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“ And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

This quote was posted today on one of the social networks:

To know what is right and not to do it is called cowardice – Confucius

That’s Wisdom, Right?

Wrong. That isn’t wisdom.

It’s dumb.

How do we know it’s not wisdom?

God told us so.

“But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, Nor is it found in the land of the living.” Job 28:12-13

But it’s Confucius! It must be wisdom.

It’s not. It’s a deception and it’s one of the devices satan uses to get our focus away from Jesus Christ and off of the truth. Christian, it’s the subtlety that makes it so dangerous. In fact it’s so subtle; you might even find yourself wanting to defend Confucius.

Don’t.

By the way, God would say to Confucius (and his quote),

“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” Romans 4:17

The truth of the matter is that Christians have no business whatsoever quoting and/or drawing upon secular philosophies. We can argue the contrary position all we like, but at the end of the day there is no getting around God’s wisdom found in Colossians 2:8.

“ Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”

Despite the Holy Scripture references, there will still be some who defend the practice. That’s a shame, but I’m not going to argue about it – God’s word defends itself.

And just to be clear, I’m not condemning to hell anyone who quotes a non-Christian source. However, as we have previously seen, ‘if we know what’s right and do something else, it is a sin.’

“ And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.’ ” Job 28:28

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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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‘Access the Power Within You’ (Youtube) is the name of the video. I watched and I am glad I did. I’m glad because now I can tell you to not waste your time or energy. From a Christian perspective, it is a lie. For about two and a half minutes it presents Christian-like expressions over tranquil photographs, giving it a biblical appearance and therein lies the danger. 2 Timothy 3:5 tells us to turn away from people who have a form of godliness.

I went through the video line-by line, copied its verse here, and posted an appropriate biblical response to each.

‘Access the power within you to create your own reality’

That’s yoga, not Christianity. Psalm 62:11 says, “God has spoken once, Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God.”

‘I am a…Divine being’

God would disagree. He spoke directly through the prophet when He said in Isaiah 43:10, “You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me.

‘I have unlimited potential’

To the contrary, our singular potential is quite limited. While it is true we can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13), we discover in 1 Peter 4:11, “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever.” I would add that when God says we can do all things, the implication is ‘all the things HE empowers us to do,’ not the things we want to do on our own.

‘I am One with the Creator’

Galatians 3:28 does say, “For you are all one in Christ Jesus,” but I noted who the video capitalized the ‘O’ in the word one. In the context of the entire video he or she was implying equality and shared supremacy with the Lord. Deuteronomy 10:17, “The Lord your God is supreme over all gods and over all powers. He is great and mighty, and he is to be obeyed.”

‘Therefore I have the ability to create’

No you don’t. Man can be ‘creative’, but only God can create. At best , man can copy (poorly I might add) what God has already created. Ecclesiastes 3:1-9 is our reminder: “Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses. He sets the time for birth and the time for death, the time for planting and the time for pulling up, the time for killing and the time for healing, the time for tearing down and the time for building. He sets the time for sorrow and the time for joy, the time for mourning and the time for dancing, the time for making love and the time for not making love, the time for kissing and the time for not kissing. He sets the time for finding and the time for losing, the time for saving and the time for throwing away, the time for tearing and the time for mending, the time for silence and the time for talk. He sets the time for love and the time for hate, the time for war and the time for peace. What do we gain from all our work?”

‘My thoughts are energy…they expand out into the universe to create dreams’

Look at what God has to say about our thoughts. Isaiah 53:6 “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” And Isaiah 65:2 “All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations”

‘I change my thoughts to transform my life’

Only God can transform us into anything worthwhile. Ezekiel 36:26-27 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” And we can add to that John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

‘I resonate in the energy of gratitude by counting my blessing everyday’

Again, this ‘sounds right’ but its suggesting that there is a work we can do that is eternally beneficial; that is just not the case—its ALL God’s grace. Romans 11:6 “And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.”

‘I evaluate my emotions to bring awareness to thoughts that need to heal’

This is in error too—we do not know our own hearts (we think we do, but we lie to ourselves). Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.”

‘I affirm and clear my energies with love, joyful, peaceful thoughts’

Once again, we haven’t the power to cleanse ourselves. Psalm 139:23-24 reminds to submit ourselves first to God, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” Then we submit ourselves to His cleansing power.” And 1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

‘I take time to visualize to; manifest my dreams into reality’

I took note of the yoga position in this portion of the video—yoga has no place with Christianity. Bottom line here is that our will needs to align itself with God’s will (not the other way around)—following our own wills is likened to sin. Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

‘I expect miracles everyday because I am a miracle’

Those who are saved by God’s grace are miracles. Everything about our composition and the universe in which we reside is a miracle. I thank God for these miracles and I pray that He continues providing them. I anticipate God’s miracles, but I will not suppose from God that I am due a single one. Romans 9:15-16, 20-21 “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy…But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

Finally…

Their link is http://www.powerwithin.us so I checked it out. It opens with a quote from Lao Tzu who was a mystic philosopher of ancient China and the author of the Tao Te Ching. He is considered to be the founder of Taoism (aka: Daoism).

That site is affiliated with http://www.lifepathcenter.net who propagate workshops including: Natural Healing Practices, Meditation for Beginners, Yoga, Qigong, Connect With the Angels, Healing with Colors and Crystals, and Numerology.

Jesus Christ is not even given an honorable mention on either of these websites (and actually, I’m glad).

Here’s the video if you still want to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVhVC7f7-dE

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When the king returned from the palace garden to the place of the banquet of wine, Haman had fallen across the couch where Esther was. Then the king said, “Will he also assault the queen while I am in the house?” As the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. Esther 7:8

“Coincidence is God‘s way of remaining anonymous”

That quote is attributed to Albert Einstein in an essay titled ‘The World As I See It’ and I cite it [here] because it lends itself well to the entire Book of Esther. How so—because beginning in Ester 1:1 and ending in Ester 10:1 the volume makes absolutely no reference to God. Other words you won’t see in Esther include: prayer, pray, worship, and sacrifice. That amazes me. It amazes me because God is all over this book.

It Just So Happened

A skeptic might read Esther and expectedly conclude that there are a lot of coincidences in Esther’s story. They might add that not seeing God’s name mentioned gives their notion credibility. However the faithful contend that this book of coincidences is really a book of grace and Divine intervention. Just consider the interactions between evil Haman and Mordecai the good guy.

Haman loathed Mordecai because he wouldn’t bow in his presence; therefore he planned to hang him in the gallows the very next day. That night (as coincidence would have it), the king could not sleep, so he called for the records of the kingdom to be read aloud to him (surely this would put him to sleep). But it was there he heard about an attempt on his life and the man who thwarted it, none other than our hero Mordecai.

The king summoned Haman and tells him of a man he desires to bestow a great honor. Haman, the pompous fool that he was (believing it was him), gives the king an elaborate depiction of how this man should be praised. It wasn’t until later he realized that the man was Mordecai. His plot foiled, Haman discovered he was the one who would parade Mordecai through the streets praising him!

Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him. Proverbs 26:27

Haman’s original evil plot was eventually revealed by Esther at a wine-filled banquet. The king is enraged when he discovers Haman’s wickedness and wisely walks away to gain his composure. A drunken Haman walks over to Esther and pleads for his life and in so doing falls on her. At that very moment (coincidently) the king reenters to room to find Haman seemingly assaulting his wife and was not pleased. Long story short, Haman was hung on the gallows he had constructed to kill Mordecai.

Coincidence? I think not.

God’s Love

There’s no doubt that Haman was evil and corrupt beyond redemption, but it would also be fair to say that Mordecai and Esther were in a spiritual slump, as were their Jewish brothers and sisters residing in the territory–the Godlessness of the text bears witness to that. For whatever the reasons, they had elected to stay where their ancestors had been held captive for seventy years and not return to Jerusalem–for the most part, those reasons were not good ones, and collectively they point to a backslidden condition.

I suppose the point I have taken so long to get to is realized in this one verse:

If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:13

Is that not a wonderful promise? If you are backslidden, that should give you great hope—God does not abandon His children because they stumble or because they tend to stay down for awhile after they have fallen. Our Father in Heaven blesses us still because we are His, even if we have forgotten for a season to mention His name.

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us… Acts 17:26-27


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 Calvary Chapel Coastlands.

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And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

Have you ever wondered why we do church the way we do? Well the truth of the matter is that church methodology had been prescribed thousands of years ago and is recorded in God’s Word the Bible. Believers know that all scripture is God-breathed, that it’s a beneficial doctrine for rebuke, refinement, and righteous teaching; that is if we desire to be Godly, complete, and thoroughly equipped for Christian service (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Let’s start in the New Testament.

The Early Church

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47

I whole heartedly agree with this narrative, as it lays out for us an illustration of what an effective body of believers should look like. However, we can go deeper and consequently put more meat on this bone as we venture back into the Old Testament. While Acts 2 gives us a paragraph, the Book of Nehemiah devotes an entire chapter to the subject. Let’s go through some of those informative passages.

The Earlier Church

Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. Nehemiah 8:1-2

The faithful gathered and were of one mind. The Apostle Paul, an Old Testament scholar himself, would extend this concept to the believers at Philippi, writing, ‘if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind (Philippians 2:1-2).

They went to a symbolic place–the Water Gate, where life giving water flowed and where everyone habitually gathered. They were out in the open where access could be easily gained and where secrets could not be contained. No one would be excluded as they happened upon the meeting.

They sought a knowledgeable person (Ezra) and a reliable source—God’s Word, The Book of the Law. I love the fact that it was the only resource utilized.

The assembly was orderly and only those who could hear with understanding were in attendance. Why? Because those without understanding, namely children, were a distraction—a good reason why children should be in Sunday school classes and not in church proper.

Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. So Ezra the scribe stood on a platform of wood which they had made for the purpose; and beside him, at his right hand, stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Urijah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah; and at his left hand Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. Nehemiah 8:3-4

Ezra’s service was about six hours long this day. I submit to you that this was not the norm, but it was what the Lord ordained for this particular day. Understand that the people were eager, willing, and attentive. If the question was raised, “How long is church?” it sounds as if the answer would have likely been, “As long as it takes!” We note that the people were glad.

We see the use of a pulpit, but observe that the preacher stood atop it and not behind it. In other words, he stood upon a platform whereby he could be clearly seen and heard by everyone in attendance. And he wasn’t alone; Ezra had many knowledgeable men at his side.

And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. Then all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. 7Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law; and the people stood in their place. So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading. Nehemiah 8:5-8

Ezra opened The Book of the Law (a scroll actually) in front of the people making it clear that this was, a) God’s Word and, b) he wasn’t making this stuff up as he went along—he had thirteen men up there on stage with him to testify to that fact.

When the Word was opened, the people stood. We take note that nobody instructed them to stand–it was understood by all that God was in their midst. In honor to God they would stand and later in reverent worship they would kneel. Again, there was no direction to do so; their orderly response was an obedient gesture that was discerned by those who believed.

In addition to the men standing with Ezra on the pulpit, there were more educated men mingling about the crowd assisting those with questions about the text. In this manner, no one left the meeting without clarity. My friends, this is the need and purpose of the church today—for God’s word to be read clearly and with explanation so that the congregation can be equipped for Christian service.

And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 11 So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12 And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them. Nehemiah 8:9-12

At first we’re perplexed and wonder why the congregation wept and was mournful. Let us recall our Bible studies that remind us that the word of God is alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12).

We can better understand their grief when we understand the text they were studying that day—The Law. The Law brings sorrow to those who understand the implications; i.e., that we fall way short in our compliance and that perfect adherence is impossible. The Law is merely the road sign that points us to our solution found in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:24).

And they found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month, and that they should announce and proclaim in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, “Go out to the mountain, and bring olive branches, branches of oil trees, myrtle branches, palm branches, and branches of leafy trees, to make booths, as it is written.” …And there was very great gladness. Nehemiah 8:14, 15, 17b

This passage demonstrates why there is need to go through the Bible cover-to-cover for fear that something be left out or forgotten. Too many churches today follow sermon lectionaries which stipulate particular passages to be highlighted and taught based solely on the church calendar. On the exterior it appears a nice method, but sadly it only minimally scratches the surface of what God would have us hear. Frankly, some topics are never discussed in this system. That ought not to be.

In Nehemiah’s case ultimately, and in due season, there was great gladness within the congregation because the people heard the Word–the whole truth and nothing but the truth as it were. If this does not sound like your church it might be time for a change; what that change looks like is between you and the Lord.


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 Calvary Chapel Coastlands.

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So it was, after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for him, the prophet whom he had brought back. When he was gone, a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his corpse was thrown on the road, and the donkey stood by it. The lion also stood by the corpse. 1 Kings 13:23-24

What’s Going On?

There was an unnamed man of a God; a prophet who was sent to King Jeroboam to deliver a message. King Jeroboam was not pleased with the word that he heard and with a pointed finger he directed his guards to seize the man of God. Incredibly, the King’s hand withered right there on the spot. A distraught Jeroboam pleaded with the man to pray for restoration. The man did and God restored his hand. In gratitude, Jeroboam invited the man home to dine with him. The offer was declined.

“If you were to give me half your house, I would not go in with you; nor would I eat bread nor drink water in this place. For so it was commanded me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘You shall not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came.’ ” 1 Kings 13:8-9

So, the man of God begins his journey home when an old prophet gets wind of what happened and sets out to find him. He discovers him on the road and like Jeroboam, invites him home to eat. Innocent enough we might think, but the man refuses the invitation citing the same reason as before.

For I have been told by the word of the Lord, ‘You shall not eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by going the way you came.’ “1 Kings 13:17

For whatever the reason (we’re not given a biblical explanation), the old prophet lies to the man….

“I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’ ” 1 Kings 13:18

The man of God is swayed by this old prophet and goes to his home to eat. As the meal is finished, the events turn ugly. The old prophet now makes this proclamation:

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord, and have not kept the commandment which the Lord your God commanded you, but you came back, ate bread, and drank water in the place of which the Lord said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’ “1 Kings 13:21-22

So the man of God leaves and is killed by a lion.

Are You a Man of God?

Without a doubt this is a bizarre story. However it is recorded in the Bible for a purpose. There is a lesson revealed in the conduct of the unnamed man of God and it’s important to us, because as men and women of God, we are similarly vulnerable. The man knew the word of God and he allowed himself to be swayed by someone he respected or deemed to be unthreatening. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians reminds us that if anyone at all, Christian or otherwise, preaches any other Gospel then the one we received, that person (or angel) shall be accursed; the implication being that we should avoid them. Why would Paul share such a thing? Because he knew it would happen over and over again.

Peter counsels us in 1 Peter 5:8 to, ‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.’ I can’t help but think that Peter was familiar with the story in 1 Kings 13. King David gives us this admonition:

The works of the Lord are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them. His work is honorable and glorious, And His righteousness endures forever. He has made His wonderful works to be remembered… Psalms 111:2-4

The Psalmist tells us the works of God are great and that we should study them. Given the fact that there are false christs, false prophets, ignorant Christians, and roaring lions who seek to devour us, it is good advice to be well versed in God’s word. How else are we to know when we are being misinformed, misled, or lied to?

For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. 1 Thessalonians 2:13


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These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson

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I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also. Romans 16:1-2

A large portion of the last chapter of the Book of Romans is dedicated to the Apostle Paul’s friends; thirty-three people that Paul mentions specifically by name. It’s one of those sections that some might wonder why is included in God’s word. I submit to you that as you pour through the chapter, God reveals both His character and the character of those who choose to follow Him.

Starting with Phoebe, Paul commends her because she is a precious servant of the Lord. I found it interesting that the word ‘servant’ in the Greek is ‘diakonos’ from which we get our contemporary word deacon or in this case deaconess. We find throughout scripture that these servants in the early church cared for the poor and the sick, took charge of and dispensed the collections, and specifically in the case of women, taught other women. We also see that women served in the early church.

Other Notables

Priscilla and Aquila were close friends of Paul and met because they shared the same tent-making craft. After Paul had led them to Christ, they in turn led many others to Christ, including Apollos! They also maintained Christian fellowships within their homes and put their own lives on the line in order to protect Paul. Already we see with these first three people, Paul is establishing the components of a faithful believer.

Paul remembers Epaenetus, the first person he led to Christ in Achaia and Mary, a saint who labored much for the evangelical mission. Again I am intrigued by Paul’s choice of words because the Greek word used here for labor means to toil with wearisome effort. Personally, I have trouble recalling the last time I toiled for Jesus.

He makes mention of Andronicus and Junia, two apostles who served with him in jail ministry. The valuable insight we can gain from this notation is that the Lord is still in the apostle-appointing business. Some believe that after Jesus appointed the original twelve there were no more—this entry destroys that myth.

Two of my personal favorites are Apelles and Philologus, whose name literally means, ‘lover of the Word’. Of Apelles, Paul wrote that he was ‘approved in Christ’. Of course that begs the questions, “What must one do to be approved in Christ?” That answer is implied here and confirmed later in Second Timothy.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

I prefer the King James Version of this particular verse because it plainly states, ‘Study to show yourself to be approved by God.’ Want to be approved? Be a ‘Philologus’—be a lover of God’s word.

Tertius and Quartus are two more favorites. Tertius we know was a secretary of sorts for Paul, recording much (if not all) of this letter for him. What I soaked in is that their titles are slave-names: Tertius means ‘Third’ and Quartus means ‘Fourth’. What a powerful reminder the next time I get the urge to make a name for myself.

“So What,” You Say

Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, And the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord And who meditate on His name. Malachi 3:16

I tell you so what. Paul has illustrated in this Epistle to the Romans what God has been doing all along—recording in His Book of Remembrance the faithful acts of His saints. When a Christian serves and/or speaks-up on behalf of the Lord, He puts it in His memory book. It kind of reminds me how my wife puts all our kids’ masterpieces on the refrigerator, despite misspelled words and rough artwork. To Mom, it doesn’t matter—she’s showing off her children. It doesn’t matter to the Father either—if you love and serve the Lord, you are on His refrigerator.


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