disasters?

God of Disasters?

First, we must keep perspective: that this life ends in death for everyone (nobody escapes). So, God’s concern is what happens to us in the end at the great judgment day.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? —Mark 8:36‭-‬37 KJV

Why?

1People are stubborn to repent; even the chosen must be coerced to abandon evil, the world system, and their own lusts to love and pursue God. (Remember, we are created in God’s image to glorify him–sin is the opposite if that glory.)

Psa 34:6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

Psa 119:67, Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. (also read 2Peter 3)

Heb 12:1,  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

2. Judgment upon the wicked to punish, and prevent them from perpetrating more evil against their fellow man. (See the plagues against Egypt in Exodus 7)

Rev 9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

3. Training in patience and other spiritual virtues for the children of God (see Heb. 11 & 12)

Rom 5:3-5, And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Rev 3:10, Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Thayer: keep: to attend to carefully, take care of.

Strong:To keep eye upon.

VWS: Not the words which Christ has spoken concerning patience, but the word of Christ which requires patience to keep it; the gospel which teaches the need o£ a patient waiting for Christ. On patience, see on 2Pe_1:6; see on Jam_5:7.

My note: There is no promise to keep Christians “away from, or out of” the tribulation which will come on the world. The promise is to watch over or keep an eye on believers during this season, to assure their hope and salvation.

Jas 5:7, Be patient [longsuffering, patiencs that outlasts all trials] therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord [our harvest]. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

Barclay: “The early rain was the rain of late October and early November without which the seed would not germinate. The late rain was the rain of April and May without which the grain would not mature. The farmer needs patience to wait until nature does her work;…”

My note: The focus of James’ letter is on the birth and maturity of the sons of God. No one likes rain, because it hides the sun and all of its enjoyments. However, in this world it is necessary for life; seeds to take root, and to assure their maturity and ultimate “precious fruit”.

The Saints understand this and are therefore patient (long-suffering) during strategic periods of rain. James goes on and gives numerous examples from Bible history.

  • I believe the “husbandman” James refers to, symbolizes God as he allows trials (rain) to germinate the seed of faith in new believers (early rain), and strengthen (deepen the roots of) mature believers latter in the their spiritual life, outlasting trials (latter rain,) to bear proper fruit in its season.
  • The “husbandman” is also a symbol for believers own patience:
    “Rom 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us. “

Luk 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted [recovered], strengthen thy brethren.

last-will-and-testament

A Lover’s Last Will and Testament

These days marriage is mostly seen as similar to a business partnership. In the Bible and real life, it is a Covenant. (This is true whether we know it or not.)

Marriage is a Covenant ordained by God in the garden of Eden when he made Eve for Adam, and had plans for many children.

Hebrews tells us a covenant is the same thing as a Last Will and Testament. “For where a testament (covenant) is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.–Hebrews 9:16‭-‬17 KJV

If we know anything about the consummation of marriage, the blood Covenant of marriage sees the death of both the INDIVIDUAL man and woman as “the two become one flesh”. In that way, marriage becomes The Last Will and Testament for those two lovers—incomplete without the other. The Will is a union much stronger and more beneficial than either individual. The Testament/Covenant is the promise, after the death, to fuse, be consumed up, super glued into a New One/entity.

Mat 19:5 And He said, “For this reason a man shall leave father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Gen. 2:24) So that they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what GOD HAS JOINED together, let not man separate.

Misunderstanding this truth, in this era of selfish gratification, or being ignorant of this law, has caused an epidemic of emotional and psychological malfunction, as divorce has become as normal as marriage itself, and sexual unions have mutated into something unnatural and unmanageable in a healthy way. We as a culture are attempting things which are not meant to exist and cannot peacefully exist.

(Divorce has its place in our sinful world [Jer. 3, 1Cor. 7], but it should be a hard place.)

“We don’t make to rules on planet earth, we find them and obey them. Or suffer the consequences.”

There’s more to this story…

2 Peter 1

The Power of God in Us: hyperbole or some kind of mind game?

2Pe 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature…

If God used power to give these things to us, where are they? Where are these powerful precious possessions? “I don’t have them in my possession–is this idea just hyperbole or some kind of mind game?”
 
No! you do have them, they are in your Bible. They are contained in knowledge.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
The word of God is a treasure chest of powerful nutrients which renew the man and transform the soul.
1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
The word of God is everlasting nutrition. The changes it effects in the person last forever.
 
We are to learn it and learn it right:
2Ti 2:15 Be eager [or, diligent] to present yourself approved to God [as] a worker with no need to be ashamed, cutting straight [fig., teaching accurately; or, interpreting correctly] the word of truth. ALT
The TRUTH (no lie), The Whole TRUTH (nothing held back), And Nothing But The TRUTH (nothing added)
Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
Psa 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Psa 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Psa 1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Psa 1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
Psa 1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
2 Peter 1

God’s Recipe for Reaching Your Full Potential

 

2Pe 1:1-9  Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

First of all we notice that this is a recipe by which a final product is produced. One ingredient is added to another and when complete the desired product is created. There is addition and multiplication and a final Total.

The FINAL PRODUCT IS FULL KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

GOD”S PART the powerful raw ingredients:

  • vv 1-2 Grace and Peace multiplied through the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord, upon which our faith rests.
  • v. 3 his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called [summoned] us to glory and virtue
  • v.4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature [one of God’s purposes for giving us everything mentioned above], having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

God has given us (for our possession) grace and peace, all things that pertain to life and godliness, exceeding great and precious promises by which we can have share of God’s nature. And escape the corruption in the world. This is God’s purpose/plan for saving us, and he used his power (v.3) to make sure it happens.This is not a wish!

We can see that God himself has given us everything necessary to produce the final product.

Our Part, the Cooking:

2Pe 1:5  And beside this, giving all diligence [stay busy producing what God intends],

add to your faith [faith received by lot (grace) in verse 1] virtue [vigor, energy, likely the utilization of God’s power in v.3. “Put on the whole armor!”}; and to virtue knowledge [intelligence, understanding]; And to knowledge temperance [self-control opposed to instinct driven impulsive behavior]; and to temperance patience [brave waiting, endurance]; and to patience godliness [god likeness, behavior designed to please God, like he intended when he made Adam and Eve]; 

2Pe 1:7  And to godliness brotherly kindness [Philadelphia; genuinely loving fellow Christians because they are cherished by you.]; and to brotherly kindness charity [Agape; loving others because they are God’s valuable creation.]

We can see in the text, all of these virtues come from their own level of KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST OUR LORD. These are the “all things which pertain to life and godliness” in verse 3. God has given us these virtues through the knowledge of Himself and Jesus our Lord. Remember we are, in this Christian life, learning every day who Jesus is as our Lord/ruler/king/manager etc.  Each of these ingredients, when added to our lives, gives us a greater experiential knowledge of who our Lord is to us and in this universe.

We add each of these virtues because we receive KNOWLEDGE of their value to us in his word, the Bible. In that way virtue is seen and taken hold of, first through knowledge. (No wonder God gave us his written Word!)

So, these virtues can produce a full knowledge of Jesus Christ because each one when added is a measure of experiential knowledge of the Lord Jesus.

2Pe 1:8  For if these things be in you, and abound [multiply. This is the other math in this recipe, it’s multiplication. v2 tells us God has already solved this equation, he’s the multiplier.],

they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[God’s intended transformation is realized—FULL EXPERIENCIAL KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. We were born to be like him, and through experiencing him in every aspect of our life, through the knowledge and direction of scripture, we gain a full knowledge of him.]

2Pe 1:9  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten [taken hold of forgetfulness] that he was purged from his old sins. 

The Knowledge described in this passage is knowledge gained through perception/spiritual sight; this knowledge is seen and acquired in the words and promises of the gospel and scripture, believed in faith, and embraced. The person who lacks the added virtues is blind to them, he cannot see the promises and hope to which the gospel points, so he has no way to value them enough to “give all diligence and add…” He like those in the parable of the sower, “received the word of the gospel with joy”, but that’s as far as his eyes could see, so he is barren and unfruitful in the true FULL knowledge of the Lord Jesus. In fact he has even left behind (forgotten) that he was purged from his old sins. Thus he can add nothing to what he has left behind.

Peter will not let his readers take FORGETFULNESS:

2Pe 1:10,15  Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in REMEMBRANCE of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in REMEMBRANCE; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in REMEMBRANCE.

This passage is an amazing promise and detailed, step by step recipe for experiencing a full knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord in this life.

There is addition and multiplication and a final Total. The FINAL PRODUCT IS FULL KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

Think about finishing the whole chapter and letter.

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What’s in a name? Paul

“Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Spirit….,”

Acts 13:9 KJV, From this time forward Saul is called by the name Paul in scripture.

Observations:
Hebrew names are not sacred as some imagine: Saul is a Hebrew name, and it was discarded. Paul is a Roman name with a totally different meaning, and became his identity.

In the OT Hebrew names were changed to Gentile names by Kings like Nebuchadnezzar to erase Hebrew religious identity. Was this also God’s intention with Paul?

“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5

Paul means small. Could the name describe his unimpressive stature?

2 Cor.10:10  “because the letters indeed–saith one– are weighty and strong, and the bodily presence weak, and the speech.”

Or his spiritual posture among the saints and before the Lord?

2 Corinthians 10:1  And I, Paul, myself, do call upon you–through the meekness and gentleness of the Christ–who in presence, indeed am humble among you, and being absent, have courage.

My friend the meaning of the name is important, not the language spoken.

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The Lord of Hosts and the Battle for Faith

Deu 33:24 Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be. There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, WHO RIDETH UPON THE HEAVEN IN THY HELP, AND IN HIS EXCELLENCY ON THE SKY.

God is our defender ready to go to BATTLE on behalf of those who are upright and trust Him! This is a symbol of WAR!

We never raise your arms in surrender, because we know who is on our side!

WHAT WAR? We’re at peace!

THE MOST IMPORTANT fight on planet earth is a fight for FAITH, the battle to prove the promises and faithfulness of God!

Faith is a verb! Because it is active, constantly alive, it is being met by opposing forces in this world. Faith is never at rest on this earth–“there is no discharge, [furlough, recess, sabbatical, vacation] in this war.”

Faith begins its life with persuasion and CONTINUES with action. This is how “the just live by faith: from faith as a source, to faith as a destination”. (Rom. 1:17) Faith is our road map, the precious cargo, without which the journey and destination are not only impossible, but invisible. The prize, the hope, the resurrection to life is never lost sight of, especially as we don’t know when our tour of duty will be over.

The Clear Path Marked

The testimony, life, death and resurrection of the human being Jesus, changed everything on planet earth. Being persuaded of this fact overcomes the pressure, the assault from the world on the mind and affections to love and trust worthless, temporal decaying earthly things.

1Jn 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth (trust, to be persuaded) that Jesus is the Son of God?

 

Eph 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand…
Luk 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy FAITH fail not: and when thou art converted (turn back), strengthen thy brethren.

The GREATEST fight on planet earth is a fight for FAITH, keeping in focus the things God has revealed in his word! GOD  (the LORD of Hosts) IS Our Helper and Defender!

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PREACHER’S KID PHENOMENON:

It is a puzzle that many people who attend very strict (legalistic) religious churches which tightly control behavior (women can’t wear makeup, pants, large number of rituals like scheduled daily prayer, strict diets, no television, etc.,) ultimately abandon religion completely for secular culture, suffer inward depression,  are strongly drawn to perverse secret behavior. They are forced to change their definition of sin to include their worldly practices and allow for a clear conscious.

The cause of this contradiction between religious profession and worldly practice is: the legalist focuses on the flesh and works, while the Spirit of the gospel focuses on change in the heart through focus on Christ. We see legalism in OT Israel who under the law became worse idolaters than the pagans whose religion they adopted because they didn’t love the LORD. (2Chron. 33:2, 9)

Compare: Col. 2:23, “which are indeed having a reputation of wisdom in self-imposed religion and [false] humility and severe discipline [or, non-indulgence] of [the] body, [but which are] not of any value against indulgence of the flesh.”

Excerpt from my upcoming book on Romans 6 in the Overkill series:

Rom 6:14, For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Interpretation: Now this is a statement that stumps many students and bible teachers. What does the law have to do with sins dominion over us? How does not being under the law free us completely from Sin’s dominion? (This is impossible to understand if you interpret sin in this passage as a indwelling principal, sinful nature, which abides with us all, until we get to heaven.)

*Paul will develop our relationship with law more fully in the next chapter (7) but for now; two facts:

1. The law aroused sin. Consequently no law, no sin or no awareness of sin. With awareness comes prominence. (Rom.7:7-9) The more we are aware of a thing the greater its impact on our lives. More law equals more sin, More Jesus equals more fruit (J0hn 15)…”

gold-melting

The Essence Of Christianity: 1Peter 1:2

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:2‭-‬5 KJ
The Apostle Peter sums up the essence of what it is to be a Christian in a few sentences. Each word is heavy. Each is carefully chosen and profound in themselves.
You will notice that God himself is the active force in the believer’s spiritual birth–it’s HIS POWER from the beginning to end!
What Peter is doing is impressing on their minds the fact that God himself has chosen them. I am spiritually alive and able to spiritually perceive Him and understand his message, because he has brought his power to bear on me. (check the text again)
This new birth, in this dangerous, fleshly world, is kept secure by faith. You will notice the believer is passive (i.e., he is kept, he doesn’t keep himself)—The POWER of God keeps the Christian.
The means of that security is through faith/belief in God word. The means is not the power, it is the channel through the power reaches its destination. Your faith is important in this transaction, but it’s NOT the mighty force which sustains or delivers the salvation. We are Dependant on GOD’s power. Faith is what RELIES on His Power.
 
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: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. –1 Peter 1:7‭, ‬9 KJV
 
The testing of that faith is not for God’s knowledge, but for ours. It’s purifies that faith, making it stronger, more firm. Thereby increasing the saint’s confidence in its power to keep, overcome, and to deliver the inheritance promised at the end this journey.
So when you look around after overcoming the “manifold trials” you have faced, and your faith in God’s providence is still in tack and stronger than ever, you know that THE POWER OF GOD IS PRESENT IN YOUR LIFE! Next stop? The marriage supper of the Lamb.
emptyvessel

What Does It Mean To Take God’s Name In Vain?

Deu 5:11  Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

This warning is often taken to mean “do not use/speak the name of God by swearing”. Vain then means to curse or swear disrespectfully.

The context however is the Covenant between the Lord their God and the children of Israel. In that covenant they pledged by oath to TAKE that covenant between themselves (to be literally married), OBEY His commands, and worship Him; and in turn the Lord would bless them like no other people on earth.

To take his name in vain simply means to call themselves God’s people but not obey him or keep their part of the Covenant.  VAIN means FALSELY. It’s hypocrisy, it’s a lie.

Here is the NT equivalent spoken of professing Christians:

2Ti 3:1ff  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a FORM OF GODLINESS, but DENYING THE POWER THEREOF (vain/fruitless): from such turn away.