God Pleasers


come walk with me

come walk with me

Hebrews 11:5-6 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

So, what was it that Enoch did that pleased God? The author of Hebrews says that Enoch pleased God and then went on to define what pleases God. It is faith. But where did the author get the evidence of His faith? It is not mentioned in Genesis, or is it.

According to Genesis 5 Enoch walked with God for 300 years but that did not start until the birth of his first son at the age of 65. We know very little about the walk and even less about his time before the birth of his son. But, given the custom of naming your child we can have a clue.

Enoch’s firstborn was named Methuselah which means “his death shall bring.” Bring what? Does Enoch know something about his own son’s death? If so, how? Through a time-line it would seem that Methuselah died within a year or two of the completion of the ark.

Therefore, it would seem that Enoch had a divine visitation from God around the birth of his son and in this visitation God revealed to him the destruction of mankind almost 1,000 years down the road. By faith he names his son after that revelation. By faith he walked with God for 300 years. And it is by faith that we please God.

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“Lost” Tribes of Israel


images2There is a thought that in the last days that the ten lost tribes of Israel, those who were scattered by the Assyrians, will return. Could this be true? Could this really happen? Why would tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel be mentioned in the book of Revelation if they do not exist?

There is group of them who say that this is only figuratively or symbolic and that the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel do not exist anymore. Others believe that God has somehow preserved them and that scripture means exactly what it says.

What is interesting is that we have no problem believing that the nation of Israel does exist because it is reality. If you are like me, we have never known a time in our lifetime where Israel did not exist. Christian writers before 1948 believed that it too was figuratively or symbolic.

For an extra challenge take a look at the following verses and see what you conclude. Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 16:14-15, 23:3-8, 31:10; Ezekiel 11:17-19, 39:28; Zephaniah 3:20.

I have come across nine amazing videos which have been posted on youtube, each about 10 minutes long. I challenge you to watch them and see what you conclude. Would you be willing to type out your comments?

Immediately


images-2John 6:21 Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.

There is a miracle listed in this verse that is often gone unnoticed. Israel’s largest lake, the Sea of Galilee is approximately 8 miles wide (13 km). All three accounts, Matthew, Mark and John, identify that the boat was about middle of the lake when Jesus came upon the scene, walking on water.

This story has been the foundation of many great messages:

  • Jesus came at the right time.
  • We fight storms while Jesus walks on them.
  • Peter walked on Jesus’ words “come.”
  • Fear cause Peter to double or think twice.
  • Peter knew where to call for help when it was needed.

These are all great messages of encouragement or instruction. But there is a single word that John has chosen to use. It is the word “immediately.”

This word in the original language is used 80 times in scripture. If you type in the word into a search such ashttp://bible.crosswalk.com it is amazing to see all of the times it was used to describe the healings of Jesus. Most of those healings were instant, immediate.

John had a special target group with a goal in mind while he was writing his account. His purpose was not to tell of the life of Jesus but to give account as to the evidence of Jesus being the Messiah to nonbelieving Jews. Now an elderly man and one of the few still living who knew Jesus, he chose his words carefully to be clear on the power and authority of Jesus.

Matthew and Mark both paint a picture of moving on with business once Jesus calmed the storm. They glided over a small detail that John was not about to let go unnoticed.

How do you “immediately” get to land when there are 3 to 4 miles yet to cover in a boat? The original readers understood what John was saying. Not only was it a miracle that Jesus walked on water. Not only was it a miracle that Peter also walked on water through the authority of Jesus. Not only was it a miracle that the storm stopped. But, it was also a miracle that the boat transported from the middle of the lake to land “immediately.”

Do You Think Twice?


images-1Matthew 14:30-31 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

This word “doubt” is often more trouble than our faith is. Often it is not the strength or the weakness of our faith that is the issue but it is this word doubt.  A very insightful father made this plea with Jesus in Mark 9:24 “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

So, what is doubt anyway? The Greek word for doubt comes from the root word that means twice. Doubting is thinking twice. 

Anyone, given enough time, can talk themselves out of a commitment. 

I joined a group 10 years ago to sell a product called “PrePaid Legal.” They had weekly meetings and it kept me pumped up for awhile. Then pastoral duties came up which cause me to miss several weeks and that was all it took to convince myself that I did not need to be selling this product on the side. Recently, the man who signed me up, who is my age, just retired with his wife to an island. They stayed focused.

I did not want to retire or make a fortune, but it would have been nice to finance the ministry dreams I have.

Doubt is the moment you think twice. Doubt is the thought of discouragement that makes you think twice. Doubt is to changed a convinced mind.

It would amaze us how powerful our faith would be if we would refuse to think twice once our mind was made up.

Strong Words From Charles G. Finney


No one can question the thought that this world that we are living in is not the same world of 30 years ago, 20 years ago, nor even 10 years ago. Good or bad, changes have drastically taken place.

Here is an interesting quote by Charles G. Finney, a well known evangelist over 100 years ago, on his idea of bad change in America. He who wrote in The Decay of Conscience in 1873:

images1“Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree. If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it. Let us not ignore this fact, my dear brethren; but let us lay it to heart, and be thoroughly awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.”

What do you think? Was he way off track or was he on the money?

Hosanna!


picture-131Matthew 21:9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”

The people were crying “Hosanna!” It was not Hallelujah, but Hosanna. Jesus was riding into Jerusalem in preparation for the Passover. Little did these people know that in less than a week He would be going to a cross. So, where did this word come from?

It is found in Psalm 118:25 which says, Save now, I pray, O Lord . . . It was actually two Hebrew words; yasha and anna.

Yasha means to “save” or “deliver.” Anna means “now” or “pray now.” It was a call or plead for salvation.

But, in the Greek it was abbreviated to Hosanna to form a single word. It was no longer a plea for salvation but was now a declaration of salvation. Salvation was in Jesus. He had become salvation personified. The cry had now become “Salvation in the Son of David, ” or “Salvation is here in the Son of David.” “We are saved!”

The difference would be between the cries of Israel in Egypt under slavery, “Save us!” and the rejoicing of Israel as they are leaving Egypt, “He saved us!”

I really do not think that everyone in the crowd understood what was happening and we really do not know who started the chant, but it was prophetic. Jesus came to pay the ultimate price as their Savior, his life. Salvation really was there in their presence!

The Cycle of Genesis


the power of words

the power of words

James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.

There is no doubt that the tongue gets us into trouble. Of course, it is well understood that it is not our tongues that James is referring to but our words. Words are power. Used wrong it will do three things:

  1. defile or blemish your reputation
  2. sets on fire the course of nature
  3. empowered by hell

I believe that we all can conclude what it is to blemish your reputation. We have seen that done or even experienced it. I think that we could come up with some ideas as to how our words could be empowered by hell. But, what about this course of nature?

The Greek word that is used here for “course” means “wheel or cycle.” The word for “nature” is the word we get our English word “Genesis.”

Therefore, this verse literally says that the tongue sets on fire the cycles of Genesis. What are the cycles of Genesis.

  • the evening and the morning is the cycle of a day
  • from sabbath to sabbath is the cycle of a week
  • from spring to fall is the cycle of the harvest
  • from birth to death is the cycle of a life
  • when a plant produces seed the life cycle begins again

In our Greek thinking that we have inherited we see history as a time line. In the Hebrew way of thinking everything is a cycle. As long as you do not step out of God’s path the cycle continues from generation to generation with the same outcome, God’s will. Once we break the cycle  to do our own thing the outcome is different.

So, what is James, or his Hebrew name, Jacob, saying to us with the destructive tongue setting the cycle of genesis on fire?

How about this time you give some thought into it and let me know what you think it might be?