The Dependence On Outward Signs Instead of Inward Commitment

SCRIPTURE STUDY:  GENESIS 17:9-13; Deuteronomy 10:16-17; Colossians 2:11-12

SIGNS ARE IMPORTANT –

Signs are one way that we communicate with one another and many times how we identify things.

A Salvation Army woman outside of a well-known store during the Christmas season was informed by a policeman that there was a local ordinance that prevented her from ringing her bells and inviting contributions.  She was contrite and apologized that she had “broken” the law.  But the next day she was back in front of the same store doing a brisker business than ever as she waved one sign and then another in the air.  One said “DING” and the other said “DONG”.

SIGNS are important in the lives of God’s people too.  They may not be printed signs but we, as Christians, do portrait who we are by the way we live.  People should be able to identify us by the way we are acting.  Our lives become SIGNS to the world.

In the referenced passage of Scripture in Genesis 17, it is telling us about a sign that identifies God’s people.

Genesis 17:1-2 (AMP)

[1]  WHEN ABRAM was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, I AM the Almighty God;  walk and live habitually before Me and be perfect (blameless, wholehearted, complete).

[2]  And I will make My covenant (solemn pledge) between Me and you and will multiply you exceedingly.  [Amplified Bible]

The FIRST thing I noticed in the study, is this is where we are introduced to the name, El Shaddai–means God Almighty.  The all-powerful God.  It’s here where God tells Abram the name that He wants him to remember Him by.

God tells Abram to serve Him faithfully and in return, He will BLESS him.

Also here in chapter 17, God changes Abram’s name to Abraham and Sari’s name to Sarah.

He gives them NEW NAMES when He gives them the sign of the covenant.

God has just informed Abraham that He was making a covenant (not a contract) with him.

CONTRACT VS. COVENANT – Why the difference matters.

With a contract, if one agreeing party does something in violation of the contract then it’s considered broken.  The whole contract becomes null and void.  Basically, the signs of a contract agree to hold up the ends as long as the other signatories hold up theirs.

With a covenant, both parties agree to hold up their ends, regardless of whether the other party keeps their part of the agreement.  A violation of a covenant by one party doesn’t matter as far as the other party’s responsibility is to continue to do what they agreed too.  [See footnote [i].]

So in God’s COVENANT with Abraham, He tells him and his descendants they would be God’s chosen people and God also promised him the entire land of Canaan forever!

Then God went on to say to them…(vs. 9-13)

[9] Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.  [10] This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are going to keep:  Every male among you shall be circumcised.  [11] You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.  [12] For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner–those who are not your offspring.  [13] Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised.  My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.”  [NIV Bible]

You will have a SIGN, a mark on you that will identify you as one of My Chosen People.  When you do this, you’re acknowledging who I AM and what I mean to you.  This will set you apart from the rest of the world.  Your old identity will be gone.  No longer are you who you used to be, now you are one of My chosen people.  This tells those around you who you worship and serve.

The SIGN of FAITH by CIRCUMCISION is just the beginning.

After this act, God expected Abraham and his descendants to be different from worldly people who live among them.

It was a SPIRITUAL SIGN to be dedicated to Almighty God.

As you read and study God’s word, you’ll see that the Jewish people became prideful of this.  The SIGN became a national pride, not a submission to God and a promise to follow Him.  They started depending on an outward sign instead of an inward commitment to God.  The problem with this was the SIGN, not the actual covenant.

Have we as Christians become so prideful in outward signs in today’s society we’ve forgotten God’s covenant?


Again, VERSE ONE: 

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.”

SERVE ME FAITHFULLY, that was the covenant.

Circumcision was the SIGN and not the actual covenant.  God had gotten tired of only token commitment from His people.  They were being circumcised but they were NOT being the people God had intended them to be.

Look at Deuteronomy 10:16-17


SERVE ME FAITHFULLY, that was the covenant.

CIRCUMCISION, a separation from the world.  A separation from SIN; cutaway, circumcise the old ways and, the old sinful heart and serve with a new heart.

What does this mean to us today?  We do have circumcision but it’s just a health-related issue, not a religious issue for Christians today.  While we don’t have the circumcision as a SIGN of our commitment to God, we do have BAPTISM.

The Great Commission – Matthew 28:19, 20 (AMP)

“Go then and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age.”

This is a SIGN that they have accepted what Jesus did for them.  It doesn’t SAVE them, the acceptance of Christ does that and along with that commitment comes a CIRCUMCISION of the HEART.  A change of heart.  A new creation in Christ Jesus.

The apostle Paul gives the best definition I’ve found for Christian Circumcision in his letter to the church at Colossi:

Colossians 2:11, 12 (NIV)

[11] In Him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with the circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ,  [12] having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead.

We are BAPTIZED because we have trusted in the mighty POWER of God.  Our SIN is cut away and we tell the world that we are one of God’s children.

I’ve had conversations with many people over the years whose only testimony is that they were “baptized.”  I heard people say they walked the aisle at so and so’s church and was baptized.

If you claim to be a Christian, then you must have a testimony!

There must be a time that you knew and remembered that you BELIEVED and ACCEPTED what Jesus did for you.

BAPTISM IS NOT THE SALVATION EXPERIENCE.

The FAITH that we place in God through Jesus Christ is how God makes a COVENANT with us and we solidify that and show the world through our BAPTISM.

BAPTISM IS OUR CIRCUMCISION.

It symbolizes the removal of the old skin in our lives and identifies us as a child of God.  My heart just aches for those who think that just because they were baptized in front of a church altar, they were SAVED.  They have become like the children of Israel who thought that just because they had the SIGN OF CIRCUMCISION, they were HEIRS to eternal life with God.

God says no, your HEART must be circumcised.

There’s a change if there is true SALVATION.  We are not the same person we were before we met Jesus.

The are OTHER SIGNS that Christians should be showing in their lives.

God told Abraham that he must serve Him faithfully.  Not occasionally, but ALWAYS!

Our TESTIMONY must always be that we were SAVED through the death of Jesus Christ for the punishment for our SIN.

The Israelites carried the SIGN of the Covenant through CIRCUMCISION, but there must be more.

Just like Abraham and everybody else that is a true child of God, we must wear A SIGN of the heart that has been changed; the SIN has been changed, the SIN has been cut away and a life that is living faithfully for God.

Neither CIRCUMCISION nor BAPTISM can save you, only FAITH in God and what Jesus did on the cross.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog-study in the Bible.  I’m always looking for feedback in my study so I can continue to grow in the proclamation of God’s Word.

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CREDITS & FOOTNOTES

Footnote [i]:  Contract Vs. Covenant.  Why the Diffeence Matters; New Creations.org

PHOTOS/IMAGES:  Google Image Search; Settings, advanced search.

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

 

 

 

 

There’s A Big Difference Between Commitment and Involvement

TEXT: JOSHUA 24:1, 14-16

 

LIFE IS FILLED WITH CHOICES –

  • We must choose when to go to bed and when to get up.
  • We must choose what to eat and what not to eat.
  • We must choose what to wear and what not to wear.
  • We choose what to do with our time.
  • We choose when we’ll go to work and where we’ll go out to eat.

Now I must admit since I’ve gotten older and retired 15 years ago, the choices have changed…a lot!  But there are still choices to make.

Some choices are easy to make while other choices are more difficult to make.

WE ARE WHO WE ARE TODAY BECAUSE OF THE CHOICES WE MADE YESTERDAY.

The CHOICES we make today have an impact on the decisions we’ll be making tomorrow.

They establish a PATTERN and a FOUNDATION for our life.  That said, most of us haven’t always made the right choices…Okay, ALL of us haven’t.  You and I may never be able to undo those choices…BUT….I have some good news for you.  HE, who holds our tomorrow, is more than able to turn it around for us.

So after reading through the Book of Joshua and writing several Blog-studies, I want to focus on the only RIGHT CHOICE we each can make.

In the last chapter of JOSHUA, it begins presenting what is often called Joshua’s FAREWELL ADDRESS.

The first mentioning of Joshua given is the picture of an HONORABLE MAN–one that you would want to follow.  In his early years, he was sent as a representative of Ephraim to spy out the land of Canaan (Numbers 13:1-33).  He and Caleb seem to be a different standard than the other spies–the exciting voice speaking out with enthusiastic optimism about their ability to take the LAND–

  • Let’s do it!
  • We can take it!
  • We can take them!

I wondered as I read in Joshua what it was that caused this nation to follow a leader such as he.  Was it FAITH?  Was it youthful exuberance”

Who can tell, but a leader is what Israel needed as they awaited moving forward in the new campaign–CROSSING THE RIVER!

A Brief Review of Joshua’s Life –

JOSHUA is now quite old in the last chapter, and he has seen a lot over a period of 110 years.

His early formative years he spent in service to Moses.  In his later years, he spent leading God’s people into battle to the promised land.  He’d seen the PLAGUES OF EGYPT, the parting of the Red Sea.  He has endured the trip through the desert to the edge of the promised land, then the trip back into the wilderness for 40 years of wandering in the wasteland.

He saw God part the Jordan river.  He saw God crumble the walls of Jericho, sending the enemies into a panic.  He also saw the PUNISHMENT OF ACHAN after his sin,  He then saw the RESTORATION OF THE BLESSING–not ‘a blessing’ but “the blessing.”  The presence of God.

He’s led a full life and he has known the POWER and the PRESENCE OF THE LIVING GOD in his life and in his leadership.

At the ripe old age of 110, Joshua recognizes his death is near.

JOSHUA’S Last Days Are Where We Find Ourselves –

I wonder what the Israelites might be thinking at this point of history.  They understood after all those years, their campaign was now coming to a close and a LEADER is leaving his parting words on his people.

Joshua’s Life Is Coming to an End.

There’s a transition to take place.  From a people consumed with getting the other people out of the land to being a people in the land.  So Joshua asks this nation, who will you SERVE now that you are NOT FOCUSED on the conquests?  Will you return to the gods you used to worship, or will you SERVE YHWH?  Like me and my family.

There’s a back and forth going on between Joshua and the gathered ELDERS-HEADS-JUDGES-OFFICERS.  They are gathered at the same place where after Ai was finally captured, in Shechem–Joshua calls his people together for another COVENANT invitation.

JOSHUA 24:1 (AMP)

[1] THEN JOSHUA gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and summoned the elders of Israel and their heads, their judges, and their officers; they presented themselves before God.

In this FIRST VERSE, as I read in preparation for this BLOG study, really caught my attention.  Joshua called for the LEADERS of God’s people and they were where they were supposed to be.

We should know where the LEADERS of the Church are located.

They were on their post and Joshua knew, if no one else was around, the LEADERS were at their post and were committed.  You cannot LEAD if you can’t be found.

LEADERS then should be out front in the congregation.

Joshua before addressing the nation of Israel called upon and challenged the Leaders FIRST.  He challenged them to be more than INVOLVED…to be COMMITTED!

THE POLITICAL AND MILITARY CENTER OF GOD’S PEOPLE –

Joshua challenges their ABILITY TO BE FAITHFUL.  Now that’s an interesting thought!  If we can’t be FAITHFUL to God, we can’t be FAITHFUL to the Church.  If we’re not FAITHFUL to God, we won’t be faithful to any ministry we’re in.  To put it simply, if not FAITHFUL to God, you don’t have the ABILITY to be FAITHFUL!

  • Staying at home on Sunday mornings don’t bother you.
  • Staying home on Thursday nights from prayer and private worship don’t bother you.
  • Staying at home at 3:30 PM on Fridays at the Alzheimer/Dementia section in town doesn’t bother you.

Then You are Involved and not Committed.

YOU ARE FAITHFUL TO THOSE THINGS THAT YOU ARE COMMITTED TO –

This, of course, applies to all areas of our lives.  As an example, if we’re not committed to weight loss, then we will not be faithful in the process.  Ever start college or trade school?  If we’re not committed to the process then we will not be faithful in going to class and study (been there!).  And when it comes to marriage…ok, I’ll leave that alone.

The Mood Has Changed from the Beginning of this OT book…

When God’s people were wandering in the wilderness, they found themselves fighting and defending their little nation.  Joshua now reviews the conquest campaign, as well as a history lesson with God, being good to God’s COVENANTAL AGREEMENT.

He then concludes his message with a personal statement regarding his family’s FIDELITY in VERSE 15:

NOTICE, Joshua doesn’t say, “as for me and my people,” rather, he states, as for me and MY FAMILY, or “household”.  WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.

It appears Israel was fit for a battle campaign but now the question arises, are they fit for settling in the land and trusting God in a new way campaign?

Ultimately, isn’t that the most any of us can say?

  • In spite of what I decide to do…
  • In spite of my commitment level,
  • In spite of what I want to do with my time,
  • In spite of how I feel about supporting the Church…

Me and My Family Will Serve the Lord!

With POSSESSION of the Promised Land comes great Responsibility –

It now becomes your DUTY to take what you have already secured and passed it along to the next generation.  But as far as Joshua goes, his BATTLE DAYS are coming to a close.  Don’t get me wrong.  I know there are plenty more battles to be fought but Joshua’s time has come to a close.  After all the BATTLES, the slaughter, and the delivery of land, the ONLY THING Joshua can have control is he and his family.

Opportunity Is Knocking At The Front Door –

I’m sure the compiler of the conquest narrative more than likely lives in the aftermath of these days, in the time of Judges– when the people of God were all too quick to forget this covenant.  So they knew Joshua’s hesitation reaffirmed the COVENANT for a good reason.

But the people say: “No! We will serve the Lord.”  

They could have said:  “Well Pastor, this weekend is my time to sleep in.”

Here was the opportunity to walk away, to be more honest, to pledge just partial commitment, to say, “Pastor you know I work all week!”

BUT THEY DIDN’T!

Joshua needs them to know and understand the gravity of their being A COVENANT PEOPLE.  To ensure they really wanted to be God’s people IN THE LAND, not just A PEOPLE IN THE LAND.

A STANDARD OF SERVICE DEMANDED (24:14 NIV) –

“Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness.”

Joshua doesn’t leave any room for CASUAL FAITH, for serving God when it’s convenient or when things are going well, or when life is easy.  He doesn’t leave room for doing FAITH on our terms.  He calls us to SERVE ‘with ALL faithfulness.’

What if in our serving there’s no reward, no appreciation?

Joshua says, “serve Him in sincerity and in truth” (AMP).

There is A RESPONSIBILITY OF CHOICE that goes along with Commitment –

With the right to choose comes the responsibility to choose.  You can’t defer this CHOICE to anyone else.  It’s easy to say if I had a better Husband or Wife; if we had a better Preacher; to say if only others in the church were committed.  We cannot defer or place our CHOICES on others.

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve”  (24:15)

I just want to add here…THE RECORD OF CHOICE.

It has always been LIFE or DEATH, BLESSING or CURSES.

  • Adam and Eve CHOSE Death.
  • Ananias and Sapphira CHOSE Death.
  • The Rich Young Ruler CHOSE Death.
  • King Agrippa CHOSE Death.
  • Pontius Pilate CHOSE Death.
  • Judas CHOSE Death.

BUT…

  • Lazarus CHOSE Life.
  • Abraham CHOSE Life.
  • Paul CHOSE Life.
  • Peter CHOSE Life.

There is a Record of the Repercussions of the Choices you make.

Which Do We Choose?

WHO ARE YOU GOING TO SERVE?

It was fairly easy for the Israelites to worship other gods–these gods didn’t demand much.

  • It was EASY to carry a wooden carving.
  • It was EASY to throw a bit of grain at an altar.
  • It was EASY to bow to the sun.

BUT GOD DEMANDS “ALL”!

It’s relatively EASY for us to carry our own dreams and desires and live for them.  It’s also EASY to throw a bit of money at a charitable cause.  It’s relatively EASY for us to raise our hands and shout praise to a local sports hero.

BUT GOD DEMANDS ALL!

Maybe Joshua is getting less patient with age.  I recognize I’m less patient since growing older.

So Joshua lays it out bluntly–either SERVE the Lord WITH ALL FAITHFULNESS or, if you don’t like that, CHOOSE some other god to serve.  It will probably be a lot easier serving another god for they don’t demand much.

AND BY THE WAY, NEITHER DO THEY OFFER MUCH IN RETURN.

Because of GOD’S GRACE, we are invited into relationship with God.  Because of GOD’S GRACE, Jesus came and died for us and bridged the chasm that separated us from God.

Now we are invited to be in a relationship with God, invited into a reunion with the Holy and jealous God Joshua describes. 

God gives us the GRACE to SERVE Him for we can’t serve Him on our own efforts.

But Here is the HEART of the Gospel:  We can serve a holy and jealous God because He has invited us to by His Grace.

NOW IT’S TIME TO MAKE A CHOICE.

  • To put that god of Alcohol away.
  • To throw away the gods of drugs, opioids, pornography…

To come to the altar, on your knees if you need to.

Today is the day to CHOOSE LIFE and follow God.

“Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for He is our God.”

 

LISTEN TO THE WORDS TO THIS MUSIC/VIDEO:

 

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CREDITS –

PHOTOS:  Google Image Search – Settings advanced.

Music Video:  As for Me and My House – John Waller/Youtube.com

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

 

 

 

Living In The Age of Biblical APOSTASY

THE TEXT:  Introduction to LAMENTATIONS

“Lamentation” Dictionary Definition:  “the passionate expression of grief or sorrow, weeping…”

Lamentations in the Bible: “a book of the Bible telling of desolation of the nation of Judah after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC.”

30565_lamentations_t_sm

It is possible to read the writings of the prophets only as valuable contributions to Old Testament history.  And, the reader may even be enriched by familiarity with their prophecy of events which have been startlingly fulfilled.  But to stop there is by no means to grasp their full and outstanding purpose for today’s living.  Right now, God is speaking definitely and definitively to every nation and every individual.  He wants that we see ourselves as He saw us–a world of nations and individuals rolling down the hill towards disaster [*See Footnote [i] ].   

“GOD BLESS AMERICA”

Psalm 33:12, 18-19 (Amplified Bible):

[12] Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the nation whose God is the Lord; the people He has chosen as His heritage.

[18] Behold, the Lord’s eye is upon those who fear Him [who revere and worship Him with awe], who wait for Him and hope in His mercy and loving-kindness,  [19] To deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.

LAMENTATIONS 3:40-42 (NIV Bible):

“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.  Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say:  We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven.”

Although the above Scripture verses are the keys to this Blog study, I believe that God’s dealings with Israel throughout the entire Book of Lamentations is A PICTURE–a perfect example of His dealings with AMERICA, and perhaps your nation, right where you are today.

Israel Was Under Judgment From God Because…

HER APOSTASY!

Israel had played the harlot in her spiritual adultery of IDOLS & prostituting themselves to the SURROUNDING NATIONS.

Biblical Apostasy Explained:

The word itself–APOSTASY– is from the Greek word “apostasia” a meaning very much like renouncing or dissociating oneself from a particular religion or certain religious beliefs.

It is similar to a REJECTION of beliefs that were once held and accepting different beliefs and might even be a rejection of the beliefs that were previously held.

Apostasy can also be considered an ABANDONMENT or defiance of what was previously held to be true and practiced while rebelling against those same beliefs and practices.

Someone or some group (nation) who does this are considered an APOSTATE.

BIBLICAL WARNINGS HAVE ALREADY BEEN POSTED FOR ALL OF US –

The Apostle Paul’s WARNING – 1 Timothy 4:1-2 NIV:

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some shall abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  Such teachings came through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”

Jude’s WARNING – Jude 1:3 AMP:

“Beloved, my whole concern was to write to you in regard to our common salvation. [But] I found it necessary and was impelled to write you and urgently appeal to and exhort [you] to contend for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints…”

The word “contend” in this verse comes from the Greek word “agonizomai”:  “To contend about a thing as a combatant.”  [NOTE: “contend” also used in verse 9, but the translation is “to separate oneself from”].

Peter’s WARNING –

But-false-prophets-also

God’s Ultimate Purpose For Bringing Judgment Upon the NATIONS and Mankind…

God wants to turn man from sinning in true acts of REPENTANCE –

The JUDGMENTS that God allows to fall on a rebellious nation or individual is never pleasant and often misunderstood in their purpose.

While our Just, Righteous, and Holy Heavenly Father must JUDGE SIN and cannot allow it to continue, His JUDGMENTS are always tempered with MERCY & A PROMISE of ultimate deliverance ‘IF’…those under judgment would only turn back to Him.

The Prophet Jeremiah, the Writer of Lamentations –

As he weeps in sorrow for the condition of his own people, he is a type of our Lord Jesus Christ as He stood and wept over the sinners of our world.

As JESUS stood on the hill and looked over Jerusalem, crying…

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, murdering the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a mother fowl gathers her brood under her wings, and you refused!  Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate (abandoned and left destitute of God’s help)”  (Matthew 23:37-38 Amplified Bible).

JESUS still stands today looking down from Glory, looking at each person on earth one at a time and at each nation in turn, and America that was so blessed–cries those same words.

How Great is His love for America? For your nation?

With all of His Loving Kindness for every man and woman–so much so that He died on the Cross for each one of us, and YET…He must and has begun to send JUDGMENT because of our rebelliousness–the APOSTASY as a people and nation.

Prior to and after World War II, America was looked upon as the friend of the world, the PROTECTOR of all that was GOOD.

Every nation, even our enemies, held a healthy respect for the BLESSINGS OF GOD and the things that were good about our nation.

Since the 60’s with the Vietnam Conflict, and continuing today, our power, prestige, and will as a nation, has been on the fast track into oblivion.

The secular world has paralleled our slide to destruction similar to the Roman Empire as it began to crumble, not from attacks of outside enemies, but from corruption and sin within.

The Book of Lamentations As An Example What A Nation Experiences As It Faces God’s Judgments –

The stated examples show what I believe America is already experiencing under JUDGMENT from God by its corruption and sin.

Lamentation 1:1-2 (NIV Bible):

[1] How deserted lies the city, once so full of people!  How like  widow is she, who once was great among the nations!  She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.  [2] Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are upon her cheeks. Among all her lovers there is none to comfort her; they have become her enemies.

America has always been known as the “great melting pot” of Humanity.  People from all nations still come to our country with high hopes and dreams of prosperity and freedom.

It is a testimony that the BLESSING of Almighty God, even when America is in trouble, is still GREAT, economically and militarily.

BUT, the GREATNESS is quickly fading.

“America is great because America is GOOD.  If America ever ceases to be good it will cease to be great” – ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE, a French Historian, upon visiting America in the early 19th Century.

ISRAEL FINDS ITSELF IN CAPTIVITY TO ITS ENEMIES –

I believe that America has fallen CAPTIVE to her enemies as well.

Our GREATEST ENEMY is NOT Russia, China, or any other nation or terrorist group. We are our own greatest enemy!

American Naivety…

In the early ’60’s during the days of the “former” Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, the then Russian Premier, pounded his shoe on the podium of the UN and shouted to the West, “We will bury you!”  The words certainly got all of our attention.  Fearing an invasion from Mother Russia, America proceeded to build the most awesome Military Machine in history.

Unfortunately, we forgot something to guard our political homefront being taken over by socialist-communist-liberal activists; who would gain office and destroy American law by the process of gradually installing Communist agenda within our legal system in separate branches of government.

Americans, being the most NAIVE people among the nations, now believe that COMMUNISM is dead.

The real truth is, COMMUNISM has just switched names to become more “politically correct.”  Today it is called “International Democracy.”  America has now become part of the New World Order atheist government.

The TEN PLANKS of the Communist Manifesto – [See Footnote [ii] }

In my Detective investigation over the past week, I found this interesting document by Karl Marx.  You tell me whether we–you, as a nation, have been led down a long road to CAPTIVITY and, we willingly went along and let it happen.

THE TEN PLANKS:

1.  Abolition of private property and the application of all rent to public purpose.

2.  A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3.  Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

4.  Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5.  Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6.  Centralization of the means  of communication and transportation in the hands of the State.

7.  Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State, the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. 

8.  Equal liability of all to labor and establishment of industrial, armies, especially for agriculture.

9.  Continuation of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.

10.  Free education for all children in governmental schools. A combination of education with industrial production.

The “LAMENTATIONS” Presented –

None is more hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are FREE…

AMERICA & The NATIONS Have Become “Tributary”; A Slave to its Own Laws –

Becoming a SLAVE to our own laws, that restrains its FREEDOM and “chained” by its own weighty laws restricts every move we make.  There is too much infighting and division to accomplish anything.  Are you listening ‘Mr. Government’?

Lamentations 1:3:

“Judah has gone into exile [to escape] from the affliction and laborious servitude [of the homeland]. She dwells among the [heathen] nations, but she finds no rest; all her persecutors overtook her amid the [dire] straits [of her distress].”

Just as an individual in becoming a SLAVE to SIN in their life, my country has become a SLAVE to its own SIN.

All of our attempts to right every wrong, through Presidential Press Releases, through legislation…instead of REPENTANCE OF THE HEART, created a massive compilation of LAWS which chokes us into servitude.

While most LAWS are meant for our good and for our protection, we’ve overstepped the boundaries between LEGALISM & COMMON SENSE care for ourselves.

Lamentations 1:9 (NIV):

“Her filthiness clung to her skirts; she did not consider her future. Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her. Look, O LORD, on my affliction for the enemy has triumphed.”

ISRAEL’S IDOLATRY –

ISRAEL had become so adulterous from worship of idols, they couldn’t remember the days of walking in RIGHTEOUSNESS & HOLINESS before the True God.

Falling so far, so quickly that their younger generation didn’t know the God of their fathers; no recognition of Israel’s BLESSINGS of the past.  They lived with an attitude that was now the NORM for the people.

SIN had magnified itself so greatly, as to hide the fact, a PATH of righteousness was to follow.

A PICTURE of Our Society Today –

e4dc5d58e68f6e6cb4e2f6281d3a3b9cMy Nation, your Nation, is so caught up in gaining wealth…creating a great lifestyle…self-indulgence at all costs, we have forgotten the PATHS of goodness and righteousness presented in GOD’S WORD–your bible.

AND…if you are thinking that the Church is absent from this picture, think again!  I see it repeated in Social Media daily, without thinking about what they’re sharing, or displaying to the world.  Am I being too legalistic?  You will have to decide.

And the Recompense? 

OUR YOUTH in the land don’t understand, and haven’t heard of the SACRIFICES in the Biblical foundations of our country.  They don’t know the price of FREEDOM because they haven’t been taught.

AMERICA is a great nation ONLY…because of the BLESSINGS of the LORD upon it.

We now have a SOCIETY where the MAJORITY of the people believe… they have a RIGHT–

  • A RIGHT to be rich…
  • A RIGHT to live in a good home…
  • A RIGHT to drive a new car…
  • A RIGHT to health care.

All without any of the responsibility and accountability that accompany these RIGHTS.

“WORK” HAS BECOME A DIRTY WORD –

As a nation, we are becoming lazier each and every day.  We give no thought as a nation about God or Holiness at all!

Lamentations 1:16 (AMP):

“For these things I weep; my eyes overflow with tears, because a comforter, one who could refresh and restore my soul, is far from me. My children are desolate and perishing, for the enemy has prevailed.”

MY PRAYER–

Lord, how long will Your LOVE continue to BLESS AMERICA, even in JUDGMENT?  

Let your MERCIES be extended to us as a nation.  Holy Spirit, move in your people.  

Let there be a great REVIVAL UNLEASHED OF RIGHTEOUSNESS & HOLINESS UPON OUR LAND.

The EVIDENCE is here!

America is ceasing, perhaps has already ceased to be GOOD.  How long can God BLESS a nation who has turned its back on God?

BUT…”JESUS Is Calling America” –

John W. Peterson wrote the lyrics to a song in the early 70’s, “Jesus Is Calling America” from the Cantata, America:

Jesus is calling America,

Calling her back to the fold.

Jesus is calling America,

Calling the young and the old.

The title of the Peterson’s lyrics brought me, and hopefully you, to a bible verse in 2 Chronicles:

IF My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require necessity My face, and turn from their wicked ways, THEN will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14 AMP).

This is a great promise from God’s Word!

flag2chron7-14_www-mchenrycountyblog-com

HELP US LORD, as a people, as individuals, and as a nation to fall our face in REPENTANCE of our sins.

HELP US to humble ourselves before You, to seek Your face and pray for deliverance.

AMEN!!!

God loves you and I.

God loves America too.

But God’s LOVE must, one day, give way to justice & righteousness.

Let the body of Christ–the Church, across this nation, cross your nation, CRY OUT to God in REPENTANCE and PRAY for Revival in the Lord.

And REVIVAL always begins in the heart of each and every individual.  Unless we do, there is little HOPE that we will survive as nations enjoying PEACE & PROSPERITY.

For God’s JUDGMENTS will increase.  We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg in the trouble to come.

If we, as nations in the world, don’t turn to God in REPENTANCE, social unrest will lead to all out rebellion in the streets and anarchy will reign.

OUR MAIN PROBLEM…

America’s main problem is not social unrest, or lack of health care, inequality of opportunity in the inner cities, poverty or any of these things; although all of these are problems that must be dealt with.

America’s main problem is…we’ve left worshipping the God of Heaven and taken JESUS out of our lives PUBLICLY; removed the Word of God from anything that’s PUBLIC.

REWARDS WILL COME, BUT…

If God’s going to BLESS AMERICA…BLESS YOUR NATION…we all must see those trends reversed.

PAR

 


 

FOOTNOTES & CREDITS:

Opening Statement –  [i] Exerts used from the Amplified Bible (a).

“THE TEN PLANKS” – [ii] The TEN PLANKS of the Communist Manifesto – http://www.criminalgovernment.com/docs/planks Communist Manifesto-All Ten Planks…In America!!! 

RESOURCE SEARCH:  Jack Wellman @ Christian Crier – http://www.patheos.com

Photo Credits:  BEWARE… found at courting of a kingdom.workers.blogspot.com; Google Image Search.

 

 

 

 

 

The “OLIVE TREE” Prophecy

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Olive Tree Grove

BIBLE TEXT FOR THIS BLOG:

Open your Bibles to Romans 11:17-32.

The Cultivation Process:

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

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

The Benefits of Grafting In…

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

88013377_XSA ROOT–

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

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

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

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

A TREE–

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

–  A WILD TREE.

–  A CULTIVATED TREE.

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

The Wild Tree–

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

The Cultivated Tree–

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

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

Grafted in ...
Grafted in …

DURING THE 1st CENTURY:

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

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

The KEY VERSES:  17-18

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

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

BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY is a form of JUDAISM–

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

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

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

*  In the 1st Century JUDAISM,

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

*  In the Church Age,

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

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

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

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

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

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

The REGENERATION PROCESS:  (25-27)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeremiah 31:35-36:

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

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

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

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

God’s Delay in Blessing Israel:

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

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

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

Seeking Opportunities—

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

Zechariah 8:23 Amplified Bible:

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

 

*Footnotes & Photo Credits:

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

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

Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debt Slavery or Debt Freedom? Some Answers

Is it wrong to be in debt? 

That depends on the way it’s used.  Is “fire” wrong?  That also depends on the way it’s used.  

Matthew 25:15-30 [READ] shows an intelligent use of debt.

Unwisely use of debt is “bondage”. You can’t let greed guide your borrowing or let selfishness guide your borrowing money.

Let me start you out with this experiment before continuing what I was to uncover on being in debt, getting out of debt and staying free from debt. 

List every bill you owe by writing them down on a piece of paper. To write across the paper boldly with these two words:  DEBT FREE!

Everything hangs on LOVE:

Romans 13, Verse 8  “Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor [who practices loving others] has fulfilled the Law [relating to one’s fellowmen, meeting all its requirements].” 

Verse 8 isn’t about finances; make sure you don’t owe anyone LOVE.

Debt Slavery:

“Debt is dumb. Most normal people are just plain broke because they are in debt up to their eyeballs with no hope of help.

If you’re in debt, then you’re a SLAVE because you do not have the FREEDOM to use your money to help change your family tree.”  –by Dave Ramsey

When I refer to Debt Slavery, I am referring to excessive debt; excessive debt is “surety”.  Surety is a situation of being in debt without a sure way to repay. 

Proverbs 22: 7 says it this way:  “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a servant to the lender.”  Debt limits Godly opportunity in your life.

My Personal Story–

Dianne and I were married in 1964.  I had been employed with the same company for over five years and felt that stability was in place to get married; to start a family right away. My wife had been brought up in a family where they paid for things with cash; no credit cards, no check writing, just cash.  Her folks never discussed finances openly, so she knew nothing about budgeting our income.

On the other hand, I came from a family that lived paycheck to paycheck. If we didn’t have the money to spend on a vacation, a new car or any luxury items, my mom was an expert in budgeting and knowing how to “Rob Peter to pay Paul”; and she always paid Peter back.

Shortly after we were married, my mom cornered Dianne at their house one night and asked her, “Do you know how, as anyone explained to you how to budget your household expenses?”  It caught her by surprise, because she figured if you had cash — you bought and paid for it right there! God bless my mom. 

To this day, Dianne says she will never forget the day mom sat at the kitchen table and explained how family finances work in a practical, organized system. 

Six months later, I was let go from my job and was unemployed for over six months.  We now had a baby, furniture, car payment, rent, utilities, food, etc., etc..  Here is where Budgeting 101 was put to use…everyday! 

Almost 47 years later, after raising three children, no mortgage, no car payments, etc., etc., we are still using and living by mom’s budget instruction manual and it still works.

TURN TO  the Letter of James 1:1-4  Amplified Version:

JAMES, A servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes scattered abroad [among the Gentiles in the dispersion]: Greetings (rejoice)! 

Getting out of DEBT and KEEPING OUT OF DEBT:  “Debt Freedom” 

Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.  Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.  But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be a [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.

Psalm 37:21, 22  “The wicked borrow and pay not again [for they may be unable], BUT the [uncompromisingly] righteous deal kindly and give [for they are able].  For such as are blessed of God shall [in the end] inherit the earth, BUT they that are cursed of Him shall be cut off.”

THE “BLESSING” and a “CURSE”:

The first thing and the last thing man will hear is, “Be blessed, be fruitful and multiply”.  What is The Blessing? It’s an empowerment from God for you to succeed in your health, your longevity, your marriage, even your finances.

A Curse is an empowerment to fail in your health, your longevity, your marriage and your financial security.

Deuteronomy 28 is the chapter to re-read on “BLESSINGS” and “CURSES”.  Deuteronomy 28:58, 59 says, If you will not be watchful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book [the Word of God], that you may [reverently] fear this glorious and fearful name [and presence] — THE LORD YOUR GOD — Then the Lord will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary strokes and blows…” 

Don’t block the BLESSING with your DEBT!

GOD is your SOURCE:

Proverbs 8:20, 21  “I  [Wisdom] walk in the way of righteousness (moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation), in the midst of the paths of justice.  That I may cause those who love me to inherit [true] riches and that I may fill their treasuries.”

2 Corinthians 9:8  “And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnish in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].”

Philippians 4:19  “And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Remember what James 1:2, 3, says about trials and temptations, and believe me when I say, being in debt can be started by temptations that will lead to trials.  And when you give in to those various temptations, you will eventually have to “pay Peter back what you robbed him of”. 

Learning to be “Content”:

Hebrews 13:5 says,  “Let your character or moral disposition BE FREE from LOVE OF MONEY [including greed, jealousy of others, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support, [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)!  [Assuredly not!]  [Josh. 1:5]”

It is a worthwhile saying to remember “contentment” in your temptation.

To be “wholly joyful in” not be “wholly joyful FOR” your trials; to “have”, not “have not” when you’re facing a trial of “Debt Slavery”.

Contentment means to, “use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”.

Seeking Godly Counsel:

“A person needing financial advice should not go to someone who makes his living selling the very thing he’s contemplating buying.”

Psalm 1:1  “BLESSED (HAPPY, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather.”

Proverbs 15:22  “Where there is no counsel, purposes are frustrated, BUT with many counselors they are accomplished.”

The “Debt Slavery or Debt Freedom” question has an obvious answer;  “Give me Freedom from Debt”. 

I have given you just a few WORDS from God’s Word in what you can do to get free and stay free from DEBT.  I want to leave you with 10-Biblical Principles by George Fooshee and what my family has used as a practical way of staying in Debt Freedom:

1.  God is your source.

2.  Give first [Proverbs 3:9, 10; II Cor. 9:6-10].

3.  Live on a margin. (write out your income and expenses; stick to the budget!)

4.  Save money [Prov. 21:20; 22:3]. Have something, like $25.00 automatically taken out of you paycheck to savings.

5.  Keep out of debt.

6.  Be content with what you have.

7.  Keep records of your spending. (Even a small business can’t stay in business without keeping records).

8.  Don’t co-sign.

9.  Work hard.

10.  Seek Godly counsel.

 

The “ROOT” and The “FRUIT”

I would like to investigate the “ROOT” first. Without discovering the source of the FRUIT, there will be no harvest. The “ROOT” in this series is: THE BLESSING. Not “a blessing” but THE BLESSING. That is significant in my detective work.

Several years ago I was attending a local Assembly Of God church. Every Sunday morning, an older gentleman would greet me at the sanctuary door with his hand out to mine. He would always say, “God bless you brother.”  My answer to his greeting was always, “Thank you, I AM BLESSED!” One morning he said to me, “why do you always say that to me? I just want to bless you.” I never intended to offend nor give the impression that I was being “spiritual” in answering his greeting. I apologized to him, telling him that’s how I respond to everyone who says, “Bless you Mel”.  I will attempt to share, over the next several days in my BLOG, what God’s word says about THE BLESSING and the meaning behind my reponse to the greeting.

Lets look at Proverbs 10:22 which says, “THE BLESSING of the Lord—” . Notice this verse begins with “THE BLESSING”, Not “A blessing of the Lord—“.  That was my first clue. There must be a difference between “THE and “A”.  I kept digging in God’s word and uncovered a clue in Genesis 12. These next verses in Genesis, are the beginnings of The Root or The Blessing. The Blessing is called the “Abrahamic Blessing” or “Covenant”.

Verses 2-3 say, “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will BLESS you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others]. And I will BLESS those who BLESS you [who confer prosperity or happiness upon you] and curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will ALL the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [and by you they will bless themselves]. Amplified Version.  Abraham had to BLESSED first in verse 2 and then a BLESSING. If you don’t believe you’re BLESSED, no matter the circumstance, you won’t receive a BLESSING.  I can agree with some scholars that there are, what is called  “BLESSING BLOCKERS“.  Sin, or falling short of the mark, is called, “BLESSING BLOCKERS“. When the BLESSING is blocked, you won’t see THE FRUIT.  We will investigate what the FRUIT is later.

Now turn back to Proverbs 10:22 and see what The Blessing can provide for us.  The verse begins with “The Blessing of the Lord—” then explains what it can do; “it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it].”  There is nothing YOU can add by working on the blessing. There is all kinds of rich. Being rich is not limited to money! It is not just material goods. Turn to Revelation 3:17 and you will see what I mean.

“For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”

Material goods can mean that you are still lacking, as Revelation 3:17 says.  At this point I would like to bring in what is called, a “pie analogy”. The whole pie can be called the “prosperity pie“. All the cut slices comprise the making of wholeness. There is a “health slice”, a “relationship” slice, a “financial” slice, a “spiritual” slice. One slice doesn’t make the “prosperity pie” whole. I hope this “pie analogy” gives a  clearer image of The Blessing provision. Prosperity in material goods is just a slice of the whole pie.

Lets now go back to the beginning of the bible, to Genesis 13. In verse 2, it says “Now Abram was EXTREMELY RICH in livestock and in silver and in gold.” Remember what Proverbs 10:22 said about The Blessing; “it makes [truly] rich”. Abram was rich because he had received The Blessing; God spoke it on him. According to Genesis 13:1, we see that Lot had tagged along with his uncle on the trek to Egypt.  God’s Word in Genesis 13:5, shows the importance of relationships, in accordance with the Abrahamic Blessing.

“But Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents.”

Lot joined up with his Uncle Abram in Genesis 13:1. He knew that Abram had the blessing given to him from the Lord. Lot also could see the whole “prosperity pie”  and said to himself when they left for Egypt, “I am not the brightest fellow in the land, but will see if I can get just a slice of that “prosperity pie.”  Verse 6 says, “Now the land was not able to nourish and support them [Abram and Lot] so they could dwell together, for their possessions were too great for them to live together.”  Can you see in this example of the importance of who we hang out with?

It’s almost supper time and I can almost taste it from the smells. I wonder if there might even be a slice of pie in the oven? No…I was just thinking it would good after our discussion. Tomorrow I will continue to look at “The RootThe Blessing”. Hope you will join me.