The Lost Christmas Story

The Lost Christmas Story

We could call this the ignored story behind Christmas or we could call it, “The Grinch that Almost Stole Christmas.”  As we see the Christmas settings around town there will always be a nativity scene.  We usually see the beautiful manger scene with baby Jesus but there is one missing figure every time.  It’s not Frosty the Snowman or Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer and it’s not Santa.

Throughout the World Christmas pageants are common and have been a tradition in many churches. Our Sunday School classes have Christmas plays that always include three characters, Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.  There could also be some angels, wise men, shepherds and/or a few animals. There is one person however that is never in the Christmas pageant.  And it’s right that he not be there for he is the vilest individual one could run into.  But he is an important figure in the story and must be kept in Christmas.

 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.  (Matthew 2:13)

My post revolves around the second chapter of Matthew and verses 13 to 23 of the Holy Bible.  Beginning back in Chapter 1; verse 18, Matthew describes an angel’s message to Joseph in a dream, followed by the journey of the magi in response to the appearance of the star, the magi’s conversation with Herod, their worship of the child, the slaughter of the innocents, and the holy family’s flight into Egypt, precipitated by another revelation to Joseph in a dream.

So, you see, the one figure from the biblical narrative you won’t see portrayed in a child’s Christmas pageant is King Herod. He is way too mean, nasty and evil to be involved on that holy night.

Most of us know the story of the wise men coming into the court of King Herod and asking where they could find the child born King of the Jews.  Herod, was thought of as the King of the Jews and believed he was.  Herod was crafty and thought he could have the foreigners lead him to this child born as King of the Jews and do away with him.  But, the wise men saw through the evil plans of Herod and returned home, “by another way.”   This is usually where the Christmas eve story typically ends.

That was only part one, though, of the two-part story.  The second part is what everyone wants to ignore because the details are just horrific. It gets a “R” rating for the intense violence.  We can’t be sharing this with kids heading home to put out milk and cookies for Santa.  We never want to replace visions of sugarplums with horrible nightmares.

You see, King Herod was enraged when he found out the magi had double crossed him and did not lead him to the Christ Child.  Because of this he sent his soldiers out to commit such an atrocity it ranks up there with Hitler’s deeds.  He commands them to break into every Jewish home in the region in and around Bethlehem, find every male child and cut their throats.

You may or may not know there is a Christmas carol about this wicked action.  It is called the Coventry Carol. The words are a melancholy lullaby, sung by grieving mothers to their dead children:

Herod the King, In his raging,

Charged he hath this day,

His men of might, in his own sight,

All young children to slay.

 

Then woe is me, poor child for thee,

And ever mourn and say,

For thy parting, nor say nor sing,

By, by, lully, lully.

The carol tells the story of everything having been sweetness and light.  But then, it all changed and they heard the pounding of fists on their doors as Herod’s soldiers were after all the newborn sons.   The mothers of the City of David weep their bitter tears, and they cradle their lifeless babies in their arms:

Lullay, Thou little child,

By, by, lully, lullay.

Herod was in his final year of his 41 year reign and he was definitely evil enough to commit these atrocities.  He was king in name only because the Romans were calling the shots then. It was Herod’s job to carry out all the dirty work like subduing a rebellious colony on behalf of the emperor.  And Herod relished his dirty duties.

To let you know the type of guy King Herod was:

During his reign, he had at least nine wives and at least 14 children and perhaps more. He executed one of his wives named Mariamne for adultery, her mother declared herself queen charging Herod was unfit to rule so Herod put her to death without a trial.  There were two young sons from his marriage with Mariamne and he looked at them as a threat so he executed them.  After murdering his wife, mother and two sons he named his eldest son the exclusive heir to the throne.  But then he grew jealous of the crown prince and had him executed. The emperor was so appalled that he refused to allow any of Herod’s remaining sons to claim the title of king- although three of them would eventually rule as “tetrarchs” each governing one third of his father’s realm.

Thirty-three years later, one of them, Herod Antipas, would look upon Jesus at last, as he stood before him in chains, wearing a crown of thorns.

Would anyone doubt that this man was capable of ordering the soldiers to kill babies?

We know that Jesus escaped that fate because an Angel of the Lord came to Joseph in a dream and warned him with instructions to flee to Egypt.  Some may find it troubling that God would send an Angel to rescue Jesus but let all those little babies die.

That is a part of the theological issue we face so often: the problem of evil and sin, the question of why a just and an all-powerful God allows human suffering to take place. With that question answered elsewhere in no easy way, King Herod is well suited to play the role of evil incarnate.

So, Herod does not belong in a Sunday School Christmas pageant or play. But we must not forget about him.

King Herod is important to the Christmas story because he will help us remember what kind of world we live in and why this world needs a savior.  Jesus did not come to the world to bring a mid-winter festival.  He was not born into some Christmas card scene, rather He was born into a World where Families wander homeless and corrupt tyrants rule by murder and deceit.  Jesus didn’t come to offer respite from the world.  He came to save the world.

For us,

His Christmas weary disciples,

We have a role in carrying out the mission, by using the spiritual gifts he gave us along with whatever material resources we have.

It may be easier to remember the mission if we keep King Herod in Christmas.

 

 

 

WHO WERE “THE SONS OF GOD?”

SonsofGodAnd for that matter… who were the ‘Daughters of Men?” 

That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. (Genesis 6:2)

      This verse and subject has always fascinated me.  In the past I kind of thought the “Sons of God” were mighty men that truly pleased God in magnificent ways and because of that were graced with some super-human aspects.  Over the last couple years, however, because of my study I have come to more sound decision as to who they were.  I have consulted many different commentaries on the subject of which I will put a few here.  Those commentaries listed here represent a small sample of all I consulted.  It has been interesting to see the views from ancient times until now which have not changed all that much.

      The first commentary I will mention is the Matthew Henry Commentary.  Matthew Henry says we see here a full account of degeneracy, apostasy and rebellion against God.  Men began multiplying on the face of the earth as an effect of the blessing but they abused the blessing and perverted it which caused the blessing to turn into a curse.  Through the mercy of God sometimes sin becomes exceedingly sinful. The more sinners, the more sin; the offenders continue to multiply.  Mr. Henry says the “Sons of God” are those that professed religion and were those that were called into the kingdom on the name of the Lord.  So they were all the believers and God’s chosen.  There were mixed marriages because the ‘Sons of God” married the “Daughters of Men”.  Mr. Henry says the “Daughters of Men” are those women that were profane; they were strangers to God and were un-Godly.  These “Sons of Men” began in the line of Seth and they did not remain pure as they should have.  They intermingled and mixed with the excommunicated race of Cain: They liked what they saw and they took it.  They chose by the eye and only what they looked at and they followed corrupt affections (lust) without taking any advice.  They became unequally yoked which was forbidden.[1]

     Now look at the second commentary which is David Guzik:: Study Guide for Genesis 6. There were days of rapid population expansion (there were long life spans in the pre-flood world) and it led to problems of intermarriage. He says it is more accurate to see the “Sons of God” as either demons (angels in rebellion against God) or they were uniquely demon-possessed men.  He looks at the “Daughters of Men” as human women.  He references the “Sons of God” being used in the other three times in the Old Testament as “angels.”  In the other references it clearly referred to angelic beings and not humans from the line of Seth.  He would not speculate as to the nature of the union.  He says that is not revealed, however we understand there is the occult which is filled with sexual associations with the demonic, and today there are those that pursue these associations.  In his answer to the objection of Matthew 22: 30, he says, “God never said angels were sexless and He was speaking of faithful angels and not rebellious ones.” His position is that Satan tried to pollute the genetic “pool” of mankind and make the human race unfit to bring forth the “Seed of the woman- the Messiah.  He says, “Satan almost succeeded.”  God had to start over with Noah and his sons.[2]

     Lastly I will leave you with another view from The Popular Commentary of the Bible, Old Testament Volume 1, by Paul E. Kretzman.  This source indicates the Cainites had long since forsaken the Lord and would not worship Him.  They lived according to the lusts of their mind.  During the course of time as population was growing their corruption spread over to the families of the pious.  The corruption reached the “Sons of God”.  It got to the believers by a beginning with a laxity of morals. Over the fifteen centuries there was a remarkable increase of the human family.  It became ever increasingly difficult to maintain the discipline the Lord desired.  The men belonging to the tribe of Seth permitted carnal thoughts and lust to guide them when choosing wives.  The “Daughters of Men” were the women that lived only for the world and had only concerns for enjoyment. Their goal was to get all that the world could offer therefore they made the development of their beauty the aim of their being.  Their beauty became the snare that captured the “Sons of God” who were the men from the generation of believers.  They took wives for the mere gratification of their sensual desires and not for helpmates in marriage and honor.  The corruption of the Cainites was brought into the Church of God before the Flood.[3] 

         Wow, when I read about the “Daughters of Men making their beauty the snare to capture the “Sons of Men” it sounds like what goes on around us today.  Have you ever taken a look at the “Young and the Restless” soap opera? 

      So my view on this subject is this: I find that the answer to who was the “Sons of God” to be absolutely impossible to determine.  One thought I have is that if God wanted us all to know exactly who they were He would have made it absolutely clear.  There are as many scholars indicating the “Sons of God” were beings other than human, angels or spirits as there are scholars indicating they were of the line of Seth.   I have consulted many more than three sources and have bridged this discussion in the past.  I consulted Chuck Smith’s Commentary in the C2000 Series on Genesis and he takes the position they are angels.  In the “A Commentary on the Holy Bible” by J. R. Dummelow from 1908 I found he took the stance that they were deities (angels) that mated with the women of earth.  I referenced J. Vernon McGee and R.C. Sproul who both believe it cannot possibly mean angels and speaks of the reprobate and apostate mankind.  Many years ago I read the passage and pondered it for months.  It was troubling to me and I wanted to find the answer.  The answer I came to was similar to some here.  I looked at the “Sons of God” as being the favored men of the Church of God.  I looked at it in way that said, “These men that God looked at as His champions had become corrupt and broken His heart.  I came to the conclusion that God had showered these Sons with blessings and longevity only to have them become corrupt.  I could feel the pain in my heart as I studied that small section of scripture over and over.”  Like J. Vernon McGee I came to the conclusion that these men were the outstanding individuals in the lineage of God from Adam to Seth.  I don’t think I can agree completely that they were all men from the line of Seth but I do think they were men very favored in the eyes of the LORD.   I never looked at the “Daughters of Men” being descendants of Cain because I was consumed with the thought of these men being held in high regard in God’s kingdom and becoming the biggest disappointment of his creation.  Each time this subject comes up we can come to no conclusive result and must continue in faith while accepting it for what it is.  For the record I will stand in the camp with Matthew Henry, R.C. Sproul and Paul Kretzman knowing that there are some very intelligent scholars out there who will disagree with us all.  

God bless your day,

The Tubthumper


[1] Matthew Henry, Text Commentaries: Matthew Henry (Blue Letter Bible: Genesis), http://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/mhc/Gen/Gen_006.cfm (accessed February 2, 2014).

[2] David Guzik, Text Commentaries: David Guzik (Blue Letter Bible: Genesis), http://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide_Gen/gen_6.cfm (accessed February 2, 2014).

 [3] Paul E. Kretzmann, The Popular Commentary of the Bible, Old Testament Volume 1 (St. Paul, Minnesota: Concordia Publishing House, 1919).

Hell Yes It’s Real, part 4

New Testament Doctrine of Hellcanstockphoto5818885

Three words are translated to “Hell” from the New Testament. Hades, Tartarus and Gehenna. Hades and Tartarus are Greek and the word Gehenna is the Greek form of the Hebrew words Gee and Hinnom which mean “the valley of Hinnom.”

Hades occurs eleven times and has a meaning of “grave” one time and “Hell” ten times. 2 Cor. 15: 55, ” O death, where is thy sting. O grave (hades) where is thy victory?” An example of a use where it takes the meaning of “Hell” is Rev. 6: 8, “And I looked, and behold a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was death, and Hell followed him.”

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus provides a good example of hades being used in the figurative sense of depravity, suffering and degradation. The word Tartarus was used only one time and was within the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Tartarus was the place of torment within Hades. It is the place where the rich man was located and was used figuratively. The word Gehanna shows up 12 times always being associated with “Hell”. It is found in the following scriptures: Matt. 5:22, 29, 30, 10:28, 18:9, 13:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5 and James 3:6. It is clear to see the word Gehanna, or Hell, within the New Testament represents anything repulsive, foul and evil with judgment of destruction.[1]

The majority of people today cannot quite grasp the Biblical teaching on the destiny of the lost. Someone you love could possibly end up in eternal punishment because of wickedness.  Now that is a thought and a place where even Christians with generally high views of Biblical inspiration cannot go.[2]

The bible teaches the existence of Heaven where we can end up in a state of joyous eternity and residing in the fellowship of God. It also teaches the presence of Hell which is presented as a state of anguished separation from God. Those decisions are made while you are in this life and once this life ends they become permanently fixed states.[3]

The very first description of Hell in revelation comes in Chapter 14 when John wrote about the final judgment. “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name” (Rev. 14:9-11).  This is another very terrifying section of God’s word as it is referring to “God’s wrath” and “God’s anger” all mentioned within the context of “tormented with fire and brimstone” forever and ever.  It does not get any more frightful than this. John sends all a very forceful warning of “Do not oppose God!” He goes on in revelation describing the torment and the lake of fire.[4]

In Revelation 20 and 21 the “Lake of fire” is described as the place where all who choose to turn from Jesus will go as a final destiny.  In Rev. 20: 11-15 the words are clear that the lake of fire is for punishment.  John tells us there will be two different places for believers and unbelievers.  “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (Rev. 22:14-15).   If these subjects have not dealt with their sins through the blood of Jesus in this life, “washed their robes”; their destiny will be chosen.  There will be no way to wash your robes when you are in the lake of fire.[5]

The doctrine of Hell is fully supported by the Bible and has been an accepted doctrine of the Christian church from the beginning. Many Scholars such as C.S. Lewis have come to the conclusion that scriptures also are supported by reason.

In the last part of Matthew 25 it says, “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matt. 25:44-46).  Think about what the Bible is always talking about.  Believe on Christ and be saved.  Believe and have everlasting life.  Be saved from what? It is important to connect with this fundamental issue.  If you believe and have a saving faith in Christ you are then saved from that awful and terrible place in outer darkness.  You will be saved from the wrath of God.  No one wants to experience the wrath of a just God visited upon who ever has been hostile toward Him. You should be seeing the reality of Hell in all this. The most frightful thing anyone could ever experience is the judgment of a holy God.[6]

Tony Evans wrote, “The Bible is clear that at the moment of death, our souls pass immediately into conscious existence in eternity, either in heaven or in hell.  A lot of people think there’s some kind of second chance after death.  God’s Word says nothing about an intermediate state of purgatory after death in which we have a second chance to get our act together, have our sins dealt with and then make it to heaven.”[7]

As mentioned before, this life is no trial run.  It is the only shot we have.  So let us all get our act together so as not to end up in that horrible place called Hell.  Yes, it is for real.

Come back for the next post as we look at what Jesus said about Hell.

  Click here to jump to the next post. Jump to part 1, part 2, part 3, Conclusion.

Have a Godly day,

“The Tubthumper”

 



[1] Velarde, Is Hell Real?

[2] David Horton and Ryan Horton, eds., The Portable Seminary (Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2006), 166.

[3] Ibid., 194.

[4] Evans, Tony Evans Speaks Out on Heaven and Hell, 15.

[5] Chan and Sprinkle, Erasing Hell, 33.

[6] Sproul, Unseen Realities, 65.

[7] Evans, Tony Evans Speaks Out on Heaven and Hell, 8.

Hell Yes it’s Real, part 2

HellheavensignWhat about the definition and description of Hell?

The Early Jews Believed

The first- century Jews vividly described hell and the descriptions they gave were the same as the ones provided by the New Testament authors and the images presented by Jesus.  They said all sinners would be blotted out of the book of life.  These sinners would cry and lament in an invisible wilderness and they would burn in the fire.  They described this place as being “completely dark.”  Although it was completely dark there was the flame of its fire burning brightly. They described Hell as being an “abyss…full of fire” and pictured all the wicked being “cast into this fiery abyss, and they were burned.”  Fire, darkness and lamenting were typical ways they described that place.  There is one thing that is very clear: First-century Jews knew that Hell was for real.  They believed in the “abyss” where its inhabitants were in pain.  They believed in Hell and knew Hell was for real.[1]

Hell is about judgment and eternal separation. All the words about Hell that come from Jesus are related to judgment.  When we think of the picture of Hell painted throughout the New Testament there are a number of things we need to understand.  One thing is that God is a just god. He is Holy and must judge according to His perfect righteousness. He is the Great High Priest and the ruler of all. All His creation is accountable to Him.  Anyone that has studied God’s word knows that one basic teaching is there will be a final judgment day for all.  Everyone is to be judged according to His perfect law and His righteousness.[2]

 Theological Definition of Hell

From a theological standpoint the doctrine of Hell is relating to eschatology. Eschatology is the study of end-times events, the book of Revelation in the Bible and what happens to an individual’s soul when their physical body dies. Actually in simple terms it is related to our eternal destiny and whether our soul goes to heaven or to hell. God has an offer for everyone to join Him in His kingdom when they die. Unfortunately very few will take him up on his offer and instead of choosing heaven they will be residing in this place called hell.
God is without sin and holy, just and loving. Nothing unholy can ever come within His presence. Anyone failing to accept the truth must end up somewhere else after physical death and that somewhere else is Hell. This is not a pleasant topic however it is one that is very important to understand in biblical context.[3]

There is enough evidence for us to believe that Hell, the Gehenna Hell exists today.  It is real and it is likely someone you have known is there now.  That should be a sobering, tearful and frightful thought.  According to the scriptures and the words of Jesus heaven is still in preparation.  It says, in John 14:1-3, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also”.[4]

As for Hell, however, there is strong evidence from the Bible and also from scientific facts that say Hell exists right now. Look to Matthew 25:41, “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels”.  Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost wrote, “The word ‘prepared’ literally is “having been prepared,” suggesting that the lake of fire is already in existence and awaiting its occupants.  It is the thesis of C.T. Schwatrze, then of New York University, that such a place as a lake of fire is known to science today.”[5]

The images of Hell in the Old Testament are where the phrase “fire and brimstone” originated.  It is the King James Version’s explanation of “burning sulfur” suffocating its victims by the fumes and the flames would destroy anything else remaining.  Lamentations indicates that death by fire and brimstone might be fairly merciful compared to some ways of meeting the end. “For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her” (Lam. 4:6).  God’s wrath was poured out on sinners in Sodom and Gomorrah and they were burned to ashes as an example of what will happen to the ungodly in the end. “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly” (2 Peter 2:6).  The absolute permanence of that city’s destruction is made clear in the scriptures.  It was a forever lasting event.  (Isaiah 13:19-22; Jer. 5040). The city of Sodom would never again rise which is the picture of the destiny of those Jude was referring to.  They will “suffer the punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 7).[6]

Hell is for real! The reality of Hell is an established fact.  There is an undeniable reality of Hell.  Tony Evans writes, “Hell is the place of external exile where the ungodly will experience god’s righteous retribution against sin forever.  We are going to see that of all the suffering in hell, the worst is the fact that the lost are banished from God’s presence forever.[7]

Join me next time to look into the human responses to hell compared to what the Bible says about that horrible place.  CLICK HERE TO PROCEED TO PART 3.

Jump to Part 1Part 2,   Part 4,    Part 5Conclusion.

Have a Godly day,

“The Tubthumper”


[1] Chan and Sprinkle, Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity, and the Things We Made Up.

[2] Sproul, Unseen Realities, 61.

[3] Robert Velarde, Is Hell Real?, http://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/becoming_a_christian/is_christ_the_only_way/is_hell_real.aspx (accessed April 19, 2013).

[4] The Holy Bible, King James Version.

[5] Harold L. Wilmington, Great Truths from God’s Word: Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Bible Publishers, 1993), 228.

[6] Edward William Fudge, and Peterson, Two Views of Hell, 29.

[7] Evans, Tony Evans Speaks Out on Heaven and Hell, 16.

You Must View God in 3-D, Part 4

Holy_Spirit  THE DEITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Invisible force of power cannot be compared to an individual person of deity.

Many have argued that the Holy Spirit is simply an invisible force of the power of the Almighty God.  They argue that the Holy Spirit has no deity and is “not a person” and that it is an impersonal force God uses to complete His will.  The Bible teaches however, the Holy Spirit is a person.  A person is a self-conscious and rational being.  In order to qualify as a person there needs to be certain components present such as knowing, thinking and communicating. Let us look at these passages of scripture:

“And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” (John 16:8) He is a personal pronoun indicating a person who is communicating.

“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.” (John 8:13) Guide you into all truth whatsoever he shall hear indicates knowing and thinking and speak and shew is communicating.

“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” (Acts 13:2) The Holy Ghost said, indicating communication“I”, is a first person pronoun indicating a person. In these passages the Holy Spirit is demonstrating those traits of a person.  By communicating, thinking and knowing, and being described with personal pronouns, the Holy Spirit is acting as a self-conscious person.[1]

The Five-fold Indication of the Deity of the Holy Spirit.

The scriptures clearly assert the deity of the Holy Spirit in five ways.

First, divine names were given to the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit is called God as Ananias is talking in Acts 5 verse 4, “Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.”  The Spirit is also called Lord in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” In the Lord’s Day, the title ‘Lord’ as used of Christ was applicable only to the Deity, to God.  Therefore this reference is applicable to the Deity.

Second, the Holy Spirit is in possession of divine attributes.  Hebrews 9:14 indicates He is eternal in His nature. Psalms 139:7-10 speaks to the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit.  Luke 1:35 speaks to how the Holy Spirit is omnipotent and 1 Corinthians 2:10 and 11 speaks to the omniscient Holy Spirit through the trinity.

Third, the Divine works are ascribed to the Holy Spirit.  Genesis 1:2 and Psalms 104:30 give indication to the divine works in creation.  Regeneration is indicated in Job 33:4, “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” Romans 8:11 brings out the Holy Spirits involvement in the resurrection, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

Fourth, the name of the Holy Spirit gets associated with the Father and the Son.  In Baptism there is the personality of the Spirit.  Baptism is done in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  When it comes to the distribution of Spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit is on equal footing with the Father and the Son. “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

Fifth and last, some scripture passages in the Old Testament referring to God are also in the New Testament referring to the Holy Spirit.  Compare Isaiah 6:8-10 with Acts 28:25-27 and compare Exodus 16:7 with Hebrews 3:7-9.[2]

R.A. Torrey writes, “To sum it all up, by the ascription of all the distinctively Divine attributes, and several distinctly Divine works, by referring statements which in the Old testament clearly name Jehovah, the Lord, or God as their subject to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, by coupling the name of the Holy Spirit with that of God in a way that would be impossible to couple that of any finite being with that of Deity, by plainly calling the Holy Spirit God, in all these unmistakable ways, God in His own Word distinctly proclaims that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person.”[3]

Come back for the conclusion in the next post. Click here for the CONCLUSION.

God bless your day today,

“The Tubthumper”

 

Click Here to Jump to Part 1here for Part 2here for Part 3



[1] Francis J. Beckwith, The Trinity, http://www.answering-islam.org/Trinity/beckwith.html (accessed March 1, 2013).

[2] Evans, The Great Doctrines of the Bible.

[3] R.A.Torrey, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit (New York, NY: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1910), 29.

What’s the Cost of Happiness, P2

Happy2The Cost of Happiness, part 2.

Inflation numbers are out on covetousness and the news isn’t good.

This is all about us and our neighbors.  We are not to covet what our neighbors have and all people are our neighbors.  We are to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Can you hear it, “OUR NEIGHBORS”, “OUR NEIGHBORS”, it is that of “our neighbors” that we are to leave alone because it is theirs.  It is the things of our neighbors we are not to lust after.  To covet means to lust for, so do not covet what God has given to your neighbors.

Our Lord warns us with a parable about a rich man who was very foolish. He was trying to pile up the wealth to stay ahead of the Jones’ but what he didn’t know was that his life was to end that very night and he was focusing on the wrong thing.  From Luke 12:16-21: “The ground of a certain man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

So that covers it: Covetousness makes us treasure up for ourselves things on earth for which we will have no need. Then we don’t lay up any treasure in heaven toward God. Covetousness deceives us regarding our values. We place more emphasis on ‘things’ and miss the blessings of living for Christ and for others (our neighbors).

What about happiness?  There is no other real source of happiness but God; and he is able abundantly, and willing to impart consolation to his people.  As it says in 2 Corinthians 1:3, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.” 

Happiness, joy and satisfaction depend on what we do and how we respond to things around us and what life dishes our way. The truth is that it is not possible for human relationships or material items to fulfill all of one’s needs. There is only one source of fulfillment and satisfaction which is a relationship with Jesus, God’s Son, the Anointed One. He is and has all that we will ever need.

Don’t let the “keep up with the Jones’ mentality of our culture distract you from the source of true happiness. “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, Philippians 4:12-13

Happiness comes as we put our focus on the Lord. ”You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength”, Deuteronomy 6:5.

God is the source for all good things.  Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, Godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness”, 1 Timothy 6:6-11. 

It is good to have enough to keep ourselves out of poverty.  And prosperity is a desirable thing.  We cannot give without having something to give and I believe that the more we give the more we receive.  It is balance we need.  Do not lose focus on where the true wealth comes from.

Happiness does not come by gratifying our own desires but by bringing gratification to the Lord and fulfilling his desires. And as the Lord’s requirements are met, our needs will be taken care of, just like He promised in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

God Bless you,

“The Tubthumper”

9 Days to pray for the election.

girl in worshipYou are a wonderful God, let us never forget to praise and worship You.

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips. (Psalm 6:3-5)

“I lift these hands, dear God, to You, in praise and thanks for all you do.

You light the path through all my days and bless me with your loving ways…

I lift these hands dear God, to You, in troubled hours when joys are few.

You bear me up on eagles’ wings and see me through each test life brings.

I lift these hands, dear God, to You; please grant me wisdom, patience, too.

Then fill my heart with love and caring, precious gifts you’ve made for sharing.”[1]

Dear heavenly Father, we praise Your Holy name.  We adore Your name and Your presence.  We lift our hands to Your glory.  In the beginning You were God, today You are God and tomorrow You will be God.  Forever You shall be our God! You rule the world, Lord and are head of the church, Your body.  We praise You Almighty God.

Almighty God, You raised Jesus from death to life for our benefit and crowned him Lord of all. Father, we confess that we have not bowed before him or acknowledged his rule in our lives. We confess as a nation that our people have not acknowledged Your rule.  We as a people and individuals have gone along with the ways of the world.  We have failed to give You glory.  Forgive us and raise us from sin, Oh God.  Forgive us and cleanse us Lord, that we may be your faithful people obeying the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thank You for the leadership in our lives; for people You have placed to help our journey on earth be more productive and more pleasing. We Thank You for the people in governmental positions in our Nation and communities. Thank You that You are ultimately in charge and You will guide these leaders in their decision making, if they but yield to You. Watch over our election in 9 days and protect us, dear God.  We need You, Lord.

Thank You for our church leaders, Lord, as they each help us in our spiritual walk. For pastors who can be most influential in imparting Your truths to us. Thank You also for those who teach Sunday School and those who guide the business of our churches, enabling the church to function smoothly and wisely. For each person who shows us through Your Word how to lead the Christian life, we Thank-You.

O Lord, Let us never forget to praise Your Holy name.  You wonderful, Oh God! You are slow to anger and patient, with a love that has no end. Let us bless each day and lift up our thanks in praise for the wonderful things You have done for us.  May we forever give honor to Your name, for without You we are nothing.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen



[1] Poet – Emily Matthews

Day 29 praying for election, 11 to go.

Praying girlLift us up that we may boldly proclaim Your truth each and every day.  

Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. (Matthew 21:21-22)

Oh God! There is no god but You.  You are the Almighty! You are the living and the eternal creator of all.  Father, all things in the heavens and on earth are Yours. There is no one that can intercede in You presence except as You permit.  You, Oh God, know what is before or after or behind us all. Your throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and You are the Most High, the Supreme.

Whoever rejects evil and believes in You, Oh God has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks.  Lord, You hear and know all things. You, Lord are the protector of those who have faith; from the depth of darkness, You will lead us forth into light. For those who reject faith the patrons are the evil forces that prevail.  We praise You; We praise You, Oh God.

Almighty God, please forgive us.  Our country has sinned against you, Lord. Instead of focusing on You, Lord we focus on ourselves and a life of greed and pride.  We have become a corrupt nation, Lord. No longer is prayer allowed in our schools. No longer is Sunday honored as a day of worship where no work is done. In a nation where we are supposed to have freedom of religion it is coming to the point where Christians are persecuted for following You, for speaking of You and for trying to lead lost souls to You. We have nearly lost all that our forefathers fought and lost lives for.  Lord help us.  Heal our land dear Lord.  We need your help, Lord. We need your healing hand. Forgive this nation, Lord, for the many sins committed each day. Guide this country and our election for President as we seek to turn this country in the right direction. And that direction is towards you, Lord.

Lord we give thanks. Father, we know that our bounty did not come from Washington DC.  It came and it comes from You, Oh God alone.  Our founding fathers understood that perfectly, Lord.  Because of our heritage and faith in You we can still worship at a church, synagogue, or mosque of our choosing every day or once a week or not at all. Please protect that freedom dear God.  Thank you that we can still express ourselves openly in open forums such as blogs, meetings, rallies, and other venues.  Thank you that we can still own our own firearms and use them for sport or for protection. Thank you that we can still own property and are free to move about the country.  Thank you that we can still look at one another and know that each of us are among the most generous people on earth. Thank you that we can all be proud of our young men and women in the military and thank You, God for them. Thank you that while almost 1 in 5 of us are without jobs, there are friends, relatives and neighbors in our communities ready to help out the less fortunate.  Thank you, Lord that by all standards, we live in a country where all are equal. We have many things too great to mention Lord, we are so thankful for Your grace.

Oh, God, please strengthen our faith.  Protect our nation and our people. Guide the results of the election in 11 days. Help us to never doubt Your Word or Your faithfulness.  Lift us up, Father, that we may boldly proclaim Your truth each and every day. Let us be sensitive to the leading of Your Spirit and never forget that, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). Dear Lord, we praise You, Your mercies are new every morning and Your faithfulness is great.  Father, we bring these prayers to you through Jesus Christ, Amen.

Day 18 praying for elections, 22 more to go.

Praying4Give Ear to Our Words O’LORD.

Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation.  Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. (Psalm 5:1-3)

Father we adore you.  “You are holy, Lord, the only God, and Your deeds are wonderful.   You are strong.  You are great.  You are the Most High.  You are Almighty.  You, Holy Father are King of heaven and earth. You are Three and One, Lord God, all Good. You are Good, all Good, supreme Good, Lord God, living and true. You are love. You are wisdom.  You are humility.  You are endurance.  You are rest. You are peace. You are joy and gladness. You are justice and moderation.  You are all our riches, and You suffice for us.  You are beauty.  You are gentleness. You are our protector.  You are our guardian and defender. You are our courage.  You are our haven and our hope. You are our faith, our great consolation.  You are our eternal life, Great and Wonderful Lord, God Almighty and Merciful Savior.”[1]

We give thanks this day O’God for your love and for the many, many blessings you have given our land and our people.  Our greatness has come from Your grace, Lord. We beg You, O’Lord, to hear our supplications.  Hear our prayers dear Lord!  Let us come to you each day with our hearts full of joy, for You are our Most High God and everything we have comes from you.

Dear God, forgive our nation and our people for the destruction of millions of babies through abortion. Forgive us for the sexual immorality that is common in entertainment and so many relationships. For the tolerance and promotion of sexual perversion. Please forgive us Father for the dependency on material things and failure to trust God for physical, economic, and national security.  We pray you forgive us for the disregard of God’s standards for marriage and family living. We come humbly and in repentance to Lord.

Father in heaven we pray for Our President. We pray that the heart of our President will be open and sensitive to the Lord. We ask you, O’God to give him wisdom for the decisions he must make. We ask O’God for you to protect him from physical harm and spiritual attack. We ask you, Lord to protect his family from all harm.  For the election in 22 days, Father, we ask for your divine intervention that the winner of the election would be hand-picked by You.  We ask for your protection of our nation and we ask for a great leader.

We pray for our Nation, O’God.  We pray for the Holy Spirit to convict the people of our nation of sin. We ask Him to soften all our hearts and make them open to You, Lord.  We pray that You will release those taken captive by Satan and give sight to those who have been spiritually blinded. We ask for a harvest of souls.  We ask for You to bring revival to the hearts and lives of the saved.  We ask You, Father, to protect us from physical attack.  Please, O’God, give a spirit of patience and calm throughout the land.

We pray for our churches dear Lord.  We ask You Lord, to move Your churches to boldly proclaim the gospel to the unsaved. To help us trust Him and His sovereign control over the world. To fill us with compassion for those who are suffering because of recent events. To strengthen the hearts of God’s people, giving courage and persistence.  To help Your children experience You peace that passes all understanding, that it would guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  We pray that the churches will be characterized by deep repentance and a return to the Lord. We pray that church leaders may be courageous, wise, and faithful in their proclamation and counsel.

Bless us, Father, that we might bless others.  Let us always look to You for every provision. Let us each be an open vessel filled with Your wisdom, that others might know Your saving grace.  Father we have come to You in obedience and humility to seek your face. We have asked for much this morning believing You will hear, provide and heal our land.  We ask all through Jesus Christ, AMEN.



[1] St. Francis of Assisi

Day 11 of prayer, 29 to go

Holy-Spirit-Dove-FireThe Spirit makes intercession for us.

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Romans 8:26)

Dear great and awesome God, You are faithful and merciful toward those who love You.  You are most high and all-powerful, great and glorious Lord.  All our praise is Yours, all glory, all honor and all blessings are Yours.   All strength and power come from You.  To you alone our praises belong, and we are not worthy to pronounce Your Name.

Father, we bow our heads before you and we confess that we have forgotten that we and our nation are yours.  We have gone on with our lives as if there was no God and we have fallen short of desires.  We ask your forgiveness today Lord, and we ask for your strength, wisdom and protection.

We thank you Lord for all you have provided despite our lack of honor and commitment to you.  We know Father; all we have is what You have provided.  All our great nation has become is because of your grace.  Thank you Lord for the presence of Your Spirit who continually helps us to conquer our weaknesses and our enemies.  All things are possible through You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and nothing is possible without You.

Father we ask today with open hearts and we pray to You Father through Your Son that we as a nation will humble ourselves in Your presence.  We thank you for Your forgiveness.  Dear Lord please strengthen us to live with purpose and please empower us to serve you.  Father, please heal our land.  Father, please protect and bless us on this election for our beloved nation.

We ask all these things through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN.

Day10 of Prayer for Election, 30 to go

foundin-fathers-prayingIn Everything Give Thanks

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Dear Lord we praise you this day.  We love you Lord and worship you.  Forgive us Father for our sins against you.  Dear Lord, our joy in you is our strength.   Father, you have blessed our nation beyond all measure.  We rejoice and give thanks, Lord for your grace and blessings on our country.   Dear Lord, we pray for your divine guidance on all our days.  Father, we pray that we would never forget Your benefits of power and strength, love and protection.  Thank you Lord for welcoming us to Your throne of grace to receive your blessing.  In Jesus name, AMEN.

A prayer from Thomas Jefferson from Washington, DC, on March 4, 1801.  He prays, “Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will.  Bless our land with honorable ministry, sound learning, and pure manners.  Save us from violence, discord and confusion, from pride and arrogance and from every evil way.  Defend our liberties and fashion into one united people, the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues.  Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those whom in Thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth.  In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Day 8 of Prayer for USA Election

220px-Maria_Magdalene_prayingA prayer for election 2012 USA

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:14)

For all Christians the verse above tells us what should constitute our prayer lives: We should pray properly, purposefully and persistently. When all three elements are a part of our prayer lives, they work.  We are to align ourselves with God’s will.  We are to ask for what we want; we are to be specific.   We are to pray persistently.  The apostle Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. Every time we pray, God’s mighty power is released and made available to bring victory and breakthrough into even seemingly impossible situations.

Dear heavenly Father,

We love you Lord.  You are an awesome and amazing God.  You are faithful.   You have placed us in the greatest nation in the world.  The land of the free!  You have blessed us mightily. You are generous beyond anything we can imagine or deserve.  We praise you Lord for you are worthy to be praised, you are the King of all Kings, you are above any authority in heaven or on earth, You are creator, redeemer and sustainer.

We confess that we have not bowed before You.  We confess we have not acknowledged Your rule in our lives and over our leaders and our nation. We have gone along with the ways of the world and failed to give You glory.  Forgive us and raise us from sin, that we may be your faithful people, obeying the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ, who rules the world and the universe.

Father, watch over us this day.  Dear Lord, please guide us and strengthen us as we confess our sins to You.  Fill us with compassion as we pray for one another and as we pray for the leadership of our great country.  Please fill us as we pray for the needs of the world.  Please help us to not be judgmental, condemning and prideful.  Fill us dear God with your love.   Draw us close to you Father; create in us a desire to come to you in prayer every day for Your leadership, love and protection to reign in our lives and throughout our land.  We come to you once again and ask for you divine intervention and protection on our national election.  Dear God, please heal our land.

Through Jesus Christ we pray, AMEN.

Prayer Day 7 for the Election, 33 more to go

Prayer3Pray for the United States of America

“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” (John 15:7-8)

Dear Lord we lift your holy name on high.  Lord it is you alone that possess life within.  You alone are the true source of everlasting, abundant life.  We praise you, dear God.

Father we confess to you our lack of fruit-bearing.  We as a nation and as a people have been self –absorbed and distracted with selfish activities that bring only temporal value.  Forgive us Lord.

We thank you Father for your love and your life and we pray today that we may glorify you Lord.  You are the true vine. Live through us that we might bear fruit.  Father, even though we are over 2,000 years removed from the night you uttered those words, we know your work still marches forth.  We know, Lord, You are still working to accomplish Your work and Your will in the world today.  Work through us, Lord.

Help our nation to turn our hearts back to You and Your Word so the United States will bear the fruit of your righteousness and be set above all other nations.  Dear Lord, may the fruit we produce be honoring to you and may we bear fruit in abundance for and by you.  Father we draw our strength from You.  Strengthen us today, Lord.  Strengthen us with the power of Your Holy Spirit.  Help us Father, as we strive to abide in You and continue in faith that You will do more for us than ever imagined.

God bless the United States of America.

We ask all these things through Jesus Christ.

Amen

Prayer Day 6 for the Election, 34 more to go

prayer_01

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28: 19-20)

Thank you for this day Lord.  We praise your Holy name.  You are the God of all blessings, the source of all life and the giver of all grace.  You are the eternal, loving God.

Father, in Matthew you commanded us to make disciples of all nations and we need to begin with ourselves. Lord, please transform our lives and help us to be more like you.  Forgive us Lord for our transgressions. You have promised to always be with us and we thank you.  Lead us Lord and protect us, protect our country.

Help us to turn our hearts to you with sincerity and courageously spread your good news.  Help us to take your message to the ends of the earth.  Father we trust in You to fill us and use us for without You we can do nothing.  Lord we ask that you place within us your vision for our nation. Open our eyes, dear Lord, so that we may see. Dear Father please help our nation (our people) to make the right choices. Surround us with your love, fill us with your grace, and strengthen us for Your service.

For all our blessings, we give you thanks and through Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.

36 Days to the Election, Day 5, Oct. 2

A Prayer for our nation.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29: 11-13)


O, God most high, dear almighty Lord we praise you. How wonderful and marvelous you are. How marvelous your creations, the sun and the moon, the light and the darkness, the wind and the rain and all of life. Praise you Father and thank you for another day.
Father we know you are always thinking of us. It is us, Lord, who fail to think of you. Even when we come to you Lord we often come with just a fleeting half-hearted attempt for immediate help. Forgive us Lord for lacking commitment and not seeking you with all of our heart. Forgive us all for our passiveness. Forgive us for coming to you only in times of desperation, for your word says, “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”, (James 5:16).  How many times have we as a people, as a nation been fervent? How many times has our nation been desperate for you? How many times have we come to you with all our hearts? Forgive us Lord and “Heal our Land”.
We thank you Lord for protecting us. We thank you for the way you have provided for us. We know O’God that all we have is from your blessings. We thank you for our founding fathers, our pledge of allegiance, our money, our form of government and the belief of our founding fathers. We know, O’God, your desire is for us to be at peace with you in love and to love and be at peace with those around us. Father we pray for the sound of your spirit. We search for you and ask that you open our eyes that we might see. We ask for help to see what is good, honorable and just for our country and for the protection, security, and success of the United States of America.
Father, we ask through your son, that you “Heal Our Land”.
AMEN

37 More Days, Prayer Day 4, October 1st

Neeling prayerOne Nation under God, with Liberty and Justice for All.

And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:  And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.  Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Deuteronomy 28: 1-3. 

Dear Father,

We come to you today with humble hearts so you will hear our voice.  We praise you today and always dear Lord.  You are the God almighty and the creator or all.  You are the great “I AM”.

Father, Please forgive us as a nation for leaving you out.  Forgive us for turning from you.  Forgive us for no longer being a nation with the fear of the Lord.  Dear Lord we love you and need you for our strength and protection.

Dear Lord we thank you for your grace.  In days past Lord we have faced similar tests and you have brought us through.  Our nation needs you guidance, Lord.

Dear Lord help our nation to hear your voice and to obey your voice in all we say and do.  Help us all dear Father to discern clearly right from wrong.  Father we pray that all will work for the good concerning our beloved country of the United States and we would glorify you.

We know your will for us Lord, and know we are held to a higher calling, we pray that our nation and our people will observe your commandments.  We pray that we will be a nation under God and we pray that your mighty hand of direction and protection be on our nation as we elect leaders in November.

We ask these things through your son Jesus,

AMEN.

 

39 More Days, Prayer #2, September 29

39 DAYS TO THE ELECTION

The Lord says to call on Him and He will answer.

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

holy-prayer

Dear Lord,

We praise you and adore you on this day.  You are the most high!  Father, you are in control of all things. You allow or appoint our leaders and we come to you for protection.

Dear Lord, as a nation we have forgotten you.  We have forgotten the grace that helped us in days past and allowed us to reach the greatness we have.  Please forgive us. We thank you Father for the many, many blessings you have bestowed on our nation.  We thank you for the prosperity we take for granted.

Dear Lord, help this nation to hear Your voice.  Father, place a hedge of protection around our people and our nation and deliver us from evil. Help us, Lord to seek the path of righteousness.

You have asked us Lord to call on Your name and you have promised to answer when we call. Please guide our nation during this time of need.  Fill us with your spirit and presence and guide us Lord.  Father we need you.  Help us to make the decisions that will honor you.

We call upon your name again today Lord and ask for your grace and blessing on this election.

You are the Glory and the Power forever.  In the name of Jesus we call on your Holy name.  Amen.

God bless all,

FJ1“The Tubthumper”

 

A Weighty Issue, Part 2

FruitOfTheSpiritLarge I am back to continue on the issue of overeating.  I prefer the word overeat to gluttony.   I mentioned the social eating aspect of our culture yesterday.  Yes, we eat because we are bored.  We eat when we are sad.  We also eat when we are happy.  When we want to celebrate, guess what?  You got it… We eat!  When we are grieving we eat.  When someone dies food becomes the way we show sorrow and show our support.  We have come to expect huge amounts of casseroles, cakes and salads for the occasion.  There are good times when we should be eating together such as thanksgiving with the family but we are truly over doing it and supersizing.

I mentioned previously the shortage of scriptures dealing with this subject but if we only have this one it is surely enough.  “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”, (1 Cor. 10:31).  I am supposed to be a disciple of the Lord.  Am I a good disciple if I am overeating or if I am guilty of gluttony?  I think not.

We all need to eat and usually when I overeat I don’t consider it sinful.  You know an alcoholic doesn’t really understand he is an alcoholic until it is almost too late.  I think us foodaholic’s have the same issue.  For me it does not register, that is not me.  I actually love the taste of the food, delight in the kitchen aromas and I revel in good fellowship around the table.  Gluttony and overeating doesn’t apply to me so I move along to bigger and better things to overcome.

I read in the newspaper this morning there is a guy at our capital today that has spent his last 114 days on a kayak and bicycle expedition that started in Alaska and he is not stopping until he reaches every capital in the United States.  His name is Romano Scaturro and he calls it his 50@50 ride to raise awareness for childhood obesity and hunger in the US.  He says, “nearly one in three children in the US today are overweight or obese, due to poor diet and lack of exercise, while at the same time there is a massive food shortage resulting in one in six children going to bed hungry.”  He has a daily blog at www.FRAANK.org  if you want to check it out.  His cause made me think of my fantastic mountain bike and how it has hung on my garage wall all summer.  What a slug… Scaturro is probably pedaling to my place right now to show me.

Some have said obesity is the scourge of our time, the Black Plaque of the 21st century.  I am sure if we look at photos of people back in the 1940’s we will see a slimmer group of people.  And did you know that clothing makers are making cloths larger than they did back then.  A size 34 waist is still labeled a size 34 but it is sized like a 36.  I bet you didn’t know that.  Everything has gotten super-sized just like Burger King.   I mentioned yesterday the classic of The Seven Deadly Sins by Henry Fairlie.  In it he depicts a glutton as a hog at the trough.  He eats, not because he loves the taste of food, but scarfs it down with hardly a thought, shoveling in great quantities of the stuff, all in an attempt to fill that inner abyss which defines his existence.  This is a person that is killing himself softly and slowly, but just as deadly as with a pistol.  Remember now, I am preaching to me, myselfand I. The supersizing we see going on is the world telling us it is right.  In John 2:15-16 it says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

So what can I do to change the paradigm?    

Praying about it in advance will work wonders.  Actually, just thinking about it in advance will help. Praying will strengthen the resolve.

Advance planning can head off much of it.  If we have fruits in our house, I’m less likely to get into the ice cream or homemade jelly and crackers.

Make self-control with food one aspect of a balanced and healthy life.  Exercise, work, play, worship, sufficient sleep, and proper eating are all important areas of a good life.  Change is in order.

I can meditate on this verse, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it”, (1 Cor. 10:13).  

I came all this way to conclude with the real answer.  It is SELF CONTROLAnd self-control is the fruit of the spirit.  We need to have control as we battle the lust of the flesh.  “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would”, (Gal. 5:17).  One of the opponents in the Christian life is our own flesh nature.  I am referring to the lusts of the flesh nature, which is in opposition to the Fruit of the Spirit. A Christian overcomes the lusts of his flesh nature by walking or being controlled by his spirit nature, which is in harmony with the Holy Spirit.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law”, (Gal. 5:22-23 KJV)  Here is the NIV translation of the same verse, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”  Here we see the self-control added.  As we look at the King James Version, I want to point out the word “longsuffering”.  Longsuffering has to do with a patient endurance of trials and sufferings and a joyful acceptance of the will of God.  That is better than simply using the words SELF CONTROL.

I think I get the gist of it and I will close by reflecting back on 1 Cor. 10:31 used at the top of this post.  It should cause me to ask, “Will my eating and my actions toward my body please my Lord and bring glory to Him?

The paradigm shift begins now.   Not a diet but a change that brings control.  Diets do not work for the long term.  Take it from me.  I have tried them all.

God bless you and keep you,

FJ1“The Tubthumper”

 

 

Kids in the Pulpit?

This post is a little lengthy but I think you will enjoy it and it might get you thinking.

Is it that I am getting older or maybe just now noticing?  I see the pastors of all these churches across the nation and they are getting younger and younger.  At least it seems that way to me. As I was growing up I was involved in church for as long as I can remember.  Every Pastor I had was much older than I, although admittedly it’s getting tougher and tougher to accomplish each year.  After all, I am growing a little long in the tooth.

I mention the pastors I had because I was always able to look up to them as examples.  Not every pastor in my past was a good example but I can honestly say the majority were.

I know for myself I would find it hard to join a church where the leadership is too young.  I have seen some churches where the ages of all elders added together nets out younger than me.   The congregations must be comprised of mostly college students or young folks in the community.  This makes me uncomfortable.  Something is not resonating just right with this.  I know there are exceptions to all general rules and I know the great Charles H. Spurgeon took the helm of the Park Street Pulpit at the age of 11.  Sure, every once in a while, God creates a genius that can work for him.  That isn’t me, and you can count them all on one hand.

The other thing I know is that young leaders are rough around the edges and need to get their wisdom through making mistakes as they grow.  I watch out to see that those mistakes arent made on me.

So when I look for a church to join I look for a Pastor that can shepherd because he has been around the block.  He has gotten past the point in his life where we all get the ‘sowing of the oats’ out of our system.  He is settled and has his life fully under control. He is learned.  I truly want someone I can respect, look up to and follow.  A mentor, so to speak.

I noticed a church in Texas that was started just 5 years ago and is already approaching the very large attendance ranks and is doing multiple services per Sunday.  Growing like crazy.  Here is the Lead Pastor’s picture…Medders

If you are anywhere at middle age or after this has got to look a little young to you.  I checked out all the elders of the same church and all but one looks similar in age or younger.  This church may be doing some great things for the work of the Lord but it would take some doing to get me to follow.  Please don’t misunderstand me regarding the people involved.  I respect this young pastor and I am sure he is a very sharp dude.  I also do not question his calling.  I just believe in an order (which I think God’s word backs up) and think one should look into associate pastor work or some type of mentor situation until the time is right.  Don’t ask me what time is right though.  I don’t have that answer.

A pastor is much the same as a Bishop and this is what God’s word says, “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach”, I Timothy 3:2.

And then when I thought I had seen the youngest I would see in the pulpit I ran across the story of Ezekiel Stoddard.  When Ezekiel Stoddard was ordained as a minister at the Fullness of Time Church in Capitol Heights, Maryland, it was a unique celebration — one that turned heads and raised questions. Why? Because Ezekiel is just 11 years old. According to “Good Morning America,” the son of two pastors decided to become a minister at this very young age when God spoke to him in a dream.                                       Here is Ezekiel…ezekiel-stoddard-80401886993_xlarge

Now let’s see… What kind of teaching or counseling can Ezekiel do for a 60 year old that is struggling with things in his life?  What can he do to help a couple that is having marital trouble?  What can he do to teach a teenager that is a little older than he is about what it means to be a man?  How can someone so young be the shepherd of a flock?  Lastly, how can he espound on the scriptures with studied knowledge.  This is all very uncomfortable to me.

We need to look at some more qualifications from the scriptures.  See 1 Timothy 3: 1-13, “This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.  Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.  And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus”.

We cannot go forward without also looking one more place.  “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers”, Titus 1;5-9.  I recommend the entire book of Titus for more requirements.

I know the bible is speaking toward spriritual age more than physical age.  As to the title “elder”, I think age is definitely involved here, but I don’t know what age because that’s like asking “how high is up?”  I do believe it doesn’t mean youth or young.  I believe it speaks to mature.  Those are the qualifications I have in mind for my pastor, elders, deacons or other lay leaders.  Those are the qualifications under which I would evaluate myself for such positions.

I bring your attention now to an ancient document.  (2nd-4th centuries).

The Apostolic Constitutions (or Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, lat. Constitutiones Apostolorum) is a Christian collection of eight treatises which belongs to the Church Orders. The work can be dated from 375 to 380 AD.  The Apostolic Constitutions contain eight treatises on Early Christian discipline, worship, and doctrine, intended to serve as a manual of guidance for the clergy, and to some extent for the laity. It purports to be the work of the Twelve Apostles, whose instructions, whether given by them as individuals or as a body.

“…a pastor who is to be ordained a bishop for the churches in every parish, must be unblameable, unreprovable, free from all kinds of wickedness common among men, not under fifty years of age; for such a one is in good part past youthful disorders, and the slanders of the heathen, as well as the reproaches which are sometimes cast upon many persons by some false brethren…”

Wow! There it is… look at that…, “Not under 50 years of age”.  I am just now getting old enough to be a pastor.   

The Apostolic Constitutions of the fourth century give us many useful insights to pastoral leadership during that era of heretical combat and ecclesiastical “settling-in.” Bishops (“overseers”) were selected by city and region for the purpose of overseeing the work of all the churches, ministering to pastors, and helping with certain situations in individual churches. Though they could be younger than 50 years of age, the requirements were stricter for those who had not yet achieved that age and whose reputations were thus not as widely known. The bishop had to be the kind of person every pastor and every believer should be. Pastors today should aspire to the same lofty objective.

Pastors must have a system in place for advisors and confidants to help them to stay on course for holiness and a blameless walk with the Lord? To be accountable.

I guess I can’t close without offering up a picture of my pastor.

Now see… PastorRay

Doesn’t that resonate with some more comfort than the two above?

 

 

 

So there you go.  You know what I think. Where do you stand on this issue and why?

                                                                                                   “The Tubthumper”