What the Bible says about light and seed
The True Light "In him, (the Lord Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world,…the world didn’t recognize him." John 1:4,9.
The Good Seed and the Weeds “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seeds in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.” Matthew 13:24,25.
The Good Seed and the Weeds “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seeds in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.” Matthew 13:24,25.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Saturday, May 25, 2013
This Week’s feature Article by Jack KelleyThe city of Damascus is mentioned 60 times in the Bible from Genesis 14:15 to Acts 22:10. Abraham’s chief servant, Eliazer, was from Damascus and Paul spent his first days as a Christian there. According to Flavius Josephus, Damascus was founded by Uz, the son of Aram who was the patriarch of the Aramean people. Aram was the 5th son of Shem, and Uz was the first son of Aram. (According to Job 1:1, Job was from the land of Uz.)
Throughout its history Damascus has been conquered many times. Most notably by the Israelites (1000 BC), the Assyrians (732 BC), the Babylonians (606 BC), the Persians (530 BC), the Greeks (330 BC), the Nabateans (85 BC), the Romans (63 BC), the Byzantines (634 AD), the Mamelukes (1250 AD) and the Ottoman Turks (1516 AD). But the city itself has always survived and is now claimed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.
Several of these conquests are referred to in the Bible. 2 Samuel 8:6-7 describes David and the Israelites. Parts of Isaiah 17 involve the Assyrians, Jeremiah 49:23-27 is about the Babylonian conquest and Zechariah 9:1-2 was fulfilled by Alexander the Great.
An Oracle Against DamascusProbably the best known prophecy about Damascus is Isaiah 17, called An Oracle Against Damascus. Its 14 verses go back and forth between the Assyrian conquest in the 8th Century BC and a battle that hasn’t taken place yet. One reason we know this is because Isaiah 17:1 says, “See Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins.” It speaks of a battle that will mark the end of Damascus, something scholars agree has not happened yet. Other verses in Isaiah 17 confirm a future fulfillment of this destruction. Specifically, verse 7 tells us that after the destruction of Damascus men will look to their maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. And verse 9 tells of their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites, becoming like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth. And all will be desolation. In the 8th century BC no one turned back to God and it was the Israelites who were forced to leave.
Currently there are three wars going on in Syria, any one of which could lead to the fulfillment of Isaiah 17. The obvious one is the civil war that’s been going on for the last two years. As many as 80,000 have died in this war to oust current President Assad from power and end his family’s control over the country.
But there’s also a secondary war that’s becoming more critical, and that’s an effort underway by Iran and Hizbollah to widen the Syrian conflict into Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel. All parties involved believe this effort could explode into a regional war at any time. If so it could be the fulfillment of Isaiah 17 as well as Psalm 83, which many see as the prophecy of a war that pits all of Israel’s next door neighbors agsinst Israel, and from which Israel will emerge victorious. Just this week, Hizbollah officials confirmed that Syria is serious about expanding the war onto the Golan Heights, territory Israel regained from Syria in 1973.
The War No One’s WatchingThe third war is a little known one that could very well be the single deciding factor as to whether the civil war will escalate into the fulfillment of prophecy. This war is between two men, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama. According to informed Middle East sources each man has a vision for how the Syrian civil war should end. Obama wants Assad gone and Putin wants him to stay. They not only can’t agree on how to proceed, but each one is also trying to torpedo the other ones chances of succeeding. These sources say it’s the inability of these two men to agree that is standing in the way of a resolution to the crisis and as long as their disagreement continues the probability of the war spilling over the borders into neighboring countries becomes ever more likely to happen.
Most of the news sources I read have concluded that Obama is outclassed in this disagreement and that sooner or later Putin will have his way. He’s already won a couple of big battles. Refusing to keep Iran in check and refusing to withhold the sale of advanced anti-arcraft batteries to Syria are two of the most obvious. The first has given Assad powerful assistance on the ground and the second will give him protection from aerial attack by Israel. In both cases, Obama stood by and let this happen.
Bible prophecy might favor Putin in this case. According to Ezekiel 38-39 Russia will be a major participant in that battle, and having a strong position in the Middle East would be an important advantage. Remember, when the Moslem coalition attacks it will be from the North (Ezekiel 38:15). That could mean they’ll come from Syria over the Golan Heights. I’m not saying we’re seeing a run up to Ezekiel 38, but we all know it’s coming and if Russia already has a presence in Syria they would have an advantage in mounting what scholars believe will be a surprise attack.
In the mean time, the Russian / Iranian support has strengthened and emboldened Assad. So much so that he was willing to risk using chemical weapons against the rebel forces. Obama had previously said this would not be tolerated, but so far, even after being confronted with clear evidence, he denied it has happened. In Syria this has been interpreted to mean that limited use of chemical weapons will be tolerated.
Israeli leaders have been more resolute. After all it’s their country that’s being directly threatened by this. When they detected the movement of prohibited weaponry into Lebanon for Hizbollah’s use against them they attacked and destroyed it. Again, Obama stood by while Putin authorized the delivery of advanced anti-aircraft defenses to Syria. Its purpose is to prevent further pre-emptive attacks from Israel by denying them air superiority.
Informed sources are beginning to see the hand writing on the wall. As Israel is progressively denied the use of small steps to pre-empt the threat from their sworn enemies their only recourse will be to take big ones. When that happens, one leading Israeli correspondent has said Obama will stand right behind Assad in the line of people to blame.
Are We There Yet?We’ve come close to the fulfillment of Isaiah 17 before. Each time cooler heads have prevailed and the destruction of Damascus has been postponed. I say postponed because Isaiah’s prophecy will be fulfilled. We have God’s promise on that. He said,
“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times what is still to come. What I have said, that will I bring about. What I have planned, that will I do” (Isaiah 46:10-11).
Various reports confirm a conviction among Israel’s military and political leaders that war with Syria is coming. (Some say it could be a long one, while others hint that it will more likely be very short.) There also appears to be a consensus among the Jewish people that they must win and win decisively.
If it’s God’s timing this will be the fulfillment of Isaiah 17, and perhaps Psalm 83 as well. If it’s not, we’ll be drawn back from the brink once again to catch our breath and wait for the next run-up. Chances are it won’t be long in coming. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 05-25-13
Obama’s counter-terrorism speech may alarm Israeli policy makers – West of Eden Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper.
Reblogged from warsclerotic.wordpress.com
After 12 years in the trenches of the ‘war on terror’, the American president tells Israel the U.S. is pulling out, symbolically at least. And that he intends to pursue peace with the Palestinians.
By Chemi Shalev | May.25, 2013 | 12:20 AM
President Barack Obama speaking the National Defense University Photo by AP
And it’s not only because Obama, contrary to conventional wisdom in Israel, included the Israeli-Palestinian conflict among “the underlying grievances and conflicts that feed extremism from North Africa to South Asia.” Israelis have fought long and hard to counter the assertion that the conflict fuels or sustains Islamic extremism and the Arab Spring has only cemented their conviction.
But it will come as no surprise to most mavens that Obama, along with his vice president and secretaries of state and defense, is convinced that resolving Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians will go a long a way towards soothing Arab and Muslim resentment of, and enmity towards, the U.S. in particular and the West in general.
Rather it is Obama’s declaration of intent to bring the American “war on terror” to an end that may be a source of greater concern for Israeli policy makers, on a philosophical level at least. Obama’s view that there is no single global jihadist campaign that is being waged against America contradicts the prevailing outlook of most Israelis, inside the government and out. His conception that terrorists from Boston to Beirut to Baghdad to Benghazi, even if they are jihadi-inspired, are separate entities, rather than manifestations or even tentacles of a singular ideological central command, flies In the face of most Israelis’ view of the world. As it does for many U.S. Republicans.
“The battlefield is anywhere the enemy chooses to make it,” Senator Lindsey Graham said in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last week. That is the way most Israelis would see it. But for Obama, the enemy was clearly defined and the battlefield was distinctly limited from the outset to Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen and other countries in which “al-Qaeda and its associates” flourished. And the war on those specific battlefields, according to Obama, is about to be won.
2. But it was only last week that in the same Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Congress’ post 9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Sheehan was asked how long he thinks the bill would need to stay in force.
“For at least 10-20 years”, he said, “Until al-Qaida has been consigned to the ash heap of history.”
A short few days later – in statements that his critics will surely associate with Bush’s infamous May 1, 2003 “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq declaration – Obama asserted that al-Qaeda is already “a shell of its former self” and “on a path to defeat.” And that he was willing to start talks with Congress now – and not in 10-20 years – about repealing the AUMF.
This is not simply a matter of U.S. constitutional law, but one of basic weltanschauung. For Israelis, the “war on terror” is the one declared by George Bush on September 20, 2001, in which he said that “Our war on terror begins with al-Qaida, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.” That is the kind of war, possibly without end, that Israelis believe should be waged, with the U.S. in front and in command. But that is the kind of campaign that Obama told his listeners the U.S. cannot afford to wage very much longer.
Israelis are less interested in the intricacies of the authorization needed to approve targeted drone assassinations or in the pros and cons of closing down Guantanamo. For the past 12 years, Israel and the U.S. have been united by a common enemy and a common purpose. They have served in the trenches together, on the same battlefield. That’s not going to end in practice, of course, but in formal and symbolic terms, at least, Obama has put Israel and the rest of the world on notice that the US was pulling out.
3. Obama’s exchange with his nemesis heckler, Medea Benjamin of Code Pink, was no less revealing than the rest of his speech. It clearly flustered him, not only because of the shockingly long time that it took security personnel to remove her from the crowd but also, it seemed, because Benjamin’s Guantanamo heckling appeared to echo Obama’s own misgivings. “The voice of that woman is worth paying attention to,” he said, possibly because that is exactly what he has been hearing inside his own head.
Of course, one cannot ignore the fact that the same Code Pink was also responsible for organizing the heckling and disruptions during Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech in New Orleans at the Jewish Federation’s General Assembly in 2010. Netanyahu, understandably, did not call on his listeners to appreciate what his hecklers were saying, given that most of them belong to groups that are staunch critics of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians and who advocate a boycott of Israel.
The more worrisome question for Netanyahu supporters, of course, is whether the groups’ position on Israelis and Palestinians is also one of the voices that are being given a fair hearing inside Obama’s head.
4. A direct line connects Obama’s 2009 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech and his address to the National Defense University on Thursday. In his Oslo speech, Obama laid out the foundations of his view of the “just war”, a concept expounded by Christian Realist theologian Ronald Niebuhr, whose name was much in vogue in the 2008 election campaign. In Washington on Thursday, Obama said that even a “just war”, such as the one against al-Qaeda, needs to be ended.
In 2009, the then-untested Obama set out to move his image from the far left to the center, to correct the impression that he is a war-averse liberal who is ideologically opposed to the use of force under any and all circumstances. In Washington on Thursday, he reversed course and tried to recapture the moral high ground that he feels he may have lost – not only in the eyes of his supporters but when he looks in the mirror as well.
Thus, the speech may mark the beginning of Obama’s efforts to forge his own legacy on national security. He wants to make good on his promise to “bring the troops home” not only from Iraq and Afghanistan but from the war on al-Qaida as well. He does not want to be remembered as the founder of drone assassination warfare or as the politician who repeatedly promised to close down Guantanamo “immediately”, but failed to make good on his promise five years later.
Thus, in the coming three years, Obama will strive to reconcile the inherent contradictions that were so glaringly obvious during his tenure, between rhetoric and practice, between theory and reality, between ideals and imperatives – between “what you see from here,” as Ariel Sharon used to say, to “what you see from there.”.
5. One other campaign promise that Obama has failed to keep was the pledge he made during his visit to Israel in July, 2008, to “not waste a minute in brokering Middle East peace.” According to most observers, he has wasted many minutes – more than four years’ worth, to be exact.
Nonetheless, Obama found it appropriate to include the search for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a significant element in America’s counter-terrorism policy. By doing so, Obama showed his support for Secretary of State John Kerry’s indefatigable efforts to rekindle peace talks, because any omission would have been viewed as a snub.
But it may also signal that Obama views progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as yet another element of his legacy that he still intends to fulfill. That, of course, would also worry many Israelis, especially in the government, but it would also encourage many others, including this one.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Reblogged from Elizabeth Prata http://the-end-time.blogspot.com.br/2013/05/if-god-is-good-why-didnt-he-stop-tornado.html
At times like these, people often ask, “Where is God?” “How could He allow this to happen?” “Is God good?”
I can put it this way. When a serial killer is placed on death row and eventually executed, we say that justice was done. If a person breaking and entering a home is shot by the homeowner, we often say ‘good! He got what he deserved.’
When Korah rebelled against Moses and Aaron, he was rebelling against God. (Numbers 16:3). The LORD told Moses to tell the congregation to separate from Korah, and Korah, Dathan and Abiram and their household and the goods in the household were swallowed up as the earth opened up and took them alive to Sheol. When this happened, we say “God is just and right to do this thing. Korah was performing a moral evil in rebelling against God trough Moses and Aaron.”
When the tornado came and the earth swallowed the children in the bottom of the Plaza Towers Elementary School,” do we say, “God is unjust and bad to do this thing?” No! God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8).
What we cannot fathom, we must trust that the Lord is good and His purposes are good. On the one hand, He directly put down a rebellion by performing a supernatural disaster as He did in the Old Testament.
On the other hand, what of the children in the elementary schools which were razed by the tornado? If they are declared innocent by a righteous God, as Deuteronomy 1:39 and Isaiah 7:16 and also explained here, then why did they have to die? Why did God allow a natural disaster to take them?
And that is where I stopped my essay, many hours ago. I was stuck on the answer myself because I was unsatisfied with saying that sin is a blanket cause for all evil, including natural disasters. Though the sin done n the Garden of Eden was indirectly the cause of the weather patterns turning deadly, how and what are we to think of a deadly tornado such as the one yesterday, more specifically? My theology brought me to an understanding of sin as a reason for the general evil in the world, including disasters such as the Oklahoma tornado. But it wasn't a deep enough answer.
But later today, Dr. Al Mohler wrote today of this exact subject. He said, "But Jesus rejected this as a blanket explanation for suffering, instructing His disciples in John 9 and Luke 13 that they could not always trace suffering back to sin."
What are we to think, then? As I read the rest of Dr. Mohler's essay, that more thorough explanation became clear through his precise and mature understanding of theology. He wrote,
However as Dr. Mohler explains that passages in Luke 13 and John 9 show us that "the problem of evil and suffering, the theological issue of theodicy, is customarily divided into evil of two kinds, moral and natural." [emphasis mine]The moral problem of evil was exemplified in Korah. Korah's pride and ambition was his undoing. He committed a moral sin and ended up rebelling against God. Suffering ensued for him and his family.
He says that a discussion of both kinds of evil are included in the Luke 13 passage.
"In Luke 13, the murder of the Galileans is clearly moral evil, a premeditated crime–just like the terrorist acts in New York and Washington. In John 9, a man is blind from birth, and Jesus tells the Twelve that this blindness cannot be traced back to this man’s sin, or that of his parents. Natural evil comes without a moral agent. A tower falls, an earthquake shakes, a tornado destroys, a hurricane ravages, a spider bites, a disease debilitates and kills. The world is filled with wonders mixed with dangers. Gravity can save you or gravity can kill you. When a tower falls, it kills."Further, Mohler wrote,
A venerable confession of faith states it rightly: “God from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not in any way to be the author or approver of sin nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures.”But if God is sovereign, doesn't He allow the tornado to occur? How do we reconcile God's sovereignty and our responsibility? We can't really. Not with our finite minds. Mohler answers,
God is God, and God is good. As Paul affirms for the church, God’s sovereignty is the ground of our hope, the assurance of God’s justice as the last word, and God’s loving rule in the very events of our lives: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose.” [Romans 8:28]What we do understand is that God is good in having sent His son to die for us. Jesus took upon Himself all sin and exhausted God's wrath for it, and then died, to be accepted by God as the eternal sacrifice for that sin and raised on the third day. He now imputes His righteousness to His saints who believe this Gospel by faith, and it is by that vehicle we declare His righteousness to those who are afflicted and suffering.
We dare not speak on God’s behalf to explain why He allowed these particular acts of evil to happen at this time to these persons and in this manner. Yet, at the same time, we dare not be silent when we should testify to the God of righteousness and love and justice who rules over all in omnipotence. Humility requires that we affirm all that the Bible teaches, and go no further. There is much we do not understand. As Charles Spurgeon explained, when we cannot trace God’s hand, we must simply trust His heart.
He allows us to be His witnesses, the indwelling Holy Spirit glowing and bringing God glory. If we were to see a visible manifestation of His Goodness, would it be in Christians' Spirit lovingly racing TO the place of terror, danger, and devastation, to help their neighbor? Like this photo from the Baltimore Sun, with the lens flares I inserted?
As my friend Pastor Phil wrote yesterday, "May our suffering Oklahoma neighbors and friends see the manifest presence of God in the midst of their suffering, especially through the ministries of Christians."
This is where God is good, and all that Goodness stems back to the only One who is Good, God, who sent His Son. (Mark 10:18).
If we could part the curtain and see His goodness visibly, would it be that we'd see the myriads of ministering angels? Especially at the flattened school? As I try to show with this photo from the Chicago Tribune containing lens flares I put in? (Those aren't floodlights)
Dr. Mohler said,
"The second great error is to ascribe evil to God. But the Bible does not allow this argument. God is absolute righteousness, love, goodness, and justice. Most errors related to this issue occur because of our human tendency to impose an external standard–a human construction of goodness–upon God. But good does not so much define God as God defines good."Yes, we mourn and we cry when we see the terrible calamity of children killed, neighbors dead, homes lost, and businesses smashed. The heart of the matter is not whether God is good or God is bad, the heart of the matter is repentance. A calamity could happen any day. Like in Luke 13, the tower of Siloam fell on 18 workers constructing it and they died. Jesus said, "Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”" (Luke 13:4-5). Your eternal destiny awaits, are you ready? A tornado could take your life, it is a natural evil that is blind and thoughtless, taking with it into its deadly vortex a child or a sinner or a repented one. Any day, any time. If you do not repent, you shall likewise perish, not just body, but soul
God's goodness is that He made a way for you to escape eternal destruction, no matter the manner of death. That way is Jesus. (John 14:6). Talk about good! It doesn't get any better than the Savior.
The diligent student will discover glimpses of the Messiah throughout the Old Testament. Many of these require the insight gained from the New Testament to be recognizable, but a reasonable amount of study will enable most students to give a persuasive presentation of the Messiah using Old Testament passages exclusively. This is the way Messianic believers convert their Jewish brethren, since Jews don’t recognize the New Testament’s authority as Scripture.
Perhaps their most often used passage, Isaiah 52:13-53:12, is actually the last of the four so-called Servant Songs of the Messiah. The other three are Isaiah 42:1-9, 49:1-7, and 50:4-9. These four passages present as complete a picture of the Messiah as you’ll find anywhere in Scripture, Old Testament or New.
But my favorite selection of Old Testament Messianic Scripture is the Shepherd Psalm Trilogy, Psalms 22, 23, and 24. In these three Psalms we find the three specific roles of the Messiah, cast in terms of the Shepherd’s responsibilities.
The Good Shepherd (John 10:11)In Psalm 22 we see a picture of the Good Shepherd, giving His life for the flock. Psalm 22 is the clearest description of what it’s like to be crucified anywhere in Scripture and is the most often quoted Psalm in the New Testament. Written by David 1000 years before the fact, it reads like a first person account of the pain and humiliation that form of punishment inflicted upon its victim. Surprisingly, it opens with the first words our Lord spoke from the cross and closes with His final ones. You have to read the Psalm in Greek to get this last tidbit, because in English the last phrase of verse 31 reads “He has done it.”
But in Greek it’s is the same word John used in documenting our Lord’s last statement from the cross, translated “It is finished” in John 19:30. The Greek word in both cases is “tetelesti” a legal term in Jesus’ day that usually meant “paid in full” and was written across a paid invoice, for example. Upon his release, it was also written across the bill of charges for which a criminal had served time. The ex-convict carried this document with him as proof that he had paid his debt to society so he wouldn’t be charged with the same crime again.
Used this way, the legal implications of the Lord’s last words are staggering, and are explained in detail in Colossians 2:13-15. The bill of charges of which Jesus was convicted were actually the charges God has filed against us; our sins. With His last words, Jesus in effect declared, “Paid in full!” indicating that all our sins, past, present and future were paid for, our record exonerated, and we can never be charged with them again. “Because by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebr. 10:12-14).
By the way, some of the modern translations omit a key phrase from Psalm 22 at the end of verse 21. It’s proof that the Father had heard and answered the prayers of His Son. If your Bible doesn’t have the phrase “You have answered me” at the end of the verse, add it. It’s there in the King James and in the Hebrew inter-linear. It also leads the reader from a graphic description of the most painful form of execution ever devised to a declaration of God’s faithfulness and a song of praise only possible if the One being executed was also resurrected from the dead. So this Psalm begins with the Lord on the cross and ends with His resurrection.
The Great Shepherd (Hebr. 13:20)Psalm 23 describes our Lord’s role today as the Great Shepherd who tends His flock. It’s by far the most popular among believers and is quoted even by those who couldn’t give you another passage from Scripture if their lives depended upon it. It begins with His promise to be with us always and everywhere we go, and ends with the Rapture of the Church as He takes us to dwell in the house of the Lord forever (John 14:1-3).
Psalm 23 promises that we are beyond the reach of our enemy while here on Earth, and have no cause to fear even though we find ourselves in his proximity. It is the basis for Paul’s admonition to rejoice in the Lord always (lit. without ceasing) regardless of circumstance, and thereby receive the peace that transcends human understanding (Phil. 4:4-7) as well as the goodness and mercy that are the rewards of the faithful, for “when a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies live at peace with him” (Prov.16:7).
The Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4)In Psalm 24 the Chief Shepherd rewards His Flock. It begins with a reminder that the Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, and ends with the Messiah in Jerusalem as King of the whole Earth (Zech. 14:9). The Lord created the Earth, He redeemed it, and He has come to take possession of it. Those with clean hands and pure hearts may now ascend to His Holy place and receive vindication and the blessing of the King of Glory. Clean hands and a pure heart are traits unknown to the human condition (Jer. 17:9). Nothing less than a complete re-creation can qualify us, but if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. For God made Him who had no sin to become sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:17-21).
There you have it. In His first visit to Earth, our Lord came to die for His people, to take away all our sins. His resurrection is proof that accomplished His mission. During the time since His ascension He is keeping His people spiritually secure even though we wander in the valley of the shadow of death, until He takes us to be with Him forever. After that He will return to Earth as the King of Glory to establish His Kingdom and vindicate and reward His people for their faith.
Who is He, this King of Glory? The Lord Almighty – He is the King of Glory. Our Creator, our Savior and our Redeemer, our Lord and our God. He is the King of Glory. Selah 07-02-03
A new setting of the hymn text "What God Ordains" by Samuel Rodigast (1649-1708). Music composed by Josh Bauder.
Performed by the St. Thomas Alumni Choir, April 17, 2013; Casey Johnson, director and soloist; Josh Bauder, accompanist; recorded by Chris Muggli-Miller. Special thanks to Brittney Larson and Jon Tschiggfrie.
All music © 2013 by New Hope Music.
What God ordains is always good: His will is just and holy.
As he directs my life for me, I follow meek and lowly.
My God indeed in every need knows well how he will shield me;
to him then I will yield me.
What God ordains is always good: He never will deceive me;
He leads me in his own right way, and never will he leave me.
I take content what he has sent; his hand that sends me sadness,
will turn my life to gladness.
What God ordains is always good: His loving thought attends me;
No poison can be in the cup that my physician sends me.
My God is true each morning new I trust his grace unending,
my life to him commending.
What God ordains is always good: He is my loving father.
He never seeks to do me harm though many storms may gather.
Now though I know both joy and pain, some day I shall see clearly,
that he has loved me dearly.
What God ordains is always good; This truth remains unshaken.
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine, I shall not be forsaken.
I fear no harm, for with his arm He shall embrace and shield me;
So to my God I yield me.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Personal note from the blog author:
This is what happens when men and women in leadership who have not been called by God, but rather are chosen by men and women for whatever reason. Ms.´ Schori´s belief is a good example of a new brand of extreme legalistic theopolitical phariseism.
I will limit myself to this personal comment and let the words of the Lord Jesus weight in on the matter instead.
The Lord Jesus addressing the pharisees about spiritual blindness:35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”
37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”
38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
39 Jesus said,[a] “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. John 9: 35-41.
The Narrow and Wide Gates13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7: 13,14.
The Blind lead the Blind
10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:
11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.
14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Matthew 15:10-14
The Lord Jesus has a remedy for her blindness, if only she heeds his word to the church of the end times:
To the Church in Laodicea
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Here is a link to what I personally believe about a woman being ordained pastor according to the Word of God.
Diversity, not Jesus, saves says Presiding Bishop
Reblogged from http://anglicanink.com/article/diversity-not-jesus-saves-says-presiding-bishop
Article | | By George Conger
The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has denounced the Apostle Paul as mean-spirited and bigoted for having released a slave girl from demonic bondage as reported in Acts 16:16-34 .
In her sermon delivered at All Saints Church in Curaçao in the diocese of Venezuela, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori condemned those who did not share her views as enemies of the Holy Spirit.
The presiding bishop opened her remarks with an observation on the Dutch slave past. “The history of this place tells some tragic stories about the inability of some to see the beauty in other skin colors or the treasure of cultures they didn’t value or understand,” she said.
She continued stating: “Human beings have a long history of discounting and devaluing difference, finding it offensive or even evil. That kind of blindness is what leads to oppression, slavery, and often, war. Yet there remains a holier impulse in human life toward freedom, dignity, and the full flourishing of those who have been kept apart or on the margins of human communities.”
Just as the forces of historical inevitability led to the ending of industrial slavery, so too would the march of progress lead to a change in attitude towards homosexuality, she argued.
“We live with the continuing tension between holier impulses that encourage us to see the image of God in all human beings and the reality that some of us choose not to see that glimpse of the divine, and instead use other people as means to an end. We’re seeing something similar right now in the changing attitudes and laws about same-sex relationships, as many people come to recognize that different is not the same thing as wrong. For many people, it can be difficult to see God at work in the world around us, particularly if God is doing something unexpected.”
To illustrate her point presiding bishop turned to the book of Acts, noting “There are some remarkable examples of that kind of blindness in the readings we heard this morning, and slavery is wrapped up in a lot of it. Paul is annoyed at the slave girl who keeps pursuing him, telling the world that he and his companions are slaves of God. She is quite right. She’s telling the same truth Paul and others claim for themselves,” Bishop Jefferts Schori said, referencing the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans.
“But Paul is annoyed, perhaps for being put in his place, and he responds by depriving her of her gift of spiritual awareness. Paul can’t abide something he won’t see as beautiful or holy, so he tries to destroy it. It gets him thrown in prison. That’s pretty much where he’s put himself by his own refusal to recognize that she, too, shares in God’s nature, just as much as he does – maybe more so!,” the presiding bishop said.
The New Testament passage goes on to say that Paul and Silas were imprisoned for freeing the girl of her demonic possession. Presiding Bishop noted “an earthquake opens the doors and sets them free, and now Paul and his friends most definitely discern the presence of God. The jailer doesn’t – he thinks his end is at hand.”
However, Paul now repents of his mistake in casting out the spirit of divination, she argues. “This time, Paul remembers who he is and that all his neighbors are reflections of God, and he reaches out to his frightened captor. This time Paul acts with compassion rather than annoyance, and as a result the company of Jesus’ friends expands to include a whole new household. It makes me wonder what would have happened to that slave girl if Paul had seen the spirit of God in her.”
In support her argument for radical inclusion and diversity over doctrine Bishop Jefferts Schori adds that the day’s reading “from Revelation pushes us in the same direction, outward and away from our own self-righteousness, inviting us to look harder for God’s gift and presence all around us. Jesus says he’s looking for everybody, anyone who’s looking for good news, anybody who is thirsty. There are no obstacles or barriers – just come. God is at work everywhere, even if we can’t or won’t see it immediately.”
She concluded her sermon by stating that we are not justified by our faith but by our respect for diversity.
“Looking for the reflection of God’s glory all around us means changing our lenses, or letting the scales on our eyes fall away. That kind of change isn’t easy for anyone, but it’s the only road to the kingdom of God.”
Salvation comes not from being cleansed of our sins by the atoning sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, but through the divinization of humanity through the work of the human will. “We are here, among all the other creatures of God’s creation, to be transformed into the glory intended from the beginning. The next time we feel the pain of that change, perhaps instead of annoyance or angry resentment we might pray for a new pair of glasses. When resentment about difference or change builds up within us, it’s really an invitation to look inward for the wound that cries out for a healing dose of glory. We will find it in the strangeness of our neighbor. Celebrate that difference – for it’s necessary for the healing of this world – and know that the wholeness we so crave lies in recognizing the glory of God’s creative invitation. God among us in human form is the most glorious act we know.”
Responses posted on the Episcopal Church’s website to the Presiding Bishop’s sermon have been uniformly harsh, noting her interpretation was at odds with traditional Christian teaching, grammar, and logic. “This is quite possibly some if the most delusional exegesis I’ve ever read in my life,” one critic charged. “I’m sorry, but this sermon is not a Christian sermon.”
The reception by bloggers has been equally unkind. The Rev Timothy Fountain observed the presiding bishop had up ended the plain meaning of the text. “Instead of liberation” in freeing the slave girl from exploitation, presiding bishop finds “confinement. Instead of Christ’s glory, there’s just squalor.”
The Rev. Bryan Owen argued “What's happening here is the exploitation of a biblical text in service to a theopolitical agenda. Given what she says in the first paragraph I've quoted from her sermon, the Presiding Bishop suggests that anyone who doesn't buy into that agenda - anyone who holds to the traditional, orthodox understanding of such matters - is likewise afflicted with the same narrow-minded bigotry as Paul, and thus in need of enlightenment.”
Monday, May 20, 2013
Reblogged from - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
From January through March 2012, Bible translators Wycliffe, SIL International, and Frontiers were embroiled in a controversy where some translators were interchanging the familial names of God with the local names for god. In particular, using Allah for God (YHVH), Allah's Messiah for Jesus (Yeshua Ha Mashiach), and Allah's Holy Spirit for the Holy Spirit (Rauch Ha Kodesh). To attempt to correct the problem of misuse and mistranslation of the familial names of God, and quite frankly, to get itself out of a tremendous reputation-threatening public relations problem, Wycliffe appointed an independent review panel to study the issues and make recommendations. The recommendations are made, but not much is changed.
Wycliffe asked the World Evangelical Alliance to conduct a review and make recommendations. The 33 page review was finalized April 26 with six recommendations. Recommendation 2 addresses the Allah question: "The Panel recognizes that there is significant potential for misunderstanding of the words for "father" and "son" when applied to God, and that in languages shaped by Islamic cultures, the potential is especially acute and the misunderstandings likely to prove especially harmful to the reader's comprehension of the gospel.
"Therefore, in case of difficulties, the Panel recommends that translators consider the addition of qualifying words and/or phrases (explanatory adjectives, relative clauses, prepositional phrases, or similar modifiers) to the directly-translated words for "father" and "son," in order to avoid misunderstanding. For example, as the biblical context allows, the word for "father" might be rendered with the equivalent of "heavenly Father" when referring to God, and the word for "son" might be rendered with the equivalent of "divine Son," "eternal Son," or "heavenly Son" when referring to Jesus. The Panel also encourages translators to use paratextual material to clarify and avoid misunderstanding in these cases."
The use of "paratextual" material to clarify and avoid misunderstanding is a great solution if it is applied properly. Notwithstanding, there is no god other than YHVH God and his name is not Allah. The Koran specifically states with emphatic clarity that Allah has no son in particular reference to Jesus. In Islamic eschatology, the Islamic Jesus (Isa) is the prophet of the Islamic Messiah--the Mahdi--who rules the earth with the peace of Islam for seven years. The Islamic Jesus returns, pledges allegiance to the Mahdi and Allah, then forces Christians and Jews to accept Islam or die. There is absolutely no familial connection between Allah and Jesus. Check the Koran if you have doubts.
On February 3, 2012, The Daily Jot reported: "2 Peter 2:1 says, "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." Multiple independent sources confirm that Wycliffe leadership believes it knows best about how to translate the Bible and how to treat the Muslim issue regarding the Holy Scriptures. Even some missionaries are convinced that using Allah for YHVH is the right thing to do. There has been a tremendous compromise of the Word of God."
How Wycliffe implements the panel's recommendations will determine if the word of God will be further compromised.
Read the Review and Recommendations here: http://www.worldea.org/images/wimg/files/2013_0429-Final%20Report%20of%20the%20WEA%20Independent%20Bible%20Translation%20Review%20Panel.pdf
Q. I have a question related to the Transfiguration of Jesus. Why did He only take three apostles to witness it instead of taking all twelve?
A. On several occasions, Jesus took His “inner circle” aside for a special event or teaching. This group always included Peter, James, and John and sometimes Andrew was there as well. The transfiguration was one of these events, the Olivet Discourse of Matt 24-25 was another, and the raising of Jairus’ daughter still another. To my knowledge He never explained why He did this, but it had the effect of giving this inner circle an extra measure of intimacy with Him.
There’s a fascinating feature about the transfiguration that’s often overlooked, and it concerns what the attendees represented. There was the voice of the Father, the glorified body of the Son, and the cloud, or Shekinah Glory, the Holy Spirit. All the Trinity was there.
Then you had Moses, giver of the Law and the Prophet Elijah. Together they stand for the Law and Prophets, a name for the Old Testament, and represent Israel.
And finally you had Peter, James and John, representing the New Testament Church.
And the topic of their discussion? According to 2 Peter 1:16-18 it was the Second Coming. Further evidence that in Jesus the faithful of all ages would be restored in the Kingdom.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Reblogged from gracethrufaith.com/selah/holidays-and-holy-days/the-feast-of-pentecost
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
Pentecost comes in the early summer (mid May-mid June). It’s the only Levitical Feast Day between the 3 Spring Feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits) and the 3 in the fall (Rosh Hashanna, Yom Kippur, and Tabernacles). The Hebrew name for this Day is Shavuot, which means weeks, so in Israel it’s often called the Feast of Weeks.
This is because it’s supposed to occur 7 weeks after the Feast of First Fruits (Lev. 23:15-16).
Deut. 16:9 confirms this. “Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain.” The first cutting of the grain took place on the Feast of First Fruits. Since First Fruits was the first day after the Sabbath that follows Passover, it was always observed on a Sunday. Shavuot, being 7 weeks later, was always on a Sunday, too, and celebrated the beginning of the summer harvest.
But in 140 AD, following the final defeat of the Jewish nation after the bar Kochba revolt of 135 AD, the Sanhedrin changed the focus of Shavuot from the summer harvest to the giving of the Law. They did this because Shavuot was one of the three feasts all Jews were required to observe (Exodus 23:14-17 tells us Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles were the other two) and the defeated and dispersed nation would no longer have any national harvests to celebrate.
From that time on, the count down began from the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the day the Israelites left Egypt. So now Shavuot can come any day of the week and takes place on the 6th day of the Hebrew month called Sivan, which is the traditional day Moses received the Law from the Lord. Making this change placed the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai exactly seven weeks after the Exodus from Egypt and preserved the Feast of Weeks in Jewish life.
Christians call this day by its Greek name, Pentecost, from a Greek word that means “50 days”. There were 50 days from the Sabbath that followed Passover to the Feast of Pentecost, and that’s where the Greek name comes from.
Early Christians also changed the way the various dates are determined, although we’ve retained the Sunday requirement for Pentecost. Christians now start counting on the day we call Easter Sunday, which is officially the first Sunday after the first full moon that follows the Spring Equinox. We count Easter Sunday as day one, so Pentecost is always 49 days after Easter and always comes on a Sunday. By counting Easter Sunday on both ends of the span we can arrive at 50 days (Pentecost) and still keep the celebration on the 7th Sunday after Easter.
I know all this is really confusing, but the bottom line is that in 2013 the Jewish observance will take place on May 15 and Christians will celebrate Pentecost on Sunday May 19, and it won’t be the Biblically established date for either group.
What’s a Pentecost?As I said, Jews now celebrate Pentecost (I’ll just use its Greek name to avoid any more confusion than necessary) as the day Moses received the Law on Mt. Sinai and the nation of Israel was born. (Exodus 19-20) Christians celebrate it as the day the Holy Spirit came upon the Disciples in Jerusalem and the Church was born (Acts 2). If you agree with my view that the parables of Matthew 13 describe the Kingdom of Heaven during the Church Age and that the parable of the yeast (Matt. 13:33) predicts the Church will be filled with sinners, you’ll be interested in the fact that unlike all the other Jewish Feasts that call for unleavened bread (no yeast), Pentecost calls for two loaves of bread baked with yeast (Lev. 23:17). In the Bible leaven, or yeast, is a model of sin because it causes the dough to begin spoiling.
Other Jewish Pentecost ceremonies also reveal a subtle link to the coming church. In synagogues, the Book of Ruth is read on Pentecost. The story of Ruth has been called “The Romance of Redemption”. It’s about Naomi, a Jewish woman from Bethlehem who lost her land due to a famine in Israel and was forced to flee into neighboring Moab, where there was no famine. Shortly thereafter her husband passed away leaving her penniless and alone in a foreign country.
After the famine ended, she returned to Bethlehem accompanied by Ruth, a gentile woman who had sworn never to leave her. Ruth was a Moabite who had married one of Naomi’s sons (who also died) making her Naomi’s daughter-in-law and a destitute widow as well.
Once back in Bethlehem Naomi’s close relative, a prominent Jewish man named Boaz fell in love with Ruth and married her. In the process he also regained Naomi’s land as her kinsman redeemer. Both these events were accomplished according to the Law. For Naomi it was the law of redemption (Lev 25:25), and for Ruth it was the law of leverite marriage (Deut. 25:5-6).
The modeling here is dramatic, with Naomi in the role of Israel, destitute and alone; Ruth as the Church, the gentile bride; Boaz as the Messiah and the story itself as a prediction of the relationship that would involve all three of them. In the process of redeeming Israel, the Messiah takes a gentile bride. In doing so, He saves both from their destitute condition and restores Israel’s Land. The identification of the Church with Pentecost began in the prophecies of Ruth. To learn more about these incredible prophecies, and enjoy one of the world’s classic love stories, read Ruth’s Story.
By the way, Boaz was the son of Rahab, the harlot from the Book of Joshua (read “The Gospel in Joshua … The Story of Rahab” ), and 3 generations later his great-grandson David became the King of Israel. Rahab and Ruth are both listed in the genealogy of the Lord Jesus (Matt. 1:5), and King Solomon named one of the pillars at the entrance to the Temple after his ancestor Boaz.
When’s Your Birthday?By tradition Enoch, one of the patriarchs from Genesis 5, was born on the day later to be known as Pentecost. Enoch’s name means “teaching”, a primary function of the Church (Matt. 28:19-20) For this reason many scholars see him as a “type” of the church as well. Genesis 5:21-23 indicates that Enoch had a close relationship with God and was actually taken live (raptured) into Heaven before the Great Flood. Pre-Trib scholars see this event as one of several Old Testament hints that the Church will disappear from Earth before the Great Tribulation.
These same traditions also hold that Enoch was taken on his birthday. So here’s a man identified with the church being born and raptured on the day that would become Pentecost, the day the church was born. Will the Church be raptured on our birthday too? Personally I don’t believe the Rapture of the Church will be the prophetic fulfillment of any of Israel’s Holy Days. But if I’m wrong and the Rapture does fulfill a Jewish Feast, Pentecost is by far the most obvious candidate.
As you probably know, I believe the reason no one on Earth can accurately predict the day of the Rapture is because it’s a number specific event, not a date specific one. In Romans 11:25 Paul implied the church has a “full number”, when its ranks will be considered complete. When that number is reached the Church will “come in” which means it will arrive at its scheduled destination, like when a ship “comes in.” Jesus said the destination of the Church is His Father’s house (John 14:2). Put it together and I believe it means we’ll be raptured as soon as the pre-determined number of Christians has been born again, no matter what day it happens to be.
Soon And Very SoonOne day soon now, all who are in Christ, having heard and believed the Word of Truth, the Gospel of our salvation (thereby receiving the seal of the promised Holy Spirit) will suddenly disappear from the face of the Earth along with all children and others who are intellectually incapable of making informed choices about their eternal destiny. In one instant we will have been going about our daily routines on Earth and in the next we’ll be standing in the presence of our Redeemer, our sins forgiven and forgotten, and all our imperfections gone. Among us will be all the faithful dead of the Church Age, reunited with perfected bodies and restored to eternal physical life. Together we will begin the most incredible journey of exploration and realization ever dreamed of, and it will last forever.
Neither we, nor the unbelieving world, will have received any advance warning of the timing for this event; it will have come totally by surprise. Maybe it will happen on Pentecost, maybe not. But one thing is certain, when it does happen, none of us will care one bit whether we had predicted it’s timing accurately. We will only express in unimaginable joy our gratitude for being there. For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephe. 2:8-9)
As it is written: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him – but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. (1 Cor. 2:9-10). You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 05-18-13.