FIRST BLOOD

In 1982, an American action film hit the box office, “First Blood”.  It was co-written by Ted Kotchheff and starred Sylvester Stallone who became known to most of us as “Rambo”. 

It was based on David Morrell’s 1972 novel of the same name.  I remember a line in the movie that plays into the movie’s title when he said to his pursuers, “You drew the first blood” and as odd as it may seem, while I was reading in my Bible, the Letter to the Hebrews, this movie theme played in my head as I studied and took notes for this study, FIRST BLOOD.

First blood in the Bible – Genesis 4:4; (Genesis 3:21).

[4] And Abel also brought an offering–fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.  The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering…

It was a sacrificial lamb. 

His brother Cain’s offering was far more attractive than Abel’s was, but Abel’s was what God wanted.

Abel’s offering anticipated the coming Lamb of God.

There’s only one way to approach a holy God and that’s through shed blood (Hebrews 9:22).

It’s an echo of Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”

While the first blood shed by Abel was prophetic and pointed forward to that which was to be, the blood of Jesus, on the other hand, it declares the whole work of salvation is finished.

This brings us to our study in the New Testament in Hebrews 9:10-28

The Blood Covenant

JESUS is in heaven right now and seated at the right hand of the Father, guaranteeing the promise of the COVENANT with two aspects:

  • LEGAL GUARANTEE
  • LIVING GUARANTEE

Hebrews 9:11-15 (NIV)  First Blood vs. The Blood of Christ

[11] When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, He went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.  [12] He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves, but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.  [13] The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.  [14] How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!  [15] For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance–now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

Jesus has shed His blood for us on Calvary 2,000 years ago and now appears in Heaven to plead for us.

Hebrews 9:16-22 (AMP)

[16] For where there is a [last] will and testament involved, the death of the one who made it must be established.  [17] For a will and testament is valid and takes effect only at death, since it has no force or legal power as long as the one who made it is alive.  [18] So even the [old] first covenant  (God’s will)  was not inaugurated and ratified and put in force without the shedding of blood.  [19] For when every command of the Law had been read out by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of slain calves and goats, together with water and scarlet wool and with a bunch of hyssops, and sprinkled both the Book (the roll of the Law and covenant) itself and all the people.  [Leviticus 14]

[20] Saying these words:  This is the blood that seals and ratifies the agreement (the testament, the covenant) which God commanded [me to deliver to] you.  [21] And in the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and all the [sacred] vessels and appliances used in [divine] worship.

[22] [In fact] under the Law almost everything is purified by means of blood, and without the shedding of blood there is neither release from sin and its guilt nor the remission of the due and merited punishment for sin.

COVENANT is an agreement, but it also means “last will and testament.”

The thing about a “will” is that it doesn’t come into effect until a person dies.

In order for the terms of the New Covenant to come into play, Jesus had to physically die on the Cross.

Luke 22:20 (NIV)

[20] In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Even the Old Covenant was established on the basis of the ‘first’ blood so to speak, but the blood, fire, water (Num. 31:21-24) couldn’t change a person’s nature.  (The altar, ark, people didn’t change when the blood was put upon them, but it did change God’s relationship to it).

The reason why blood was such a big variable in the Old Covenant was that God required BLOOD to be shed before sin could be forgiven (Lev. 17:11).

The Old Testament saints were saved the same way we are with the finish work of Christ Jesus.

People before Christ’s death on the Cross were promised a Messiah/Redeemer by God, they died believing/trusting that God Promise would be fulfilled, however, this is really important…they died with the promise unfulfilled.

One of the first accomplishments of Jesus’ death was to REDEEM all those who had believed in God under the Old Covenant (Christ’s atoning death was retroactive).

In the financial world, redemption is “a removal of a financial obligation by paying off a note, bond, etc.” [Dictionary.com]

In a way, the believers of the O.C. were saved on “credit” or a “note,” and Jesus was the actual payment, “redeeming” the note.  The only way a person could come to God was to have the penalty of his SIN paid for and Jesus provided it for everyone who trusts Him.

He was the bridge!

With Jesus dying on the Cross, He legally died and His Last Will & Testament was legally enacted.

Our inheritance is primarily spiritual in nature. Forgiveness, spiritual gifts/fruit, the changing of our nature.

When Jesus died, what all the ‘first blood’ that had been offered up until that time couldn’t do, Jesus accomplished.

The Howard Hughes Story

One of the richest men in the world when he died in 1976.  His fortune, which he accumulated as an aviator, inventor, engineer, filmmaker, had an estimated worth in the billions when he died.  In the final years of his life, he spent them as a recluse in a Las Vegas hotel as his OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) took its hold.  Upon his death, it was discovered that he had no WILL made.  All his wealth was divided by the State to 22 cousins.

When Jesus died on the Cross, His last Will and Testament came immediately into force.  He designated all His wealth, power, authority to His children…us!

How foolish we are to fail to claim our inheritance in Him!

A Living Guarantee (vv. 23-26).

OUR LORD BECAME THE SACRIFICE FOR OUR SIN.

He is the better sacrifice, a final sacrifice.

Hebrews 9:23, 25-26 (NIV)

[23] It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

[25] Nor did He enter heaven to offer Himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.  [26] Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world.  But now He has appeared once and for all at the end of the ages to do away with the sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

His final Will & Testament was notarized on Calvary’s Hill.

If you’ve ever had to get an official transcript from a school, or an official copy of your birth certificate, it had to have the official seal on it to be valid.  A notary public will authenticate your signature on an important document by stamping it with his/her seal.

Even so, God’s Spirit is the SEAL on every true believer, showing that you are no longer your own.  He bought you with the blood of Christ and now you belong to Him.  No one can take you from Him!!!

He died, but He lives again!

He’s alive to serve as His own executor of His own estate!

He can enforce the PROMISE of His Will and His Will is incontestable because He lives in heaven as our guarantee!

When we come to God we must go through Jesus.  There’s no other way.  Jesus satisfies the Father, therefore no one comes to Him except through His Son, Jesus.

The idea that God accepts us as we are is unbiblical.  We come to Jesus just as we are, BUT…He doesn’t present us to the Father just as we are.  We are a 100% unpresentable as we are.  [God is holy, and SIN cannot be in His presence.]

When Jesus presents us to His Father, He presents us in Himself, as He is.

So when God sees us, He sees Jesus instead; He sees Jesus’ sacrifice instead of our SIN.  His BLOOD PAYMENT for our sin instead of the penalty we deserve for our iniquities.

Hebrews 9:24 (AMP)

[24] For Christ (the Messiah) has not entered into a sanctuary made with [human] hands, only a copy and pattern and type of the true one, but [He has entered] into heaven itself, now to appear in the [very] presence of God on our behalf.

Jesus has taken us into the real Holy of Holies with Him through His SACRIFICE of BLOOD on the Cross.

Hebrews 9:27-28

One person said: Man’s life is made up of 20 years of his mother asking him where he’s going.  50 years of his wife asking him where’s he been, and one hour at his funeral where everyone wonders where he’s gone.

I know where I’m going because I’m in the Will.

The only way we get into the Will is to be placed into the death of Christ Jesus and say, “God, I’m a sinner.  I place myself into the death and resurrection of your Son.  Be satisfied with me for His sake.”

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CREDITS:

Howard Hughes Story – Wikipedia.

“FIRST BLOOD” – Wikipedia.

Video:  First blood Instrumental YouTube.

Photos:  Google Image Search, Settings Advance search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); other translations as marked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sizing Up the REAL ESTATE Market – PART ONE

“LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION”  Why Location Matters in Real Estate.

Sizing up the HOUSING MARKET

It is the real estate agents’ mantra: Location, location, location.  You’ve certainly heard the phrase enough and may wonder what inspires agents to say the word three times. In a nutshell, the phrase means that “identical homes can increase or decrease in value due to the LOCATION of the property.  It is repeated three times for emphasis, and the number one RULE in real estate, though it is often the most overlooked.”  [See footnote [i] ].

GOD’S HOUSE is being built and we have a choice to make on whether we want that HOUSE to be established here or somewhere else.  What are the VALUES?

God isn’t obligated to live in what He hasn’t built.

And, we can GUARANTEE God will move in following His plans…We can GUARANTEE His presence in our house if we follow His blueprints.

HOUSE RULES –

This HOUSE must be established and built with the concept of AUTHORITY:

#1.  AUTHORITY is God’s Word.

#2.  AUTHORITY is our conscience.

#3.  AN AUTHORITY figure is delegated authority.

Until we understand AUTHORITY and respond correctly to AUTHORITY this HOUSE is vacant.

HOUSE MANNERS –

We’re not going to see God move into this HOUSE until we begin to operate completely with House Manners.

These MANNERS are the direct opposite of how we have been taught by our culture.

We must LEARN to regard one another in the house after the Spirit rather than after the flesh.  What if your future is wrapped up in someone you DON’T like?

We are to RESPECT one another.

That means we treat each other better than the world says we should.  We settle issues face to face–we don’t sweep them under the rug by avoiding one another.

THE BIBLE gives very clear instructions on how we deal with our brothers and sisters in Christ:  Heb. 10:25; 1 John 4:7; Prov. 17:17; Heb. 13:1; Phil. 1:3 to name just a few.

We RESTORE each other or handle each other with GRACE (‘favor’), knowing that the day will surely come when we too will need Grace extended.

MODEL HOUSE –

We must recognize that we NEED more room, that the present structure will NOT handle a habitation.

HABITATION requires a firm foundation.  There will be no expansion if the house is weak in the WORD, weak in WORSHIP, etc.

A MODEL HOME is furnished and REQUIRES…

  • A bedplace of rest.
  • A table – place of communion.
  • A lamp – illuminate of the WORD.

HIS HOUSE MUST COME FIRST!!

PARADE OF HOMES –

The parade of HOMES must stop.  We must find our assigned house.

There will be times we don’t like the smell of one particularHouse, but we must understand that we are the safest in our assigned house.

Others may laugh at our house, but if we are in our assigned house, we’re connected with FAVOR!

We must BUILD THIS HOUSE and bring attention to and keep our focus on His name!

The Housing Market “Crash”

Before 2009, most of us didn’t recognize there had already been a CRISIS in the Housing Market for the last two decades.  We had been asleep for most of it because for the most part…it didn’t affect us… personally.  I think we’re just now waking up to the fact that something went wrong,

To EXPLAIN, I need to take you to a ‘REAL ESTATE REPORT’ that I found in the Old Testament.  This REPORT demands that we must live our lives differently to get different RESULTS.

This REPORT demands a response!

TEXT:  Haggai 1:2-11 (NIV)

[2]  This is what the LORD Almighty says:  “These people say,  ‘The time has not yet come for the LORD’s house to be built.'”  [3] The the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai:  [4] “It is a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains in ruin?”  [5] Now this is what the LORD Almighty says:  “Give careful thought to your ways.  [6] You have planted much, but have harvested little.  You eat but never have your fill.  You put on clothes but are not warm,  You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”  [7] This is what the LORD Almighty says:  “Give careful thought to your ways.  [8] Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD.  [9] “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little.  What you brought home, I blew away.  Why?” declares the LORD Almighty.  “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.  [10] Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops.  [11] I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands.”

HAGGAI begins his message by quoting a popular expression of the people, “It’s not the time to build the Temple.”

Though surrounded by the hostile opposition of their neighbors and the lack of financial prosperity, they keep DOING what they’ve always done.

They are so SELFISHLY INDIFFERENT to the LORD that they keep devoting ALL their time, energy and attention to keeping up with the Jones and in so doing…they SURVIVE paycheck to paycheck, become CONTENT in famine, and bed down with drought in the land, never stopping once to consider why they’re in the condition they’re in.

And the Real Estate Market collapses!

HAGGAI painted a vivid picture of their ECONOMIC and SOCIAL distress with the results and repercussions of the FACT that they had left GOD out!

When we leave God out of our own lives, He may still BLESS us with the ‘STUFF’, but we won’t be able to fully enjoy it.

  • You’ll have a DEGREE, but still can’t find a job.
  • You’ll get a RAISE at work, but still, find yourself broke.
  • You’ll buy a HOUSE but can’t afford to eat.
  • You’ll get your CHILD, but that child will wear you out.

Over the years of my life, I’ve found TWO things that are directly proportional to my PRIORITY LIST on giving to the House of God:  HARVEST and LEVEL OF SATISFACTION–the ability to find a stress free life rather than a turmoil-filled life which I’ve found directly related to the place of priority of the things of God has placed in my life.

“Is it then the right time for you to live in luxurious homes when the Temple lies in ruin?”  (verse 4).

HAGGAI points to the REAL ESTATE bust and it devastated the people.

God quits working with and FOR the people and begins to work AGAINST the people.

Maybe you’re thinking it’s BAD LUCK or a downturn…so you’ve been calling on, PRAYING to God.

Well, PRAY all you want!  Cry all you want!  Claim promises all you want, but until you adjust and correct your PRIORITIES…God is working against you!!

But “if God is for us who can be against us?”  BUT if God is AGAINST us who can be for us?

I keep hearing the news that the housing market reports that the people are saying, “The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.”

We have bought into A LIE.

We have just accepted the idea that we can’t rebuild the HOUSE of the LORD in this generation.  Everyone is too busy, too lazy, too apathetic, it has to be convenient, it can’t be more than 50 minutes, don’t take nights, you can’t have revival in this generation, you can’t find committed people in this day and age, you can’t expect loyalty from this generation,,,AND, I DECLARE THE DEVIL IS A LIAR!

HAGGAI 1:12-14 –

GOD is calling to the Zerubbabel [s] and the Joshua [s] in our churches.

THE CALL IS NOW for God-fearing people to get up, wipe the sleep from your eyes, and shake off the APATHY.

Make Him more important than your job, your house, your vacation, your social status, your comfort, your clothes, and your love life.

ELEVATE HIM AGAIN!

THE CALL GOES OUT for us to find those who are TIRED of living in famine.  Find those who are TIRED of the RAT RACE and the lack of an encounter with the living GOD.  Let’s join forces as God’s people and BUILD HIS HOUSE!

WHY?

Because He is God.

But also because as we do so, He comes back within our midst and DECLARES HIS PROMISES!!

[CONTINUED IN PART TWO:  Sizing Up the Real Estate Market]

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CREDITS & FOOTNOTES =

Footnote [i] :  Home Buying – What Location, Location, Location Mean In Real Estate? by Elizabeth Weintraub – Updated January 28, 2017.

PHOTOS:  Google Image Search – Advanced Setting.

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

 

Maneuvering Your Way Through the Bumps In Life

PSALM 116:7-8:

[7]  Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

[8]  For You have delivered my life from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling and falling.

img_4303

In 1978-1980, I commuted from home to work every day, over 100 miles each way. To keep me company on the long ride, I would listen to Paul Harvey. a conservative talk show host, true stories he told every morning.  One of my favorites was a lady who went to a local newspaper to report the death of her husband.  She took a glowing four page report to the obituary counter.  Upon seeing it, the counter’s clerk said,  “Ma’am, you should know that it costs $.50 a word to put that in the paper.”  Stunned, the wife took it back and re-wrote it.  It now said “Sam Brown dies.”  The clerk said, “I’m sorry ma’am, but there’s a 7-word minimum.”  The widow took it back and counting on her fingers wrote:  “Sam Brown dies…’88 Ford for sale.”

Somewhere, in between the humorous, quick fix Paul Harvey’s widow and the person today–who for years cannot bring themselves to go on with their life because of GRIEF (a “bump”), believe there’s an equilibrium of emotion that God wants for us.

Ecclesiastes 3:4 (GNT): 

[4]  “He sets the time for sorrow and the time for joy, the time for mourning and the time for dancing.”

The author of PSALM 116 went through the process of GRIEF and was able to find comfort in the process.

GRIEF is a natural response to loss.  It is the emotional suffering one feels when something or someone the individual loses is taken away  [See footnote [i] ].

If you have never experienced the emotion of LOSS before, trust me, someday you will.

Since it is an involuntary emotion, it’s not wrong to express GRIEF, in fact it is normal.

The apostle Paul, a man who experienced loss, wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:13,  “Now also we would not have you ignorant, brethren, about those who fall asleep [in death], that you may not grieve [for them] as the rest do who have no hope [beyond the grave]” (Amplified Bible-AMP).

He doesn’t say “don’t grieve,” but in your GRIEF, remember to place your HOPE in God.

PSALM 116, most commentators agree, that it’s a “Psalm of Grief.”  They are not sure of the circumstances but looking at some of the words the psalmist uses…

Vs. 3:   “death was around me”; “I suffered anguish and grief’

Vs. 10:  “I am greatly afflicted.”

So the Psalmist has been grieving, and although we’re not sure of the cause of his mourning, we do know that GRIEF can come in a variety of ways.

The most common GRIEF experienced is from the loss of a loved one.

I believe this is behind the Psalmist’s sorrow.

Vs. 15:  “Precious (important and no light matter) in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (His loving ones).”

The loss of a loved one, especially if they are young or the death is sudden, may be the hardest kind of GRIEF to deal with, but it’s not the only source.  The loss of possessions, the loss of health, even the loss of a pet.

Some commentators feel that when the Psalmist says in vs. 3,  “the cords and sorrows of death were around me,” that maybe he was referring to his own health.

A loss of health can certainly cause GRIEF, but it is also not uncommon for a person going through intense GRIEF to have a variance of HEALTH PROBLEMS; insomnia, exhaustion, head aches, anxiety, depression and more.

And GRIEF can come from a loss of RELATIONSHIP too.

Counselors often say that a DIVORCE is tougher to live with than DEATH.  They live with the ever-present loss of the partnership, the loss of companionship, and unfulfilled expectations.

That brings us now, how do we RESPOND to GRIEF.

Since there’s a variety of reasons that we suffer, I wanted to look at how we respond to it.  But as I thought about our responses, I felt the importance of what one trying to HELP the GRIEF STRICKEN should do and not do.

Let’s face it, many have not suffered these kind of losses and it’s crucial that we have some idea how to respond to others when a critical loss happens.

In my Detective investigation of GRIEF, I ran across a survey taken by Bob Russell, a preacher in Louisville, Kentucky, involving people who’ve gone through the GRIEVING PROCESS.

I’m going to borrow and share with you the 10 practical suggestions of the “do’s” & “don’ts” to help us understand how to help someone who’s GRIEVING:

(1)  Don’t avoid the person who MOURNS.

We worry sometimes about “I don’t know what to say.”  “I’ll feel so awkward at the funeral home.”  The worst thing we can do when someone is GRIEVING is to do nothing.

(2)  Don’t think you have to say the “right thing.”

The people in the SURVEY said consistently, the person who helped the most was the close friend who was just there…sitting next tom them, just listening.

(3)  Don’t treat the survivor differently.

For example, if you would have invited the couple to the party, then invite the widow or widower to the party.

(4)  Do understand the GRIEVING PROCESS takes a long time.

BE PATIENT!

(5)  Don’t think it’s necessary to bring it up every time you’re with them.

DON’T say, “How are you REALLY doing?”  DON’T push!

(6)  Do expect their EMOTIONS to fluctuate.

The survivor isn’t always going to feel badly.  Let them be happy, let them be sad, maybe all in a matter of moments.

(7)  Do be willing to reminisce.

Sometimes I think they won’t want to hear something about their love one because it might make them feel bad.

Let them talk about their memories, then you can join in with them by saying “You know one time Frank and I were…” -OR- “I remember how Frank loved to give me a big hug every time we met.”

(8)  Do be personal in your remembrances.

If you know something nice to say, then say it!  “O, your mother was so wonderful to me.”  “Your Dad’s strong faith was such a blessing to me.”

(9)  Do keep your sense of humor.  “A cheerful heart does good like medicine (Proverbs 17:22 LB).

536747_4192361084728_498858354_n

Vance Havner, a famous preacher, when someone would come up to him after the death of his wife and say,  “Sorry you lost your wife.”  He’d smile and say, “Well, don’t be…after all, somethings not lost if you know its location!  And I know right where to find her!”

But remember, Proverbs 14:13 (AMP) also says:  

“Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of mirth us heaviness and grief.”

So, even though we should keep a sense of humor, don’t think the laughter means the PAIN is completely over.

(10)  And Do remember, the time you are needed the most, is not immediately.

Oh, you need to be there from the start but so does everyone else.  But 6-8 weeks or 6 months later, when everyone else is gone…that’s when you’re needed most!

KNOW THAT THERE IS HELP WITH GRIEF AVAILABLE WHEN YOU NEED IT!

grief-support

FIRST, know that there is HELP from God.

It’s important that those going through GRIEF–the “bumps in the road”–know that the Lord offers some incredible resources to help HEAL.

The Psalmist here mentions several, starting with Vs. 5:  “Our God is merciful (compassionate)”.

You, or someone you know, when going through the GRIEF process, are not alone.

JESUS knows how you feel because He has been where you are.  Read the 6th Chapter of the Gospel of John sometime, where you’ll find the murder of John the Baptist’s murder.  When Jesus finds out the news of his cousin, his friend, his co-worker John, he wanted to get away from people and be by Himself.  He wanted space to GRIEVE.

Hebrews 4:15 says,  “We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all–all but the sin”  (MSG).

God knows exactly how you feel and offers His compassion.

Next, God promises protection – Vs. 6:

[6]  “The Lord protects the simple and the children; I was facing death, and then he saved me.”  (TLB)

Allow the LOSS your going through, whatever it is, draw you into a DEEPER dependence on Him.

God promises DELIVERANCE from GRIEF – Vs. 8:

[8]  For You have delivered my life from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling and falling  (AMP).

Now, it’s going to take time to make progress through the journey.  But God is with you every step of the way.  He will DELIVER you!

You’ll have to experience some depression probably, but not total defeat.  I’ve said to my wife many times when hearing about the GRIEF in a church family,  “I don’t know how people go through this without the Lord; without Christian friends.”

That conversation brought me to Peter’s words to mind.

1 Peter 1:5-6 (AMP):

[5]  Being guarded by God’s power through [your] faith [till you fully inherit that final] salvation that is ready to be revealed [for you] in the last time.

[6]  [You should] be exceedingly glad on this account, though now for a little while you may be distressed by trials and suffer temptations.

I love the way The Living Bible (TLB) words Vs. 6:  “There is wonderful joy ahead, even though the going is rough for a while down here.”

So, there’s God’s promised help in terms of His promises but He also offers help in terms of His people.

You see, God’s greatest PROMISE is heaven, but His greatest help lies in those who have undergone GRIEF and understand how essential He is to getting us through those “bumps in life.”

The apostle Paul tells us in the 1st chapter of 2 Corinthians about how this works:

[3]  “Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  [4] who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God”  (NIV).

“I HAVE TRAVELED DOWN THE SAME ROAD”

2-corinthians-1-3-and-4-comfort

I was reading a little devotional commentary that is true to the Word of God.  Dr. George Truett, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas for 50 years, told the following story of a young, unbelieving couple in a sermon.

The young couple, who had just lost their baby, came to Dr. Truett, asking him to conduct the funeral, so he did.

He said later, he had joy of seeing them both come to trust the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Many months later, he said the young mother who had lost her child stepped forward, went to a young girl’s side and said,  “I passed through this and I know what you’re passing through.  God called me and through the darkness I came to Him.  He’s comforted me and He’ll comfort you.”

Dr. Truett said the first mother did more for the second mother than I could have done, maybe in days or months.  For the first young mother had traveled down the same road of GRIEF & SUFFERING  [See footnote [ii] ].

That’s what Paul is talking about in the help of others who are have the same experience in life.

You are never alone in your GRIEF, and know this about our heavenly Father–

“Precious (important and no light matter) in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (His loving ones)”  (Psalm 116:15).

 


CREDITS & FOOTNOTES

Footnote [i]:  Wikipedia, the Free encyclopedia- the word GRIEF.

Footnote [ii]:  https://theworddetective.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/comfort-sometime…th-skin-on-them/

PHOTOS:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  The Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Poor Johnny One-Note”

Singing Church

SINGING has been a part of my make-up since I was a young boy in elementary school choirs, back in the early *#’s (never mind).  I’ve been involved in music, of some sort, ever since: Church Praise Teams, Adult Choirs, Musical Ensembles, a men’s gospel trio, etc.  However today, I find myself SINGING–but in a different way.  Not as an “up-fronter”,  but accepting my role by raising my voice as a congregational singer on Sunday mornings.

But has congregational singing become just a “filler” until the pastor begins his message?  Or is there more to it than that?

“But I can’t sing!”

Most reading this blog probably never heard the song, “Poor Johnny One Note”.  Originally, it was a 1937 show tune from 1937 Rodgers and Hart musical, Babe in Arms.  You can listen to the tune by several different artists on YouTube–everyone from Carol Burnett to Barbra Streisand.  The most notable recordings were by Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland.  The lyrics went something like this:

Johnny could only sing one note

And the note he sang was this:

Ah!

Poor Johnny one-note sang out with “gusto”

And just overloaded the place.

A few years ago, I was attending a small church in a nearby community.  Every Sunday morning, during Praise and Worship singing, a young man (I’ll just call him “Johnny”), sang out with “gusto”, and it was but one note–and believe me, it wasn’t “Ah!”  

Now maybe you are reading this and thinking, I can identify with Johnny.  I sing terribly, and you’re not going to get me to sing.”

So, why do we sing at all, especially in a group atmosphere at church?  “What if I can’t carry a tune in a wet paper sack and sing like “Poor Johnny one-note”?”

Did you know that SINGING isn’t an option in the Bible?  It’S A COMMAND!

colossians-3_16

God’s people are more than just invited to SING–we are commanded to sing. And when we SING, we’re doing what God asks.

One of my hobbies, is GARDENING.  Every year, as I prepare the garden beds for planting, the deeper I dig in the soil, the deeper the plant’s roots will grow and flourish.

When we SING, the same efforts apply as you dig deep roots in the Word.

Colossians 3:16 (MSG):

Let the WORD of Christ–the Message–have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God.

The Apostle Paul lays out this encouragement; to let God’s WORD dwell in us richly, and then he tells us to live out that command.

The FIRST of course, is TEACHING. But the SECOND, is SINGING.

SINGING is one of the ways that the Word of God, richly living on the inside of us, can be released.

God’s command for us to sing comes with a PROMISE–we are promised that the Word of Christ will dwell inside of us–which is what we should crave as believers.

C. J. Mahoney calls church singing “Take Home Theology,” because the best songs we sing together end up serving you with a 3 minute, easily memorable, deeply biblical summary of important truths found in Scripture.  At least they should be!

Here’s what I’m getting at in example:

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There, in a memorable form, you’ve got a thorough theology of the Cross of Jesus with clear and practical applications that you can use for your life this week.

And when we SING, we build up others around us.

Ephesians 5:19 (NIV):

[19]  Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs…

In obedience to SING out, doing what the Bible says about singing together as a church family, we are hearing confessions of FAITH all around us.  We are hearing hundreds joining in with song, saying “In Christ alone, my HOPE is found…”

Also, try to remember as you SING, you are helping unbelievers.  In Psalm 105:1-2, the Lord is calling the Israelites to be a LIGHT to the nations, and to do this He tells them (us too!)…

[1]  O GIVE thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name, make known His doings among the peoples!

[2]  SING to Him, sing praises to Him; meditate on and talk of all His marvelous deeds and devoutly praise them.

I once attended a church where the senior pastor would stand up on the platform with the Praise Team, and begin singing the words to a Psalm.  The singers and instruments would follow his lead and God’s Spirit was felt among all the attendees.  Maybe today’s Worship and Song leaders need to try this on Sunday mornings in lieu of the favorite spiritual songs of Praise Radio–“Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs…”

Think of the impact on someone who doesn’t know Jesus, hearing hundreds giving testimony with confessions of FAITH while singing together.

When you SING, you are SPIRITUALLY STRENGTHENED for trials.

I love singing a favorite recording on the car’s CD player on the way to church every week.  For one, it clears the ‘cobwebs’ from my throat, strengthening my voice, and at the same time, it gives me an attitude of JOY!

Often times, we think only of singing when we’re happy and when times are good. But SINGING bringing strength for trials we’re going through, comes really out in the bible in the Book of Acts.

Paul and Silas are unjustly beaten and imprisoned for the sake of the Gospel.  I don’t know about you, but if I was in their sandals, I would be moaning, complaining about how unfair and mistreated I was.  Look at what they did.

Acts 16:25 (AMP):

[25]  But about midnight, as Paul and Silas were praying and SINGING hymns of praise to God, and the [other] prisoners were listening to them.

SINGING strengthens you and helps you persevere when facing trials.

When you SING, a God-designed path of JOY opens up before you.

Here are but a few examples I found in the Psalms concerning our SINGING.

  • PSALMS 5:11:  “Let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.”
  • PSALM 9:2:  “I will rejoice in You and be in high spirits; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High!”
  • PSALM 51:14:  Deliver me from bloodguiltiness and death, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.”
  • PSALM 59:16:  “But I will sing of Your mighty strength and power; yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy and loving kindness in the morning; for You have been to me a defense and a refuge in the day of my distress.”

I love Donnie McClurkin’s song and lyrics to I Will Sing.  It’s been in our car CD player of late as we drive to church on Sunday mornings.  It really fits with Psalm 59:16.

Sing His praises in the morning

Brand new mercy every dawning

Melody, harmony

I WILL SING!

If you are still not convinced about your singing on Sunday mornings, or anywhere else, for that matter, here’s a Scriptural clincher:

“If anyone among you afflicted (ill-treated, suffering evil)? He should pray.  Is anyone glad at heart?  He should SING PRAISE to God”  (James 5:13 AMP).

While studying Scripture on this point, I noticed that sometimes JOY (“glad at heart”) gives birth to SINGING.

But persistently in the Bible, JOY & SINGING are bound together.  You can’t study one of those two biblical themes without running into the other.

When you SING, you glorify God.

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, defines “GLORIFY”,  “to magnify, extol, praise; ascribing honor to Him, acknowledging Him as to Him being, attributes and acts.”

Each believer’s chief goal and chief purpose in life, should be to GLORIFY GOD! No pretending in this folks.  No excuses!  In our obedience, deep roots in the Word, building up others, making war against Satan and sin, persevering, ALL OF THESE THINGS in bring GLORY to His name.

In Revelation 7:9-10, the Apostle John describes a glimpse of eternity with a great multitude of people from every tribe, peoples, and languages SINGING before the Lamb.

“Our salvation is due to our God Who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Eternity waits.

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Will you on that day be one of the great multitude singing the song of the Lamb and singing His praises?

SINGING matters.  Even for “Johnny one-notes”.  And it matters that we do it together.

 


 CREDITS and BLOG SOURCES:

Credit to: unlockingthebible.org. – Seven Biblical Reasons Why Singing Matters.

Bible translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted.

 Photo Credits:  Google Image search.