What’s Your Answer?

2 Corinthians Overview, Cont’d: What’s Your Answer?blogmistake-1966448__340

“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!

Or do you not recognize this about yourselves,

that Jesus Christ is in you—unless in deed you fail the test?”

2 Corinthians 13:5(NASB95)

In Monday’s post, “Test Time!” the question posed for thought concerned what kind of questions you would expect on this test. One question I would ask is, “What does this test cover?” My beliefs? My works? My heart? Or all of the above?

It has to cover more than simple belief for we are told—

“You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” James 2:19

John’s Gospel uses the word believe over 100 times, which is close to half the times it’s used in the New Testament.* Believing is a vital component in knowing Jesus Christ is in us. Yet, we all can agree the demons are definitely not in Christ nor is He in them. So, what in believing is needed to bring us into the assurance we are in Christ and Christ is in us?

  • “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord,
  • and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead,

you shall be saved,

  • for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness,
  • and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Romans 10:9,10.

Yes, the demons even confessed Jesus to be the Holy One, but not their Lord. They knew and know the facts concerning Jesus, but they are not saved. For their heart, their allegiance is not to Him. Believing with the heart results in righteousness. They are far from righteous.

“He(God the Father) made Him who knew no sin(Jesus Christ)

to be sin on our behalf,

that we might become

the righteousness of God in Him.”

(2 Corinthians 5:21, words in parenthesis added by author for clarification)

And from our heart comes the conviction of truth that leads to salvation.

“for if we live, we live for the Lord,

or if we die, we die for the Lord;

therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

For to this end Christ died and lived again,

that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”

Romans 14:8-9.

The demons remain and will remain devoid of what it takes for salvation. For salvation lies in a new heart. One which has been raised from death to life.

“But God, being rich in mercy,

because of His great love with which He loved us,

even when we were dead in our transgressions,

made us alive together with Christ

(by grace you have been saved),

and raised us up with Him,

and seated us with Him in the heavenly places,

in Christ Jesus …”

Ephesians 2:4-6

A heart made pure.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8;

  • “Beloved, now we are children of God,
  • and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be.
  • We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him,
  • because we shall see Him just as He is.

And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him

purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

1 John 3:2,3.

How can we know we are in Christ? John writes—

“Little children,

let us not love with word or with tongue,

but in deed and truth.

We shall know by this that we are of the truth,

and shall assure our heart before Him.”

1 John 3:18,19

Returning to the beginning of this post, what is your answer to the question “What does this test cover?” My beliefs? My works? My heart? Or all of the above?  My answer—all of the above with the heart being at the core and summed up in Matthew’s gospel when he writes—

“Jesus said unto him,

THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD

WITH ALL THY HEART,

AND WITH ALL THY SOUL,

AND WITH ALL THY MIND …

THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF.”

 (Matthew 22:37,39b; KJV)

For Thought: Who owns your heart? The word prove/examine is a word requiring evidence. What’s your evidence?

Our Prayer: Heavenly Father, how great is your love for us that you would give us your Son to die in our place. May we never lose sight of the love that bought our salvation. No matter what the day brings help us remember the cross proves your love, the resurrection proves your faithfulness. May our works be such as comes from a pure heart of  love for you. Amen.


*Source: “A Study of Believing and Love in John’s Gospel” by Patrick Sullivan, found at https://collected.jcu.edu

Truth Triumphs

bloglove-699480_960_720Jesus Christ is the way and the truth. He is the word of God clothed in flesh. He is the living Word. God’s word is truth. Jesus is truth, no lie is found in him. Nor will it be found in the written word.

A Prayer,Praise, and Promise from Deuteronomy 32:1-4:

“Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak: and hear, o earth, the words of my mouth.”

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” 1 John 5:14

Heavenly Father, we praise your holy name for Jesus is the way to your throne, and he is truth. He is our confidence to ask you for words of truth to speak. Your promise to hear is sure for your word is truth.

  • “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts:
  • and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom …
  • Howbeit when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come,
  • he will guide you into all truth:
  • for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come …
  • Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God:
  • that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
  • Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth;
  • comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” Psalm 51:6; John 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:12,13

Thank you, Father, for giving us your Holy Spirit. May we speak nothing that is not taught to us by Him, and may we speak the truth in love. May those of the earth hear your words through our speech, our lives, and true doctrine of Jesus Christ.

“My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.”

“Jesus answered them, and said,

My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine,

whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory:

but he that seeketh his glory that sent him,

the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him …

Study to show thyself approved unto God,

a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,

rightly dividing the word of truth …

how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

And that he was buried,

and that he rose again the third day

according to the scriptures.”

2 Timothy 2:15; John 7:16-18; 1 Corinthians 15:3b,4

Father, thank you for raining your blessing of life upon our lives – for sending us your Son to water our thirsty souls. May we be faithful to study your word and speak only of you in truth, making known Jesus is the truth, and you are our great God. May our teaching be as the gentle rain falling on parched ground bringing life to that which is dead.

Final Words of Praise:

“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment:

a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”

“But the LORD is the true God,

he is the living God,

and an everlasting king:

at his wrath the earth shall tremble,

and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation …

O Praise the LORD, all ye nations:

praise him, all ye people.

For his merciful kindness is great toward us:

and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever.

Praise ye the LORD.”

Jeremiah 10:10; Psalm 117:1,2

Jesus is the truth who reigns forever. Truth has and will triumph. May we lift our voices in praise to our great God and King, even as we cling to his promises and as we bring our prayers to him who is the way to God and the truth of God.

Truth Stands

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Jesus told Pilate He came – “to bear witness to the truth…”

“And we know that the Son of God is come,

and hath given us an understanding,

that we may know him that is true,

and we are in him that is true,

even in his Son Jesus Christ.

This is the true God, and eternal life.”

1 John 5:20

The world we live in lives with a shortage of truth. Without the wisdom of God found in the knowledge of the Truth, we are prey to the lies floating through the air as it carries them to all who will receive them and be deceived. We are told the only real way to know the truth is to study it. Then the false becomes evident. As followers of Christ, who is the truth, we house the Holy Spirit in us that testifies to the truth. The early church experienced this knowledge first hand.

The Account (adapted from Acts 5:1-11)

“Look, we’re going to do this, Sapphira,” explained Ananias. “Who is going to know? After all, we are still being generous.”

Sapphira’s unsure smile and hesitant nod gave way to a sigh of resignation. Her husband was right. She watched him place the money for the sale of their property in two separate bags. One he tucked underneath his cloak safe inside his belt. The other he handed to her.

“Find a safe place for this while I take the rest to the disciples,” ordered Ananias.

“But where? We will need to leave our home and property. I don’t know where …”

Ananias huffed. “I don’t know. Make a pocket inside your cloak for it. We will figure that out later.” He shook his head and marched out the door.

Sapphira busied herself sewing a pocket to carry the only possession they had left – silver coins.

“Where could he be?” She asked aloud to no one. She paced in and out the door looking for her husband. She released a deep sigh. “I’m done waiting. I’ll go to the disciples and find out what has happened to Ananias. Maybe they sent him on an errand – or maybe he was robbed on the way?” Fear gripped her heart.

“Peter, I’ve come in search of my husband. Has he been here? He had an offering from the sale of our property.” Sapphira wrung her sweaty hands as she glanced around the room.

“Yes, Ananias was here,” answered Peter. “Tell me, did you really sell your land for this amount?”

Sapphira’s eyes grew large and her breathing rapid. “Yes, that is the amount.” A noise from behind her caused her to turn as some young men, dirty and tired-looking stepped inside the doorway.

As Peter challenged her, she turned to face him. “How is it you and Ananias agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?”

Sapphira licked her dry lips as she searched the room for help. But found none. The last words she heard came from Peter.

“The young men who just came in are the ones who buried your husband and now will carry you out.”

Sapphira immediately fell down at Peter’s feet and died. The young men carried her out and buried her by her husband. Did anyone retrieve the money they held so tightly to? We don’t know. The money was not the issue. It was the heart of those who had forsaken the truth.

  • “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue;
  • but in deed and in truth.
  • And hereby we know that we are of the truth,
  • and shall assure our hearts before him.
  • For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things …
  • When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it;
  • for he hath no pleasure in fools:
  • pay that which thou hast vowed.
  • Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.
  • Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin …” 1 John 3:18-20; Ecclesiastes 5:4-6a

Ananias and Sapphira wanted to look like those who had a true heart to follow Jesus. Peter made it clear to Ananias he wasn’t lying to the disciples but to God the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of truth which came forth from Jesus Christ, who is the Truth. And he knows what is in our hearts.

Jesus confessed he came to bear witness of the truth. He has given us the same responsibility. We are called to bear witness to his image in us. For as God is holy we are to be holy. And Jesus, God the Son, is the Truth. We are witnesses of the Truth in a world dominated by the father of all lies, Satan, who was a liar and murderer from the beginning. The apostle Paul admonishes us –

“Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth …”

Ephesians 6:14a (NASB20)

Jesus is the Truth that holds all else together. His truth does not change with circumstances. Believing or not believing the truth does not change it. Truth stands. Do you?

What Is Truth?

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Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

Can you imagine binding God the Son with ropes? Of slapping him in the face? Of delivering him over to Pilate to have him crucified? The Jewish council had no clue of the Truth that stood before them. Their eyes remained blinded to the One who could lead them to the throne of God. They were deaf to the Word of God standing in truth to expose the lies filling their hearts. At least, Pilate explored the possibility of truth when he questioned Jesus.

“Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?

Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?

Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews : but now is my kingdom not from hence.

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then?

Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world,

that I should bear witness unto the truth.

Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Pilate saith unto him,

What is truth?”

John 18:33-36

Facing the Truth when we are bound in lies causes us to hide from him or run the other way. But it is only in our facing the Truth we can be made free from the sin that deceives our hearts. To answer Pilate’s question,

the Truth is the living Word.

“In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

The same was in the beginning with God …

And of his fulness have all we received,

and grace for grace.

For the law was given by Moses,

but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ …

Sanctify them through thy truth,

thy word is truth …

And for their sakes I sanctify myself,

that they also might be sanctified through the truth…

Jesus saith unto him,

I am the way, the truth, and the life …”

John 1:1,2,16,17; John 17:17,19; John 14:6a

Often we are tempted to –  bind God the Son with ropes of disbelief; slap him in the face with our disobedience; leave him on the cross by denouncing the freedom he has won for us. We stand clueless, blinded, and deaf to the living Word of God instead of receiving or at least investigating the Truth that sets us free from the power and punishment of sin. Jesus and Paul spoke to this end –

“If ye continue in my word,

then are ye my disciples indeed;

And ye shall know the truth,

and the truth shall make you free …

If the Son therefore shall make you free,

ye shall be free indeed …

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus

hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

John 8:32,36; Romans 8:2

Sanctification comes by faith through grace to receive the truth found in the Word. It sets us apart from the way of the world and keeps us growing in the Way and the Truth, which is Jesus Christ.

What is truth? How does God define truth? The challenge is to know the Truth and walk in Him.

Truth in the Mirror

516“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,

hath shined in our hearts,

to give the light

of the knowledge of the glory of God

in the face of Jesus Christ.”

2 Corinthians 4:6.

After recently celebrating another birthday I stood in front of a lighted mirror.  “Umm.”  I turned the light off. I didn’t look a day over 35 in the dark.

Jesus’s appearance on earth turned the light on to reveal God to his creation. What had been hidden in the darkness of sinful ages Christ dispelled. In his person, his face, the light of the glory of God appeared, not as it did in the beginning, but in the flesh.

When darkness covered the earth, God spoke light, his glory, into it.

“And God said, let there be light: and there was light.” Genesis 1:3.

The light born in creation shines the first light of the knowledge of God to those He created.

  • “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen,
  • being understood by the things that are made,
  • even his eternal power and Godhead;
  • so that they are without excuse:
  • Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful:
  • but became vain in their imaginations,
  • and their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1:20,21.

Refusing the first light laid the world in the darkness of sin. God did not forsake his creation but revealed himself repeatedly through the prophets. He appeared to Moses and proclaimed…

“The LORD, the LORD God,

merciful and gracious, longsuffering,

and abundant in goodness and truth,

Keeping mercy for thousands,

forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,

and that will by no means clear the guilty…”

Exodus 34:6,7.

Isaiah also witnessed the Lord’s glory and declared it to the people.

“I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne,

high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

Above it stood the seraphims…

And one cried unto another, and said,

Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts:

the whole earth is full of his glory.”

(6:1-3).

Yet the people refused to receive the revelation given and worship the Lord. Isaiah spoke, also, of the final revelation of God’s glory.

“And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,

and all flesh shall see it together;

for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”

(40:5).

Jesus Christ is

“the light of the knowledge of the glory of God”

given in these last days.

“Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds:

Who being the brightness of his glory,

and the express image of his person,

and upholding all things by the word of his power,

when he had by himself purged our sins,

sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;”

Hebrews 1:2,3.

“In him was life;

and the life was the light of men.

And the light shineth in darkness;

and the darkness comprehended it not…

That was the true Light,

which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”

John 1:4,5,9.

“(and we beheld his glory,

the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)

full of grace and truth.”

John 1;14.

Philip asked the Lord to show the disciples the Father. Jesus replied,

“Have I been so long with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?

He that hath seen me hath seen the Father;

and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”

John 14:9.

Many have experienced the light God, hath shined in our hearts. This knowledge of God’s glory we have seen, in the face of Jesus Christ. We hold in our heart a great treasure.

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,

that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

2 Corinthians 4:7.

And…

”we all, with open face beholding as in a glass

the glory of the Lord,

are changed into the same image

from glory to glory,

even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 3:18.

No longer children of darkness, Paul admonishes us.

“For ye were sometimes darkness,

but now are ye light in the Lord:

walk as children of light.”

Ephesians 5:8

If these truths of the gospel of Christ remain hidden to you, God’s word says you are lost.

  • “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
  • In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not
  • lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” 2 Corinthians 4:3,4.

To those who now walk in the light of Christ and to those who still walk in darkness, I leave you with Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1.

  • “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,
  • may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
  • The eyes of your understanding being enlightened;
  • that ye may know what is the hope of his calling,
  • and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
  • And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
  • Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead…” (17-20).

Turning the light off when I looked in the mirror didn’t change the truth. It only made me blind to it.

Who Is This Man?

Hi, I am-.” Honestly, I don’t remember his name. He walked into our church with a shy smile and friendly handshake. His well-worn jeans and shirt hung loosely on his small frame. I do remember his character for something more than his clothes didn’t fit.

“I am a prophet.” His words captured the church’s attention as he proceeded to pronounce a generic prophecy over our congregation. Warning rang in my spirit. Some believed him  to be true but many did not. The few weeks he was among us proved the warning to be true.

The Gospel of John captures our attention as he relates, by the Holy Spirit’s direction, when a Man like no other walked into our world. Many would not believe his record but some would. John’s account proves to be true. A nameless blind man experienced the works of God when this Man healed him. He remembers His name.

“He answered and said,

A man that is called Jesus made clay…

one thing I know,

that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”

From John 9:11,25.

John gives clear sight from the beginning of the Gospel into this, man that is called Jesus.

This one called Jesus is the Word. He is God.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” (1:1,2)

  • “Who is the image of the invisible God,
  • the firstborn of every creature:
  • For by him were all things created…
  • all things were created by him, and for him:
  • And he is before all things,
  • and by him all things consist.” Colossians 1:15-17.

After witnessing Jesus’s miraculous signs and hearing His words, Peter testified to Jesus’s identity.

He is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go?

Thou hast the words of eternal life.

And we believe and are sure that

thou art that Christ,

the Son of the living God.”

(6:68,69).

This man call Jesus is the Christ. He is the One anointed with the holy oil of God to declare the Father’s glory and salvation.

“the patriarch David…being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption…

  • “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell;
  • neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption…Psalm 16:10;
  • Thou hast ascended on high,
  • thou hast led captivity captive:
  • thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also,
  • that the LORD God might dwell among them.

Blessed be the Lord,

who daily loadeth us with benefits,

even the God of our salvation. Selah.

He that is our God is the God of salvation…”

Psalm 68:18-20.

 This Jesus hath God raised up,

whereof we all are witnesses…

know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus,

whom ye have crucified,

both Lord and Christ.

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles,

Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Then Peter said unto them,

Repent, and be baptized every one of you

in the name of Jesus Christ

for the remission of sins,

and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”  

See Acts 2:29-38.

This man called Jesus is the Son of the living God.

“God…

  • Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,
  • whom he hath appointed heir of all things,
  • by whom also he made the worlds;
  • Who being the brightness of his glory,
  • and the express image of his person,
  • and upholding all things by the word of his power,
  • when he had by himself purged our sins,
  • sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
  • Being made so much better than the angels,
  • as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they…

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,

and given him a name which is above every name:

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

of things in heaven, and things in earth,

and things under the earth;

And that every tongue would confess

that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:9-11.

“there is no God else beside me;

a just God and a Saviour;

there is none beside me.

Look unto me,

and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth:

for I am God,

and there is none else.

I have sworn by myself,

the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness,

and shall not return,

that unto me every knee shall bow,

every tongue shall swear.”

Isaiah 45: 21b-23.

 For unto which of the angels said he at any time,

THOU ART MY SON, THIS DAY HAVE I BEGOTTEN THEE? 

And again, 

I WILL BE TO HIM A FATHER,

AND HE SHALL BE TO ME A SON?”

Hebrews 1:2-5.

“I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me,

Thou art my Son;

this day have I begotten thee.”

Psalm 2:7

“And low a voice from heaven , saying

This is my beloved Son,

in whom I am well pleased.”

Matthew 3:17.

John says much more about this man called Jesus, which I hope to write about next time. But today, you who read, have this witness before you. Unlike the man who visited our church, I don’t ask you to receive my words but God’s. You may choose not to believe the words written in italics. These are words of truth. Your receiving or rejecting God’s word does not change the truth.

When you stand before this man called Jesus you will know, you will bow, and you will confess. I say this based on the authority of God Almighty. Now is the time to receive truth. Reject it now and stand before Him ashamed. Receive it now and stand before Him in his righteousness.

“Surely, shall one say,

in the LORD have I righteousness and strength:

even to him shall men come;

and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.”

Isaiah 45:24.

Are you among the spiritually blind or now do you see? Who do you say this man called Jesus is?

 

Here Come the Judges Part 1

 “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers…And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel…so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies…Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.”  (portions of Judges 2:11-16).

Who were these judges, what kind of men and women were they, what lessons can we learn from them? These are questions we hope to probe through the four parts of “Here Come the Judges.”

Othniel: Power in the Spirit of the Lord

 blog shieldHis name means powerful one. Being Caleb’s nephew, I wonder how many retellings of the miracles of the Lord as He delivered the fledgling nation from Egypt he heard; of the wanderings, and the conquests of mightier nations?  He had proven himself courageous in the taking of Debir. Then we meet him as one of four judges identified  with the phrase, “And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel.” Judges 3:10.

Believers:

“And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them…Ezek. 36:27; Even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you…John 14:17; But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

As God empowered Othniel for the work of the Lord, so has He empowered us.

Ehud: Walking in Wisdom

His name means strong. Raised up by the Lord to deliver Israel from Eglon the king of Moab, this left-handed man showed strength and cunning in dealing with his enemy. After killing the king through a subversive plan (read the account in Judges 3:12-30), he mustered Israel and lead them to victory.

“And he said unto them, Follow after me: for the Lord hath delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand…And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all men of valour; and there escaped not a man. So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years.”

Believers:

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“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves…Matt. 10:16; And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice…John 10:4; Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom…But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” James 3:13,17.

Walk in wisdom, redeeming the time. Follow the One who gives you wisdom liberally to face the enemies of your soul, the enemies of His kingdom.

Shamgar: Known By God

Little is known of this judge, not even the meaning of his name. He must have been a man of courage to kill six hundred Philistines with an ox goad… “and he also delivered Israel.” Judges 3:31. Not a lot said, but his work does not go unnoticed.

Believers:

You may feel insignificant in the kingdom of God but remember this; God the Son knows you and has a record of your name.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me…John 10:27; …rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven…Luke 10;20b; How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” Psalm 139:17,18.

Believer, you are known of God and can walk in wisdom for the Holy Spirit dwells within you. You don’t have to be caught in the cycle of sin found throughout Judges.

Which of these judges do you identify with? Which judge are you wanting to hear about?

Do You Want to See Him?

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” The Lord God gives us both to reveal Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. Do you want to see Him? Look in the book. You will find His portrait being painted in Genesis’ Seed of promise, Exodus’ Passover Lamb, and Leviticus’ High Priest.

What will the book of Numbers add? Some familiar pictures…

bread-1696166__340“But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes…Num. 11:6; I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of the bread, he shall live for ever and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world…From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him … He is despised and rejected of men….” (John 6:51,66 Isa. 53:3a;).rock-1532902_640

“And Moses lifted up his hand, and with the rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also…Num.20:11; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” 1Cor. 10:4.

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…Num.21:9; And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:14,15.

And a couple of not so familiar pictures, one from Numbers 19.

“This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke…

a red heifer without spot…Why a heifer-“ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel… For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham… made in the likeness of man…(1Peter 3:7;Heb. 2:16;Phil.3:7).

…bring her forth without the camp…”Wherefore Jesus also that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.” Heb. 13:12,13.

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…and one shall slay her before his face…”And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, there they crucified him…And the people stood beholding.” Luke 23:33,34).

…sprinkle her blood… “And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words… And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling…” (Ex.24:8; Heb. 12:24).

…burn the heifer…her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn…”For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” Heb. 9 13,14.

And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer… “And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel… Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” (Num. 19:17; Titus 3:5,6).

Cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet cloth are all used in the purification of a leper. Our sin is as vile as this disease. Cedar wood is a lasting, durable wood and some see it as a symbol of the “once for all” sacrifice of Christ on the tree. David pleaded for the Lord to cleanse him with hyssop, Ps. 51:7. It is considered as an agent for healing, as well. The scarlet thread and the red of the heifer may symbolize the blood atonement of Christ.

The last picture from Numbers, I will use, is found in chapter 24:17 by one we would consider an unlikely artist.  Balaam, described by Peter as leading others astray and loving wages of unrighteousness, painted the glory of the One to come.

DSCF0032I 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…” Num. 24:17.

He is our bread of life, our Rock, and our brass serpent wrapped in the body of a red heifer, who is the Star of Jacob, who after being offered for our sins, ”shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” Heb. 9:28.

Do you want to see Him?  If not now, in faith, whether you want to or not, you will see Him.

“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” Rev. 1:7.

Which picture speaks to your heart?

A New Series

“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” 1Cor. 10:11.

Our world is in a chaotic mess. Who among you wants peace to reign in your life even when life is out of control? It can be done. I hope you will join me for the journey of a lifetime as we discover the Lord God’s plan from beginning to ending to beginning.

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courtesy of Pixabay free images

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable, for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…We have also a more sure word of prophecy: whereunto ye do well that ye take heed…Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2Tim. 3:16; Heb. 1:1,2a; 2Pet. 1:19-21).

“Not in the old testament,” challenged the freckled face youngster.

“Yes, even in the old testament,” I answered. “Every book of the Bible shows at least one truth about Jesus.”

My site, Meeting Jesus, introduces the unknowing reader to the truth of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. To the reader established in this truth, its purpose endeavors to encourage and challenge you in your personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Redeemer, Savior, and coming King. I hope you will join me as we walk hand in hand with Jesus, meeting Him, and the many who walked with Him, in every book as we move through this new series. The best place to start in any book is the beginning. It introduces the main characters and lays the foundation for the rest of the book. So, that’s where we begin.

GENESIS: THE BOOK REVIEW

Authored through the inspiration of God and believed to be spoken to Moses, His servant, Genesis answers the oldest questions of mankind: How did all this come to be and where did we come from?

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Image courtesy of Pexels.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth…And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them.” Gen. 1:1, 26-27.

Genesis consists mainly as a book of beginnings; the beginning of time, earth, man, sin, war, a revealed plan for victory, and a nation. But another facet exists within these pages not often looked at, the fellowship of the Lord with man, man walking with His God.

“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” Gen. 3:8.

Before this fateful day, the Lord freely walked with Adam and Eve speaking with them. We have to imagine what that was like as the Bible doesn’t tell us. But this time, exposed by sin, they hid from God.

As Genesis unfolds, the Lord introduces others who walked with Him and weren’t defeated by sin, but received the blessing of the Lord.

“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not: for God took him… Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God… he{Jacob} blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk,” (Gen. 5:24; 6:9; 48:15,16).

Genesis is the account of the beginning of God’s pursuit of a people to call His own and to love throughout eternity. The men and women filling its pages know sin and forgiveness, doubt and faith, death and life. They knew what it meant to walk with God and to be separated from Him. Their story continues in us today.

How does your life story read?  Are you walking with God or against Him? What can you do to walk closer to Him?

Throughout the week I plan to delve into some of the characters of Genesis, some who walked with God, others not so close and ending with Jesus who was from the beginning. Won’t you walk with me as we discover life walking with God?

I need your help to make this series relevant to you and your walk with the Lord. Would you  leave in comments some characters from Exodus you would like explored next week as we travel through the ages? What fascinates you about the choice of character, or what question would like answered about him/her? Thanks for your help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Does Your Temple Look Like?

“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.” 1Cor. 2:10.pexels-photo-345135.jpeg

My friend and I walked along the deserted one lane dirt road leading to the construction site of my future home. We gasped in amazement when we caught sight of what, the day before, was only a foundation. Atop it sat four outside walls, partitions, a roof and several men laying the roof. I’m not sure why our reaction was astonishment. Not just one but several master builders had joined forces to help our house go up. The men in my husband’s family remind me of those God called to use their talents to build the temple, all being gifted carpenters. Anything these men build is built right, built to last.

Paul cautions the Corinthians to “take heed how he buildeth thereupon”, speaking of the foundation of the gospel of Christ, Paul has already laid. He then cautions them to use only the best materials for they will be tried by fire. It’s important what is used lasts.

“Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every mans’ work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. “ 1Cor. 3:12,13.

Gold…Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ… Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience(endurance, NASB)… I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich… (1Pet. 1:5-7; James 1:3; Rev. 3:18a)pexels-photo-567983.jpeg

Silver…”The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O lORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever… And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness… I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Ps. 12:6,7; Mal. 3:3; Rom. 12:1).

Precious stones…Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it… Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. for the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than find gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her… the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel… (Prov. 3:13-15;Matt. 13:45-46;Prov. 20:15b).

Wood, hay, stubble…For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch… THIS PEOPLE DRAWETH NIGH UNTO ME WITH THEIR MOUTH, AND HONORETH ME WITH THEIR LIPS; BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR FROM ME. BUT IN VAIN THEY DO WORHSHIP ME. TEACHING FOR DOCTRINES THE COMANDMENTS OF MEN.” (Mal. 4:1;T Matt. 15:8,9).

What do your walls look like, strong and enduring or a little shaky?

SOME CREATIVE FUN: Think about this week’s posts concerning the church, add your own perception and build a main character profile using the church personified. Do it in list form or paragraph style to describe your character.

For example: Her beauty extended beyond the softness of her eyes, the welcoming smile. It emanated from a source deep within.

Now you take it from there describing your character (male or female) , his/her greatest need and what makes the person likeable. Have fun.

Leave your thoughts in comments and next Thursday, if I get several, I will post them and you can vote on your favorite, excluding your own.