Archive for the ‘bible’ Category

leaving Jesus

November 29, 2010

Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.  And when He became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast;  and as they were returning, after spending the full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But His parents were unaware of it, but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and went a day’s journey; and they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. — Luke 2:41-44 NASB

Jesus is always right where he’s supposed to be.  Sometimes we get ahead of him, often by doing the usual and expected thing.  Then we need to go back and find him.  He isn’t lost; we are.   (courtesy Ron Scates)

preachers, both

October 7, 2010

I was looking at Wisdom and The Adulteress in Proverbs as personifications of the Spirit of Truth and Spirit of Error.  It’s a pretty good study.

One thing that really struck me.  Both of them are evangelists.  Look at Proverbs 7:5-17 and Proverbs 8.  Neither of want to leave things as they are.  The Adulteress isn’t content to be rebellious and corrupt, she is actively looking for who she can pull down with her.

Wisdom as well.  She isn’t content with being good and virtuous; she’s actively looking for how she can improve the lives of the people around her.

an answer in view of the multitude of his idols

September 23, 2010

I’ve been reading and re-reading Ezekiel 14 this week.  Wondering how many of the “answers to prayer” I’ve heard have been answers “according to the multitude of the idols of my heart”.

amazed

September 9, 2010

I used to be amazed that the authors of the Bible, over a huge span of time, told a consistent story using the same images.

Now I’m amazed that all of creation tells the same story using the same pictures.

God rocks!

missing person alert

June 21, 2010

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh”

For what reason?

The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.  The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

For the reason that she isn’t a separate entity, but rather part of him, living in a different body.  For the reason that he is missing a piece; he is incomplete without her.

unalloyed

May 29, 2010

God spoke to me through three different scriptures today.

I’m a couple chapters into Mark and Patti Virkler’s book Dialog with God. Chapter two points out the passage in Ezekiel 14 where the elders came to the prophet to ask God a question. God responds to them: “Since you’ve come to me with idols in your hearts, I’m going to answer you regarding your idols”.

I might further paraphrase: “You’ve already decided what you’re going to hear and what you’re going to do.  Why should I answer you?  Get the garbage out, then we’ll talk.”

This may become a pivotal verse for me.  What God is saying is that he is actively involved in the ongoing purification of my heart.  Even though I know him and pray to him, he’s not going to answer when I’ve placed a man-made idea or concept as his equal in my life and mind.

As I was reading the verses in Ezekiel I was reminded of the one at the beginning of James’ letter where he says: “But he must ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed around by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, since he is a double-minded individual, unstable in all his ways.”

Satan’s first words to Eve were calculated to introduce doubt.  And doubting God is an indication of an idol.  It means I’ve believed God is less than he is, or something else is greater than he is.

The third verse was one Adam Edelstein posted on Facebook.  It’s in Paul’s second Corinthian letter where he wrote: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Together the three verses said to me: “God wants my whole heart.  He is at work on me, through my relationship with him, revealing the impurities.  He expects me to use the power tools he has provided to continually purify my heart of the things he is revealing.”

Not a bad word for a day, eh?

cross eyed

April 13, 2010

I’ve been reading and meditating on the cross verses:

“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” — Mathew 10:38

From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.  Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.”  But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS. — Matthew 16:21-27

And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” — Mark 8:34

For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ — Philippians 3:18

“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” — Luke 14:27

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. — 1 Corinthians 1:18

But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. — Galations 6:14

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.     For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.  (24)Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. — Galatians 5:16,17,24

Pardon me for bringing this up, but if I turned on the Christian TV or radio today, is that what I’d hear?

zechariah 3

January 31, 2010

I took a different approach to my through-the-bible-in-a-year reading in 2009, resulting in it taking 13 months rather than the 12.  In other words, I’m still working on it.  I was still trying for my goal through October and November, but my final stretch was in the old testament prophets.   I gave it up.  I can skim genealogies quickly, but the prophets require too much thought, prayer, and study.

To me, the vision Zechariah records in chapter 3 is one of the most intriguing things in the bible.   Every time I read it I stop and ask “God, just what does this mean?”  Two nights ago I was going to finish off the book (of Zechariah), but I got completely hung up in that ten-verse chapter.

The list of characters is a lot of what makes it interesting.   They are, in order of appearance:

  • Joshua, the high priest (in dirty clothes, in front of the angel)
  • The angel of the Lord
  • Satan, standing to Joshua’s right.
  • The Lord of Hosts
  • A crowd (later identified as Joshua’s friends)
  • “The Branch” (a servant of the Lord)
  • Zechariah
  • A stone with seven eyes

The dialog flows like this:

The Lord (to Satan): The Lord rebuke you Satan.  Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you!  Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?

The Lord (turning to the people standing around): Remove his filthy clothes from him [Joshua].

The Lord (turning to Joshua): See, I’ve taken your iniquity away from you and will dress you in party clothes.

Zechariah: Let them put a clean turban on his head

[the crowd put a clean turban on Joshua’s head and dressed him up nice while the angel of the Lord stands and waits]

The angel of the Lord (to Joshua): If you walk in my ways and if you will perform my service  then you will also govern my house and have charge of my courts and I will grant you free access to those who are standing.  Now listen Joshua, you and your friends who are sitting in front of you, indeed they are men who are a symbol.  Look, I’m going to bring in my servant “The Branch”.  Look at the stone I’ve set in front of Joshua.  On one stone are seven eyes.  I’m going to engrave an inscription on it and I will remove the iniquity of the Land in one day.  In that day every one of you will invite his neighbor over to sit under his vine and his fig tree.

My first, and probably best, guess is that “Joshua = Jesus”.  In fact, the name “Jesus” is a transliteration of the hebrew name “Joshua”.  From that point of view, the vision takes place in heaven as Jesus takes on the sins of the world (his dirty clothes) and God is taking away that sin and declaring his future reign.

The stone with seven eyes might be the Holy Spirit.   I’m guessing this because of the “seven spirits of the Lord” in Proverbs 8:12-14, Isaiah 11:1-2,  and Revelation 4:5.  And though I don’t recognize the stone’s face, who could forget those eyes? (Zechariah 4:10 and 2 Chronicles 16:9).

The angel of the Lord is interesting because of other places that God’s angel shows up, like to Abraham and Moses.  Commentators like to suggest that he’s really a pre-incarnate Jesus (i.e.: before he was born on earth).  This passage seems to clearly show that the two are distinct.

The thing that gets my attention though is “the Branch”, which the footnotes say this literally means “the sprout”.  The translaters change branch to sprout to make it agree with Isaiah (4:2, 11:1, and “sapling” in 53:2) and Jeremiah (23:5-8 and 33:15-18).  The Branch throws  me off because the Lord seems to be talking about someone distinct from Joshua/Jesus.  He’s mentioned again in chapter 6:11-15.  There the Lord is speaking prophetically through Zechariah to Joshua the high priest.  He says “behold, the Branch” but not “you are the Branch”, leaving it ambiguous whether Joshuah/Jesus and “the Branch” are one and the same.

In any case, all the branch and sprout verses refer to a time when Israel and Judah will be restored to their own land and a king will permanently be on the throne in Jerusalem.  The next time a pastor derides the Jews of Jesus’ day for not understanding his first coming they should read these prophecies.  Their clear message is that when the King comes he will subdue the nations and Jerusalem will be preeminent in the world.

contrasts

January 22, 2010

I read Amos today, which is mostly about all the judgment coming on Israel and Judah and all the nations because we’ve been so sinful – excepting the last five verses on return and reconciliation.  Then I read David Wilkerson’s devotional blog which is on Enoch and intimacy with God.  It was a good contrast.  Both are truth.

his presence

January 8, 2010

We went and did a test run at the studio last night, culminating in a couple hours of free-flowing worship.  Afterwords at Denny’s we talked a little about the presence of God.  What is it really?  We know he’s here with us 100% of the time anyway.  Not just with us – people who love him and are trying to serve him – but with everyone.  And we know he lives in every believer by way of the Holy Spirit.  We hear his voice when we pray and when he wants to give us particular instruction.

But in a time of worship it’s not unusual to feel God’s presence tangibly enter the room.  Usually everyone senses it at once, though each person might describe the experience a little differently.  So what is it about that sense of his presence that we’re feeling?

When I got home I’d probably had too much coffee (I’m almost off the stuff), so I devoted some bible-study time to the topic.  There was the cloud and noise on top of mount Sinai, the glory of God when it filled Solomon’s temple,  and the sound and flames of the day of Pentecost.  One thing that stuck with me as I finally drifted off to sleep about 5:30 a.m. was from first Corinthians 10:1-12.  It’s about the people of Israel in the desert going from Egypt to the land of milk and honey God had promised. This group of people:

  • Followed a cloud by day and a fire by night
  • Walked on dry land through the Red Sea where water had flowed only moments before
  • Ate a special food that was provided for them 6 days of the week
  • On two occasions drank water that flowed from a rock in the desert

But these same people who experienced the supernatural presence and provision of God, these people who audibly heard the voice of God from the mountain that shook them so that they feared for their lives, these people rebelled against God and died in the desert.

Wow!

I could say more here, but let me just post a couple verses:

These things happened to them as examples and were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So let the one who thinks he is standing be careful that he does not fall. – 1 Corinthians 10:11-12