May 28, 2014

Esther: We're Not Evloved

 

It could be observed that this 2,400 year old story is excellent evidence that mankind at his core cannot, and has not changed over time. 

Only his technology has.

For all our present day chest thumping about how evolved we are, and how much better we are going to be, the Well that was poisoned at Eden remains so today, with the result that we are not, and cannot on our own "evolve" in the sense of getting morally better and better, whether we drink from a gourd or a Starbuck's cup.  Our only hope for real change is in Christ, and the regeneration and sanctification produced by salvation. --Jim Canter 5/2014

Mar 26, 2012

Bible Contradictions

dstruct
We are at times puzzled when we encounter passages in the bible that seem to contradict one another. Skeptics are quick to point these out as evidence that the bible cannot be true. This is not new.
As a case in point, Josephus, in his first century A.D. “Jewish Antiquities” relates how Zedekiah, the thirty-two-year-old final King of Jerusalem did not believe the prophecies of Ezekiel and Jeremiah regarding the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (ca. 586-587 BC) because there was a seeming contradiction in the prophecies of the two men:
“It happened that the two prophets agreed with one another in what they said as in all other things, that the city should be taken, and Zedekiah himself should be taken captive; but Ezekiel disagreed with him, and said that Zedekiah should not see Babylon, while Jeremiah said to him that the king of Babylon should carry him away there in bonds. And because they did not both say the same thing as to this circumstance, he disbelieved what they both appeared to agree in, and condemned them as not speaking truth therein….” (Jewish Antiquities, Book 10, Chapter 7.2)
Here is the prophecy by Jeremiah:
Thus says the LORD, “Behold, I am about to give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will take it; 4 and Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but he will surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will speak with him [a]face to face and see him eye to eye; 5 and he will take Zedekiah to Babylon, and he will be there until I visit him,” declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 32:3-4, NASB)
Here is the prophecy by Ezekiel:
12 The prince who is among them will load his baggage on his shoulder in the dark and go out. [g]They will dig a hole through the wall to bring it out. He will cover his face so that he can not see the land with his eyes. 13 I will also spread My net over him, and he will be caught in My snare. And I will bring him to Babylon in the land of the Chaldeans; yet he will not see it, though he will die there. (Ezekiel 12:12-13,NASB)
One might presume the king of Babylon to be in Babylon; however, he was actually headquartered in Riblah on the northern frontier of Israel (2 Kings 25:6). So,when Zedekiah was captured, he was taken to Riblah, where he was sentenced by Nebuchadnezzar. His sons were then slaughtered before his eyes.  Zedekiah was then blinded, bound in bronze fetters and taken to Babylon.

The outcome was that BOTH prophets were right. He would see Nebuchadnezzar but not Babylon, though he would be taken there.

As we study God’s word, there will always be questions, but let’s not be too hasty to disregard it or challenge it’s relevance because we think we see a contradiction. Study carefully.  God’s word cannot fail, and He will fulfill His word in remarkable ways.

Oct 13, 2011

Given

god-giving-life

Forgetfulness about God’s faithfulness to us seems to be a human condition.  The Israelites forgot God as soon as they occupied the Promised Land, followed by a cycle of kindness by the Lord and forgetfulness of that kindness as soon as the distress was gone.

We Christians also find ourselves forgetful about all that God has and is doing for each of us.  We find ourselves facing trials or suffering allowed by the Lord for our benefit and His glory; we call out to him for guidance and deliverance.  He proves His loving care for us and His faithfulness on our behalf; we learn from the experience, and then forget what He has already done when we hit the next snag.

Having found myself in this miserable condition recently, I began to write a list of all the things I could remember that God had and was giving me.  As the list grew long, I was ashamed of my forgetfulness.  This passage came to mind:

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
(Psalm 103:1-2 NASB)

What follows is a list of things that came to mind as I meditated on what God has given:

Breath of Life

Genesis 2:7; Job 12:10; Job 33:4; Isaiah 42:5; Acts 17:25

Blessings of Nature

Psalm 8; Job 12:7-11

A measure of faith

Romans 12:3; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 2:8

Every good and perfect gift

James 1:17

   

Once to die, and then the judgment

Hebrews 9:27

   

His only begotten Son

John 3:16

   

Grace

John 1:17; 1 Corinthians 1:4

Forgiveness

Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 32:1, Psalm 130:4; Daniel 9:9; Matthew 26:28; Acts 5:31

   

Redemption

Psalm 11:9; Psalm 130:7

Justification

Romans 4:25; Romans 5:18;

Peace with God

Romans 5:1

Peace of God

Philippians 4:7-9

Eternal life

John 3:16; John 3:36

Hope

Romans 15:4, 15:12; 15:13

   

Adoption into God’s Family

Ephesians 1:5; Romans 8:15;

Discipline as God’s Child

Hebrew’s 12:7-9

To suffer for His Name

Philippians 1:29; 3:8

   

The mind of Christ

1 Corinthians 2:16)

   

All that Pertains to life and godliness

2 Peter 1:3

My daily bread

Matthew 16:11

Guidance

Psalm 23)

Deliverance from evil

Psalm 23; Matthew 6:13

   
   

God’s Word

2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19

God’s promises

2 Corinthians 1:20; 2Peter 1:)

   

The Holy Spirit as a pledge of things to come for us

Romans 5:1-5; Ephesians 1:13-14 1Corinthians 6:19

Power to be Witnesses of the Gospel

Acts 1:8

Fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Self-control, etc.

Galatians 5:22

Gifts of the Spirit

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

   

Priesthood

Revelation 1:6, 5:10; 20:6

Kingship

Revelation 5:10; 20:6

To be glorified with Jesus when He is revealed in Glory

Colossians 3:4

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Sep 1, 2011

ALERT

battle-trenton During the Revolutionary War, a loyalist spy appeared at the headquarters of Hessian commander Colonel Johann Rall, carrying an urgent message. General George Washington and his Continental army had secretly crossed the Delaware River that morning and were advancing on Trenton, New Jersey where the Hessians were encamped. The spy was denied an audience with the commander and instead wrote his message on a piece of paper. A porter took the note to the Hessian colonel, but because Rall was involved in a poker game he stuffed the unread note into his pocket. When the guards at the Hessian camp began firing their muskets in a futile attempt to stop Washington's army, Rall was still playing cards.

Without time to organize, the Hessian army was captured. The battle occurred the day after Christmas, 1776, giving the colonists a late present--their first major victory of the war.  (From: Today in the Word, MBI, October, 1991, p. 21.)

Jesus warned the disciples, and Paul and Peter both warned the saints to be on the alert.  In our distracted, careless society these are important warnings for Christians.  So what does it mean to be “on the alert”, and what are we to be alert for? 

To be alert means to be: watchful, observant, undistracted, on guard, quick, sharp, vigilant, wary, prepared; in other words aware of what is going on around you.

The opposite condition is to be: sleepy, distracted, unaware, incognizant, careless, sluggish, falsely secure.

According to Scripture, we should be alert:

1. For the Lord’s coming (Matthew 24:41-43, Matthew 25:13, Mark 13: 33-35, Luke 12:37)
2. In prayer (Luke 21:36; Colossians 4:2, Ephesians 6:17-19)
3. In teaching the truth and guarding against deceivers (Acts 20:28-31)
4. Against temptation (1 Peter 5:8)
5. Against an unforgiving heart (2 Corinthians 2:8-11)

At the same time, we are not to be anxious.  Being anxious is not the same as being alert. Instead, staying watchful depends on our being in constant contact with the Lord, our first Love, who is the source of all the strength we need, and staying in His word (which is how we know what He wants).  In this way, we can stay both alert and at peace.