Wednesday, July 30, 2014


It’s really hard for the logical, common sense part of me to understand how anyone can accuse Israel of any type of wrongdoing by defending its people from the Hamas terrorists that are lobbing rockets throughout much of Israel.  On the other hand, because I am a student of scripture, I totally understand what is happening.  The “god of this world,” as Satan is called in scripture is hard at work “blinding the minds” of the lost.
2 Corinthians 4:3–4 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

He is the “father of lies” and seeks to present himself as an angel of light—a worker of righteousness.

John 8:44 “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

2 Corinthians 11:14–15 “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

I believe that Satan and his army of fallen angels are blinding people to the truth and deceiving people regarding who has taken the moral high road in this conflict.  Am I saying that Israel never makes a mistake?  No.  I am saying, however, that they strive to preserve the innocent while acting to protect and defend their people; while it is obvious that Hamas has no regard for the safety of the Palestinian people and purposely places many of them in the line of fire.  They do not want peace; they want the death of Israel—period!

Scripture is very clear that the nation of Israel and Jerusalem in particular would command the world’s attention during the days before Jesus returns to set up His kingdom.  In fact, we are told to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Zechariah 12:2–3 “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”

Psalms 122:6 “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.”

Isaiah 62:6–7 “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, And give Him no rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”

The wording in Isaiah points out that the time is coming when God will “make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”  This is what Satan is doing his best to prevent.  Anyone paying attention can recognize a shift in momentum as the powers of darkness seem to be gaining in influence throughout the world.  If I didn’t know better, it would seem that he might actually succeed.

In our study of Daniel this week, Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, declared one of the most significant truths of scripture.  God is still on the throne and “none can stay His hand.”

Daniel 4:34–35 “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured Him that liveth for ever, Whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?”

Daniel had reminded us earlier that it is God who removes and sets up kings.

Daniel 2:20–21 “Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are His: And He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings….”

I believe that, according to scripture, God is using both good and wicked men to accomplish His purposes just as scripture reveals He always has.  Though I grieve at the loss of innocent lives on both sides of the conflict in Israel, I take comfort in knowing that my God reigns and that He is working out His plan. 

The signs of the times are evident all around us—moral decay, advanced technology that will facilitate the rule of Antichrist, manipulation of the economies of the nations intended to promote the need for a one-world government, growing apostasy throughout the church, wars and rumors of wars, etc.

I also believe that we in the body of Christ need to prepare for the possibility of persecution such as we in America in particular never dreamed possible in our country if the Lord chooses to tarry much longer before coming to take us home and unleashing His wrath on planet earth.

2 Timothy 3:12-13 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”

What we have to do is keep our mind fixed on Jesus and the truth of scripture—We are on the winning side, and our reward will far exceed any suffering that may be required until that time.

Isaiah 64:4 “For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.”

1 Corinthians 2:9 “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”   

Please come, Lord Jesus!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


In our study of the book of Daniel with another couple, we reached chapter 3, the account of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being thrown into the fiery furnace for refusing to worship the golden image.  It’s always amazing to me how often the Lord affirms the truth of scripture through the use of many “types” throughout scripture—people and/or events that represent those truths.  David Guzik summarized well how this event typifies truths connected to the coming seven-year tribulation period (my modification in italics):

·      Nebuchadnezzar is like the Antichrist, who forces the whole world into one religion of idolatry.
·      Nebuchadnezzar’s image is like the image described in Revelation 13, that the whole world will be commanded to worship.
·      The fiery furnace is like the Great Tribulation, which will be great affliction for the Jews.
·      The three Hebrew men are like the believing remnant of Israel, who will be preserved through the tribulation.
·      The executioners who perished are like those in league with the Antichrist, who Jesus will slay at His return.
·      The mysteriously absent Daniel is like the church, not even present for this time of great tribulation.

As we came to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s bold statement to King Nebuchadnezzar, one thing in particular stood out to me.  They were not shy to declare their faith in the God they “served.”

Daniel 3:16–18 “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”

Their faith was strongly rooted in their service.  What does it mean to “serve” God?  Webster defines to serve as “…to be employed in labor or other business for another; to be in subjection or bondage; to render menial service.”  In other words, these men lived their lives choosing to submit to and obey God’s law.  I believe this is one reason their fellow officials were so eager to accuse them before the king.  Their lives testified to their commitment to the one true God, and they resented the authority these three men possessed when they didn’t even serve the gods of Babylon.

These three Hebrew men didn’t hesitate when given the ultimatum to bow before the king’s idol or suffer death in the fiery furnace.  They were confident that God would deliver them—be it through a miracle to preserve their lives or through death.  They knew just as surely as Job that this life was not the whole of their existence.

Job 19:25-26 “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God….”

These men lived by the truth expressed by Peter and John when they were commanded not to share the gospel.

Acts 5:28–29 “Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”

This account of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego calls for yet another self-examination.  Would I be able to respond as quickly and confidently as these three men in the face of persecution and/or death?  Am I ready to stand up to the powers that be when it comes to obeying God?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Do You Hate What God Hates?

Something to think about—Does your heart mirror God’s heart according to the following verses. 

Proverbs 6:16–19 “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

Zechariah 8:16 “These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD.”

Do you hate what God hates?
  • Pride (in self is the context)
  • Lying
  • Murder
  • Planning to act wickedly against someone else.
  • Eagerness to participate in mischief (acts that wrong another in any way to cause them trouble or sorrow)
  • Giving false testimony
  • Provoking trouble between others
  • Unrighteous judgment that is self-serving and/or denies justice based on truth

I think it is important to note that God hates the sin, but He loves the sinner…

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

…and so should we.

Luke 6:27–28 “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


As I was reading in Isaiah again yesterday morning, the spiritual parallels between Israel and the United States of America stood out to me yet again. 

Isaiah 5:3-7 “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?  And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.”

Yes, God is speaking to Israel through the prophet Isaiah.  However, God set apart Israel among the nations to testify of Himself and His character.  To testify to the truth of His love and the character and principles upon which He deals with those who are called by His name.

2 Chronicles 7:19–20 “But if you turn away and abandon my regulations and mitzvot which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, worshipping them; then I will pull them up by the roots out of the land I have given them. This house, which I consecrated for my name, I will eject from my sight; and I will make it an example to avoid and an object of scorn among all peoples.” (Complete Jewish Bible)

God is asking the people of Israel and Judah to tell Him just what else He could have done for Israel, His vineyard.  What was it possibly lacking?  What possible justification could they present for turning away in disobedience from God and embracing the idolatrous ways of the nations around them?  This is obviously a rhetorical question since there is no possible justification.

I have been reading a history of the United States, God’s Plan for America series, by Peter Marshall and David Manuel; and I can’t help but think that God must look at America in the same way.  Though many came here thinking only about  getting rich and powerful, many fled to our shores in search of the freedom to worship as they pleased.  You can argue all you want about the faith of the founding fathers, but the truth is that biblical principles are at the root of our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. 
God has obviously blessed us.  Personally, I believe it is because of that biblical foundation and the fact that we figured into His plan to resurrect and reestablish the nation of Israel.  I think many of our blessings stem from His promise to Abraham.
Genesis 12:1–3 “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

Yet, now we have practically spit in His face in thanks for that blessing, and as we continue to withdraw our support from Israel, we are going to suffer the curse as well. 
Hand-in-hand with our treatment of Israel, we have taken a steady path of turning away from the principles set forth in the word of God because we (as a whole) have rejected Him as the God He declares Himself to be in that word. We continue to make decisions that reflect rebellion and ingratitude.  Morality is no longer assessed based on His Word; in fact, His Word is questioned as to it truly being “His Word.”  What possible justification can there be for these actions?  Just as with the question asked of Israel by God through Isaiah, there is none.
Just as God promised to withdraw His hand of blessing and protection from Israel, I believe His character demands that He do the same with the United States.  He declares in the scripture that He never changes.
Malachi 3:6 “For I am the LORD, I change not….”

It is God’s desire to save us, but the choice is ours.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.?

With this verse Paul provides a nutshell summary of how the Christian is to live his/her life.

Every believer is just a sinner saved by grace, according to the love and mercy of God through the willing sacrifice of the Son.  We all, whether Jew or Gentile, are part of the same family with the same mandate to testify of this good news to others and to live our lives according to God’s revealed will in unity of spirit.  Sadly, it is the lack of unity that is one of the enemy’s greatest tools against us that diminishes the impact of our testimony of the gospel.  I believe that much of that lack of unity is due to the tares that are growing with the wheat until the Lord decides it is time for the final harvest.

In light of all that God has done on our behalf, the only logical response from the believer should be to yield as a “living sacrifice” to God.  I chose the word yield from the meanings for present, but I also was hit by the phrase “to exhibit.”  When we are yielded to God, it will produce visible results in our lives that can be seen by others.  “Living sacrifice” brought to mind the term “die daily” that Paul uses in his letter to Corinthians.

1Corinthians 15:31 “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”

This is obviously referencing a mindset, an attitude that affects the choices we make, the actions we take, the words we say, etc.  When we respond to God in this way, our life will be holy and pleasing to God; we will be living in agreement with His revealed will. 

The word worship jumped out at me from the Greek for service.  When we are living our lives yielded to and in agreement with His will, it is an act of worship before God.  It’s our opportunity to give back to Him in the only way available to us in gratitude for the amazing love He has shown us.

As Paul so wonderfully expressed in chapter 7, it is the discipline of the body that is the problem. 

Romans 7:21–25 “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”

The flesh exerts a powerful force in our lives.  The more we can discipline our body to act in concert with the desire of our inner man to serve God totally, the more powerful will be our testimony to all—both believers and unbelievers.

Monday, July 7, 2014


Today’s post is a meditation on Paul’s expression of how he prays for the Philippian believers.  I think it stands as an excellent example of how believers should pray for each other today—especially in light of the signs of the times all around us.

Philippians 1:9–11 “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”

This group of verses forms one connected thought.  Paul is telling the Philippians how he prays for them. 

  • That their love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment – We’ve all heard the old saying, “Love is blind”; but true love is not blind.  Real love is a choice, a choice made because of and sometimes in spite of what we know.  Paul is praying that these believers will love one another with discernment and perception.  To love “more and more” with discernment and perception references the ability to determine needs in the body of believers and act accordingly--to know when encouragement is needed, to know when correction is needed, to know when material or physical help is needed, in short, to act so as to promote unity and strength in the body of believers and in sharing the gospel with the lost.

  • That they approve things that are excellentExcellent is a reference to things that are “the best,” that are superior and of great value.  To be able to approve or discern what is best, one must have a basis for judgment.  That undisputable basis for the Christian is the word of God.  Paul declared this truth in his letter to Timothy.

2 Timothy 3:16–17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

This is also the basis for the discerning love mentioned above.  Unless we accept the word of God as our foundation for truth and morality, we are left to the subjective opinions of man.  So it would seem that the underlying prayer that Paul is making is that these believers grow in knowledge, wisdom and application of the truth of scripture to their lives.
  • That they are sincere and without offence – To be sincere (pure, genuine) and without offence (faultless, inoffensive) is the outcome of choosing what is excellent.  Burton Coffman had an interesting commentary on the word sincere:  It has often been pointed out that this word is derived from two Latin words, sin (without) and cere (wax).  Italian marble vendors and certain merchants of porcelain fell into the habit of hiding flaws in their merchandise by filling cracks and blemishes with a certain kind of wax; but the more reputable dealers advertised their wares as sin cere (without wax); and from this derived the meaning of the English word ‘sincere.’ The true meaning of it is "without deception" or "without hypocrisy."

Paul’s prayer is that the Philippians exhibit this type of character “till the day of Christ”—a reference to when He comes to take believers home.

    • That they be filled with the fruits of righteousness – The natural progression of discerning love, excellent choices, and living a pure life will produce fruit.  This would be a reference to the fruit of the Spirit as defined in Galatians.
    How is that fruit produced in our lives?  By abiding in the Savior.

    Galatians 5:22–23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

    John 15:4–5 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

    When we yield to the Savior to the point of producing fruit, we bring glory to the Father through the provision of the Son and the empowerment of the Spirit that we possess because of that provision.
    Click on pic for larger view

    Thursday, July 3, 2014


    2 Corinthians 4:8–9 “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed….”

    We Christians are living in a fallen world, a world currently ruled by the “god of this world,” “the prince of the power of the air,” Satan.

    2Corinthians 4:4 “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not,”

    Ephesians 2:2 “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”

    The Lord Jesus specifically identified this power as Satan when He spoke to Paul on the road to Damascus.

    Acts 26:16-18 “But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

    I believe that the forces of Satan are growing ever stronger as we approach the time for the Lord’s return.  The signs of the times are all around us, and persecution of those who are true followers of Jesus is only going to increase.  As that happens, a natural refining process will occur in the professing church.  Only those who possess true faith in Jesus will be able to face such times of trouble, perplexity and persecution and emerge victorious.  God will provide for us through the comfort and empowerment of the indwelling Holy Spirit. 

    John 14:16–17 “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”

    Romans 8:11–14 “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

    Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

    Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

    Romans 8:35–39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”