Simply Being There In Times Of Pain and Suffering

A FLOOD OF KINDNESS THAT CAN TURN WATERLESS IN DESOLATE TIMES:

Because of ice...
Because of ice…

“For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend, lest he forsake the fear of the Almighty.    My brothers have acted deceitfully like a wadi, like the torrents of wadis which vanish,  which are turbid because of ice,  And into which the snow melts,    When they become waterless, they are silent, When it is hot, they vanish from their place.    The paths of their course wind along,  They go up into nothing and perish,    The caravans of Tema looked,  The travelers of Sheba hope for them.    They were disappointed for they had trusted,  They came there and were confounded”   (Job 6:14-20 NAS).

A Dried-up Brook
A Dried-up Brook

 “Now to me you are [like a dried-up brook]; you see my dismay and terror, and [believing me to be a victim of God’s anger] you are afraid  [to sympathize with me]”  (Job 6:21 AMP).

THE BOOK OF JOB:

For the last week or so, I’ve been reading and studying in THE BOOK OF JOB.  Where else is there a better story in the Bible, to try to “dig” out the truth and to try to understand the “mysteries of  suffering” in comforting friends; how to approach the details of the situation–how much do we need to know, to pray for them effectively, what can we say to them without making everything worse?  All good questions.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have all the answers.  But what I did find in my investigation of God’s Word, the bible, it certainly answered a few of my questions and hopefully answer a few of yours as well.

Job’s Faith, His Friend’s Fears…

Job doesn’t know what the book’s audience knows:

1.  God Himself had praised Job’s righteousness…

2.  Satan had been the one who wanted to strike him down  (Job 1:8-12).

Although, while reading through the story, I find that Job is right, in the sense that GOD has done it (12:9; 17:6; 23:16), but he doesn’t know the entire story.  Neither do we in dealing with our friends maladies.

At the end of the Book, when GOD challenges human questions, He doesn’t bother to inform Job or his friends about Satan’s role in accusing Job in the heavenly court.

Two Principles Given to us for direction…

FIRST, Satan cannot touch GOD’s servant without GOD’s permission!  In fact, GOD earlier protected Job’s health (1:2), and afterward his life (2:6) from Satan.

So if we are GOD’s servants in this life on earth, we can TRUST that GOD KNOWS every hair on our heads; He may not initiate the “suffering,” but He still cares and has a purpose.  SUFFERING may test us (cf. 23:10), but it is NOT always a punishment.

SECOND, Job didn’t really need to know; what went on in heaven.  We don’t need to understand the universal dynamics behind the suffering; we just need to know that GOD IS TRUSTWORTHY.

–It is GOD and not Satan with whom we ultimately must deal with in times of trouble, and Job was right to make an appeal to GOD.

–We don’t have all the answers; neither do we have to.  We just need to REMEMBER the One who watches over us, does have the answers.

How Do We Help People Who Are Really Going Through Stuff–“Suffering”?

Job 2:11-13 in the NIV Bible:

[11] When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him (Job), they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.  [12] When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads.  [13] Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights.  No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.

Have you ever visited someone in a hospital, a nursing home who was so ill, that their appearance was unrecognizable?  Their hair was unkempt, they had lost so much weight and lay there so frail… you felt liked turning your back and weep in the hallway.  I experienced this very thing with my mother before she died in 2008.  You ask yourself, What can I do, say, pray for this friend?  All good questions to ask.

In time of COMFORT…

If you have ever read the Book of Job, you find that Job’s friends came to COMFORT him in a time of loss, but later debate with him.

In verse 13, there is a key to be found when visiting a friend in suffering: “No one said a word…”.  

A close friend of mine recognized this verse with this simple idea:  “The three friends were of comfort until…they opened their big mouths!” There’s some real wisdom in that observation. Sometimes we confess to ourselves and others,  “I would call them, or go by to see them, but I don’t know what to say.”  Just BEING THERE is sometimes enough–‘no one said a word for seven days and nights’–they were JUST THERE TO COMFORT their friend… in SILENCE.

A Time For Weeping–verse 12

Crying or weeping differs in cultures.  In some societies, wailing in the midst of suffering can bring comfort to others.  When I was growing up, the idea of boys or men crying aloud showed weakness; “you hurt your knee…put a band-aid on it…’suck it up’… it will get better later.”  I remember thinking, “How much later?”

Reminds me of a story I found and read while studying for this blog; a conversation that transpired between a mother and her daughter:

“Where have you been?” the mother demanded.  The little girl replied, “On my way home, I met a friend who was crying because she had broken her doll.”  “Oh”, said her mother, “then you stopped to help her fix the doll?”  “Oh, no,” replied the little girl, “I stopped to help her cry.”

TWO THINGS the Bible says about CRYING:

#1.  “Don’t grieve like those who have no hope”  (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

#2.  “Weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice”  (Romans 12:15). 

Sometimes Our “Feelings” Interfere With Our “Comforting” —

FEELINGS of hating to go visit someone who is suffering from…DEATH of a family member; sickness; losing their job, and many more examples of “suffering.”  We have this little dialogue in our heads, and I say “we” because, I’ve had these thoughts too many times in my own head:

—  I would be touching their pain if I dropped by, or called them, or sent them an E-mail…

—  I reasoned, whatever I might say, wouldn’t be of much help.

—  They would probably think I was a ‘meddler’ anyway.

—  Maybe I would just make things worse.

—  Someone else, like their pastor, my pastor could probably help more.

Those FEELINGS are normal…but they are wrong!  We ALL need to know others care, as we have the same need!

Job’s Friends:

After sitting with Job for a week, his friends blew it.  They had a need to explore what went wrong and why Job suffered so much.  They seemed certain that Job must have done something wrong; there must be some unconfessed sin in his life, thus GOD was punishing him.  THEY WERE WRONG!!

CHRIST is the Head, and WE, the Church are His body…

He has put ALL THINGS under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church  [a headship exercised throughout the church],    Which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all [for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself]  (Ephesians 1:22-23 AMP).

There you have it friends.  JESUS is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven.  He can minister to the “suffering” by His Spirit; through His body [that’s us!].  Since the physical body has appendages–arms, hands, legs, feet–we need to use are feet more often to minister, to comfort those who are in need.  Don’t wait for someone else to go.

Expressing Deep Feelings in a Tangible Way…

“Tearing their robes” (verse 12)

This was the custom of that day, to show deep feelings.  We certainly don’t tear our shirts as a custom today, so how else do you communicate to someone you so feel for them and feeling their pain?

Tearing one’s shirt says, “I feel torn inside”–“I feel so badly for you, that it’s tearing me up!”  Do you know what we tend to do?  We want to somehow cheer them up, so we say, “Oh don’t feel so bad.”  “It will get better.”  “You have your whole life ahead of you.”  “It’s too bad your mother died but she was 70, the bible says, 70 to 80 years and that’s it!  We have to expect it.”  I don’t know about you, but those words wouldn’t COMFORT me!  Another approach is to say, “Well, I went through that one…and let me tell you what I did.  I just got up, brushed myself off and moved on with life.”

Inside, the SUFFERING individual is feeling,  “Yeah, right!  Good for you!  How soon will you be leaving?”

Sharing our own SUFFERING with others…

We’ve gone through our own share of suffering, sometimes the other person will ask us how we got through it.  In that case, tell them, but unless they ask, just be there for them.  Even if it’s hard–even if you feel like you don’t have the right words to say.  You don’t.

Simply Being There
Simply Being There

Being Simply There For Someone Who Needs Comforted…

Job’s friends came to be simply there in his need.  Perhaps they were ready to bring him a drink of water, a loaf of bread to encourage him to eat; maybe in our day, even a homemade casserole.

You are very privileged, if you are the one…if I am the one, who has the quiet task of simply, silently being there.

Some of us are there to run errands, do some shopping, take care of the kids, make phone calls, provide meals, and fix their car or their plumbing.  It is a way of being with them without a word that’s the most important thing.

Being “tangible” in a time of need…

A neighbor and prayer partner with my wife, who in her mid 80’s,  fell and broke her hip and was in therapy.  She is an active widow who lives independently, even with her family nearby, even with her churches aid, Dianne wonder what she could do help.  So she called Darda:  “Darda, how can I help you?”  Just a phone call was needed and Dianne started taking Darda to the grocery store, helping her reach for items off the shelf, then bringing her home.

Darda’s independence was never in jeopardy, for Dianne was being simply there for someone in need of comfort.

CONCLUSION FINDINGS–“You cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind.” ~ Author Unknown.

Job’s three friends went to sympathize with him and comfort him – BE THERE!  Don’t wait for someone else to go!

Job’s friends began to weep aloud – If you’re not a “weeper, a crier”…[I am not, although as I get older…] JUST BE THERE!

They expressed their feelings tangibly–they sat with him “silently” for a long period of time because they saw how great his suffering was.  This was no walk in the park for themselves.  They suffered WITH Job!

We certainly can’t do all of these things for everyone that SUFFERS.  But for loved ones, for very, very, close connections in our lives, when we can experience a great privilege of simply being with people in their most private and painful moments of life.  We don’t want to be like the torrents of a spring brook, when the ground isn’t thirsty–when someone in their suffering is hoping to find refreshing water– but were bitterly disappointed because the brook had dried up.

We do not want those who we have come to comfort in their pain and suffering, to say as Job,  “I have heard many such things; wearisome and miserable comforters are you all!  (Job 16:2).  Being there in SILENCE is sometimes the best medicine.

Credits:

Dr. Craig Keener’s Commentary – Category: The Old Testament.

Photos:

Photo Pin: Free photos for bloggers.

 

“When the Roll is Called Up Yonder!”

ISAIAH 2:2-5:

[2]  In the last days the mountain of the LORD’S temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.

[3]  Many peoples will come and say,  “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob.  He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”  The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

[4]  He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.  They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.  Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

[5]  Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.

[New International translation]

THE TEMPLE – (verse 2 a.):

SOLOMON'S TEMPLE -Artist's Rendition
SOLOMON’S TEMPLE -Artist’s Rendition

Solomon’s Temple was built on the mountain of the Lord, Mount Moriah, highly visible to all the people of Jerusalem.

[For more on the Temple’s significance, See 2 Chronicles 3-6].

“In the last days…”

Bible prophecy is much like peeling an onion.  As you peel the onion, it gets stronger the farther down you go and at the same time, each layer is significant in its own right.   This certainly applies here in Isaiah.  [https://theworddetective.wordpress.com/2012-03-13/peeling-an-onion:-the-many-layers-of-biblical-prophecy/.]

Revealing the Core
Revealing the Core

 

 

VERSES 2-5–“A Hymn of Hope for Zion”–

This is the looking forward to the “someday” of the LORD.  In the Old Testament, the “someday…” had reference to a time of the victorious interposition by GOD for the overthrow of the foes of Israel, e.g. Isaiah 2:12.  [Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary.]

Then in VERSE 6…HOPE is dashed in fragments:

Surely [LORD]  You have rejected and forsaken your people, the house of Jacob, because they are filled  [with customs]  from the east and with soothsayers [who foretell] like the Philistines; also they strike hands and make pledges and agreements with the children of aliens.  (Amplified Bible)

THE WORLD TODAY:

VERSE 6 can be talking very much of the world today, where the church has largely abandoned its people.  The indifference of Christ’s teaching is diminishing as we allow, even encourage the teaching of foreign religions.

We sing songs proclaiming that we will not serve foreign gods, and society still encourages others to do so.

THE RESULT?  

We have a growth in the Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Eastern and mystical worship in our society and a confusion of belief.  Even church leaders talk about acceptance and incorporation of foreign worship into the worship of the One True God!

Exodus 20:3, 4 – King James Bible:

Thou shall have no other gods before me.  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Living In Today As Christians…

There will be a tomorrow, and a sense of tomorrows after that.  We’ve rested on our laurels; do we really believe Christ will return for His people?  Christ’s second coming becomes empty, a set of words which gives us comfort, becomes diluted, has little meaning.

THE SOMEDAY OF THE LORD – another layer of the onion revealed–

The day of the LORD will come…

JESUS has promised it… (Matthew 26)

The prophets foresee it…

The apostles affirm it…

Malachi 4:1, 2 a – NIV Bible:

“SURELY THE day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day this is coming will set them on fire,”  says the LORD Almighty.  “Not a root or a  branch will be left to them.  [2] But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings…

Joel 2:30, 31 – AMPLIFIED:

And I will show signs and wonders in the heavens; and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke.  [31] The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood BEFORE the great and terrible day of the LORD comes.

WE NEED TO  KEEP WATCH– 

“What!  Are you so utterly unable to stay awake and keep watch with Me…”  (Matthew 26:40).

The Greek word “watch” is Gregorio; translated means: “spiritual alertness”; “be vigilant”.  [i] See Footnote.

Keeping WATCH of World Events Occurring…

Matthew 24:6-8:

[6]  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened or troubled, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.

[7]  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in place after place;

[8]  All this is but the beginning [the early pains] of the birthpangs  [of the intolerable anguish].

Our attention these days is being focused on the trials and problems of our own lives; the increasing interest rates, inflation, negative equity for mortgage loans, increasing personal debt in America.

I read this week in my WORD STUDY investigation, an article entitled Debt Slavery:  30 Facts About Debt In America That Will Blow Your Mind  [ii] See Footnote.

“When your finances are dominated by debt, it makes it really hard to ever get ahead.  Incredibly, 43 percent of all American families spend more than they earn each year.  According to the Federal Reserve, median household debt in America has risen to $75,000.

MEN AND WOMEN IN THE LAND…

Across the land people are working hard in offices, factories, schools, etc., just trying to keep up…forgetting sometimes to WATCH!

Matthew 24:41, 42:

[41]  Two women will be grinding at the hand-mill; one will be taken and one will be left.

[42]  WATCH therefore, for you do not know in what kind of day [whether a near or remote one] your LORD is coming.

You may be sleeping in your bed, and some will be taken…and some will be left behind.  These are the words of JESUS himself!  We ignore them at our peril because a great and terrible day of the LORD is coming.

THE MOUNTAIN OF THE LORD  (Isaiah 2:3):

GOD  WILL JUDGE (Verse 4), and we shall have to stand before Him.  The Big Question is,  “in what frame of soul will we stand there?”  

As the story of our lives are REVEALED, what will you be thinking?

What matters even more…the Book in Jesus’ hands, the Lamb’s Book of Life–Revelation 20:12

The Book of Life
The Book of Life

“And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.”

IF our names are written there, have NO FEAR…for all of our past sins, our failures will be washed away.  Our past has been nailed on the Cross at Calvary.  We’ll be standing in WHITE ROBES, washed in the Blood of the Lamb!

Perfection is Attainable!

Here lies the great JOY that one day we will know:  PERFECT LIGHT–PERFECT PEACE–PERFECT JOY–PERFECT LOVE–in the eternal presence of GOD!  Nothing can take that perfection away from us, absolutely nothing!

Do you find yourself sitting on a pile of poop these days?

“Job was stuck on his dung hill”

I’ve been reading in my devotion time in the mornings, about the life of Job.  Living as I do in “dairy country”, I’m quite familiar with cow “dung.” You can see it, smell it every time one takes a walk in the morning or evening.

Job’s family had mainly been killed in tragedy.  His wife was against him and his best friends could only tell him he was in this situation because…he was a terrible sinner and GOD was punishing him.  FRIENDS can be that way sometimes, well-meaning as they may be.

Still… Job could say, in the middle of it all…

Job 19:23-27 – NAS Bible:

“Oh that my words were written!  Oh that they were inscribed in a book!  That with an iron stylus and lead they were engraved in the rock forever! 

“And as for me, I know my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.  Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes shall not see another.  My heart faints within me.”

In spite of his present circumstances, Job could confidently know and say,  “I KNOW MY REDEEMER LIVES,”  “IN MY FLESH I WILL SEE GOD.”

Rev21_1_New_Jerusalem_Gustave_Dore_L_Sotka_2012IN THE “LAST DAY” A New Jerusalem–Revelation 21:2:

“And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, all arrayed like a bride beautified and adorned for her husband;”

Do you have the same confidence of Job?  Do you know on the last day of judgement, your Redeemer lives; that you’ll see Him with your own eyes?

You can know it, right where you’re sitting.  All it takes is for you to accept Jesus Christ as your LORD and Saviour.  He will stand there with you… and for you as your advocate.

I know I’ll be standing there, when The Roll is Called Up Yonder  for the children of God  [iii] See Footnote.

Yes, our past is nailed on the Cross at Calvary, but our future is tied to the RISEN CHRIST; the RISEN CHRIST who is going to return for His bride, the Church.

JESUS is coming again…

An old hymn I used to sing every sunday morning, while the choir came from the basement of the church, into our places on the platform.  It was a song written and composed by John W. Peterson:

Coming again,  coming again;

Maybe morning, maybe noon, maybe evening and maybe soon!

Coming again, coming again;

O, what a wonderful day it will be,

JESUS is coming again!

But will you be ready?

Or, will you’ve been diverted into the concerns of this world?  That doesn’t mean, using the cliché,  “We’ve become so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly use.”  

There will be a day…

When JESUS is standing with you as your ADVOCATE–claiming us as His own!  So, when “the Roll is called up yonder,” will you be there?  Just come to JESUS as you are, and claim Him as your own!

The Bride of Christ--The CHURCH
The Bride of Christ–The CHURCH

 

PHOTO CREDIT: The First Temple – Solomon’s Temple from the Jewish Virtual Library.org/…/The-Temple.html.; New Earth, New Jerusalem ONION STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY – http://www.inmagine.com;  christimages.org/biblebooks/Book of Revelation.html.

Footnotes:

[i]  Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary;  

[ii] Alex Jones’ INFOWARS.COM

[iii]  Title for this Blog came from:  Words & Music by James M. Black, 1893 cyberhymnal.org/htm/w/h/e/whenroll.htm.

 

 

 

The “OLIVE TREE” Prophecy

87797347_XS
Olive Tree Grove

BIBLE TEXT FOR THIS BLOG:

Open your Bibles to Romans 11:17-32.

The Cultivation Process:

Most of us are unfamiliar with the CULTIVATION of an OLIVE TREE.  Simply, most of us have never even seen OLIVES growing on a tree; because of our geographical location.

When I first met my wife, my future father-in-law owned a small citrus grove in Vista, California.  It was mostly limes at that time, although it had previously been lemons.  Dad had grafted in the new lime branches to the old stock of lemon trees.  His reasoning, and a good one, LIMES were for more profitable than LEMONS.

The Benefits of Grafting In…

After Dianne and I were married, I always looked forward to the AVOCADOS my in-laws would always have on the dinner table.  My father-in-law only had a few avocado trees at the ranch, but they were old and over 30 feet high while their branches spread over 20 feet in width.  One was so old, that the fruit became small, so he not only grafted in ONE TYPE , but several varieties of avocados:  Nabal, King, Duke…all avocados, but different sizes, different tastes; fruit that couldn’t be found in local produce sections of grocery stores.  The “Old Avocado Tree” wasn’t what it used to be– it became successful by THE CULTIVATION PROCESS.

88013377_XSA ROOT–

The ROOT is the most important part of any plant.  It provides the foundation, the strength, and the stability of the tree.  “Before anything can grow up, it better grow down–the deeper the root…the sweeter the fruit.”   (See footnote [i] for source of quote)

For JEWISH PEOPLE, they considered Abraham their  “ROOT”.

Abraham was the one whom they saw as making them RIGHTEOUS.  He believed GOD and was saved by his own FAITH.  It was by the faith of Abraham which gave his descendants, the Jews, the assurance of GOD’S acceptance.

While Abraham is a ROOT for the Jews, JESUS is the ROOT for all!

A TREE–

All through the Bible, the OLIVE TREE is symbolic of Israel.  But notice the TWO TYPES of OLIVE TREES mentioned by the apostle Paul:

–  A WILD TREE.

–  A CULTIVATED TREE.

Before moving on with this study, we need to understand the TWO TERMS:

The Wild Tree–

A “wild tree” is not under human care.  It just grows and produces as nature would have it.

The Cultivated Tree–

This tree has been tended to, trimmed back, and taken from.

In my investigation of plant grafting for this study, I found that a WILD OLIVE BRANCH is not grafted in a CULTIVATED OLIVE TREE–unless, the tree becomes unproductive in fruit, or is barren.  For this is the very reason, the wild olive branch imparts the rest of the tree, to be fruitful and useful once more.

Grafted in ...
Grafted in …

DURING THE 1st CENTURY:

A cultivated branch was typically grafted into a wild or natural growing olive tree; the only time when wild branches are grafted to a cultivated tree is when that particular tree…STOPS PRODUCING FRUIT!

With this very illustration, Paul is saying,  GOD is blessing GENTILES because the JEWS had CEASED to bear fruit…the issue is not individuals who were SAVED then lost their salvation (the “natural branches” were never saved), rather the people groups became GOD’S FOCUS.

The KEY VERSES:  17-18

[17]  But if some of the branches were broken off, while you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them to share the richness [of the ROOT and sap] of the olive tree,

[18]  Do not boast over the branches and pride yourself at their expense.  If you do boast and feel superior, remember it is not you that support the ROOT, but the ROOT [that supports] you.

BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY is a form of JUDAISM–

We DRAW our source of life from the “rootstock”  ISRAEL (like grafted in “limes”/”lemons”).

*  The ROOT supports us; our spiritual life comes from ISRAEL.

*  Who said this?  “…for [after all], SALVATION comes from [among] the Jews.” (John 4:22); JESUS did to the woman at the well.

*  In the 1st Century JUDAISM,

Gentiles who believed in the God of Israel but didn’t want to be full converts to Judaism, were thought of as SAVED– but at the same time, not in as great of place in THE BLESSING as those who became JEWS…

*  In the Church Age,

Jews and Gentile BELIEVERS alike have equal status, but both are BLESSED because…they are plugged into the life-giving root ISRAEL and…more specifically, ISRAEL’S MESSIAH.

ONE DAY, THE NATURAL BRANCHES WILL BE GRAFTED BACK IN:  (24)

“…how much easier will it be to graft these natural [branches] back on [the original parent stock of] their own olive tree…”  (Amplified Bible).

The CHURCH does not replace Israel, but it does dwell in the place of God’s blessing until…Israel is re-grafted in.

Both the Church and end time Israel SHARE in the same New Covenant and both are part of the Kingdom of God.  BUT…”ISRAEL” refers to a nation, and the church is not a “new Israel,” but people who are called out…every tribe, kindred, and nation.  EACH will GLORIFY God but each in her own way.  How can we know this is true?

“…for God’s gifts and His calling is irrevocable”

The REGENERATION PROCESS:  (25-27)

[25]  Lest you be self-opinionated (wise in your own conceits), I do not want you to miss this hidden truth and mystery, brethren:  a hardening  (insensibility)  has [temporarily] befallen a part of Israel [to last] until the *[ii]*full number of the ingathering of the Gentiles has come in,

[26]  And so all Israel will be saved.  As it is written,  The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will banish ungodliness from Jacob.

[27]  And this will be My covenant (My agreement) with them when I shall take away their sins.

This partial hardening of hearts will one day END (25).  There is a “quota“, a “full number” of Gentiles that will be met and only God knows that number.

This re-direction will happen during the Tribulation Period when GOD SAVES 12,000 Jews, each of Israel’s tribes and then…the surviving nation of Israel is converted during Armageddon (verses 26-27).

This doesn’t mean ALL JEWS are automatically SAVED or SAVED apart from Christ Jesus…this is talking about a point in time where ALL ISRAEL present on earth will be SAVED  (Zech. 12:9-10; Isaiah 45:17; Zech. 13:8-9).

THERE’S NO ROOM For anti-Semitism in Christianity (28-32):

[28]  From the point of view of the Gospel  (good news),  they [the Jews, at present] are enemies [of God], which is for your advantage and benefit.  But from the point of view of God’s choice (of election, of divine selection),  they are still the beloved (dear to Him) for the sake of their forefathers.

[29]  For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.  [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]

[30]  Just as you were once disobedient and rebellious toward God but now have obtained {His] mercy,  through their disobedience,

[31]  So they also now are being disobedient [when you are receiving mercy], that they in turn may one day, through mercy you are enjoying, also receive mercy [that they may share the mercy which has been shown to you–through you as messengers of the Gospel to them].

[32]  For God has consigned (penned up) all men to disobedience, only that He may have mercy on them all [alike].

From one angle, it would have certainly become EASY to despise the JEWS (28 a).  As much as Paul was burdened for his people, he was also aggravated with them.

If you have children, how many times have you laid awake at night in bed, concerned for…even “burdened” by the activity or lack there of…but at the same time, “aggravated” at the same time?

Once Christianity SEPARATED from their Jewish ROOTS…once people no longer realized the Crucifixion of Christ was planned by God, anti-Semitism set into the Church (by the 4th Century).

Despite Paul’s strong declaration, that Christians respect Israel for the love of their roots,  “REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY” became a dominant theme of church doctrine:  “God was done with Israel forever”; there could be no anti-Semitism if it were not for “replacement theology.”

Israel is STILL God’s Chosen Nation  (“they are beloved” – 28 b):

Jeremiah 31:35-36:

[35]  Thus says the Lord,  Who gives the sun for a light by day and the fixed order of the moon and of the stars for a light by night,  Who stirs up the sea’s roaring billows or stills the waves when they roar–the Lord of hosts is His name:

[36]  If these ordinances [of fixed order]  depart from before Me, says the Lord, then the posterity of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me throughout the ages.

Verse 29 is… THE CENTER OF GOD’S CALLING IS IRREVOCABLE:

If God made a PROMISE to us, or to His nation Israel, then later redefined His words to define Israel as people collected from all nations…God might make a great politician in today’s world, but He would not be the HOLY, IMPECCABLE, IMMUTABLE, FAITHFUL God of the Bible.

God’s Delay in Blessing Israel:

GOD always has a PURPOSE, and delaying His BLESSING to Israel? (verse 30-32):

For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained MERCY through THEIR UNBELIEF;   Even so have these also not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.   For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have MERCY upon all.  (King James Bible)

Realizing how masterfully God has planned all these things…you want to jump up, burst forth in praise, for His omnipotent sovereignty…which is what Paul does.

Seeking Opportunities—

So in reading and meditating on the verses above, we should SEEK God-given opportunities to SHARE JESUS to unbelieving Jews; have an undeniable respect for Jewish people in doing so because of their ROOTS….becomes our strength!

Zechariah 8:23 Amplified Bible:

Thus says the Lord of hosts:  In those days ten men out of all languages of the nations shall take hold of the robe of him who is a Jew, saying,  Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.

 

*Footnotes & Photo Credits:

[i] – Jerry Watts “Grafted into God’s Family”

[ii] – Joseph Thayer’s A Greek-English Lexicon

Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living Like KINGS In This Life!

ROMANS 5:17  (KJV):

“For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”

When I study and meditate on God’s Word through the Scriptures, I love to look at bible verses in different translations.  It gives on perspective.  Although  in my library, I am fortunate to possess many different translations to compare, I also use the Internet to broaden my search, sites such as Bible Gateway or Bible Hub.

So in saying, let me give you a translation, of the same verse, from the Weymouth New Testament:

Romans 5:17  (WNT):

“For if, through the transgression of the one individual Death made use of the one individual to seize the sovereignty, all the more shall those who receive God’s overflowing grace and gift of righteousness reign as kings in Life through the one individual, Jesus Christ.”

THE IMPACT OF GOD’S WORD:

The apostle Paul, who wrote the Letter to the Roman church–inspired by the Holy Spirit–gives us a comparative look:

1.  The CONDEMNING ACT of Adam–

2.  The REDEMPTIVE ACT of Christ Jesus.

Adams sin (transgression), brought universal death to all of mankind (Romans 3:10, 23) when he accepted Satan’s lie:  “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5).

However, Jesus’ sacrifice brought salvation to those who believe (John 3:16).  Jesus’ one act of redemption was immeasurably greater than Adam’s one-act of condemnation.

HOW MUCH IS “ABUNDANCE”?

Romans 5:17 b…all the more shall those who receive God’s abundance of grace…

Did we get just enough to get by when we were saved by believing in Jesus?  Is that all there is?  Did we get just a teacup full of “grace”?

As some of you who follow my blog know, my favorite verse in the New Testament is John 10:10:

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.  I [JESUS] came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”  [Amplified Bible]

Having “ABUNDANCE” till it overflows!

Given without a hitch, without strings attached, without measurement.  It’s like the Eveready Battery commercial: It keeps on giving every moment of the day throughout our entire lives!

Unlike Adam’s Act In Genesis…

Christ’s Acthas and will–accomplish exactly what He intended.  He called us as Christians TO “REIGN!” : That is a period during which something or somebody is dominant or powerful, has authority.

GOD’S ORIGINAL PLAN:

Genesis 1:27, 28, 30 b:

[ 27]  “So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them.    [28] And God blessed them and said to them,  Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion (authority, dominance, power) over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth.  [30] –to everything in which there is the breath of life–“

“Reigning in Life” (Romans 5:17):

Living like Kings
Living like Kings

The word “REIGN”  here, means to reign in life as a KING (not just in the masculine sense), to have kingly rule…possess kingly dominion as God originally intended before Adam’s act

Reign in circumstances…

Based on the authority of God’s Word, you are destined to “reign in life” as a king; “kingly dominion” over all your challenges and circumstances.  The time has come for us to stop “ABDICATING” our right to rule in life!  Remember, God has positioned us through His Son, to reign!

Ephesians 2:4-6  (AMP):

[4]  But God–so rich is He in His mercy!  Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us. [5] Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses,  He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are SAVED (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation).  [6] And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the anointed One).

NOTICE VERSE 4:

But God, who is RICH IN MERCY, because of His great LOVE with which He loves us; yet we were Spiritually Dead, but God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love…

SALVATION IS FOR GOD’S GLORY!

GOD took you and I who were Spiritually Dead, gave us His boundless mercy and love.

IN VERSE 5:

Spiritually speaking here in verse 5, “at your best, you were dead in trespasses.”

Salvation brings Spiritual Life to the Spiritual Dead…

Remember, the POWER that raises the BELIEVER out of death, is the same POWER that brought you to life and it’s the same POWER that energizes every aspect of our Christian living–our circumstances, our trials, our doubts.

ALSO VERSE 6:

When we are SAVED from eternal death, we are raised up together; made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  Your physical body is still on earth, but your spiritual body…you get the picture here I hope.

The tense of “RAISED” and “MADE” indicates that these are immediate and direct results of SALVATION!

Verse 6 says, in the HEAVENLY PLACES in Christ Jesus.  It is the supernatural realm where God reigns.

LIVING IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM:

The SPIRITUAL is as real as the PHYSICAL world–BUT…it is different because it cannot be seen and tested.  Though the body itself is in the PHYSICAL REALM, the life within the body comes from the spirit.  [i] –See footnotes.

The Bible states clearly, we are to REIGN in life through Christ Jesus and… RECEIVING two important things from Him:

1.  The ABUNDANCE of Grace

2.  The GIFT of RIGHTEOUSNESS   (He declared you “righteous” at the Cross).

Worldly Thinking By Man–

Man’s thinking goes like this:  For God to BLESS him/her, he needs to DESERVE, EARN and MERIT God’s favor.  Man thinks that God’s blessings are based on his performance and good works.

God’s Way–

God’s way isn’t about ACHIEVING, but about RECEIVING!  (We are to receive!).

The WORLD’S SYSTEM Regarding SUCCESS in Life–

The SYSTEM is driven into our heads from the time we are children, through the teenage years, and emphasized through our working years.  All built on SELF EFFORT and DILIGENCE.

How many times did my parents advise and direct my paths?  “Quit being a procrastinator…a lazy teenager!”  Continue with your schooling; with the idea of being successful in life.  Now that IS good advice, don’t get me wrong.  However, a stigma can sometimes arise in a impressible child growing up:  “If I keep at this thing…due diligence will lead to my success!”  We can be sometimes find ourselves on the deserted island of “I”  (I did it).

We are driven to “do, do, do,” forgetting that Christianity is actually “done, done, done.”  [ii] See Footnotes.

k5929537The Question of “CHAIRS” and “SITTING DOWN”:

I’m a very visual person when reading and studying God’s Word and the Bible can certainly give us a picture of the believer, resting in finished and completed work of JESUS.

Hebrews 10:12, 14:

[12]  “Whereas this One [Christ], after He had offered a single sacrifice for our sins [that shall avail] for ALL TIME, sat down at the right hand of God.”

[14]  “For by a single offering He has forever completely cleansed and perfected those who are consecrated and made holy.”

VERSE 14 once more–

DECLARING that you were PERFECTED FOREVER!

Our works, self-efforts, will, and can rob us of REIGNING in life by His grace.  You cannot earn your SALVATION, your HEALING, your FINANCIAL breakthrough by your own efforts.

GOD has called the REDEEMED to REIGN!

Revelation 1:6  (Young’s Literal Translation):

6  and did make us kings and priests to his God and Father, to him [is] glory and the power to the ages of the ages!  Amen.

So if that’s you, reach out to Him in your spirit and RECEIVE your DESTINY…your AUTHORITY!  How do you reach out?

YOU PRAY…Lord, your Word is true and I believe it!  I’m tired of trying to be worthy in your eyes and everyone elses.  I was made worthy when your Son’s blood was shed on the Cross for my sins.  I am the REDEEMED in Christ.  I am worthy to RECEIVE the gift of kingship and to receive my destiny.  Have Your Holy Spirit empower me to take dominion over my life.  In JESUS’ Name I pray.  AMEN.

 

Footnotes and Photos:

Photo Inserts:  Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe Courtesy of Starpulse.com and Disney Productions & Foto Search.

[i] – From ChristWords.com–Christ’s words in Ancient Greek.

[ii] – Quote from a Howard Strickland sermon.