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Showing posts from November 30, 2014

Demise of a Nation

What causes the demise of a nation? Is it a fragile money system, the inability to protect themselves, or the loss of a vision for what they can be? All of these and much more are symptoms of a deeper problem among its leaders and people. Hosea was an Old Testament prophet sent by God to communicate His message to His people. God is seen as the husband and the people of Israel as His wife in a marriage relationship. Hosea illustrated this by marrying a woman that was unfaithful to their vows. He was then told to use his troubled marriage as an illustration before the people of what was happening in their "marriage" to God. Hosea said, "Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: 'There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.'" (Hosea 4:1) God revealed the deeper problem with the nation of Israel. Key ingredients to any marriage would be faithfulness (sometime…

Mobs

Violence has erupted in the streets of cities across America in the last month. Ferguson, Missouri has been destroyed by the protests. Livelihoods have been devastated at the hands of people not necessarily even representative of their community but intruders from as far away as Los Angeles and Chicago. Is this the way to obtain justice? Absolutely not. It is a sad commentary on certain kinds of leadership that seek financial gain and personal notoriety in stirring the pot. Does the Bible speak to mob violence, supposedly in the name of justice? Yes it does. The wise Solomon said, "Mockers stir up a city, but wise men turn away anger." (Proverbs 29:8) It is translated another way, "Scornful men bring a city into a snare: But wise men turn away wrath." The note in Barnes Notes on Proverbs on the words "bring a city" actually is translated "set a city on fire." Now that is what we have been viewing. Luke tells the story in Acts 19 about mob viole…

Rest and Rise

Daniel is an Old Testament teenager who was taken into captivity by the Babylonian Empire when they swarmed over the land of Israel in 605 B.C.  He became an Administrator under Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar of that empire and of Darius when the Media-Persian Empire subdued the Babylonian Empire. He grew into a mature man under captivity and was protected by God, given the ability to interpret dreams, and one who had great influence and integrity. He never returned to Israel to see his native land because God used him to communicate truth to many foreign leaders. His book of twelve chapters shares much of his life and ministry to others. At the end, he is receiving from God important information about the future which from our view point ties into the events presented to us in the book of Revelation. At one point, his curiosity causes him to ask "what will the outcome of all this be?" (Daniel 12:8) God's answer to him is that he is to "Go your way, because the words a…

Persecution

Should believers expect the world to love us? The simple answer is, "No." We live in a world that is bent on our destruction because we represent God to them and our actions of love are 180 degrees out of phase with them. John writes at the end of the first century, "Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you." (1 John 3:12-13) Cain and Abel were brothers, the first two children of Adam and Eve. John states that Cain "belonged to the evil one" (three times in 3:8 called the devil). Think about this. Adam and Eve were walked out of the Garden of Eden by God because the devil used Eve to convince Adam to partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. One generation later the devil captures the heart of one of the boys, Cain, who murders his brother, …

Lavish

Under trees during the Christmas season parents will place many presents for their children. They will lavish on their children gifts as a show of their love. It will produce joy in both the parents and the children and the unwrapping will be a wonderful time. Even more beautiful than this picture is God lavishing His love on us. John writes, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God!" (1 John 3:1) We are caused to wonder at this great love so freely given. The type of love is of a foreign kind. Foreign to the human race, that is. It is not common or natural to humanity. We can only give it to others through the work of the Holy Spirit within us. This love so lavished on us is also given by the Father as a permanent possession. It cannot be taken away. It is lavish because it is excessive and we know that because it took the death of the Son of God to procure it for us. For the believer in possession of this gift of lo…