The Day the Revolution Began!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Is the Entire Bible Inspired?

Marshall (See below for reference) explains the inspiration of the scriptures as a statement of encouragement for those struggling and searching for hope in the final days. He states: "Here the reference is to the appropriate passages in the Old Testament, whose reliability rests on the fact that they were not written by persons following their own ideas but by people who were inspired by the Spirit to a correct understanding of what God was saying to them" (pp. 672–673).

 Does Marshall think there is a limit to this text as it relates to the inspiration of the scriptures? After reading Marshall, I do not think he would limit the work of or the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to a specific text or to just the OT. It is critical to remember the audience of 2 Peter would not have possessed the NT Canon. The question arises; does the inspiration apply to all 66 books of the Bible?

To answer the question, the 21st century reader must not neglect 2 Pet 1.19: "And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts ..." (ESV) The inspiration of the scriptures, both OT and NT, serve the purpose of a lamp shining in a dark place so that the morning star might rise in our hearts. Remaining faithful in the final days is the specific application of 2 Peter. Yet, this same principle can apply throughout the Bible.

The rule for a reader 2000 year later is to avoid reading into the text more than it says while finding inspiration for application to our modern culture. May we never neglect the reading of the word and application to our hearts. You know I love ya, Don

Marshall, I. H. (2004). New Testament theology: many witnesses, one Gospel (p. 672). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Faith and Works : living in Spirit and Truth

Faith and works are united in the heart of the believer. Faith is more then simply believing. Works or deeds is more then being a good person. When we read Paul's teaching concerning salvation through faith and not works, Paul is often referencing the "works of the law." In other words, the Apostle Paul is refuting a trust in the Law as a means of salvation. There is nothing the individual can do to find salvation on their own ... salvation is through faith in Jesus. Paul is not teaching the believer to have faith and go in their merry way. The truth of faith results in the hope found in Jesus. The only response is works of love, sacrifice, and goodness.

I think of Gal 5.6, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love" (ESV). Paul is refuting a faith in doing an act as a means of salvation. In this instance the act is circumcision, which the law required. Paul continues by encouraging his readers to respond and act in love. The "act of love" is the point James is making in his letter. To have faith in Jesus is not enough, a believer demonstrates the truth of God's love in the way they conduct their life.

Another passage of Paul's which speaks to doing faith is Rom 12.1, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship" (ESV). The believer is doing works when "offering" themselves as living sacrifices which is acceptable to God.

Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4, God is seeking worshipers who worship in spirit and truth. The two fold response to God is to have faith (the spirit) and to show it is our actions (the truth). The truth of our faith is seen in the way in which we conduct our love.

You know I love ya, Don

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

What is the standard of the follower of Jesus?

One of the things which cause doubt in Paul's ministry was the amount of suffering Paul endured for the faith. In other words, people began to ask how can God be with the Apostle, if he is forced to endure such hardships and suffering? The modern culture remains just as doubtful. Shouldn't the follower of God possess a special dispensation of grace which empowers the believer to avoid such pitfalls?

Paul responds to such accusations by turning the worldly view on it side and pointing to a crucified Jesus. It is through suffering which prove Paul's service. It is through surrender to the suffering Messiah comes the discovery of the power of God and the consequential conquering of death. Paul writes: "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body." (NASB 2 Co 4:7–10). Paul's suffering is the mark of Jesus on his life.

Those who follow Jesus in a vocational work or in a volunteer work can relate to Paul's words. It is the believers mantra to agree with Paul in 2 Cor. 12.10: "Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." (NASB 2 Co 12:10). In my weakness, I learn to trust in God's abilities to work on behalf.

God is not about to stop being God. I am glad and praise him for carrying us through each and every struggle. You know I love ya, Don

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Tanacity to face trials, rejection, and persecution!

As we read through Galatians, it is 1.15-2.3 in which Paul addresses his Apostleship to the Gentiles. Paul outlines his early years with: He makes a trip Arabia. He then returns to Damascus. Three years later he visits Cephas and remained with him for a few weeks. Fourteen years later, Paul and Barnabus take Tutus (apparently a Gentile) to Jerusalem to seek confirmation that their message to the Gentiles was not misguided.

Although, I believe there are several reasons which make Paul uniquely qualified to take the message to the Gentiles. The one which stands out to me as most prevalent is the verse in Acts (8.1) where he is giving approval over the death of Stephen. He also mentions the people were aware of his previous treatment of the believers in Gal. He had the credentials to speak the Jewish faith and education on the scriptures to realize the truth of Jesus.

Why would this be a helpful quality? Because everyone new and feared Paul. As he mentions in other letters, he was a Jew of Jews, highly educated, connected with all the influential people, and was zealous for the cause. Paul possessed drive and tenacity because of the fool he had been in the past. Taking the message to the Gentiles would take a person with the educated ability to examine the scriptures and debate with tradition. He would also need to have tenacity to endure the trials, rejection, and persecution on the journey. Paul's past flamed his present which uniquely qualified him for the task at hand.

Aren't we glad he did? You know I love ya, Don

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Christmas is about JESUS!

Luke 1:25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

Christmas is God’s arrival of stepping into life on this planet to fulfill his plan to restore our world. We live in a world that is broken and messed-up … God’s left behind a footprint of HOPE which points to HIM!

A lady told her husband that she had dreamed that he had bought her a diamond necklace for Christmas! The husband responded positively to her dream by bringing her a beautifully wrapped gift. As she eagerly tore open the wrapping to see her diamond necklace, all she found was a little book. It was titled, 'How to interpret your dreams’! 😃

Christmas is a difficult period for a lot of people … sin clouds our vision of God’s prints in the world … Country legend Merle Haggard sang, 'If we make it through December, everything is gonna be alright I know'. The song speaks about a father who has just lost his job at the factory & he's wondering how he can make Christmas special for his little daughter.

Christmas is not a dream … Christmas is not about stuff … Christmas is not about the food, feelings, or the weather!  Christmas is about JESUS!

Christmas is about God’s footprint of Hope for our lives!
I am grateful for God's footprint! You know I love ya, Don

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Footprint Fossil

Luke 1:18-19 “Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.
 Tracks and trails are two types of fossils that can be found under the trace fossils category. As with all other trace fossils, tracks and trails also tell more about the organism's behavior rather than the organism itself. These are typically formed when an organism moves over the surface of soft sediment and leave an impression of its movement behind.

There are four basic stages in the formation of footprint fossils. A footprint is formed when an organism steps into soft mud (usually silty sediment that is deposited in shallow temporary pools.) Then the impression is covered with loose sand so that the footprint is filled. The sand eventually consolidate into sandstone and finally the rock split open along the bedding surface to reveal the original footprint in the shale and its cast in the sandstone.

Examining the footprints left behind by dinosaurs give us a hint as to the size of the dinosaur. Most of the time there is certain proportionality between an organism's body and its legs (feet.) If the footprint left by the dinosaur is huge, we can only fathom the size of the whole dinosaur. The actual footprint provides us with a better estimate than any museum model.

The celebration and anniversary of the first advent (arrival) of God is what is more commonly called Christmas. Christmas is God’s footprint fossil which reveals God’s behavior as it relates to you and me…as we celebrate Christmas and look over Christmas scriptures, I pray we will be influenced and embrace God’s behavior as our own.

You know I love ya, Don

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Christian Vote!

Psalm 33:12 states: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance”

Authority figures come in all shapes and sizes and at different places in life: Moms and dads, school teachers, bosses, etc.  Little Johnny was going to a public school and he was doing very badly in math. So his mother decided to put him into a Catholic school. When she got his report card at the end of the term, his marks in math had improved tremendously. So she asked him why. He replied, "When I saw that guy nailed to the plus sign, I knew they meant business!"

There are authority figures up and down your ballot this week. Paul writes to the Roman church and speaks about authorities in this world: He teaches Authorities are established by God,  Authorities punish the wrongdoers, and Authorities must be respected by all.

1. Authorities are established by God.
Romans 13:1 – “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God… ithe believers response is submission. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. There is no authority except that which God has established.

The Roman government was worse than what we see this election cycle. Paul is reminding the believers…there is no authority except that which God has established. Matthew 28:18 “Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…so God make disciples.”

The law is God-ordained. No country in this world can live without some kind of law. If there were no laws anywhere there would be complete chaos and evil would run rampant. So God has ordained for mankind to have law and have authorities over us such as the police, governors, and presidents…Remember, God is telling us how to live which influences our vote.

            Authorities are established by God.

2. Authorities Punish Wrong Doers.
Romans 13:3 – “For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.”

A routine police patrol parked outside a Lafayette, LA, Bar. After last call, the officer noticed a man leaving the bar so intoxicated that he could barely walk. The man stumbled around the street for a few minutes, with the officer quietly observing. After what seemed an eternity and trying his keys on five vehicles, the man managed to find his car, which he fell into. He was there for a few minutes as a number of other patrons left the bar and drove off.

Finally the man started the car, switched the wipers on and off (it was a fine dry night), flicked the blinkers on and off, honked the horn, and then switched on the lights. He moved the vehicle forward a few inches, reversed a little, and then remained still for a few more minutes as some more vehicles left. At last he pulled out of the parking lot and started to drive slowly down the road.

The police officer, having patiently waited all this time, now started up the patrol car, put on the flashing lights, promptly pulled the man over, and carried out a breathalyzer test. To his amazement, the breathalyzer indicated no evidence of the man having consumed alcohol at all! Dumbfounded, the officer said, "I'll have to ask you to accompany me to the police station. This breathalyzer equipment must be broken."

"I doubt it," said the man. "Tonight I'm the designated decoy."

Christians are not above the law, We are not above those in authority, we are also not to avoid the law or cheat to get around the law.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

You are voting for God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. On Tuesday (unless you voted early) we will be examining the person whom we feel will be best at bringing punishment for those who do wrong and for bring commendation for those who do right. In study, meditation, and prayer … God reveals to us how to live … we learn we are to vote for the person who will best preserve the truths of justice, humility, and liberty.

Authorities are established by God.
            Authorities punish wrongdoers…

3. Authorities must be respected by all.
Romans 13:7 – “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

A couple of young boys were fishing at their special pond off the beaten track. All of a sudden, the game warden jumped out of the bushes. Immediately, one of the boys threw his rod down and started running through the woods like a bat out of a cave. The game warden was hot on his heels.

After about a half mile, the young man stopped and stooped over with his hands on his thighs to catch his breath, so the game warden finally caught up to him. "Let's see yer fishin' license, boy!" the warden gasped.

With that, the boy pulled out his wallet and gave the game warden a valid fishing license. "Well, son," said the game warden, "you must be about as dumb as a box of rocks! You don't have to run from me if you have a valid license!" "Yes, sir," replied the young guy, "but my friend back there, well, he don't have one."

Respect for authorities or the law means to have a fishing license when it’s required. Respect for the law means to abide by the law whatever that law is. Respect for the law means to pay your taxes even if you don’t like to pay them.

The authorities, whoever they are, are God’s servant and deserve our respect…when the leaders and people of authority demonstrate their authority well … they will also receive honor. God is telling us … Christ-followers …  how to live which influences our vote.

Authorities are established by God.
            Authorities punish wrongdoers.
                        Authorities are to be respected by God’s People.

So what are we to do?  Let’s pray for our nation and take careful thought of how we will vote in any election.

Daniel Webster wrote: “Finally, let us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers were brought here by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light, and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate Biblical principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political, or literary.”  We live as Jesus to the world … We live Christian values in our lives … including our votes.

You know I love ya, Don