“Sanctify them by the Truth; Your Word is Truth” (John 17:17 NIV).
Things do not change suddenly, until they do. Growing up becomes growing older. Only God can say, “I the Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6 NIV). For many things, what was once a necessity to know is no longer so. Surviving, coping, and prospering may no longer require navigating by the stars, reading the signs for a trail, or starting a fire without matches, but navigating the internet, responding to an email or text, purchasing online, or remembering where you filed something on your laptop may now be just as crucial. And, before I forget, I’d like to share with you.
Seven Basic Concepts About Scripture
“Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1 NIV).
Would it surprise us to find that the Apostle Paul’s statement from nearly 2,000 years ago was an emancipation declaration that changed the lives of not only his first century readers, but broke the chains of addiction, servitude, and bondage of untold numbers of readers since then? Is Paul trivializing the magnitude of pain and suffering holding us today? Or, are we reading these statements of Scripture with a hardness of heart and unbelief befitting those further away from the first coming of Christ and nearer still to the second coming of Christ? “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8 NIV). Is the diabolical genius of the wicked one, simply to desensitize us to the plain meaning of the words of God, hardening us from receiving their simple truth, and barring the work of the Holy Spirit from allowing His straightforward message from having its clearly stated fulfillment in our lives? “When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path” (Matthew 13:19 NIV). If you have the slightest inclination to seek understanding of what the Scripture is saying to you, then the Holy Spirit is still striving to teach you. “2 Turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding — 3 indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:2-6 NIV).
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13 KJV).
The natural tendency of anyone liberated from the necessity of keeping a list of rules to get to heaven is the extreme of “I have the right to do anything” without regard to anyone. When I was a much younger man registering to vote for the first time, I remember listening to a congressman’s campaign speech explaining the limitations of our rights as citizens. He said, “My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins.” In other words, the militancy of demanding our rights — always a popular theme both from the pulpit and the public platform — must take into account something more than ourselves — namely, our neighbor. Jesus addressed this very concept with an expert in the OT Jewish Law, who asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25 NIV). Jesus asked him to respond to his own question. The expert said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself” (10:27 NIV). “You have answered correctly, Jesus replied. Do this and you will live” (10:28 NIV), in other words, you will “inherit eternal life” (10:25 NIV). But, as the all knowing Messiah, Jesus knew the OT mindset of His interrogator. He knew no one would actually keep the Law by force of will by their own choosing. And, this not even accounting for the need for forgiveness for our untold failures of not keeping that Law. Unsurprisingly, Jesus’ attacker “wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29 NIV). The Parable of the Good Samaritan was Jesus’ response. A traveler on his way to Jerusalem was attacked, stripped, beaten, and left “half dead” (10:30 NIV). A priest, and later, a Levite simply “passed by on the other side” of the road (10:31,32 NIV). But, a Samaritan, who was despised by the Jews, “took pity on him” (10:33 NIV) and “took care of him” (10:34 NIV). Remember, Samaritans traditionally returned that hatred to the Jews. Jesus asked, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” (10:36 NIV). The expert correctly replied, “The one who had mercy on him” (10:37 NIV), to which Jesus responded, “Go and do likewise” (10:37 NIV). Jesus was saying, “You say you ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ (Leviticus 19:18 NIV), but you really only ‘love those who love you’ (Luke 6:32 NIV), and not this Samaritan. This expert in the OT Law was being reminded of our unending necessity to love our neighbor.
First, at the beginning of the creation of a material universe (“heavens and earth”) in Genesis 1:1, God possibly used the mechanism of a black hole to hold in all matter in a singularity with the greatest force of gravity to cause biblical time to measure in terms of earth centric 24 hour days.
Why Would a Young Earth Creationist Promote a Better Appreciation of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity (GR)?
The actual review is at the end of this article, which I precede with some explanatory remarks.
I survived my college introductory course in calculus, but I had the practical sense to later be steered toward the humanities and social sciences. I furnished too little inspiration and understanding to fully appreciate the rigors of dy, dx. My acceptance of the Genesis account of creation meant I had to reconcile six literal days of creation with the fact that light from Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to earth, would take 4.35 light years to arrive to earth. If God really “made the stars” (Genesis 1:16 NIV) on the fourth literal day of creation, how could Alpha Centauri be visible from earth so soon? I reasoned, if Adam was created with the mature form of an adult, then God could produce a universe with the mature appearance of light from the stars. I can now better understand an astronomer’s disdain for my reasoning.
When I was a senior in high school, my teacher prepared us to participate in a debate. In his collegiate days, he was on a debate team from the University of Redlands that won a competition against the USAF Academy on the topic, “How to lie with statistics.” In the face of facts and figures, we all face the difficulty of determining what we can believe, and ultimately, who can you trust? Who can we trust, if everyone has their own agenda? For your consideration, I would propose, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8 KJV).
A Promise for Giving Tithes, Offerings, and Contributions
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38 NIV).
Brief Comments on Isaiah 54:1-17
Especially Addressing “Why Are We Still Here?”
“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray” (1Peter 4:7 NIV).
1- Why are we still here?
The world is still here ONLY because God still continues to hold all things together.
“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17 NIV).
“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun [a poetic name for the people of Israel, meaning ‘upright people’], who rides across the heavens to help you and on the clouds in His majesty” (Deuteronomy 33:26 NIV).
Only God’s wisdom and knowledge are unlimited (Romans 11:33-36).
Only God’s words are unstoppable (Isaiah 55:6-11).
Only God’s Word will be accomplished to the smallest jot and tittle (Matthew 5:16-18).
A Brief Commentary on Mark 9:1-29
Especially Addressing the Plea, “Help Me Overcome My Unbelief,” or Overcoming Our Jadedness
“And He said to them, Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power” (9:1 NIV).
The “Some Who Are Standing Here Will Not Taste Death Before They See That the Kingdom of God Has Come With Power” Conundrum: To whom did Jesus address this statement? The answer is found in the previous chapter. “Then He called the crowd to Him along with His disciples and said: Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me” (Mark 8:34 NIV). So, He addressed “the crowd” and “His disciples.” If He only addressed His disciples, then the complication would arise, which disciples? What event would some disciples see that the other disciples would not? But, this is not the case, since evidently “the crowd” (9:1 NIV) was being informed of a future event to be viewed by these “disciples,” as well.
If physical death (“not taste death”) was implied in Christ’s statement, then when would His disciples “see that the kingdom of God has come with power” (9:1 NIV)? Evidently, Christ was referring to the disciples’ witnessing His Resurrection, to which He referred only earlier in the same discourse (Mark 8:31). Both His Death and certainly His Resurrection were unexpected by His disciples at that time. And, Christ’s defeat of death through the “power of His Resurrection” (Philippians 3:10 NIV) transcends any expectation of a mortal mind. “And who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:4 NIV).