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For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. 2 Timothy 1:12
How Do You Respond

There are essentially two ways to answer any question regarding Christianity. One is logical and matter-of-fact and the other is compelling and personal. One clearly sheds light on the what of Christianity and the other the Who of our faith. While both are fine and have a place in our witness, the latter is decisively better. I suspect this is likely the reason why the Apostle Paul opts here to share about Who he knows rather than what he knows.

“Whom I Believe”

I’m treading gently here, but nevertheless, our faith has less to do with what we believe and everything to do with Who we believe in, submit to, and rely upon. Therefore, our most effective witness occurs when our focus is kept on Jesus and our relationship. Similarly, if you were telling someone about marriage, the better account would come not from a dictionary, but in the sharing of your personal relationship you enjoy with your spouse. This of course in no way diminishes the importance and vitality and truth of Biblical data.

What vs. Who

Reflect on what you know about the Bible and chances are you fall into one of these two categories: a) You are not very knowledgeable and feel hindered by the fact that you do not know a lot, or b) You study the Bible a lot and have come to the realization that the more you learn the less you know.

Don’t fret…

This is a wonderful position to be in and Paul, the biblical scholar, would agree (although he would never counsel anyone to not study the Bible. That would be ludicrous). The formerly blind man would also agree — he knew very little (if anything) of God‘s word. However, he was more than willing and able to share about his relationship with his Savior Jesus.

Sometimes all you have is all you need.

“One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” John 9:25

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Why are we counted as beasts, And regarded as stupid in your sight? Job 18:3

All Men Are Bozos

That of course is a lie; men are not Bozos. You will not find Bozo-theology offered as truth anywhere in the Bible. What you will find are sinful people (like Job’s friend Bildad) saying foolish things, as he does in Job 18:3. The truth is that God does not count men as beasts, nor does he regard us as stupid. The concept is a lie from the pit of hell.

What the Bible Has to Say on the Subject

Two Bible verse jump out at me:

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” Psalm 14:1a

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool. Proverbs 28:26

On the surface, those are pretty incriminating passages, but when we sort through the rhetoric it’s plain to see that sin-nature is the true culprit. We should also take note that the passages are not gender specific—human beings are foolish when they are ensnared by their own sin, men and women alike.

So What’s My Point?

My point is that men are not Bozos, despite the fact it’s a lie perpetuated in almost every single TV sitcom.  The truth be told, men are sinners, and we have discovered a convenient lie to hide behind so that we may continue in our sin. In other words, we often pretend to be stupid so we can continue to be selfish and lazy. There, I said it. Let the fireworks begin.

I’ll give you one example from my own life: doing laundry. I use to do my wife’s laundry, that is until I ‘accidentally’ shrunk a few things in the drier and turned a few white things ‘pink’ in the washing machine. My wife took back the chore when we both agreed I was an idiot.

Now let’s examine the facts. First, I am not an idiot—I know how to do laundry. Any moron can figure out and recall the basic steps of separating colors and whites, the use of hot and cold water, and what can and cannot go into the drier. The problem is not that I am stupid, the problem is that I’m lazy (aka: a sinner). 99% of the time you can get away with being a lazy launderer, but every so often your sin will find you out.

Here’s what really happened: I could have a) objected to being called an idiot and defended my laundering skills, or b) accept the idiot moniker and never have to do my wife’s laundry again. Hmm…tough choice huh? While choosing ‘plan b’ seemed like the wise, manly thing to do it, was also the sinful thing to do. “Yup, I’m a bozo honey; couldn’t agree with you more (have fun washing your own clothes)!”

The Spiritual Fork in the Road

I’m rocking a very sacred boat and I suspect this is where I am going to lose a lot of the men. Why would I even dare to raise the issue? I bring it up in the light of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians’, particularly this passage in chapter 5:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27

Men, if we are hiding behind a lie in our marital relationships, we are not loving our wives as Christ loved the church nor are we cleansing them with the washing of the word. What we are doing is deceiving our wives and giving them a sinful example to emulate. Men, we are not Bozos…we are sinners. As painful as it is for us, we must reject the notion of the world that we inane and accept that truth that are hearts are deceptively wicked. Change that is pleasing to God cannot come until we confess our sin and repent.

 

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A New Date for the Rapture

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. You turn man to destruction, And say, “Return, O children of men.” For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it is past, And like a watch in the night. Psalm 90:1-4

It is recorded that this particular Psalm was penned by Moses and many believe that it wonderfully correlates with the Creation story found in Genesis. I would agree with that assessment. I also agree with Pastor Jon Courson’s evaluation that it not only parallels the seven days of Creation, but also the entire seven millennium history of mankind, including prophetically that which has not yet occurred. Of course the premise rests upon the Psalmist’s God-inspired phrase, “For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday.” We see the idea picked up in the New Testament as well.

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3:8

I take the seven-day Genesis account of creation literally; that it was seven, twenty-four hour days. But I also believe that in God’s seven-day Design, He amazingly gave us a prophetic picture of what was in store for His creation over the next seven millenniums. The King James Version renders the 2 Peter 3:8 verse, “Beloved, be not ignorant,” emphasizing the importance of knowing that in God’s economy a thousand years is equal to one day and visa versa. Why is that critical knowledge? Well, as it pertains to the modern-day Christian, it helps us to understand that we are in fact living in the last days.

Day 1

In Genesis 1 we read that God begins His Creation. Aside from the Creation itself, what would you consider to be the most significant event in the first one thousand years of known history? Would you say that it is Adam’s eating of the forbidden fruit? I found it interesting that God said in Genesis 2:17, “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” While critics say, “Adam didn’t die; he lived for 930 years after he ate of fruit!” God might add, “That’s right! I AM true to My word; the lad didn’t even make it until the end of the first day.”

Day 2

You carry them away like a flood… Psalm 90:5a

In the Genesis account, on the second day God made places for the waters of the earth. Not coincidently, the big event in the second millennium was the Flood in the days of Noah.

Day 3

They are like a sleep. In the morning they are like grass which grows up: In the morning it flourishes and grows up; In the evening it is cut down and withers. Psalm 90:5b-6

On day three of God’s Creation, the earth brought forth grass and vegetation. The Psalmist’s words remind us of the big event of the third millennium: Jacob’s trek down to Egypt with the family. There, under his son Joseph’s protective hand, they flourished in the fields of Goshen. However, in time the nation was enslaved beneath the tyrannical rule of an evil pharaoh who forced them to cut down their own straw to make his bricks.

Day 4

For we have been consumed by Your anger, And by Your wrath we are terrified. You have set our iniquities before You, Our secret sins in the light of Your countenance. For all our days have passed away in Your wrath; We finish our years like a sigh. Psalm 90:7-9

On the fourth day, God created the sun, the moon, and the stars to give us light. It was by this light in the fourth millennium that Israel’s secret sins of idolatry were exposed. As a result they were led away into captivity by the Babylonians.

Day 5

The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Psalm 90:10

On the fifth day God made the fishes and the fowls; and the Psalmist records, “And we fly away.” In the fifth millennium, the big event was Christ’s coming, His death and resurrection, and Israel’s rejection. By 70 AD, the temple was destroyed and those Jews who weren’t slaughtered were dispersed across the globe.

Day 6

Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath. So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:11-12

We know that on the sixth day of Creation, God created man. Our Psalmist would remind us here that man, in this his sixth millennium, should be mindful to number his days, for the seventh day is rapidly approaching; the Day of the Lord is at hand. Roughly speaking, the sixth millennium ended in the area of the year 2000.

Day 7

Return, O Lord! How long? And have compassion on Your servants. Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, That we may rejoice and be glad all our days! Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us, The years in which we have seen evil. Let Your work appear to Your servants, And Your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.
Psalm 90:13-17

On the seventh day God rested and in the Gospels Jesus repeatedly told us, “The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” Jesus is our Sabbath; i.e., our rest and His coming is nigh. How soon will it be? Consider the words of the Psalmist, “Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,” the idea being early in the day. By all accounts we would say, “Oh, satisfy us early in this millennium.” This passage from Matthew’s Gospel sheds some more light:

“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near–at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”. Matthew 24:32-36

In these last few weeks, with all the end-of-the-world predictions, we have been reading the, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only,” passage quite a bit. But focus for a moment on the verses preceding that one.

The fig tree in Christian typology represents the Nation of Israel. Many say (and I agree) that Israel became tender and put forth its’ leaves when in May of 1948, they became reestablished as a nation in the Middle East. The Gospel writer records that, “This generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.”

How long is a generation? Bible scholars cannot agree; some say fifty years, some seventy, and some say one hundred. The fact of the matter is that we are in the early years of the seventh millennium now. While we cannot be dogmatic about the length of a generation, we can say that somewhere between today and the year 2048, Christ’s return would be an answer to Moses’ come early prayer. The bottom line is that every Christian should behave as if Christ’s return were imminent…because it is.

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. James 5:7-8

In regards to the mentioning of Harold Camping in the title, it was not my intent to give him any credence–the man is deceived and we should not ridicule him, but rather keep him and his followers in our prayers.  I only wanted to highlight the truthful doctrine that Jesus could come for his church at any time. 


These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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And Joseph came in to them in the morning and looked at them, and saw that they were sad. So he asked Pharaoh‘s officers who were with him in the custody of his lord’s house, saying, “Why do you look so sad today?” And they said to him, “We each have had a dream, and there is no interpreter of it.” So Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please.” Genesis 40:6-8

In the Pits

Is this you: you desire to enthusiastically serve and bless the Lord, following through on the vision He has given you, but you find yourself in the pits, unable to do much of anything towards fulfilling that dream. I know I’ve been there. God had great plans for Joseph, but he was falsely accused and imprisoned—is that the way you feel sometimes? Do you ask of God, “Father, you have given me this work to do, and I want to do it, but everywhere I turn there is another obstacle?”

Help Someone Else

To say that Joseph’s dreams were hindered somewhat would be an understatement, but notice how he was led by the Lord to handle the situation…

Then the chief butler told his dream to Joseph…And Joseph said to him, “This is the interpretation of it: Genesis 40:9a + 12a

It is as if God said to Joseph, “Before your dreams are fulfilled, I want you to help others with their dreams.”

I find that very significant and I suspect it is the testimony of every faithful Christian I know; when you are down or thwarted from your mission, help someone else. I can honestly say that every time I’ve practiced this principle, the Lord has been faithful to keep me moving in the direction He wants me to go. In contrast, when I choose to mope, I effectively quench the Holy Spirit and as a result, my spiritual progress stalls.

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Genesis 50:20

When we stumble it helps to always remember that God has allowed it; He has allowed these obstacles (whatever they are), to be placed in our path. That should cause every Christian to wonder why; “For what divine purpose have I been ensnared?”

So the next time you’re knocked down, before you jump to your feet, take a moment or two to look around to see who else is down there with you. Perhaps it is one or more of these folks the Lord wants you to assist. Your fall could very well be the help someone else was hoping for today.


 

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.” Romans 4:7-8

Salvation as we know, is about the forgiveness of sins. Around 1739 the Moravians were in Alaska sharing the Gospel when they stumbled upon a problem—in the native Alaskan language there was no word for forgiveness, which made it kind of hard to talk about the subject matter. Not a problem. After pondering the issue for a little while, they made up a word.

Issumagijoujungnainermik

That word ‘issu-magijou-jung-nainer-mik’ is currently the longest word in the native Alaskan language and it literally means, “Not being able to think about it any more.” Isn’t that beautiful? It almost perfectly describes how God the Father views the sin of His children—He isn’t able to think about it anymore. Why? Because we’re justified by Christ’s blood and God sees us as if we have never sinned.

In other words, the Father does not look at us; see our sin and say, “Lucky for you My Son died for those sins.” No! He sees us robed in His Son’s righteous and sinless! That’s like going to court with a speeding ticket and the judge saying, “Sir, the charge you are talking about does not exist.”

God isn’t winking at our sin…it’s completely gone! Incredible, isn’t it? The only work the believer must do (which really isn’t any effort) is to accept delivery of the free gift.

Have you received God’s free gift?

Are you going to Heaven?

“I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” Jeremiah 31:34


These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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God be merciful to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us…That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. Psalm 67:1-2

The sixty-seventh Psalm is a prophetic song speaking to the way things will be when Christ Jesus returns. We can see that in the passage as the psalmist writes that, “God shall bless us,” when all the peoples (note the plural) praise Him and rejoice in Him. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting closer.

However despite its farsightedness, we can still receive and make a personal application for today—the first two verses of the Psalm spell it all out: ‘We are blessed so that we might be a blessing to others.’ (Paraphrase mine). A little side note, the doctrine represented here undermines entirely the ‘name-it-and-claim-it,’ prosperity gospel. The psalmist could not have made it any clearer—it’s not about us, it’s about God.

The Jews Blew it

“I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles…” Isaiah 42:6

This is how we know (in part) that the Psalm is prophetic in design—God called the Jews to be His light to the Gentiles; to share what they knew of Him with them. The Gentiles are of course everyone who is not a Jew; in other words, ‘all peoples.’ In this regard, the Jews dropped the ball. I’m not bashing the Nation of Israel (keep reading).

The Christians Blew it

Collectively, the church is blowing it too. The nation of Israel was supposed to be that blessing to the people of the earth, right? And today Christians understand that we are blessed so that we may be a blessing to others, thus bringing all honor, glory, and praise to Him, right?

It would appear we’re not doing the best job we can. By that I mean (and I’m pointing a finger at myself right now), “How many have I shared the Gospel with today? Yesterday? This past year?”

Don’t get me wrong, I know God’s will is going to be done in spite of the fact that His children are poor evangelizers; that’s a given. However, that does not let any believer off the hook. Now before I start sounding too legalistic, let me remind you (us) that sharing the Gospel is something we get to do; it is not something we have to do.

Our lives have been spared, right? We’re a grateful lot of people, right? What Jesus did for us was miraculous, right? How then can we keep from shouting His praise, right?

But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not. Jeremiah 20:9b

If you’re no Billy Graham, don’t be condemned, be convicted. How can you tell the difference? Condemnation will draw you away from Jesus, while conviction will draw you closer to Him. Billy Graham was not the Billy Graham (we know) over night and he would likely tell you that he is still a ‘work in progress.’ So are we. Besides that, God does not want me to be a Billy Graham; He wants me to be a David Wells. Who does God want you to be?

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13


These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. How long will you attack a man? You shall be slain, all of you, Like a leaning wall and a tottering fence. They only consult to cast him down from his high position; They delight in lies; They bless with their mouth, But they curse inwardly. Selah My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah Surely men of low degree are a vapor, Men of high degree are a lie; If they are weighed on the scales, They are altogether lighter than vapor. Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them. God has spoken once, Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God. Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy; For You render to each one according to his work. Psalm 62

David’s flight from Jerusalem is the setting for this Psalm. Absalom wants his father’s throne and his physical and verbal attacks upon David are never-ending. David confirms the assault in verse four. Speaking of Absalom and his co-conspirators, David cites their sole purpose is to cast him down with their lies and their craftily concealed curses. Inspired by God, David counsels his own soul.

My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God.

Again, David is not merely talking to himself; his counsel is of the Lord. What is that counsel? Be still, “Wait silently for the Lord.” Be stable, “He is my Rock,” Be strong, “He is my strength.” Be safe, “He is my refuge.” And notice the change that takes place within the passage: in verse two David says that he will not be ‘greatly’ moved, but by verse six he proclaims that upon this Rock he will not be moved at all. That kind of conviction can only come from the Lord. Consider this passage from the Book of Hebrews:

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6

I underlined the key words: “God has said (so that) we may boldly say.” In other words we are not making disingenuous claims or hyping ourselves up emotionally and/or psychologically in order that we might get through our day or our problems. No, we can boldly say the things we say because God has asserted them beforehand. Our patience, our stability, our strength, and our security have been preordained by the Creator of the Universe. By whose authority can a Christian say the things he says? By His authority!

David Shares the Revelation with the People

Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah Surely men of low degree are a vapor, Men of high degree are a lie; If they are weighed on the scales, They are altogether lighter than vapor. Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them. God has spoken once, Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God. Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy…

David cautions his subjects to not trust in men, might, or money, but in God alone. Look at the contrast: men of high degree, of money, and of might have a limited amount of power, but typically are short on mercy. Men of low degree and the oppressed have a limited amount of mercy, but lack power. Not only does God have access to both power and mercy, the attributes belong to Him—He doesn’t just have some, He owns it all! In light of that, why should we trust in any other?

In God alone!


 

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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