Month: July 2012

Getting Back Up

I enjoy watching the Olympics because I enjoy watching people who have trained hard enough to become the best in the world at what they do. It takes incredible dedication, perseverance, and desire just to get there; much less to hear your nation’s anthem played when you’re finished.

When an Olympic athlete wins a medal, they put a seal on all of their blood, sweat and tears that they have gone through to arrive at where they are that; and for that moment, and maybe another one in four years, the men and women who win the gold, silver or bronze are on top of the world. It may not mean as much as their medal, but my “hat goes off to them.”

But there is another group of individuals that I love to see at the Olympics. No one in this group walks away with a medal, but they do walk away with my admiration.

This group is made up of men and women who do not compete perfectly – they miss, they stumble, they fall and they lose their grip.

So what’s to admire about this group who fails? It’s simple. They get back up! They finish what they came to do! They brush off their fault and they complete the task! They don’t quit! They acknowledge their mistake and they overcome it!

I don’t enjoy seeing them mess up, but I do enjoy watching them getting back up and competing even when they know they’re not going to finish perfectly. EA

But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” (Hebrews 10:32-39, NKJV)

Is It Just A Coincidence?

Before ascending into Heaven, Jesus told His apostles that the person who believes in the gospel and is baptized will find salvation (Mark 16:16) – is it just a coincidence that baptism is placed before salvation?

After preaching Jesus as the crucified, buried and risen Savior, Peter told a crowd waiting anxiously to repent of their sins and submit to baptism under the authority of Jesus to find the mercy from God they desperately wanted (Acts 2:37-41) – is it just a coincidence that baptism is placed before salvation?

During a trip to Damascus, Saul (better known as Paul) witnessed with his own scale covered eyes the validity of the gospel, and was told after three days of praying and fasting to get up and get under the water to wash away his sins (Acts 22:6-16) – is it just a coincidence that baptism is placed before salvation?

How many times does a person have to read about something before they start believing that it is more than a coincidence and actually the will of God?  EA

Click here to watch a video about the truth about baptism.

The Compassion of the Christ

In those days, the multitude being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said to them, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar.” (Mark 8:1-3, NKJV)

Had Jesus ever gone hungry before? Absolutely; and for a lot longer than three days! (Matthew 4:1-4)

So Jesus could have said the crowd would be alright. It’s only three days. I’ve done it before, so they can too. They haven’t seen anything yet. Sure, Jesus could have said these things.

But that’s not what He said or did. He knew what it felt like to go for three days and beyond. He knew the pain and complications that could come with it. He knew how much further their journey was going to be. He had compassion.

The Compassionate High Priest of the world knows how it feels to be burdened, to be hurting, to be hungry, to be tempted and to be concerned.

Jesus knows how it feels to live life and He knows what kind of life we’re living – and He’s willing to show compassion despite any of it.

Now, how does our compassion look compared to His, and how can we better show His kind of compassion to others? EA

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:13-15, NKJV)

Why did God Require Animals to be Sacrificed?

There are times in the Bible when a person can miss the blessing of something because they don’t understand the purpose or point of God’s command. This is especially true when it comes to understanding why God had people do certain things in regards to their sin. 

Many Christians today take for granted what God was trying to teach his people under the Old Testament. Some look at the Old Testament as old, and unworthy of study or care; but if a person misses why God had his people do certain things under the Old Covenant, they’ll never come to a fuller appreciation of what God has accomplished for us under the New Covenant of today! And there are very few places where this is more true than when it comes to the animal sacrifices found from Genesis to Malachi and right on into the gospels we read.

Let’s think about why God required what he required under the Old Testament, and how it can better help us understand the sacrifice that Jesus made on behalf of humanity when he established the New Covenant.

So the first question is, “Why did God have animals sacrificed?” If we’re not required to sacrifice them anymore, why were they ever sacrificed to begin with??? If God was going to send Jesus all along, then why didn’t he have people just say they were sorry and then forgive them when Jesus died? Why did God have people do something when it seems like it was useless in dealing with sin? Did God even care whether or not someone sacrificed an animal? If He did, then why did he say he didn’t sometimes? These are some of the issues and questions a person can have when they read about these things in the Old Testament and New Testament.
So did God really ask for, require and even command animal sacrifices? Contrary to what some try to teach, he sure did! When Adam and Eve sinned and they made fig-leaf bikinis, and God said that wouldn’t do, what did He give them? He gave them clothes to wear! Now, you don’t have to be a tanner to know that you can’t get an animal-hide outfit to wear without the animal losing its life. Right from the get go with sin, a sacrifice was made. From the garden, to Noah, to Abraham, to Moses and all throughout the history of the children of Israel you will find God requiring the sacrifice of animals for sin. There’s even a book called Leviticus that deals with the intricacies of how to properly deal with the sacrificing of burnt offerings, peace offerings, guilt offerings and sin offerings that God commanded.

But if God required the sacrifice of animals then why did he at times say he didn’t want them??? I mean there are multiple places in the Old Testament where God plainly says, “NO!!!” Read them for yourselves:

  • To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats.” Isaiah 1:11
  • For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6 (quoted by Jesus in Matthew 9:13, 12:7)
  • For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.” Psalm 51:16

As if that’s not enough, the New Testament says this about sacrificing animals as well:

  • But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.Hebrews 10:3-4

If this is true then what was the whole point of it all? The point has to do with the context that all these verses are given in. There was, and still is, a big lesson about sin and the human heart behind all that sacrificing that God called for! The majority of the time, God’s people in the past, like His people of today, were missing the whole point of worship, sacrifice and sin.

When blood gets spilt – God takes notice! He noticed Abel’s blood (Genesis 4:10). He warns all men to take notice (Genesis 9:6). Judgment was pronounced upon the scribes and Pharisees because of bloodshed (Matthew 23:34-35). Even when an animal dies, God takes notice (Matthew 10:29b). When an animal was killed or sacrificed, God commanded that the utmost respect be shown toward the blood (Leviticus 17).

Why does God take notice of every drop of blood that gets spilt? Because life is in the blood: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul’” (Leviticus 17:11). God called for the blood sacrifice of animals because He was teaching His people about the cost of sin. (more…)

A Great “Fortune” Cookie

I got a great fortune cookie today with my lunch! It said, “A gambler not only will lose what he has, but also will lose what he doesn’t have.

I agree whole-heartedly! So many individuals and families have been damaged by gambling in ways that no jackpot could ever repair. Gambling digs more holes than ladders can be built. It breaks the bank, the wallet, the heart and the soul. Gambling is a plague on the poor, the home and the senses.

But the “funny” thing about the “fortune” that I got was that the “lucky numbers” were still on the back. Makes one wonder???

He who is hard on the poor puts shame on his Maker; but he who has mercy on those who are in need gives him honour.” (Proverbs 14:21BBE)

Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, But he who regards a rebuke will be honored.” (Proverbs 13:18 – NKJV)

Put far from me all false and foolish things: do not give me great wealth or let me be in need, but give me only enough food: For fear that if I am full, I may be false to you and say, Who is the Lord? or if I am poor, I may become a thief, using the name of my God wrongly.” (Proverbs 30:8-9 – BBE)

Freedom Rings And The Death Bell Tolls

Men and women in this country for the last couple of centuries have sacrificed a lot for this nation (a large number giving all) to continue to provide the freedoms and blessings we have as American citizens. The efforts, love and convictions of these leaders, soldiers and citizens have helped shape and form our country into the bastion of liberty that many in the world today desperately want to live in. Taking these facts into consideration, I sadly believe this country has forgotten where an essential element of victory comes from – God!

In Acts 17:26 the Bible reads, “And (God) hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;” The blessings of a nation comes not from the will of man alone, but from the nation’s willingness to recognize and praise God for who He is, and for what He has given them (Acts 17:27). Through the providence of God and the ultimate sacrifice of others, the bells of freedom ring for the ears of some, while the death bells toll for the life of others.

On the contrary, our nation is starting to hear the death bell toll louder and louder under the guise of “ringing freedom.” Many today advocate “freedoms” that are tearing our country apart thread by thread and condemning us. According to some, the Constitution gives a woman the “right” to end the life of her child while “it” is still inside of her. Let her give birth and then kill “it” and she will be charged with murder. According to some, the Constitution gives a person the “right” to look at pornography on the Internet at a public library where children are present, but let them ride down the road viewing the same garbage on a TV screen where the public can see it, and they can be charged with a crime. In some people’s minds the Constitution can make a “Civil Right” trump a moral wrong. The common decency cannot be so common, nor so decent due to liberty???

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial contains the following engraving: “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

We are sorely misunderstanding what liberty frees us from and what it frees us for today! If we confuse having liberty with taking liberties then we do so to our own peril! The Bible and history itself shows us that nations with a rotten core will collapse from the inside. If our country insists on ignoring God Almighty, He’ll ring a bell alright, but it won’t be freedoms’!  EA

For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13-14)