Saturday, May 5, 2012

A New View of The Book of Psalms

I have been taking a course on the Book of Psalms and have been given an entirely new outlook on this portion of scripture. My Bible reading program consists of reading through the Bible in order, alternating between the OT and the NT books.  Naturally, I have more favorite parts of scripture and less favorite portions, but I read everything so as to continue in the full counsel of God.  Each time I come to the book of Psalms, I tend to pay a little less attention than I would in say a book like Hebrews.

I am ashamed to admit that I have missed so much and I am excited to say that now I cannot get enough of the Psalms.  One of the points my professor brought out is that Jesus spent a great deal of time praying during His earthly ministry, the Psalms are what He prayed.  As I re-read this amazing book, I realize that my professor is right!  In fact, that insight is only the beginning of the things I am seeing in a new way.  What I never realized before was how prophetic the Psalms are. I always knew that they were prophetic pointing to the first coming of Israel's Messiah(who can deny that Psalm 22 is a perfect description of the crucifixion?) but now, I am seeing incredible prophecies pointing to the tribulation period, the ant-christ, the second coming of Christ, the battle of Armageddon and the 1000 year reign of Jesus in Jerusalem where He will redeem Israel unto Himself.

I have been studying the Bible almost my entire adult life and I feel as excited as I did when I first began understanding His word and discovering it's truths.  I encourage you to check out the Psalms and think about what is being said and what they may pertain to.  For instance, Psalms 10 - 14 seem to describe conditions on earth prior to the flood and what was going on in the heart of Noah.  Psalm 18 seems to describe Israel during the coming earthly reign of Messiah, especially check out vv. 43-50.

One of my favorite Psalms of all, 22, gives a graphic description of the death of Christ in vv. 1-18.  What I never noticed before, is that the rest of the Psalm seems to deal with the resurrection - vv. 19-24, the church - vv. 25-26,and the 1000 year reign of Christ - vv. 27-28.  Psalm 32 seems to deal with the church and   the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

I encourage you to check out the passages above and see if you agree.  I have only put a fraction of the exciting new insights I have gained from a part of scripture I have read and re-read numerous times.  I now view the Psalms in totally new light, I see it as a song book of praise for the nation of Israel, I see it as a sneak peek into the prayer life of our Lord, I see it as a book of comfort and encouragement for the tribulation saints(who I believe will be mostly Jewish) and a book of praise for the inhabitants of earth during the earthly reign of the King of Kings.

Check it out and feel free to share your insights.

Check back for a new blog coming soon dealing with an explanation to Psalm 19:1 - The heavens declare the glory of Elohim and the sky proclaims His handiwork.   

Please feel free to comment and share your insights on any of my blogs, just click the word comments below.

Thanks for reading and God bless!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Anti-bullying Apparently Does Not Apply to Christian Young People

I just watched a very disturbing and sad video form a High School Journalism Conference.  The National Journalism Education Association and The National Scholastic Press Association hosted this conference and invited gay activist Dan Savage of the "It Gets Better" project to speak to the group.  Mr. Savage was supposed to give a speech on  anti- bullying.  What these high school students got instead was diatribe against the Christian faith and the Bible.  The only good thing I saw in this video was a stream of young people who took a stand and walked out on the speech.  One young girl even seemed to be crying as she left the auditorium.  Mr. Savage began his attack on the Bible by pointing out that the books of Leviticus, Romans and Timothy say that "being gay is wrong" and that "wen can learn to ignore the bulls--- in the Bible about gay people the same way we ignore the bulls--- in the Bible about ..." and he went on to name a slew of other issues, most of which have to do with Levitical law and moral issues.  After many students walked out in protest over Mr. Savage's comments, he referred to them as "pansya---es".  The Anti-bullying spokesman attacked the beliefs of the majority of Americans and then attacked students, the very group he purports to want to protect, by calling them a vulgar name.  What makes me so irate is that if a scholastic organization were to hold a student conference and  extol the virtues of the Bible or dare to have a prayer at a school event, the vocal minority would scream bloody murder, but let someone attack morality and use vulgarity at  a student function and we, the Silent Majority sit and take it in the name of tolerance and political correctness.

     Let me take this moment to say that bullying is wrong and nowhere in the Bible, contrary to Mr. Savage's comments, is bullying condoned or encouraged.  The Bible teaches us to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, to turn the other cheek.  Yes we need to speak up against sinful behavior, but we have no Biblical justification to lash out at any person or people group.  Many atrocities are committed in the name of God, the 9/11 attack springs to mind, yet no one is standing before a student conference condemning the Muslim faith, only those who use that faith to justify the killing thousands of innocent people.  Just because a warped person or group of people choose to commit atrocities  and claim to do it in the name of God, does not prove God to be hateful or the Bible to be wrong.  Having said that, I perceive the anti-bullying agenda in America right now is simply a way to impose the acceptance of homosexual activity upon our young people, many who find the practice of to be morally wrong.  It seems very strange that the spokesperson for anti-bullying would call high school students vulgar names because they disagree with his message.  Sounds bully-ish to me.

I am more than a little outraged that young people would be subjected to a profanity laced hate speech at a so called school function.  As those who would attempt to undo the hard work of many good moral parents, parents who teach their kids the Bible and right and wrong, are allowed unfettered access to our public schools, we who are the majority need to stop thinking "to each his own" and take a stand for righteousness.  It is events like these strengthen my belief that our decision to homeschool our children was the right decision for our family.

I debated with my self whether to post a link to the video but due to it's vulgarity I decided to post a link to the news article instead and you can decide if you want to view it or not.  I hope you are as outraged as I am  if you choose to view the video or read the article.

  http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/anti-bullying-speaker-curses-mocks-christian-teens.html 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Fear Of The LORD From Mount Sinai To Today






One of my favorite events in the Bible is when God first gave the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel, before Moses received them on tablets.  We are all familiar with the account of Moses coming down the mountain with the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments, but, what most people do not know is that God actually spoke the Commandments to the people of Israel from a atop mount Sinai.  The account is found in Exodus 19 and 20.  In chapter 19 God tells Moses to let the people know He will be speaking to them, and to prepare. Then we see the scene described as such: Exodus 19:16  On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 
Exo 19:17  Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 
Exo 19:18  Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. Above you can see the real Mount Sinai and you can also plainly see the top is blackened as if it were burned. Chapter 20 reveals to us the reaction of the people as they are exposed to this magnificent display of God's power: Exodus 20:18  Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 
Exo 20:19  and said to Moses, "You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die." 
Exo 20:20  Moses said to the people, "Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin."
      The Bible tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  So impressive was God's power and majesty and so terrified were the people that they basically told Moses, "Never let God speak to us ever again, you talk to God and tell us His message."  Today, our society seems to have no regard for God, never mind respect or fear.  As society moves farther and farther from acknowledging God and His holiness, it is up to us as individuals to seek out His holiness in our personal lives and model it to others.   We are called to reveal God's message of redemption through the cross, just as Moses became the spokesman for God for the children of Israel.  God revealed His requirement for justice in the Garden of Eden, He revealed His holiness on mount Sinai and His grace on Mount Calvary.  We have to live out His holiness and grace while keeping His justice in mind.
   Unless we who are called by His name are willing to live by His standards, we have no hope of making a difference in the world around us.  I want to encourage all of us who are His to examine our hearts and ask God to reveal to us how we can be an agents of revival.  Let's seek God's will and plan for our lives.  Just as God spoke to the people from Mt. Sinai, He speaks to us today through His holy Word and guides us by His Holy Spirit.  Jesus told us to go into all the world and make disciples.  Let's build each other up and see what God can do through us!



Friday, April 13, 2012

Who's Following Your Lead?

    As I have been studying the kings of Judah in my personal quiet time, I have noted how the behavior and lifestyles of the Hebrew people followed it's leadership.  When Judah had a sinful king who worshiped idols and lived in decadence, the people worshiped foreign idols and lived in decadence.  When Judah had a king whose heart was devoted to God, so also did the people repent of their sin and seek after God.  Many times, a sinful king would lead the land of Judah to the brink of disaster and a new king would be crowned, one who loved God and emptied the land of foreign idols and condemned sinful practices.  When these kings made spiritual reforms, the people followed his lead and the nation would move into a place of God's blessing and protection.  Often times, God's people fell into oppression and opposition because of collective sin, led by the nation's leader.  As it's leaders go, so go a nation, but what about families?  
    Does this hold true in our homes?  I constantly ask myself, what kind of leadership am I demonstrating in my home?  Am I providing an environment for my kids to flourish and grow, to understand God and his love, or am modeling selfishness and materialism?  If I am honest, I have to say that it depends on what day it is as to how I answer that question.  I have gained a renewed commitment to holy living as I study the lives of the kings of Judah and as my desire for God grows, so does that of those in my home.  To steal a line from the Newsboys, "It's a Spirit thing".  I also find that no matter how far my heart strays from God, He is always ready to draw me back unto Himself when I humble myself and cry out to Him.  
   I guess the purpose for this post is to encourage parents and grandparents to commit yourselves and your homes to God.  We complain about the culture and it's influence, yet we allow all kinds of anti-christian philosophy into our homes via TV, internet, music and books.  Our kids are looking for direction from us whether we realize it or not and, as my kids remind me very often, they remember things we say and do far more than we do.  I hope you take the time to study some often neglected parts of the Bible.  The books of 1 and 2 Kings and the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles are filled with examples of how the behavior of those in charge affects the behavior of those under their care.  Yes, the books of Chronicles are filled with many lists of names and genealogies, but it is also filled priceless accounts of how God views and deals with sin and rewards humility and honors our humility and repentance.  
    No matter where you are in your spiritual walk, you will find an example that will speak directly to you.  One account that stands out to me very strongly is the life of King Manasseh, found in 2 Chronicles 33.  Manasseh's father, King Hezekiah, was one of the most righteous kings in the Judah's history.  Unfortunately, Manasseh was considered the most evil king in Judah's history.  As Manasseh pursued his own sinful pleasures, so to did the people he led.  So great was the sin of King Manasseh, that God disciplined  Judah and Manasseh was captured and taken prisoner by an enemy nation.  But, while in captivity, Manasseh repented and called out to God. God heard Manasseh and restored him to his kingdom and Manasseh then led the people in a nationwide spiritual cleansing!  Once again, the people followed his lead, this time into righteousness.  
     My point in all this is that all of us have a sphere of influence, all of us, especially parents and grandparents are influencing those in our care one way or another.  As we lead they will follow.  Please take the time to read through these often neglected books of the Bible, please call on God to help you be a Godly   example to those around you, especially those who look up to you.   If you are a parent, check out your kid's Facebook page, look on their bookshelves, check out the history folder on their computes, it is not snooping, it is caring.  The family is the basic unit of society, society will not change until families of faith take a stand for God and live by the words of Joshua "As for me and my house, we will serve YHWH(the LORD)."  God Bless and let me know what you think.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Passover Vs Easter


Passover, probably one of the most sacred days on the calendar and unfortunately the most overlooked by Christian believers.  Passover is traditionally a Jewish holiday, but the richness of the observance is indescribable.  To fully understand the true meaning of the Passover feast, called a Seder, one must understand the Hebrew roots of Christianity.  The antisemitism of many leaders of the early church has robbed modern believers of an incredible heritage and understanding of God's love for us.  The Passover Seder      is a remembrance of the Exodus of God's people from slavery in Egypt but at the same time was a forth telling or the life death and resurrection of Yashua (Jesus) and for us today a remembrance of the same.  The Passover encompasses all the elements of the passion of Christ and continues to look forward to the return of Christ.  This Sunday, almost all of Christiandom will be celebrating the resurrection of Christ.  The sad part is that the day we celebrate the the most important event of human history, the death burial and resurrection of God the Son, we name the holiday after a pagan goddess dating back to the days of the tower of Babel, and we elevate a pagan symbol of fertility, the Easter Bunny, to a position almost equal to that of Jesus.  We spend the weekend coloring eggs (derived from pagan practice), buying chocolate bunnies and jellybeans, filling Easter baskets, taking our young children to malls and setting them on the laps of strangers in a bunny suit for a cute picture and then gorging on Easter candy. Oh yes, we also grace God with an hour of our time on Sunday morning to listen to the resurrection story.  This may seem a bit harsh but how much of our Easter celebration is centered on Christ and how much is devoted  the "other stuff".  Who's holiday is it anyway.  As believers, I encourage you to look into Passover and get yourself to a Seder, if you can this year, you may be very surprised at what you can learn.  Jesus celebrated the Passover Seder at the last supper and instituted the communion service from a very important element of the Seder itself.
     Passover is Christ centered from beginning to end, the Hebrew people celebrated it looking forward to the coming of the Messiah, the church should celebrate it "in remembrance of" the Messiah and also looking forward to His second coming.  Jesus Christ died as the "Lamb of God" at the time of Passover to fulfill YHWH's (God) plan of redemption for mankind.  I will not be celebrating Easter this year, but I will be observing Resurrection Sunday and if you see me in Church this week, be sure to wish me and my family a "Happy Resurrection Day". May God richly bless you and fill you with His Spirit this Resurrection Sunday!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

thoughts on Romans chapter 1 and our entertainment choices

As my family and I studied Romans chapter 1 the other night, were were confronted and convicted by the last verse:
 32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.  


 How many of us as Christians know what sin is and understand the consequences of sin, yet we choose entertainment that glorifies and promotes the most egregious sins imaginable.  I do not endorse a list of acceptable of unacceptable entertainment choices but I would like to challenge you believers out there to measure your entertainment choices in light of Romans 1:28-32.  I also believe as parents we MUST be aware of what our kids are listening to, watching and web surfing.