Saturday, January 31, 2009
Here are some of the traits of being defined as the REAL DEAL: unselfishness, servanthood, sacrifice. We are called to be unselfish players, and servant leaders on Gods team as well as ours. Real leaders lead the way by going first, by going further, and by giving maximal sacrifice. Just like Leonidas. Well...when you put it that way...guess who defined that best? Jesus Christ. He was the perfect servant leader.
Studs...are we making our teamates the most important on the team or are we making ourselves that way. God has given us an ultimate playbook called the Bible. He has given us a Mentor in Jesus and he has given us teamates and coaches that we can desciple and teach with our walk as Christian servant leaders.
So, sounds good...sounds easy...but heres the challenge. To lay aside our selfish ambition and needs and follow Him. Again, that sounds easy but to do this it takes total Trust in God. And in doing so we must not try to Control Him. Sometimes, most times actually, i think i'm in perfect control of everything...what an idiot. We must be obedient, and properly use the tools he has given us. He wants us to succeed to give Him glory on the best platform.
Instead of focusing on what we want...i wonder if its possible to focus on helping others. Is it possible to treat others just as Christ would treat them? It'll be hard thats for sure...but heres to trying and heres to the process.
PS.. we do that....and we'll be The Real Deal in Gods eyes...and that is all that matters.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Have you ever met someone, who wrapped up all that they were in baseball. Everything else took second place including God. Normally, not always, these players are kind of high strung, on edge, as if their life depended on going 3 for 3 because the big dogs were watching, or who have their whole identity so wrapped up in baseball that they obsess over their ERA. Every night tallying up the numbers to see where their numbers were. They are the ones who show up the shortstop who kicked the ball with two outs and as a result you gave up four runs and were pulled that same inning. They might act like team players, but deep down they are me-monsters, because baseball is their god and they don't like to disappoint their god. By the way, I am all up in this illustration as many of you know. This was Harold Abrahams. This was the opposite of Eric Liddell.
Back to the story. There was a point in the movie where Harold said that his next ten seconds were going to define his life. He was about to run the hundred in the 1924 Paris Olympics. Everything about who he was was riding on those next ten seconds. What a tragedy! Do you think he enjoyed the journey? No way! He was probably a wreck!
Now let's look at my man Eric Liddell. Eric, by the way, refused to run on Sundays, which cost him medals and his reputation. Anyways, Eric's sister was a missionary in China and was annoyed that Eric would waste his time running. She knew he was called to the mission field in China, so one day she had had enough and confronted Eric about this. She asked him (my paraphrase), "why in the world are you fooling around with this kid's stuff when there are kingdom things to be done?"
Listen to Eric's words and let them sink deep within your soul (actual quote), "God made me fast, and when I run I feel God's pleasure." One of the greatest quotes of all time! How did Eric reach the highest level of track & field and win a gold and a silver medal? Because in his life God was God and running was just a means to bring Him glory and pleasure.
May all of you who are still playing get to the point where you can say, "God made me a pitcher, and when I pitch I feel God's pleasure." "God made me a hitter, and when I hit I feel God's pleasure." May all the rest of us get to that same point in whatever God has gifted us to do.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
So on Sunday we saw how God will pour out His wrath on a Christ rejecting world (chapter 8 and 9),that is what chapters 6-19 basically cover (there really is no basic about it because there is so much detail but it is hard to interpret by ourselves). I will try to scratch the surface and get us through 19 so bare with me.
Chapter 10 is a sunnier chapter that follows 9’s dark and dismal setting. We have an angel come down from Heaven (has taken on many of God’s attributes because he has been with Him for so long) and a rainbow is on his head.
Revelation 10:1 “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head…”
Verse 4 brings about much speculation but we need to understand a few things.
Revelation 10:4 “And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.”
Why would he (John) mention something and then not explain or tell us? The Seven day Adventists and Mormons have a lot to say about these thunders sealed message, but in my book that is adding to the script because my Bible (all Bibles) is mute on this point. Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to Me, says the Lord.” So here is Jon Courson’s stance on the blessing of not knowing what the thunders said.
Not knowing keeps us:
Humble- we are humble when we don’t know everything, pride is a beast and usually shows up in a guy with a wealth of knowledge “know it all”, don’t they erkk you! Sadly that can be me to often.
Useful- keeps us focused on what He has blessed us with knowing, “stay focused man!”
Stable- God gives us a peace that passes our understanding (Phillipians 4:7 /thanks Blake). Focus on Him and we have peace but when we try to figure the world out we have anxiety.
Chapter 11 – about the halfway point of the tribulation
Revelation 11:1 “…rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” This implies that the temple (4th) will be rebuilt at least before the middle of the tribulation. Revelation 11:3 “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” This verse is introducing the fact that there will be two witnesses on the earth who will be doing major work for the kingdom, hollering out “Repent and be saved”. If you read on you see that God gives them great authority and power to bring down plagues and shoot fire from their mouth to devour their opposition. So you can imagine that all the pagans (non-believers on earth) will hate these two (I have been taught they will be Elijah and Moses) witnesses for convicting people and bringing in intense plagues. Verse 7 we see Satan come from out of the bottomless pit and battle these two (like Darth Vador verse Obie One) and be victorious. The witnesses then will lie dead in the street for 3 ½ days while the inhabitants of the earth party all around them, rejoicing that the devil killed them. Then in verse 11 God’s spirit enters them and they stand up infront of a crowd of people only to have a voice from heaven say “Come up here”. Prompted by the Spirit and the voice they ascend to heaven miraculously blowing the onlookers minds, can you imagine? The chapter goes on to convey God’s wrath through an earthquake, lightning storms, and hail storms. The people who corrupt and pollute the earth will be destroyed while the witnesses who serve God will be saved. Unfortunately in verse 18 we read that “and the nations were angry” implying that instead of worshipping God for His power and sovereignty they are mad and hate Him, weird.
Well I failed at getting us to chapter 19 and you can see why, Revelation is filled with too much meat. I don’t want to fill you all up too much it takes time to digest this stuff. I once again hope you all are enjoying this. There is a powerful witness in being able to explain the contents of this book and like Tyler said, we will all be blessed for reading it (Rev 1:3).
"No honest man ever repented of his honesty." - Anon.
"If faith does not make a man honest, it is not an honest faith." - C.H. Spurgeon
"One's mere word should be as trustworthy as a signed agreement attested by legal witnesses." - Curtis Vaughan
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
What this verse is talking about is what theologians call, "The Great Exchange." Christ took upon himself our sin, and in exchange we received his perfect righteousness. How does this transaction take place, by faith, not by works. This is the pure, unadulterated Gospel at its best. This is what we are to shout from the rooftops! In Christ there is reconciliation with God! In Christ there is forgiveness of sins! In Christ we are we are regarded by God the Father as righteous! No condemnation! No shame! No guilt! Christ took it all!
Why did he do it? This verse says, "For our sake." Who's initiative was this wonderful plan? Some would say Jesus because the Father is an angry Judge who Jesus finally convinced to go through with the plan. Wrong! It was the Father's initiative. The verse say "he made him." Who is he? The Father.
Jesus knew no sin the verse goes on to say. Has there ever been a time in your life where you were mistreated unjustly. I remember to this day my first night in Peoria with the Chiefs. We had a banquet to kick off the season and our fearless leader, Joe C., who frequented the titty bar nightly we came to find out, started introducing all the players. It was a dark and spooky banquet hall across from our hotel. Think "The Shining." Anyways, he rattles off all the position players names, talkin 'em up, feeding there egos and he doesn't call my name (middle infielder). So I think maybe he will get me after the pitchers and so he goes through the pitchers and then the show is over. Everybody around me begins to look around awkwardly, while my host family is wondering whether I am really a player. So, to make a long story short, someone whispers in his ear, "you left out Tyler," and he then talks about how happy he is I'm on the team....REAL HAPPY. Yeah right.
It was embarrassing, I felt wronged, and I felt I wasn't taken seriously. But I am still a sinner. I have done the same to others before. "He made him who had no sin," the verse says. Jesus was sinless. Of all the people in the world who deserved better it was him. But he was spit on, stripped naked, beaten to a bloody pulp, laughed at, mocked, put to shame. What worse, it was on a cross. The was shameful death you could die. Why did he not call down ten thousand angels and destroy these people, and make them pay for putting to shame the one who created them and will judge them in the end? The answer: for our sake he didn't. That is for those who repent and believe in him for their salvation.
For his sheep, he bore there sins upon that bloody cross, but he did more, he gave us his perfect righteousness. We have become the righteousness of God.
Let's now live like it.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work God does from the beginning to the end.”
God has put a yearning for eternity in all of our hearts; it gives us hope for more because this world often seems so shallow and broken. We all sense that there is something more after this life and we may not be able to describe why that is but we sure can feel it. The worst fear that I have for many non-believing friends (praise God I no longer have to worry about some closest to me) is that they will die and not have prepared themselves for eternity. The focus of this study is eternity and how God’s word is real and He has given us ample information on how to prepare and what to expect when the end times are coming. It isn’t possible for me to cover all of Revelation but I wanted to touch on some of it. This book scares a lot of people because they say it is so difficult to understand but the word itself (revelation) means the unveiling, the revealing. God has blessed men with an understanding of these scriptures and fortunately I have been blessed with a Bible commentary that is pretty good with it.
Chapter 1- discusses the reality of the Resurrected Christ.
Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” … “who is and was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Chapter 2-3 – Things which are, Jesus gives seven messages to seven churches, wherein lies the chronological flow of church history from the beginning of the early church to the present.
Revelation 2:11 “…He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” This is talking about the great white throne judgment for the non-believers who rejected Christ and because of their actions they will cast to outer darkness away from God forever (Rev 20:6-15).
Revelation 3:10 “Because you have kept My command to preserve, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” Believers will be raptured to heaven and not have to endure the trials of the tribulation (seven year period where antichrist rises to power on earth).
Chapters 4-5 – Things which shall be hereafter… The church is raptured and taken to heaven for a seven-year “honeymoon” with the Lord.
Revelation 4:1 (part D) “Come up here…” This verse helps support the verse from Thessalonians (4:16-18) which explains that the believers will be brought up to heaven in the clouds to meet with the Lord. I can’t wait to hear Him say “Come up here”, I know I’m going and so should this group. Heaven is real and so is hell, we all need a savior to save us from ourselves and give us a pass to fly with Jesus in heaven for that honeymoon (7 years) and then to reign on earth for eternity, more on that later.
This is the 1st of a four part series that Tyler Parker and I are going to do on the end times and Revelation. So look forward to Sunday like I am to hear what God is going to speak through Parker. I hope this is intriguing to all of you.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Dear friends and family,
I am excited to finally write you again and let you know about the recent happenings of Impact Church. Since our last correspondence alot has happened.
In my last letter I listed a few things and I asked you to help me pray that God would reveal himself in these matters…well He has!!! Since August, when my last letter was written, pretty much all 4 of the listed prayer requests have been answered and continue to be answered. I knew that God was calling me to start a church, but I didn’t have lots of clarity as to what that would look like and I also didn’t have much direction either. Today, I’m excited that I know exactly where God wants me to start building His church.
It is a long story so I’ll spare you all the tiny details that God has used, but He has confirmed that I should start His church in an “inner city” community. Translation…I LIVE in a house in the middle of the ghetto, across from a drug house, kids running everywhere, neighbors smoking crack, obvious poverty and they are even poorer spiritually. I have already had incredible opportunities to build relationships and meet needs in the community. God has been real to me in revealing His will for my life and giving me clarity and direction for this ministry. I am going to begin having meals in my home for the folks in my neighborhood…through this I will build relationships so that they know I’m not treating them as a “church project”. Eventually, sooner rather than later, I will be starting a Bible study in my home so that I can share the AWESOME news of the Gospel with them. Thank you so much for your prayers…this is just the beginning.
One way I’m going to meet a need in the community this summer is by building a playground in an old, trashed, vacant lot nearby. Believe it or not…almost every time I drive up to my house there are kids playing amongst broken liquor bottles, on old furniture and nasty mattresses that were thrown back there when someone in the neighborhood was evicted from their home. It will be a great way for the church to show that we care about these kids.
I can go on and on…whether it’s telling you about taking a group of 3rd and 4th graders to Chick-fil-a for only the 2nd TIME IN THEIR LIVES, or taking a single mother to the gas station and being able to bless her with a gift from God in the form of petroleum.
You may be asking yourself how can I get involved??? Good question…support me and this ministry in prayer FIRST. With fixing meals and taking hungry kids to eat, the costs are beginning to add up. You can send gift cards to Kroger, Wal-Mart (I do all my grocery shopping at one of these two stores) or you can send gift cards to any fast food chain (McDonalds, Chick-fil-a, Dominos, Zaxby’s, BK, etc.). It is hard to tell them that God will provide their needs when they are hungry…that’s something that God has enabled us to be able to do.
By the way…I’m in the process of filling out all my 501c3 papers to become an official non-profit organization. I know I’m going a little long, but I gotta tell you about this one. The lawyer that I am using to get this done, who was a complete stranger, has offered to do this for me pro-bono. This is a total God thing because there’s no telling how much it would cost to pay this out of pocket. God’s will, done God’s way, never lacks God’s provisions…
Thanks again for being a part of this ministry. Please continue to pray that God will do huge things in Dublin through the ministry of Impact Church…
"I live in the present! Not the past. All though much can be learned from the past, but only for a visit, not an extended stay. And for sure I do not dwell in the future you visualize or imagine. Mack, do you realize that your imagination of the future which is almost always dictated by fear of some kind... Rarely if ever pictures me there with you?"
Why do I do that?-Mack
"It is your desperate attempt to get some control over something you can't. It is IMPOSSIBLE for you to take power over the future because it isn't even real. Nor will it ever be real! You try and play God... Imagine the evil that you fear becoming reality and then you try and make plans to avoid what you fear."
Why do I have so much fear?-Mack
"Because YOU DONT BELIEVE! You don't know that we love you. The person that lives by there fears will not find freedom in my love. You sing about it, you talk about it, but you don't know it! "
"For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ." Phil 1:8 NKJV
Do you make it a point to pray for others the way you pray for yourself? Paul says these words- always, every, greatly long, and affection. I'm sure we've all made prayer lists or tell people that you will pray for them. But how long does it last? "Always" and "every" is not partial, and if we have any motivation to be like Christ Jesus why not start with Paul? His heart was open to all and his writing demonstrates humility and peace. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil 4:13
You might think you will never be able to achieve that inner peace that Paul had, but God has NO limits. Don't limit your faith, cut yourself open and lift your neighbor up in prayer.
"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hardpressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is FAR BETTER." Phil 4:21-24 NKJV
Is anyone hard pressed to live or die!? If God asked you to leave earth right now would hesitate? Would you ask why? What a special moment in our walk to attain that level of faith and NEVER question God's will in our lives. That's a heavy scripture to meditate on today... Let's pray that God will continue to mold us and fill us with his Holy Spirit to draw us closer to him.
Love God with all your heart and soul, then love and witness to everyone. You've heard put yourself second... How about third?
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
* Do you want it to be based on your looks?
* The fact that your shredded?
* Your performance?
* The fact that you play professional baseball?
* How much money you make?
* The fact that you can win any argument, because you are smarter than the other meat-heads in the locker room?
* The fact that your wife, or girlfriend, is hot?
Here is the reality. If any of these things are how you want others to formulate their opinion of you, you will struggle with pride and insecurity the rest of your life.
I grew up in a home where my dad would humiliate me and my brothers for poor performances in athletics. Everything was based on performance; so when I did well my dad was on cloud nine, but when I sucked it up, wrath would follow. When I did well I was full of pride and when I did bad my life was over.
Everything in my life began to be about performance. My happiness and peace were based on how well I did. As a result, the pendulum of my life swung from pride to despair but never settled on consistent. I'm sure some of you can relate.
As a Christian, the answer to the question of how you want others to formulate their opinion of you is real simple. Your goal should be for others to formulate their opinion of you based on your Christian character, and that alone.
All the others things are temporary, but your character will last forever. Lou Priolo in his book, " Pleasing People: How not to be an Approval Junkie" quoted a man name Hugh Blair on this topic of Christian character. Hugh says,
"There is no form of behavior that will please all men at all times. As a rule, what seems to please most people most of the time, and commands lasting praise is Christian character. Sincere devotion to God, the ability to demonstrate genuine love to others, the faithful fulfillment of life's responsibilites, a pure and undefiled conscience, an unwavering commitment to justice, mercy and truth.....these are the qualities that render man truly respectable and great. Such character may, at tiems, incur unjust reproach. But the clouds which from as a result of man's prejudice and envy will gradually disperse; and its (Christian character's) brightness will in the end, shine through as the noon day sun. Throughout history, the truly illustrious men and women are those who did not court the praise of this world, but who performed the actions which deserved it."
May we be a group of men who seek to cultivate Christian character through the power of the Spirit, instead of chasing after the praise of godless men. In the end, our names will live on forever.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
This was silly right??? Immature...middle school...and ultimately there were no real relationships being built.
Well isn't that what we do with God alot of the time??? I know that's how I treat Him too often...I will be quick to use someone else to be a middle man. It's easy to sit and listen to Matt Chandler, Perry Noble or Steven Furtick...those guys are great teachers of the Word and I feel like I learn something every time I hear them. As long as I'm always using a middle man I will NEVER be able to grow my relationship with God to the place it needs to be. I mean well...but the bottom line is that it's as if I'm too scared, busy, whatever (immature I guess) to be man enough to say I've got to clear my schedule, avoid all distractions, prepare myself to spend some real one on one time with the creator of the universe I'll never really know who He is.
Again, like in middle school we can run up to the cute girl and say, "I think you're pretty." and then instantly run away...we often run up to God and say, "I love you...You're awesome." then quickly run away. That's just not how things were meant to be...It takes guts to sit down and have quality time with that person.
This post is coming from personal experience...it's time for me to graduate from this middle school mentality with God...
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
There have been alot of great things that God is doing so far...providing money to buy kids Christmas gifts who wouldn't otherwise have much on Christmas morning, a lawyer offering to do all the work for making Impact Church a incorporated non-profit FOR FREE, building relationships with folks in my neighborhood fairly easily, etc...I've got several stories that I can tell when given enough time, but that's not the reason for my post.
In reading through the story of the prodigal son and reading the post on here about it, I became aware of a real and dangerous situation.
Like the older son, we can become so busy working for the Father that we miss the heart of the father all together. I often feel like there is always something I need to be doing...whether its church planting, reading books, studying, etc. when all God wants sometime is to know His heart. And because I'm so busy, I miss that all together.
How many of us does that include?? I know that's me...Please be in prayer for me to not miss the heart of God and to take some things off my plate that cause me to be to busy "working for" God.
With that being said...I know God is doing some cool stuff in Dublin. A few of you will be getting a newsletter in the mail...for those of you who I don't have addresses, I'll put one up on here when I get to another computer.
Keep the faith...
Prodigal- (adj); lavish, recklessly extravagant, having spent everything.
Luke 15:11 “A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. NKJV
We have heard this story, and the younger son goes off and blows it and comes back, yada, yada, yada. However I willing to bet you have never heard it the way Timothy Keller explains it in his book “Prodigal God”. See in the NKJV Bible the story is called “The Lost Son” but there are actually two lost sons in this story. There is the younger son who is blatant in his offensive request of his entitlement before his father dies, ouch if you’re the father (your son basically wishes you were dead). Then there is the older brother and his sin is that he has a misconception of what faith and Christianity are about. So fast-forward in the story, the younger bro has come home from his mistake and the father has embraced him and is now throwing a huge party (cooking the fatted calf and all) on the account that the younger bro was lost and now he has come to his senses.
Luke 15:28 “But he was angry and would not go in (to the party). Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. “So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. ‘But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
So the older brother is caught in his piety (exalts himself above others because of his good works) and he shows no forgiveness for his own brother because his perspective is flawed (selfish, I, me, my). Both brothers have chosen different paths that are so prevalent in our society. The younger brother has chosen the way of self-discovery (I will do it my way) and the older bro has chosen moral conformity (doing what community and tradition say is right). Both ways are often sinful because they both can rely heavily on self. The way of moral conformity is a huge deception as so many of us think that doing good works will get us into heaven but it is a lie, giving your heart to Christ is the only way (sorry Oprah). The point to this bread is that we have to love and be loved never thinking we are better than anyone for the way we live. Sure we know the truth and they may not, but remember that was us a while ago and the best way to put Christ on display is unconditional love. Be forgiving, count it all joy regardless of the pain because you know it is all His will, and be humble. Know that God has spent everything on us and has recklessly given extravegently to us. His love is amazing, think about it, amazing! God forgives us so of so much we aren't even worthy to be looked at but yet there He is loving us. I will leave you with this nugget to chew on for a week.
“Salvation is not only objective and legal (faith in Christ is the only way) but also subjective and experiential (coming to the Father is not the same route for everyone).” Timothy Keller
Monday, January 12, 2009
"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil." - Matthew 4:1
Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted and to put His faith in the Lord to the test. God isn't the one tempting Jesus since God is never the agent of temptation, but He does allow Satan to tempt Jesus in order to test His faithfulness. This is a direct mirror image of when God led His people out of Egypt and into the wilderness, to humble them and test them, to know what was in their heart, whether they would keep His commandments or not (Deut. 8:2). Let's get to the 3 temptation's Satan threw at Jesus and see how Jesus responds and then how His response relates to the testing of the Israelites.
"And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, 'If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.' But He answered and said, 'It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" - Matthew 4:2-4
Jesus responds to the first temptation by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3 which is basically saying that God will ultimately provide. Jesus has complete confidence and trust in God as the ultimate provider. Jesus knows God will sustain Him. This verse in Deuteronomy refers directly to when the Israelites were tested through their hunger in the wilderness. "So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord" (Deut. 8:3). This was a lesson in faith and trust that the Israelites had to learn in the wilderness. God "allowed them to hunger" and fed them only with manna which was a mysterious food from Heaven that was completely unknown to them. The manna would appear each morning, but would quickly mold and melt if stored (Exodus 16:20-21). This meant that the Israelites could only gather enough food each morning for just that day and then had to trust that God would provide more the next day since nobody could store any of the manna for later. The Israelites were humbled and forced to trust in God's Word that He would provide their nurishment each morning by literally providing them with their daily bread (Exodus 16). The Israelites struggled with their faith and trust as most of them continued to try and store the manna, but Jesus' faith and trust in His Lord is proven in His immediate response to Satan. Jesus - 1, Israelites - 0
"Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him. 'If you are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: He shall give His angels charge over you, and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.' Jesus said to him, 'It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'" - Matthew 4:5-7
Jesus responds to the second temptation by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16 which is a direct reference to when the Israelites tested and questioned the Lord at Massah and Meribah (Exodus 17:1-7). Even though when they were hungry and questioned what they would eat and God provided, in chapter 17 of Exodus we find the Israelites hitting the panic button and questioning God again once they became thirsty. They end up "putting God to the test" by asking "Is the Lord among us or not?" (Exodus 17:7). Which meant, if God is truly with us like He says He is then show us a sign and give us some water. Basically, prove Your presence by giving us some water. However, Jesus refuses to test God by jumping off the roof and letting God prove His presence by saving Him. Satan tries to turn scripture around on Jesus, but Jesus' faith cannot be shaken.
Jesus - 2, Israelites - 0
"Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, 'All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.' Then Jesus said to him, 'Away with you, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.'" - Matthew 4:8-10
Jesus responds to the third temptation by paraphrasing Deuteronomy 6:12-14 which is a command to the Israelites to remember "the Lord who brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage" (Deuteronomy 6:12). This is another temptation where Jesus succeeded in a situation where the Israelites had previously failed. In Exodus 32 we read that while Moses was atop Mt. Sinai getting the "two tablets of the Testimony", the Israelites made a golden calf that they began to worship as their god and even stooped so low that they claimed that this golden calf was their god that brought them out of Egypt (Exodus 32:4). Jesus, on the other hand, never turned to worship anyone or anything other than the Almighty Lord and served Him only.
Jesus - 3, Israelites - 0
Jesus' experience in the wilderness relates directly to the Israelites' wilderness experience. Jesus, just like them, was led into the wilderness to be tested. Unlike them, our Lord and Savior and King withstood every aspect of the test. Praise Christ the King for His perfect righteousness.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
ps...everyday people are trying to find a reason to not follow the lord...and...they will be looking directly at us. And, for a lot of people, WE will be the only Bible some people read....
pss...anthonylreyes is interested in becoming a speaking member of this group. and has been challenged to hault playing xbox for 21 days while reading John. any encouragements to him would probably be appreciated.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
2 Corinthians 5:1 "For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
Have you ever been so beat down that you just wish you were anywhere but where you were, in that painful situation or mindstate? Have you ever felt so small and irrelevant that you wondered if anyone would care or notice if you disappeared, I mean really really care? Or better yet being in a situation where you just wish you could warp back to your childhood house where Mom was standing with a fire burning, hot chocolate, and a warm bed? Mmmmm hope that painted a good picture for each of you. This scripture compares any house on this earth to a tent in comparison to our heavenly estate that God has waiting for us. But this verse isn't just talking about a house but our bodies, which are the place of residence for our mind, soul, and spirit, the house that we can't get away from, though we try (alcohol, drugs, various pleasures). Our bodies are dying daily and we get concerned with how old we feel/look and it depresses us and beats us down to where we just wish we could go back to the old days when we were 12yrs old hitting tanks over the fence and slow trotting around the bases because we thought our best friends sister was watching (whoops). Point is our God offers us a house to go to any time of the day, a place where we find peace, rest, and encouragement and strength for the oncoming battles. Looking to heaven where we have hope and a wonderful inheritance is good but it doesn't always get it done, so... We can look into our earthly house/body and find a Spirit that is waiting to help us and give us rest and peace. The Holy Spirit is with us where ever we go (scripture ?) and all we have to do is stop and acknowledge Him (God-Son-Holy Spirit=trinity). More than that our house is our group.
Hebrews 3:6 "but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end."
God (Christ, Holy Spirit) has taken up residence in us (His own house) and He is at work amongst us so by fellowshipping we are interacting with the Holy Spirit and in return we are finding peace from our problems (that are most often caused from being selfish and not focusing on the power and beauty of God's plan). So you see in the Hebrews scrip that "house" means people. Thats us, congratulations! Let me run back a point here; Where does the Lord choose to dwell? In us! Amazing! Who else loves you like that? So lets remember that we can find peace when we turn to Him and he is only one call away (pray, reading His word, fellowship, etc...). Are you in the House? Hahaha!
Monday, January 5, 2009
Saturday, January 3, 2009
As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other world leaders try to broker a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas, one former member of the militant Islamic organization said there will never be lasting peace between the two groups.
"There is no chance. Is there any chance for fire to co-exist with the water?" said Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of one of the group's founding members.
Yousef added: "It's not about Israel, it's not about Hamas: it's about both ideologies."
Yousef, son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, one of the most influential leaders of the militant group, said the organization betrays the Palestinian cause and tortures its own members.
Hamas, formed in the late 1980's as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, is considered a terror organization by the U.S. government. Hamas seized power in the Gaza strip in 2007 in a violent coup against the more moderate Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas.
Yousef said he was indoctrinated at an early age to use violence to challenge Israeli control in the region. As a teenager he moved up within the organization and became the leader of the radical Islamic Youth Movement that fought Israeli tanks and troops in the streets, celebrated suicide bombings and recruited young men to the cause.
Yousef, 30, said he realized the true nature of Hamas and radical Islam during a stint in an Israeli prison. He renounced his Muslim faith, left his family behind in Ramallah and converted to Christianity.
"Islam is not the word of God," said Yousef. "If you want to be offended it's your problem. But you know something? Go study. Think for a second that I might be right. So wake up, look at your path, see where you're going. Are you really going to heaven with 72 virgins after you kill yourself and kill another 20 people?"
Yousef has sought asylum in the United States and now attends an evangelical Christian church in San Diego, Calif.
"The Hamas leadership, including my father, they're responsible; they're responsible for all the violence that happened from the organization. I know they describe it as reaction to Israeli aggression, but still, they are part of it and they had to make decisions in those operations against Israel (for) which there was the killing of many civilians."
Yousef talks more about his extraordinary story of faith, courage, violence and betrayal in a FOX News documentary, "Escape From Hamas," hosted by Bill Hemmer.
Escape from Hamas airs Sat at 10p, with repeats at 1am and 4a, EST, and Sun at 9pm, with repeats at 12 midnight, 2am, EST
Thursday, January 1, 2009
I found a great post at www.theologica.blogspot.com, on Bible reading plans. This is by far my favorite blog. I have it under favorite links at our E-Fellowship blog.
The post gives 5 different Bible reading plans to choose from for the new year. I strongly recommend you check it out and get started on a plan.
CLICK ON THE TITLE OF THIS POST TO GO TO THE WEBSITE. LET ME KNOW WHICH ONES YOU CHOOSED.