Month: May 2013

THE GOD AND FATHER OF…

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;” (2 Corinthians 1:3)

Paul introduces his letter to Corinth with three references to God and these three references can teach three lessons about God to each of us.

THE FATHER OF JESUS:

Think about this one now. The virgin birth is a crucial element to the gospel of Christ. No virgin birth means no Son of God! No Son of God means no Savior! No Savior means no hope of salvation! Only the Son of Adam? Only the Son of Man? By no means! Jesus is the Son of God (John 1:14, 3:16, 8:42; Hebrews 1:1-8).

Paul does not mention Bethlehem by name, but he definitely mentions Bethlehem by proxy. The Spirit of God declared Jesus to be the Son of God in the lineage of David through the fullness of the womb of Mary and the Spirit also declared Jesus to be the Son of God through the emptiness of the tomb near Calvary (Romans 1:1-4). The Gospel does not make Jesus the Son of God – the Son of God makes the Gospel.

THE FATHER OF MERCIES:

What a blessing once disguised but now made manifest (1 Peter 1:9-12). And notice Paul says mercies. Yes, “every good and perfect gift comes down from above” (James 1:17) and mercy is definitely one of them. Zacharias proclaimed that his son John would prepare the way of the Lord and reveal that tender mercy that would send the Dayspring from on high (Luke 1:67-78).

These mercies were not only revealed through the life of Jesus on the Earth (John 14:7ff) but they are also revealed through the life of Jesus in Heaven (Ephesians 2:4-6). Mercy can be a misunderstood word and taken for granted here on Earth, but it will not be underappreciated when a person makes it to Heaven because of it.

THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT:

This is a comfort that creates and encourages a life modeled after Jesus. Without that spiritual comfort there would be no spiritual “exhale of relief” when trials are over. Comfort comes in knowing that the troubles of this life are temporary and that God has made a promise to one day take the burden of pain and heartache and replace them with healing and joy (Revelation 21:3-4). As Paul mentioned it to the Corinthians, this was without a doubt a thought that encouraged him in his goals with the gospel.

BLESSED BE GOD:

The moments in life when we see God working, building and healing are great, but the moments when we do not even realize it are truly amazing. There are times when we take the smallest blessings for granted not realizing that they are the building blocks to a strong and healthy faith. When God created the vast universe He also fathered a plan and a way into His family through His Son Jesus, through His tender mercy and through His comfort that none rivals (Ephesians 3:8-19). EA

Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” (Matthew 6:8-9)

The Eyes of Christ

If a person wanted to talk about a set of eyes that saw it all, the eyes of Jesus would fit perfectly. Before His incarnation they saw the creation of the world (John 1:1-3). They saw the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:5-7). They saw Moses come to the burning bush (Exodus 3:4). And when His eyes became flesh they continued to see so much. They even saw straight into the hearts of men (Luke 6:8; Matthew 9:4). And often times the hearts of men saw Jesus’ compassion and mercy.

Christ’s eyes saw the true needs of mankind. On one occasion Jesus witnessed the funeral of a widow’s only son. It was a sight that brought compassion to His heart. The Bible says, “When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”” (Luke 7:13)

On another occasion, preceding the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand plus, Christ was going from city to city and the crowds began to follow and the Bible says, “And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.” (Mark 6:34)

There were times when Christ refused to turn His eyes from mercy even when everyone else refused to see it.When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”” (John 8:10-11)

The eyes of Christ saw right through and beyond the actions of men and women: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3)

When the enemies of Christ falsely arrested Him and held His mock trial, Luke records, “And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, “Prophesy! Who is the one who struck You?”” (Luke 22:64) The enemies of Christ knew that Jesus could see beyond the physical straight through to the spiritual, but they refused to see the truth themselves. And lest we think we think we’re immune, we need to remember that He can still see us despite the blindfolds that we may try to use on Him. We need to remember that the eyes of Christ watch people even when our eyes are not looking for Him (Luke 21:1-2).

From the cross the eyes of Christ saw His mother and a beloved disciple (John 19:26). From the cross He saw the darkness because of the covered sun (Luke 23:44-45). What a contrast those two things were. But perhaps the most important contrast we see at the cross is the difference in the way that the people were looking at Jesus and the way His eyes were looking at them (Luke 23:34).

How wonderful the eyes of the Savior truly are! EA

Hell is not the Devil’s Domain

Is the prince of the world (John 14:30) the king of Hell? It seems as if many are convinced that it’s so but it’s not true.

While Satan may use many things to accomplish his destructive goal, destruction is what actually awaits him. And he knows it!

His future, along with the other angels who rebelled against the authority of Heaven (Jude 6), is dim, lit only with the fires of Hell.

When it comes to the final place of punishment, this place is prepared for the devil – it is not a place prepared by him:

Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:“(Matthew 25:41).

The Devil will not rule Hell, for his presence in Hell will reveal that the Devil has been ruled by God, the Lamb and the work of the Holy Spirit.

Satan, along with any other soul who will find themselves on the wrong side of God’s wrath, will find that God’s authority exists not only over Heaven, but also over Hell itself. EA

The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)

Bible Questions and Answers – Israel’s “Right” to Palestine

“Dear brother Clem: I am confused about all of the problems of Israel and the Palestinians. I have friends who tell  me that the Bible gives Israel the right to all of Palestine. Is this true?

– B.G., OH”

God made several promises to Abraham, of which the main three deal with the nation of Israel, the promised land (Canaan) and the Christ (who was to be “the seed” of Abraham). Let’s look at the promise regarding the land. “I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land of thy sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession. And I will be their God” (Genesis 17:8). Moses later spoke of this promise to the nation of Israel, as Abraham’s descendants: “All this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it forever” (Exodus 32:13). But still later, Moses showed that the “forever” part of this promise was conditional.

God showed Israel that, if they did not do as He directed, the land would be taken away from them: “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil … But if thy heart turn away, and thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish; ye shall not prolong your days in the land, whither thou passest over the Jordan to go in to posses it. I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed” (Deuteronomy 30:15-19). Notice that God’s promise that the land would belong to Israel was valid only as long as they served God. If they turned their backs on Him, He would allow other people to drive them from that land. And when they did turn from God, they were driven out.

After the death of Moses, God selected Joshua to be the leader of Israel. It was under his leadership that the Israelites were brought into the land of Canaan (what it now called “Palestine”). Near the close of his life, Joshua declared: “So Jehovah gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And Jehovah gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers; and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; Jehovah delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not aught of any good thing which Jehovah had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass” (Joshua 21:43-45) Notice that last part again: “There failed not aught … All came to pass.

Later, Joshua told Israel, “Ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which Jehovah your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, not one thing hath failed thereof” (Joshua 23:14). Lest some should say, either then or now, that God owed the land to Israel, Joshua forcefully points out that God had kept every one of His promises. He didn’t say simply that God would keep the promises. He said He HAD kept them. All of God’s promises regarding the land of Canaan (Palestine) were fulfilled in Joshua’s lifetime. There remains no more such promises to be fulfilled today. (more…)

One Big Housing Bubble!

It has been truthfully said by some that the new sign of commitment among my age group (the millennials) isn’t a ring on the finger but rather a ring with a house key on it.

Friends, make no mistake, truthful saying or not, there’s a huge difference between being committed to a house and being committed to each other! There’s a huge difference between taking the plunge and plunging one’s self into debt.

Playing house comes with spiritual, emotional and financial bills that are real. Shacking up racks up the debt on your morality, your children and your culture. It’s a faux reality. No brick and mortar house will ever replace the stability or reliability in a relationship that a godly marriage provides (Ephesians 5:22-33).

Marital commitment replaced by a commitment to a home loan? That’s one big housing bubble that won’t do anything but burst!

Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Hebrews 13:4)