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Saturday, December 7, 2013, 5:10 PM
Luke 15:1 And all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to Him (Jesus), to hear Him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, This one receives sinners and eats with them. 3 And He spoke to them this parable, saying, 4 What man of you having a hundred sheep, and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety nine in the deserted place and go after the lost one until he finds it? 5 And finding it, he puts it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And coming to the house, he calls together the friends and neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that had been lost. 7 I say to you that so is joy in Heaven over one sinner repenting, than over ninety nine righteous ones who have no need of repentance. (LITV)
Why did sinners seem to want to come near to Jesus? Perhaps some came out of curiosity; perhaps others because they had heard of His miracles and wanted to see something for themselves. I would suppose that the majority recognized that this One Who could perform these miracles was sent from our Creator and wanted to be closer to Him. The religious leaders, at least for the most part, didn’t recognize or accept Jesus as being sent by the Father (our Creator). These leaders generally felt they were close enough to the Creator by showing their religious zeal. Though they were expecting the Messiah, they didn’t see themselves in need of anyone to bring them closer, because they felt they already had the right path to follow. On the other hand, those sinners who came closer to Jesus (in the passage above) recognized that the leaders saw the sinners as such to be sinners, yet not themselves (the leaders).
Jesus responded to the leaders that if a sheep were lost, the one losing the sheep would certainly go and seek that lost sheep, but had no need to seek the ones who were not lost. Since the leaders didn’t see themselves as lost, then they felt they had no need for a Savior (Shepherd) to search for them, so they didn’t come near to the One who was seeking the lost.
Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the one being lost. (LITV)
Jesus clearly stated that He came to seek and to save the lost.
John 10:11 I am the Good Shepherd! The Good Shepherd lays down His life on behalf of the sheep. … 14 I am the Good Shepherd, and I know those that are Mine, and I am known by the ones that are Mine. (LITV)
The Good Shepherd seeks the lost sheep, and Jesus as our Good Shepherd gave His very Own life to save us. He knows those who know are His, and we know Him.
Matthew 25:31 But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 And before Him shall be gathered all the nations; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. (LITV)
Be assured of this- there will be a judgment, and those who have not recognized their lost condition and found the Good Shepherd Who came to seek and save them will be separated from those who the Good Shepherd will take into His eternal sheepfold.
John 10:1 Truly, truly, I say to you, The one not entering through the door into the sheepfold, but going up by another way, that one is a thief and a plunderer. 2 But the one entering through the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The doorkeeper opens to him, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. 4 And when he puts forth his own sheep, he goes in front of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. (LITV)
Friday, December 6, 2013, 8:53 PM
John was at the river preaching and baptizing before Jesus went out to begin His ministry as one who was foretold to pave the way for the Coming One (Jesus). He preached repentance and turning to righteousness. Repentance doesn’t make a person perfected from sin, but shows an agreement with God that the person’s actions are deplorable compared to God’s standards, a genuine sorrow for not measuring up to God’s standard, and a forced move to strive to live better than before. The turn to righteousness would be that turn to live to those higher standards, even though they may not be perfectly achieved. John’s preaching represented the true spirit of God’s law as given through Moses and exhorted by the prophets.
Luke 3:10 And the crowd asked him (John), saying, What then shall we do? 11 And answering, he said to them, The one that has two tunics, let him give to him that has not. And the one that has food, let him do the same. (LITV)
This teaching of sharing from those who have with those who have not was known to the Jewish leaders of that day, but they had lost sight of the deeper implications of the law in their concern for the i’s being dotted and the t’s being crossed. God’s law of love requires fairness and justice that does not wish to make room for people suffering by going without needs, except where there is willful refusal to earn what is needed.
Luke 14:12 And He also said to him who had invited Him, When you make a dinner or supper, do not call your friends, nor your brothers, nor your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also should invite you in return, and it become a repayment to you. 13 But when you make a banquet, call the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; 14 and then you will be blessed, for they have nothing to repay you. For it will be repaid to you in the resurrection of the just. (LITV)
Jesus expanded on John’s teaching of caring for the less fortunate. He also pointed out that by serving God’s law the person could expect to be repaid in the resurrection. This underscores His teaching that those who seek and receive their rewards in this life have traded their resurrection rewards for rewards in this world. The next verse below is a stronger statement from the same chapter as the verse above.
Luke 14:33 So then every one of you who does not abandon all his possessions is not able to be My disciple. (LITV)
Do you remember the story of the rich man who told Jesus that he had kept all the commandments and wanted to know what more he needed to enter eternal life? Jesus had told him to sell all his goods and follow Him. That is in keeping with this teaching in 14: 33 above. Still, I’m not sure who accepts that ‘abandoning all possessions’ is to be taken in our modern Western thought as intended to be literal. I believe that Jesus meant that we were to place a higher value on doing God’s will than on our earthly possessions. Still, taken in context with the many other teachings (from John’s preaching in the passage above; from the invitation to the poor for dinner from Jesus above; and from the Sermon on the Mount; and many other teachings in the New Testament), Christians are not to accumulate anything more in this world of this world’s earthly goods than what is needed. I don’t have much in the way of earthly material possessions, but in all honesty, I must confess that in many ways, I have much more than I ‘really, really’ need. Many of these rich evangelists seem to think it’s okay for them to have so much more. The judgment will show where one has had his rewards, whether this life or the next.
In the next passage the translator uses the term ‘generated’ from the original language word usually translated as ‘born’. In a world where language today has changed greatly from earlier times, and languages use many different metaphors and idioms, and words can carry different connotations according to usage, and there being so many languages, and each language has its own words, idioms, and connotations, I accept ‘generated’ as a proper translation, but still I am more comfortable with the KJV translation, ‘born’.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, If one is not generated from above, he is not able to see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus said to Him, How is a man able to be generated, being old? He is not able to enter into his mother's womb a second time and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, If one is not generated out of water and Spirit, he is not able to enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That having been generated out of the flesh is flesh, and that having been generated out of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not wonder because I said to you, You must be generated from above. 8 The Spirit breathes where He desires, and you hear His voice; but you do not know from where He comes, and where He goes; so is everyone having been generated from the Spirit. (LITV)
Some have different interpretations of the concept of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. You must be baptized in the Holy Spirit to be saved. However, the confusion between people about the meaning of this is based on using different terms and understanding the intended meaning of those terms. I teach that if one believes in the Lord Jesus Christ then he will be saved. (Please remember that Scripturally, ‘believing in or on’ does not simply mean believing that Jesus existed, but ‘believing in Who He is and all that He taught’. When interpreting from earlier languages, one must keep in mind in the interpretation the intended connotations of the words used in that time frame.) So what does that have to do with being ‘baptized in the Holy Spirit’? Jesus taught that when one became His disciple (a learner and follower of Him; a child of His Heavenly Father; etc.), the Holy Spirit would come in to that person and indwell and be a co-helper with that person. That presence of the Holy Spirit is what is mean by that baptism of the Holy Spirit. Even though one may not be fully aware or conscience of that Spiritual presence, Jesus taught that He would be with us always and that He would never leave us nor forsake us. That Spirit’s presence may be manifested in different ways to different people at different times, but He (the Spirit of Christ) is always with us. This is likened to being immersed in the Spirit. Baptism means immersion.
Thursday, December 5, 2013, 10:24 PM
King Nebuchadnezzar was warned by Yahweh, our Creator, in a dream that the king was gaining too much personal pride in his achievements, and that he would be punished. The next passage is part of Daniel’s response to the king after interpreting the warning.
Daniel 4:27 So, O king, let my advice be pleasing to you: Even break off your sins by righteousness, and your iniquities by pitying the poor, whether there will be duration to your prosperity. (LITV)
Now we know that Abraham was not saved by subscribing to the law as handed down by Moses, because he lived long before that time. Even after the Jews were established in the Promised Land under that law, others from other nations could experience God’s mercy and grace. A foreign woman was given food during a time of famine as she fed Elijah, and also had her son resurrected after he had died. Naaman, a Syrian general, was healed of leprosy after following the instructions of Elisha. Jonah preached to Nineveh in Assyria. If God’s mercy could not be shown to Nineveh, then this preaching would certainly have been pointless. Here, Daniel is teaching the great King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon how to live as Yahweh would have him to live in his kingship.
He was told to ‘break of his sins by righteousness’. He was to replace his ‘wrong-doings’ (sins/iniquities) by doing the ‘right things’ (righteousness). Any time you do anything wrong, someone somewhere is wrongly affected. Wrongly affecting anyone anywhere is contrary to love for the one wrongly affected (by whatever affectation). Can you not see how all of God’s law is based on love? Anything wrong (sinful) is in opposition to that law of love. And he was told to ‘pity the poor’. The word ‘pity’ is from the Hebrew word ‘chanan’, of which I prefer most other translators of this term as ‘mercy’. Even so, ‘pity’ serves its purpose. It’s sort of like the word ‘charity’. In early English, the term ‘charity’ meant a love that showed assistance, but we generally today use it for throwing peanuts to the hungry, so, likewise, the term ‘pity’ can carry different connotations in usage. Showing ‘pity’ (or ‘mercy’) to the poor doesn’t just mean ‘feeling sorry for’. The connotation is that action is to be taken to assist those who are poor and needy.
Daniel 9:18 O my God, bow down Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our ruins and the city which is called by Your name. For we do not make our prayers fall before You on account of our righteousnesses, but because of Your great mercies. (LITV)
The Pharisees in Jesus’ day should have learned from this. They considered themselves ‘experts’ on God’s Word and law, yet they enjoyed their own self-righteousness. Here Daniel clearly explains that we cannot approach God because of our own righteousness (by be upright and always keeping every count of the written law. None of us are completely righteous. None of us are perfect. We all fall short of God’s supreme righteousness. Since Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, anyone who can expect to be accepted by our Creator is entirely dependent upon His benevolent mercy. Daniel lived before Christ was born to Mary. Now we have that fuller understanding of God’s extended mercy shown to us in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Zechariah 3:1 And he made me see Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of Jehovah, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And Jehovah said to Satan, Jehovah rebuke you, Satan! And, Jehovah who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked out of the fire? 3 And Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and he stood before the Angel.
4 And He (Jehovah) answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And He said to him, Behold, I have caused your iniquity to pass from you, and I will clothe you with ceremonial robes. 5 And I said, Let them set a clean turban on his head. And they set a clean turban on his head and clothed him with clothing. And the Angel of Jehovah stood by. (LITV)
Satan’s first known name was Lucifer, which interpreted represented him as a light. It was changed to Satan (which means ‘adversary’ and/or ‘accuser’) in the Garden of Eden as he tempted Eve into disobeying God’s Word. Before Adam and Eve ate from the ‘tree of knowledge of good and evil’, they were innocent. They could not be judged or held accountable under their lack of knowledge of good and evil. Once they ate, they became aware of ‘right and wrong’, and then they could be judged and condemned if they did not live fully up to God’s standard of ‘RIGHT’ which is ‘LOVE’. We all have selfish tendencies, and this selfishness is contrary to ‘LOVE’ which treats others as we would wish to be treated. Here we have (in the Old Testament, no less) an example of that awful adversary Satan (Lucifer) condemning one of God’s children (a high priest, at that). Joshua’s filthy garments represented the filthy wickedness of the people. Yahweh (Jehovah) ordering Joshua’s filthy garment removed and replaced with clean, magnificent clothing represents God’s grace and mercy extended to His children by cleansing those who are His children from their sins. Today we have our sins cleansed (metaphorically) by the blood of Jesus, Who died on the cross to bring God’s mercy of salvation to all who believe.
God’s law is ‘LOVE’. Do you feel you ‘love’ others? Do you feel loved by others? One may or may not feel ‘LOVE’, but love is more than a feeling. Think about it- if you love someone, does that necessarily mean that the one you love ‘feels’ that love? If you don’t ‘feel’ love that doesn’t mean you are not loved. Many people could love you, but you may not necessarily ‘feel’ it. Too many people attach to much to that ‘feeling’, when that ‘feeling’ is not in and of itself ‘LOVE’. Love is not intended to depend on ‘feelings’. Feelings may or may not be there, but that doesn’t mean anything about whether or not the ‘love’ is there. Sometimes people have ‘felt’ they were loved, only to discover that they were only ‘used’ by another. So the feelings can be very deceiving. To ‘feel’ love does not necessarily mean ‘love’, and not to ‘feel’ love doesn’t necessarily mean the love it not there. Very often people feel they love someone, but their feelings are based on selfish reasons, and that selfishness is really the opposite of love for someone else, but truly a ‘self-love’.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013, 11:20 PM
Luke 18:27 But He said, The things impossible with men are possible with God. (LITV)
We all love to praise the concept of all things being possible with God. The Scriptures certainly teach that all things are possible with God. However, sometimes we should be careful about literal applications of a ‘truth’ when considering all possibilities. To say that “all things are possible with God” does not apply to the literal application of sin. It is impossible for God to sin. God is perfect (complete) in righteousness (all things that are right). In God there is no shadow or stain of sin (anything that is not right). God is love, and God’s law is love so sin (anything that is not right) is anything contrary to that law of love.
But have you heard that God ‘hates’ sinners? Well, in a manner of speaking, this is a Scriptural teaching, but it must be understood that it is not interpreted that way. This is because ‘hate’ in the Scriptures doesn’t always mean “hate” in the definition of ‘despising’ or ‘loathing’. Sometime in Scripture it is used to designate a choice between one that is ‘preferred’ against one that is not ‘preferred’ (not ‘hated’, but just not the prime choice) thought the term ‘hate’ is used. To say that God loves sinners is demonstrated many times in the Scriptures, but best expressed (I think) in John 3: 16, “For God so loved the world …” Now the world is full of sinners, and if God didn’t love sinners, then I would certainly have no hope of ever knowing Him.
However, this brings up another term sometimes misunderstood- ‘world’. Christians are taught not to ‘love’ this ‘world’.
1st John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, (LITV)
If God so loved the world, then why would John teach not to love the world. This shows that the term ‘world’ sometimes means somewhat differently according to the context that it is used in. God loves the world, and in coming to Him we are to love the world. This refers to the world full of people who need to come to God, and we are to show them the way to God through Jesus from our love for them, as God’s love was shown to us. However, when John was saying not to love this world, he was speaking of ‘this world in the way that this world is’ meaning ‘this world in its separation from God’, but not the people of this world who are in need of God. So people who like to find contradictions in the Bible are usually ones who are of this world, and like to take things out of context. Though there may be writings that may be difficult to explain or interpret, we must continue in the faith that God’s Word in the Scripture is true, and anything that seems not quite right is only that which we need to seek the deeper meanings of, whether we find those meaning or not.
Learning to live in God’s law of love helps people to learn what is truly ‘good’ and what is truly ‘bad’. Sometimes ‘good’ is used to mean similar to ‘righteous’ and ‘bad to mean similar to ‘wicked’. However, ‘bad’ does not always mean ‘wicked’. If the Old Testament says that something ‘bad’ is happening, then it may mean something that is not ‘wicked’ in the sense of ‘sin’ but something that is ‘not good’ in the sense of something that is dysfunctional. God may bring ‘evil’ on a nation. That does not mean that God is bringing the nation into ‘sin’, but that His judgment is upon them. That nation is actually bringing the ‘evil’ or ‘judgment’ upon themselves by their own actions contrary to God’s will. So it is not God’s ‘will’ to bring ‘evil’ or ‘judgment’, but God’s will is to bring ‘good’; but people living contrary to God’s will judgment upon themselves, and the judgment is not ‘good’, so therefore the judgment is ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ but not ‘wicked’ in the sense of ‘sin’.
What is ‘goodness’? Anything done that reflects pure love is ‘goodness’. Conversely, anything done in any way to or against anyone that does not have that motive of ‘love’ is ‘badness’. God is perfect (complete) in ‘goodness’. That is His love. It hurts Him that so many people are living to go into eternal separation from Him, because He loves them. But it is up to them to make the decision of His offer to accept them, if they accept their need for Him and they believe in Him through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died sharing His love for us. If they were to see their need for Him and believe, then they would acknowledge their own violation of that law of love, and in accepting they would realize their own need to learn to live in that law of love. Not only that, but Jesus promised to give to those who believed of His Own Holy Spirit to help them grow in His law of love, which would bring them into living the life of good works (Ephesians 2: 10) that God has planned for those who come to Him.
One account from the Gospels where Jesus speaks of possibilities with God is told in three of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke).
Luke 18:25 For it is easier for a camel to go in through a needle's eye than for a rich one to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And those hearing said, And who is able to be saved? 27 But He said, The things impossible with men are possible with God. (LITV)
Don’t think Jesus is being silly. The ‘camel’ going through the ‘eye of the needle’ is only an idiom, and idioms were (and still are) often used in teaching. Though it is impossible with men for the rich to enter into God’s kingdom, it is possible with God. A rich person could come to recognize his own need for salvation and come to believe in Jesus and realize his own need to live in God’s law of love. Then he would learn not to hang on to his worldly riches, but in love to reach out to those in need. God spoke of His will for people through the prophet Isaiah (and others as well).
Isaiah 58:6 Is this not the fast I have chosen: to open bands of wickedness, to undo thongs of the yoke, and to send out the oppressed ones free; even that you pull off every yoke? 7 Is it not to break your bread to the hungry, that you should bring the wandering poor home? When will you see the naked and cover him, and you will not hide yourself from your flesh? (LITV)
Jesus taught that we were not to store up our treasures in this world (or in this life), but in Heaven (Matthew 6: 19-20; the entire chapter 6 of Matthew is about rewards and treasures). Storing up treasures (rewards) in this world is what the rich people do. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 20- 25), the rich man looked up from his torments and Abraham told him that he had received his ‘good things’ in his earthly life. Lazarus, the poor man, was comforted in God’s kingdom, but the rich man’s reward was in torments. There is some debate whether this story is a ‘true and real’ account or an ‘allegory’. Jesus taught using idioms in allegories so whether the actualities are ‘true’ or ‘not’, the teachings are ‘true’, because Jesus does not lie. Using an idiom or allegory is not a lie, but an illustrative teaching. So Jesus taught rewards that involved ‘torments’ and elsewhere that these ‘torments’ are everlasting. Jesus died to rescue the lost people of this world from those everlasting torments that separate lost people from our perfect Creator.
But it is possible for the rich to be saved by God’s grace in coming to Him through the Lord Jesus, and in doing so they begin that process of ‘being sanctified’ (a old term that simply means they are brought into a closer relationship with their Creator through better learning to live by God’s law of love). In this, they learn to loosen their grip on these earthly riches (the ‘good things in this life’) by caring for those in need and gaining rewards in Heaven.
1st John 3:17 Whoever has the means of life of the world, and sees his brother having need, and shuts up his heart of compassion from him, how does the love of God abide in him? (LITV)
So it would certainly stand to reason that those who come to know Christ would learn to live in God’s law of love which would bring them to serve others in need. Therefore, we should feel sorrow for those despicable people who become abundantly wealthy by panhandling the precious blood of our Savior. We should especially pray for those poor souls who are led astray by the ‘pretty words’ of these rich panhandlers. They may say a lot of ‘pretty words’, but I can find all the ‘pretty words’ I need in the Scriptures.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013, 9:50 AM
Update on the prayer request for the husband who was rushed to the hospital. His lungs are being filled with blood and his kidneys are only working at 20%. He still hasn't been diagnosed. Thanks for your support and continued prayers.
New Request- a friend on facebook posted this and gave me permission to share-
Im stressed sad angry mad scared and any other feeling u could possibly feel right now.. I need some prayers
Thank you all for your support.