Monthly Archives: January 2015

Jerusalem in 3D

We are told in Scripture to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” (Psalm 122). It is recorded in Isaiah 9:6-7 one day Jesus will ascend the Throne of David in Jerusalem to reign and rule over the entire earth. The Apostle John concludes his writing of the Book of Revelation, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (22:20). Each time prayer is made for there to be peace in Jerusalem prayer is being made for Jesus to return to this earth to set up His millennial kingdom, for without Him there will never be true peace in Jerusalem until HE reigns as KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS,” (19:16). Even So, Come, Lord Jesus.

As Many As Received

As Jesus walked the dusty trails of Judea, many came to Him for various reasons. There were those who came to Him for the healings He provided; others for the food He multiplied; while others came to genuinely hear what He had to say as He spoke His parables to those who were gathered around Him. But not all came to receive His free gift of salvation.

His fame spread abroad as the lame began to walk, the blind began to see, and the deaf began to hear after their one-on-one encounters with the One Who called Himself, The Son of God. Over 5,000 men, besides women and children, had been fed by a little boy’s lunch of five loaves and two fishes (Matthew 14:13-21), and another 4,000 men, besides women and children, were fed from seven loaves and a few fishes on another occasion (Matthew 15:29-39) after Jesus blessed the food and gave thanks, instructing the disciples to distribute the nourishment to those in attendance. The people were amazed and astonished at what He could do on their behalf.

But then the road grew difficult as Jesus asked the multitudes to take up their cross and follow Him as He made His way to Jerusalem (Luke 9:23). It was then the people began to leave Him and fade away from following Him. Those who had been healed returned to their families; those who had been fed found their sustenance elsewhere; those who listened to His words closed their ears to His voice. The crowd who followed Him to Calvary dwindled to only those who believed He truly was the Son of God.

John wrote in chapter one of his book, “He was in the world… and the world knew Him not. He came to His own, and His own received Him not.” The world did not receive Him as the Son of God; neither did His own people, the Jews. Isaiah tells us “He is despised and rejected of men… we hid as it were our faces from Him; we esteemed Him not” (Isaiah 53:3).

 Then John gives this Truth in the next verse, “BUT as many as RECEIVED Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name (John 1:12). Those who had not received Jesus as the Promised Messiah to come did not become His children. Only those who truly believed and received Him as the Savior were brought into the Kingdom of God.

Just as those who lived during Jesus’ time, there are those today who believe in His existence, experience His healing, eat of His bounty, but reject Him as Lord and Savior. The majority of mankind are unwilling to surrender their lives to Him, take up their cross and follow Him, just as those who walked away from Him almost 2,000 years ago. Jesus said narrow is the gate for those who follow Him; wide is the gate for all others who don’t that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). For those who receive Him, the narrow gate awaits that leads unto everlasting life. Jesus warns there are few that find it, just as there were few who found their way to the foot of the Cross on that long ago Good Friday.

God Is In the Details

There are those who say God created the world and all that is within it but stepped away and allows the world to function on its own without His guidance. Moses had led the Children of Israel in their exodus from Egypt across the Red Sea on dry ground and encamped them at the foot of Mt. Sinai in the Sinai Peninsula. It was the LORD who gave instruction to Moses how the Children of Israel were to prepare themselves spiritually and physically against the day of His visitation when He appeared to them “in a fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.” It was then God called Moses to come up to the top of the mountain to be with Him and commune with Him (Exodus 19).

Most know of the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses while he was on the mountain, but so much more was going on that reveal God is very much involved in the details of our lives. As Moses spent those 40 days on the mountain, the Children of Israel began wondering where their leader was and even if he was still alive. The people grew impatient in their waiting. It was then they urged Aaron to make them a golden calf to worship and be their god (Exodus 32).

Moses was very busy up on Mt. Sinai during those days, as God was not only giving him the Law, but He was also instructing Moses on how to build the Tabernacle, its dimensions and materials to be used, how it was to be constructed down to the wooden pegs and sockets; those who would be the priests in the Tabernacle and how their garments were to be made, including the duties they would perform and in what order;  the sacrifices that would be offered and how they were to be offered; specific instructions for the set-up and take-down of the Tabernacle as they wandered in the wilderness, moving from place to place; the making of the furniture and utensils overlaid with gold that would be in the Tabernacle, including the construction of the Ark of the Covenant, what would be placed in it and where it would sit behind the vail in the Holy of Holies; who Moses was to appoint “to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work all manner of workmanship” that was needed to complete the Tabernacle as God had laid out and begin the sacrifices needed for forgiveness of sin (Exodus 20-31).

Those who take time to read the Scriptures for themselves find throughout its entirety how much God is involved in the intricacies of each life. A greater trust in Him develops as His Word is revealed to each heart and mind.

HE is the Potter; we are the clay.

HE is the Vine; we are the branches.

HE is the Creator; we are His creation.

Sanctity of Human Life

Each January 22nd marks the annual remembrance in America of the sanctity of human life as revealed in Scripture. Since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States, over 56 million lives have been lost to abortion. With modern technology available today, there is no question these lost lives were being formed from the moment of conception in the image of God.

 

 

 

The Acceptable Offering

The boys had grown into manhood. They had been accustomed to watching their parents year after year bring an offering unto the Lord throughout their childhood. It was God Himself who had killed the first animal in the Garden, spilling its blood to provide a covering for their parent’s sin, who had disobeyed the instruction of the Creator concerning the forbidden tree. The time had come for the sons to bring their own offerings to the Lord.

Abel was a keeper of the sheep; Cain, a tiller of the ground. Abel worked with the animals all year long; feeding them, watering them, keeping watch over them. Cain was a man who had his hands in the dirt; planting seed, watering plants, harvesting crops. In the process of time both brought their offerings to the Lord. Abel brought the firstborn of his flock, a lamb without spot or blemish; Cain brought his best fruits and vegetables from his garden. God accepted Abel’s offering; He rejected Cain’s (Genesis 4).

Although Cain spent many long hours in the hot sun cultivating his plants, keeping the weeds from choking them out, and tenderly plucking the fruit from the vine, his offering was not what God required. It was understood even at that time without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin; God had demonstrated that in the Garden on that fateful day Adam and Eve found themselves spiritually naked before God, their sin obvious for all to see. It was the shedding of blood that would be required for anyone to receive God’s covering for their sin.

Knowing God’s requirement, Cain determined to forego God’s plan and conceive his own plan for redemption. He thought his plan of good works would be sufficient and God would be accepting of him. But God was not, to the point of banishing Cain from His presence after Cain’s anger at God’s rejection of his offering resulted in Cain murdering his own brother. God had warned him sin lay at his door if he refused to follow God’s commands.

All throughout the Old Testament the Temple sacrifices were conducted under God’s direction as described in the Book of Leviticus to provide what was needed to be accepted by God and for one’s sin to be covered. But then came Jesus in the New Testament the perfect Lamb of God who was to be offered once for all time for the sins of man (Hebrews 7:22-28). No more animal sacrifices would be needed as His blood was more than sufficient to make man whiter than snow. Jesus said “I am the Wayno man comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14) Any other way devised by man attempting to come into a right relationship with God the Father is unacceptable, just as it had been for Cain. Only the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary is able to cleanse us from all sin (I John 1:7).

Not by works of righteousness which we have done,

But according to His mercy He saved us;

by the washing of the regeneration and

renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

Titus 3:5

 

Back to Babel

It was only a mere 100 years since Noah and his family had stepped off the Ark after the worldwide Flood and were commanded by God to replenish the earth, that their descendants took upon themselves the building of the Tower of Babel in the land of Shinar in present-day Iraq. God, knowing the wickedness of their hearts (Jeremiah 17:9) and the future consequences of their endeavor, brought an end to their mischievous deed by confusing their language, thereby ending the work they had collectively begun for their own glory (Genesis 11).

Just as it didn’t take long for Adam and Eve to sin against God in the Garden of Eden after their creation, Noah’s descendants fell into disregarding God’s commands by becoming arrogant and wanting to make a name for themselves apart from God by building a tower that would reach unto heaven. Their disobedience also included a desire not to be scattered upon the face of the earth in defiance of God’s plan for man to inhabit the whole earth.

In today’s world there are those working tirelessly to take mankind back to Babel. They desire to put the entire population of the earth under a one-world government, controlled by a one-world leader, with a one-world economy. In reading Scripture we see the results of such a plan when man goes against God’s commands, as in the building of the Tower, but we also read such a plan will come to fruition in the end times with the coming of an Antichrist who will attempt to “cause all to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads; and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark” (Revelation 13). But once again God will step in and not allow Satan to have the victory. Jesus will come with His Heavenly armies and put down the rebellion of those who rise up against Him, defy His very existence and that of His chosen people (Revelation 17, 19). He will put all things under His feet. Satan’s head will be crushed and only Christ’s heel will have ever been bruised (Genesis 3:15). O Victory in Jesus!