Learning To Be Patient from the Life of A Preteen? Really??

Scripture Reading – Luke 2:40-52 (AMP):

[40] And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace (favor and spiritual blessing) of God was upon Him.  [41] Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year to the Passover Feast.  [42] And when He was twelve years [old], they went up, as was their custom.  [43] And when the Feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem.  Now His parents did not know this.  [44] But, supposing Him to be in the caravan, they traveled on a day’s journey; and [then] they sought Him [diligently, looking up and down for Him] among their kinsfolk and acquaintances.  [45] And when hey failed to find Him, they went back to Jerusalem, looking for Him [up and down] all the way.  [46] After three days they found Him [came upon Him] in the [court of the] temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

[47] And all who heard Him were astonished and overwhelmed with bewildered wonder at His intelligence and understanding and His replies.

Now Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem every year to the Feast of the Passover.  And when he was twelve years old, today known as a “preteen”, the family all went according to custom [Exodus 12:1-11].  PASSOVER was a New Year’s celebration on the Jewish Calendar for Israel.

A traveled day’s journey in Biblical times was estimated 20-25 miles [Bible Study Tools – International Standard Bible Encyclopedia].

My idea today for celebrating New Years is to watch the fireworks at the Seattle Space Needle…on television.  Are we spoiled or what?

And when the Celebration has ended, as they were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed in Jerusalem.

His parents didn’t know it, but supposing him to be in the group, traveled approximately 24 miles before they noticed his absence.  In today’s culture, they would have sent out an AMBER ALERT.

Joseph and Mary then began to search for him among relatives and acquaintances in the caravan and when they couldn’t find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.

After three days…

After a frantic search, they found their boy in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions.

The childhood and youth of Jesus were normal in many ways.

As a Jewish boy, he experienced the same things that other children experienced at his age.  It was customary for Jewish families to go to Jerusalem for the Passover each year.  Even though it was required only of men, many times it became a family excursion.  So the family of Jesus followed this Jewish custom.

During the twelfth year of a boy’s life, they begin to assume the responsibilities to the LAW.

On the 13th birthday, a Jewish boy is accepted as a full “son of the Law” [Bar mitzvah – son of law].  He became responsible to obedience to the law.

Normally a boy would be taken to the Passover during his twelfth year preparing him for the responsibility of observing the law.  This is the significance of the incident in the life of Jesus at the age of twelve.

Leaving Jesus Behind.

The leaving of Jesus behind in Jerusalem is a kind of thing that could happen to any family in a large, overcrowded environment.  It didn’t suggest neglect on the part of his parents.  Ordinarily, the women would leave before the men on a journey because they walked slower, and the men and boys would follow later.  So Mary assumed that Jesus was with Joseph and the men, while Joseph assumed that he was with Mary and the children.

It wasn’t until they met at the end of the day that they noticed Jesus wasn’t there.   It made it necessary to return to Jerusalem and search the city for three days until they found him.

The unusual thing about THIS twelve-year-old was where they found him.

But there he was!  In the Temple taking advantage of the opportunity of learning from the teachers of the Law.

What more than likely amazed the learned teachers gathered about was that any twelve-year-old boy knew the Torah.  But this twelve-year-old boy not only knew the Law, he knew it inside out understanding the meaning–THAT was remarkable!

JESUS Is Our Model –

First We Can Learn About Our Priorities In Our Lives (vv. 48-49 KJV):

This exchange between Joseph and Mary with Jesus needs close attention.  

It was a REBUKE by Mary, because of the anxiety she felt from Jesus’ disappearance–losing your child’s presence and then finding them.

Naturally, Mary was very upset and worried when she finally found Jesus in the Temple (v. 48).  She might have said even more had the circumstances been a little different.  It may have diluted her response a little because they were in the Temple in the presence of scholars of the Law.  But her words expressed how she felt.  Real ANXIETY looking for him.

Evidently, Jesus had been so absorbed in the experience of listening to the teaching in the temple that he was oblivious to almost everything else.  He was amazed that his parents wouldn’t understand his interest in and presence in the Temple (v.49):  

“Why is it that you were looking for Me?  Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”  (NAS Bible)

This statement reveals the RELATIONSHIP THAT WILL RECEIVE PRIORITY.

Mary spoke of Joseph as the father of Jesus.  Joseph was the one who had the fatherly responsibility for him, but Jesus reveals a much deeper awareness.

He speaks of “My Father”.

The words spoken by Jesus suggest that He is committed to giving relationship PRIORITY over every other relationship of His life.

As the adult life of Jesus’ life unfolds, this is obviously the PRIORITY by which He lives; but it didn’t begin when He was an adult.  It began in the early days of His life voiced by Him when he was twelve!

In VERSE 49, Jesus is emphatic when He says, “I had to be in My Father’s house.”  

Literally, it would read “My Father’s things.”  This meaning is the same essentially whether you understand “things”, or “house”.

“Had to be” in some translations is a strong word from the Greek language.  It’s the word that speaks of “divine necessity.”  

The word “MUST” is the better idea.

Jesus realizes at the age of twelve that his first responsibility in life is to do the will of His Heavenly Father–and His first interest must be the things of the Father.

The most important house then must be the Father’s house!

I learned when I was a young father many years ago that children can begin to determine their PRIORITIES very early in their lives:  Going out to brunch after church on Sundays; cleaning of their rooms before going outside to play…

We are not told that Jesus established them at twelve, but we are allowed to see they are already in place.

For all of us, and especially young people now is the time to determine what comes FIRST in your life.  If you’ll get the PRIORITIES in place, the other decisions that arise in life will fall into their proper position.

What We Can Learn from Jesus about the Value of Submission (vv. 50-51 NLT):

[50] Yet his parents did not understand the remark he made to them.  

[51] Then he went with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.  But his mother kept all these things in her heart.

This action doesn’t conflict with the PRIORITIES that have already been established.  In fact, they are an expression of the priorities that He has just stated.

The FIRST submission of Jesus was to God, and then to His parents.

Jesus’ submission to His parents was voluntary.  And children who do not learn to SUBMIT their lives to God, usually have difficulty submitting their lives to their parents.

There is no suggestion that Jesus’ response to His parents was to the pressures they put on Him.  Rather, as a part of His daily life as a twelve-year-old, He voluntarily gave Himself to a life of OBEDIENCE to His parents.  This is the only kind of submission that has any value.

SUBMISSION that is forced can actually have the same qualities as REBELLION.

Every young person, every child needs to learn a valuable lesson here from Jesus.  His parents were not perfect, but He knew that they were God’s appointed GUARDIANS of His ways, so He submitted to them.  This SUBMISSION was part of the preparation for what God had sent Him into the world to do!

We Can Learn from Jesus about Growth in Our Lives (v.52)

[52] And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in the favor with God and man.  (NIV Bible)

In VERSE 40, Luke had written,  “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.”

This faces us with the mystery of Jesus’ life.

We know that He was the INCARNATION of the living God, the Son of God. Yet the incarnation was such that growth was necessary for His life.

He grew just like every other child must grow and we can learn from His growth the importance of balance.

LEARNING TO USEFUL –

Dr. Luke points out that He grew physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially:

  • He grew physically for “he grew in stature.”  Physical growth is important.
  • He grew mentally for He “grew in wisdom.”  Through His study at the feet of Mary; His involvement at the local synagogue; His visits to the Temple as He grew in His understanding of the Truth of God.
  • He grew spiritually, for He grew “in favor with God.”

Never a moment was He not totally pleasing to God, but in order for that to occur, He must continually GROW SPIRITUALLY.

Jesus was perfectly where a twelve-year-old should be in spiritual growth at the age of twelve.  But at the beginning of a ‘teens’ life, He was perfectly where a thirteen-year-old should be.  And as it was always.

  • And then He grew socially, for he was “in favor with men.”

His ability to relate to others in an acceptable way grew normally and perfectly.

Many of our children today, including our church kids, are not growing in this way.  They may be growing physically and mentally, but the social and spiritual way may be stunted.

JESUS MODELS GROWTH for us all and it should be balanced.

The Growth of The Preteen Jesus Teaching of Patience –

  • Jesus was PATIENT for the process of life to take its course.  He was PATIENT to keep on growing until the Lord God said that it was time to begin His ministry.  He didn’t get ahead of God but waited on Him.  He waited until the age of thirty before He started the mission that the Lord God had given Him and continued not to be impatient for God’s timing in His life.

“My Hour Has Not Come”

This is such an important lesson, one that I continue to learn, and one to learn, especially for young people today!

DO NOT GET IMPATIENT with God and with life.  

Just keep on establishing the right priorities, submitting to the rightful authority and go on growing as a person, and in God’s timing (not yours), He will launch you forward on His mission.  He will open the right doors for you!

No detail of the life of our Lord and Savior is without significance.

The little details are significant for all of us to take in.  It helps us see the PLAN of God for His children and youth today.  Jesus walked the way we should all walk in these matters.

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CREDITS:

Commentaries:  Dr. G. Flattery – Luke 2:41-52; “My Father’s Business” – Global Christian Center.

Growing Up God’s Way by Jeremy Meyers.

PHOTOS:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations Used:  The New International Version (NIV), except where noted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life’s Encounters In A “Passionate Church” Enviornment

SCENE from the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind

In 1962, ‘folk music’  filled the airways and in my opinion, The Kingston Trio exemplified the craze.  Half of my vinyl record collection celebrated their music: M.T.A., Good News, All My Sorrows, and of course my favorite, Tom Dooley; first recorded in 1958.  So when I got the news that this famous trio was going to be in concert at Russ Auditorium in San Diego, California…I had to get tickets!

So when I got the news this famous trio was going to be in a live concert at Russ Auditorium in San Diego, California…I had to get tickets!

After the concert, I asked my date if she wanted to go back stage and see if we could get autographs, or at least see them up close.  I was especially bold that night, most likely trying to show off a little in front of my date. Alright, it wasn’t “a little.”

As we walked backstage, I saw two giants of men standing at the foot of some stairs.  “They surely wouldn’t let us climb those stairs,” I thought to myself.  But they parted, like the Red Sea, and we went to the top and into a small dressing room.  And there, standing in their boxer shorts, was Nick Reynolds, Dave Guard, and Bob Shane.  Our mouths dropped.  How did we get this far without being escorted through a back door into the alley?  Could I actually get an autograph from the Kingston Trio members?

Well, we didn’t.  But Nick (right side of photo) did wave at us over the tops of the news cameras and that made it an evening to remember!  ‘Nick really knows me!’

THAT WAS AN ENCOUNTER.  

However, if Nick…I thought I was on a first name basis seeing him in his “shorts”… had invited us over to his dressing table and invited us to dinner in getting to know us better, my encounter would have given way to CLOSE ENCOUNTERS.   That is a huge difference.

I submit to you that most church folks attending Pentecostal churches I’ve attended over the years have become accustomed to ENCOUNTERS with God.

Too many of us have been attending church for years, faithfully, religiously, and we have been experiencing encounters.

  • We SETTLE for weekly ENCOUNTERS with God.
  • We see Him at a distance.
  • We see physical evidence of Him in our life.

But I want to put a CHALLENGE out front–We need more than just AN ENCOUNTER.  We need a CLOSE ENCOUNTER.  CONTACT!

Close Encounters Are Different.

One of the best examples I found is the story of the 10 lepers;  10 get healed, 10 lives are changed!  10 destinies are forever reshaped and marked by the POWER of God!!

However, only ONE had a close encounter while NINE settles for just an encounter.

9 SETTLED for ‘spiritual pornography’

Cheap thrills with no relationship or intimacy. While 1 has a close encounter with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords [Luke 17:11-19].

So the challenge for most of us as a church body and as individuals is whether we’ll SETTLE for an encounter time to time or will we call it a “good church”; we get goosebumps, get to shout out the AMEN’s, get to show off our spiritual gifts a little.

Or, will we hold out and hold on to a life changing, world wrecking, city shaking, addiction-breaking, marriage restoring, teenager rescuing close encounter with our God?

In order for us to see these events happen, we have to make a CHOICE and a DECISION–we have to determine the type of CHURCH that we are attending will be.

After my personal bible study this past week, I believe there are TWO OPTIONS available that can be found in Scripture.

The FIRST CHURCH is found in Ezekiel 44:11-14:

[11]  They [the priests] may serve in my sanctuary, having charge of the gates of the temple and serving in it; they may slaughter the burnt offerings and sacrifices for the people and stand before the people and serve them.  [12] But because they served them in the presence of their idols and made the people of Israel fall into sin, therefore I have sworn with uplifted hand that they must bear the consequences of their sin, declares the Sovereign Lord.  [13] They are not to come near to serve me as priests or come near any of my holy things or my most holy offerings; they must bear the shame of their detestable practices.  [14] And I will appoint them to guard the temple for all the work that is to be done there.  (NIV Bible)

The MESSAGE Bible says in verses 13-14:  “They’re fired from the priesthood.  No longer will they come into my presence and take care of my holy things.  No more access to The Holy Place!  They’ll have to live with what they’ve done, carry the shame of their vile and obscene lives.  

[14] From now on, their job is to sweep up and run errands.  That’s it.”

You can have a church like this–

  • We can come in and have charge of the house!
  • We can minister in the house!
  • We can offer sacrifices in the house!
  • We can sing in the house, praise in the house, and do church in the house!!!

BUT never come near Him.

We can have the things of God and never really have God.  That is an OPTION.  We can settle for an ENCOUNTER.

Or we cam make up our minds that it is more than that.  We can make up our minds and determine in our hearts that as members of the body of Christ we aren’t about to SETTLE for sweeping and running errands. There’s got to be more than that.

We have to set our face like a flint and fight for our place of meeting God on Sunday’s like the church described in 2 Chronicles 5:11-14: 

We can have a CHURCH, where regardless of your rank or assignment, 

  • You can be an usher,
  • A janitor,
  • An Elder/Deacon,
  • Or, the Pastor…

And it won’t matter.  You can experience the same amount of GLORY as the next person.

The GLORY will be just as strong in the church parking lot as it is in the SANCTUARY.  Just as powerful in the nursery as in the Home Bible Study.

What really matters is that we are all after the same thing.

We can have CHURCH where the GLORY of the Lord is so strong that none of us can stand it!

We can have a CHURCH where the close encounter is so close…all we can do is stand in AWE!

We can have a CHURCH where the move of God is so profound and so pronounced that A CITY will have to sit up and take notice, sinners will flock to find out what is happening–that the STARVED will find spiritual food as well as physical food, that the DRUG ADDICT will fall short-changed, that the UNLOVED will find the LOVE for which they have so longed for.

WE HAVE A CHOICE

We can SETTLE for the brief encounters that have satisfied us for so long.  

BUT as for me and my house, if we are going to have another Ezekiel 44 church we might as well shut all the doors at church. 

If the people on Sunday Morning or on any day of the week are going to walk in and leave exactly how they entered, broken, devastated, addicted and sick…then take all the equipment back!

My personal choice is to have a church where I have, and hopefully, you will have, a close encounter with God and that stuff will fall off and stay off!

I like when this man said in a statement:

“A church is not a church until God decides that it will become a place of divine visitation.  The building may seem one of architectural splendor and exquisite design, but it is not a church until God issues a certificate of divine occupancy and takes up residence there.”

**[See Footnote [i] ]

So, I present a challenge to all of us where we are.  

Will we stop at an encounter?  Will we be satisfied with a little taste here and there?  Will you wink and say “yeah they have a cool church” or will you make a commitment with me to pursue His presence at all costs.

My hope and prayer are that we will press in until God issues a “certificate of divine occupancy” in a fellowship of believers.  How does this happen?

Ask yourself, as I have asked myself on numerous occasions, are you willing to settle for an encounter or will you ask for more?  

When was the last time YOU had a “close encounter”?

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CREDITD & FOOTNOTES –

Footnote [i]:  On Jordan’s Stormy Banks: Leading Your Congregation through the Wilderness by H. Beecher Hicks.

PHOTOS:  All from Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV) unless stated in the text.

HEAVEN’S LAST CALL!

Scripture:  Hebrews 9:27-28

You’ve probably heard the old saying– “The only things guaranteed in life are death and taxes.”  I’m not so sure that statement is absolutely true, however.  With enough deductions, loopholes, and “creative” accounting [one man I know, deducted his “dog” as a dependent], some people avoid paying most, if not all, of their taxes.

So, there’s NO GUARANTEE there, about taxes.  But that still leaves with DEATH to deal with.

God Doesn’t Give Guided Tours to Heaven or Hell.

There have been many who claim to have been to Hell and Heaven. They came back or were sent back to tell us all about it.  

  • Atheists have been to Hell and Heaven.
  • Professing Christians also have been to Heaven or Hell.

Are these valid experiences or things to distract people from the real Gospel and look to second chances or adopt an attitude of FATALISM?

The only sure word concerning “life after death” is the Word of God.

The Apostle Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:15:

[15] For this we declare to you by the Lord’s [own] word, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall in no way precede [into His presence] or have any advantage at all over those who have previously fallen asleep [in Him in death].”  (Amplified Bible)

Now obviously the term “fallen asleep” is softened term to refer to those who have already died.  Paul is concerned for the church at Thessalonica not to be misinformed about what happens after death.

I’ve had discussions about DEATH with people who think when you die, you simply cease to exist.  But that isn’t true according to the Bible.

The Bible says in Genesis 2:7 “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”  This implies an existence after death.

Yet that this body is a temporary dwelling place is a universal truth, instinctively understood by all, until as Ray Stedman says, “They are educated beyond their intelligence and they start denying it.”

Some folks say that when a person dies, they are “reincarnated” into something or someone else.

If you ever see reincarnation in its rawest form such as in India where Hinduism has a firm hold, you will understand that they see reincarnation as a hopeless cycle of endless misery.  Reincarnation, as it is presented today, has been “Americanized”; that means changed to suit the needs of the American culture.

Reincarnation, as it is presented today, has been “Americanized”; that means changed to suit the needs of the American culture.

East Indians understand reincarnation to be an endless cycle whose only HOPE is to finally enter into Nirvana–the place of nothingness.  Now isn’t THAT encouraging.

But looking closely at the words in Scripture, (Hebrews 9:27) you get just one run in life and that’s it!

Some folks think they will “get their life together before they die” or somehow there is a “second chance” given after death.

Although it may sound feasible to “get our life together” first–wouldn’t it be great if we were given a 30-minute warning buzzer, but unfortunately we are not.

DEATH almost always catches us by surprise.  Sometimes death comes when it’s generally expected–after we have lived a long and full life.  My dad died two years ago at the age of 100.  His constant reminder to the family of his 100th birthday celebration was “I’m ready to go!”

But at other times death comes abruptly–far too soon in our way of viewing things.

And by the same token, the person who says “NO” to Jesus in this life, thinking that they’ll be given another chance in the life to come, banking on nothing more than wishful thinking.

The Story of The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).

Both men died as the story is told by Jesus; Lazarus was carried away by angels to Abraham’s bosom [paradise, heaven] and the Rich Man was buried and finds himself in Hades, a place of torment [Hell] – (verse 24).

When the Rich Man is told there are no second chances and he pleads that Lazarus be sent to his father’s house with five brothers residing, to warn them.

The Chasm Between the rich man and Lazarus

The answer is given in VERSE 31:  “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”

One day we will die and unless we have accepted Christ as our personal Savior we will face JUDGMENT after we die.

The only opportunity we will ever have to get right with God is the opportunity God gives us in this life.  As the Rich Man learned, there is NO second chance after DEATH.

After dealing with a few misconceptions about DEATH, I want to point to what will occur when we die.

FIRST, Death is A Certainty!!!

Medical science has dome wonders in extending our lives.  New medical procedures–bi-pass clogged arteries, as I personally found out several years ago.  New procedures to filter impurities from our blood, to fight cancer cells and to replace worn out joints.  Vaccines that have eliminated diseases such as Polio and other dreaded diseases of the past.

But no one has discovered a CURE for DEATH.

Despite all the advances that have been made in medical science, it is still true that the DEATH RATE remains exactly as it always has been:  a flat 100%.  Everyone will die.

In Hebrews 9:27 we are told, “Just as people are destined to die once…”, and in Ecclesiastes 7:2 Solomon wrote, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.”

The question is not HOW can we remain but WHAT AWAITS US when we die.

Death Is Permanent.

A Clipping in Newsweek magazine:  From a letter to a dead person from Greenville County (S.C.), Department of Social Services…

“Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992, because we have received notice that you passed away.  May God bless you.  You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances.”  [See Footnote [i] ]

The fact is, that DEATH when it comes, is irreversible.  When you cross over, there is no coming back.

Not only is DEATH a certainty but…

SECOND, Judgment Is A Reality.

The Word of God tells us that after DEATH each one of us will certainly face JUDGMENT.

God’s word speaks of TWO entirely different Judgments.

The first is for BELIEVERS – The Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10 – Amplified Bible):

“For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing].”

This doesn’t concern salvation, for this judgment is for BELIEVERS, that has already been settled.

This JUDGMENT determines REWARDS [“pay”] for service given to the Lord.

THE SECOND judgment is for UNBELIEVERS – The Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15):

It is obvious that NO ONE would wish to be a part of that JUDGMENT, but all those who have REJECTED Christ Jesus in this life on earth, will face Him as Judge in the next life.

It will be a horror beyond description standing before Jesus and hear him say,  “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels”  (Matthew 25:41).  But on that day it will be too late! Decision-making time has passed!!

Not only is JUDGMENT real but thank the Lord…

THIRD, Salvation Is A Possibility (9:28).

[28] So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

The DEATH OF CHRIST on the Cross, according to this verse applied to “many.”  I underlined “many” in my Bible.

You see Christ’s death doesn’t take away the SIN if everyone.  Not everyone receives the SALVATION that is available through Jesus’ death on the Cross.  Not everyone BELIEVES and RECEIVES, and that’s why ETERNAL SALVATION is only a possibility.  But if we have never done so, there is still time.

HEAVEN IS CALLING!!

TODAY CAN BE THE DAY OF SALVATION!!!

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Footnotes & Credits –

Footnote [i] :  Food Stamps – Parrix.

Additional Commentary:  “Does God Give Tours of Heaven and Hell?” by Dr. Ronald Shultz.

Photo Credit:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV) and the Amplified Bible (AMP).

 

Don’t Mess With God’s Kids! – PART 3

The Nation of Egypt And Their Judgment (Ezekiel 29)

egypt-in-the-bible

EGYPT was a large nation south of Israel.  They looked upon the land of Canaan as being part of her own territory and in doing so, she reluctantly gave the land to other nations temporarily till she could re-claim it.  And as you know, the Israelites were SLAVES.  They lived there for over 400 years and were greatly influenced by the Egyptian culture.

EGYPT never learned its lessons from the pain it received during the period of the Exodus.

The SIN of Egypt and its ACTIONS lead the Israelites away from El-Shaddai- All sufficient supply.  Bestower of power, gifts, blessings, and the One who make all of us fruitful–ALMIGHTY GOD!

Egypt’s influence had never been acceptable to Jehovah Mekkaddishkem, the Lord who sanctifies.  They led the Hebrew people into IDOL WORSHIP.

Like other nations, the king of Egypt–PHARAOH–saw himself as a god.

Over and over again, EGYPT had not left the Israelites alone.  So in order for His ELECT (His “kids”) to finally be FREE from bondage in Egypt, it was time for God to enact retribution.

DON’T MESS WITH GOD’S KIDS!

Ezekiel 29:1-3 (AMP):

[1] In the tenth year [of the captivity of Jehoiachin by the king of Babylon], in the tenth [month], on the twelfth [day] of the month, the word of the LORD came to me saying,  [2] Son of man, set your face toward Pharoah king of Egypt and prophesy against him and against all of Egypt.  [3] Say, ‘Thus says the LORD God: Behold, I am against you, Pharoah king of Egypt, the great monster [of sluggish and unwieldy strength] that lies in the midst of his [delta] streams, [boastfully] declaring, My river Nile is my own and I have made it for myself.”

This MESSAGE Ezekiel is speaking the above verses took place a year after the siege of Jerusalem had begun.

EGYPT was partly responsible for ISRAEL’S king Zedekiah’s rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 27:6-15).

The king [Pharoah] of Egypt at this time was Hophra.  Like the king of Tyre, he too thought more of himself than he should.

This human trait was not exclusive to the seven nations surrounding Israel during Ezekiel’s place in history

Look at the warning the apostle Paul gives to the church in Rome – Romans 12:3 (AMP):

[3]  For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have ab exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.

The NILE RIVER was the lifeblood for the Egyptians.  

Hophra started bragging that he, and he alone, was the CREATOR who formed the Nile.  He played a role of a tough guy, who like a CROCODILE dared anyone to come near him.

JEHOVAH ELYON – The Lord Most High –

The LORD announces that He will hunt down this monster dragon and dispose of him because of his claims to be a deity [“My river Nile is my own and I made it for myself” – 29:3]

Catching ‘CROC’S –

EZEKIEL 29:4:

[4]  But I will put hooks in your jaws and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales.  I will pull you out from among your streams, with all the fish sticking to your scales.

The River Nile Crocodile

I used to like watching the “Crocodile Hunter” on TV.  His specialty was catching crocodiles.  It was a special technique he used   He would place a lasso on the upper jaw of the reptile causing a natural instinct of the monster to spin, which would wrap the rope around its jaws.  He would then pounce on it, securing the rope around the jaws, then tie up its legs. Then he would pull it along with a bunch of other men up on the land.

These were mercenaries [“fish”] from other countries (Ezekiel 29:5):

[5] I will leave you in the desert, you and all the fish of your streams.  You will fall on the open field and not be gathered or picked up.  I will give you as food to the beasts of the earth and the birds of the sky.

The CROCODILE is an aquatic reptile with its home on land or in the water.  But it depends more on being in the water.

On some scientific films I’ve watched over the years, I noticed the effects of drought on this creature without a water source when a crocodile will be stranded out of its natural environment.  It will die, resulting in scavengers eating the remains.

GOD’S PROPHECY…Our Righteous God is going to do a similar fate to Pharaoh and his army.

Have you ever noticed today in Egypt the Sphinx’s and the Pyramids? The Egyptians were really into the after-life and a proper burial was a big deal.

Historic records indicate the Pharaoh [Hophra] was strangled by a rival (Jeremiah 44:29) and did not receive a proper burial and was cast aside as Scripture foretold.  [See Footnote [i] for sources]

FAMOUS WORDS that have come back to bite us over the years is when we BELIEVE someone who says to us, “You can count on me!”

Our Lord and Savior wouldn’t fall for these vain promises:

Job 15:15-16:  

[15] If God places no trust in his holy ones, if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes,  [16] how much less mortals, who are vile and corrupt, who drink up evil like water!

Psalm 146:3-4:

[3] Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.  [4] When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.

Isaiah 30:1-3:

[1] “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin;  [2] who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge.  [3] But Pharaoh’s protection will be your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace.

PHARAOH had influenced the king of Israel by his promises to be one of his allies.  IT WAS A WORTHLESS PROMISE which wound up costing thousands of Israelite’s lives.

Don’t Mess With God’s Kids!

Nebuchadnezzar went after and destroyed Egypt as he had done to Israel. Holy Adonai Yahweh had first

Holy Adonai Yahweh had first given His people a punishment as the book of 1 Peter tells us,  

“For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  And, if it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”  So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good  (1 Peter 4:17-19).

God’s people (Israelites) would be banished from their land for seventy years.   And Egypt would receive a similar judgment.  His land would be left desolate from North [Migdol] to the South [Sevench] for forty years.  

MIGDOL means “watchtower” and SYENE or Sevench means “marketplace”.

All of Egypt would be affected by this war.  The Babylonian army out of the North sweeps by the northern watchtower fortification and destroys everything in its path until it reached the most southern portion of the country.

EZEKIEL 29:13-15 (AMP):  EGYPT’S FUTURE AS A NATION.

[13] Yet thus says the Lord God: “At the end of [their] forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the peoples among whom they were scattered. [Jer. 46:25, 26.]

[14] And I will reverse the captivity of Egypt [as I will that of Israel] and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros [under Egypt], the land of their origin, and they shall be there a lowly kingdom.

[15] It shall be the lowliest of the kingdoms, neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations; I will diminish [the Egyptians] so they shall never again rule over the nations.

This would be the LAST TIME the Egyptian Dynasty would ever be a strong nation.  They will be a lowly [base] nation from now on!

Our Awesome and Great Jehovah Shamma (‘God is there!’ – Ezk. 48:35.), is always there to make things right!

The king of Babylon was God’s agent in dealing with the city-NATION of Tyre.  It took over 13 years for Nebuchadnezzar to ultimately defeat ‘Old Tyre’ on the mainland.

Although technically, Nebuchadnezzar WON the battle, he never was compensated for all those years.  Since the king was unknowingly acting as the Lord’s servant, God would give him EGYPT as his payment for waging war against Tyre.

Ezekiel 29:19-20:

[19] Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will carry off its wealth.  He will loot and plunder the land as pay for his army.  [20] I have given him Egypt as a reward for his efforts because he and his army did it for me, declares the Sovereign LORD.

GOD GIVES STRENGTH AND HOPE TO HIS KIDS YESTERDAY AND TODAY!

God promises His children (Israel) that He will bring forth a new king and son of David to lead His people (Ezekiel 34:22-31).

And He is doing so today.  Not only the Jews but to Christians spread over the earth.

‘KNOW MY SHEEP’–know My people or My church.

John 10:14 (AMP):

[14] I am the Good Shepherd; and I know and My own know and recognize Me.

The word “KNOW” is used as an affectionate regard or love.  It implies such knowledge of their wants, their dangers, and their characters, as to result in a deep interest in the welfare of His ‘kids’.

So as believers in Jesus today, we should know Him as our Shepherd, our Savior, that He will defend and aid us no matter the circumstances.

I hope this three-part study in Ezekiel as not only been informative but also encouraging as we see antisemitism in the world today.  Know that God’s plans don’t change; Don’t Mess With God’s Kids yesterday and don’t mess with God’s family today!

Let me know your thoughts in the COMMENT section.

___________________________________________

CREDITS & FOOTNOTES –

Footnote [i]:  Pharaoh Hophra – International Bible Encyclopedia.

VINES COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT WORDS.

Bible Translations: New International Version (NIV), and the Amplified Bible (AMP).

Photos:  Google Image Search.

[NOTE:  See further resources and credits used for this 3-PART series in PART I of Don’t Mess With God’s Kids! ]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Mess With God’s Kids! – PART 2

No matter how bad things seem to be in the world right now–KNOW THIS:

going-through-a-trial-heres-some-encouragement

ROMANS 8:28 (NIV):

“And we know that in all things God works for then good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

EZEKIEL 26:2-14, 17-18 – The Nation-city of Tyre.

This is a troubling passage of Scripture which I believe has a message for us all today.

The Nation-city of TYRE was a financially powerful seaport located on an island off the coast of Lebanon.

The city was very populous at the time of Jesus and the inhabitants may have numbered larger than Jerusalem.

In the past, relations between Israel and Tyre (Capital City of Phoenicia) had been generally good.  But there had been moments of tension in economic matters.   If the EDOMITES had taken advantages of Judah’s battle with the Babylonians plundering from the south-east(Obadiah 13-14), the Phoenicians (Tyre and Sidon) were guilty of the same thing by over-running Judah from the north-west.

Don’t Mess With God’s Kids!

VERSE 2 – “Son of man, because Tyre has said against Jerusalem, Aha!  She is broken that has been the gate of the people; she is open to me [Tyre]; I shall become full now that she is desolate and a wasteland”  (Amplified Bible)

They laughed (“Aha!”) at the people of God [His kids] and their problems and as a result…

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VERSE 3 – God would bring destruction on TYRE.  Many nations would come against this city-state.

VERSE 4 and 9 – The walls of the city would be broken down as well as their towers of defense they were known for.

VERSE 5 – “Her island in the midst of the sea shall become a place for the spreading of nets, for I have spoken it, says the Lord God; and she shall become a prey and a spoil tom the nations”  (Amplified Bible).

[This eventually occurred in a literal way, however, Tyre has recovered some from its destruction in our time.]

VERSE 6 – Tyre’s “daughters” were her towns and villages she established on the mainland.

VERSE 7 – Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, would attack Tyre and yet the ultimate destruction for the Nation-city came several years later from the armies of Alexander the Great.

Is there Symbolism In Tyre for America?  Has our country turned their backs on Israel in siding with the “Palestinians” claims?  Have our reactions directed by untruths of the Middle East been “Aha!”?

New York City has always been a financially powerful and very populous city situated on an island.  In 2001, the World Trade Center Towers towered above everything else on Manhattan Island and really seen as a symbol of America.

Those towers represented the strengths, the financial power of this country and really of the FREE WORLD with businesses from twenty=five countries having offices in the buildings.

The Towers and the Walls of the City of Tyre Would Be Broken Down’496-7-glass-machine

Babylon would attack the daughter villages of Tyre and bring down the supposedly indestructible towers of this powerful, wealthy city-Nation.

The ‘Babylonian Terrorist’ not only attacked us but the daughter villages of FREEDOM and CIVILIZATION across this world.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 13, 2001: (SEPTEMBER 11 RETROSPECTIVE) New York City firefighters look at the destroyed facade of the World Trade Center September 13, 2001, two days after the twin towers were destroyed when hit by two hijacked passenger jets in a terrorist attack. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 13, 2001: (SEPTEMBER 11 RETROSPECTIVE) New York City firefighters look at the destroyed facade of the World Trade Center September 13, 2001, two days after the twin towers were destroyed when hit by two hijacked passenger jets in a terrorist attack. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

I believe God has and is giving us a POWERFUL WARNING in 2017.

America has turned away from God for the most part.  As Anne Graham Lotz said her father Billy Graham told her after the September 11th, 2001 attack:

“God has removed His hand of BLESSING from America.”

WHY?

Because AMERICA has been giving ‘lip service’ to God; laughing at God’s kids and shaking their fists at God.

There is not a completely safe place from every terror threat and enemy for us upon this earth.  But there is a TOWER of Strength and Safety available for us to run to:

Proverbs 18:10 (AMP):

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the [consistently] righteous man [upright and in right standing with God] runs into it and is safe, high [above evil] and strong.

The sins of the Nations have not altogether been dealt with yet; for some, their iniquity is only now coming perilously close to the edge.

But soon, and very soon, God will rise and destroy the proud and arrogant; those whose confidence has been placed on the material things in this world.

A Falling From Fame and Fortune (Ezekiel 28:20-26)

SIDON AND ISRAEL:

Sidon was the second largest city of ancient Phoenicia after Tyre and about twenty-five miles to the north on the Mediterranean coast; by New Testament times Sidon and Tyre were often joined together (Matthew 11:21-22; 15:21).

There’s no immediate reason for Sidon’s JUDGMENT, but I am assuming that the city had economically and politically sided with Tyre, perhaps contributing to Judah’s downfall to the Babylonians.

[Additional Scriptures on SIDON:  Acts 12:20; Genesis 10:15, 19; Luke 10:13; Mark 3:8; 7:31; Joshua 13:6].

Have you ever wondered where your parents came up with their ideas in child-rearing and the metaphors we used with our own kids?  “People will judge you by the company you keep”.  

So based on those words, if you keep company or friendships with EVIL, you will also suffer the same consequences as Sidon found out.

The Ever Loving Father’s Reminder to His “Kids” (Ezekiel 28:24-25):

[24] “No longer will the people of Israel have malicious neighbours who are painful briers and sharp thorns.  Then they will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.

[25] “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will be proved holy through them in the sight of the nations.  Then they will live in their own land, which I gave to my servant Jacob.

Although the bible verses in Ezekiel are referring to the nation of Israel, it also a great reminder to the children of God in the world today–HIS KIDS (Romans 11:11-31).

He is reminding ISRAEL…and us, that He still loves them and there is a good future ahead for them.

As today, our Heavenly Father is not through with the Jewish people–He will RESTORE them!

*[“Don’t Mess With God’s Kids!” continues with PART 3, The Nation of Egypt And Their Judgment.]


*NOTE: For Credits and Footnotes see PART 1

PHOTO CREDITS: Google Image Search

Don’t Mess With God’s Kids! – PART 1

ezekiel-25-17-1080x675

As some of my readers know of late, I’ve been doing ‘detective’ investigations in The Book of Ezekiel (Hebrew -“God is strong”).  I was considering naming this study in Chapters 25 thru 32, the ‘Judgment on the Islamic nations.’  However, these verses not only cover SEVEN NATIONS, which happen to be ALL the Islamic nations, but the judgments apply to ALL other countries of the earth as well.  This includes godless or watered down Christian countries.

The SEVEN NATIONS included:

#1.  Ammon  (25:1-7)

#2.  Moab      (25:8-11)

#3.  Edom      (25:12-14)

#4.  Philistia  (25:15-17)

#5.  Tyre         (26:1 thru 28:19)

#6.  Sidom      (28:20-24)

#7. Egypt        (29:1 thru 32:32)

GOD IS STILL THE SOVEREIGN GOD OF ALL THE WORLD!!!

THE FIRST Nation we come across is AMMON (25:2). 

The Ammonites were relatives of the Jews based on being descendants of Abraham’s nephew, Lot.

Family relationships today in our culture can be…ARE at times difficult as well.  Because of this family relationship our Lord watched over and protected the people of Ammon.  The book of Deuteronomy 2 tell us,  “When you come near the territory of the sons of Ammon, do not trouble or assault them or provoke or stir them up, for I will not give you any of the land of the Ammonites for a possession, because I have given it to the sons of Lot for a possession.” (verse 19).

Even though they were blood relatives to the Israelites, the Ammonites turned out to be enemies.  [see Judges 3:13, 10:6; 2 Chronicles 20:23]

Every social and moral aspect of our behavior is under the scrutiny of God’s all-seeing eye.  Just because these nations didn’t carry Bibles under their arms, it didn’t exempt them; their CONSCIENCES were enough to condemn them!

In one of Dryden’s poems, there is a line:  “And because the fury of a patient man” [footnote [i].  Ezekiel would add the thought:  “Beware the wrath of a patient God!”

AMMON and MOAB (25:8-11):

jord-mmap-md
AMMON: Northern Jordan (Amman) and MOAB: Central Jordan.

AMMON and MOAB, being LOT’S two sons born of his incestuous relationship with his two daughters were regarded as relatives of Israel, though both treated Israel with contempt.

AMMON’S CRIME

The ‘crime’ was the Ammonites delighted in the downfall of God’s kingdom (25:3, 6).  Not from just observing Israel’s destruction from a distance; like coming upon an accident on a freeway, slowing down, rubbernecking the scene, then passing on by–but the people were clapping their hands and stomping their feet with glee!

We all too frequently find amusement in the misfortunes of others.

Ammon’s heartless response to their neighbor’s fate was not only wrong but also blind; they too would fall (25:4).

“DONT’ MESS WITH GOD’S KIDS!”

When reading and studying Scripture there always seems to be a lesson to take in for all us.  The lesson here is one of failure to appreciate that the fall of a neighbor is one that can befall us too, apart from God’s GRACE.

Every time we see another fall into SIN, even if he or she is our enemy, we shouldn’t “clap our hands” and “stomp our feet” with joy, but rather offer compassion and thankfulness:  COMPASSION, for we should LOVE even our enemies, and THANKFULNESSESS that “There go I, but for the grace of God”  (Quote by John Bradford, 1510-1555).

THE MOABITES – Ezekiel 25:8-11:

[8] “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘Because Moab and Seir said, “Look, Judah has become like all the other nations,”  [9] therefore I will expose the flank of Moab, because of Moab, beginning at its frontier towns–Beth Jeshimoth, Baal Meon and Kiriathaim–the glory of that land.  [10] I will give Moab along with the Ammonites to the people of the East as a possession, so that the Ammonites will not be remembered among the nations;  [11] and I will inflict punishment on Moab.  Then they will know that I am the LORD.”

“DON’T MESS WITH GOD’S KIDS!”

So what did the Moabites do wrong?  Look at the indictment:  “Because MOAB and SEIR say, ‘LOOK! The house of Judah is like all the other nations.’

They were in effect saying, the God of Israel is powerless.  He is just like all the other gods.  If Judah’s GOD is supposed to be ‘All powerful’, then why didn’t he protect the Jews from being protected?

They were MOCKING that the Lord is nothing special.

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Moabite Fortress

MOAB would receive the same punishment Ammon their brother received. These desert dwellers would come and destroy the mighty fortresses and notable cities they were so proud of.

Ezekiel 25:12-14 Now it’s EDOM’S turn!

“Don’t Mess With God’s Kids!”

[12] “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘Because Edom took revenge on Judah and became very guilty by doing so,  [13] therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will stretch out my hand against Edom and kill both man and beast. I will lay it waste, and from Teman to Dedan they will fall by the sword.  [14] I will take vengeance on Edom by the hand of my people Israel, and they will deal with Edom in accordance with my anger and my wrath; they will know my vengeance, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

Southern Jordan, Edom, or Mt. Seir are slated for the grimmest JUDGMENT and it shall be rendered in places, utterly uninhabitable. [Ezekiel 35:1-7]

Ammon and Moab were BAD, but Edom surpassed these two others in its brutality against the Jews.

Psalm 137:7 (Amplified Bible):

[7] Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites, that they said in the day of Jerusalem’s fall,  Down, down to the ground with her!

When some of the Israelites tried to escape to Edom they were turned away by the sword.

Where are the EDOMITES today?

In Genesis 27 we read about Isaac’s two sons Jacob and Esau: Jacob received his father’s BLESSING by pretending to be his brother since Isaac’s eye site had failed.

Esau finding the results asks his father, “Bless me–me too, my father!” (vs. 34).

“Do you have only one blessing, my father?” (vs. 38)

[39] His father Isaac answered him:  “Your dwelling will be away from the earth’s richness, away from the dew of heaven above.

[40] You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother.  But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke from off your neck.”

The “EDOMITE SPIRIT” is alive and well!

Although the land of Edom today is but a desolated and barren land today–the spirit of EDOM is apparently still alive and well.

Isaac’s Blessing on ESAU was very clear.  Isaac prophesied over his firstborn son and he gave him a “left-over” sort of blessing that provided me with some clues.

Isaac told Esau that his descendants…

#1.  They would end up dwelling in rich countries–the ‘fatness’ (KJV); the ‘fruitfulness of the earth’ (AMP).

#2.  He would live by the sword (gun).

#3.  Eventually, he would break free from Jacob’s yoke of civil behavior and run wild!  (Gen. 27:40)

If the Edomites are around today, they might be found in nations such as ours.  The richest nation is to be found in Western civilization.

Let’s face it, thousands of years have passed by and the spirit of Esau (Edom) is now flowing in nations far abroad with anti-Semitism.

The Philistines Enter The Picture!  (Ezekiel 25:15-17):

asshur_map_and_assad

[15]  “This is what the Sovereign LORD says…  

Don’t Mess With God’s Kids!”

‘Because the Philistines acted in vengeance and took revenge with malice in their hearts, and with ancient hostility sought to destroy Judah,  [16] therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says:  I am about to stretch out my hand against the Philistines, and wipe out the Kerethites and destroy those remaining along the coast.  [15] I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath.  Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I take vengeance on them.”

“Philistines” or “Palestinians”?

It is from the term “Philistines” that the name “Palestinians” have incorrectly been taken.

Actually, the ancient Philistines and modern Palestinians DO HAVE something in common: both are INVADERS from other lands.  That’s precisely the meaning of their name, not an ethnic denomination but an adjective applied to the name–Pleshet, from the verb “pelesh”: “dividers” or “invaders”.

The PHILISTINES were a confederation of non-Semitic peoples from Crete, the Aegean Islands and Asia Minor, also known as “Sea Peoples”.

The original homeland was the island of CRETE.

Invaders from Greece took control of the island and the ancient Cretans arrived in Southern Canaan and were known as “Paleshtim” by the Hebrews and Canaanites (they became allied to fight the invaders).

EZEKIEL 25:16-17:

We now see our heavenly Father directs His attention to a non-relative, Israel’s old-time arch-enemy, the Philistines.  Although they were greatly weakened by king David, they continued to exist as a people.

The God of Israel–Jehovah Roi, has finally had enough of these foreigners.  His Mercy and Grace has come to an end!

In the book of Zephaniah, chapter 2, it mentions the Cherethites or ‘Cretans’.

[4]  Gaza will be abandoned and Ashkelon left in ruins.  At midday Ashdod will be emptied and Ekron uprooted.

[5]  Woe to you who live by the sea, you Kerethite people; the word of the LORD is against you, Canaan, land of the Philistines.  He says, “I will destroy you, and none will be left.”

The world has been tricked into thinking today’s Palestinians are Descendants of the Philistines.  This is NOT true!–

To insult the Jews after the Roman army destroyed the city of Jerusalem in 70 AD, they changed the name to PALESTINE.  There never was a group of people descended from this group of people.  The Philistines as described here in Scripture ceased to be a people.

PART 2– I’ll continue with the nations and the Prophecy Against Tyre–

Ezekiel 26:1-28 thru 28:19.

 


FOOTNOTES & CREDITS

Footnote [i]:  “Absalon and A. chi top el e-notes”

Credits:  

PALESTINIAN MYTHS – Myths, Hypothesis, and Facts Concerning the Origin of Peoples.

The Edomites Today – End-Time Pilgrim by Gavin Finley, MD

Jordan; Ammon, Moab, and Edom…Islam in Prophesy by Pastor Bill Randles Blog.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV), except where noted.