Monday, March 30, 2015

Thankfulness is Believing

The concept of thankfulness is pretty straightforward. Most dictionaries define it as 'gratitude'. We are told to be thankful so often sometimes that we forget the rich meaning behind it. We think we are supposed to be thankful even when we don't feel like it! We can design wonderful thankfulness lists and they will be just lists if we don't mean it.

Genuine thankfulness follows something that makes us thankful. People who love God have a never-ending resource for thankfulness. That is what grace is all about! God is abundantly good and it is not hard to find evidence of that in our lives:
Psalm 103:2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Thankfulness for things of God stimulates believing and initiates cycles of success. When you recount the things that God has brought into your life, it builds new bridges of believing. Instead of getting stuck in negatives, we are lifted out and above it all.
Psalm 50:14 Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: 15 And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
Glorifying God is the result of this cycle and starts it all over again. It becomes easier and easier to take on all challenges only to generate more thankfulness. In Acts 2:47, the response of the early believers to the message of Pentecost was 'praising God and having favor'. It was a powerful day that changed history.

The types of thinking that promote thankfulness are listed in Philippians 4:6-8.
6 Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:6-8)
In  Philippians 4:8 the first thing to think on is truth and that is where believing starts. The last and eighth thing is praise and that's where all believing ends up!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Book of Numbers and Foreshadows of Jesus Christ

Tis the season of bunnies and eggs, and blessed baskets and the holiday of Easter. For some it is also the end of the time of giving up something for lent. Many of the activities around this time have evolved from traditional practices and ceremonies, some from extending from the Old Testament and many from the effect of melding a mixture of non-Biblical cultural influences.

In the Word of God, there is exquisite fulfillment of the shadowy projections of the Old Testament surrounding this time of the year. Looking closely at the 'last week' in Jesus Christ's life or more appropriately the week leading up to the resurrection, one cannot dig too deeply to find magnificent diamonds of reassurance and truth about who Jesus Christ is.

In Numbers Jesus Christ is spoken about in Numbers 24:17
I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel,
The Israelites were looking forward in expectation of a 'Messiah'. There are other foreshadowings of Jesus Christ in Numbers. God met their physical needs in the Old Testament.  In the New Testament God provides for the spiritual needs of believers through Jesus Christ:
Bread of Life: 
7 And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium.
8 And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.
9 And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it. (Number 11:7-9)
31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: (John 6:31-35)
Deliverance and Salvation:
And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. (Numbers 21:9)
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:14-15)
Water of Life:
11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. (Numbers 20:11)
10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. John 4:10-14

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Wholeheartedness vs 'Yes But' Theology

There are so many groups, denominations, and ministries found everywhere across the net. I enjoy Christian writers and connecting with others who delight in the God, his Word and in acknowledgement of  the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Gone are my days of homogenized elitist church-thinking. I no longer stumble across I Corinthians chapter 1(v.13 'Is Christ divided?') and get a queasy feeling in my heart.

There has always been division since the early days of creation and it is pretty much summed up by the question "Did God really say?" (Genesis 3). What if Eve had answered that question by quoting God exactly instead of adding her own 2 cents to the miasma? What if she had said to the serpent, "Why don't you ask God for yourself?"


There are a lot of teachers and preachers around expounding doctrine and, yes, we can learn from them but ultimately the responsibility comes back to each of us: "What actually does God say?" Therein lies the strength, power and ability to love beyond what we can imagine!


In Numbers 13, the 12 spies who were sent to the promise land were divided 2 to 10. Caleb and Joshua spoke up and encouraged the Israelites to believe God without success. So what did they do? Form their own group? They trusted and loved God wholeheartedly and stuck it out during those 40 years of wilderness wanderings convinced about what God had promised. What others said did not deter them because God was truly their God. I'm sure God was blessing there lives and teaching them despite the the lack of trust surrounding them.


When God is truly our God we can wholeheartedly live abundantly despite the differences around us. We can love bigger, be happier and are freer to go where the spirit needs us to go. I am sure Joshua and Caleb didn't spend those wilderness years complaining about the rest of them who were frightened and not believing God. They believed, loved and were catalysts to the rest of Israel.


No one on this earth has all the answers to everything, I know I certainly don't.  I've been at this in-depth study of God's word for a long time. There is a lot to learn and plenty to experience and the more I learn, the more I realize this.


I am so thankful for those who share undeniable eagerness and love for God. I like reading their blogs or listening to them in conversations expressing how great God is. I may disagree with them on certain points, but I'm not interested in joining a theological 'think tank' or fellowshipping with pharisaical 'killjoys'('yes but' theology). The heart of the true 'church is beautifully expressed in Acts 2:47. They were excited:

47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.





Sunday, March 8, 2015

The 12 Spies -The Edge of Believing

In the record in Numbers 13, the exodus sojourners were getting closer to the land promised them.  It appears in Numbers 13:1 and 2 that God told them to send in spies to scout out the land:
13 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.
However, flipping over to Deuteronomy 1:21-22 there is a slightly different slant on this:
21 Behold, the Lord thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.
22 And ye came near unto me every one of you, and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come.
It was the Israelites who requested a look-see at what was ahead. It sounds reasonable to plan but as one reads through Numbers 13, it indicates that some of them were not ready for the task ahead. God had led them with a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire. He had gotten them through the Red Sea in a most spectacular way.  He had fed them with manna and quails . Water was provided from a rock. It becomes evident that throughout their trek, some of them continued to carry their fear, lack of trust and discontent with them. Fear must be counter-balanced with trust and believing. God let them send the spies and the results of their thinking and readiness was exposed.

Only two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, were excited and ready push ahead trusting the God who had not failed them. Eventually they led the younger generations into the promised land. The fear of the other ten spies and their influence on the population delayed this event. This fear caused them to wander and procrastinate and eventually kept them from what God wanted for them. They did it to themselves.

The edge of believing is always in front of us. Fear is a natural human emotion. Wisdom and healthy respect are benefits, but fear can shut us down when we don't take it to God. He is absolutely approachable with honest prayer and provides several means of reassurance through His son, His Word and  the spirit penetrating our hearts.


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...