Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday Musings

Sojourners Adult Bible Class

Sunday morning was bitter sweet. I finished John chapter 3 in the Sojourners class. We saw that Jesus was the perfect witness for the Father. He came to reveal the Father to us. We saw that Jesus can speak of the things of God because He has first hand knowledge of God and heavenly things. That ties back to the startling statement that Jesus made to Nicodemus – “unless one is born from above, or “fathered” from God one cannot see nor enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus came to reveal those things from above or from heaven.

Therefore Jesus is to be believed for three reasons. The first is that He is from above as we have mentioned so He has perfect, complete, and experiential knowledge to reveal. Second, because the Father has given to Jesus the Holy Spirit without limit to teach, reveal, and testify of the heavenly things necessary for salvation. Third, the end result is so important – if one believes present tense, continues to believe one has eternal life, if one does not believe the wrath of God that one was conceived and born under remains for ever.

This was my last class with the Sojourners. At least for some time. I have taught for almost three years and have loved every minute. We have had some tremendous times in the Word together. I shall miss the teaching outlet.

Sunday Morning Message

Our pastor is currently going through Ephesians. This morning we examined chapter 3:1-13. He reminded us that Paul was chained in the Mamertine Prison as a prisoner of Christ. Paul didn’t complain and say he was a prisoner of Rome, but of Christ for the sake of the Ephesians. Paul was a prisoner to reveal the mystery of how God would bring both Jews and Gentiles into one body through a marvelous plan of redemption.

This mystery was not known prior to God’s sovereign timing of revealing it to Paul who in turn revealed this mystery to the churches, particularly the Ephesian church. Paul considered himself the least of saints, unworthy of this privilege.

God engineered this wonderful plan in such a way that all would marvel, including the angels. The angels are amazed at how God has worked out a plan of redemption for the elect. So Paul did not want the Ephesians believers to worry or be discouraged because he was a prisoner for preaching the gospel.

Sunday afternoon

It was a short drive home and a very lazy afternoon. Irene fixed sausage dogs the way I like them (mustard and onions please) and French fries. We then determined that we were not going anywhere the rest of the day and we figured no one else was coming over so we resumed out project of “offing” our tremendous VHS collection of movies. We jammied up and made three piles of movies. Pile one was, we know we are not keeping this one, pile two was, hmm, let’s watch and see if it makes the cut, and pile three was, we are definitely keeping.

We watched The Talented Mr. Ripley and decided the language and material was not suitable so it was moved from the let’s see if it makes the cut to the get rid of pile. We then watched Sweet Dreams, the Patsy Cline story. The opening scenes were not all that wholesome but the rest of the movie was very interesting and the sound track was of this world. So, it is going to stay for a bit.

Supper was a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of milk. Irene and I talked about a few things for awhile. She went to bed early to read. I settled in and read from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology.

The old man  (Theophilus) laid on the top of the couch and just slept while I read. While Miss Thing, (Coco ) played with her pink mouse.

All in all, it was a good Sunday! How was yours?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Is the World Looking for God?

Alistair Begg is the Senior Pastor of Cleveland's Parkside Church (located in Bainbridge, Geauga County, Ohio), a position he has had since 1983, and is the voice behind the Truth for Life Christian radio preaching and teaching ministry that broadcasts his sermons daily to stations across the U.S. He is also the author of several books and has played one small role as a film actor.

Begg is a strong advocate of historic Protestant Evangelical theology. He stresses the importance of believing the Bible to be the completely authoritative Word of God, and the importance of using the mind to know the Bible and knowing God through repentance and faith in Jesus.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Food Choices & My Favorite Bible Verse...

Tim Hawkins is a good clean comedian.

Some things are funny and some things just aren’t! Have you ever been to a comedy show and felt embarrassed by the base and crude humor that is spewing from the mouth of the comedian? I have often wondered why people seem to think that vulgarity and filth are funny, perhaps some would just call me to puritanical, but I have always been impressed by those who can invoke laughter without using base insinuations. In my search for some good clean fun, I stumbled upon a wonderful clean comedian, Tim Hawkins.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Gift of God's Word Part III


In other words, what area of life is this Psalm dealing with?

Jonathan Edwards wrote: “I know of no part of the Holy Scriptures where the nature and evidences of true and sincere godliness are so fully and largely insisted on and delineated as in the 119th Psalm. The Psalmist declares his design in the first verses of the Psalm, keeps his eye on it all along and pursues it to the end.”

This psalm may be considered as the statement of a believer's experience. As far as our views, desires, and affections agree with what is here expressed, they come from the influences of the Holy Spirit, and no further.

The pardoning mercy of God in Christ is the only source of a sinner's happiness. Everyone wants to be happy don’t they? Everyone goes to great lengths to find happiness and even further lengths to remain happy. So we think that position, power, possessions, pursuits, programs, popularity, promiscuity, pretense, passion, promise, or promotion, especially of self will bring us happiness.

The tragedy is that happiness comes from a word that means happenstance. Happiness comes from favorable circumstances. So if the circumstances are favorable or to our liking or desires, then we are happy. But if the favorable circumstances are removed then happiness is lost.

What is true happiness? Or more importantly where is it found? Well, again, the pardoning mercy of God in Christ is the only source of a sinner's happiness. So then the next question then should be, well how do I maintain this happiness or what the bible calls joy? The answer is in this Psalm.

Those are most happy, who are preserved most free from the defilement of sin, who simply believe God's testimonies, and depend on his promises. If the heart be divided between God and the world, the heart is evil. But when the saints carefully avoid all sin; they are conscious of much evil that clogs them in the ways of God, but not of that wickedness which draws them out of those ways.

The Devil would make men think they can be happy without being free from sin, without believing God’s testimonies, or without being fully dependent on God’s promises. The Devil would make men think they are at liberty to follow the word of God or not follow it, as they please. But the desire and prayer of a godly man agrees with the will and command of God. Did you get that?

Isn’t this what Jesus taught? "If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it." (John 14:14, ESV)  "Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full." (John 16:24,ESV)

What does it mean to ask in Jesus name? To ask according to His authority, His power, His will and wishes.
So the desire & the prayer of a godly man agrees with the will and command of God.

If a man expects by obedience in one thing to purchase indulgence for disobedience in others, his hypocrisy will be detected; if he is not ashamed in this world, everlasting shame will be his portion.

The psalmist coveted, he yearned, and his whole being was given over to learn the laws of God and to give God the glory. And true believers understand that if God forsakes them, the temper will be too hard for them. (Ps 119:9-16)

The one theme is the word of the Lord. The Psalmist sets his subject in many lights, and treats it in many ways, but he seldom omits to mention the word of the Lord in each verse under some one or other of the many names by which he knows it; and even if the name be not there, the subject is still heartily pursued in every stanza. He who wrote this wonderful song was saturated with those books of Scripture which he possessed.

So, the arena covers the spiritual dynamics that are designed to lead God’s people into a full, abundant, joyful, and yet humble and obedient life to the praise and glory of God!

Do you want to live a full life? Do want an abundant life, a life that is filled with joy? The blue-prints, the schematics, the directions, and the steps are right here in the word of God, especially in this particular Psalm!


Andrew Bonar tells of a simple Christian in a farmhouse who had meditated the Bible through three times. This is precisely what this Psalmist had done; -- he had gone past reading into meditation.

Like Luther, David had shaken every fruit tree in God's garden, and gathered golden fruit there from.

"The most, "says Martin Boos, "read their Bibles like cows that stand in the thick grass, and trample under their feet the finest flowers and herbs." It is to be feared that we too often do the like. This is a miserable way of treating the pages of inspiration. May the Lord prevent us from repeating that sin while reading this priceless Psalm?

There is very evident growth in David’s understanding of the subject of the word of God. That is our application, to more fully understand the words of God and to live them. To grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and His almighty, powerful, and majestic word.

Ultimately, what is the application of the whole bible? I think it can be summed up this way; we are to live our lives fully pleasing unto God, fruitful in every good work, crucifying the passions of the flesh, and reflecting and magnifying the glory of God. In order to do these things we must know His revealed will and obey it.

We must believe these words from Charles Spurgeon:

“This sacred ode is a little Bible, the Scriptures condensed, a mass of Bibline, Holy Writ rewritten in holy emotions and actions. Blessed are they who can read and understand these saintly aphorisms; they shall find golden apples in this true Hesperides, and come to reckon that this Psalm, like the whole Scripture which it praises, is a pearl island, or, better still, a garden of sweet flowers.”

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Gift of God's Word Part II


This Psalm does not name its author nor does it give us the reason why it was written. It doesn’t even have a title. Most scholars believe it was written by David. The argument goes like this; after you read David’s writings a number of times in the Psalms that are attributed to David you can begin to get a feel for the style, language, and feeling that distinguishes his writings. Most people believe that you can sense David throughout this Psalm.

Charles Spurgeon wrote: “The fashion among modern writers is, as far as possible, to take every Psalm from David. As the critics of this school are usually unsound in doctrine and unspiritual in tone, we gravitate in the opposite direction, from a natural suspicion of everything which comes from so unsatisfactory a quarter. We believe that David wrote this Psalm. It is Davidic in tone and expression, and it tallies with David's experience in many interesting points. In our youth our teacher called it "David's pocket book” and we incline to the opinion then expressed that here we have the royal diary written at various times throughout a long life. No, we cannot give up this Psalm to the enemy. "This is David's spoil". After long reading an author one gets to know his style, and a measure of discernment is acquired by which his composition is detected even if his name be concealed; we feel a kind of critical certainty that the hand of David is in this thing, yea, that it is altogether his own.”

Though we don’t have evidence or proof, this Psalm is general considered to be authored by David. Of course many others including Daniel and Ezra have also been suggested by some as a possible author. I think this Psalm is from David’s pen. But it doesn’t really matter does it? The Holy Spirit is the author, it is inspired, profitable, and has been preserved by God’s grace for our benefit.


For the record, there is no real outline for this Psalm. There are different key features or subjects that are touched on throughout the Psalm. Some of those features are touched upon repeatedly.

Psalm 119 is considered to be an acrostic Psalm. It is composed of twenty two sections, with each section containing eight (8) lines. All eight (8) lines in each section begin with the same letter from the Hebrew alphabet. The author continues using each letter of the Hebrew alphabet until all twenty-two (22) letters are used.

Nathaniel Hardy, (1618-1670) made this observation, "that the 119th Psalm is disposed according to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, perhaps to intimate that children, when they begin to learn their alphabet, should learn that Psalm." Children could learn the Hebrew alphabet and this Psalm at the same time.

Each of the eight (8) verse stanzas are begun by the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. We don’t see this in English. So, let me write the first eight verses as they were when David wrote them so you can get a feel for this: (This is verses 1-8)

A blessing is on them that are undefiled in the way and walk in the law of Jehovah;

A blessing is on them that keep his testimonies, and seek him with their whole heart;

Also on them that do no wickedness, but walk in his ways.

A law hast thou given unto us, that we should diligently keep thy commandments.

Ah! Lord, that my ways were made so direct that I might keep thy statutes!

And then shall I not be confounded.While I have respect unto all thy commandments.

As for me, I will thank thee with an unfeigned heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

An eye will I have unto thy ceremonies, O forsake me not utterly.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Gift of God's Word

What can we say about the 119th Psalm? This Psalm is a Psalm in its own class and it is not like any of the other Psalms. It outshines and excels them all. This Psalm praises God for His Word – because God has given us the bible and it is only through the bible that we can come to know who God is and how to praise Him.

In a sermon from 1661 it was called a star in the firmament of the Psalms, of the first and greatest magnitude. That same sermon went on to say, that this Psalm is made up of three things: 

• Prayers to God

• Praises of God

• Protestations unto God 

Johannes Paulus Palanterius in 1600 called it “the alphabet of divine love, the paradise of all doctrines, the storehouse of the Holy Spirit, the School of truth.”

Franz Delitzsch of the German OT commentary, Keil & Delitzsch said that the German version had the appropriate inscription, “The Christian’s golden A B C of praise, love, power, and use of the Word of God.” “Here we have set forth in inexhaustible fullness what the word of God is to a man and how a man is to behave himself in relation to it.”

Matthew Henry gave instructions concerning this particular Psalm, he said “that we are to meditate on one verse each morning, and thus mediate through this Psalm twice a year” and he believed that this would bring us to be in love with all the rest of the Scriptures.

Augustine, who left us voluminous commentary on the bible, commented on this particular Psalm last, and only after much urging of his friends, “... because as often as I essayed to think thereon, it always exceeded the powers of my intent thought and the utmost grasp of my faculties.”  I can't even imagine anything to be beyond the grasp of this man's faculties.

William De Burgh wrote in 1860, “... it applies an all-containing medicine to the varied spiritual diseases of men – sufficing to perfect those who long for perfect virtue, to rouse the slothful, to refresh the dispirited, and to set in order the relaxed.”

At one time or another we all qualify for this – as children of God we should long for “perfect virtue, we need periodically to be roused from our sleepiness, we certainly from time to time need to be refreshed.

And if you were to be tempted to regret or complain about the length of this Psalm as you study it or even memorize it, then remember this little tribute to its length:

George Wishart, the chaplain and biographer of the Marquis of Montrose, was on the scaffold of the gallows that was to hang him. In keeping with the custom of the day, the condemned prisoner was allowed to choose a Psalm to be sung. He chose the 119th Psalm. Before 2/3 of the Psalm was sung, a pardon arrived which spared his life.

Charles Spurgeon adds this little tid-bit that the choice of this Psalm wasn’t necessarily made because of Wishart’s spirituality as much as it was made for shrewdness to gain as much more time as possible while he waited on his pardon. 

Martin Luther said – “…he prized this Psalm so highly that he would not take the whole world in exchange for one leaf of it.”

Derek Kidner – “This giant among the Psalms shows the full flowering of that ‘delight…in the law of the Lord’ which is described in Psalm 1 and gives its personal witness to the many-sided qualities of Scripture praised in Psalm 19.” 

Countless books, sermons, and writings have been done on this Psalm – Charles Spurgeon in his Treasury of David wrote 349 pages about it; Charles Bridges wrote some 481 on this one Psalm, Thomas Manton wrote three (3) volumes on this Psalm totaling 1677 pages. 

What makes this Psalm unique is its theme – the word of God. God’s word is mentioned in every verse except a couple. The Masoretes stated that the Word of God is referred to in every verse except verse 122.

Derek Kidner states God’s word is mentioned in every verse except 84, 121, and 122. Boice seems to think God’s Word is not mentioned in verses 90 & 132 – but he says 171 of 176 verses mention God’s Word.

According to H. C. Leupold the writer must have determined to do three (3) specific things when he wrote this Psalm: 

• Resolved to address God throughout this Psalm, except maybe the first three (3) verses

• Resolved to make mention of the Law of God in one way or another thought most of this Psalm

• Resolved for some reason to make this Psalm an acrostic, by using eight (8) verses which begins with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet

Let me encourage you to spend some time reading this Psalm. Use it as a prayer guide to learn to love, cherish, and teasure the word of God as this Psalmist did. Come to love it and be fed from its great depth of nourishment.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Are You Settled In Doctrine?

Col 1:23, “if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast …” 

Charles Spurgeon wrote these words, “I am persuaded that the use of a good catechism in all our families will be a great safeguard against the increasing errors of the times … those who use it in their families or classes must labor to explain the sense, but the words should be carefully learned by heart.”

Thomas Watson said, “It is the duty of Christians to be settled in the doctrine of faith.”

It is easy to see from biblical writers and from the apostles that they desired that believer’s be grounded and settled in their faith and in Christian doctrine. For example:

Peter - “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1Pe 5:10 ESV)

Jude - “wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for which the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.” (Jude 1:13 ESV)

Jude did not want his readers to be like the false teachers who were like shooting stars or meteors falling through space, but to be like the stars that are fixed in their place. To many Christians are all over the board.
Aristotle made this comment about these false teachers being likened to wandering stars:

“They do leap up and down, and wander into several parts of the heaven; and being dry exhalations, not made of that pure celestial matter as the fixed stars are, they often fall to earth.”

The principle that we so clearly see is that since these false teachers are not settled or grounded in Christian doctrine, they will at various times, just like falling stars, change opinions and doctrines. Why? They are unsettled and ungrounded in what they believe.

Paul wrote - “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” (Eph 4:14 ESV)

Paul compares unsettled or ungrounded believers to children. We all know how fickle and easily distracted children are. They think one thing this minute and in the next minute they are thinking something different. Children are easily misled because they haven’t matured in their thinking. So unsettled, ungrounded Christians are like children. I don’t think there is any doubt as to how important it is that we as believers, for our own good and for God’s glory, be settled and grounded in Christian doctrine.

The Purpose of Preaching the Word

Why do we preach the Word of God? The answer is quite simple actually: The aim, the purpose, the goal of teaching and preaching is to ground each and every believer in the doctrines of our Christian faith.

For the last several years there has been this belief and fear that doctrine is somewhat evil, that doctrine divides rather than unifies, that doctrine is unnecessary to the purpose of God and Christ. This idea has become a banner, a rallying point for those who first do not understand biblical doctrine. Believers fail to see how important doctrine is. And I am talking about biblical doctrine, not man made, nor denominational preferences or opinions.

Listen to Paul as he writes to the Christian church at Ephesus: "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (why Paul, why did God give pastors and teachers?) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;" (Eph 4:11-14)

When you hear a bible text explained it is for the purpose of further grounding you in the Christian faith. Do you avail yourself of this purpose? Do you allow the word to complete its work?

Why do you sit and listen to a sermon? The end result of the passage exegetically explained and accurately applied is to further your understanding of God, His Word, His will, His character, His nature, and His plan. Preaching and teaching is the most important thing a church can do.

Jeremiah knew this – he saw the word of God like a hammer. (Jer 23:29). Every blow of the hammer is to fasten the nails of the building, right? Every true word taught is to fasten you more to Christ.

The purpose of preaching the word is to enlighten you and to establish you and keep you in the right way. If you are not settled, established, and grounded then you are not responding to the end result of the teaching and preaching of the word of God.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday Musings

Monday Musings

Friday & Saturday

Living Water Community Church Men’s Retreat

I was privilege to attend the Living Water Community Church of Vancouver, WA

Men’s Retreat in Corbett, Oregon Friday and Saturday. It was at the Crestview Manor Conference Center in Corbett, OR. The grounds overlooked the Columbia River and the Columbia Gorge.

Bob Bevington, co-author with Jerry Bridges (The Pursuit of Holiness, The Practice of Godliness, The Discipline of Grace, Transforming Grace, and Respectable Sins) spoke. There were nearly 80 men from three churches in attendance.

Bob spoke on “The Bookends Metaphor” based on the book he and Jerry Bridges co-authored called "The Bookends of the Christian Life." It was a great conference! Didn’t get home until late Saturday.


Taught Sojourners Adult Bible Class from John 3:22-30. Great class – John chose to use John the Baptist as a supporting witness to substantiate John’s comments in verses 16-22. Our theme was the foundation of the witness of John the Baptist concerning Jesus Christ as John fulfilled his role.

Sunday morning

I preached from Matthew 5:14-16. The Message was entitled, “How to Live So That God gets the Glory.” God called us to Himself to be believers in order to have a company, a people who would image forth His majestic character to the world. Everything that God does in this universe is motivated by God’s desire to have His glory reflected, revealed, or imaged to this world. The challenge was to align ourselves with God’ purpose for creating and redeeming us. I taught some 65 minutes from Matthew 5:14-16. We looked at some supporting Scriptures of I Peter 4:10; Ephesians 2:10, Titus 2:14, I Peter 2:12, and Isaiah 48:11. Time was so short had to cut several points.

Sunday Afternoon 

My youngest daughter Stacy and her husband Abe came to church and then to our house for dinner. Irene prepared enchiladas and tamales along with refried beans and Spanish rice. Stacy brought a cherry pie. As Andy Griffith would say, “Them sure was good eats, Aunt Bea!” MMMMMM!

Sunday Night I concluded my message from Psalm 63, “Are You Thirsty?” The truly thirsty souls finds absolute satisfaction in God and God alone.

Verses 1-4 God was David’s Desire
Verses 5-8 God was David’s Delight
Verses 9-11 God was David’s Defense.

Great Psalm spend some time in it.

Jonathan Edwards said, The greatest moments of my life have not been those that have concerned my own salvation, but those when I have been carried into communion with God and beheld His beauty and desired His glory…I rejoice and yearn to be emptied and annihilated of self in order that I might be filled with the glory of God and Christ alone.” 

Where does a believer find absolute satisfaction in this barren land called life? The thirsty soul finds satisfaction in God, and God alone.

I challenge you to look to God for absolute satisfaction! May this one holy passion for God’s glory thrill your souls and dominate your lives throughout all your years upon this earth. May you seek to glorify God by enjoying Him forever and ever and ever!

I will catch up on your blogs. I left early Friday and have not had time to look at them and make comments. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

How to use Saturday Evening Profitably

How to use Saturday Evening Profitably

Here are seven things that I would humbly suggest that you try this evening instead of spending a late evening out or being up late doing or watching something that in the long run will have no profit today or in eternity.

1. Eat a light dinner that will enable you to digest easily and sleep well.

2. Turn the TV off by 7:00 PM. There isn’t anything on anyways

3. Then determine to spend some time in planned prayer:

  • Ask God to open, prepare, and stimulate your heart for Him and His Word

  • Pray for the Sunday School Teacher or Bible study leader who will be teaching

  • Pray for each SS class member or bible study group member to be open & responsive to the word of God

  • Pray for the pastor to be prepared, controlled or influenced by the Holy Spirit, and to prepare His heart to break the bread of life and lead you into the Holy of Holies

  • Pray that God will manifest himself in a powerful and glorious manner in your service

  • Pray that visitors and guests will be greeted and treated as those whom God specifically brought to your service for His purposes
  • Pray that if any one is present that does not know God in Christ, that perhaps today might be the day God would be pleased to grant them eternal life
4. Read from the Psalms to prepare and instruct your heart in worship

5. Read from the book of the bible that the pastor is teaching through to prepare your heart for the text

6. Have a treat of some sort as a reward or just because you are an adult and you can.

7. Go to bed early, before 10:00 PM in order to wake up refreshed, rejuvenated, revitalized, and renewed in order to both enjoy and participate in the worship service

Friday, May 21, 2010

What Does the Bible Say...?

What Does
Bible Say
Say About...

The Ultimate
for Biblical Truth!

The first question submitted to "What Does the Bible Say?" is:

Why do Christians accept certain moral laws from what they call the Old Testament, but not others laws? What separates the ones you decide are incumbent upon people from which ones that aren't?

The example given was,"why do Christians declare homosexual activity to be immoral, but they have no problem with eating certain foods or wearing clothes made of line and wool mixed together." What makes the difference? All of these are forbidden in relatively close proximity in the Torah, but only one of these is considered to be wrong. There are a number of questions here but here goes!

The apostle Paul wrote, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).

The idea of "rightly dividing" is handling accurately. In "handling accurately the word of truth," we must recognize and understand the two basic divisions of the Bible—the Old and New Testaments.

The old covenant revealed the coming of a new and better way which is the New Testament. Jeremiah, the Old Testament prophet, wrote in Jeremiah 31:31, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah."

This passage has its fulfillment in Hebrews 8:8-13. Here, the writer of the book of Hebrews points out the many "faults" of the old covenant and contrasts them to a new and living way with better hopes and promises—the perfect New Testament.

The old covenant revealed the coming Messiah. The many prophecies of that covenant pointed toward the many facets of the Messiah. It prophesied His birth (Isaiah 7:14). It revealed the Messiah's forerunner as "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God (Isaiah 40:3). It predicted the Messiah's zeal (Psalm 69:9), His miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6), and characterized His preaching (Isaiah 61:1-3). Also, it described the Messiah's betrayal by a friend and His death (Zechariah 11:12; Psalm 22). Further, the Old Testament prophesied the Messiah's resurrection and ascension (Psalm 2:7; 68:18; 110:1).

The old covenant revealed sin. Paul wrote, "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20)

The old covenant was written as a shadow of a new and better way which is the New Testament. Hebrews 10:1 says, "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect."

The old covenant was written for our learning. In Romans 15:4 Paul wrote, "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."

The old covenant was written for an example and for our admonition. In 1 Corinthians 10:11 Paul wrote, "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."

The old covenant went out of effect after the testator of the New Testament died. Hebrews 9:16 says, "For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator." The testator of the New Testament is Christ Jesus. Paul wrote, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross" (Colossians 2:14).

Thus, the Old Testament went out of effect at the death of Jesus. The New Testament of the testator was made known at the first preaching of the gospel of Christ (Acts 2:22-40) on the day of Pentecost in the city of Jerusalem in AD 33 as was prophesied.

Why Did The Old Testament Become Of No Effect?

The old covenant could not take away sins. Hebrews 10:4 & 11 says, "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." (11) "And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins."

The old covenant contained faults. Hebrews 8:7 says, "For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second."

The old covenant was a shadow and not the real. Hebrews 8:5 says that the Old Testament priests "serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things." Further, the Hebrews writer said, "the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things..." (Hebrews 10:1).

The letter to the Hebrews was written by a Jew, who had been formerly steeped in Judaism and had been enlightened by the Holy Spirit of God and had come to Christ where the veil over his eyes had  been removed. He wrote with a broken and compassionate heart to other Jews who had turned to Christ and yet under the pain of persecution was thinking of leaving Christ and returning to Judaism. Read the letter to the Hebrews, praying that God would open your eyes, again and again, until He does. You will then see that this make sense!

Now to the specifics of the question – a careful search of the New Testament will reveal that Jesus Christ reiterated all of the laws of the 10 commandments in the New Testament except the Sabbath. The Sabbath was part of the covenant God made with His chosen people. Therefore, the Sabbath is not binding on believers in this the age of grace.

To respond to the question about homosexual behavior being considered immoral; the Old Testament is not the only place it is dealt with. Paul reminded the Corinthian believers that some of them formerly practiced homosexuality. The apocalyptic book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ states that unrepentant practicing homosexuals will not enter the kingdom of heaven. This was considered a sin in the New Testament period also.

What it comes down to is the entire system of Judaism was set aside when Christ perfectly fulfilled the law on the cross of Calvary. He was declared to be the son of God by his resurrection from the dead. Therefore all of the ceremonial, dietary, clothing, and other "laws" were superseded and fulfilled in Christ. Those laws and ceremonies were given to show to the world that the Jewish nation was unique, separate, and where the presence of God dwelt on earth.

Therefore, food requirements are not binding. Clothing issues are not binding. Those things were given to the Jewish nation and not to the church, which is a separate entity from the true, spiritual nation of Israel. Even Peter knew this, the great Apostle to the Jews. He experienced a vision where God revoked the food laws by saying, Rise up and eat from the formerly unclean animals. (Acts 10)

Paul, with a broken heart made this statement in II Corinthians 3:12-17; “Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to and end (The Old Covenant-Judaism). But their (Jews) minds were hardened (this breaks my heart). For to this day (Paul’s day right through our day) when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their (The Jews – God’s dear, chosen, people) hearts. But when one turns to the Lord (The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God) the veil is removed. (Emphasis and comments mine)

Christians are not under the law. They are under grace. Grace still forbids sin against God and His Holiness. Homosexual behavior is still immoral, just as adultery, fornication, or bestiality. It isn’t that we accept certain moral laws from the Old Testament and not others; it is that sin is still sin, whether formerly under the law or now under grace.

In response to your statement that from a Jewish perspective this doesn’t make sense, I know. You are right. It doesn’t make sense. Why? Because as you read Moses, your heart is yet hardened and the veil still covers your eyes. We are not picking one of three laws to obey and the others to reject. The law cannot save. It cannot justify. It was a school-master to drive the Jews and the Gentiles to Christ. (Galatians)

Now, let me say that first, there are many who claim to be Christians who are not Christians; Matthew 7:21. Please don’t judge true believers in Christ along with those who are mere hypocritical professors, who “honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him." Just because someone says that they are a Christian does not mean that they are.

Second, there are a lot of messed up teachings circulating in the body of Christ and always has been. Satan wants to confuse, disrupt, and invalidate the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Many aberrant teachings attempt to put the believer back under the law and even under Old Testament Judaism. Even life long Jews recognized that they couldn’t keep the burden of the law and James asked the question, "Why would Gentiles be required to be placed under the same burden?" Read the Jerusalem council in Acts 15 carefully.

I have done my best to answer this question. My answer is lengthy. I will save your second question for the following week. This will not make sense to you and you will not accept this answer. Why? Read carefully, asking God for insight I Corinthians 3:12-17. As much as I like interacting with you, and I hope it continues, I feel your heart is yet hardened and your eyes are covered with a veil.

I pray for you to do as Paul said, as Jeremiah promised in chapter 31, as Ezekiel predicted in chapter 26, that you will turn to Christ and then He will take out the heart of stone and replace it with a fleshly heart that understands. Do this before it is too late! Only through Christ Jesus the Lord is the veil taken away!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tagged again - If I Were A...

Well, this is a different type of “tag.” I have been tagged by Yvonne over at Welcome to My World of Poetry. Those of you who visit her know her “talent” for poetry. Having been tagged, I must answer the following questions.

If I Were a: Month

I would be September! I love when the leaves begin to change colors and then they begin to fall. I love the skies as they begin to grow a bit gray and overcast. I love the hillsides and mountains as they begin to look like an artist’s palate full of colors. The hillside and mountains seem to be on fire with red, yellow and orange leaves. I love when the days are beginning to cool down and be a little brisk. I love fall.

If I Were a: Time of Day

I would be 4:30 AM. I love this time of day. I am a morning person. I love to be up just before the first ray of light so gingerly begins to peek over the horizon. I love the fact that it is quiet and I can hear the wind rustle through the trees. I love to hear that “early bird” as she begins to chirp and sing. The air smells clean and fresh. I love to look up and see the stars and the bright “dark blue” sky. There is no talking, no hurrying, and no noise. There is just God and me.

If I Were a: Season

I would be a great fall. I would turn leaves bright golden yellow, sharp fiery red, and a burned orange. I would gently blow cool air across the trees, valleys, and all the creatures. The temperature would be brisk and invigorating.

If I Were a: Planet

I would be Mars. I like being a big red planet full of mystery. Of course who wouldn’t want to be named after the Roman god of war? I would beckon you to explore my valleys and deserts to satisfy your curiosity about little green men. Do I harbor Martians? Well you have to come and see.

If I Were a: Direction

I would be east. It is from the east that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords will return for His bride! I would be the east and make way when that last trumpet sounds and that easterly direction is split by the magnificent appearance of the King of Glory! East I say! Bowing down before the King as He treads across my place on the compass. The church has ever looked to the east since the day Her Groom promised to return for her!

If I Were a: Tree

I would be a weeping willow. I would stand resolute and with endurance. But as I stood with limbs drooping and leaves shiny and green, I would weep for those who know not this King of Kings, this Lord of Lords. I would weep for the mishandling of the gospel, the mishandling of the Word of God. I would weep for those who have no desire to know Him. I would be a tall, strong, and visible fountain of tears for those who despise the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.

If I Were an Animal: A Wild Mustang on the Nevada High Desert

I would run from valley to vale to river to ridge line each and every day. I would lift my head high and feel the wind flowing through my mane as I ran. I will smell the clear Nevada air and the fragrant scents of the desert fauna. Hmmm, to smell the sage brush again and to feel the hot air blowing across my back and withers. Feeling the sand beneath my powerful hoofs as I galloped along my way. Yes I would be a wild mustang – alive, free, untamed, running through my domain under a bright Nevada sun.

If I Were: A Musical Instrument

I would have to be a Ludwig set of drums. I would be tuned to give a perfect sound in order to maintain the beat of the music. My timing would be essential to the flow of the music.

If I Were: Fruit

If I were a fruit I would be a watermelon. A big green watermelon with a deep blood red fruit on the inside. I would be juicy, dripping with flavor, and running down your hands and arms. I would be so sweet that you would savor every bite. I would cool you down on a hot summer day at the most perfect BBQ you have ever attended. You might even be tempted to sprinkle just a little salt on me as you placed that first juicy bite in your mouth.

If I Were: Food

I would be a pizza. Yes, a cheese and onion pizza. Everybody loves pizza! If I were a pizza I would be loved by all! I would be gooey and ooey and dripping with hot cheese.

If I Were: A Color

I would be red ! I would be flashy and bold. I would be in your face and fun. I would be bright and cheery as red.

If I Were: A Book

I would be worn and torn as a book. I would be an old friend that was constantly pulled from the shelf and caressed as much as read. I would bring comfort and joy to the heart of the one that pulled me from the shelf. I would be adventure and mystery. I would be fun and excitement. I would be that book on your shelf right now that you would choose if somehow Tossing it Out commandeered you for a voyage to a desert Island and you could only bring one book, you would bring me!

If I Were: A Song

If I were a song I would be In Christ Alone by Keith and Kristyn Getty. I would be sung somewhere every week in worship of our great and magnificent God. I would serve as a testimony that redemption is in Christ Alone and in nothing else. That His atoning work on the cross is sufficient to forgive your sins and save your soul.

If I Were: A Movie

I would be Gone With the Wind. I would be a classic on every shelf. A giant epic that told a story filled with love, romance, intrigue, battle, bravery, duty, honor, beauty, and reality. I would bring tears to your eyes, a smile to your lips, a warmth to your heart, a straightening to your back, and stiffness to your chin.

If I Were: a Flower

I would be a rose. I would bring joy to thousands by my shape, fragrance, and color. I would be there for that first date, first anniversary, first fight, for that first anything. Then for the second and third and fourth and well I would be there bringing you joy and happiness forever.

If I Were: a Facial Expression

I would be a smile. I would be that expression that communicates joy, approval, and satisfaction. I would always be a wanted guest. No one turns down a smile. I would be friend to all!

Now I tag 4 of my friends:

Lee - Tossing It Out
Lisa - Bombastic Bandicoot
Shannon - Faith, Hope, & Love
Kansas Bob - Kansas Bob

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Short Neurological Test: More Mind Games!

Mind Games!

A Short Neurological Test

Posted by Ian Holland over at Life On Acreage

1- Find the C below.. Please do not use any cursor help.


2- If you already found the C, now find the 6 below.


3 - Now find the N below. It's a little more difficult.


This is NOT a joke. If you were able to pass these 3 tests, you can cancel your annual visit to your neurologist. Your brain is great and you're far from having a close relationship with Alzheimer.


------- eonvrye that can raed this rsaie your hnad. To my 'selected' strange-minded friends:

If you can read the following paragraph, forward it on to your friends and the person that sent it to you with 'yes' in the subject line.

Only great minds can read this. This is weird, but interesting!

If you can raed this, you have a sgtrane mnid too

Can you raed this? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.

I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is that the frsit and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it whotuit a pboerlm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! If you can raed this forwrad it

If you passed and can read this paragraph pass it on!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ten Things I Wish Jesus Never Said has become of one of my favorite books to read and re-read. It is a basis for a bible study I have put together for a small group. It is a difficult and challenging book to read and absorb. This book deals with subjects and areas of my life, particularly my life that I would rather ignore than have confronted.

Jesus, in many ways, has been misunderstood, misquoted, and certainly misapplied. He has been thought of as a gifted and ingenious teacher to a raving lunatic or mad man. We even have a record of where his own brothers thought he might be insane.

There is no doubt that when Jesus arrived on the scene that the religious crowd was in for a surprise. The events that surrounded his birth and the few insights that we have as he grew older were certainly disturbing. How he lived, what he said and what he taught was far different than what the Pharisees, Scribes, and Priests had been teaching. Jesus taught with authority, clarity, and veracity

We can call his teachings controversial, mind boggling, or even shocking. He made tremendous demands on those who followed him. He made it patently clear what it was that made the majority of religion his enemy. The way to eternal life and happiness was a difficult path. Jesus taught hard things.

Those hard things include such statements as, "If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away;" If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me;" or "Not everyone who says unto me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven." The religious ruling crowd nor the masses could understand such statements.

Mark Twain, as an unbeliever, remarked, "It's not what I don't understand about the bible that bothers me; its what I do understand that bothers me." Of course the hardest thing about what Jesus taught is applying them to our lives and making the necessary changes or adjustments.

Victor Kuligin does a masterful job of tackling 10 difficult and shocking statements of Jesus and applying them to our everyday lives. He takes just 10 teachings of Jesus and breaks them down for us to clearly see the instruction and implication for each one of us.

Kuligin says: “With the rise of the health-and-wealth gospel and prosperity teaching, we have become accustomed to a comfortable, ‘What a Friend we have in Jesus’ Messiah. It is a picture of Jesus I call ‘Jesus-lite.’ Great taste, less demanding.”

He goes on to say: “The teaching of Jesus was often harsh. He was not a preacher of convenience, but hardship; not a preacher of comfort, but suffering.”

I have read and re-read this book. It is quite challenging and I highly recommend it. Reading this book will change the way you think about how you “do church.” Reading it can transform your thinking about the cost of true salvation and discipleship. Please, pick up a copy today!

Victor Kuligin is a professor and Academic Dean at Bible Institute of South Africa, as well as an international lecturer, author, and assistant pastor. He and his wife Rachel, have served with Africa Inland Missions for the past twelve years in Namibia, Africa. They are now serving under the Pioneers in Kalk Bay (Cape Town) Republic of South Africa They have five children.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fifteen Fantasty Favorites

1.  Green River -Creedence Clear Water Revial

This is the third album released by CCR. It was released in 1969. It is listed on Rolling Stones list of 500 greatest albums as number 95. It contained two of the band’s most known songs, Bad Moon Rising and Green River. It also contained a song about a city close to where I grew up, Lodi.

I love this album because I love Bad Moon Rising and Green River. I learned to play the drums to this album. I would put it on the record player, turn it up and I was Doug Clifford.

2. The Essential Bobby Bare – Bobby Bare

This album was released in February 11, 1997. It is a compilation record of 20 of Bare’s greatest songs. I love his voice and how he forms words to tell a story that you can feel. Many of the songs on this album are classics.

3. One – George Jones & Tammy Wynette

This record was released in June of 1995. It was the first time in 15 years that former husband and wife Jones & Wynette recorded together. It is their best work together and it turned out to be their last time to sing together. Tammy died just three years later. There has only been one duet that has ever been better, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn. This duet album sends shivers down my back. There is almost nothing like George Jones and Tammy Wynette together. They cheated on each other, he shot up their house, and they couldn’t make life together but they could sing together.

4. The Essential Porter Wagoner – Porter Wagoner

This record was released in 1997 and it includes his songs from 1954 to 1976.

“True to its title, this is an excellent, comprehensive introduction to the work of this Important country music figure. The disc opens with a humble take on "A Satisfied Mind" that shows Wagoner's roots in bluegrass and gospel. In short order, though, we're treated to the rollicking, honky-tonk side of Wagoner, as he revels in the joys of drink as heartache antidote on "Eat, Drink and be Merry (for Tomorrow You'll Cry)" and I'll Go Down Swinging."

Throughout much of his early career, Wagoner was heavily influenced by Hank Williams, but by the mid-to-late 1960s, he came fully into his own as a musical storyteller. The grim murder ballad "The Cold Hard Facts of Life," one of his finest moments, still sounds just as stirring and unsettling decades later, and the complex narrative of "Carroll County Incident" is in a class with Tom T. Hall. Even in the '70s, Wagoner was mixing down home sentiments with baleful moodiness, as on the disc-closer "I Haven't Learned a Thing," which brings things full circle.”

5. Buck Owens 21 # 1 Hits – Buck Owens & the Buckaroos

Who wouldn’t want this record? This record was released in 2006 shortly after Buck’s death. It is Buck. He came up with the Bakersfield sound that Merle Haggard, Dwight Yokam, and others have ridden to success. These 21 # 1 hits define this giant of country music.

6. Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison

This was an album that Johnny Cash released on Columbia Records in May 1968. He had wanted to do this project for a long time. In 1967 changes at the label gave him a chance to do this. He wanted to put his drug problem behind him, re-invent himself and turn around his career. The Tennessee Three, Carl Perkins, and June Carter performed two shows and they recorded this album. It is a country classic.

7. LeAnn RimesLeAnn Rimes

This is a covers album, with one new song (&"Big Deal") tacked onto the end, which makes it a return to her roots -- which, in turn, means that it's sort of a salute to her main influence, Patsy Cline. LeAnn does her best when she is left alone and sings songs that she “owns” even though they are songs of her hero. Her range on this album is unbelievable. When it was said that this girl has a set of “pipes” it should have been said of her.

Note: On Saturday night trying to finish this up I lost all the paragraphs to the remaining albums. With my preaching duties on Sunday I did not have the time to go back and rewrite them.

8.  Eagles - The Very Best of the Eagles

9.  Hits I Missed...And One I didn't - George Jones

10.  The Three Hanks - Hank Williams, Sr. Hank Williams, Jr. Hank Williams III

11.  Greatest Hits - Ricky Van Shelton

12.  Old Dogs - Jerry Reed, Mel Tillis, Bobby Bare, Waylon Jennings

13.  Walls Can Fall - George Jones

14.  Merle Haggard - Down Every Road

15. Twenty Greatest Hits - Conway Twitty