Sunday, September 30, 2007

Believing is a choice

Isaiah 7:5-9
Isa 7:5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying,
Isa 7:6 Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal:
Isa 7:7 Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.
Isa 7:8 For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people.
Isa 7:9 And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah's son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.

That is good wisdom for us still today. “If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.” It would appear that believing is a matter of the will. It is not some unthinking emotion without a source.

Seeing, we see not

Isaiah 6:1-13
1. In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
2. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
4. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
5. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
6. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
7. And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
8. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
9. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
10. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

I wonder if Isaiah knew that the Lord meant that Isaiah would witness, but the people would not believe him and it would become their reproach?

11. Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,
12. And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.
13. But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.

This is from Matthew Henry: "Isaiah must preach to them, and they will hear him indeed, but that is all; they will not heed him; they will no understand him; they will not take any pains, nor use that application of mind which is necessary to the understanding of him; they are prejudiced against that which is the true intent and meaning of what he says, and therefore they will not understand him, or pretend they do not. They see indeed (for the vision is made plain on tables, so that he who runs may read it); but they perceive not their own concern in it; it is to them as a tale that is told. Note, There are many who hear the sound of God's word, but do not feel the power of it. "

This is where we are now. We have the Bible, people can see it and read it, but most people do not perceive their own concern in it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Salted with fire

Mark 9:43-50
43. And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
44. Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
45. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
46. Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
47. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
48. Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
49. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.
50. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.

The commentaries have trouble with this verse, and they all try to change it a little, to say in effect that the unsaved are salted with fire, but it doesn’t say that. In fact, scriptures say that we will be tried as though by fire. Many times you told me that our works will go through the fire and the hay and stubble will be consumed.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The first commandment

Mark 12:29-34
29. And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
32. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
33. And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
34. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.

I like this passage. And it is both easy to keep and a struggle to keep. We need to keep the Lord always first. He is easy to love. And yet, we are distracted by things here on earth and if we do not have daily study and / or communion with God, how can we claim that we are loving Him with all our mind and with all our strength? But, I still like the passage. And I strive to keep it. And I like knowing that if I just keep this one, everything else will take care of itself. This one commandment will lead us into all righteousness.

Free to serve

Mark 12:20-25
20. Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed.
21. And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise.
22. And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also.
23. In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.
24. And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?
25. For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.

I am really grateful for this story. In heaven there will be no contention about the roles of men and women. We will be as the angels and we will ALL be free to worship and to serve. There will be no restrictions because of gender.
I guess that means that in God’s eyes we are already free from all that. After all, He IS in heaven.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Know all things?

1 John 2:18-24
18. Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
19. They went out from us, but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
20. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. (This is an awesome and scary verse and we do not use it like we should. Or rather I do not use it. Why not? The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth. Why don’t I rely on Him to do that? Why do I doubt myself if I know that the Holy Spirit leads me and teaches me? Just how many of my thoughts are directed by Him and how many are idle ramblings of my own? How do I separate them?)
21. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
22. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
23. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
24. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
(The word “IF” at the beginning of this sentence implies that what we have heard and believed may NOT remain in us. And if it doesn’t then we may NOT continue in the Son. How can we chain it to our hearts so that we never falter? What if at some future date we are drawn away and give it up? How can we lock ourselves in so we never allow ourselves to slip from the right way?)

1 John 2:27-29
27. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
28. And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
29. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.