Does anyone know everything about you? Your spouse would be the one who comes closest, but everything? I doubt it. Sometimes we are afraid to let people know us completely. After all, if they knew our sinful, selfish, and corrupt side we may be rejected. We naturally reveal our best actions and intentions and not the one’s generated by our fallen nature.
Have you heard of the “Burning Man” before now? Hard not to with the recent flooding at Black Rock City. Heavy rains flooded the 400 square mile desert, stranding some 70k attendees who paid anywhere from $575 to over one thousand dollars for the week-long festival. It originated on June 21, 1986 in San Francisco on Baker Beach and has grown ever since.
It is interesting to note that Jesus’ first recorded miracle was changing water into wine at a wedding celebration. Jewish weddings were elaborate events with a great deal of excitement celebrating the promises and union of a man and a woman who pledge their lives to each other and promises to each other, and their faithfulness to God
Distress, we all experience it at some point in life and probably more than once. Distress is defined as; “Great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering.” It appears to be the norm now days with all that is happening in our government, economy, health system and international turmoil.
Is AI, artificial insemination, artificial intelligence, or a city in ancient Canaan? All three. The dangerous one is Artificial Intelligence. We use it to get directions on our smart phones, or when texting and words are suggested prior to typing them. Very helpful. However, in the minds of some, AI is capable of rewriting the bible, among other things.
Wouldn’t it be great to simply teach children the right things in life and know that they will adhere to them especially when they are on their own?
Proverbs 22:6 (NIV) “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” This is often taken as a fool proof way of keeping children in the Christian faith.
We know education is important for all ages, especially young children as they are developing their worldview, learning right from wrong and why. We also saw that the bible has a lot to say about teaching, training, learning and so on. All of us are teachers by communicating our values through how we live each day. We learn more by what is caught than by what is taught. What we truly believe will show through our actions.
When the nation of Judah fell to King Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BC many of its citizens were deported to Babylon. Daniel was one such person at a young age. He and others were chosen due to several factors (1:3-4) to serve in the king’s palace. However, Daniel had to spend three years learning and studying the Babylonian language and culture.
By the time you read this most if not all local farmers will have their fields planted. Whether planting corn or beans with an eight or twenty-four row planter the seeds are not wasted. They are perfectly spaced by depth and distance with technology that also provides analysis of soil and needed amenities, one is sure to yield a harvest this Fall.
Easter was not that long ago so we can remember that there was prophecy surrounding many of the events leading up to Jesus’ arrest, trial, death, resurrection, and ascension. In fact, some scholars count a total of 332 distinct predictions in the Old Testament which were literally fulfilled in Christ.
I make one assumption when writing communiques and that is; the bible is the very word of God from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. It does not contain God’s word, it is God’s word without error in all it says and teaches. However, many do not hold to this assumption and we must ask, is the bible reliable? If not, put it in a museum and leave it there or better yet in the trash.
Over the past year or so I have visited with a man who was battling stage four cancer in three different organs. At times he was making good progress and was hopeful with chemo and surgery. However, while cancer in one area responded to treatment other areas of cancer did not. Finally, the decision was made after available treatments were exhausted to simply quit all treatment and let the cancer take its course. This is a scenario we hear of all too often.
Acts 8:29-31 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
Illiteracy was wide spread in Europe centuries before Christians fled to America to escape persecution. Along with illiteracy the bible was not available in their language. Consequently, Christian leaders taught that the bible required both the state and church to rule its citizens with a heavy hand. The common citizen didn’t know what the bible taught and could not learn otherwise.
Revelation 7:9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
I ended last week’s message with the rhetorical question, are the natural and manmade disasters the worst that can happen, even war? As bad as they are as listed in Matthew 24, it is interesting that Jesus first says: Matthew 24:4a “Watch out that no one deceives you. Perhaps deception is
I’m taking a break from my miniseries on the snake in the grass to report some very good news if you haven’t heard, revival. Something many Christians have been praying for, for decades. How far will it reach, how long will it last, how will it change America and beyond no one knows , only time will tell. What can we do? Pray that God would pour out his Spirit of revival on North Iowa colleges, universities, and churches. I know there will be skeptics and nay sayers, do not be one, pray for revival. Read the few clips I copied and be encouraged. When God begins something no one can stop it.
Last week we discovered the antivenom for snake bites delivering the “sting of death.” It was the brass serpent lifted up on a pole. Like the ancient Hebrews we too have been stung with the ‘sting of death’ and it leads to eternal death if ignored or with improper treatment. The antivenom for sin is nothing but the blood of Jesus as he was lifted up on a cross and paid the price for our sin – death. Galatians 3:22 Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
Last week we looked at an epidemic of snake bites leaving many to die a slow and painful death. The Hebrews cried out to Moses for God to stop them, but He did not, instead He instructed Moses to do something. He was instructed to set up a pole, fashion a brass serpent and place it on the pole. The only thing required was for those who had gotten the sting of death were to look at it for the venom’s antidote. That’s it, look at the bronze snake on a pole and live! God was gracious by providing a simple physical healing and salvation from certain death. The only requirement was obedience to God’s word. Simple, right? I wonder how many obeyed. Perhaps some thought it was a joke or too simple. How would looking at a brass snake do anything?
When outside there is something we do not need to fear this time of the year. During the spring when the sun is warm, the snow has receded, the ground has thawed and life bursts forth after a long cold winter it is not uncommon when walking through the grass, flower bed or garden to see a legless reptile slithering away. For many the sight of a snake strikes fear and panic in their minds. Even though garter snakes are harmless, how might you respond to a dangerous snake such as a cobra, rattlesnake, copperhead, water moccasin or coral snake. Any of those would catch our attention.
What will it take for some people to believe that Jesus is God, the savior of the world; to believe he is the way, the truth, and the life? Will it take a sign, an answered prayer, a vision, or a miracle? Would an unbeliever recognize a sign or a miracle; after all it could be a coincidence or luck. Perhaps the best sign and miracle of all would be someone rising from the dead.
We all know what it is to be hungry and thirsty. Our stomachs and mouths tell us when to eat and drink. We also know what happens when we do not eat or drink. People in third world countries experiencing starvation or malnutrition show signs of sickness, child development is hindered and many more problems often resulting in death.
Christmas is over for another year, the gifts are still new, some toys broken and thoughts drifting toward a new year. How easy it is to move from two months of preparing for Christmas to leaving it behind and moving on. Was His birth a flash in the pan and now it is business as usual?
Matthew 2:10-11 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The wise men are truly an enigma. Who were they, why did they come in search of a king, and why didn’t they know where to look? Were they truly wise and were there only three?
People die from the lack of oxygen. A severe drought can create a famine and people will die from the lack of food. We can live only so long without water and we will die from dehydration. These are obvious to us all. What may not be so obvious is that people die from the lack of hope. Hope is essential for life; without it all seems lost.
We are told as children that Santa knows if we are naughty or nice and that determines if we would receive Christmas presents. I guess, probably like you, that you were good each year because you received gifts. Well, I know better, I was not good most of the time especially as a teenager.
With the table spread with food, drinks, and dessert it should make us pause for thanks that we have so much with great variety. We can still go to the store and buy whatever is needed on short notice. With loaming food shortages and high fuel costs driving up food production and transportation costs we should have greater appreciation and not assume everything we want will always be at our finger tips. We have become increasingly aware of the long chain of events that take place from planting to our family table. It does not take much to disrupt the chain and cause shortages.
“The day of judgment is coming”: it may seem like a long wait for justice and we may be tempted to give up, but at the right time all who are not righteous, i.e., one who does not follow Jesus Christ will come into fiery judgment, burned up like straw, but not consumed. The final judgment does not eliminate the wicked so as not to exist. The fiery judgment will last for eternity, inflicting pain and suffering with no relief. Vs. 2 mentions roots and branches referring to the final end, no life, no rebirth, no second chance; like Roundup that kills the root, the unrighteous have no hope.
Sunday morning church is not simply worship, it is also spiritual preparation. Through worship, prayer, teaching, and assimilating God’s word we are drawn close to Him, and our confidence, and faith are strengthened. The more we learn the better equipped we are to understand local, national, and global events.
I mentioned two weeks ago Jude 4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. Nothing has changed in 2000 years; Satan continues to war against the truth and sends wolves in sheep’s clothing into churches to deceive and divide. The only variable is what part of the truth will come under attack.
If you’ve ever used a pressure cooker you know nothing happens inside as soon as the heat is turned on. However, it isn’t long before the heat builds giving way to a build up of pressure, enough to move the weight on top and relieve the pressure so it wouldn’t blow up; life’s circumstances can be that way. The ‘heat’ is what irritates or causes hardship. These can cause stress to build up within us and if we aren’t careful we can blow, or we can find ways to releave the pressure.
What is the greatest commandment that fulfills all others? “Love the LORD you God with all your heart. . .” Genuine love is what fuels endurance, and perseverance; it’s what enables one to take risks, face difficulties and carry burdens. A true lover is willing to suffer for the one he loves, but an admirer may not be so willing. There are a lot of people in and out of church that are admirers of Jesus, but few who truly love Him with everything they have.
Tests were not my favorite thing in school or college. At times they were very difficult and required a lot of studying and hard work which in the end usually paid off. I was ‘happy as a lark’ when I finally received my degree and tests were a thing of the past, or so I thought.
Any number of life events can cause grief, discouragement, disappointment and unrealized or unrealistic expectations. When this happens, we may not sense Gods strength, joy or even his presence. This can chip away at our faith and we ask; how can a loving God allow such a thing to happen? The more we pray the worse it gets!
THE RETURN NATIONAL AND GLOBAL DAY OF PRAYER AND REPENTANCE SEPTEMBER 26, 2020 ON THE NATIONAL MALL, WASHINGTON, D.C. THE MISSION: REVIVAL BY INDIVIDUAL, NATIONAL