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Monthly Archives: January 2017
Here’s one reason among many: Bible prophecy.
“The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.” Psalm 118:22.
How did the Psalmist know hundreds of years in advance that the Jewish people would reject Him when He got here? It’s not like the Jewish folks are doing it to make the Bible seem true. If they were doing it on purpose, they would have to acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ eventually, and most of them flat-out refuse. They don’t want anything to do with Jesus. They are waiting on pins and needles for their Messiah to come in and set up an earthly government, yet, if they have read their own scriptures, penned by their own people, authored by their own God, you would think it might occur to them that He would have to first be rejected.
Also, how can they look for a kingdom to last forever when they have this prophecy: “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:” Daniel 9:26 Are they wanting Him to come in, set up a kingdom, and THEN be cut off? That doesn’t make an ounce of sense. In fact, I have discovered through research that the Jews long believed that there would be two Messiahs. It was the only way they could reconcile the fact that He was prophesied to suffer and die for us (Isaiah 53 – which they used to acknowledge was about Him, but deny it now), and also prophesied to establish an eternal kingdom on the earth. Now they refuse Jesus on the basis that He didn’t fulfill ALL of the prophecies and therefore can not be the Messiah. They should really look into their own religion a little more and see what changed in rabbinical thinking and literature AFTER Jesus came and fulfilled the first part of the prophecies. The changes are quite telling.
Their own prophecies only make sense in the light of the birth, life, death, burial, resurrection, and return of Yeshua Messiah. He fulfilled the prophecies in a way that they couldn’t have fathomed, much less predicted.
In general, I have found that modern Christendom is pretty inadequate at giving any proof that Jesus is the Christ because many believers refuse to comb the Old Testament. Many will say – “you just have to have faith.” And I do believe that God gives us all the measure of faith we need to believe, but it kind of upsets me that we have such a body of evidence that we are completely neglecting, especially in light of Luke’s treatise that he gave to Theophilus (which word I think breaks down into “lover of God” in Greek). He says he gave it to us “That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.” Luke 1:4 This book was written with the care and scholarship of an educated man, a man who didn’t expect people to believe him just because he said so, a man dedicated to presenting the truth in a manner that could be confirmed by anyone who chose to look into the facts. The book of Acts was written in the same fashion, also authored by Luke. It should come as no surprise then, that Luke quotes from the Old Testament A LOT throughout both books, giving the proof that Jesus is exactly who He says He is.
The proof that God exists is found in the perfect harmony between the Old Testament and the New – in the continual and perfect foreshadowing of an event that nobody ever saw coming. In fact, I have not found a single New Testament doctrine that wasn’t foreshadowed in the Old. Everything from baptism to the final trumpet blast is represented in the OT. Even the mystery of the gospel, which has to do with the salvation of the Gentiles.
And why make it a mystery? Why keep everything a secret, continually foreshadowing but explaining nothing? “…we speak of the mysterious and hidden wisdom of God, which He destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it. For if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” 1 Corinthians 2:7-8. Also, for you, Seeker, so that you will know that something that marvelous couldn’t have been mysteriously hinted at countless times, yet come to pass in a way that ties up every loose end, answers every riddle, laughs in the face of coincidence.
I’m not finished looking yet, but I am beginning to suspect that everything the New Testament teaches has its foundation in the Old. We know that everything Paul taught originated with the Old: “Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” Acts 26:22-23.
God gave us brains for a purpose; He gave us logic and reasoning skills. He wants us to use them and encourage others to do the same. Believing something just because mommy said so or because society says so is a cop-out for someone who doesn’t want to take the time or make the effort to do any real research. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15. And of course, after you accept Him, you will know beyond the shadow of a doubt because “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” Romans 8:16.
These things may not mean anything to folks who have already made up their minds about God, but it may speak to someone who is searching. I have many more scriptures to share from the OT that were amazingly fulfilled by Christ.
I have heard people say that God spoke to them audibly. I have never known exactly what to think of that, even though I am sure that God is quite capable of doing anything He feels like doing. A few years ago, however, I had an experience that made me wonder.
I was attending chapel at my college. It was probably the first or second time I had ever been to chapel there. Even though the university had a chapel-attendance policy, I was exempt; I was a commuting student and was rarely on campus during chapel sessions. I don’t remember what the message was about that day, but I remember sitting there in my own little world talking to God. I was asking Him what He wanted for my life. Normally, we see or hear words, but this was a completely different experience. While I didn’t hear an audible voice, I felt the very distinct impression of two specific words: Serve Me.
“Impression” is the only word I can think of that even comes close what I felt. Now as to whether these words came straight from heaven, or whether they were just the culmination of everything that I already knew, I have no idea. But as I was thinking about this experience later, more and more I got the impression that I should have already known the answer. It doesn’t really matter whether God spoke directly to me, or whether I just happened to figure it out in that instant. Either way, I’m absolutely sure what God wants me to do with the rest of my life: serve Him.
Serve Him. Am I being too simplistic? I don’t think so. I guess you could just brush it off as a phrase that you have heard one too many times. Maybe it has lost its meaning to you. But if you will take a moment to consider the implications, I think you will see that those two little words offer a life-changing experience. Taken literally, they have the power to change the life of everyone who comes into contact with you. Those words, acted upon, will function as a stone tossed into the middle of a sea of souls. Whether a large stone or a small one is entirely up to you.
How do I serve Him? One obvious way we can serve Him is by serving others. “…Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40b.
Why do I think I should have already known the answer?
Because God has already told us to serve. It is not a suggestion, but a standing order. “…but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Galatians 5:13c-14.
Because Jesus is our example. “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45.
Christ’s first miracle as a man occurred because there was a need to be met. John 2:1-11.
The question then, is how can we serve? Find a person with a need and fill it. Find an organization that helps people with needs and volunteer. No act of kindness is too small. The more spontaneous, unexpected, and undeserved it is, the greater impact it will have. If you have an abundance of time or money, start by offering these. If you don’t have either, find ways to consume less of what you do have so that you will have some left over to share with others. What do you think is more effective: knocking on doors and inviting complete strangers to church, or serving someone in the community, stranger or not, and following up with a conversation about Christ? They may even ask you why in the world you are offering your time, money, sweat, etc. This will open the door to explain how your actions are nothing compared to the love of God and the free, undeserved gift of salvation.
When can we serve? Start by cutting out as much television as you possibly can. Remember that everything in this world will be burned up, and that we could be taken off this earth at literally any moment. Get up a little earlier or go to bed a little later. Take a week or a month, and inventory how you spend your time. Try not to worry too much about loss of personal time. Time means nothing to those who have an eternity to look forward to. Any time lost to serving others and spreading the gospel will most certainly be redeemed after you are resurrected. You will be laying up treasure in heaven. Of course, you must still make time for your family: they are your responsibility, and serving them is just as important as serving others.
Do you ever feel like you can’t do anything else without direction from God? Do you feel you have been waiting for years, and you are just tired of waiting? Sometimes I fear that we Christians use “waiting on God” as an excuse. He has already given us direction for our lives. Why do we think we need to wait for a personal word from God, in addition to what He has given us in His Word? Are we waiting for Him to drop an opportunity into our laps? Are we waiting to be the leader of a ministry? Our own ministry? That’s our first mistake. Ministry is about everyone except us. Sometimes, we don’t recognize God’s will because it doesn’t line up with our own will. He wants us working, not sitting around waiting for Him to knock us over the head with an answer that we approve of. I’m not suggesting that we stop waiting on the Lord. He commands us to do that as well. I’m merely suggesting that we do both – obey His commandments, and wait, expecting Him to lead us to the next step.
Challenge: Still waiting on God? All well and good. But in the meantime, obey the call to service.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
What should you do when you feel that your husband isn’t treating you right? Maybe you can sense a reoccurring streak of selfishness, or maybe it’s as bad as a complete disregard for how you feel. Worse than that, perhaps you can see that he is making poor choices or ignoring the mandates set forth in God’s Word. How can you make him understand? The short answer: you can’t. You can try to reason with him; respectfully tell him exactly how you feel. Sometimes your honesty will be enough to make him take a second look at things. But in the long run, you can’t force him to believe differently about something or to behave in a certain way.
How then, should you react? Here’s my advice, although many may not agree. The Bible commands wives to submit to their husbands. I know, I know; it also commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church. That means that your husband should listen to your opinions and give them a lot of weight in his decision-making, right? Well, the truth is, however your husband decides to interpret that verse, it shouldn’t have any impact on the way you interpret the preceding ones. You see, those verses aren’t set up like “if…then” statements. If the husband loves his wife, then the wife submits to her husband. What if your husband isn’t a Christian at all, and gives no thought to the Bible whatsoever? Does that automatically make you the decision-maker of the household? Because your decisions are the right ones? No. Every wife believes her opinions to be the right ones – all the time. The Bible doesn’t say, “Therefore, whosoever is wrong shall submit to whosoever is right.” God has ordained your husband to make family decisions.
The only time you can disobey your husband is if he asks you to sin against God. You cannot force him to act the way you believe God wants him to. I have found that approaching God’s command this way frees me from worry about the effects of my husband’s decisions. I obey God by obeying my husband; everything that happens in my life as a result is God’s responsibility. You see, God will never punish you for obeying him. In fact, the only way you can find His perfect will is to obey Him to the letter – even if you feel that God’s will is being hindered by others in your life. Believe me; He does have the power to perfectly order your life in spite of other humans.
Your only job is to act the way you believe God wants you to act. As a matter of fact, that is everyone’s job, and the sooner we can believe that as a church, the sooner we can begin to examine our own lives, and stop nit-picking the lives of others – either audibly by nagging them, or in our thoughts. Think about a common church service for example. Maybe the pastor is preaching about finding God’s will for your life. Maybe your husband is sitting next to you, and you just know this sermon is exactly what he needs. You speak to him after the service and discover that he thought the message was, “ok.” What? That was a life-changing message! So why isn’t he bubbling over and brainstorming areas in his life that need changing right away? Sometimes – I would venture to say all of the time – what people really need in their lives is an example of godly living. My advice is to apply every Word from God to your own life, whether you are sitting in church or having a quiet Bible study by yourself. So much time is wasted by thinking, “So-and-so really needs to hear this. I wish she were here,” or “I hope he’s paying good attention. This message is for him.” When in reality, God has you sitting under that message on that day for a reason, and I guarantee that that reason is not so you can sit there and think about who else needs to hear it. Am I making sense? Let me bring it down to one sentence:
It is not the words you speak that will change the world, but the example that you set.
Challenge: apply everything you read today to your own life.