The Challenge Preaching and Teaching to All Who Are Listening!

1 Corinthians 3:1-3 NIV Bible:

[1]  Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly–mere infants in Christ.  [2] I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it.  Indeed, you are still not ready.  [3] You are still worldly.  For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly?  Are you not acting like mere men?

FIRST of all, I’m not a Pastor.  But a preacher, a teacher…that I am.  Now that I cleared that up, I can proceed with some principles.  Principles I’ve discovered over 40 years of teaching… which might just help in your sharing of the gospel to all!.

Preaching and Teaching to the Immature and the Spiritual Giants…

Every week, pastors all over the world are asked to do something that is almost impossible:  Preach and teach a message to a group of people which includes…

—  Teenagers to seniors.

—  Men and women.

—  Mature disciples and not-yet-believers.

—  The faithful and the skeptical.

—  Regular attenders and first time guests.

—  Singles, married, divorced and “it’s complicated.”

—  Those who need comfort and those who need a swift kick in the…!

No wonder the pastoral burnout rate is so high!

As a Christian Blogger, I’ve been teaching through writing, as THE WORD DETECTIVE for 44 months with mixed results.  It’s still tough, but I’ve become steadily better at it in time.  But mostly by trial and error.  While I don’t claim to have mastered the art of writing down all my thoughts, I have discovered a few simple principles that may help in your particular giftings.

"Babes" and "Giants"
“Babes” and “Giants”

“Babes in Christ”–Who are they?

“I had to feed you with milk and not with solid food because you couldn’t digest [“stomach”] anything stronger.  And even now you still have to be fed milk”  (1 Corinthians 3:2 TLB).  {I added the word “stomach” in brackets for emphasis}

“Babes in Christ” are Christians who aren’t sufficiently advanced to the teachings of the Word of God.  They are still majoring in the simple and easy truths of the Bible; they see Him as a God of Love but can’t picture Him as a God of wrath and judgement.

So, they RESIST any kind of “strong” or “hard” preaching/teaching against sin.  It doesn’t fit in their elementary theology box.

Could there be sadder words spoken by a Preacher to his congregation?

The Apostle Paul was addressing the Corinthian Church here–a church that was enriched with much knowledge and many spiritual gifts.  Yet in spite of their many BLESSINGS, they remained as “babes in Christ”–couldn’t “handle” the matters of doctrine. so they fill in the blanks with unsound reasoning and began making up their own DOCTRINE!  I’m sure they thought that they were “Spiritual Giants” in their thinking.  But were they not “babes in Christ” and didn’t know it?

Stay Fixed on THE WORD
Stay Fixed on THE WORD

PRINCIPLE NUMBER ONE:  Start and Stay with Scripture.

This is  KEY when teaching or preaching.  Don’t just use a verse or two–a jumping off point to say what you want to say.  STUDY IT and STICK WITH IT throughout the entire message.  Sure, we need to use personal stories, current events and common experiences in our communication, verbally or our writings.  BUT, as I have found, going down a “spiritual rabbit holes” can lead you in the direction of wrong intentions.

When I first started blogging, my oldest daughter sent me a message via Email:

“DAD, I enjoyed reading your story about Jesus in the Bible. Just a suggestion, you might use more personal stories to get your point across. LOVE YOU DADDY, Karen.”

Too many, well-meaning pastors and Christian writers are basing their messages, not on a passage from God’s Word, but on the title of the latest movie, a news headline, or the latest “a funny thing happened to me” story.

Forget Your Bible?
Forget Your Bible?

When in doubt of what to say, or teach is…“the TRUTH of God’s Word always, and I mean “always” speaks to everyone.”

PRINCIPLE TWO:  Learning Something New.

One of the best ways I’ve found in reading and using Scripture  is to MEDITATE on the passage I’ve chosen until I discover something I’ve never seen before.  Reading the words before me until they begin to speak to me.  And, if I don’t feel I’m ready…read it again until it does speak!

Second, I’ve learned over time, the things that I teach orally, preach or write might likely be deep enough for the “mature believer” as well.

I love reading the comments left on my published blogs;  “Thanks, Mel!  I never saw it in that way before!”  To which I reply, “Me either!”

There are few things more invigorating to a church member, as hearing from their pastor who keeps learning and sharing new depths in God’s Word.  And by the way, tell your pastor, encourage your pastor, in acknowledging the truth presented.

PRINCIPLE THREE:  Using the Simplest Language Possible.

After studying and prayer each morning, I go through my notes and edit my rough draft with a Roget’s Thesaurus next to the computer.  I try to replace all the multisyllabic theological terms into everyday terminology.  The same words I would use in casual conversation at the local coffee shop.  I feel it is my responsibility to help my readers, or the Bible Study attendees, to understand biblical concepts and doctrine in such a way, that they can take with them and live them out.

It’s not easy…

Sometimes it’s hard to explain deep concepts in simple language with all the commentaries, books available,  etc., but I’m learning in the process. If I can’t explain it in simple terms, I probably don’t understand it as well as I think I do.  So I study some more until I have a better grasp of God’s Word and can explain it simply [you might disagree].

PRINCIPLE FOUR:  Leave the Results in God’s Hands.

Although frustrated at times, I have certainly learned over the years…you can’t speak with your lips or write weekly blogs, that everyone will get something different from the same message or topic given.  Only God’s WORD can do that.  So I do what I can do, and leave the rest in God’s hands.

I can’t reach the sorrowing widower, the struggling single parent, the alcoholic dad, the skeptical seeker at the same time.  But the Holy Spirit working through God’s Word in speech or in writing can.

The Holy spirit steps in and does something we could never do.  He speaks to each person so specifically, that I hope and pray they leave the pages I write, leave knowing, “That MESSAGE was just for me.”

“Babes in Christ” and “Spiritual Giants” are listening…

HEBREWS 5:12-14 AMP:

[12]  “For even though by this time you ought to be teaching others, you actually need someone to teach you over again the very first principles of God’s Word.  You have come to need milk, not solid food.”

[13]  “For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action), for he is a mere infant [not able to talk yet]!”

[14]  “But solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law.”

Who are the “someones” and the “everyone’s” in your life?

I wanted to leave you with a question rather than an answer.  And if you don’t know the answer, that’s okay.  Should you know the answers?

I have only presented a brief summation of God’s Principles and presenting the TRUTH to Pastors, teachers, preachers, and bloggers (writers).

“If indeed God permits, we will [now] proceed [to advance teaching].  For it is impossible [to restore and bring again to repentance] those who have been once for all enlightened, who have consciously tasted the heavenly gift and have become sharers of the Holy Spirit.  And have felt how good THE WORD OF GOD is and the mighty powers of the age and world to come”  (Hebrews 6:3-5 AMP).

 

Photo Credits:

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Credits: 

Signs of Spiritual Immaturity – “Babes in Christ” and “Spiritual Giants” by Connie Giordano – Walking in Faith.

 

 

 

 

Are You SEARCHIN’ FOR DIRECTION IN YOUR LIFE?

2173653553_20a8c4041a
SEARCHING FOR DIRECTION IN LIFE?

One of my favorite singers of the past, was the late Dusty Springfield along with Dionne Warwick: Wishin’ and Hopin’ and Thinkin’ and Prayin‘. What was the lyricist “prayin'” for?  To find, search for LOVE, perhaps in all the wrong places?  Perhaps, but in doing so, frustration must have set in to the “thinkin”.

My search for some answers, begins with finding and knowing God’s will in my life; the search for direction–thus, the question presented in the title for this weeks BLOG.  Not in your life necessarily, but in mine.  Hopefully. in reading this post, you will find and know God’s will more clearly in your life too!

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but how much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose”  (Philippians 2:12-13 NIV Bible).

DOING GOD’S WILL WITH A SMILE –

Before doing God’s will…we need to know before the “doing”, “HOW DO I KNOW WHAT GOD’S WILL IS in any given situation of my life?”

The answer I found, isn’t really complicated.  There are steps in the process like everything else in life.

We live in a “I want it now society”, and patience in knowing, is not a virtue of ours.  Yeah, we might know the words found in Galatians 5:22-23 (“THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT”)…love, joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…but living with them, applying Holy Spirit’s gifts…that’s not something most of us seek on a daily basis.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t…just, most of us don’t!

FINDING THE ANSWERS IN THE RIGHT PLACES:

How can we find the WILL OF GOD for our lives?  If we don’t follow God’s will for us, we will pay a heavy price in facing the negative consequences.

GOD wants to know His will for your life–

If you’re NOT a believer in Jesus Christ, NOT placed in a saving faith in Him, you’re out of the will of God!  He desires that ALL come to repentance, faith, and to be born-again.

GOD’S WORD:

Psalm 40:8:  “To do your will, O my God, is my desire; your law is within my heart.”

“LAW” (or His Word) = WILL OF GOD.

Example:  We know through reading the Word of God that marrying an unbeliever is NOT God’s will for our lives (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).  God tells us in His Word, ‘Don’t get the cart before the horse’ in new relationships in dating.  Your desires may just precede God’s desire in your life.  And that’s not His will.

THE FIRST and PRIMARY WAY of knowing God’s will for your life…

You are unsure in making an important decision in your family; changing jobs, changing locations because of your job, financial commitments, and you don’t know where to find the answers in your Bible.

If you don’t know where to find your particular circumstance in God’s Word, and don’t have a BIBLE CONCORDANCE, invest in one.  SEARCH for it in God’s Word.  IMPATIENCE might just lead you in the wrong direction.

 1.  God wants us to be WHOLE and NOT SICK…

[2] And behold, a leper came up to Him (JESUS) and, prostrating himself, worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You are able to cleanse me by curing me.    [3] And He reached out His hand and touched him, saying,  “I am willing; be cleansed by being cured.  And instantly his leprosy was cured and cleansed  (Matthew 8:2-3 AMP).

2.  Knowing God’s Will for us is Not to be Poor and in Debt…

More than Enough!
More than Enough!

God wants us to have enough so our needs are met and we give to others in return.

“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the servant to the lender”  (Proverbs 22:7).

God’s Word also tells us, to those who might be struggling making ends meet in this economy, one reason why He sent His Son into this world:

[JESUS speaking] …I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)”  (John 10:10 AMP).

The “overflow” is much more than “just enough”!

3.   GOD doesn’t want us to be DEPRESSED:

HIS WILL for us is to be happy (to “enjoy life”), full of joy!  (Philippians 4:4)

“REJOICE in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice!”

THE NEW ROGET’S THESAURUS, definesDEPRESSION” – dishearten, dejection, lowness, worthlessness.  

If you are feeling in a state of constant depression right now…it’s NOT God’s will for your life!

The general will of God is clearly specified in the Word of God for us.  But just knowing where to find thee TRUTH and not claiming and receiving God’s will for our life is another.

So, how can we know the specifics, the details of GOD’S WILL?  Our Bible doesn’t tell us which job to take, doesn’t tell us who to marry, even if we are following God’s will.  E.g., disciples in the boat–“Let us go over to the other side.”

4.  Through the PEACE OF GOD:

“Let the PEACE OF CHRIST rule in your hearts, since members of one body, you were called to peace.  And be thankful”  (Colossians 3:15 NIV).

“RULE” =  “BRABEUO” (Greek word)  [Footnote [i] ].

This verb is found only in this verse and expresses the underlying sense of “having the role of greatest influence.”  The Amplified Bible says PEACE, [“acts as umpire continually”.]

Just as every sport that has disputes, they must be settled by the officials, the PEACE OF GOD as the umpire, settling all disputes as to what the will of God is for our lives.

THE PEACE OF GOD is always “umpiring” in our hearts, but we don’t always pay attention to it.  Sometimes, we even go against the PEACE of God in our hearts.

As you sit in the presence of God, be still, take a “time out”, consider all the options, discerning the will of God by the PEACE given to your heart (Psalm 46:10).

5.  DISCERNING correctly what the Lord is trying to tell us–

Lining the Lights Up…

Aligning Things Up!
Aligning Things Up!

There was a certain harbor that was treacherous and dangerous to enter.  In order for the captain to guide his ship safely into the harbor, he had to be attentive to three lights used to guide him.  When all three lights lined up as one, he knew it was safe to proceed.  Then, and only then, would he bring his ship safely to port.

As we seek GUIDANCE, we too have to be attentive to “THREE LIGHTS”…to guide us into the harbor of His will:

~ The WORD of God,

~  Our outward circumstances,

~  Our inner conviction.

When all three of these Lights line up, we can then proceed with assurance, of being led safely into the harbor.

6.  God’s Will Revealed Through the Word of Knowledge and Prophecy:

“To one is given in and through the [Holy] Spirit [the power to speak] a message of wisdom, and to another [the power to express] a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same [Holy] Spirit”  (1 Corinthians 12:8 AMP).

“…to another prophetic insight (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones]”  (1 Corinthians 12:10).

WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL with this!  Whatever is being revealed should be tested and consistent with the Word of God.  We shouldn’t take others words blindly, but we ourselves should test what the other person has said in respect to what God says (His will) from His Word (Scripture).

God does speak through audible voices sometimes (friends and family).  We have to DISCERN whether we’re listening to God’s voice, or someone elses.

Good intentions…

If we are receiving a word of knowledge or prophecy from a person, we should know and make sure that particular person that’s speaking to our issue is living a godly life too.

But it is possible for some true servants of God to NOT LISTEN to the Lord correctly.  In that case, they should tell you clearly they are not sure.

PROPHECY is not fortune-telling.  We’ve got to be careful of this.

“What should we DO to know God’s will for our life?”

Romans 12:1-2 KJV:

[Verse 1]  “I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your responsible service.

[Verse 2]  “And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

This “renewing” is not a  one time experience, but a daily reminder in every decision and circumstance we face in our lives.  In order TO KNOW GOD’S WILL, we need to…

OFFER OUR BODY (who your are in your spirit–our whole being) as a LIVING SACRIFICE, living holy lives.

KING DAVID came upon the scene of a threshing floor of a Jebusite by the name of Araunah as commanded by the Lord.  When Araunah saw the king coming, he went out and bowed himself down before the king.

Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”  And David said, “To purchase the threshing floor from you; to build there an altar to the Lord.”

What Araunah did next seemed to me a honoring gesture as he offered the king everything he had for the altar of sacrifice–of worship and praise.

But David refused the offer in saying to Araunah,  “I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my GOD of that which cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24).

“What’s that particular story have to do with knowing God’s Will for my life?  There is never an offering, a sacrifice of worship, praise or anything else that doesn’t cost you something.  After paying the price, according to God’s Will in the circumstances, David made the offering.  He knew God’s will in this matter because of the Word of his LORD GOD.

The RESULTS OF KNOWING and APPLYING THE STEPS:  

So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and Israel’s plague was stayed.”  (verse 25).

PHILIPPIANS 2:13:

“for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.”

GOD gives us the DESIRE to do His will and…He also enables us to do His will.

ILLUSTRATION:

A young man entered his church one Sunday morning where he started praying before the service began.  He was so anxious to find God’s will for his life that he took out a piece of paper he kept in his bible, writing down all the things he was going to do for God.

He started to PRAY that God might revel to him whether these promises were acceptable to Him.

God whispered in his ear, “This is not the way I want you to find My will.  All I want of you is for you to sign your name and leave the paper blank for Me to fill in.”

 

 

Footnotes:

[i]  Expository Dictionary of Bible Words.

Photo Credit:

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“Being Careful with the Company You Keep”

The words in this blog title, were the words I heard from my parents constantly while growing up as a child.  I’m sure your parents emphasized the same idea to you as well.

I remember my dad telling me, “Mel, if one of your friends jumped off a roof into a fire, would you do the same?”  Hanging my head in shame, “No.”

In essence, my parents were trying to get the point across to me, “Be careful who you associate with (‘who you hang with’).”  Did my parents WISDOM stick in my adult years?  I’ll answer that question while investigating together, the WISDOM given from a father to his son in The Book of Proverbs.

TEXT: PROVERBS 4 – “Oh, kids will be kids…”

This parental phrase has been repeated over and over again in families.  So, I want to elaborate on the idea of responsibility as a PARENT, GRANDPARENT, GREAT GRANDPARENT, AND UNCLE when it comes to teaching the ways of the Lord.  This principle will apply not just to our family kids, but also to our spiritual children; the friends, brief acquaintances, neighbors, and others that we have led to JESUS or leading to Christ.  Some in the church call the process “DISCIPLING”.  And it can be.  But I’m going to call it teaching godly WISDOM, as Solomon speaks to in the Bible.

PROVERBS 4:1-27 AMPLIFIED BIBLE:

"Do NOT forsake my teaching"
“Do NOT forsake my teaching”

HEAR, MY sons, the instruction of a father, and pay attention in order to gain and to know intelligent discernment, comprehension, and interpretation [of spiritual matters].  For I give you good doctrine [what is to be received]; do not forsake my teaching ~  (verses 1-2). 

 

“Boys will be boys” …

We all heard those sayings before, perhaps even repeated the words ourselves.  BUT, what do they mean to us and others?

It means that when someone says that, they don’t believe they have any reason to worry how the kids will turn out…because kids will always be kids.

Now, that may seem logical…but its not!  The MESSAGE I want to make clear in the blog-POST…a child left to their own devises without instruction and correction of disobedience can become monsters.

PROVERBS repeatedly WARNS PARENTS…children left to their own desires will metamorphose into…

–  All the days of the afflicted are evil; but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast ~ Proverbs 15:15 KJV.

–  A wise son makes a glad father, but a self-confident and foolish man despises his mother and puts her to shame ~ Proverbs 15:20 AMP.

–  A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him ~ Proverbs 17:25 NAS.

–  The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother ~ Proverbs 29:15 NIV. 

The Story of Two Sisters:

This story involves TWO SISTERS who had spent the day fighting.  And girls (I helped raise two daughters), if you are reading this story, it’s not 8681712-a-young-girl-says-her-prayers-just-before-bed-timeabout you…well, maybe.

When it became bedtime, the two sisters were still mad at each other.  But as usual, they knelt beside their beds for their prayers.

“Dear God,” the 8-year-old began.  “Bless Daddy and Mommy, bless our dog.”

Then she stopped.  Her mother gently prodded,  “Didn’t you forget somebody?”  She glared across the bed at her 6-year-old sister and added,  “And oh yes, God bless my ex-sister.”

Still, you might be thinking,  “What can you do?  There are some who look at kids who behave badly and just shrug and say…Well boys will be boys; kids will be kids.”

The author of PROVERBS wouldn’t agree.  He believed a parent should and could influence their children.  He constantly preached to his kids about what was right and wrong; as he noted in Proverbs 29:15:

The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left undisciplined brings his mother shame” (MP).

Proverbs 22:6:”

“Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

According to a 2003 study by the Barna Group [See Footnote [i] ]– they found that:

~  A person’s moral foundations are laid by the age of nine.

~  Most people make a decision regarding the personal significance of Christ’s death and resurrection by the age of 12.  [For me personally, I was thirty years old and my wife was twenty-eight].

~  In most cases,people’s spiritual beliefs are irrevocably formed while they are still preteens.

An Attention Getter…

“Listen, friends, to some fatherly advice; sit up and take notice so you’ll know how to live!”  (Proverbs 4:1 Message Bible)

SOLOMON is saying “listen to me” “pay close attention to me and learn”–he’s assuming something worth saying is something worth listening to.  So…as if you’re a PARENT, GRANDPARENT, UNCLE/AUNT…what can you say worth listening to?

A SHORT SURVEY OF PROVERBS:

I searched out THREE MAIN THEMES:  (There may be more, but these were the ones that stuck out to me).

Those three main themes are summed up in the following verses:

PROVERBS 1:7 – “The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge…” (AMP Bible).

PROVERBS 1:8 – “My son, hear the instruction of your father; reject not nor forsake the teaching of your mother.”  

PROVERBS 1:10, 15-16 – “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent”  “My son, do not walk in the way with them; restrain your foot from their path;  For their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood.”

The On-going Message….

FIRST…Fear God.

Then REMEMBER what I’m teaching you.

And then, be careful who you hang out with and who you try to be like.

Proverbs 4:19:

“The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.”

SOLOMON–ONE OF THE WISEST MEN WHO EVER LIVED!

10646657_10152631217078930_8754778246084982255_nHe talked the talk.  BUT he ended up NOT walking the walk.   And by failing to “walk the walk”…he hurt his son.

Looking back on life, especially in raising our son; in my spiritual immaturity–I perhaps hurt my son by NOT walking the walk with consistency.  Sometimes my life would be exemplary in being like JESUS, and other times, not so much.  Examples: complaining about work, neighbors next door, loosing my temper while driving, etc.  It certainly wasn’t demonstrating the LOVE of Jesus.

Make a Decision NOW!

 Here’s the deal:  If you want a child to grow up the way they should go, and believe me, I learned the following priorities the hard way, you have to DECIDE to keep your priorities straight.

~  DECIDE that YOU’RE going to FEAR GOD.

~  DECIDE that YOU’RE going to REMEMBER what God taught you.

~  DECIDE to be CAREFUL who YOU hang out with.

If a parent will repeat those THREE IDEAS–over and over again to their children–FEAR GOD, REMEMBER OUR TEACHING, BEING CAREFUL WHO YOU HANG WITH; WHO YOU TRY TO BE LIKE, over and over again to the younger generation, it WILL make an impact.  My adult children have demonstrated our teaching and demonstration of living with godly fear in their lives for the most part.  Thank you JESUS.  Are things perfect in their lives? No, but neither is my life.

SOLOMON was very good at “talking the talk”

For the majority of his life, he even walked the walk.  BUT, toward the end of his life, he grew tired of that walk (1 Kings 11:9-13 NIV):

[9] The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.  [10] Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORD’S command.  [11] So the LORD said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates.  [12] Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime.  I will tear it out of the hand of your son.  [13] Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.

Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived, talked the talk yet ended up NOT walking the walk because he FAILED and hurt his son!

Todays PARENTS “Walking the Walk”; Needing to look to God as a Way of Life…

As parents, if we look to God, God will be the One who’s in the center of our lives; and that goes far beyond Sundays at church–or Wednesdays, Mondays…

And if that is true, our own kids, grandkids, nephews/nieces will take notice.  They may not tell you so with their lips, but by their decisions and actions away from the family unit…

That which you fear is that which you will obey…

That’s why Proverbs 9:10 tells us,

The reverent and worshipful FEAR of the Lord is the BEGINNING (the chief and choice part) of WISDOM and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight and understanding.

If I FEAR GOD, I won’t FEAR anything else.  

So FIRST, we need to talk with our kids.

Secondly, we need to “walk the walk.”

And third…we need to Look to God; looking to God as the center of our lives as PARENTS.

If that’s true, our kids will notice.  If we sincerely look to God in faith–if we believe we can trust God with our everyday lives in all situations–our children will too!

I remember an incident on a New Year’s night, my wife and I were celebrating the evening at home…snacking, dancing, snacking…you get the picture.  We heard a car drive up and heard several voices laughing and quite vocal. As we went to the front room windows, peering out into the darkness (about 11 PM), the front door opened and our youngest daughter, her boyfriend and another couple came upstairs.

Our daughter’s voice rang out at the top of the stairs, “I hope you don’t mind mom and dad, if we hangout here for New Years, it’s nuts out there and we thought it would be safer over here.”   What ‘music’ to our ears as parents.  Godly teaching had gotten through! Thank you JESUS!!

One thing Solomon knew about his daddy, his relationship David had with God was real.  And knowing that, Solomon wanted that same bond/closeness he’d seen in his father.

And because Solomon knew that; because he struggled to follow his father’s example…Solomon’s kingdom eventually became even greater that David’s had been.

Leaving you with one last thought…

What your children/grandchildren become depends to a great extent…upon you; what you choose to do with your God in your life.

Who’s company are you keeping these days?

 

Footnote:

[i]  Transforming Children Into Spiritual Champions: Ventura: Gospel Light, 2003.

Bible Translations:

Amplified, NIV, The Message, King James bible.

Photo Credits:

photobucket; Photo Pin.

 

 

 

 

Events Have Transpired-The Shadow of Things to Come (Part Two)

THE SPRING FEASTS –[Part ONE recap]:

As we have seen, the four Spring Festivals presented in Part One, have been FULFILLED by JESUS, who was our Passover Lamb; died on the day of Passover.

He was, without a doubt, buried of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  Jesus was in the grave during the day of Unleavened Bread; He was the kernel of wheat buried in the earth.

JESUS arose from the grave as “First Fruits” of the barley harvest, He Himself being the first to rise from the dead.

Finally, the promised New Covenant arrived during the Feast of Pentecost, or Weeks, to gather all the believers in Christ Jesus to be God’s Spring Harvest on earth.

THE FALL FEASTS–A Prophetic Foreshadow of Things to Come!

FEAST OF TRUMPETS (Leviticus 23:24):

Feast of Trumpets
Feast of Trumpets

“Say to the Israelites, On the first day of the seventh month [almost October], you shall observe the day of solemn [sabbatical] rest, a memorial day announced by the blowing of trumpets,  a holy [called] assembly.”

A 2014 Announcement…

This year, between September 25-26, Rosh Hashanah occurs.  Coincidentally, the FEAST OF TRUMPETS falls on my 50th Wedding Anniversary. We will be listening for the blast of the TRUMPETS.

GOD Seems to ENJOY Trumpets sounding… 

Ever since Issac was spared by the ram caught in the thicket by its horn, God seems to have enjoyed the TRUMPET.

He used it when Joshua conquered Jericho, and in Leviticus 25:8-10…He specified its use in having trumpets sounding,  “proclaim liberty throughout all the land…”  (The quotation appears on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia demonstrating that America was founded by Bible readers).

The FEAST OF TRUMPETS occurring in our month of September (Tishri on the Jewish Calendar), and the jump in time from the FEAST OF PENTECOST in May or June, represents the Church Age in God’s planning.

The “TRUMPET” Was A Signal…

jesus_christ_image_321

The field workers of old, when they heard the shofar (the Ram’s Horn) blasts, they were to come into the Temple to worship God almighty.  The HIGH PRIEST actually blew the trumpet and the faithful would stop the Fall Harvest.

Since the TRUMPET unquestionably represents the RAPTURE, or the “catching up” of the Church; when we hear the sounding trumpets, those who are in Christ, the living believers will cease their HARVEST and will rise from the earth (1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17):

“Take notice! I tell you a mystery (a secret truth, an event decreed by the hidden purpose or counsel of God). We shall not all fall asleep [in death], but we shall all be changed (transformed).  

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the [sound of the] LAST TRUMPET CALL. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead [in Christ] will be raised imperishable (free and immune from decay), and we shall be changed (transformed).

For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable [nature], and this mortal [part of us, this nature that is capable of dying] must put on immortality (freedom from death).

And when this perishable puts on the imperishable and this that was capable of dying puts on freedom from death, then shall be fulfilled the Scripture that says, Death is swallowed up (utterly vanquished forever) in and unto victory [Isa. 25:8]”  (1 Corinthians 15:51-54 AMP).

THE FEAST OF ATONEMENT (Yom Kippur):

“The LORD said to Moses,  The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to the Lord by fire.  Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the Lord your God”  (Leviticus 23:26-28 NIV).

This FEAST on the Jewish Calendar provided a day of confession, the highest of holy days.  On our calendar, the FEAST  OF ATONEMENT begins on October 3rd 2014 at sunset and ends on October 4th 2014 at night fall.

“Yom Kippur”…

Once a year on the Day of Atonement, the HIGH PRIEST (nobody else) may enter the Holy of Holies and meet there the glory of the LORD (the Shekinah)(Hebrews 9:7).

The High Priest…

The High Priest makes ATONEMENT for himself and for the people of Israel by the blood sacrifice of goats and bulls (Leviticus 16).

 HEBREWS 9:14:

“How much more surely shall the BLOOD OF CHRIST, Who by virtue of [His] eternal Spirit [His own preexistent divine personality] has offered Himself as an unblemished sacrifice to God, purify our consciences from dead works and lifeless observances to serve the [ever] living God?”

So Through JESUS’…

Through Jesus’ DEATH at the cross, our way to the Father is FREE…for everyone, at anytime (Mark:37, 38).

“And He [that same Jesus Himself] is the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins, and not for ours alone but also for [the sins of] the whole world”  (1 John 2:2 AMP).

“God presented Him [JESUS] as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood. He did this to demonstrate His justice, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished–”  (Romans 3:25 NIV).

At Jesus’ Second Coming…

When JESUS arrives on planet Earth for the second time, He will come out of the HOLY OF HOLIES (heaven).  And when He returns, besides other functions, He will come as the HIGH PRIEST to His chosen people (Zechariah 12:10).

This is the one FEAST not already fulfilled by the church…

The church owes no ATONEMENT.  The Church is not innocent, but it is exonerated.  The Greek word katallage [See footnote [i] ] is a noun derived from katallasso (RECONCILE), found in four places in the New Testament with the meaning “reconciliation.”  However, in each instance it is clear from the context that such “reconciliation” of sinners with God has come about only as a result of Christ’s work of atonement through His death on the cross (cf. Rom. 5:11; 11:15; 2 Cor. 5:18, 19).

THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES (Sukkot – “Booths”):

“And the LORD said…Say to the Israelites,  The fifteenth day of this seventh month, and for seven days, is the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths to the Lord”  (Leviticus 23:34).

FEAST OF TABERNACLES or "Booths"
FEAST OF TABERNACLES or “Booths”

From the age of 12 to the age of 18, my parents used to mark on the calendar on the back porch wall, specific days that the family was going camping in the mountains of Southern California [Idyllwild State Park].  We would pitch a tent after mom would rake, even sweep the ground where the tent would be placed with a camp broom (mom was more than ‘just neat’).  Our family CELEBRATED our days of family camping.

God Wanted to CELEBRATE the FEAST…

God wanted to celebrate the fact that He provided a shelter for the ISRAELITES in the wilderness.

Each year, devout Jews build little shelters or “booths” outside of their houses and WORSHIPPED in them.  And so TABERNACLES represents the Lord’s shelter in the world to come for those who believe in JESUS as their Lord and Savior.  His great TABERNACLE to exist in Jerusalem during the Kingdom Age (Revelation 20).

The LORD will establish HIS TABERNACLE in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 37:26) and the world will come every year to appear before the King of kings to worship Him (Zechariah 14:16, 17).

CONCLUSION:

You’ll probably agree, after reading this TWO PART SERIES, Christianity’s Jewish Roots offer an eye to the future as well as the past.  The next time someone mentions “The Seven Feasts of Israel,” you’ll realize they’re talking about the Seven Feasts of all time!

 

*For Footnotes, See PART ONE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Events Have Transpired–The Shadow of Things to Come! (Part One)

For the past month, our pastor has been speaking on PENTECOST from the book of THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES; the introduction to the Holy Spirit and the POWER introduced to the believers in Christ Jesus–the NEW CHURCH.

“AND WHEN the day of Pentecost had fully come,

they were all assembled together in one place”

~Acts 2:1~

THE JEWISH FEASTS – A TWO PART Series in Leviticus 23 [PART I–The Springtime Feasts]:

A thought came to mind, and a question–  “Should Christians be celebrating the Jewish religious festivals?”  Although it certainly NOT REQUIRED for Christians to CELEBRATE the Jewish Feast days, I find that it is beneficial to go beyond what’s said on Sundays, and investigate God’s Word on the topic of conversation even deeper.

360de

The JEWISH FEASTS is a fascinating study.  God provides picture after picture of His entire plan for mankind and… one of the most startling prophetic pictures outlined within the Jewish feasts of Leviticus 23.

“These are the set feasts (or appointed seasons) of the Lord, holy convocations you shall proclaim at their stated times” (Leviticus 23:4 AMP).

The Hebrew word for “feasts” (mow’ed), meaning “appointed times”; and the words “holy convocations” means “rehearsal”.

In other words, the FEASTS of the Lord were appointed times of worship for Israel, which then serves as a “dress rehearsal” in God’s prophetic calendar.  You will see all this come into play as you follow along in this series [There are TWO PARTS to this study].

The SEVEN ANNUAL FEASTS of Israel:

To give you some perspective of the 7 Feasts, I thought I would list the months of the Hebrew Lunar Calendar (12 months of 29 or 30 days), with the corresponding months (English):

HEBREW MONTH        Corresponds

1.  Nisan                             March/April

2.  Ivar                                 April/May

3.  Sivan                               May/June [Shavuot]

4.  Tammuz                       June/July

5.  Ab                                   July/August

6.  Elud                               August/September

7.  Tishri                            September/October

8.  Marcheshvan        October/November

9.  Kislev                           November/December

10.  Tebeth                          December/January

11.  Shebat                     January/February 

12.  Adar                           February/March

 

The MAIN PRINCIPLE…of the Jewish Festivals

All of these rituals laid down by God in Leviticus have at their core, the teaching of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, and His sacrifice on the cross.

In the BOOK OF AMOS, the “secrets” of God’s plans in the future times is made plain:

“Surely the Lord God will do nothing without revealing His secret to His servants and prophets”  (Amos 3:7).

God has always warned the world of coming judgements in order that it may not bring them upon itself.  Christ’s coming was foretold throughout the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi.  Equally plain and a certainty of fulfillment are the warnings of JESUS and the prophets concerning the future that each day comes nearer to every nation on earth.

#1.  ISRAEL’S UNIQUE ROLE IN GOD’S PLAN:

That role is far from being over, and it will again come to the forefront as the TRIBULATION time begins (Matt. 19:28; Luke 2:36; 22:36; Acts 13:21; Rom. 11:1; Phil. 3:5; Heb. 7:13; Rev. 5:5; 7:14; 21:12), coming to full fruition in the Millennium and Eternal State beyond.

That said, it is a mistake to think that we, the present day Church, pretend that we are something we are not, and we are not the divinely appointed nation Israel charged by God with observing Mosaic Law.

As Christians, if we choose to celebrate these special days, we should put Christ Jesus in the center of the celebration as the One who came to fulfill the prophetic significance of each one.  That’s my take, and I’m sticking to it!

THE INTRODUCTION TO THE SEVEN FEASTS:

“On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover” (Leviticus 23:5).

THE FEAST OF PASSOVER, it’s Origin– 

The FIRST MONTH of the Jewish Calendar is NISAN – 14th evening, the Passover (Seder meals).

The PASSOVER (Hebrew Pesach), means “to pass over”, “to skip”.

 passover_door_blood“The Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said to them, Go forth, select and take a lamb according to your families and kill the Passover [lamb].  And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood in the basin, and touch the lintel above the door and the two side post with the blood; and none of you shall go out of his house until morning.  For the LORD will pass through to slay the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood upon the lintel and the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to slay you”  (Exodus 12:21-23).

“You shall observe this rite for an ordinance to you and to your sons forever”  (Exodus 12:24).

“In one house shall it be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house; neither shall you break a bone of it”  (Exodus 12:46).

FULFILLMENT IN JESUS–The Passover Lamb:

Through the BLOOD of JESUS, we have eternal life.

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has CROSSED OVER from death to life”  (John 5:24–capitalized for emphasis).

JESUS was without fault–sinless, the perfect sacrifice.

“For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of]  the righteousness of God [what we ought to be approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness]”  (II Corinthians 5:21 AMP).

No bone of Jesus was broken on the Cross of Calvary (John 19:31-36).

Photo by photobucket
Photo by photobucket

THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD–

“On the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread”  (verse 6).

“For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast.  On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel”  (Exodus 12:15 NIV).

“Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with leaven of vice and malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened [bread] of purity (nobility, honor) and sincerity and [unadulterated] truth”  (1 Corinthians 12:15 AMP).

“Do you not know that [just] a little leaven will ferment the whole lump  [of dough]?”  (1 Corinthians 5:6).

Metaphorically, “yeast”, “leaven” is a symbol for sin.  In the Jewish feast, yeast couldn’t even be kept in the house for seven days!

The 15th Day of Nisan…

UNLEAVENED BREAD is to be eaten exclusively for seven days.

JESUS’ FULFILLMENT OF THE FEAST:

Luke 22:1-2, 7-8
Luke 22:1-2, 7-8

“I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; it never becomes more but lives] by itself alone.  But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest”  (John 12:24).

“JESUS replied,  I am the BREAD OF LIFE.  He who comes to Me will never be hungry…”  (John 6:35).

JESUS was without SIN!

FIRST, the unleavened bread is a picture of His holiness, purity and sinlessness.  His life and sacrifice was “unleavened”–without identifying with the curse of death–a Lamb without spot or blemish for the ultimate Passover sacrifice (1 Peter 1:19).

JESUS died for us on the Cross; His body was buried (put into a grave) and after three days, the tomb was found empty!  He is alive!  Still producing a “rich harvest” of lost souls.

THE FEAST OF FIRSTFRUITS:

“Tell the Israelites,  When you have come into the land I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.  And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, that you may be accepted; on the next day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it [before the Lord]”  (Lev. 23:10-11). 
Spring Barley Harvest
Spring Barley Harvest

In biblical times and again today, the first day after the Passover Holiday (Sabbath), the Feast of Firstfruits is celebrated.  The festival acknowledged the fertility of the land that God promised His children.  They were to bring the early crops of their spring planting and “wave it before the Lord”. 

THE FULFILLMENT in Jesus’ Resurrection…

“But the fact is that Christ (the Messiah) has been raised from the dead, and He became the FIRSTFRUITS of those who have fallen asleep [in death]”  (1 Corinthians 15:20 AMP).

The FEAST OF FIRSTFRUITS in Leviticus 23, pointed to the Messiah’s resurrection as the first fruits of the righteous.  Jesus was resurrected on this very day, which is one of the reasons that Paul refers to him in 1 Corinthians 15:20 as the “first fruits of the dead.”

THE FEAST OF  WEEKS–PENTECOST (SHAVUOT):

The Origin–The Month of SIVAN:

In Exodus 19, we see for the first time, Moses received the Ten Commandments on stone tablets and the whole Law about seven weeks after the death of the Passover lambs in Egypt.

The Torah is put into place by God, through Moses and given to the Israelites; it’s a commemoration of the giving of the Law.

Leviticus 23:15-16, we read“You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day you when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths.  You shall county fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord”  (NASB).

The fourth FEAST is often called the FEAST OF WEEKS, because God specifically told the sons of Jacob to count seven weeks from FIRST FRUITS and then the day after, this feast was observed.

This also marks on the Jewish Lunar Calendar, the Summer Harvest [First Fruits began the Spring Harvest].

SHAVUOT (Hebrew) means “weeks”.  The Feast of Weeks, Pentecost, goes back to the Greek word, “penteconta, fifty”.

SEVEN WEEKS are forty-nine days–add one day (“the day after”), brings the total to fifty days.  ISRAEL has been born as a nation through the Gift of the Law.

THE FULFILLMENT:

Acts 2:1-4 Pentecost
Acts 2:1-4 Pentecost

THE CHURCH of Jesus Christ has been born, not from the Law written on stone tablets, but the followers of Jesus the Holy Spirit; the law of life written on your heart.

AND WHEN the day of Pentecost [Feast of Weeks] had fully come, they were all assembled together in one place.  When suddenly there came a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting.  And there appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were separated and distributed and which settled on each one of them.  And they were all filled (diffused throughout their souls) with the Holy Spirit…”  (Acts 2:1-4 a.).

As the Jews see the Feast of Weeks as the birthday of God’s covenant relationship with the nation of Israel, the fulfillment is found in the Book of Acts, the New Covenant.

When you hear the word “Pentecost”, what do you first think of?  Acts 2? Tongues? Charismatics?  What should come to our minds is the beginning of the New Covenant.

THE BIRTH OF THE CHURCH.

JESUS was resurrected on the Feast of Firstfruits; fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus, and the promised New Covenant begins!

(“Events Have Transpired–The Shadow of Things to Come”  PART 2; The Fall Feasts are coming!)

REFERENCES:

Bible Translations used: Amplified Bible; New International Version (NIV) translation; New American Standard (NASB).

1.  got Questions?org  [www.GotQuestions.org].

2.  info@hebrew4christians.com  John Parsons.

3.  Expository Dictionary of Bible Words.

4.  The NIV Complete Concordance.

PHOTO CREDITS:

Photo Calendar by Gavin Finley MD endtimepilgrim.org

photobucket – www.photobucket.com/images/pentecost

Photo Pin – Miscellaneous.

JEWISH CALENDAR Luzrius Schneider Feb. 03, 2000.