Saturday, September 28, 2013

So Where Did Adam and Eve Go to Church?

The huge puzzles with 350+ pieces are quite a challenge. My grandchildren are great at solving 24
piece puzzles by just spreading the pieces out on the floor and scanning for similar colors and shapes! They don't have to look at the box to see the picture of the finished puzzle! The large puzzles are different, one has to see the big picture to see where the pieces go.

The Word of God is similar to the larger puzzles. There is a panoramic big picture of God that is so necessary to keep in mind when focusing in on one small piece. Using the old proverbial saying that 'one can't see the forest for the trees', the trees represent various pet doctrines that people grab onto at the expense of the bigness of God. I have seen this over and over even with very educated theologians. For example, just pick a topic of something like the 'church' and see what differences of opinions exist on what the 'church' should be. So where did Adam and Eve go to church? If they didn't 'go to church' who taught them?

I loved my trek through Genesis.  I took a whole year and I barely scratched the surface! The things I did learn however really showed me a greater understanding of Romans and God's graceful heart. It showed me the whys of Corinthians and and the absolute necessity of the tough love of Galatians. God works in people's hearts if we let Him. We don't 'perform' for God, we love and trust Him. That is what He has wanted from the beginning. In Exodus, Moses is a huge player. God gave him  a job to do. He was to help Israel obtain the promises of God and get out from under the crushing bondage they were in. Moses showed them God's power because they had forgotten what he had promised their fathers.
11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?  12 And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. 
13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14 And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you. 15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.  
16 Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt:17 And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. Exodus 3:11-17
What happened on the Day of Pentecost when the gift of holy spirit became available to anyone who believed, had the same heart behind it. Moses could talk to God because he had holy spirit upon him. On the day of pentecost the spirit was given to reside IN any heart that believes, not just upon certain individuals.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. Act 2:39
Moses was a servant in the household of God, we have the grace to be sons (Hebrews 3:1-6). The burning bush is no longer outside of us but within our hearts. As sons we serve by bragging about our Father and that's when the 'church' becomes un-mistakenly visible.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Thinking Soberly

The more I read about Moses, the more I see about his life and appreciate him as a leader of Israel. His turning away from his early background and relocating to the Sinai Desert shows the commitment he had. His contentment to stay with Jethro and become a sheep herder shows his humility and rejection of the things of the systems of the world.
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. 1 John 2:15-16 
It is easy to comprehend what 'lust of the flesh', and 'lust of the eyes', but 'pride of life' which is used once in the Word of God was something to think about.  The word 'pride' in Greek is 'alazoneia' which is the word for arrogant boasting. This is what Eve succumbed to when the Devil promised "ye shall be as gods" when he tempted her to disobey God and eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The desire for world wisdom, power and elevation overcame her heart. Ambition and dominance are strong motivating factors in human nature. We can find it everywhere. Even in the 1st century church, John warned about a man in III John who was a leader and loved preeminence in the church (Diostrephes).
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3
The world's definition of a leader is to be the top positional ruler; however, in true Biblical standards, a leader is a servant of others.  Moses certainly exhibited servant qualities in the sense that he was looking out for others by helping them obtain the promises of God. He is a great example for us today.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Moses's Relationship With God

In Exodus Chapter 3, God appeared to Moses through a burning bush. Imagine turning aside to see
why a plant on fire is not burning up and God starts talking to you. This might be a tad bit startling! Then imagine that God commissions you for a huge project. You might be asking yourself "Is this for real?", "Is this too big for me?", "How the heck can I do this?" These were all questions on Moses's mind.  Imagine saying to God:
22 Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all. Exodus 5:23-23 (NIV)
Moses was not some superhero in a red cape. He wasn't sure God's plan was working. He was a man but when he had doubts he didn't call up a therapist, counselor, priest, psychiatrist, best buddy or even talk to himself. He didn't crank out tweets and Facebook rants on the injustice of Pharaoh. He didn't depend on the cable news media to keep in up on the Goshen news from Sinai. He talked to God. That is where he knew he got the best answers and the best solutions. That is meekness.

If God gives someone an assignment, he will certainly provide the grace to carry it out. God spent a lot of time working with Moses.  God had heard the cry of the Israelites who were complaining about the oppression bearing down on their lives. He was aware of what was going on and he enlisted Moses to help get them out of Goshen and back to the promised land. He warned Moses that Pharaoh was not going to cooperate with them but he told Moses he would provide him with miraculous displays of power.

In Genesis 6:1-8 God explained his relationship with the Israelites to Moses:
Then the LORD (Yahweh) said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. 2 And God (Elohim) spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD (Yahweh): 3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty (El Shaddai), but by my name JEHOVAH (Yahweh) was I not known to them (could be a self-evident rhetorical question mark here). 4 And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. 5 And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. 6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD(Yahweh), and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: 7 And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God (Elohim): and ye shall know that I am the LORD (Yahweh) your God (Elohim), which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD (Yahweh).*
God is 'Yahweh' to us today. He is relational. Yes, He is an almighty God, a creator God, but His ultimate desire is a Father to His people. He has done so much for us in the new covenant. He has and will continue to bring us up and out from under any burden and free us from any bondage. God has and will actively retrieve us with his long arm. He has and will continue to think of us as His people and He is and will continue to be our God.  As to the land and heritage we have now, He says it best:
Ephesians 1:18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance (heritage) in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places (the promised land of spiritual blessings).
Ephesians 2:5-7 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.


  *Yahweh is God's personal name. He has a relationship with His people. Elohim is His creation name as he created all that we see. El Shaddai represents His strength, the strongest in the universe.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Verily, Verily

In the gospel of John the words: "verily,verily" are found 25 times (LINK). The definition of the word
"verily" is 'truly' or 'surely'. Since it is used twice, it has a double emphasis. The Greeks used the Hebrew word 'amen' for 'verily'. It is the same in Latin and English. It is a unique word.

In the verses that it is used twice, it is like a trumpet sounding to call attention to the truth. God is calling attention to the importance of what is said like in John 14:12:
John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
This breath-taking verse is talking about anyone who believes in Jesus Christ. He said "the works that I do shall he do also".  Jesus Christ did some pretty amazing things when he walked the earth.  Now he is sitting at the right hand of God. God doesn't have a hand (God is spirit) so this is a figure of speech indicating Christ's position of responsibility. Those whom he is Lord over will do the same works as that he did and even greater works. Because of Christ's position now, his work has expanded beyond one person and has the potential to continue to expand as people rise up and believe this verse. Verily, verily, this is a important verse!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend and we got to talking about respect and the current culture. He made a statement to me t...