this godless leader (vv. 33-35). A Jewish priest named Mattathias and his five sons. His son Judah (Maccabeus meaning, “The hammerer”) was one of the heroes of this revolt. These laid down their lives and finally won. On December 14, 165 B.C., the temple was purified and the altar dedicated. The Jews celebrate this annually as the Feast of Lights (Hanukkah). This is also mentioned back in chapter eight.

CONCERNING THE TRIBULATION AND THE ANTICHRIST (vv. 36- 12:1). The time of the Great Tribulation, also known as the “Time of Jacobs trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). Just as the above historical things were foretold and came to pass; so too will the things that have yet to happen. They do not have to be spiritualized for fulfillment; they will be literally fulfilled.

This man will appear as a man of peace; a master politician; a man of no specific religious faith. The Tribulation will begin in peace for the Jewish people, but will become war against them in the last three and one half years. God, however, will preserve His people (Matthew 24:22). There will be military invasion (Daniel 11:40-43); a battle will take place at the valley called Armageddon (vv. 44-45); then, Jesus Christ will appear in all His glory, splendor and wrath ridding the world of all evil.

This is not a period of time that Christians look forward to. We are waiting and longing for the appearance of Jesus in the clouds; calling our names; and COME UP HITHER with the sound of the trumpet, and we will go to be with Him for all eternity. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

The Promises and the whole Word of God has been fulfilled, is being fulfilled, or will be fulfilled. If you are not ready for the return of Jesus Christ; call on His name and He will hear you and save you.

MARANATHA.

The Preacher Speaks – The Handwriting on the Wall

 Daniel 5:13-24

“Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation. O thou king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: and for the majesty that He gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: and he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the Most High God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that He appointeth over it whomsoever He will. And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; but hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified: then was the part of the hand sent from Him; and this writing was written.” Daniel 5:17-24 (KJV)

THE PROPHET OF GOD IS CALLED WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS AND HE GIVES GOD’S MESSAGE (vv. 13-24). Unknown to Belshazzar was the fact that outside the city walls the Median empire was planning an assault this very night. It seems only logical to assume that the guards were not posted around the critical areas of Babylon. It could also be that the people had become so comfortable, and secure that they never posted guards, or maybe the guards were sleeping.

The Euphrates River flowed through the center of the city. To the Medes this was a weak point. The Medianites channeled the river away from the city, lowering the level of the wathe, where they could enter under the wall at that point. They had troops at both sides of the city waiting to enter, and do war against Babylon.

When all else fails call for the preacher. He followed his grandfather’s actions of his earlier years. Belshazzar’s actions do seem to be more reasonable – because he does seem to be completely ignorant of who Daniel is; though I would think it is willful ignorance, where he has merely chosen to remain ignorant of one of there countries, and cities most notable people. Let is be said, and noted that ignorance is no excuse, neither is “Ignorance bliss”.

Daniel is uninterested in the wealth that Belshazzar offers him. What good is it when everything around you is about to come tumbling down. Daniel was more interested in carrying out God’s mission for himself. Now, that is not meant as a selfish enterprise on Daniel’s part, but is meant of showing where Daniel’s heart lay with God – The Holy One.

Daniel tells Belshazzar of Nebuchadnezzar’s experiences. His pride was his downfall and he became as a brute beast, even to the point of living and eating like them, and with them. Belshazzar was to learn, that, unlike Nebuchadnezzar he would not be returning to the kingdom, nor would there even be a Babylonian kingdom. Belshazzar knew all the history of Nebuchadnezzar’s experiences with God, but he refused to change his way.

God’s message to and against Belshazzar was that, he had exalted himself against God. Now he would be no more. Herein, lies the tragedy of so many in all ages even in and, maybe especially in this, the Twenty first century. The pride of the human heart is so exalted in the exploits we do. Technology is fastly becoming the arrogance of mind. Money is becoming the arrogance of power, and politics. The thought of many is the earthly golden rule, “He who has the gold makes the rules”. Do not live in your arrogance and one day find yourself on the wrong side of God and His justice. He has given us one way to Himself, and that is through His Son Jesus Christ, and His death, burial and resurrection. If you think you can get to God your way your arrogance is still in the way.

Fiery Furnace of Deliverance

“Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Daniel 3:19-25 (KJV)

THE FIERY FURNACE OF DELIVERANCE (vv. 19-25).

This furnace was made seven times hotter than what it was. This shows that the king was angry at Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They were trusted men in his court, but now they had failed him, so he thought.

Nebuchadnezzar chose the most ‘mighty men’ to cast them into the furnace. The Hebrews were bound and cast into the fire. These men’s faith never wavers. As they approach the fire the men who are to cast them in perish from the blazing heat. As the men enter the fire they have a very welcome visitor with them, and O such a Visitor He is. After looking at the two words in the old Webster dictionary (visitor, guest) it seems the word visitor would be best to describe Jesus’s appearance. This is from Websters Dictionary on “e-Sword”,

VIS’ITOR, n.1. One who comes or goes to see another, as in civility or friendship.

2. A superior or person authorized to visit a corporation or any institution, for the purpose of seeing that the laws and regulations are observed, or that the duties and conditions prescribed by the founder or by law, are duly performed and executed.

The king is the visitor of all lay corporations.

 The ropes burned from their hands, they were loose and walking around in the fire. You could say it was the fire which set them free, but only the One in the fire with them preserved them from the very same flames which set them free. Free in the midst of the fire walking around. There is no better freedom than that.

The king and others looking into the flame saw them walking around with no harm coming on them. They also see four, rather than three men in the flame. What sweet fellowship the men must have been having with Jesus. Yes, I said with Jesus. That is who that fourth man was.

Nebuchadnezzar probably would not have recognized the Son of God, but that is who the fourth man in the fire was/is – Jesus Christ the pre-incarnate Son of God.  No matter what the faithful child of God has been through, is going through, or will go through the Lord Jesus Christ will go with you through it.

Jesus died for you, was buried and He arose from that grave three days later; and He is alive today and those who trust Him will forever be with Him in glory.  He will get us through the fires of affliction

When To Stand Firm

“As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.“ Daniel 1:17-21 (KJV).

It is God who gave Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah wisdom and knowledge. It is also God who gave Nebuchadnezzar the eyes to see it in them. Notice it was God who gave Daniel “understanding in all visions and dreams”. This is an important thing to remember as we continue in the study of Daniel’s prophecy.

Here were four teenage young men who had spent three years in the University of Babylon learning all their ways; the sorcery, astrology, magic, etc. and NOTE what Nebuchadnezzar says of them. “He found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” In the final verse of chapter one we get a good clue as to the age of Daniel when he was able to return to Jerusalem. He would have been in his upper eighties or low nineties. God certainly had a sovereign plan for Daniel.

God’s plan was in the works for His people of Judah and Israel. It may not have seemed like a very promising thing, but we must remember that God is the Sovereign of all countries, and lands. There is no king , despot, dictator, or president who can overthrow the plan and/or will of God for His people.

Note from Whom came the knowledge and skill. We must know, also, that Daniel and his friends did not learn astrology, sorcery, or magic to practice it. They learned it in order to know how to deal with it. In like fashion, you and I can learn from the teachings of worldliness how to deal with their ideas without practicing their sin and evil. We can learn from the teachers of evolution, how to deal with the teaching of evolution. Of course, we have God’s Word. We know God to be faithful. We can trust, that, if God says that He created the world in six days, then, it was six days.

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah learned the wisdom of their world, and they stood firm in their God. We too, in our age, must learn to stand firm.

Wisdom, Vision and Happiness

“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.
Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:15-18 (KJV)

Wisdom gives instruction.  Instruction many times will include correction, discipline, and what is called a “Good whipping”.  I  have heard many people say; at least those in my age bracket; that they would have rather had a whipping from their dad, than “A talking to”.  I know what they meant.

Let me give a word of wisdom here concerning correcting a child. When correcting it should be done with vision.  What do you desire the outcome of this discipline to be?  Is that something to think about?  I now, would like to have known that when I was raising my kids; but it is something I see is necessary now.

Look at the verses above.

Children need correction (v. 15).  Correction, instruction with vision is the means of having a child who is a blessing in the home, the Church, the community and in our Country with we live.  Without correction and discipline then there will be shame instead.

Wickedness is certainly noticed in our world today.  As it multiplies transgression (the breaking of the laws of God and man) increases.  Notice the outcome though – “…The righteous shall see their fall” v. 16).

Do you desire that your children will be a blessing and delight to your heart and soul?  It must start at a very young age.   You cannot wait until they are 13 years old to try and teach them right from wrong.  By that age you will teach them nothing.  If you have had no vision for where they need to be in life; especially in their relationship with God; then, you will have a child without life direction.  Of course if you have no vision for yourself, then you will have no vision for your child.  If you have come to your senses, or will come to your senses, then call on the Lord, and He will deliver you; then, pray for your children to turn as well (v. 17).

Verse 18 shows us that “Vision” or as the New King James says, “Revelation” is the means of being alive.  Where there is no absolute right and/or wrong given to us from the word of God people will perish; or cast off all restraints; and live in abominable rebellion in their lives.  They will perish.  They will die in rebellion against God.

People want to be “Happy”, but refuse to hear how true happiness is available.  Hear the vision of Jesus…

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:1-12

The greatest vision/revelation we can have is Jesus the crucified, buried, and risen Son of God who is God the Son.  He will guide  your life.  He will guide your children’s lives.  You first must submit to Him.

Wisdom, Education and Children

I am not certain of the exact quotation of the man I heard, and love his preaching.  It was something like this,  “Education without sanctification is an abomination”.  I would add this to it — Education without justification and sanctification is an abomination. And glorification is the glory we receive at the end of life on earth.  Education which does not begin with God, ends in hell.

Hear the Proverbs…

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.
A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.
Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:1-6 (KJV)

Some thoughts on these verses –

Verses 1- 6 – (1) The value of a good name. (2) The LORD is the maker of all. (3) The sensible have foresight to danger; the simple (Naive) will not see or just ignore it. See Proverbs 14:16 and 27:12. (4) Humility and fear of the LORD are essential to God’s blessings. (5) Troubles for the perverse; avoidance for the one who keeps themselves clean.

Verse 6 – From the Believers Bible Commentary;

“22:6 The usual interpretation of this proverb is that if you train up a child properly (in the way he should go), he will go on well in later life. Of course there are exceptions, but it stands as a general rule. Henry Ward Beecher observes:

It is not hard to make a child or a tree grow right if you train them when they’re young, but to make them straighten out after you’ve allowed things to go wrong is not an easy matter.

Susannah Wesley, the mother of Charles, John, and 15 other children, followed these rules in training them: (1) Subdue self-will in a child and thus work together with God to save his soul. (2) Teach him to pray as soon as he can speak. (3) Give him nothing he cries for and only what is good for him if he asks for it politely. (4) To prevent lying, punish no fault which is freely confessed, but never allow a rebellious, sinful act to go unnoticed. (5) Commend and reward good behavior. (6) Strictly observe all promises you have made to your child.
The proverb can also be understood as encouraging parents to train their children along the lines of their natural talents, rather than forcing them into professions or trades for which they have no native inclination. Thus Kidner says that the verse teaches respect for the child’s individuality and vocation, though not for his self-will.

And the proverb may be a warning that if you train a child in the way that he himself wants to go, he will continue to be spoiled and self-centered in later life. Jay Adams writes:
The verse stands not as a promise but as a warning to parents that if they allow a child to train himself after his own wishes (permissively), they should not expect him to want to change these patterns when he matures. Children are born sinners and, when allowed to follow their own wishes, will naturally develop sinful habit responses. The basic thought is that such habit patterns become deep-seated when they have been ingrained in the child from the earliest days.”

Verse six note from the ESV Study Bible:

“Prov. 22:6 Train up a child. This proverb, founded on the covenant with Abraham (cf. Gen. 18:19), encourages parents to “train” (i.e., to “dedicate” or “initiate”; this is the sense of the word in Deut. 20:5; cf. Ezra 6:16) their children in the way (i.e., the right moral orientation) by pointing to the kinds of conduct that please or displease the Lord, and to the normal outcome of each kind of conduct (on the matter of consequences, see Introduction: Literary Features). The training will include love and instruction as well as “the rod of discipline” (Prov. 22:15).”

Contrast of the Righteous and the Wicked

There are many gifts given that are given in sacrifice.  Some even given so hopefully to appease a wrathful god who holds a scale in his hands weighing our good and our evil deeds.  No one can judge another heart in the matter.  But the Almighty God knows.

In a couple of verses we look at today we see what God thinks of sacrifices given by the “Wicked”; and the prayers of the “Upright” or the “Righteous”.

“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is His delight.” Proverbs 15:8
“The LORD is far from the wicked: but He heareth the prayer of the righteous.” Proverbs 15:29 (KJV)

It is good to be reminded of king Saul’s sacrifice (1 Samuel 15), and Samuel’s words to Saul concerning sacrifice,

“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, He hath also rejected thee from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:22-23

Wickedness is the act of hostility toward God, His Word, His messengers, and His works.  Who are the wicked?  Those who practice such things.  For those who are the wicked; God does not honor, remember or bless your “sacrifice”.  It is an abomination to Him; and will be counted against you unless you believe Him.

Proverbs 15:29 tells us that “The LORD is far from the wicked”.  He is far from them as far as their wickedness is concerned.  The place where they lie at night He is there; but they are far from Him.

In both of the verses of Proverbs is mentioned “Prayer”.  The prayer of the upright; and the prayer of the righteous.  The righteous are those who have heard the Word of God, believed it, received it, and are born into the kingdom of heaven because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“The prayer of the upright is His delight”.  The “Upright” are the righteous, and God is delighted– favors, finds pleasure, good will, and acceptance in their prayers. For those who are born again in Christ Jesus it is wonderful to know that He hears our prayers…

“And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14

O turn away from your wicked hostility toward God, His Word, His people, His messengers, and His works.  Call on the name of the Lord.

Wisdom, Leadership and Justice

The personification of wisdom was first witnessed in the first chapter; and another time or two.  Now again in chapters eight and nine.  I want us to remember that Wisdom lives in the Person of Jesus Christ.

There is a need for wisdom, and justice in this world; especially in leadership positions, and more so among Christians and leadership.  Hear from Wisdom today…

“I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.” Proverbs 8:12-21 (KJV)

Justice is found through Wisdom. Remember the wisdom of Solomon when he took a sword, and would divide the child, due to the dispute between two mothers (1 Kings 3:16-28). To the erring mind that judgment would seem harsh; however there was prudence, discretion, subtilty, in that judgment.

You could also use that event to show that wisdom “find’s out knowledge of witty inventions”.

Wisdom hates what God hates; loves what God loves. Here in verse 13 we see some of what God hates again, through Wisdom – Pride, arrogance, evil paths, and a froward mouth. The “froward mouth” is a perverse mouth. You ever hear someone that when they speak all that comes out of their mouth is rot, stink and filth. That is not just dealing with vulgarity of language, but assination of anothers life and character, gossip – whether it is from a bitter heart or not. Hear the words of Jesus…

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” Luke 6:45

 

True and good “counsel” belongs to Wisdom (v. 14). Leadership sponsored by Wisdom is a leadership of Justice. The Judge of all promises riches and righteousness, and will fill the treasures of those who follow Wisdom.

It is Best to Listen to Wisdom

“Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.” Proverbs 1:24-27 (KJV)

For the month of March I will be endeavoring to do a short study from the Wisdom book of Proverbs.

In the above verses the message begins from Wisdom in verse 20.  So Wisdom is personified by Solomon here and in chapters 8 and 9.  We will get to those later.  For the study today we focus on 1:24-27.

Wisdom will not be ignored.  When we speak of Wisdom we speak of God’s Wisdom.  Compare godly wisdom to the wisdom of men…

“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:13-18

Since this wisdom is godly wisdom it comes from none other source than the  heart of God Himself.  It comes from His Word, His promises, His power, His Spirit, and His works – His works that He does even, maybe especially, in His people; as His people yield to His wisdom.

When the child of God chooses his/her own way rather than God’s way and wisdom we end up showing our bitterness, envy, anger, strife, and we start disbelieving the word of God; until God gets ahold of us, and sets us right.  It is not a pleasant thing for the child of God for Him to get ahold of us (Hebrews 12:6-8).

When we are not right with God; walking with Him in His Spirit, then, there will be great fear with no peace to face it.

Those who reject God, His wisdom, and His grace will one day find themselves being laughed at and mocked because your own wisdom fails you; and your calamity will be an eternal one.

O turn to the One who is All Wise, believe His promises, and trust His grace and mercy that He has given mankind by that God-Man Jesus the Christ who died on the cross for our sins, was buried and He rose again;  believing He is the Son of God; God the Son.  That is where Wisdom begins.

Citizenship Responsibilities

I have been blessed to have been born in the United States of America.  It has been called “The land of the free, and the home of the brave”.  Some have called the U. S. of A.  a “Christian nation”, some “Not a Christian nation”.

I want all to know, however, that I am a citizen of two Nations.  The nation in which I was physically born; and the Nation of Heaven into which I was born again through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I could not; neither can any other person, get into that nation without new birth through faith in Christ Jesus (John 3:3).

Now to the point of Acts 22…

“The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him. And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman. Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born. Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.” Acts 22:24-29 (KJV)

The apostle Paul was also the citizen of two, actually  three nations, though one [Israel] was not recognized as a nation at that time.  He was on trial for his witness; his testimony he has shared in verses 1 – 22 of this chapter.  They were about to beat him with a whip, and he was a Roman citizen, a born free Roman citizen.

As a citizen he was not to be beaten, whipped; at least not without a legal trial.  Yet, that is what was about to happen; so Paul uses his Roman citizenship.

In many nations the citizens of that country has rights and freedoms foreigners do not have in that country.  Citizens of the U. S. of A. have rights and freedoms that foreigners do not have.  That is being tried daily in our press, and in our government; and of that I will say only this.  Rights and freedoms of this country belong to citizens of this country.

Our earthly citizenship is a tool of God to bring others to Christ Jesus; so we can use our rights and freedoms to see others gloriously redeemed through the blood of Jesus.  As with Paul,  “God was using the great power of the Roman Empire to protect His servant and eventually get him to Rome.  God’s missionary did get to Rome — and the Romans paid the bill.”  Warren Wiersbe

Our earthly citizenship – not matter what nation we live in – should not be used to cause shame toward our Savior, or to our heavenly citizenship.  Let us live faithfully for our Lord and Savior in this world.  Our first responsibility is to our Lord.  That means being good citizens in the world in which we live.

No Yoke

Sometimes there is strife, and arguments in the Church.  Maybe that is whey there are so many different denominations; but I think it probably goes beyond our differences.

Even in the early Church there was conflict.  Since the first members of the first Church were Jewish, having believed the Law, the Prophets, and the Wisdom literature – all of Scripture; then they had to deal with how the Gentiles fit into their beliefs.  That is what the conflict was over in Acts 15.

“And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.” Acts 15:6-12 (KJV)

There were some in the Jerusalem Church who were teaching that the Gentile believers which had believed needed to agree with the law of Moses, and follow Jewish practices.  The verses above are the apostles defense of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone.

The Holy Spirit had been given to the Gentile believers without the Law.  Why would, or why should they be expected to be put under the “Yoke” of the Law, “…Which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear…”.

We must understand, however, that freedom from the “Yoke of the Law” does not mean freedom to sin.  Since Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, was buried carrying sins death, condemnation, guilt, and bondage with Him; then rising from death leaving those things far away; we are free.  It does mean freedom from sin, and its yoke of bondage and death.

It is stated again in the text above.  “…We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they…”  Jews and Gentiles are saved by grace through faith in the work of the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-10).

…Purchased with money

“But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me. And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.” Acts 8:20-25 (KJV)

There are two men of God in this chapter.  Philip seems to be the one who was preaching when Simon the sorcerer makes a decision, and speaks, “This man is the great power of God” (v. 10).

Sorcery has always been rejected by God because it distracts from God, His power and authority and Spirit.  In the case of this sorcerer it appears to mean “Magical arts” or the “work of a magician”.  For Simon it was used to deceive people purposely for his own personal gain.  In our day we might call him a “Scam artist”.  He did, however, recognize Philip as a man of God.

The words of the verses above were spoken by the apostle Peter.  He had spoken and laid hands on some of the believers of Samaria, and they received the Holy Spirit.  For clarity the Holy Spirit comes into, is given by God to an individual when receive the gift of God in Jesus Christ for salvation.

Simon saw this laying on the hands, as a “Power” which could be bought with money; and Peter rebukes him, even heavily condemns him for believing such a thing.

The gift of the Spirit of God has no price.  He is given by the grace of God upon one’s salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, His death on the cross, His burial and His resurrection.  He is given as “Christ in you,” empowering us to live by the Spirit, and when we live in the Spirit we walk with God in full agreement with Him.

I do not know the outcome of Simon.  He did ask for prayer “…That none of these things which you have spoken come upon me..”   I do know that God is gracious and merciful, and if this Simon truly was born again through faith in Christ Jesus he is forgiven, and walking with Jesus in glory today.

No matter what you have done know today that God loved you so much that He gave His only begotten Son that if you will believe in Him you will never perish, but have eternal life with Him.

After His Passion

“The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after that He through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom He had chosen: to whom also He shewed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but Wait for the promise of the Father, which, ye have heard of Me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” Acts 1:1-5 (KJV)

A great many people are familiar people are familiar with the movie called “The Passion” made for the movie screen several years ago; but not everyone is very familiar with the Person of the Passion; and that is Jesus Christ.

The Acts are the continuing accounts of the Physician named Luke who also penned down the Gospel account of Luke.  Luke was not only a physician, but a historian as well.  The verses above show us that continuing account of the crucified, buried and resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.

I just want to leave you with some thoughts on phrases and words through this first chapter;

  1. “Taken up”  and “As He went up”  verses 2, 9, 10, 11;
  2.   “After His passion”  v. 3;
  3.   The continuing of the Gospel of Christ… “But ye shall receive power…” verses 7-8;
  4.   “These all continued with one accord in prayer…”  v. 14;

In verse 11 it should be noted that the admonition is to be telling people about Jesus, His passion, and that He is alive, and one day, soon, returning; and not to be gazing at the skies, and enamored with the signs.

Of course there is much more for chapter one. This will not be a …

Jesus in Genesis (6)

Genesis 24:1-67

“And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:  and I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: but thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest? And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again. The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; He shall send His angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.  And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again.  And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter. Genesis 24:1-9 (KJV).

I will not post all 67 verses, but I will put the verse numbers for your reference to check out.

We have been LOOKING FOR JESUS in Genesis for several articles. I will do one more following this one, and then I am going to do a study in The Revelation of Jesus Christ; Lord willing.

There is a wedding which is going to be celebrated, in what I believe to be the not too distant future. Here in the Old Testament book of Genesis is a picture of the bringing together of the bride and the Bridegroom.

Jesus promised that after His ascension into Heaven He would send a Comforter. This comforter would guide into all truth. He would draw people to Jesus Christ.

In our text we have an unnamed servant of Abraham who is sent to find a bride for his son. It is amazing how the Holy Spirit inspired the writings of Scripture in the way He has here showing forth the glory of God, and His work bringing the lost to Jesus.

The servant went to the assigned place to seek a bride for Isaac. Rebekah was that chosen bride. This bride 1). “Believed a man she had never met before, 2). was asked to go to a land from which she was never to return, 3). was asked to marry a man whom she as yet had never seen.” M. R. DeHaan. The journey was about 600 miles on the back of a camel.

When the servant chose Rebekah it was then, a decision for her to make. The decision was one that could not wait (vv. 55-58). So Rebekah chose to go on a journey over hard country – a barren, dry and dangerous country.

When Rebekah saw Isaac for the first time he was coming from Lahairoi, which means, “The well of a Living One”. This is the first appearance of Isaac since the altar of Mount Moriah. Jesus will one day appear to take His bride who has been chosen by the Holy Spirit.

Let’s look at four of the characters in this text, and we will try and focus the picture on the One who is True.

First of all, look at the father. He loved Isaac and wanted a bride for him. He believed that God was faithful and would keep His promise and provide the bride. The bride could not be an outsider. The Father getting a bride for His Son, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day”. John 6:44 (KJV).

The next character we see in the text is the servant. He is a model servant. He does not go unsent (vv. 2-9), he goes where he is sent (vv. 4-10), he does nothing else, is prayerful and thankful (vv. 12-14, 26-27), he is wise to win (vv.17, 21), he speaks not of himself, but of his master’s riches, and Isaac’s heirship (vv. 34-36; Acts 1:8), he presents the true issue, and requires a clear decision (v. 49).

The work of the Spirit of God is the True: the antitype. “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:” John 15:26 (KJV). “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” John 16:13-14 (KJV).

The third character is the chosen bride herself. She welcomed a stranger, whom she had never seen. This servant came to the well, seeking God’s direction, and Rebekah came and fulfilled the needs of this servants prayer (vv. 18-20, 24, 25). She accepted the servants invitation (vv. 55-58). The invitation was that she return to Canaan to be the wife of Isaac and receive the blessings of what he would inherit. Rebekah and the servant must have spoken much on the journey to meet the Bridegroom. She learned more about Isaac (v. 65) and more as she saw him and was getting nearer to him. She went over hard country in the care of the servant. This “Hard country” is the hardships, trials, and tribulations of living and growing in the Christian life. M. R. DeHaan said, “Rebekah was asked to believe a man she had never met before, to go to a land from which she was never to return, and to marry a man whom she as yet had never seen.”

The final character, but certainly not the least of the four is the son, in particular; his wedding. Weddings are most always a joyous event. It was for Isaac, and it was for Rebekah. When Rebekah came riding up on the camel with the servant she leaped off the camel. It does not say what she did when she leaped off the camel, but I just suppose that she ran to meet him, and their hearts became as one. In leaping off the camel Rebekah had left the last of her worldly possessions behind. Her journey is complete.

When Jesus and His Bride are joined together at last, they will never part, because it will be for all eternity.

The invitation is still extended. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Rev 22:17 (KJV).

If we have “Eyes to see, and ears to hear” we can see quite clearly the picture the Master has painted for us. We can see Jesus’ death in Isaac at the altar, we see His resurrection and ascension in that Isaac came from the “Well of the Living One”. We can see the work of the Holy Spirit in Abraham’s servant as he sought a bride for Isaac.

God is so good He paints us such beautiful pictures to show us how He is working throughout all of time to draw us to Himself. The Antitype is even more beautiful.

“And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great.  And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.  Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.  And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.  And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:5-10 (KJV).

Christmas Day 5

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want you to be reminded today, and the following four days that Christmas is about the incarnation of Jesus Christ; God becoming flesh and dwelling among us; that the Son of God became the Son of Man, so that the sons of men might become the sons of God.

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (KJV)

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Christmas Day Ten and Two

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want for all my children and their spouses to be at peace with God through Christ Jesus, at peace with themselves, and with their families; so there will be peace in their homes, and ultimately in their neighborhoods, cities, State, and Country; and I want that for every family of the U. S. of A..

“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for Thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8 (KJV)
“Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165

Christmas Day Nineteen

What do I want for Christmas today?

Since this is the time of giving gifts, I always want to remember the One who gave the greatest gift; the gift of His Son, to die on the cross for the sins of the world, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave; and that He continues to give us Himself day after day, moment after moment.

“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in every thing ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 (KJV)

Christmas Day Twenty and Six

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want everyone to know that every word God has spoken will come to pass; that it will be fulfilled just as He spoke it; than every word He has spoken has already came to pass, is coming to pass right now, and/or will come to pass later; to know that not one word will fail; that you might repent of your sins, and believe in the One whom He has sent – that is Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.

“Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for My mouth it hath commanded, and His Spirit it hath gathered them.” Isaiah 34:16 (KJV)

Christmas Day Thirty and Three

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to always, always value truth, and realize that the words of Holy Scripture are the truth in every part of my life; and that truth is never for sale.

John 17:17

“Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.” Proverbs 23:23 (KJV)

I heard somewhere that “If you always tell the truth, you never have to remember what you said.”  I have, for many years, remembered that.

Christmas Day 40

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to always know, trust, and believe that a man’s wealth is not determined by the things he possesses, but by the Person who has his heart; and I want all who read this to know, trust and believe that as well.

“Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Luke 12:15 (KJV)

Christmas Day Forty Seven

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to always be the type of man who will listen to and accept the wise instruction and teaching from those who know better than I on a subject; and to live in the instruction and wisdom given me.

“Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” Proverbs 9:9 (KJV)

Christmas Day Fifty and Four

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want my life to bear the fruits of the Spirit of God, and the word of God working effectively in me that others might come to faith in Jesus Christ for the honor and glory of God.

“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NKJV)

Christmas Day Sixty One

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to always realize that children; no matter what their age; in the womb, after they are born, until they have gone; are a blessing, a heritage of the LORD, and that God has given us the children, and grandchildren to bless us.

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is His reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127:3-5 (KJV)

Christmas Day Sixty Eight

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want, wanted, and have received some encouragement, hope, and strength from the LORD, and pray you will receive it as well from the following words…

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust. Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.” Psalm 91:1-8 (KJV)

Christmas Day Seventy and Five

What do I want for Christmas today?

To be faithful, passionate, and compassionate to tell others of what Jesus Christ has done for me, what He has done for you, and what He has done for the whole world.

“Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, ‘Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.’ And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.” Mark 5:19-20 (KJV)

Christmas Day Seventy and Six

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want civility; of all the people on earth who should be civil, and respectful of one another it ought to be Christians.  Sure we have our disagreements.  Sure we have different color of skin.  So what.  Name calling, anger, and bitterness toward any other is not Christlike [Christian].

For Christmas today I want civility, and it must begin with me.

I am not speaking against calling sin what it is; but I am speaking of treating all people with respect.  We are all created in God’s likeness.  Let us remember that before we speak.

Christmas Day Eighty and Two

What do I want for Christmas today?

No matter what experience I may have today; no matter how exciting, terrible, or painful it may be; I want my greatest experience be that of experiencing Jesus in closer walk with Him.

And Jesus came and touched them, and said, ‘Arise, and be not afraid.’ And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.” Matthew 17:7-8 (KJV)

Christmas Day Ninety and Six

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to live as though my whole body and being is the temple of the Lord; that He dwells in me; and that I am to keep it holy, for His honor, glory and power.

“Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.” Haggai 1:5-7 (KJV)

“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Christmas Day One Hundred Three

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want parents to know and to realize that their children are not perfect; that any of them can be a trouble maker, or a bully, and will lie, cheat and deceive; and that though they are loved they can be trouble, cause trouble or be in trouble; I want them to know that though these things are true they are still loved, yet need correction many times; sometimes even after they are grown; that the only answer for raising kids is to give them to the Lord; and you be an example to them.

Christmas Day – 110

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want  to live in a land, a nation, a country where everybody loves everybody, a place where people are helping each other when they are in need; I want to live in a place where everybody loves GOD, His Savior, His law, His Word, and everyone walks with Him; and when we do the latter the other happens.