Category Archives: Thoughts on The Word

The Poor You Will Always Have

    Mark 14:7, Matthew 26:11, and John 12:8 are three gospel accounts of Jesus declaring that the disciples would have the poor among them “always”. And normally this verse has always been a highlighter on my thoughts that the poor will be around until Jesus cones back. On occasion it makes me think about the need for missions in the poverty stricken regions of the world. That always seemed like the crux of the verse.
    My analysis is supported by the old testament verse Deuteronomy 15:11. There we see that the Israelite nation is instructed to be “open handed” toward their neighbors.
    But as I was driving down the road this morning I saw a lady with a cardboard sign asking for money. I was conflicted in that moment about stopping and speaking with her or continuing on my way to church. It was in that moment that I remembered that verse and got a completely different perspective on it.
    Jesus spoke to the eternal while in the moment. And it seems to me that there is a more eternal message wrapped in the words he spoke to his disciples. The woman in this story has come to worship Jesus in the best way she can. And Jesus’ shortsighted disciples were just like me in that moment. “This could have been sold and used in an outreach”, I imagine myself saying to Jesus. But Jesus uses this as a teachable moment.
Worship supercedes missions.
What a thought! The idea that Jesus actually prefers that I stop sometimes and make Him my mission. To gaze at Him in all of His splendor and be awed. To minister to His heart and be ministered to.
So now before I jump the gun about getting out and doing outreach I have a reminder to stop and remember why we do what we do in the first place.

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The Shack By Wm. Paul Young (the Missy Project)

     I recently completed ‘The Shack’ by Wm. Paul Young. Yes, I am aware that the book was released in 2008 but I am just getting around to reading it. (Dont Judge Me). This is one of the few fiction works that I have ever read that were able to make me rethink my theology and relationship with God. Not that I am in total agreement with Mr. Young’s ideas in the book, but he presents God the Father in a light that I have never ventured to see Him in. Without giving away the story line I will just say that The central character in the book is an image of the wreck that many of us are. I believe that one of the great attractions of this book is that the readers can put themselves in the place of this character in a number of ways. I recomment that you go out and buy this book as a gift and for yourself.

     There are a few theologically questionable themes, but they are questions well worth asking. the main issue sprouts from the way God is presented to the readers. While maintaining the trinitarian view, God is… well, lets just say God is in rare form. This book hit home for me on several levels, and Grace and Law find their way into the storyline at a critical point. Many questions that stir in the hearts of so many saints are addressed in this book. Questions like, ‘Where do grace and law cross paths?’ and ‘What does God expect of me really? I mean, Im only human.’

     Basically, I thought the book was inspirational, and challenging. I think that those are two things that believers are in dire need of in todays world. So go out and grab The Shack by William Paul Young. Then you can join the Missy Project too!

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Jacob-The One Who Wrestled with God

Gen 32:24. There wrestled a man with him [107] Although this vision was particularly useful to Jacob himself, to teach him beforehand that many conflicts awaited him, and that he might certainly conclude that he should be the conqueror in them all; there is yet not the least doubt that the Lord exhibited, in his person, a specimen of the temptations — common to all his people — which await them, and must be constantly submitted to, in this transitory life. Wherefore it is right to keep in view this designs of the vision, which is to represent all the servants of God in this world as wrestlers; because the Lord exercises them with various kinds of conflicts. Moreover, it is not said that Satan, or any mortal man, wrestled with Jacob, but God himself: to teach us that our faith is tried by him; and whenever we are tempted, our business is truly with him, not only because we fight under his auspices, but because he, as an antagonist, descends into the arena to try our strength. This, though at first sight it seems absurd, experience and reason teaches us to be true. For as all prosperity flows from his goodness, so adversity is either the rod with which he corrects our sins, or the test of our faith and patience. And since there is no kind of temptations by which God does not try his faithful people, the similitude is very suitable, which represents him as coming, hand to hand, to combat with them. Therefore, what was once exhibited under a visible form to our father Jacob, is daily fulfilled in the individual members of the Church; namely, that, in their temptations, it is necessary for them to wrestle with God. He is said, indeed, to tempt us in a different manner from Satan; but because he alone is the Author of our crosses and afflictions, and he alone creates light and darkness, (as is declared in Isaiah,) he is said to tempt us when he makes a trial of our faith. But the question now occurs, Who is able to stand against an Antagonist, at whose breath alone all flesh perishes and vanishes away, at whose look the mountains melt, at whose word or beck the whole world is shaken to pieces, and therefore to attempt the least contest with him would be insane temerity? But it is easy to untie the knot. For we do not fight against him, except by his own power, and with his own weapons; for he, having challenged us to this contest, at the same time furnishes us with means of resistance, so that he both fights against us and for us. In short, such is his apportioning of it is conflict, that, while he assails us with one hand, he defends us with the other; yea, inasmuch as he supplies us with more strength to resist than he employs in opposing us, we may truly and properly say, that he fights against us with his left hand, and for us with his right hand. For while he lightly opposes us, he supplies invincible strength whereby we overcome. It is true he remains at perfect unity with himself: but the double method in which he deals with us cannot be otherwise expressed, than that in striking us with a human rod, he does not put forth his full strength in the temptation; but that in granting the victory to our faith, he becomes in us stronger than the power by which he opposes us. And although these forms of expression are harsh, yet their harshness will be easily mitigated in practice. For if temptations are contests, (and we know that they are not accidental, but are divinely appointed for us,) it follows hence, that God acts in the character of an antagonist, and on this the rest depends; namely, that in the temptation itself he appears to be weak against us, that he may conquer in us. Some restrict this to one kind of temptation only, where God openly and avowedly manifests himself as our adversary, as if armed for our destruction. And truly, I confess, that this differs from common conflicts, and requires, beyond all others, a rare, and even heroic strength. Yet I include willingly every kind of conflict in which God exercises the faithful: since in all they have God for an antagonist, although he may not openly proclaim himself hostile unto them. That Moses here calls him a man whom a little after he declares to have been God, is a sufficiently usual form of speech. For since God appeared under the form of a man, the name is thence assumed; just as, because of the visible symbol, the Spirit is called a dove; and, in turn, the name of the Spirit is transferred to the dove. That this disclosure was not sooner made to the holy man, I understand to be for this reason, because God had resolved to call him, as a soldier, robust and skillful in war, to more severe contests. For as raw recruits are spared, and young oxen are not immediately yoked to the plough; so the Lord more gently exercises his own people, until, having gathered strength, they become more inured to toil. Jacob, therefore, having been accustomed to bear sufferings, is now led forth to real war. Perhaps also, the Lord had reference to the conflict which was then approaching. But I think Jacob was admonished, at his very entrance on the promised land, that he was not there to expect a tranquil life for himself. For his return to his own country might seem to be a kind of release; and thus Jacob, like a soldier who had kept his term of service, would have given himself up to repose. Wherefore it was highly necessary for him to be taught what his future conditions should be. We, also, are to learn from him, that we must fight during the whole course of our life; lest any one, promising himself rest, should wilfully deceive himself. And this admonition is very needful for us; for we see how prone we are to sloth. Whence it arises, that we shall not only be thinking of a truce in perpetual war; but also of peace in the heat of the conflict, unless the Lord rouse us.

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Coming out of the Darkness

I haven’t posted anything for a while. I have been in the midst of a fight for my life. And now that I am coming out of the darkness of the cloud I have a new lease on life. As I found myself fearing that God may have some impending punishment waiting on me I had a moment alone with our Lord. And I felt the need to grant you all a very intimate look int my life so that you may be blessed.

While sitting in worship this morning, I was touched by what must be reverently described as the presence of God. And in that touch He spoke to me. And the words he said to me moved me to tears as I was overwhelmed with the reality of who He is in my life. As I remember all that He has done for me. He said to me, “Do you think that I have come all this way with you, to leave you now? I am always with you, I will never leave you. Even in the darkest hour I am with you. Don’t fear what you are going through, but trust me.”

So here I am, with a renewed knowledge that He is faithful. Even when I am unfaithful, He remains yet faithful. Yes, sometimes I feel alone, but He is there. Yes, Sometimes I feel like no one understands, but He does. He experienced my pain and more in His time on earth. He is not so far removed from my infirmities that he doesn’t know what I am going through internally.

Rather, He knows full well what it is to be rejected, despised, hated, and cast aside. And He experienced that while giving Himself in love to the world. I have not yet given myself to that level of sacrifice. As a matter of fact, I haven’t even come close.  So here I am again, learning the faithfulness of God. Learning that He is ever present and always helping. He is always teaching and correcting. He is always loving us into His arms and His ways.

I hope that this short read will add something to you, in some way. God Bless you.

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CNN Belief Blog

Editor’s note: Listen to the CNN podcast of this piece:Karen Spears Zacharias is author of A Silence of Mockingbirds: The Memoir of a Murder (MacAdam/Cage, 2012) and is on Twitter at @karenzach.

By Karen Spears Zacharias, Special to CNN

I hear the audible voice of God. No, not in the same way that the Bible’s Eve did when God asked her outright and out loud: “Woman, what in my name have you done now?”

Scriptures don’t tell us specifically, but I suspect at that particular moment in eternity God must have sounded a lot like Perry Mason: “C’mon, tell the truth. You know I’m a specialist on getting people out of trouble.”

Bestselling author Patti Callahan Henry is a pastor’s daughter in Alabama. You’d think if God spoke to anybody, it would be a pastor’s child, but Patti swears she has never heard the voice of God…

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The Five Fold Ministry

The “5 Fold Gifts” are a topic that many pentecostals have accepted with no thought. The doctrine of the “5-Fold Ministry” is simple. It states that these gifts are all still alive and active today. The question for this week is about this issue.

The most interesting point in this for me, is that many of these words are not translations, they are transliterations. Allow me to translate a few.

Evangelist – Euaggelistes

  1. a bringer of good tidings, an evangelist
  2. the name given to the NT heralds of salvation through Christ who are not apostles

PASTOR (Not an English word)- Poimen- 

  1. a herdsman, esp. a shepherd
    1. in the parable, he to whose care and control others have committed themselves, and whose precepts they follow
  2. metaphor
    1. the presiding officer, manager, director, of any assembly: so of Christ the Head of the church
      1. of the overseers of the Christian assemblies
      2. of kings and princes

The tasks of a Near Eastern shepherd were: – to watch for enemies trying to attack the sheep – to defend the sheep from attackers – to heal the wounded and sick sheep – to find and save lost or trapped sheep – to love them, sharing their lives and so earning their trust.

 Apostle- Apostolos- a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders

  1. specifically applied to the twelve apostles of Christ
  2. in a broader sense applied to other eminent Christian teachers
    1. of Barnabas
    2. of Timothy and Silvanus

Are these gifts (Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Teacher, and Evangelist) Still Active in the Body of Christ today?

EPHESIANS 4:11-16

11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

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Baptizo

Baptism has been the root of quite a bit of contention in the Body of Christ. It is a transliteration of the word Baptizo, which bears a manifold definition.

  1. to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk)
  2. to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one’s self, bathe
  3. to overwhelm

Not to be confused with 911, bapto. The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be ‘dipped’ (bapto) into boiling water and then ‘baptised’ (baptizo) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change. When used in the New Testament, this word more often refers to our union and identification with Christ than to our water baptism. e.g. Mark 16:16. ‘He that believes and is baptised shall be saved’. Christ is saying that mere intellectual assent is not enough. There must be a union with him, a real change, like the vegetable to the pickle! Bible Study Magazine, James Montgomery Boice, May 1989.

Is baptism necessary for salvation and if so, which definition best illustrates the method?

 

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