As the World Fans the Flame of Racism

The thing that is most on my mind these days is how certain groups and people are fanning the flames of racism—mostly against the police. Black Lives Matter is the worst, but very influential leaders are also doing it, like the governor of Minnesota (my state), and the mayor of Minneapolis. Some of the things that are said are downright stupid and very damaging to the police—an institution that we ought to be respecting; for God has established it, and when we resist that authority, we are resisting God Himself (Romans 13:2). When our leaders talk against the police, they are spreading a message of disrespect against them and ultimately against God. It is no wonder that black people are rising up in rebellion against them.

I just heard that our governor has suggested that traffic cops maybe will not carry a gun. Because of one mistake made by a police woman, we are going to put in danger the entire Minneapolis police force. How stupid!

You know, if people would start respecting the police and do what they are told to do—like get out of their automobile…put their hands on the dashboard…etc.—we wouldn’t have the problems we are having. I think the police needs to crackdown more on people who don’t obey them. They are being too lenient. They ought to be giving out stiff fines for disrespectful language and certainly for not obeying their orders. The bible says,

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities…whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God (Romans 13:1-2).

But what can we do about governors who are telling the police to “backdown” and do nothing when there is a riot? All we can do is vote against them, but also pray. We have not yet come to the terrible times as it was in the early church when the Christians were under so much persecution by Nero and others. But it will be coming—if things keep going the way it has been. Those Roman dictators were all possessed by demons and were homosexuals. Yes, they were! They were given anything they desired to please themselves: young boys and girls were molested; and it was recorded that Nero used live Christians as torches to light his courtyard. These sins are returning to us—because of our latest policies in favor of homosexuals of all types—LGBTQIA, etc.

However, in all of the terrible trials we face and hear about, we can stand strong and rejoice in the Lord. He will always be with you and build you up. And know also that He is coming soon to receive you to Himself (read 1 Thess. 4:16-18).

How to Carry Burdens in Prayer

Prayer A to Z

When the Holy Spirit gives you a burden He also gives you the responsibility to hold it and carry it along.  For this reason, you must listen closely to the voice of God and give attention to those peculiar feelings of compassion He gives you for certain individuals.  Then when you feel a special mercy, tenderness, or pity for a person, give heed to this feeling—go immediately to prayer.

But give attention only to those unselfish concerns.  Pay no heed to those interests by which you will benefit from.  In this regard, be careful in your praying, as you pray for certain members of the opposite sex that you are attracted to.  Guard your heart, as your prayers may be nothing more than Satan’s trap to get you more emotionally attached, which in the end may have very destructive consequences. Overall, I think, to give yourself consistently and exclusively to…

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Trails with Meaning

The narrow most treacherous road may be the best one. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14,

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

A wide dirt trail. Easy to walk on. Many think it is easy to follow Jesus in His way. But as Jesus was walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Lu. 9:57).

A grassy trail.

The grassy trail is a quiet trail and best for conversation. Two men one day reflected on their conversation with a stranger:

Luke 24:32
32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”


How Birds and Flowers Can Help a Christian

Our text for this blog is Matthew 6:25-30, where Jesus is giving a sermon to His followers.

Matthew 6:25-30

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

For many, food, drink, and clothing are the whole of their life. It is all they think about. And the world is doing its best to get us to live on that level. But Jesus has said that we should not be anxious about those things. And He points out two things in nature that will help us in that area—birds and flower.

BIRDS

Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air [Look at and think about them].”

  1. They don’t sow or reap or gather.
  2. Yet God our Father feeds them.
  3. And we are better (closer to God) than they are; we are His children. So, He definitely will care for us.
  4. Also, what good will it do anyway to worry about these things. Will worrying change anything? Will it extend your life?

Let’s look at the birds and all humans, how God provides for them.

Birds: They do nothing to provide for themselves, yet God provides for them.

Humans: They have to sow and reap and gather for themselves, but then God alone will give the increase.

In both cases God provides. And though man must enter into the process (sowing, reaping and gathering), it is God alone who ultimately provides for man, because He makes it rain and He makes the crops grow.

Now let’s look at the argument from the standpoint of a Christian.

  • If God provides for both the birds and for all humans, how much more will He provide for His own family—His believers?
  • If He provides for mere creatures and for unbelievers, will He neglect His own Children? No!

If we reason these things out with ourselves, this will defeat anxiety and worry in us. If we realize that because He provides for the birds, He will most certainly provide for us even more, because we are His beloved children.

When you really see yourselves as His child, you should know that He will care for you. Maybe this is your problem. That you forget (or you don’t think about the fact) that you are His child and He loves you as His own.

FLOWERS

Flowers do nothing! Even birds have to look around for worms and seeds to eat; but flowers do nothing. And God makes them grow and look beautiful. He gives them the sun and the rain.

See how these flowers bend toward the west.

Have you noticed how flowers always face the sun? You may notice how in the evening they will bend way over to continue to look into the sun. We could learn a lesson in that.

If we look at (and think about) the flowers, we see the hand of God, His perfect creation, the glory of His creation. The flowers are perfectly clothed by God and are dependent on God for everything they need to keep living and to look good.

If God our Father so clothes the flowers with such beauty that last only a little while (a few months) will He not cloth us His children whom He loves and that lasts forever?

Jesus and the Pharisees on Divorce: from Matthew 19:3-9

This is our eleventh study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study. Today we will focus on the Biblical teaching of divorce.

Matthew 19:3-9

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’  5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?  6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

Observations

The Pharisees asked Jesus about divorce, as always, to test Him—to see how much He knew. And they may also have been looking for more information for their own debates. The Rabbis Shammai interpreted the law as permitting a man to divorce his wife only for sexual immorality. But the Hillelites permitted divorce for any reason.

Jesus appears to side with the Shammai, but He also gave them more informaation than they asked for. He instructed them on what the original intent of marriage was—to be of one flesh. He also corrected them on what was said about a command of divorce. He said that Moses didn’t command divorce, he permitted it, and only for one reason, adultery.

Applications

I think these verses should definitely be studied by any couple who is thinking about marriage. And it is my opinion that if they can’t be serious about staying together for life, they should not be married. It is better to remain single.

Worship in the Millennial Kingdom in Israel — According to Ezekiel 43-45

Studying Bible Prophecy

003   We have been talking about what will go on on earth in the millennial kingdom of God.  Things will be very different then than they are now.  God’s people the Jews will be totally in charge and, strangely, you will see worship somewhat like it was back in Old Testament times.  And the Jews (and some Gentiles) in Jerusalem will worship in the millennial temple. There are several items that have always been in the former temples and that were part of the Mosaic system of worship that will no longer be used in the millennial temple and system of worship.  And this is understandable, for some of the former things such as the ark and the veil were designed to shut out people and protect them from the wrath of God against sins; but now (and forever), since we are under the new covenant, we may approach the throne of…

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Don’t Be Anxious

This is a subject that I know I need. It seems that the older I get the more I worry about things. I think it is because I feel weaker and more vulnerable. So, I look forward to what I will learn here. Our text is Matthew 6:25-34.

Matthew 6:25-34

“For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? 26 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 “And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span? 28 “And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. 30 “But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? 31 “Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ 32 “For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

This text follows immediately after Matthew 6: 19-24, having to do with not laying up treasures on earth, but in heaven; and having a single (or a pure) eye, and therefore having only one master, God. The text for this post having to do with not being anxious is a little different, but it has a connection to the previous text in the following ways:

  • The Matthew 6:19-24 passage is about laying up treasures; and the Matthew 6:25-34 text is about worrying over treasures.
  • Those who can’t afford treasures will worry about not having them.
  • Those who have treasures will still worry; they will worry about losing them, or getting more treasures, or over what to do with the treasures they have.

Satan doesn’t care if you have conquered having treasures, because he will get you to think and worry about them. His goal is to get your mind off of God and he will do it one way or another, either to be laying up treasures on earth or to be thinking about them—worrying about them.

Now the theme remains for us to have a single (or pure) eye, and to seek first His kingdom. To do that we are to trust Him and to “take no thought for our life.” This is the King James translation, in the time of Shakespeare, about 1600s; and in that day the meaning of “taking thought” was meant in the sense of being anxious or to worry. We may also understand the term as having a divided mind, or having a doubtful mind or double vision.

If you are using the KJV and the term “take no thought” you must understand that it does not mean that we are not to think about things or not to do anything about our problems except to trust God—to just sit and trust Him. No. We should be busy to provide for ourselves and work out our problems just like the birds do. They are always busy searching for their food. And in their search God rewards them and cares for them. So, the man also must work—or he will not eat. And if you begin to worry you should pray and God will give you peace (Phil. 4:6-7).

Here is one idea that may help you. If God has given you your life as a gift to you, and He has, then He will certainly make sure that your life is sustained for as long as He wills. God has a good plan for every life that He has created.

The Redistribution of the Land of Israel in the Millennial Kingdom

Studying Bible Prophecy

001

After the land is enlarged and given its new and promised borders, it would seem logical that Jesus will next order the redistribution of the land.  Ezekiel 48:1-29 gives us the outline of how it will look (see map above).

The land will be divided into three portions.  In the northern section the land will be allotted to the tribes of Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Reuben, and Judah, in that order from north to south (Ezek. 48:1-7).  In the southern section the land will be allotted to Benjamin, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun and Gad, in that order (Ezek. 48:23-27).

The section in the middle will be known as the holy district. As you see on the map below

002

in the center of this area will be a square shaped parcel of land, 25,000 cubits square (or 8 1/3 miles square).  This area, as you see, is divided into three sections. …

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Sin’s Foul Bondage

In this post we will return again to Matthew 6:19-24, and we will focus on the evil result of laying up for ourselves treasures on earth.

Matthew 6:19-24

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 “The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

I have been following the sermons of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in his book, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. In this particular study he gives us four points, or four things that sin does to man.

I. Sin Upsets the Normal Balance in Man

When man was created God made his mind (with his spirit) to be the highest faculty, which was the ability to think and reason and understand things. Then the next highest faculty was the heart, or the feelings and desires. This is man’s normal God-created function: to understand things, then to let our feelings and desires come later, being controlled by our understanding.

However, says Llyod-Jones, “The effect of the Fall and of sin upon man has been to upset that order and balance.” Hence, man, because of the Fall is no longer governed by his mind, he is governed by his desires and affections. John 3:19 is proof of this: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

I think we can see this disturbance in the order of things not only in the non-Christian, but in the Christian when he is not walking in the Spirit. And there are so many examples of this. In so many ways we make decisions based not on a correct understanding of things but on how we feel and what we like. We buy food based on our taste and appetite. We buy clothes based on the latest fashion. Our choice of a mate may be wrongly influenced because we rely more on our desires than our understanding. And we find in every case that because we put the heart before the mind, we make wrong decisions.

II. Sin Blinds Man to the Truth of Things

A good Scripture for this is in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

So, this is what sin does—through the heart. Here are some examples of this blinding.

  • We don’t see that our personal appearance will fade away, and so we place way too much value on our appearance.
  • We are blinded to the fact that we can’t take our money with us.
  • We are blinded to the fact that time is limited and eternity is endless, yet we give ourselves mainly to the here and now and ignore the eternal.
  • We are blinded to the value of man and God. Man seems to be valued more than God.
  • Man is blinded to the value of things. Earthly wealth is valued more than eternal wealth.
  • We are blinded to the fact that we cannot mix light and darkness, good and evil, God and mammon; yet we are always trying to do it. We even do it in the church. We have seen the churches ruination since the days of Constantine—a terrible tragedy! And we are still doing it in our effort to keep people in the church. Yet I think the world is confused by our efforts; and when they turn to Christ, they take the world with them. And so, you have a worldly Christian. And in most cases, they don’t have an assurance of their salvation.

III. Sin Makes Man a Slave to Things that were meant to Serve Him

God gave us food, clothing, and family and friends in order to serve us. But because of sin in the heart, we have become their slaves. We are mastered by the very things and appetites that God has given us to enjoy.

IV. Sin Causes the Ruination of Man

Jesus said, if your eye be single (pure) your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye be evil (sinful, with double vision and corrupt) your whole body will be full of darkness (Matt. 6:24). Here the light of the body is the mind and the understanding. But because of the control of the heart and of lust, the great design of God in us (the mind controlling the heart) has become perverted and ruined.

The result of this ruination in man is that he will reject God and His leadings; he will laugh at religion; he lives in the present; and he is deceived in his thinking, as he thinks that he is led by his mind when he is really led by his heart and lusts. Some at the end of life may see that the things he has trusted in were worthless and that he has been a fool all his life. A very sad situation.

But for all that seek God and repent, there is hope—even for the elderly. Let the Holy Spirit come in and change you. He can and will make your mind clear and pure, and give you a true understanding of things. This will be your true conversion and salvation.

Christ Our Life and Example as Priests of God

Prayer A to Z

In my study of the priesthood, that we are all priest of God who follow after Christ our high priest, it is imperative that we keep our eyes on Jesus to follow after Him. He is our life (Col. 3:3-4), and the life and head of the priesthood. He gives stability to the priesthood; He is our cornerstone (1 Peter 2:4-8). Moreover, all that we are as priests are because of His life and work flowing through us; our compassion for others and our holy character is all from Him.

But to make certain that His power flowing through us and to have an effective prayer ministry we must obey Him and practice all the things that are required of a priest; for it is always through obedience that He shows us Himself and works through us (Jn. 14:21, Lu. 9:24).

But we should seek to go even beyond obedience…

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