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.

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.

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.

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!

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)…”

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.

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.

Marriage Love: Assuring a Strong One Flesh Union Part 1

The command to Love for the husband is from a leadership position. For the wife it is from a supportive position.

Why aren’t wives specifically instructed to love their husbands in the same way husbands are instructed love their wives? Wives are however  instructed to submit to their husbands?

  1. The Bible is concerned with truth, and what is primary and important. It is concerned with building a solid foundation and structure in a fractured world with wayward humans. So it addresses the positive essentials, the fundamentals, and the negative dangers.
  2. The truth is, submission to God is a demonstration of love: Jesus said “if you love me obey my commandments.” So, the focus for the wife is on the critical aspect of love necessary for a strong union between her and the man God tied together with her. That critical labor of love is submission. In like manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives, When they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him–to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband]. –1 Peter 3:1‭-‬2 AMPC.  So submission to your husband in love to God is equal to loving your husband.
  3. Why was Peter led to say “IN LIKE MANNER, YOU WIVES…” Like what? Answer: a. Like he has just described in the previous paragraphs (Read previous chapter): like the Christians submission to the gospel (contrasted with the world’s rejection of it.) b. Like servants subjection to their masters out of submission to God’s providence in their lives. c. Like Christ’s submission to suffering to save his lost sheep.
  4. The Spirit gives Paul the very same instructions for the married: “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:” –Ephesians 5:21‭-‬26‭, ‬28‭-‬29 KJV
  5. The husband’s love, care, protection, nourishment, honor, cherishing, of His his wife, demonstrates submission to and love for God. But, the focus is on care and sacrifice, which is the critical aspect of love necessary for a strong union with the woman God has tied him to.  Love in all leadership is demonstrated by CARE, NOURISHMENT, PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT: “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.  He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.  He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. –John 21:15‭-‬17 KJV

    Notice that love to Jesus must be given to others: his sheep who need care and nourishment. This was to be Peter’s PRIMARY FOCUS from that day forward. His leadership would be a position defined by love and care for those the Lord desires to care for.

Wives don’t have this burden of leadership and care for the husband; their burden is to demonstrate their love to God and love for their husband by honoring his leadership and submitting to it, in the same way the Church submits to Jesus. So, both the husband and wife have a command to love, albeit from different directions so as to assure a strong one flesh union.
God know how he has designed and equipped men and women. The one who wants to please God humbly submits to his wise instructions.

God’s Love Floods!

God’s Love Flooding The Core Of My Soul.

 …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. —Rom. 5:5
  • Hope: Is the SURE EXPECTATION of the final glory, promised by God to the faithful. HOPE is the structure left standing after we have overcome all of the necessary trials which purify our faith.
  • It’s the final stage in the 4 stage construction project of The Glory of God. (tribulation, patience, endurance, hope.)
  • The monumental structure of CERTAIN HOPE in turn fortifies us, banishing any sense of inadequacy. Because the victory through the trails is proof of God’s love for me. He has lavishly poured out his love in the core of our being, through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us who believe.
  • Our unshakable belief and the circumstances surrounding its creation, prove the presence of the Holy Spirit and love of God for us.
There’s much more. Check out Romans 5 for the full story.

How to Prevent Brainwashing?

So I’m sitting down with a fellow teacher who has a title in front of his name. He’s trying to convince me to accept and obey his point of view. (He doesn’t know how long I’ve been studying the Bible. It happens to be longer than him.) But I take it he assumes his “position” puts everyone else in a submissive posture and an open head. Don’t get me wrong, I’m hoping for some nuggets of truth I can add to my file of knowledge and beliefs—that’s why we were having this conversation:-)

The Open Mind

The LAST thing you want is an “open mind”. (The kind brain washers love.) As students we must learn from experts/authorities. We should be EAGER to learn valuable new information and take instructions. However, all information and instructions must be filtered by The Word of God if you are a Christian.

The danger is to accept the “title”, “position”, or “reputation” of the would-be teacher as proof of the accuracy of their teachings and instructions. “This is Pastor, Dr. So and So, so whatever he tells me I will believe and do.”

The Closed Mind

The truth is: Let no one pour information into your brain without consulting God Almighty to confirm this man/woman has been taught by The Master Teacher Himself. (1Tim. 3:16)

Eagerness to learn, but not an open mind. The mind is closed until God’s truth fills it. Check with God before you let some teacher or expert fill your head with what they claim to be right.

Even the Apostles had to pass this test!

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. -Act 17:11

The Multitude of Counselors

If you are still have doubts consult more authorities from diverse positions. Don’t consult the questionable teacher’s students or partners. I would examine those who are likely to differ and weigh all of their interpretations and teachings.

Pro 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.