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Showing posts from February, 2018

no other God

Here are a few notes from my reading in the first four chapters of Deuteronomy. History recounted (chapters 1–3). The first three chapters comprise a kind of journal of place names, lengths of time, and battles fought. This might not mean a lot to modern readers, but once again we should remember that, though the Bible is written FOR us, it was first written TO others. This is Israel’s history, a history of specific events and places that they were to recall and recount in future years. This is recorded so that God’s people — Israel and yes, believers today — would be reminded that 1) God works in history and in geography, that is, in space and time. That these are not myths or fairy tales — God is the Lord of creation and history. And that 2) God is faithful to guide, deliver, and preserve his people in the way that he promises them in his covenant. God is true to his Word.  Do you keep a journal or family record of God’s dealings with you?  The watching world. (Deut. 4:5-8)

reading numbers 20 to 31

Striking the rock. (Numbers 20.) Two strikes and Moses was out! What happened here? Moses, the humble servant of Yahweh, was disqualified from entering the promised land. Why is that? There are two important things to note: 1) God specifically told Moses how he was to provide water for the people . Moses did not do what God commanded and engaged in some dramatic grandstanding: “‘Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?’ And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice…” (20:10-11)  It would not be “we” who would bring the water forth from the rock.  Moses did not uphold the Lord as holy in the sight of Israel.  He did not honor the direct commandment of the Lord. And 2) the Bible tells us that there was a symbolic purpose for the rock which brought forth water. The Apostle Paul noted, “…the rock was Christ…” (1 Cor. 10:4)  In Exodus 17:6, on the first occasion, the rock was “struck once” and water came out. In the second occasion

frames and feelings

"In hope he [Abraham] believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, 'So shall your offspring be.'  He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb.  No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised."  (Romans 4:18-21 ESV)  Early in my Christian life I learned that my feelings and emotions, and my mental state of mind, did not change the certainty of God's promises.   The "train" of our Christian life is pulled and energized by the facts of the great salvation that Christ accomplished for us.  Our faith is placed in (attached to) the great promises of God, not in how we feel at any moment.  As important as feelings may be -- and we are not to be u

one little sin

A discussion came up in a Bible study group the other night about Adam’s sin.  As we studied Genesis chapter 3, the feeling was expressed that it was just one sin , and it was a rule about not eating from a certain tree.  Was God’s response, “you shall surely die”, over the top?  Really, was it all that serious?  Just one sin ? It was indeed that serious because, among other things, there was only one prohibition for them to heed.   God's design for them at creation was simple.  Positively, they were to reflect God's image in their relationships, in reproduction, and by ruling over and caring for God's creation.  Negatively, there was the one prohibition: not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Gen. 3)  So, i n disobeying God they transgressed the only prohibition that they needed to obey.  In a sense they "broke every law in the book." There was a totality of rejection toward God in their action.   In that one sin of Adam (alo

hearing the echoes

Hearing the echoes .  Each year I read the Bible at a slower pace, but then about every third year I read through the entire Bible at a faster pace.  (I often use an audio version, which helps me hear the Word while I drive or take walks.)  The change of pace is good, but there is also another purpose: you cannot clearly understand any part of the Bible until you understand the whole of it. There are many details you may not fully grasp until you know how to connect them to the whole. There are themes, images, commandments, events, types, etc., that won’t make sense until you see how it fits into the whole testimony of God.  Hence, flying over the whole body of Scripture gives us a larger view.  So also you can then “hear the echo” of any these themes or images elsewhere in Scripture. There are many authors to the books of the Bible, but there is one divine Author behind it all. There are two examples of this in Numbers chapter 10… The trumpets. God ordained for Israel th

certainty of God's promises shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.  (Isaiah 55:11 ESV) So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath,  so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.  (Hebrews 6:17-18 ESV)  "These promises may most steadfastly be relied upon, because of the unchangeable nature of God who makes them. All his perfections are engaged for the fulfilling of his word, so that what he has spoken has an actual being and existence.  He says, and it is done—saying and doing are the same with him. Let there be ever so great a distance of time between the word spoken and the thing done, yet this is as real as any thing now in bein

the Christian life begins with Christ

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."  (John 3:3) The Christian life begins with Christ.  It begins with faith in a Person.  You must be in Christ before you can live upon Christ.   Here are two quotes to ponder... " is impossible even to begin living the Christian life, or to know anything of true spirituality, before one is a Christian.  And the only way to become a Christian is neither by tying to live some sort of a Christian life not by hoping for some sort of religious experience, but rather by accepting Christ as Savior.  No matter how complicated, educated, or sophisticated we may be, or how simple we may be, we must all come the same way, insofar as becoming a Christian is concerned.  As the kings of the earth and the mighty of the earth are born in exactly the same way, physically, as the simplest man, so the most intellectual person must become a Christian in exactly the same way as the simplest

Christ the Lord of the church

"Government is indispensable for the church as a gathering of believers.  Just as a temple calls for an architect, a field a sower, a vineyard a keeper, a net a fisherman, a flock a shepherd, a body a head, a family a father, a kingdom a king, so also the church is unthinkable without an authority that sustains, guides, cares for, and protects it. "In a sense even more special than is the case in the political realm, this authority rests with God, who is not only the Creator of all things but also the Savior of the church.  As people of God, the church, under the new covenant as well as under the old, is a theocracy.  The Lord is its judge, lawgiver, and king (Isa. 33:22).  But just as in the civil realm God has granted sovereignty to the government, so in the church he has appointed Christ to be king.  Already designated mediator from eternity, Christ carried out his prophetic, priestly, and kingly office from the time of paradise, continued it in the days of the Old Te